Monthly Archives: June 2017

Review of An Unnatural Vice, by K. J. Charles

I received an ARC of An Unnatural Vice, by K. J. Charles, through Netgalley. And since I’m vacationing in Florida along with the lovely Tropical Storm Cindy, I’ve had lots of time to read. Luckily, where I am there are bucketsful of rain, but little wind and no lightning, so I can still sit outside, on the lovely screened porch, listen to the rain, look at the water and bask in the negative ions as I blissfully read without guilt because I’ve not taken the kiddos to a proper beach, just let the frolic in the pool. Everyone is happy.

Description from Goodreads:
Crusading journalist Nathaniel Roy is determined to expose spiritualists who exploit the grief of bereaved and vulnerable people. First on his list is the so-called Seer of London, Justin Lazarus. Nathaniel expects him to be a cheap, heartless fraud. He doesn’t expect to meet a man with a sinful smile and the eyes of a fallen angel—or that a shameless swindler will spark his desires for the first time in years.

Justin feels no remorse for the lies he spins during his séances. His gullible clients simply bore him. Hostile, disbelieving, utterly irresistible Nathaniel is a fascinating challenge. And as their battle of wills and wits heats up, Justin finds he can’t stop thinking about the man who’s determined to ruin him.

But Justin and Nathaniel are linked by more than their fast-growing obsession with one another. They are both caught up in an aristocratic family’s secrets, and Justin holds information that could be lethal. As killers, fanatics, and fog close in, Nathaniel is the only man Justin can trust—and, perhaps, the only man he could love.

Another lovely book by Charles; she just so rarely lets me down. I very much enjoyed Justin and Nathaniel’s fiery passion, most when it was still in the enemies stage of this enemies to lovers story. The little bit of mystery was easy to figure out, but still pleasant, and I’m still on the hook for who the over-all, big baddy is. (Hopefully this will be revealed in the next book. I don’t like to be strung along too long.)

I did feel the two men went to declarations of love too quickly. I thought the enemies, to friends, to lovers was well paced. But then suddenly there was love and sentimentality and such, and I thought that was a leap. I also very much disliked Nathaniel’s sense of moral superiority and the fact that Justin acquiesced to it. The tone of ‘let me show you how wrong your life is and how to live properly’ grated on my nerves from start to finish.

All in all, however, I finished this pleased as punch and can’t wait or the next one.

Review of Dragonhunters, by Garon Whited

I received a copy of Dragonhunters, by Garon Whited, from Netgalley. I read it on vacation, as I traveled from Tennessee to Florida.

Description from Goodreads:
You don’t become a hero for the money. The money’s nice, sure, but you become a hero because something inside compels you, drives you to it. Defending people from monsters simply doesn’t pay well enough to make it a good career move. 

As for hunting dragons… well, the money is usually good, but the job really bites. 

A group of five professional heroes goes into the lair of the dragon. Who will win? 

Spoiler: The dragon. 

But it turns out killing a hero sometimes does nothing more than make him even more determined. 

Sometimes, heroes are never more dangerous than when they’re dead!

Man, what an interesting set-up that failed almost completely for me. Look, there are a ton of really fun ideas in this book. But the writing is so flat, the dialogue so formal and fantasy-quest-like (you know what I mean) that it distances the reader so far that I didn’t connect with anyone. I finished the book feeling like I hadn’t gotten to know anyone, nor did I care about any of them or their endeavor to kill a random dragon. No one had a believable emotion. No one seemed to react at all to, you know, dying and being resurrected, or becoming the locus of four ghosts. And the traveler that caused the whole mess is never explained at all. He pops up in the beginning and then disappears, never to be seen again.

For a while, in the beginning, I thought this might be a parody of a fantasy quest story. And it might have worked in that vein, but it isn’t. It’s an attempt at a real thing, as far as I can tell, and I was just really glad to see the end of it. Perhaps there will be readers that love it. I’m not making a blanket, “It’s bad,” statement. But it sure didn’t work for me.

Review of Ink and Shadows, by Rhys Ford

I borrowed a copy of Rhys Ford‘s Ink and Shadows from Hoopla, through my local library. I’m on vacation at the moment and I read this in the car while driving from home in Missouri, to visit family in Tennessee. (Obviously, I was in the passenger seat, so while riding to Tennessee.)

Description from Goodreads:
Kismet Andreas lives in fear of the shadows.

For the young tattoo artist, the shadows hold more than darkness. He is certain of his insanity because the dark holds creatures and crawling things only he can see—monsters who hunt out the weak to eat their minds and souls, leaving behind only empty husks and despair.

And if there’s one thing Kismet fears more than being hunted—it’s the madness left in its wake.

The shadowy Veil is Mal’s home. As Pestilence, he is the youngest—and most inexperienced—of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, immortal manifestations resurrected to serve—and cull—mankind. Invisible to all but the dead and insane, the Four exist between the Veil and the mortal world, bound to their nearly eternal fate. Feared by other immortals, the Horsemen live in near solitude but Mal longs to know more than Death, War and Famine.

Mal longs to be… more human. To interact with someone other than lunatics or the deceased.

When Kismet rescues Mal from a shadowy attack, Pestilence is suddenly thrust into a vicious war—where mankind is the prize, and the only one who has faith in Mal is the human the other Horsemen believe is destined to die.

Would someone tell who the main character of this book was? I’ve finished it and still can’t decide. Similarly, what was the main plot? The romance between Death and Ari, the magus’ attempt at immortality with a bunch of characters that were little more than names, the budding friendship between Kismet and Mal? I don’t know. This book has lots of interesting elements, but no consistent thread. There’s lots of fighting, but not enough tying together what they are fighting for. It had interesting characters, but you never really get to know them. I found this book almost fun, but ultimately flat and disappointing. The writing itself was just fine, except for the head hopping, which was frankly horrible. I finished this feeling pretty so-so about the whole thing. I’m finding Ford to be a very hit-or-miss author for me. Some of their books I love and the rest fall on their face.