Author Archives: Sadie

Review of Sinless (Deadly Omen #1), by Jenica Saren

I received an audible code for a copy of Sinless, by Janice Saren.

Description from Goodreads:

So, introduction time and all that fun stuff. Yay. 
My name is Ria. Don’t ask about the last name, I don’t wanna talk about it. I am twenty-three years old and living a pretty glamorous life, what with the fiancé (he’s amazing, by the way), the nice car, the gorgeous house, and the job I love. Huh? The job? 
Okay, so yeah. I’m a stripper. How’s that for an opening line? 
Well, I had all of those things before shit hit the fan and I found myself in this tiny town in a not-so-tiny house. Speaking of the house, I have roommates. Six, actually. Let me clarify: I have six insanely hot, insanely weird, and insanely insane roommates. Gory details and all that be spared, shit’s getting real in this innocent-looking town and, let’s face it, I’m not qualified to handle bizarre crap. Not my thing; I’m a stripper for fuck’s sake. 
However, Eliam, Gatlin, Kellan, Gray, Beck, and Rafe seem to think that I am just the gal for the job. The Severin brothers are getting me all involved and in danger, and I’m truthfully terrified – not of the danger stuff, but these guys. There’s something different about them that I can’t quite put my finger on, but I swear I’m going to figure it out.

Review (with spoilers):

Not great. I like what the author was trying to do here. Ria is determined to be her own person. She shows backbone when she finds her boyfriend cheating. She has a meaningful friendship with another woman (i.e. not all other women are the enemy). She’s not afraid or ashamed of her own sexuality and doesn’t agonize over it. 

However, I think Saren failed in a lot of the execution. The inner-self was so overused that Ria simply felt mentally unhinged. It became a little more bearable when it was hinted toward the end that she might actually have a split personality. But as it was, I cringed (often literally) whenever Ria started describing her inner-self, complete with what she was wearing, how she was walking, what expression she had on her face, the tone of her voice, etc. I wanted Inner-Self to die and go away. 

Secondly, the six heroes. This was majorly problematic for me for two reasons. The first being that I couldn’t keep them all straight and tell them apart. Saren gave them accents and habits, but six men filling the same role is just too many. Secondly, this book is referred to as a reverse harem. Ria only actually has sex with two of them (I think, definitely not more). But it felt super icky to me because she seemed a lot more like a little sister that they all got to fondle and fuck. (Or maybe she got to fuck her big brothers, as she was perfectly willing to initiate the act, which I did appreciate.) What’s more, Ria is a serious case of fawned over by all the males for being special, while not really doing anything particularly special beyond existing. 

Lastly (and this is a big one for me), the mystery/villian. It’s secondary to the plot, not even being addressed until the halfway mark. Then, one red herring villain is dispatched off-page and super anticlimactically. Cue Ria’s too-stupid-to-live tantrum because the men won’t listen to her about another villain still being at large (and they act surprised when this turns out to be true). But come one, the man stabbed her with a magical athame and by all description looked like a freakin’ zombie. This did not fly as something centuries-old, experienced people would miss. I 100% think the author forgot she’d included the stabbing in her plot. (I’m only half joking here.)

All in all, readable, but not a real winner for me. The narrator (Melissa Schwairy) did a great job though. 

Review of Craven Street, by E. J. Stevens

I received a free Audible code for a copy of Craven Street, by E.J. Stevens.

Description from Goodreads:

The discovery of bricked up skeletal remains at 36 Craven Street point to something more diabolical than an illegal anatomy school. The tool marks on the bones, arcane sigils of great power, indicate more than mere butchery, more than enlightened experimentation. The signs, omens, and portents support the crown’s greatest fears. A great evil is being unleashed upon the gaslit streets of London, a blood-drenched shadow reaching skeletal fingers beyond the slums of Whitechapel.

We must stamp out this demonic plague for the sake of our Queen, our Country, and our immortal souls. – Cora Drummond, Whitechapel Paranormal Society 

Collecting human souls is a thankless job, nearly as tedious as acting as solicitor to the fae. But when the demon Forneus enters an opium den searching for men eager to trade their souls for the ill-smelling weed, he stumbles on a plot so devious, so heinous, he’s jealous that he hadn’t thought of it himself.

There’s nothing like a maniacal plot to unleash Hell on earth to break the boredom of immortality. – Forneus, Grand Marquis of Hell 

Review:

This would have made a great novel. But it makes a somewhat disappointing novella. I liked the characters and the premise. But too much is just sketched out, major events are simply relayed passing, and there isn’t time for the reader to get truly engrossed in the story. 

Also, as I’ve often complained, why is it that so often in such books only women are murdered? Do you suppose the demonic hordes care if the sacrifices are male or female? But invariably the victims are always women and any reference to the killer is male. The language is painfully gendered, always it seems. Once you start to notice, it’s hard to stop. 

The narrators did a wonderful job, Melanie A. Mason especially. 

I’m baaaack

My family and I had a wonderful trip to Manchester, England and Yunnan Provence, China. That may seem an odd combination, but we went to Manchester to spend Christmas and New Years with family and then on to China for a wedding and time with friends.

We’re back now though. Which means the blog is open again. I have a few reviews to post from my time traveling. But I didn’t read anywhere near as much as I expected to. We simply did not stop. So, the only reading I did was on flights.

I read The Highest Tide, Blood of Elves, and One Dead Vampire. I was pleased with all of them.

Reviews:

The Highest Tide, by Marian Perera:

I liked this more than I expected to. I appreciated that the woman is the physically strong one who saves the day most of the time. She’s quite capable. I appreciate that she was allowed to be scarred, even if the author wasn’t willing to go as far as to let her heroine be ugly. Even scarred, men think she is beautiful. Which, of course, she can be. But I felt like the focus detracted from the fact that women don’t have to be beautiful, even if flawed, to be a heroine. It felt like the author got half-way there on not classically beautiful representation. But I’ll take what I can get. Similarly, I appreciated the little LGBTQ acceptance slipped in with no fuss or obvious ulterior motive.

As for the romance, I liked both characters and liked them together. But I didn’t feel the romance was well developed. Too much of the book has them avoiding each other, so there isn’t a lot of interaction. And for one of the characters the ‘love’ is so instant even he says he feels as if he’d been struck by lightning.

All in all, however, I’d be more than happy to read the rest of the series.

Blood of Elves, by Andrzej Sapkowski

This book got me through a 10 hour flight. It was nothing like I was expecting though. I expected a lot of fighting, like in the prequel short stories. Instead, I found a lot of humor as a group of clueless men try to figure out raising a young girl. I quite enjoyed it, though I found it slow at times and Sapkowski’s writing style a little sparse for my taste. I’ll be continuing the series though.

One Dead Vampire, by Kris Ripper

Cute & fluffy. I generally loved Rocky and all of the side characters, plus all the representation. There’s a fat and fabulous main character, several characters of varied sexual and gender identities—using any number of pronouns—and characters of several races. I do think this is a book not written for those invested in remaining with-in the confines of the comfortable majority. I suspect I’ll see more than one review saying all of the pronouns and such were unnecessary or too hard to keep track of. But I think that’s more a matter of what you’re used to. It certainly works. 

I did feel like Rocky was too clueless about both the supernaturals and police procedure to have been raised in a supernatural cop family. Plus, I felt like all those cops/detectives enabling her compromising an investigation felt super unnatural. And the eventual reveal of the villain was too random to feel satisfying. 

The romance is secondary to the mystery and pretty mild. But, as I liked both characters, I was willing to roll with it. I was less able to accept that Rocky had given up her best friend because the friend had the audacity to go away to college. 

All in all, this was a higher than middle of the road read, but not five-stars for me. I’m well up for continuing the series though.