Tag Archives: book review

Review of Virtues of the Vicious, by Martin Wilsey

Cover of Virtues of the Vicious

I received an Audible code for a copy of Virtues of the Vicious, by Martin Wilsey.

Description from Goodreads:

Elizabeth Cruze came to Earth for one reason: to buy weapons. She never counted on ending up in prison. Never fear, though, she’s not planning on staying there long. 

Special Investigator Neal Locke has made a career out of catching the most elusive and dangerous criminals. He’s never failed to “get his man.” 

When Cruze escapes from prison, Locke is tasked to track her down. She should be easy to find…all he’s got to do is follow the trail of bodies. 

But Locke has been an investigator for a long time. It doesn’t take him long to figure out that there’s more going on than what he’s been told… 

Review:

Much in the style of Leviathan WakesVirtues of the Viciousfollows someone going about their galactic adventure and an older, somewhat jaded investigator tracking behind them, slowly learning that there is more to his investigation than meets the eye. 

I generally enjoyed the story. I liked the characters and Wilsey’s writing style. I liked that the main characters were older and there was some diversity in the cast. However, I also three separate times tried to check Goodreads, Amazon or Google to ensure this wasn’t the second book in a series. It completely feels like it must be. Characters are mentioned that aren’t introduced until much later, the political system of the universe is left for the reader to figure out, and there is simply a distance felt that I imagined was caused by a lack of previous books. From what I could discern, this is set in the same universe as Wilsey’s other books, but not connected. 

There were a number of too convenient to be believed events that solved problems for the crew, Cruze seemed to find that crew willing to go to war with her without even trying (that could actually just be part of the previous point), and the villain was dispatched a little too easily. It was anti-climactic. 

I also thought the pacing was inconsistent and dialogue needlessly formal at times. The farther into the book I got the fewer contractions I noticed, for example. I think Shore’s narration exacerbated this though. While I think she did a good job, some of the sentences that I felt needed contractions and didn’t have them felt even more stiff in her mouth. 

All in all however, despite these complaints, I’ll be looking for more of Wilsey’s writing. I liked what I saw.

Review of Spell Caster, by Laura Greenwood

cover of Spell Caster

I received an Audible code for a copy fo Laura Greenwood‘s Spell Caster.

Description from Goodreads:

Can magic and science come together to catch a murderer?  

Cassie’s world is turned upside down when she’s given an unusual blood sample to test. And when a mysterious man shows up at her lab telling her he has the answers she’s looking for, she’s pulled into a world of murder, investigations, and intrigue.  

Finally able to explore the connection between her powers as a witch and her expertise as a scientist to uncover why paranormals keep turning up dead. 
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Spell Caster is a reverse harem paranormal mystery set in the Paranormal Council Universe.

Review:

Sigh. This wasn’t bad. It was just sort of a mess. For one, it’s called a reverse harem, which infers (though admittedly doesn’t say) it’s erotic. Most reverse harem books you encounter are, so tying itself into a known erotic trope suggests it is too. It isn’t. The steamiest this gets is that Cassie kisses each of her mates once (and they’re not even descriptive passionate kisses) and then each man kisses her forehead or the top of her head once. There is no passion or eroticism in this at all. If she was interested, I’d let me 9yo read it. 

Similarly there isn’t any passion (erotic or otherwise) about the mating. Cassie has a calm conversation with each man and then moves on. It literally could have been a work meeting over coffee. (Once even is over coffee.) 

But most importantly, how this four-way mating might work isn’t addressed at all. It’s clarified that each man is her mate and they aren’t each others mates (no menage). But I have a hard time believing that will work with no jealousy. Why would these guys share a mate?

The book would have simply been IMMENSELY improved if the author had left the mate element out and let the book be about Cassie getting a new job and earning her spot on the Paranormal Crimes Investigation team. And I honestly think the author would only have had to cut about 2% of the text to make this true. I cannot emphasize enough how underdeveloped the mate aspect is. It’s so underdeveloped that it’s just a distraction and detraction in the plot. I think I’d have really liked the book if it was just a paranormal mystery. As it is, I was just disappointed.

Edit: On a side note, the title is Spell Caster, but Cassie doesn’t cast a single spell in the book. She uses magic, but never an actual spell. Just saying.

Review of Body Art, by Jordan Castillo Price

cover of Body Art

I received an Audible Code for a copy of Body Art, by Jordan Castillo Price.

Description from Goodreads:

Does everyone have a certain “type” they end up with…whether they want to or not? If Ray Carlucci’s ex is anything to go by, Ray likes his men gorgeous, rebellious, and chock-full of issues. But now that Ray is single again, he has a shot at a fresh start—a very fresh start, since his tattoo shop was gutted by repo men and he can fit all his belongings in the trunk of a taxi.

Ray’s shiny new chauffeur’s license lands him a job as a driver for an elderly couple on Red Wing Island. It’s a cold fall, and since the Michigan island is the summer home to snowbirds who fly south for the winter, it’s practically deserted—save for Ray’s new household and a sculptor named Anton Kopec, who works day and night twisting brambles and twine into the distorted shapes of macabre creatures. Compelling, bizarre, and somewhat disturbing…not just the sculptures, but the artist, too. Ray has a feeling Anton is just his “type.”

Despite their scorching chemistry, when a dead body is unearthed by some workers and a freak ice storm traps them all on the island, Ray can’t say for certain that his new flame isn’t capable of murder.

Review:

A short review for a short book.

I adored Ray as a character and thought Gomez Pugh voiced him beyond perfectly. Anton I liked a little less, but he’s not the focus of the book. I do have to say though, that as a bipolar character, he felt very real. 

The mystery however wrapped up a little too quickly for me. (It didn’t even start until well into the story.) And I felt like the Whites and everyone else at the home were simply abandoned. As a reader, I wanted to know their fate or at least touch base with them a single, conclusionary time. 

All in all, a great read.