Review of It’s All Fun and Games, by Dave Barrett

I won a paperback copy of Dave Barrett‘s It’s All Fun and Games through Goodreads

Description from Goodreads:
When Allison’s best friend, TJ, convinces her to come along for an epic game of LARP (live-action role-playing), she reluctantly agrees despite her reservations about the geeky pastime. TJ’s weekends are filled with powerful wizardry, mystical creatures, and intense battles with his LARP group. Each adventure is full of surprises, but the goal is always the same: to defeat the monsters and find the treasure.

Not long after their quest begins, the friends discover that something has gone wrong. The fantasy world they’ve built has transformed, and the battle they’re in the midst of is no longer make-believe.
Now they must fight for survival against brigands, kobolds, and other deadly mythical creatures that come to life. Fortunately, the group’s once-fictional magical powers have also become real – including Allison’s newly acquired gifts as a healer. They’ll need everything in their arsenal if they hope to make it home alive.

Review:
Meh, It was ok. I thought the pacing was inconsistent and the overly dramatic ‘fantasy speak’ tiresome. But I also acknowledge that the whole book is a parody of a DnD game. And in my limited experience, inconsistent pacing, as side quest drag on interminably, and over-wrought dialogue are par for the course. So, it is what it is and that’s ok. But I only somewhat enjoyed it.

Review of The Grim Assistant, by Jodi Hutchins

I picked up a copy of Jodi HutchinsThe Grim Assistant from the publisher (Nine Star Press).

Description from Goodreads:

Postal carrier and amateur surfer, Samantha Diaz, lives an uncomplicated life. Well, other than helping her sister with childcare, crushing on her unavailable customer, Lauren Brennan, and catching as many waves as possible before hurricane season begins. Suffice to say, she isn’t looking for much more, but when Lauren invites her to a monthly game night at her house, Sam happily agrees.

When Sam sets out on an early morning surf, the last thing she expects to do is die, but a sudden thunderstorm thrashes offshore, creating a riptide that steals Sam’s life. She awakens to a snarky woman named Margo speaking cryptic nonsense. Not only does she claim to be one of the many Grim Reapers, or Grims, in the world, Margo makes Sam an offer: she’ll bring Sam back from the dead, as long as she becomes Margo’s temporary assistant. Sam accepts but soon realizes the deal was too good to be true, and the consequences she faces may be worse than the death she dodged.

Review:

I think the best way to describe my relationship with this book is to admit that I checked my progress at the end of EVERY chapter. I was literally counting down until the end. The reason is that I was BORED. This book seemed focused on all the wrong places, the pacing was inconsistent, as was Lauren’s character. It’s predictable, repetitive, and written largely in tell (instead of show), so I didn’t feel connected to anyone.

Review of The Kinsmen Universe, by Ilona Andrews

I borrowed a copy of Ilona AndrewsThe Kinsman Universe through Hoopla. I didn’t realize immediately that it was short stories/novellas. Or rather, I think I did in the past and that’s why I hadn’t read it. But I didn’t when I borrowed it the other day. I just thought, “Oh, an Ilona Andrews I haven’t read yet!” For a woman who keeps saying I don’t particularly enjoy short stories, I somehow have read three collections in a row. This one was only three stories though. So, I’ve only written a brief review to cover it.

Description from Goodreads:

Family is everything. Talent is power. And revenge is sweet.

In a distant, future world Kinsmen-small powerful groups of genetically and technologically advanced families-control vast financial empires. They are their own country, their own rulers, and their only limits are other Kinsmen. The struggle for power is a bloody, full-contact sport: in business, on the battlefield…and sometimes in the bedroom.

Review:

These were ok, but not up to the standard of many of Andrews’ other (longer) works. Silent Blade made me angry. I’m not particularly forgiving of heroes that substantively harm the heroine, even by accident. I thought Silver Shark the best—most developed—but A Mere Formality, as silly and ridiculous as it is was my favorite.