Author Archives: Zarah Robinson

Review of Fire & Water (Kate Kane, Paranormal Investigator #3), by Alexis Hall

I received a copy of Fire & Water, by Alexis Hall, through Netgalley. I read and reviewed the first two books Iron & Velvet and Shadows & Dreams in 2014. My god, 2014!

Description from Goodreads:

I like my whiskey like I like my women: embroiled in a magical war

Ten years ago I fought for the Witch Queen of London in a mystical showdown against a King Arthur wannabe with a shaved head and a shotgun. Back then, the law did for him before he could do for us.

I don’t think we’ll get that lucky again.

As if the mother of all wizard battles wasn’t bad enough, fate or destiny or a god with a really messed-up sense of humor has dropped a weapon that could rewrite the universe right into the middle of London, and anybody with half a sniff of arcane power has rocked up to stake their claim on it. Last time this happened, the city went to pieces. This time, it might just go to Hell.

Also, still dating a vampire. Still got an alpha werewolf trying to get in my pants. Still sharing a flat with a woman made of animated marble—only now apparently there are two of her. But you know what they say: the more things change, the more they stay the same crap that’s been trying to kill you your entire life.

Review:

It’s been almost five years since I read the first two books in this series. So, I went into Fire & Water a little warily. I wasn’t sure I’d remember enough to follow the plot or if my memory of enjoying the earlier books was accurate. But Alexis Hall is one of my favorite authors, so I had faith. Hall catches the reader up on past events, in the beginning, carries Kate’s sardonic humor throughout and wraps everything up (while leaving an opening for more) in the end. All in all, it was another win for me.

However, I did think things just sort of happened. From the start to the finish, the book is a series of Kate did this, did that, then a small section fo Elsie did this and that, then more Kate did this before a lot of people did that. There isn’t really any pause in the series of events for any character development or even getting to know anyone if you don’t already.

Despite my one complaint, I look forward to more Kare Kane in the future. I just hope I don’t have to wait five years for this one.

Review of A Wallflower’s Folly, by Amanda Mariel

I received an Audible code for a copy of Amanda Mariel‘s A Wallflower’s Folly.

Description from Goodreads:

A headstrong wallflower… 

Lady Olivia Montague’s betrothed has ignored her and their contract for years. In the meantime, she has decided to remain unwed, embracing the life of a spinster. The last thing she expects is for her betrothed to come storming back into her life. 

A Determined Duke… 

Following the death of his parents, William Breckenridge finds himself as the Duke of Thorne and in charge of his three younger sisters. He needs help in the form of a mother and guide for his siblings. Lucky for William, he’s already betrothed. All he need do is collect his future duchess. 

An unstoppable love… 

William and Olivia engage in a battle of wills, but the more she resists and he pursues, the more their passions flare. Once the heart is engaged, resistance becomes difficult, but will they give into happily ever after?

Review:

This book and I had problems, the most grievous of which was the fact that I was indignant on Olivia’s behalf for the entire book. Their marriage was arranged when they were children. Then, he disappeared for 15 years without so much as a word. But when he needed a woman to do womanly things in his life, he showed up—a perfect stranger—to take the tool off the shelf and demands she honor the agreement (because she’s convenient). Until that point he hadn’t honored it, but despite her protests that she did not wish to marry him, he demanded she would. 

Given these circumstances I was even more indignant that he liked and was attracted to her. He got to ignore her for as long as he liked (injuring her in the process) and then gets a pretty and amusing wife out of the deal. While she got ignored and then forced into a marriage she didn’t want. Oh, how men always get their cake and to eat it too, while women eat crow, apparently. The fact that she gave in as soon as he said the magic three words enraged me further still, if you’d believe that possible. As if all it takes to make a woman who doesn’t desire marriage desirous of it is to be chosen by a man. Seriously, fuck off. 

Also, the whole premise of the book is how long the Duke ‘left her on the shelf’ before coming to claim her (and she’s meant to mother a 19 and 20-year-old.) So, she must be above average age for a marriageable woman. Yet, neither of her BFFS appear to be married either and she acts like a complete child. 

Lastly, a comment on the editing/narration. Since I had an audio copy, I don’t know where the errors originated (from the author or the narrator), but there were several misused words/grammar errors. And while as an American I’m no expert on English accents, I rather suspect this narrator’s accent (with her Vs for Th, for example) did not even approximate an aristocratic English accent. Rather like hearing a book set in the Bronx read in a Southern accent, for us Americans. Not bad, but a little jarringly out of place. Presumably more so for those from that part of the world.

I’d likely give this author another chance. But this book was a bust.

Review of Fantasy Lover (Dark-Hunter, #1), by Sherrilyn Kenyon

I borrowed an audio copy of Fantasy Lover, by Sherrilyn Kenyon through Hoopla.

Description from Goodreads:

It might sound like a man’s favorite fantasy — to live forever, destined to be the lover of thousands of women. But for Julian of Macedon, it’s a nightmare. Once he was a proud Spartan general, now he’s a love-slave, his essence magically held captive in a book, cursed to spend all eternity pleasing women. Then, one day, Grace Alexander summons Julian to fulfill her passionate dreams — and sees beyond the fantasy to the man himself. Long years as a sex therapist, listening to other people’s bedroom problems, has taken a lot of the fun out of the physical side of love for Grace. She’s remarkably understanding about Julian’s situation — and that’s disconcerting for all concerned. With or without sex, the rules of the enchantment cannot be changed. Julian is hers for the next month. And, as their time together slips by, Julian and Grace find more to share than sympathy and conversation — and they begin to wonder if love might be within their grasp. That leaves only one question. Is love enough to break a 2,000-year-old curse? 

Review:

A while back I read Deadmen Walking. It’s one of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s newer book and the first one by her that I’d read. I thought it was awful, which surprised me since so many people like her books so much. Another reader commented that she loves Kenyon’s writing, but agreed Deadmen Walking isn’t the best. She recommended I try Fantasy Lover instead. The reason I never read Kenyon before is that I was baffled by all the overlapping series and didn’t know what to read first. So, with a recommendation on where to start I picked this one up at the library. 

I didn’t hate it. I won’t say I loved it. But it was a sight better than my previous Kenyon experience. The book has a certain self deprecating humor I appreciated and poor tortured Julian was too sweet for words. But I also thought Grace too prim for a sex therapist, wondered why her Ph.D. best friend was running a tarot stand, thought no one reacted reasonably (or at all) to literal gods popping up in their lives, and I got desperately bored with 300+ pages of sexual angst but no actual sex until the conclusion (and then it was abrupt and without any foreplay at all). 

Some of what irritated me just comes from the fact that the book is 15+ years old and the norms of the PNR publishers of the time are ones I find irksome now. Grace’s whole personality seems to be based on being giving, caring and generous, for example. Because of course a woman is, right? But still, I didn’t hate it and that’s something.

The book talked enough about Kyrian that I’m curious about him. But I’m also not particularly interested in having to read another one. So, I don’t know which way I’ll go, maybe read the next book, maybe not.


Edit: A search of my reviews shows that Deadmen Walking wasn’t actually my first attempt at a S.K. book, Dragonmark was. However, I didn’t finish it. So, I’m not going to change the wording of this review.