Monthly Archives: January 2014

Review of Colour Wielders (Colour Wielders, #1), by Dawna Raver

Colour Wielders

I received an ecopy of Dawna Raver‘s novel, Colour Wielders from the Story Cartel.

Description from Goodreads:
Warning: This book is not your mother’s fantasy. It’s a modern story with a sexy alpha male who’s tired of waiting for what he wants. Once he gets her, he’s not afraid to take on the Universe to keep her. Don’t let the cover fool you. This book is hot!

Behind the Faerying Mysts, hidden from Mortal eyes, is a land where gods and creatures of myth and legend dwell. And in the Mortal Realm, their Princess is hidden away.

Quinn Sinclair lives an ordinary life with her less-than-loving mother in Conifer, Colorado, clueless of her true nature. On the night of her birthday, a staggering betrayal sends her life spinning out-of-control. As she struggles to pick up the pieces, a vision of a man with haunting tourmaline-blue eyes begs her for help, and she is transported into a Magykal battle-forever changing her life.

Arik Morgaine-Demigod bad boy and outcast of the Magykal Realm-tried to avoid contact with Princess Quinn for eighteen years, not wanting to make good on an old threat. But the fates have other plans. Arik can no longer deny his growing desire for Quinn, or the need to protect her from those wanting to control her burgeoning powers. Can the two of them come together and save the Magykal Realm from being destroyed by the Darkest of Magyks?

Review:

I have to be honest; I didn’t care for this book. Having finished it, I feel like the whole thing could be condensed into a discourse on who’d had sex with Quinn and who retained the rights to have sex with her in the future. Honestly, who cares? How could it possibly be such a big deal?

Now, maybe I’m just not the right demographic for this book. But I’m not sure who is. Some parts of it felt very YA and then other parts not at all. Quinn was supposed to be 22, but a HUGE deal was made of  losing her virginity (seriously it happened in chapter one and was still being harped on about in the last chapter), she constantly said effin’ instead of the F-word and she just basically she felt like a stroppy teenager (crying, storming around, slamming doors, etc) Many of the other characters however felt much more adult, as did those parts of the book not dedicated to Quinn. The end result is that sometimes I felt like I was reading a Harry Potter wannabe and then language like, “Nothing like a tight fuck. Know what I mean?” would be thrown in. It was really disconcerting. 

None if it was helped by the weird mishmash of modern English slang and mythical words. Not to mention the relentless and largely unnatural pop references—Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Disney, Rambo, The Simpsons, South Park, The Exorcist, Spider Man, and many more.

Those aren’t my main complaints, however. My primary gripe was what a pitiful heroine Quinn made. She was ostensibly the main character, but she didn’t DO anything.  She took no initiative. NONE! She spent most of the book either crying or lying in bed. The very few times she was even active was in reaction to something, not because she engaged her mind, made a decision and chose to do something, but because she was being chased or kidnapped. Other than occasionally reacting in a childish manner and storming out a door, I don’t think she perpetrated a single purposeful action. She was nothing more than the Maypole the men danced around—limp, passive and wimpy. She did less than nothing for me. 

There were some good parts. Like the time Quinn and her brother insisted people stop calling her ‘The Princess,’ because it depersonalised her. It made me want to pump my fist in the air and say, “Thank you, at least someone gets it.” But such moments were buried in the painfully repetitive narrative, too frequent use of names, annoying italicisations and my constant confusion (especially in the beginning). I spent a lot of time being confused by the racing pace of events interspersed with molasses slow sappy scenes.

So, while I know no book can be for everyone, I also know I have no real desire to continue this series. Or more accurately, I wouldn’t mind knowing how the whole thing concludes, but I’m not willing to sit through any more of Quinn’s whiney, limp-wristed, lacklustre reactions to find out. Any character who can be told, ‘Oh, BTW your mom is a Goddess, your dad’s the fairy king and a big bad sorcerer wants to use you to take over the world’ without even an eyebrow twitch, let alone a serious WTF response isn’t enough of a character to interest me. 

 

Review of T. A. Grey’s Take Me (The Untouchables, #1)

Take MeI grabbed T. A. Grey‘s PNR novel, Take Me from the KDP free list. At the time of posting, it was still free.

Description from Goodreads:

SHE MAKES HIS BLOOD BURN

Dominic Blackmoore meets the woman who captures his mind and body with a look and he’s instantly taken with her. When he was ordered to take another mate quickly after separating from his ex, he loathed the idea. However, after catching sight of his bruid he quickly changes his mind. He finds her utterly captivating, sensually erotic, and yearns to learn everything about her. 

BUT SHE’S NOT HIS BRUID

The woman he’s mistaken as his bruid is none other than the event planner, Felicity Shaw, for his mating ceremony. Now Dominic will do everything it takes, even lie to the woman he craves, to keep her at his side. He needs to mate with his bruid in order to win his political campaign but he finds himself falling in love with Felicity Shaw. In the end he must choose between work or love. He may make the right decision, but is it too late to save his lies from hurting Felicity?

HE TAKES HER BREATH AWAY

Felicity Shaw wants more in life. She’ll even lie to get it, which is exactly how she lands a job with the illustrious Blackmoore family. However, it’s the head of the vampire household, Dominic Blackmoore, that has her heart racing and breath catching. The man consumes her unlike anyone ever has before. She can’t resist him though she tries. As she’s forced to work with Dominic she tries to keep away from him but he doesn’t make things easy. 

She may want him with a passion she’s never experienced before, but she will not be with him when he’s mating to another woman. It’s either her or no one. But one terrible lies seals their fates together in ways neither of them imagined, threatening their love and the very fabric of their relationship.

Review:

OK, so I’m not claiming this isn’t a quality book but there was very little in it that appealed to me. I simply didn’t like it. More often than not, the characters reacted to stimuli in ways that made me cringe and/or ignored the things I thought would be important in those same circumstances. My frustration level remained high for almost all of it.

To start with, Dom was a straight up dick. He kept spouting off about how he loved Felicity and would do anything for her, when he very clearly wouldn’t…didn’t. Even the change of circumstances that finally allowed them to be together wasn’t at his impetus and it’s pretty obvious that he would never have done it if things were left to him. Then when that change did occur it wasn’t at all clear that it wasn’t just another political machination. (What it was however was predictable.)

Further, he spoke disparagingly of his father’s tendency to keep mistresses while SIMULTANEOUSLY trying make the same arrangement with Felicity. He gave not one thought to the fact that if he got his way he would be selfishly consigning his mate to an eternity married to a man who refused her even the barest emotional (let alone physical) connection. Asshat! Asshat. Asshat. Asshat. And if I can’t bring myself to like, let alone sympathise with the hero there isn’t much chance of me liking the book.

Felicity wasn’t much better. I found her to be a weak-willed pushover. But even worse, she said repeatedly that she wouldn’t be with Dom until he was no longer with Julianna. Note, not I won’t be with you BECAUSE you’re with Jasmine, but until you’re not, which substantively isn’t much of a moral improvement over just being the mistress. It’s still destroying someone else’s relationship. The only real difference would be to HER pride and if in the long run, she has to play first or second fiddle. Bitch! Bitch. Bitch. Bitch. And if I can’t bring myself to like, let alone sympathise with the heroine there isn’t much chance of me liking the book.

I’m afraid my dislike began on page one, when it started with a dubiously consensual sex scene between two unknown characters (and I mean paragraph one, page one starting). I almost didn’t make it past that first chapter before tossing this on the DNF pile. I just didn’t care about the characters yet. Heck, I didn’t know the characters, circumstance, history, etc. So how exactly was I supposed to care? This was also problematic because since it was stated in this anchorless sex scene that it was their first time having sex together, in all of the subsequent almost sex scenes I knew it wouldn’t come to fruition. Totally ruined the sense of suspense.

I also had trouble with the writing. Again, I’m not saying it was bad, just didn’t appeal to me. I found the onomatopoeias (thump, boom, thwack) annoying, even more so since they were sometimes italicised and sometime capitalised. Either way I found they broke the flow of the narrative.

There were a lot of editing mistakes—typo-type/grammar mistakes, but also the more annoying content errors. For example, Felicity was said at one point to be 75 years old, at another she was said to be 118. She’s said to be short at one point and then tall for a woman at another, etc.

I also found it repetitive, in terms of using the same phrases again and again (I thought I might gag if I read “the look” one more time), using the same word more than once is a short amount of time (often in the same sentence) and telling the reader the same information numerous times.

Lastly, and I’m not sure how to make this make any more sense here than it did in the book, I had a lot of trouble with the use of the word ‘were’ as an abbreviation for werewolf. The problem was that when stranded in a sentence it was read as were (like were you there). Which means I often read it as the past subjunctive of the word be, then finished the sentence only to then have to go back and read it again once I realised it was supposed to be werewolf. Even after that I was stricken to hear it pronounced in my head as were instead of where, as if said by some strongly accented person. IMO, it would have worked better if the author had used the full term, werewolf, or if an abbreviation was necessary, wolf, thereby avoiding the confusion of terms.

I know people like this book. I’ve seen all the good reviews. I’ll even admit that the world it presented was an interesting one and I did appreciate that the author broke away from the norm by letting her hero fail on occasion  Unfortunately, I found myself procrastinating about picking up my kindle, while normally I’m picking up my kindle to procrastinate about other things. Almost nothing about the story or the characters made me happy. It’s mostly all personal preferences, but I’m happy to be finished with it.

Review The Shifter’s Conspiracy, by Cassie Laurent

The Shifter's ConspiracyI grabbed Cassie Laurent‘s The Shifter’s Conspiracy from the Amazon KDP list.

Description from Goodreads:
Tess is a curvy, young detective that just can’t seem to catch a break. When the Commissioner of the police department brings in the FBI after a series of unsolved kidnappings, she meets Elias, a handsome, successful FBI agent who’s an expert in these types of crimes.

Elias has a wild conspiracy theory: he thinks shifters are behind the recent wave of kidnappings–they’re taking women as their mates in a scheme that reaches all the way into the upper echelons of New York City’s infamous Mafia. Elias knows this… because he’s a shifter, too. His attraction to Tess is undeniable, but he’s afraid she’ll reject him if she finds out who he really is. Will he be able to solve the case without driving away the woman he’s convinced is his true mate?

Review:
Um…No. Just no. I had to force myself to finish this one. It had stilted dialogue that used names too often to be natural, only passable editing, no character development, and a very simplistic story that was told in an abrupt manner. If it was erotica I might let it off the hook, but it’s not. It’s a very mild paranormal romance.

Seriously, Tess is supposed to have impressed the FBI agents by thinking to check the victims’ social media sites, as if they wouldn’t do that anyway, as if they probably don’t have some honker computer program to do it automatically. This is all after the fact that the FBI was called in for an abduction case involving 28 women, but the police didn’t seem to have done anything beforehand. Nothing. Tess and Elias solved it in a day! You have got to be kidding me. She walked into a bar and before she could even finish one drink, she was approached and kidnapped by the criminal. That’s seriously all it’s supposed to have taken.

Additionally, Tess is just an exceptionally weak heroine. Despite being a New York detective, not even a uniformed officer but a detective (which implies time on the force), she cried because someone called her “chubs.” Oh, poor baby. This, by the way, is the only aspect of the whole book that makes it BBW, as it is titled on Amazon. Her body is never even described to the reader. She also didn’t seem to know anything about investigating. Elias might as well of just taken the secretary out with him. I realise she’s supposed to have been a rookie detective, but did she not have any training? Did she never work with a detective during her time in uniform? She was like a child enamoured with the hero.

The inclusion of the paranormal was similarly obtuse. There was no reference to anything preternatural until 42%, and then shifters were SUDDENLY thrown into the mix. I knew they would show up at some point because of title (The Shifter’s Conspiracy (Paranormal BBW Werewolf Romance Novella)), but there was no build up or hints or anything else. To say it lacked any sort of subtly would be an understatement.

This was actually true for the book as a whole. There was a lot of being told how strong or strange feelings were, but no showing of it and no time to do so (since the whole thing occurs in about 36 hours). The reader is very bluntly told everything they are supposed to feel, but aren’t led to a single thought.

The whole thing is exacerbated by the fact that the book is just over 100 pages, but a full 25% of that is wasted in the beginning by showing Tess essentially doing menial tasks and getting ready for an interview. It’s meaningless to the rest of the story. That only leaves 75-80 pages in which to introduce characters, build a romance, solve an FBI level mystery, reveal werewolves, mate and conclude. Do you think you could manage it? I doubt I could and I’m certain Laurent didn’t.

This book has an interesting premise, but its execution is lacking. I wish Laurent all the best, but I won’t be continuing the series.