Monthly Archives: February 2016

Review of The Lodestar of Ys, by Amy Rae Durreson

The Lodestar of YsI picked up The Lodestar of Ys, by Amy Rae Durreson, at Amazon. At the time of posting it was still free.

Description from Goodreads:

Sjurd is convinced that Celyn of Ys is the most irritating man alive. It’s a good thing that Celyn is engaged to Sjurd’s brother, not him, because Sjurd loathes the brat, and it’s quite mutual. When an elopement and the threat of invasion force the two princes together, however, they have no choice but to marry and fake true love to keep their countries safe. Can warrior Sjurd and diplomat Celyn find any common ground?

I found this really quite marvelous. I adored all of the characters, from start to finish. However, I also found it quite spare, with large chunks of time skipped over. I felt cheated out of what happened in those years. Similarly, I would have liked some resolution on the I & H issue. But for the most part, I just enjoyed my time I spent with this novel.

There also happens to be a free side story called Emry’s Smile. It’s from the same world, but with different characters, and I thought it was absolutely lovely. Durreson has made my watch list.

Review of Lifeblood, by Werner Lind

LifebloodAuthor, Werner Lind lent me an e-copy of his novel Lifeblood; not so much for review as because we are friendly online and I was interested in reading his book. But of course I’m reviewing it anyway. It’s what I do.

Description from Goodreads:
All Ana Vasilifata ever wanted was a simple life, with a good husband, children, and a happy home. What she found was a vampire who made her his bride. And when she fled to England in the winter of 1665, she found a stake at the hands of a fearful and angry mob.

Over three hundred years later, an accident reanimates Ana in the quiet town of Meriwether, Iowa. She flees to an abandoned house where she meets Joshua Davidson, a kind-hearted carpenter who helps Ana adjust to this strange place and time. As her friendship with Joshua deepens, Ana begins to hope she can finally find the peace she has always sought. But dangers still haunt her, for even now there are some who believe in the stories of vampires. This time she is not friendless –but, she wonders, would Joshua continue to help her if he knew what she was? And even if he would, could he protect her from all the monsters lurking in the shadows?

I think saying this is a nice story is description rather than weak praise. That’s what it is, a nice story. The whole thing is very sweet in an ‘aw shucks’, Mayberry sort of way. The 24-year-old hero still happily lives at home with his mama and sisters. They all eat breakfast together and the sister fills his ‘lunch pail’ before he heads of to an honest days labor. Men go fishing together and courting couples go to the drive-in and roller-skating. It’s all very, very vanilla but purposefully so. These aren’t just Mary Jane characters, but meant to be notably good, small town people, God-fearing people. (And I say that as a reader who is very sensitive and irritated with authors who can’t seem to give their precious characters flaws.) They are good examples of what they are written to be.

I did find some stereotyping in the villain and their actions and some of the dialogue seemed bit stiff; some because the characters were from the 1600s and some just because it’s written that way. But it was very readable. And though I generally prefer a bit more grit in my fiction, this story, with a light Christian theme and miraculous HEA, would play well for that market of reader who doesn’t. So, if you’re looking for a clean paranormal romance, look no further.

Review of Alan Lennox and the Temp Job of Doom, by Brian Olsen

Alan Lennox and the Temp Job of DoomI snagged a copy of Alan Lennox and the Temp Job of Doom, by Brian Olsen, from Amazon. At the time of posting is was free.

Description from Goodreads:
Alan Lennox has been assigned yet another soul-crushing temp job, keeping him from his first loves – drinking, playing video games, and looking for a boyfriend. But Alan’s new job proves to be anything but boring when his co-workers start turning up dead. The mysterious megacorporation Amalgamated Synergy has taken a deadly interest in Alan and his three roommates, and the hapless quartet are woefully unequipped to deal with the psychotic secretaries, murderous middle managers, and villainous vice-presidents hunting them down. 

Their investigation leads them deep into Amalgamated Synergy’s headquarters, but can Alan and his friends stay alive long enough to discover who – or what – waits for them on the top floor?

This is one of those books that is frustrating because it’s almost something special (and probably is for some people, just not for me). I liked the characters, though they were a little stereotypical. I liked the plot, even though it was on the slow side. It was funny, written well enough and possibly an allegory, but none of that really makes up for the fact that I never could buy the ending. The how of what happens is conveniently skipped over and it all felt rather anticlimactic.