Category Archives: books/book review

Review of Matchmaking Beyond the Veil, by Mara Townsend

I’ve had Matchmaking Beyond the Veil, by Mara Townsend, for a while. I think I picked it up as an Amazon freebie.

Description from Goodreads:

Endure the company of his rival…or suffer ghostly retaliation.

Emery Belmont is a snarky, uptight realist who likes his life ordinary. Like any skeptic, he’s content using mundane explanations to write off signs of paranormal activity. That’s no longer an option when the spirit haunting his house wrecks his new kitchen, forcing Emery closer to facing the supernatural truth. Desperate for a new handyman, he unknowingly hires his hot ex-rival from high school to fix it. Paxton Santos, Emery’s former lacrosse team captain, followed in his father’s footsteps to take over the family business. Annoyingly, Emery requires his talented hands more than he needs to keep Paxton out of his life. However, getting Paxton to leave after the repairs may prove difficult with the meddlesome ghost taking a shine to him, which Paxton seems to take in his grating, good-natured stride, remaining irritatingly unruffled by numerous weird occurrences.

Emery is bombarded by mysterious paranormal hijinks, keeping Paxton at arm’s length, and deciphering things that aren’t quite what they seem. There’s nothing Emery hates more than an unfinished puzzle. In his determination to solve this one, Emery reluctantly opens himself up to new possibilities all while trying to remain firmly rooted in life the way he prefers it—orderly, logically explainable, and, above all else, ghost-free.

Join Emery and Paxton as they face off with a spirit that has no limits to how far it will go to push them together, enduring locked doors, faulty plumbing, and sharing a bed. Together they are determined to navigate their way out of this mess using any means necessary to send the ghost packing. Will they make it out of the traps awaiting them before their pesky tormenter gets any other ideas to make things worse and further blur the line between them?

Review:

Soooo, I hated this book. That’s a pretty blunt, but true statement. I finished by force of will alone and I frequently felt like I would never reach the end. The problem was that I simply HATED the main character. Emery was selfish, snobbish, and self-centered. And he was just as selfish, snobbish, and self-centered at the end of the book as he was at the beginning. He didn’t even grow as a person or character. The fact that the Paxton was too much of a kind himbo to realize Emery was actually being cruel doesn’t make Emery’s abusive behavior less horrendous. And Paxton was a gem. I didn’t want to see him saddled with Emery in the least.

Then there were the completely graceless changes of mind on Emery’s part. He spends his whole life hating his high school rival (who holds on to shit like that) and then SUDDENLY out of nowhere decides it was all one-sided and in his head. What’s more, he thinks Paxton is the same as always. So, kind and generous and giving? If that’s how he’s always been, how am I supposed to believe anyone (except maybe a selfish, snobbish, and self-centered asshat) would think him the machiavellian villain Emery was supposed to have believed him to be. It was 100% unbelievable. The transition between never being willing to enter a relationship and desperately wanting one with Paxton was just as sudden. And the reason Emery never again wanted a relationship was never addressed, despite being harped on forever.

If you’re hoping for some good paranormal fun, don’t look here. It doesn’t even enter the book until the halfway mark and then it’s ridiculous. All in all, I am really glad to be done with this book and I will not be continuing the series.

Review of Light of Lights (Rules of Vengeance#.5), Giacomo Giammatteo

Giacomo Giammatteo is an inst-buy author for me. So, when I saw Light of Lights as a freebie, a few months back, I snagged it.

Description from Goodreads:

The seven worlds of Neltsar are in turmoil. War has devastated the largest cities, and the most powerful of the demigods are locked in a fierce battle. As casualties mount, Antar, the strongest of the Lights, makes a decision to use weapons that have been banned for millennia. The results are devastating.
See what happens when the Light of Lights breaks all the rules.

Review:

Meh, it was OK. I love Giammatteo’s mafia novels, so I thought I’d give his sci-fi a chance (though it turns out to be more fantasy). It was fine, but I felt too much like I’d been dropped into the middle of something; never quite grasping the breadth of the plot or feeling attached to any of the characters. And since it’s also a prequel, like I never quite reached an end either. The writing and editing, however, are as good as ever.

Review of The Rules of Enchantment, by Wendy Tardieu

I accepted a copy of The Rules of Enchantment, by Wendy Tardieu, for review.

Description from Goodreads:

When a Sorcerer and a Scribe Team Up to Fulfill an Ancient Prophecy, The Fate of The World Lies in Their Hands

In the mythical kingdom of Salyndria, an exiled sorcerer named Leith plots to overthrow the restrictions placed on the use of magic by the Academy. Suspecting the worst, the Academy sends a beautiful young scribe, Kyler, to be his apprentice and act as an unwitting spy.

Leith tries to drive her away by proving his reputation as a vicious and unforgiving master, but he soon discovers his new pupil is far more useful than she appears. As her charms and magical abilities become all too tempting for him to resist, the two join forces to fulfill a hidden prophecy that will grant them incredible power.

Together, the sorcerer and the scribe will change Salyndria’s history forever.

Review:

I am utterly confounded by this book. Not because it’s bad, but because it goes to such lengths to declare itself something it’s not. At its core, it’s a student/teacher romance. So, if that’s your thing you’ll probably love it. But for me, my confusion started before even page one, with the cover.

For a book with “erotic fantasy adventure” on its cover, there is remarkably little eroticism in it. There isn’t even so much as a kiss until 60 pages into a 142-page book. And when it shows up, it’s totally abrupt and feels out of nowhere since there hadn’t even been any sexual tension up until that point. Nada-none. What’s more, it felt like he creepily lept on her the moment she showed weakness.

Then, there’s no more until 20 pages later. And though she’s the instigator, it’s again in a moment of weakness and felt like him taking advantage. Annnd the next time she’s asleep when he starts. She wakes up to him panting and “prying” under her robe. (There’s only one more sex scene after that, but I’m pleased to say it’s not creepy.) None of these scenes are explicit or frequent enough for me to consider the book erotic. It’s not even as titillating as a standard romance novel.

I don’t usually chronicle every episode. But I’m trying to make two points, that almost every single sexual encounter seems to be icky and problematic in a way that compromises its appeal for me, and that the book does not earn it’s “erotic” stripes.

And honestly, there isn’t really much adventure in this supposed “erotic fantasy adventure” either. And what very little there is, the heroine doesn’t much participate in. (The book is definitely a prime example of a book with a female main character that is overshadowed by the male characters.) So, considering the book doesn’t live up to either claim of erotica or adventure, I can’t begin to imagine why someone would put it on the cover. It leads the reader to false expectations and then disappointment. The book stands fine as what it is. So, why claim it’s something it’s not?

The book also is guilty of one of my biggest pet peeves, something I seriously consider DNFing books over. The heroine is 21-years-old. She’s basically whored out, though she isn’t told she’s being sent as a honeypot. And she is repeatedly referred to as a young girl. (Her personality is even described as child-like.) A woman being sent into a sexual situation in a (supposedly) erotic novel should never be referred to as a young girl. She isn’t 6-years-old. She especially shouldn’t be referred to as a girl in the sex scenes. She’s an adult.

What’s more and making it worse, it’s not like the hero is sooo old. He’s 30; not that much older than her. But he is presented as fully mature and adult. I don’t know what twist of modern toxic culture makes authors equate female childhood and sexy, but I hate it more than I can express. It’s not even that I’m particularly prudish. I just super hate seeing women infantilized, especially during sex. Let women BE women for god’s sake!

Outside of the cover giving me a false expectation and my one BIG pet peeve, the book is pretty good. The writing is sharp and well-edited. There’s an interesting world and it concludes nicely. I’d give Tardieu another shot.