Tag Archives: audiobook

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 Primal Trilogy, by Ryan Kirk

I received a free Audible code for a copy of Ryan Kirk‘s Primal Trilogy.

Description from Goodreads:

Tev is a hunter, raised from birth to protect and feed his clan. Among his people, his skills are unmatched. With a spear and knife in hand he has never failed. He longs to explore the world beyond the boundaries of his hunting grounds, not knowing the cost that wish will have. 

His life, and the lives of every member of his clan, are shattered when fire descends from the sky, bringing with it dangers far beyond any that existed before. Tev’s hard-won skills are all that separates his clan from complete annihilation. 

The Primal Trilogy collects the first three short novels in the Primal universe, as well as the short story “Rebellion,” set years before the events of the trilogy. The Primal Trilogy details first contact between two technologically different societies, then follows the consequences of that encounter for generations.

Reviews:

Primal Dawn:

I liked the characters here a lot and the world-building of a human race in alone space, but still a little uncertain. However, I wasn’t all together comfortable with how heavily the plot depends of the comparison of the noble savage and the distanced modernity. Further, I didn’t at all understand the mindset, that is integral to the plot, that when one of their own soldiers goes rogue the only available option was to put a primitive man (who hasn’t even seen metal before) into a futuristic exo-suit and send him out to hunt. This over even a discussion of leaving the ship themselves. This over broadcasting a message that Derrick was alive to calm the soldier down. This over any possible artillery on the drop ship itself. I won’t even get into the deus ex mechina that allowed the primitive man to be the better warrior in unfamiliar technology, since that appears to actually be a plot point in book two. But the central plot point is one that left me totally baffled. 

I did think the book conflated warrior and hunter. Tev is supposed to be this great warrior. But his people all seemed fairly communal and peaceful. There was never any mention of warring between the clans. What was described was Tev being a great hunter (of animals). I don’t actually know that all of those two skillsets would transfer seamlessly enough to be interchangeable. 

Lastly, while I liked the writing, characters, story, etc there is a lot more page space dedicated to hunting/fighting than actual plot progression. In terms of actual events, not a lot happens. Instead a lot of time is dedicated to what Tev is thinking in a fight or considering his next move or observations. I’m not disappointed to be continuing the series though and am curious what will happen.

Primal Darkness:

Not bad, but eventually I just got tired of listening to fight scenes. It’s not that they’re bad, just redundant. I feel like 75% of this book is descriptions of fights, or battles, or martial moves, etc. It started to just feel like warrior worship…or Tev worship, as he’s apparently better at everything than everyone around him. 

There is a bit of a plot, with the ship returning to Tev’s home-world and the question of protecting it from the bad guys (that might not be as bad as thought). But it’s buried so deep as to feel secondary to ‘all hail the amazing Tev and the virtuous Kindra.’ Honestly, the drive to simply do the right thing seems overly simple (as does the solution), when speaking in terms of intergalactic interests. 

Still, though my interest is waning, it’s not dead yet. I’m moving on to book three.

Primal Destiny:

As with the previous books the writing was fine. However, as the conclusion to the series, I found it less than satisfying. Too many questions are left unanswered. Most aren’t even addressed. I could probably list a dozen here, from ‘Where did the rebellion get all that technology—who funded them’ to ‘Where did Needra go’—she was a prime warrior and just disappears as a character. (I listened to the audio. So, I’m not positive I spelled that name correctly.)

By the end, I also started to feel it was a book of men doing men things. Kirk was good about mentioning both men and women were hunters and warriors. But as the series progressed (and especially here in the last book), the story became more fight-scene heavy and women faded into the background (or disappeared entirely for large chunks of time) and became secondary characters. I mention this because the books synopses infer that Tev and Kindra are the main characters. But after reading this, I’d say they are Tev and Derrick. Kindra is too rarely involved in the action and decision making and frankly just isn’t given as much page space. I would personally call her first of the secondary or supporting characters. And I feel like Kirk (maybe as a male writer) did this by accident.

All in all, this wasn’t a bad book at all. But I have to admit to being happy to be finished with it. Tev is a lovely characters, but I didn’t much enjoy the author’s didactic condemnation of modernity. But again, not bad.

Review of The HOT Wolf (Werewolves On Heat Series #1), by Ellie Valentina

I received an Audible code for this book (Hot Wolf, by Ellie Valentina), or rather for the compilation of the first three books in the Werewolves on Heat series. It was my plan to save the reviews for a single blog post, once I had listened to them all. However, I’m traveling for the holidays and don’t anticipate actually finishing the series in 2019. My sense of order just won’t let me a review a book I read in 2019 in 2020. So, I’m posting this one now and will post again when I finish the series next year….decade. Crazy.

Description from Goodreads:

Ava Sparks was a paranormal assassin tasked with eradicating werewolves from existence. 

Her latest target was gorgeous billionaire Chase Elliot. Intelligence suggested he was hiding a secret life as a werewolf and because of that he was to be erased from existence. 

However, once Ava became close to the charming Chase she made a stunning realization that changed everything. 

Now, instead of killing the werewolf, she was to find herself making love to him and life as everyone knew it would never be the same again… 

Review:

First, I think both the title and the cover of this book are misleading. The title makes you think it’s erotica, but it’s not at all. There is VERY LITTLE heat in it. What’s more, the werewolf in question is very cool and collected. He may be attractive, but hot isn’t an adequate description of him as a whole. He’s a politician, not a soldier or anything else that would have him hulking ripped on the cover either. All in all, you are simply given there wrong first impression of this book (and probably series). 

This is exacerbated by the fact that werewolves are basically extraneous to the plot. The characters could be from opposing political factions, or ninja clans or corporate spies. None of it would change the plot one iota. I was disappointed by this fact.

Getting past all that, I though it was still only so-so (not bad, but not good either). The ‘parents’ seem to make decisions based on who knows what that make the heroine go off and make ill-thought plans and take poorly executed actions. (She’s awfully inept for an experienced assassin.) She seems to have several personality shifts throughout the book. And the happily-ever-after is just too pat to stomach easily.