Author Archives: Sadie

Review of Keystone (Crossbreed #1), by Dannika Dark


I borrowed an audio copy of Dannika Dark‘s Keystone through Hoopla.

Description from Goodreads:

Raven Black hunts evildoers for fun, but her vigilante justice isn’t the only reason she’s hiding from the law. Half Vampire, half Mage, she’s spent years living as a rogue to stay alive. When a Russian Shifter offers her a job in his covert organization hunting outlaws, dignity and a respectable career are finally within her grasp. The catch? Her new partner is Christian Poe – a smug, handsome Vampire whom she’d rather stake than go on a stakeout with.

They’re hot on the trail of a human killer who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. One misstep during her probationary period could jeopardize Raven’s chance at redemption, and her partner would love nothing more than to see her fail. Will Raven find the courage to succeed, or will she give in to her dark nature?

Review:

This pretty seriously didn’t work for me. I thought the mechanical writing was fine, but I thought Raven didn’t live up to her hype. She’s said to be some special killer, but she doesn’t win a single on-page fight, has to be rescued repeatedly, and even says she can’t fight well. How did she kill so many bad guys? She flirted and tempted them into alleys and bathrooms to surprise them with her crossbreed status. Really? That’s it? No thank you. 

Additionally, Raven ran off and had more than one too-stupid-to-live and I thought the main male character was just a jerk. All of his sexual innuendo got old and felt like the author trying too hard to be clever. Crossbreeds aren’t supposed to exist and how she does is never addressed. And I didn’t really believe people would put the trust in her the way they did. 

All in all, I didn’t like it all that much. What’s more, I thought Nicole Poole’s narration was inconsistent. The actual narrative parts were fine, but the accents sometimes made me cringe.

Review of Practical Magic, by Alice Hoffman

I borrowed an audio copy of Alice Hoffman‘s Practical Magic through my local library. I finished it several days ago and forgot to write the review!

Description from Goodreads:

When the beautiful and precocious sisters Sally and Gillian Owens are orphaned at a young age, they are taken to a small Massachusetts town to be raised by their eccentric aunts, who happen to dwell in the darkest, eeriest house in town. As they become more aware of their aunts’ mysterious and sometimes frightening powers — and as their own powers begin to surface — the sisters grow determined to escape their strange upbringing by blending into “normal” society.

But both find that they cannot elude their magic-filled past. And when trouble strikes — in the form of a menacing backyard ghost — the sisters must not only reunite three generations of Owens women but embrace their magic as a gift — and their key to a future of love and passion.

Review:

If you’ve seen the 1998 movie by the same name you know the plot of this book. It was fairly loyal to the book. Though the book isn’t quite as intense as the movie, preferring a more modulated and thoughtful tone that I very much enjoyed. I appreciated the realness of the sisters, especially when contrasted with the everyday occurrences of magic in their and their ancestors’ lives. I thought the writing was lyrical and the narration on the audiobook lovely to listen to.

Review of How to Save an Undead Life (The Beginner’s Guide to Necromancy #1), by Hailey Edwards

I borrowed an audio copy of How to Save an Undead Life (by Hailey Edwards) through Hoopla.

Description from Goodreads:

Grier Woolworth spends her nights weaving spooky tales of lost souls and tragedies for tourists on the streets of downtown Savannah. Hoop skirt and parasol aside, it’s not a bad gig. The pay is crap, but the tips keep the lights on in her personal haunted mansion and her pantry stocked with ramen. 

Life is about as normal as it gets for an ex-necromancer hiding among humans. Until the society that excommunicated Grier offers her a second chance at being more than ordinary. Too bad no one warned her the trouble with being extraordinary is it can get you killed. 

Review:

So, I just didn’t particularly care for this. I suppose it wasn’t bad, just not to my taste. I thought Grier was the perpetual victim and it got on my nerves. She basically spends the whole book walking heedlessly into danger, only to be saved by the strapping boy next door. She never confronted the powers that be about her situation (though she was smart enough to understand it) and then, at the end, there’s a bit about how she’s making plans of her own. But after a whole book of her floundering, I couldn’t believe a word of it. Plus, a new (and probably important character) was introduced IN THE LAST CHAPTER. 

But my biggest issue was that the whole book is predicated on the fact that Grier was supposed to have just gotten out of prison (a horrible, supernatural prison that she was never expected to leave). But the reader is just told this. It’s so remote that you forget about it. How to Save an Undead Life felt very much like a second book. As if there should be a first book that addresses how and why Grier went to prison. The whole thing felt very anchorless and baseless. I get that it’s supposed to be the mystery in the next book (or books), but the reader REALLY feels the lack of explanation in this book. 

A last small gripe, the title makes no sense to the book (as for as I can see). 

The writing and narration (by Rebecca Mitchell) were technically competent. The grammar and such is sound. No complaints on that front. All in all, others may like this more than me. But I’m glad to be finished with it.

Edit: I’ve just realized I’ve read another book by this author and in re-reading my review of it, I find that I had almost identical complaints. If I can help it, I won’t be making the mistake a third time.