Tag Archives: book reviews

Review of Venom & Vanilla (The Venom Trilogy #1), by Shannon Mayer

I borrowed and audio copy of Shannon Mayer‘s Venom & Vanilla through Amazon Prime. (I’ve just realized I can do this for audio books!)

Description from Goodreads:

Successful Seattle baker Alena Budrene doesn’t want to die. But when she’s infected with a lethal virus spread by supernatural beings, her only chance for recovery is to make a deal with the devil—or in this case, a warlock.

Though he saves her life, it looks nothing like the life she once knew—and neither does she. Alena is a new breed of “Supe” no one has ever seen before. Even the supernatural police don’t know what she is. Now exiled to the northern side of the Wall, which marks the divide between humans and Supes, Alena is thrust into a dark and magical new world.

But just as she begins to adjust to all things supernatural, she realizes that her transformation is the least of her worries—and it was no accident. She was chosen…to be killed by a Greek hero trying to make a name for himself once more.

Alena was brought up to be subservient, preferring creating to fighting, and vanilla and honey to blood. But that was then. Now, to survive, she must stand up for herself—and this time she’s got fangs. But will she be ready to use them?

Review:

I was not impressed. Another reviewer, who is on Mayer’s street team, says the author calls this an urban fantasy parody. That makes the whole ridiculous thing a little easier to swallow. But it still just isn’t very good. Maybe it needed to be more or less of what it is. More parody, if a parody or less parody-like if a serious novel. I don’t know. Maybe an author who writes in the urban fantasy genre shouldn’t be writing parodies of it unless they highlight what it is in big neon letters. Either way, almost everything about the book irritated me. 

First and foremost the stupid non-cursing grated like sandpaper. Hearing an adult woman, who is supposed to be kicking ass and taking names call someone a donkey’s butthole instead of a jackass was not cute. It was super irritating. Similarly, wanna RUIN any sexual tension you have going on? Throw in a “He grabbed my bumm.”

Mostly though Alena was just too perfect. She wakes up with the perfect body. She’s loyal and sacrificing. She makes allies out of enemies with nothing but her sass. She defeats her foes with aplomb. She saves the day and gets the guy (if she wants him). And while all of that sounds fine, to have it all in one character is over-reaching and moves right into underdeveloped and unbelievable. 

All in all, this was a big old bust for me. No thank you.

Review of Shadow Hunter (Rosie O’Grady’s Paranormal Bar and Grill #1), by B.R. Kingsolver

I borrowed an audio copy of B.R. Kingsolver‘s Shadow Hunter through Hoopla.

Description from Goodreads:

Meh, I suppose this wasn’t bad. But I didn’t find anything about it that stood out and I REALLY don’t think Erin lived up to her own hype. We’re told she’d been intensely training (20hrs a day) since she was 14. But the gaps in her magical knowledge (mostly so the author had an excuse to explain things to the reader) were too wide and frequent to be believed. Plus, her whole “I’ve never lived in the world” schtick contradicted the fact that she’d been sent on missions, sometimes as staff and sometimes with high society, bout out in the world. Am I really supposed to believe things like she’d never had pizza?

I did like most of the side characters (that I was meant to like) and the mechanical writing and narration appear to be fine. It all just felt far too mediocre YA novel for my tastes. But I have no doubt it will find it’s audience.

Review:

Meh, I suppose this wasn’t bad. But I didn’t find anything about it that stood out and I REALLY don’t think Erin lived up to her own hype. We’re told she’d been intensely training (20hrs a day) since she was 14. But the gaps in her magical knowledge (mostly so the author had an excuse to explain things to the reader) were too wide and frequent to be believed. Plus, her whole “I’ve never lived in the world” schtick contradicted the fact that she’d been sent on missions, sometimes as staff and sometimes with high society, but out in the world. Am I really supposed to believe things like she’d never had pizza? 

I did like most of the side characters (that I was meant to like) and the mechanical writing and narration by Madeleine Dauer appear to be fine. It all just felt far too mediocre YA novel for my tastes. But I have no doubt it will find it’s audience.

Review of Sonata, by A.F. Henley

Author, A.F. Henley was generous enough to send two of their books to be included in my Little Free Library. Sonata is one of them. This afternoon, I chose to borrow it back and read it.

Description from Goodreads:

At thirty-six Ian feels done with the world. When a night at a bar goes as poorly as expected, he wants only to return home to be miserable in peace. Instead, he encounters Jordan. Hot, young and interested, Jordan is everything Ian’s ever wanted and nothing he believes himself capable of actually obtaining. 

Jordan has enough going on in his life trying to scrape together a living for himself and his autistic son. When he meets Ian, all he wants is a brief, erotic moment and nothing else. 

But fate throws them together again and again, and Ian finds himself determined to do whatever it takes to give their story a happy ending – no matter what secrets Jordan’s past has waiting for him.

Review:

This is another hard one to review. I really adored some aspects of it. I mean Ian’s openness and heartfelt desire to care for someone was super touching. I really liked him. I felt Jordan’s desperation, even before we knew why (though I guessed his circumstances fairly early on). They were a compelling pairing.

However, even as I appreciated Henley’s inclusion of an autistic child, I also felt like he was simply a plot device. He had no real discernible personality and conveniently disappeared when the plot needed him to. Plus, the happy ending wrapped up so easily that I felt Cole had simply been shunted off into the wings.

Speaking of endings, I felt like Henley just fixed everything off screen and I found it difficult to make the transition along with the story. Plus, I felt like there were a lot of things I wanted the men to talk about (to see the men talk about) that didn’t happen.

For the most part however, I thought this was a sweet little romance.