Tag Archives: Charlotte E. English

Novelette clear out, part 2

novelette red

This is a second slew of novelette length stories. As a reminder, in case you found this blog randomly instead if following and therefore seeing the 10 other times I’ve mentioned it, I’ve Broken the wrist of my dominant hand. So, typing is slow and awkward…everything is slow and awkward. I can’t even easily click next page on the darned Kindle. However, I don’t want to stop reading or reviewing, so I’ve compromised with myself. I’m going to clear all the short stories, novelettes and novellas from my shelves, writing brief reviews of them. When the cast comes off I’ll start on books and full length reviews again.

You can go here to see those stories that were less than 39 pages long and here for those that were 40-49. This page will be 50-59 or there about. These are all approximate groupings, but I imagine you get the point. So, here we go.

Banished: The Gods Among Usby William & Pamela Deen: Simply not very good, it’s unfocused, repetitive, uses the cliche rape of a woman as nothing more than the impetus for male action, and never culminates into any sort of identifiable story.

How Ninja Brush Their Teethby R.A. Hobbs: Well, color me surprised, with a cover and title like this one I expected a humorous ninja parody at best. But it’s a genuine ninja-assassin-finds-his-humanity tale and I genuinely enjoyed it. Extra points for the kick-butt female character.

The Memory Manby Helen Smith: I would have like to have been given some answers, but I think the confusion is part of the point. It ends with as many questions as it starts with, but the story is atmospheric and interesting and I do like the circular nature of psychic communication that is hinted at.

Leximandra Reports, and other talesby Charlotte E. English: A cute introduction to the characters of Draykon, but probably only worth reading if you’re interested in the series. It is actually several vignettes and ends at 63%. The rest is a teaser or the first book in the series.

Deuce Coop: Takenby Laura Harner: I found it horribly repetitive and as a result didn’t feel like it progressed enough, especially for a serial. While I appreciated the existence of bi-sexuals, I had problems with the cliched representation of big, strapping, possessive, alpha tops and small, wispy, openly available bottoms, with no overlap. I basically thought the whole thing depended too heavily on pre-existing, M/M shortcuts. Edit: I realized after reading this that it is the book referenced in this post. I wouldn’t have read it if I remembered that it was plagiarized!

The Gatekeeper, by Heather Graham: Mildly entertaining but unexceptional in every way, as it’s all been seen and done better before.

Through The Wall, by Keri Ford: Cute if you like this sort of thing; basically just a series of mishaps leading up to sex and a HEA. Was interesting to see the woman as the aggressor (even if she did still have to be sexually inexperienced and clumsy in her seduction to maintain “good girl” status) while the man held off for more.

A God To Wed Her, by Y.L. Abraham: The first Abraham work I’ve read that was a complete story, instead of a serial (which is a positive). But I’m afraid I just didn’t care for it. I found it trite, with very little development and inconsistent characterization.

Stripped, by Christina Stoke: Bad. It was bad, people. Basically porn with plot, but bad porn. Two people get stranded on a hostile alien planet during a war and are being actively hunted. So they have lots of bad BDSM sex…obviously. It’s what you do, right? Worse, he’s predominantly turned on by the fact that he has complete control of this woman and she has no escape. The reader is reminded of this repeatedly. He claims her and initiates sex without her consent. Then, he viscously spanks and whips her without her knowing why and as she begs him to stop. This is not kinky sex. This is abuse. Period. All exacerbated by bad writing that ends so abruptly it is literally in the middle of a sex scene.

Touching Ghost, by Regina Carlysle: Basically all sex, of the raunchy, ‘ram it home’ and ‘pound away’ sort. I thought the language crude and unappealing, especially since it was supposed to be romantic instead of faceless f-ing. It was also repetitive, as phrases were oft reused from scene to scene. All talk of patriotism and the SEALs also felt artificial and stilted, more like how a recruiting pamphlet reads than how soldiers/navy-men would talk about themselves. Despite being a part of a series the book stood alone.

Of Ants and Dinosaurs, by Liu Cixin: More of fable than anything else, but it had an interesting theme/lesson, even if I fond the reading a bit dull.

The Cog Work Apprentice in Dark Skiesby Lee William Tisler: A random town is randomly attacked, so a random boy runs around randomly encountering random people and doing random things until the story randomly ends. Meh.

The Sentinel, by Eden Winters: It’s kinda like a sweet version of Kurt Russell’s Soldier (1998), if the baddies never showed up. I liked the first half better than the last half and thought there were some inconsistencies that niggled at me. But mostly I liked it.

Deep Currents, by Marie Brown: Not at all what I expected, but I quite enjoyed it. Well, written with snappy dialogue.

End of the World, by S.A. Archer: Interesting and well enough written, but really just a prologue to the series. No real merit on its own.


Book Review of Charlotte English’s Draykon

I won an ecopy of Charlotte E. English‘s Draykon from Mostly Reviews.

When shy and retiring Llandry Sanfaer discovers a mesmerising new gemstone, she suddenly becomes the most famous jeweller across the Seven Realms. Demand for the coveted stone escalates fast; when people begin dying for it, Llandry finds that she herself has become a target. 

Lady Evastany Glostrum has her life in pristine order. Prestigious, powerful and wealthy, she is on the verge of crowning her successes with the perfect marriage. But when her closest friend is murdered for the jewellery she wears, Eva is drawn into the mystery surrounding the curious “istore” gem. 

The emergence of the stone is causing chaos across the Seven. Gates between the worlds are opening at will, pulling hordes of creatures through from the shadowy Lower Realm and the glittering Uppers. As Eva works to discover the culprit behind the spreading disorder, Llandry must learn the truth about her precious istore stone — before she herself becomes a victim.


I love the cover of Draykon and was really looking forward to reading it. I have to be honest though, I gave a little groan in the beginning. The first page or so did nothing for me. The language was very flowery. A number of fictional plants were mentioned with little indication of what they were and the word ‘with’ was used six times in the first paragraph. I was worried. I needn’t have been. It settled down very quickly, becoming quite enjoyable. 

The story is split between two main characters, Eva and Llandry. Both of whom I engaged with, but I would have enjoyed a little more indication of which of the two is supposed to be the MAIN character. I think it’s supposed to be Llandry, but not feeling uncertain about it left me with divided loyalties. I also very much liked their male companions (Tren and Devary). Tren had an especially appreciable sense of humour. It might sound strange, but I really liked that these characters weren’t all amazingly talented 18 year olds. Devary and Eva are both represented as 40ish, while Llandry and Tren are both in their twenties. It feels so much more believable when characters are old enough to have become masters of their skills through training, practice and determination, rather than innate talent (which is all too young characters have time to develop). 

The environment of The Seven Realms (and beyond) is described quite vividly, though it has a tendency to change, which can be confusing. However, this very changeability is an important aspect of the story. It’s worth getting you’re head around. Many, many plant and animal species are mentioned and the reader is left to flesh a lot of them out on their own. This is fine. I can extrapolate what a Nivven is supposed to be by the fact that they are ridden and used to pull carriages. Some were not so clear. I spent much of the book thinking a deafly was an animal, or maybe an insect, for example. It’s not, it’s a flower, the sort one tends to find painted on china. 

Draykon leaves you hangin’ when it ends though. The whole thing culminated splendidly, but ends before anyone has any answers (or the reader knows what happens to Llandry after the big reveal). That irked me. Of course I want to know what happens next. That’s to be expected from the first book of a series, but Draykon literally ends at what I’d have expected to be the peak of the plotting graph. That’s difficult…and annoying. Despite this, I would still recommend the book to anyone who likes fantasy.