Tag Archives: supernatural

Book Review: The Witch and the Dreamwalker, by Victoria Rogers

I accepted a copy of Victoria Rogers’ The Witch and the Dreamwalker for review, as part of its book tour with Rockstar Book Tours. The book and it’s prequel were also featured over on Sadie’s Spotlight. Over there you can find author details and the tour schedule.

It’s 1982, and rising star Vivian McKinley is determined to climb the corporate ladder of a growing paranormal security firm. With the help of Xavier Prince, President and CEO of Prince Charms, Vivian uncovers a plot to take over the business. The pair navigate office politics and machinations to prove a psychic vampire’s treachery.

my review
I have several things to say about this book, some good some bad, some fairly neutral. More than I’d expect for something so short.

First, I’m agnostic on the cover, but I will say it has nothing—tone, topic, content, etc—to do with the story inside it. It’s a pretty picture, but it hardly feels like the power suits, big hair, and machismo of 1982! Also neutral is that the magic aspects of the plot are extraneous. They could have been removed and the story and events could have occurred unchanged, just had non-magical explanations.

Second, on the positive front, the writing is perfectly readable, without feeling too cheesy. Even though I read an ARC, I don’t recall many editing mishaps. The early 80s is not a time period you see used in romance/erotic books too often and Rogers incorporated several period specific elements into the story, which was fun. I also appreciated seeing Vivian in boss-mode, taking no prisoners when she stands up for herself against the sexism of the time.

Third, on the negative front. Any impactful-ness Rogers might have built into the story by incorporating the sexism Vivian faced when everyone treated her as if she only got her position by sleeping with the boss was wholly undermined when she immediately started sleeping with the boss. Also, as I said, the magical elements weren’t pertinent enough to the plot to feel necessary, but similarly, the book’s unexpected swerve into Shibari/Kinbaku was sudden and not at all incorporated into the plot.

All in all, this wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t particularly memorable either.

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Book Review: Shadow Shinjuku, by Ryu Takeshi

I accepted a copy of Ryu Takeshi‘s Shadow Shinjuku for review.

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The streets of Tokyo are different at night. There is darkness behind the glitter and the neon lights, and people who prefer to stay in the shadows, to dwell in the underworld – whores, gangsters, the homeless, the lost. People like Sato. He’s part of this world, he always has been, but a feeling of change is lingering in the heavy air of the bustling city. A feeling brought to life by fateful encounters of solitary souls.

my review

I have very middle of the road feelings about this book. Some aspects of it I really liked. I thought Sato was an likeable main character. I liked a lot of the quirky side characters. There’s an interesting, if light, magic world. I enjoyed the twist at the end. You see it coming, but it’s well played. I especially appreciated the last page. Kobayashi coming in like a boss! A boss, not the boss—a distinction that is important in context.

I know it’s a little cliched to say a supernatural book about Yakuza, set in Tokyo would make a great anime. But I honestly can see this working really well as one. But I also think it was purposefully written in such a style.

However, while some of the writing was very pretty, I thought it a little plebeian at other times— especially in the dialogue which tended toward clunky. Far too many characters chuck “My Dear” into conversation to flow well, for example. I also thought some of the psychosocial or metaphysical musings never really coalesced into anything concrete enough to have real meaning to the reader. And about halfway through it feels like Takeshi went, “You know what? I need to make this grittier.” So suddenly Sato was visiting prostitutes and sexual sadist villains popped up out of nowhere and I just thought, “Oh, how disappointingly predictable.” Not only because such things have been so over used as to lose emotional impact, but because it really didn’t fit the tone of the book up to that point…or after, really.

All in all, I thought this an interesting (if somewhat flawed) read and was happy to follow it up with the short story Abalone (unrelated to the events of Shadow Shinjuku but involving some of the same characters) which I also enjoyed.

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Readers Favorite: Shadow Shinjuku Review



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Book Review: Accidental Magic, by Nicole Hall

It was chore day, and chore day means I need a new audiobook to get me through. I borrowed a copy of Accidental Magic, by Nicole Hall, from Hoopla.
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Magic is real, fairies are assholes, and everyone knew about it but me…

Sera Allen needs a change. The family house she inherits is the perfect place for a fresh start, except for the sexy neighbor she’d ditched years before and the surprise fairies living across the street. Before long, she’s neck-deep in magic, fae, and zombie bunnies, and her tenuous connection to her powers relies on the one man she wants to avoid.

Jake Thomas is happy in his mundane life. Magic is for other people. Until the girl who’d broken his heart moves back home and he finds himself drawn into the world of the fae. She needs his help, but can he trust her to stick around this time when things get rough?

With a dark force threatening the town, they’ll have to face their pasts and overcome their distrust to have any chance at a future. Together they can make magic, but will it be enough?

my review

This wasn’t bad, I just found myself unable to ever truly get invested in it. I thought the characters were kind of bland. The romance just picked up where it had left off years earlier, so there was nothing particularly tantalizing or titillating about it. The villains were always just off page, so I felt no threat from them, etc. The world isn’t elaborate or detailed.

Nothing was bad. The writing was fine. The narration by Chloe Ryan was fine. The editing (as far as one can tell in audio) seemed fine. I was never quite bored. But I also wasn’t overly interested. I wouldn’t warn anyone off the book, but I also don’t think I’ll read he next in the series.

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Other Reviews:

Modern Magic by Nicole Hall