Tag Archives: Shannon Mayer

Venom and Vanilla

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

I borrowed and audio copy of Shannon Mayer‘s Venom & Vanilla (narrated by Saskia Maarleveld) 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?


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.


Book Review of Priceless (Rylee Adamson #1), by Shannon Mayer

PricelessI downloaded a copy of Shannon Mayer‘s Priceless from the Amazon free list.

Description from Goodreads:
“My name is Rylee and I am a Tracker.” 

When children go missing, and the Humans have no leads, I’m the one they call. I am their last hope in bringing home the lost ones. I salvage what they cannot.

I’m on the FBI’s wanted list. 

I have a werewolf for a pet, a Witch of a best friend, and have no need for anyone else in my life. 

But when a salvage starts to spin out of control, help comes from a most unexpected direction. One that is dangerously dark, brooding, and doesn’t know a thing about the supernatural. 

One whose kisses set me on fire.

I really rather enjoyed this. There wasn’t anything startlingly new or exceptional about it, but it was a fun read. It did twist a few of the mythological creatures in interesting ways. There were both day and night vampire, for example, and werewolves (at least her werewolf) seemed closer to a domesticated dog than a wolf or a man. But it all added a little flair.

I did wonder, with so very many mythological creatures running about, how no one noticed. And/or why was Mr. FBI guy suddenly able to see them? The editing could use one more pass, though comparatively, it really wasn’t bad. The characters were a little underdeveloped (for example, Mr. FBI guy inferred that he never trusts a partner, but we have no idea why) and the plot was fairly point and shoot, with a lot left skimmed over (for example, after investigating/stalking her for 10 years Rylee and Mr. FBI guy seemed to have no animosity toward one another) but all in all, I had fun with it. I looked into the sequel. Probably would have bought it if my book budget wasn’t so tight. Maybe I can find someone to borrow it from.

Book Review of Shannon Mayer’s Celtic Legacy series

I grabbed all three of Shannon Mayer‘s Celtic Legacy books from the Amazon free list. They also represent book 6, 7 & 8 of my Taking Care of My Own Challenge.

Celtic Legacy

The bonds of family are stretched to the breaking point as legendary monsters, a deadly prophecy, and soul swallowing fears threaten to destroy them. Magic, secrets, sensuality and mind numbing terror all rolled into one to keep the pages flying.

Even having finished this book, I’m undecided about how I feel about it. There seems to be an interesting plot developing. It’s well written. The dialogue seems natural and it flows fine. Though there are a few editing issues, most notably a whole passage that seems to have been pasted in twice.

But…BUT I hated the wimpy coward Quinn was portrayed as, even while she was supposed to be a prophesied saviour. It made her feel inept, like she couldn’t do anything unless there was a man there forcing her to do the right thing (the thing she wanted to do, but couldn’t on her own). Meh, that SOOOO doesn’t do it for me. Though, in fairness, I’ll give it props for being a little more realistic than the heroine who fearlessly rushes into danger.

I also didn’t feel like I got to know any of the characters very well…at all. The reader isn’t given any opportunity to learn about them, their past, or their personality, especially Bres and Luke. They are essentially characterless. Thus, Quinn’s eenie-meenie-minie-moe routine between the two elicited no emotion from me. I didn’t care who she chose, as I knew neither one of them.

I was a bit bothered by the fact that she was suddenly ‘with’ Luke and determined to stay loyal, when I couldn’t say when they made any sort of commitment to one another. A kiss is the most they shared. Further, she just seemed to gravitate toward whichever man she was physically nearest at the time, as if she had no actual volition of her own. All of this with no real, definitive explanation beyond, ‘the prophesy says it’s so.’

Similarly, since I didn’t feel like I knew any of the characters I didn’t feel like I really grasped why anyone did anything and therefore the plot felt a bit like a group of random people running about doing random things. Now, I’m not calling it plotless, far from. But you just never really know anything anymore than you know anyone…if that makes sense. If I didn’t have a basic understanding of light and dark fae I probably wouldn’t have even understood the plot in to begin with.

I’m also a bit confused about the intended audience. Quinn is 25. I’m not under the impression that this is supposed to be a YA book/series, but at times it felt very much like it is. Things like a kiss being given enormous importance or juvenile questions like, “Do you want to be my boyfriend?” Wha…what? Really?

Lastly (and this is a complaint I seem to make a lot lately), I don’t understand why it’s broken up. This is not a stand alone book, but as each is only ~150 pages, there is plenty of room for them to be comfortably combined.

All in all, despite my apparent negativity, it’s an interesting (if rushed) start to the series, but I won’t really know what I feel about it until I see how the series comes together. On its own, all it is is an interesting beginning and, honestly, that’s not really enough.


When evil begets evil, a choice is forced on Quinn, the one person who can see the danger. Does she save the ones she loves, or does she save the world from Chaos?

As the realms of Fae and human collide, Quinn’s future has never looked so grim, or so damn impossible.

This book picks up exactly where book one ended, further making me question why they are broken into three volumes. While it’s quite action packed (Quinn spends the whole book running from one task to another) the reader is still denied any real depth of character. I also found myself wondering how Quinn managed to continue to best better fighters with skills she has only just acquired and had no time to practice or perfect.

The different threads of the story do start to come together here. And though I found the final twist quite obvious (and wondered how no one was supposed to have seen that one coming) it was still gratifying to get there. (I wonder if I’ll feel the same way about the obvious ending I think I see coming too.)

Again, writing and dialogue seem fine and the editing was better than in book one.

With Chaos free in the world, Quinn finally faces the truth. She must kill the one she has spent her life trying to protect in order to save the world. But with leader of the Tuatha against her, her own brother seeking her blood and the world in upheaval, Quinn may not see the day that prophecy has claimed will come to pass.

At least, not without a sword that no longer exists.

Dark Fae picks up exactly where Dark Isle ended and it continues in much the same vein as the previous books. Quinn is sent around on mini-quest after mini-quest, sacrificing herself and saving those she loves. Without doubt, Quinn’s love is the strongest aspect of this book. However, I’m not entirely certain we see why her sister deserves it so much. Additionally, Quinn continues to win battles despite being out manned, out skilled,  and overpowered. I question the believability of it.

She did finally develop a backbone, though. That was appreciable. I liked seeing her strike out on her own, make her own decisions and act on them.

Like the previous books, I still didn’t feel like we got to know the characters well. I kept waiting, but it just wasn’t to be. I also thought the story wrapped up really predictably. EVERYONE had a happy ending. Even most of the evil characters were somehow excused and forgiven. For me, it was a little too schmaltzy, but I have a pretty low schmaltz threshold to start with.

All in all, it was a satisfying ending to an interesting series. The whole thing could do with some fleshing out, but I still enjoyed it.