Tag Archives: Fae

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.

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?

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.

Review of Black Dog Blues & Mad Lizard Mambo, by Rhys Ford

I won an Audible copy of Black Dog Blues from the narrator, Greg Tremblay and Queer Sci Fi. Because I enjoyed the first one, I borrowed an ecopy of the second (Mad Lizard Mambo) through Amazon. Thank you A.

Description from Goodreads:
Ever since being part of the pot in a high-stakes poker game, elfin outcast Kai Gracen figures he used up his good karma when Dempsey, a human Stalker, won the hand and took him in. Following the violent merge of Earth and Underhill, the human and elfin races are left with a messy, monster-ridden world, and Stalkers are the only cavalry willing to ride to someone’s rescue when something shadowy appears.

It’s a hard life but one Kai likes—filled with bounty, a few friends, and most importantly, no other elfin around to remind him of his past. And killing monsters is easy. Especially since he’s one himself.

But when a sidhe lord named Ryder arrives in San Diego, Kai is conscripted to do a job for Ryder’s fledgling Dawn Court. It’s supposed to be a simple run up the coast during dragon-mating season to retrieve a pregnant human woman seeking sanctuary. Easy, quick, and best of all, profitable. But Kai ends up in the middle of a deadly bloodline feud he has no hope of escaping.

No one ever got rich being a Stalker. But then few of them got old either and it doesn’t look like Kai will be the exception.

I really quite enjoyed this. 8 hours and 50 minutes and I listed to it in one day. Seriously, I got all my laundry folded, cleaned my house, did a little knitting. It was great. I think what I liked most was Kai’s sarcasm and the rough, fatherly affections of the stalkers. I appreciated how the elfin and human societies sat side by side, chafing at the edges. As well as how Kai was bisexual and the slow, slow burn of the romance.

I was annoyed with how women were represented. There aren’t a lot of them and they’re all cliched. The untouchable angel, the whore, the sexually aggressive cousin, the raving bitch, the manipulator and the mother (who was also disloyal). There wasn’t a single non-problematic women in the book, when taken all together. Why does MM so often do this?

I also liked the narrations. I was a little iffy with the Irish lilt, given the appearance of the character on the cover and the obvious Japanese influence. It didn’t match what I would have imagined. But it worked, given his adoptive father and once I got used to it.

Description from Goodreads:
Kai Gracen has no intention of being anyone’s pawn. A pity Fate and SoCalGov have a different opinion on the matter.

Licensed Stalkers make their living hunting down monsters and dangerous criminals… and their lives are usually brief, brutal, and thankless. Despite being elfin and cursed with a nearly immortal lifespan, Kai didn’t expect to be any different. Then Ryder, the High Lord of the Southern Rise Court, arrived in San Diego, Kai’s not-so-mundane life went from mild mayhem to full-throttle chaos.

Now an official liaison between the growing Sidhe Court and the human populace, Kai is at Ryder’s beck and call for anything a High Lord might need a Stalker to do. Unfortunately for Kai, this means chasing down a flimsy rumor about an ancient lost Court somewhere in the Nevada desert—a court with powerful magics that might save Ryder—and Kai’s—people from becoming a bloody memory in their Merged world’s violent history.

The race for the elfin people’s salvation opens unwelcome windows into Kai’s murky past, and it could also slam the door on any future he might have with his own kind and Ryder.

I enjoyed this in much the same way I did the first. I still liked Kai’s sarcasm and his tough outer shell that guards a big, squishy heart. I still liked Ryder and the side characters. I liked where the story seems to be going and the mysteries that are being revealed about Kai.

I did think there were a lot of coincidental, none plot related things happen. Like getting caught in a sudden flash flood or a buffalo stampede. I kept waiting to find out there was a weather mage or something causing it, but that didn’t appear to be the case. Additionally, they were supposed to be going somewhere super dangerous, but they barely encountered any challenges.

Regardless, I hope the next comes out soon. I can’t wait to read it.