Tag Archives: book review

Where I prattle on a bit and review Southern Spirits, by Angie Fox

The other day I discovered Amazon’s Matchmaker. It tells you which of the ebooks you own have audible companions and what the price is. I’d known you could get audible versions of your kindle books at a discount, but I’d not found any convenient way to see which books were being offered. It was exciting to come across the solution and I went through my list and purchased several inexpensive Audible books.

I wish I didn’t have to aim for the inexpensive ones. I just read a blog post by Nora Roberts, in which she talks about readers who demand cheap books and how that devalues the work authors put in (among other things). Now, she was talking about people who take advantage and harass authors, not readers who look for a sale. But either way, my book budget is what it is and, while I utilize my library and buy books where I can (so authors do get some profit), I definitely don’t buy many at full price, utilize the free lists and keep an eagle eye on the sales. I feel guilty about it sometimes.

Outside of price, a side bonus of getting audio copies of ebooks I already have is that it’s also a great way to chip away at my very long TBR list. This year is turning into the year of the audiobook. I’ve listened to far more than I’ve physically read. This lets me listen to them without adding a new book to the list. It’s just a great solution for me.

So, onward and upward. The first of the Audible book buying binge books I listened to was Southern Spirits, by Angie Fox. I initially picked this ebook up as a freebie in 2016. I’m pretty sure it’s perm-free.

Description from Goodreads:

When out of work graphic designer Verity Long accidentally traps a ghost on her property, she’s saddled with more than a supernatural sidekick—she gains the ability see spirits. It leads to an offer she can’t refuse from the town’s bad boy, the brother of her ex and the last man she should ever partner with.

Ellis Wyatt is in possession of a stunning historic property haunted by some of Sugarland Tennessee’s finest former citizens. Only some of them are growing restless—and destructive. He hires Verity put an end to the disturbances. But soon Verity learns there’s more to the mysterious estate than floating specters, secret passageways, and hidden rooms. 

There’s a modern day mystery afoot, one that hinges on a decades-old murder. Verity isn’t above questioning the living, or the dead. But can she discover the truth before the killer finds her?

Review:

Shallow, but a perfectly passable bit of fluff. It was readable, entertaining and I liked the main character just fine. I did have a bit of trouble believing she’d have taken all the blame and financial penalty of calling off the wedding and not told anyone the horrible things her ex did. And the fact that the new love interest was so involved with the ex’s family really marred it for me. How would that work? Really? And it’s worth noting that the blurb calls hims “the town’s bad boy,” but he’s an ex-Marine cop. About as far from bad as you can get in a cozy, paranormal mystery. All in all however, I’d read more by Fox and Tavia Gilbert did a fine job with the narration. 

A not-review of DragonMark, by Sherrilyn Kenyon

I don’t usually review book that I don’t finish here on the blog. In the five years I’ve kept it, I don’t think I ever have. I post a note on Goodreads for myself and move on. But I have to have a little rant on about this one. Partly because I’m enraged and partly out of pure WTF confusion.

Let me start by saying how much I hate (with a passion I’m not sure words alone can convey) coming across books like this. (And I’ve complained about this before). It’s book number 25 in one series, 10 in another, 5 in yet a third, 41 in another and the first in Dragon-Hunter: Dragon Rising. Apparently all these series intertwine. But can I read it as the first in ANY series, as that number 1 suggests? Or do I need to have read the others. What exactly, as a new Sherrilyn Kenyon reader, should I base that assessment on? Your guess is as good as mine. I picked the audio book up at the library and, despite serious misgivings, thought I’d give it a try.

For the first half the book I was fine. I could feel that there was history I was missing. Characters probably had their own books, but I was able to follow the hero and heroine’s story. I had complaints, such as how fast it all moved and how magic with no defined limits side-stepped so many problems in too easy manner, but it was a readable PNR. And I appreciated that the heroine was a larger lady. Plus, it was funny at times.

Then I reached disk 5, roughly the middle of the book. (There are 8 disks total.) Suddenly, and I do mean suddenly, despite having fallen in love in a day, ten years passed and then in a page or two the heroine was dead and centuries had passed for the hero. The story picks up with two totally new people. The original hero becomes a side character in their story and everything moves along as if the train hadn’t literally just changed tracks. I stopped the player to make sure a disk from another book didn’t get mixed in! It’s that abrupt and incongruent.

Logic would suggest that the new characters are the characters from whichever series has Cade and Joe in it and the two timelines are crossing. (As and aside, at least I can pronounce their names, unlike Illarion and his love, whose name I don’t remember and apparently isn’t considered important enough to even include in the blurb of her own book.) And I would guess that at some point it’s all going to wrap back around such that Illarion can bring unnamed love back to life, or whatever. But I can’t bring myself to listen to hours of story about people I literally don’t know, because they literally just appeared with no introduction or explanation, before getting to it. (And that’s assuming I’m right about what happens.)

So, to answer the initial question of can a book with multiple series listed be read alone, even if its called number one in one of those series, no. Half this book can be read as a first book in a series, but half is apparently the continuation of another’s story and can’t be read without all those previous books from multiple other series. That is my take away. I gave up. I didn’t finish disk five and I won’t be finishing the book. I’m left reeling and confused. What the hell just happened.

I can almost imagine the narrator, who did a fine job, calling up the publisher and asking, “Hey, just checking, but you didn’t happen to mix up your manuscripts did you? I’m just making sure you didn’t send me two? Again, just checking.”

What’s worse, in reading the reviews of other readers, this seems to just be rehashing other books in the other series (whichever it is). My advice is don’t bother. I’m going to stick to my initial instinct and steer very clear of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s books in the future. The foul taste left in my mouth from this one is that strong.

Review of The Quick, by Lauren Owen

I borrowed an audio copy pf Lauren Owen’s The Quick though my local library.

Description from Goodreads:

1892: James Norbury, a shy would-be poet newly down from Oxford, finds lodging with a charming young aristocrat. Through this new friendship, he is introduced to the drawing-rooms of high society and finds love in an unexpected quarter. Then, suddenly, he vanishes without a trace. Alarmed, his sister, Charlotte, sets out from their crumbling country estate determined to find him. In the sinister, labyrinthine London that greets her, she uncovers a hidden, supernatural city populated by unforgettable characters: a female rope walker turned vigilante, a street urchin with a deadly secret, and the chilling “Doctor Knife.” But the answer to her brother’s disappearance ultimately lies within the doors of the exclusive, secretive Aegolius Club, whose predatory members include the most ambitious, and most bloodthirsty, men in England.

Review:

I enjoyed many aspects of this book. I liked the characters. I thought the writing was good. It had quite a lot of atmosphere. However, I thought it far too long. A fact that was exacerbated by how very slow and meandering it was. Plus, while I appreciated the representation of having a gay man as a main character, the fact that his story became so very tragic had more than a whiff of ‘punish the gay’ in it. This bothered me. All in all it was good but tedious. Simon Slater did a fine job with narration. I have no complaints on that front.