Tag Archives: PNR

Review of Anointed (The Cantati Chronicles #1), by Maggie Mae Gallagher

I found a signed copy of Maggie Mae Gallagher‘s Anointed at a secondhand store. We all know how I love signed books, so I bought it.

Description from Goodreads:
My name is Alana Devereaux. I enjoy the simple things in life, walks in the park, sky gazing, and ripping a demon’s heart out though its chest. I am a demon slayer, the last of my kind, and I have been sent back through time to save your world.

How am I doing so far? My time travel went haywire, all the signs I needed to stop the prophecy have passed, and the only way I can save my world is by keeping yours from ending. Then there’s Gaelen, most days I want to deck him. He hides his true motives and if it was not for the intel he had, I would be rid of him. Any day in my life without a demon attack is a good day; I haven’t had a whole lot of those lately. The only problem is, if I don’t stop the Mutari, this world will burn.

So, this was not very good. I won’t go so far as to say horrible, but not very good. It’s full of plot holes (and a pretty problematic paradox), both the heroine and hero are unlikable, assumptions are made and not supported, and there is no real conclusion.

It was not liking Alana or Gaelen that really clinched it for me. Her entire personality is contrary, angry, full of bluster, and distrust. I promise, authors, a female character can be touch without being so prickly as to be nothing but solid unpleasantness. He is abusive and possessive. Somehow these two horrible people fall in love with each other, though I never saw why or how…or really when. It just suddenly was.

Plus, I want my badass female characters to be badass. Alana was at best inconsistent. Taking on 60 demons one minute and not able to beat 6 men the next. She was constantly making threats she couldn’t or wouldn’t, certainly didn’t follow through with. She was constantly demanding information she was never given and she was constantly given orders she didn’t like, but followed. In the end, she felt like a child rebelling against a parent, but doing as told.

Then there was the author’s use of rape. It a much overused method authors use when they want to make sure readers know a man is really bad. Not just bad, but really bad. And they (the authors) prance out the rape threats. It’s so overdone as to be boring and totally infuriating. Rape should be so much more than a plot device!

Speaking of plot devices, there were far too many major coincidences. Alana developed abilities as needed and, at one point, when locked in a room (by someone who was going to rape her, but was conveniently interrupted by a knock at the door and had to leave) she found he’d dropped the key on the floor! Yes, the author went there.

So, I said it was bad, but not horrible. In writing this review, I think I talked myself into saying this book is horrible. I will not be continuing the series.

Review of Whispers From Another World (Whitney Powers #1), by Jason Paul Rice

I received a Audible code for a copy of Whispers From Another World (by Jason Paul Rice) from the narrator Tiffany Willams.

Description from Goodreads:
A strong-willed woman. A new cop on the local force. Two lonely souls find each other and embark on a paranormal mystery adventure.

Twelve-year-old Whitney Powers looks at the books on supernatural phenomena in a dark corner of the Granny Larson Library. As she stares, the bookshelf begins to shake and a prism-like flash of light blinds her momentarily.

Whitney goes missing for the next three days. Finally, a local patrolman finds her a few miles from the library. Her explanation of the incident causes her to be ridiculed for the next eighteen years. Despite countless opportunities to leave and end the abuse, she’s stayed in this small town.

Why has she always remained close to the Granny Larson Library, which is supposedly haunted?

What happened during those three days that’s forcing her to stay back and work at the library?

I really hate doing this. I always feel guilty when I offer to review a book and then have to say bad things about it. I know there are reviewers out there that request a book to do just that. I’m not that person. I go into a book hoping to love it and I’m disappointed when I don’t.

But honestly, this story just does not hang together. The ghosts are extraneous to the plot. Whitney is a random ‘chosen one,’ special for no apparent reason and far, far too perfect. But worst of all is the attempt an being a police procedural. Reasonably, if she didn’t end up dead she’d be in jail for impersonating a police officer and interfering in an active investigation, instead of being given some vague ‘clearance’ and invited to work with the special police. None of it works! At all.

I try not to generalize. But I honestly think some male authors shouldn’t try to write female characters. Whitney is so incredibly unlikable I almost can’t verbalize it. The things she’s supposed to think are important just make her horrible. Her whole life comes down to pettily rubbing ‘her man’ into the face of people who made fun of her. As if having a man makes her complete. I cannot tell you how many times I rolled my eyes, said “gross” out loud or made gagging motions. For real, if I hadn’t accepted this in exchange for a review I wouldn’t have finished it. It’s that bad.

The writing seems mechanically fine, though I had the audio so I can’t be certain. But its the sort that leans heavily on ‘very,’ ‘extremely,’ ‘really’ and far too many adjectives. Tiffany Williams did a fine job with the narration, but the story is an utter flop.

Review of Bound (The Silverton Chronicles #2), by Carmen Fox

I won an Audible copy of Carmen Fox‘s Bound. I read and reviewed book one of The Silverton Chronicles, Guarded earlier in the month.

Description from Goodreads:
Florian has it all: excellent fashion sense, a kickass job with his best friend, and a hard-won place among Silverton’s werewolves. When a pack of females pads into their territory, Flo’s alpha dispatches him to handle a merger. Total cakewalk. Except Keely, their alpha, has no intention of submitting her wolves to Flo’s larger pack. Worse, a single glance from her baby blues sends his eloquence on vacation and his heartbeat into overdrive. His flirtations seem welcome too, but there’s a snag. She doesn’t know he’s a vampire.

While Flo struggles with his conflicts—obey his alpha or win over Keely—his estranged sire blasts into town with a catalog of radical ideas. And hanging out with unsophisticated werewolves didn’t make the list.

With violence in the air and all sides testing his loyalties, Florian must bite back, even if showing his fangs costs him the girl.

Look, I realize that not every book is going to be a feminist masterpiece. But there are times when a reader who is even remotely aware of stereotypical representations of women in fiction reads a book and can’t help but notice when a woman is pigeonholed in a patriarchal way. And there are times when this is done so drastically or repeatedly that it becomes an all-encompassing distraction for said reader. That is the case with me and this book. I was so often side-eyeing it with a ‘why does that female character act that particular way’ or ‘why is that women treated this way’ that it blotted out most of the rest of the story.

This book was infuriating. As far as I was concerned it’s basically a litany of ways to subtly to say ‘subservient to a man is a woman’s true place.’ Everything from the older female vampire who couldn’t stand up to her maker, while the younger brother was a “full grown male” so he could, to the ultra powerful Guardian who could only do her duty because her husband allowed her to, to the female alpha who didn’t really want to be an alpha, but “just a girl” (not woman mind you, but girl) who gives responsibility to someone else (a man). And of course she also happened to like to be tied up and spanked, another way to give away her power. And of course she was treated as unreasonable because she didn’t want to submit. And of course the solution the book comes to in the end  was actually subservience to a male dressed up as something else.

But there’s more. There’s the vampire sister who really liked to clean up after her brothers and iron the clothes and domestically slave away for them, instead of pursuing her own career. And a whole boatload of victimized women who are treated as a commodity. But mostly, it’s just a ton of subtle little snipes that put men above women. And that’s without my getting into how dehumanizing I thought their constantly being referred to a ‘the females’ was. None of whom had names or personalities. They might as well have been ‘the vases’ or the ‘vehicles’ or ‘the incubators.’ It drove me crazy.

But stories that paint women as secretly wanting to place themselves in the hands of a man, instead of being responcible for themselves isn’t uncommon. The thing in this book that irritated me, but isn’t so common was the treatment of Ollie (maybe Ali, can’t tell with an audio version). Unless he gets an M/M book next in the series, I’m going to have to call that whole thing nothing more than queer bating. There is just no reason for Florian and Ivy to be bound to ‘mates’ in the same ceremony and one lead to a romance without readers expecting the same from the other. And there isn’t any reason to set this up with a man except queer bating. You might say it was so that Florian could get out of it to meet his mate here, but it simply wasn’t necessary in the first book, so it’s not necessary here. Queer. Bating.

Lastly, the whole thing was very predictable. I found it annoying that no one was supposed to see the obvious machinations. And I found the little bit of bondage and spanking irrelevant. It wasn’t well incorporated and felt unnatural in the sex scenes.

The thing is, this is a second book in a series and I had a lot of the same sort of problems with book one. So, I can’t say I’m surprised. But I really wanted to have this read and off my TBR. The mechanical writing seems fine, but the authors version of what should make women happy makes me gnash my teeth. The narrator, Brian Callanan did a fine job with it though.