Tag Archives: Fae

Review of Shatterproof, by Xen Sanders

I purchased a copy of Xen SandersShatterproof.

Description from Goodreads:
Saint’s afraid to die. Grey can’t stand to live.

Grey Jean-Marcelin wants to die. He thought painting his passion—vivid portrayals of Haitian life and vodou faith—would be enough to anchor him to this world. But it isn’t. And when the mysterious man known only as Saint saves Grey from a suicide attempt, it’s more curse than blessing—until Grey discovers that Saint isn’t just an EMT. He’s a banished fae, and can only survive by draining the lives of those he loves.

All Saint needed was a simple bargain: one life willingly given for another. But as Saint’s feelings for Grey grow deeper, centuries of guilt leave him desperate to save a man who doesn’t want salvation, even if Grey’s life means Saint’s death.

When Grey’s depression consumes him, only he can decide if living is worth the struggle. Yet his choice may come too late to save his life . . . or Saint’s soul. And whatever choice he makes, it may shatter them both.

Review:
I read this as part of a Buddy Read and, of the ten or so of us, I think I’m the only one who didn’t love it. Now, I didn’t dislike it. But it ended and I was just sort of like, “Well, that’s a thing I’ve read now.”

I actually have a pretty high tolerance for Purple Prose, and I’ll 100% admit the writing in this book is beautiful. But with dozens of passages like this:

Saint’s lips parted. To question, to protest—he would never know when he never had the chance. Not when Grey’s lips stole his, stole him, and carried him away with a kiss made up of sighs on silk and the taste of amber. He kissed like sugar, sweet and gritty, and Saint clutched at his arms…

I eventually lost patience with it. Plus, the book is very angsty. I actually would say it’s overwrought. I can handle flowery language or I can handle constant push and pull between characters. But personally, I just can’t seem to handle both.

Then then there was the just too conveniently discovered solution to the problem of the book. It struck me as, well, too convenient and non-specific enough. By this I mean that I feel like Saint would have made the same choice for any of his past lost lovers, not just Grey. Out of guilt if nothing else. So, I found it profoundly dissatisfying.

My point is that this wasn’t a great book for me. The style just isn’t one I like. But it’s pretty and I really appreciate so many other aspects of it. When did you last see a suicidally depressed hero? There’s diversity in the cast (even on the cover). Creole religion is presented positively. There’s a lot to like in this book, if the writing style is one you can tolerate. I think I’m an outlier on this one.

Review of Blood Ice & Oak Moon: A Coon Hollow Coven Tale, by Marsha A. Moore

I won an audible copy of Marsha A. Moore’s Blood Ice & Oak Moon.

Description from Goodreads:
Esme Underhill is about to discover a darkness hidden inside her that could destroy her chance for independence and possibly kill her.

Esme’s mother took her young daughter away from Southern Indiana’s Coon Hollow Coven to prevent her from learning about the unusual witchcraft she had inherited. When Esme is twenty-seven, her beloved Grammy Flora passes away and leaves her property in the Hollow to her granddaughter. With this opportunity to remake her life and gain independence, Esme attempts to emulate Grammy Flora as a wildwood mystic who relies on the hedge world of faeries to locate healing herbs. But fae are shrewd traders. When they open their world to her, she must meet the unknown malevolence of her birthright.

Thayne, the handsome king of the fae Winter Court, faces his own struggle to establish autonomy as a new regent. He is swept into the tempest of Esme’s unfolding powers, a dangerous threat to his court. His sworn duty is to protect his people, despite Esme’s beauty and allure, which tear at his resolve.

Both Esme’s and Thayne’s dreams of personal freedom are lost…unless they can trust each other and overcome surmounting dangers.

Review:
Sigh. This may just be a case of a book being poorly matched to a reader, but I didn’t much care for this. It wasn’t all out bad, but it wasn’t great either. If I had to break the review of my experience with this down to one statement, it would be both the book and the audio narration (by Jean Lowe Carlson) were only ok. Neither very good, but not all out bad either, or at least not to my liking.

I found the writing, especially the dialogue really stilted and stiff. This was apparent in the actual writing, but I think it was exacerbated by the way it was read by Carison.

Some people will probably like this kind of Mary Sue heroine, but I don’t see the appeal. She was 27, but the book reads like it is YA. Esmerelda was constantly on about becoming (not being, but becoming) and independent woman. Despite this, she was also always moaning about her mom, or daddy or grammy. And in the end, wanna know what she felt made her feel more independent than anything ever did before? Getting married. Arg, someone get me a drink STAT! And this after spending most of the book all cut up because of one bad past relationship. It was cliched.

She also defeated an all-powerful enemy with presumably hundreds of years of training and experience in less than a page with no training or experience of her own. I won’t quite call it deus ex mechana, because she had the power already. But I also couldn’t believe it.

I felt no chemistry between Esmeralda and Thayne and at no point did I see their relationship develop. They were just in love all of a sudden and she was being handed a princess’ happily ever after for no apparent reason.

I didn’t truly understand why her and her black amber were so sought after. I have no idea what the underlying motivation of at least one of the villains was, and only a vague idea about the others. (And why have so many independent enemies?) And at one point an established dictum of the universe, that fae can’t lie, is broken.

All in all, this is a strong case of ‘special snowflake’ heroine and I didn’t care for it. But I bet others really will.

Review of Chaos Unbound, by Brian S. Leon

I received a copy of Chaos Unbound, by Brian S. Leon, from Netgalley.

Description from Goodreads:
The hunter becomes the hunted.

Framed for the murder of a high ranking member of the Unseelie Court of Fae, Steve Dore–also known as Diomedes, Guardian and protector of mankind–goes on the run. He’s determined to uncover the real culprit and clear his name.

But the assassination may be the beginning of a more sinister plot that involves not just the Fae and Humankind, but all the races of the world. And what if the real assassin is a boogeyman even the Fae don’t believe is real?

Review:
I’m finished, Lord above I’m finally done! My goodness, that book seemed to go on forever. It’s not even a bad book. The writing is fine. It’s funny and the author seems to understand military stuff well enough for it to read as realistic. But the book is so darned long and it’s just running and fighting nonstop. I got so tired of the main character and his perfect friends killing things and being told about this gun or that tactical vest, or this military vehicle or that battle in 82BC or this mythical creature or that country and conflict. There was no time for any character development in and amongst all the running around, fighting and being attacked.

The blurb says it can be read as a standalone and it can. I haven’t read book one and I followed this one just fine. But I definitely felt that I was missing something in having not read the preceding book. The characters refer to the events of book one and the events of this one tie into it. Plus, I kept thinking, as new people were being introduced at 80% into the book, that all the character development must have been left there, since it wasn’t here.

The plot is pretty simple, a man is wrongly accused of a crime and must find the real culprit on order to clear his name. I’ll say this book was ok, but it didn’t need 350+ pages to tell the story. If you like non-stop action though, this might be a good book for you.