Tag Archives: witches

Review of Awakened (The Oracle Chronicles #1), by Moni Boyce

I picked up a copy of Moni Boyce‘s Awakened as a freebie on Amazon.

Description from Goodreads:

Secret lineage, a ruthless vampire, and forbidden love.

Willow Stevens dreams of stardom are eclipsed by the real nightmares of a sinister man haunting her dreams. Unbeknownst to her, Eli Walker, her hot but snobbish co-worker, may know the reason nightmares plague her, but their history shows he is more prone to reject her, than help her.

Then Willow passes out at work only to wake in Eli’s apartment. There she has her chance to learn more about her heritage. But, knowing why the vampire king stalks her doesn’t make the nightmares disappear. If anything, they become more real as she now faces off against a slew of creatures she’d always believed were myth.

That Eli is one of those creatures is just her luck. Secret witch guild or not, his natural ways are casting spells her heart can’t escape. As a Protector his only focus should be her safety. Anything else is forbidden. He plans to stay in task, but some women break a man, or tempt him to break the rules.

Can Eli keep Willow alive and safe from the vampires long enough for her to grow her own powers or will both cast aside rules for a reckless passion that will only lead to danger?

Review:

Not very good, not totally horrendous, but not great either. The book has an interesting world and premise and an absolutely gorgeous cover, but it needs more editing, the writing is amateurish at times, and the transitions are often clunky. Plus, I had some serious suspension of disbelief issues with the plot and I found both Willow and Eli unlikable. She’s 26 and he’s even older, but they both act like children, and she’s especially self-centered, bratty, and easily manipulated.

As for the problem being able to suspend belief, which is something exceptionally hard for a book to overcome, it was two-fold. One, the book goes on and on about how important it is for her to learn to defend herself. So, it made no sense to me that the Protectors had followed her years and years instead of teaching her to defend herself until it’s basically too late. It’s not like they didn’t know there was a threat.

Secondly, all of the angst around the romance subplot could have and (and IMO should have) been completely bypassed if someone had simply told Willow that Protectors are forbidden from having relationships with Oracles. I don’t mean this as telling the author how to write her book, simply that as a reader I couldn’t understand why the characters were creating all the unneeded drama and hurt when it would make a million times more sense than the BS lies Eli rolls out for her

Lastly, it’s also the only book I’ve ever read with a warning before the epilogue like this:

If you plan to continue with this series, there’s an epilogue…but I suggest you stop here if you don’t like cliffhangers and don’t plan to continue. Thanks for reading!

It seems pointless because, even if you don’t read the epilogue (which I didn’t since I have no intention of continuing the series), the book ends with Willow injured, and both she and Eli unconscious. So, it’s already a cliffhanger.

All in all, I’m sorry to say the book just wasn’t a winner for me.

Review of Binding Shadows (Tooth & Spell #1), by Jasmine Silvera

I purchased a copy of Jasmine Silvera‘s Binding Shadows through Amazon.

Description from Goodreads:

There are two rules: find a way to use your magic and never reveal it to anyone.

Hunting down lost books is more than a job, it’s a way for Barbara to conceal her powers in the mundane world of the university library. One misstep and she risks exposure to ruthless necromancers willing to destroy anything supernatural they cannot control. But when the prickly new professor in charge of her latest assignment proves more than he seems, rules and reason are no match for her growing fascination.

After years of battling to cage the beast within him, Tobias returns to Prague and the safety of his pack of brothers. Unfortunately, his new job handling a collection of rare editions comes with a research assistant irresistible to both beast and man. Revealing his secret could endanger his entire family and he refuses to risk passing on the curse in his blood.

When the discovery of an enchanted book of spells triggers unpredictable surges in Barbara’s magic, unleashing the beast within himself may be the only way to free her. Trapped between a witch and a necromancer, they must survive a perilous reckoning with the past, or neither will have a future.

Review:

I absolutely loved this—grumpy, cinnamon bun hero, and a smart librarian heroine. Their romance was adorable. The mystery kept me engaged. The world was interesting (if a little vague). And the side characters made me laugh. On finishing, I immediately went to try and buy the sequel, which isn’t out yet. Why does the universe punish me like this? WHY?

My only criticism is that the book could have done with another pass from a copy editor. There are the occasional double words and thought/though kind of mishaps. But it was not enough to make me not love this. Since I couldn’t get Gruff Older Brother’s book (because that’s who it better be about) I went ahead and bought the first in the Grace Bloods series instead.

Review of Midnight Desire/Midnight Temptation (Ravens Hollow Coven #1&2), by Shari Nichols

Shari Nichols sent me a paperback copy of her book Midnight Desire.

Description from Goodreads:

Danger and desire collide to form an unlikely alliance between a witch with a sordid past and a special agent who might be her future.

While trying to escape her past, kick-ass witch Willow McCray dispenses her own brand of justice swiftly and without mercy, until she crosses paths with sexy Magickal Bureau of Investigations Agent, Alex Denopoulos. Now, she must use her powers for good if she wants to stay out of Hellios, the mage prison for those who have broken the Wiccan Rede of ‘Harm ye None.’

Alex will stop at nothing to catch a killer, including recruiting notorious felon, Willow McCray, to work for the agency. While under his guard, the lines between duty and passion become blurred the more time he spends with the red-haired beauty. His penchant for justice and deep-seated hatred of witches makes a future together seem impossible. But he’s not ready to let her go. Now he’ll risk more than his badge to keep her alive.

If only Willow can vanquish the evil surrounding them and give Alex what he wants—before she loses her heart and even her very soul in the process.

Review:

Shari Nichols is a new-to-me author. I’ve read exactly two books by her. And while they weren’t the exact same book, they were pretty darned close. In the first (Haunted), the heroine is a psychic medium who uses her gift to fight a psychotic ghost and get the big, hunky guy. In this one (Midnight Desire), the heroine is a psychic witch that uses her gifts to fight a psychotic fae and gets the big, hunky guy. It was very obvious that the same plot template was used for each (and followed very closely) and even some of the language/dialogue could have been cut and pasted from either book into the other (especially in sex scenes, which also played out almost exactly the same).

It makes it a little hard to judge this book on its own. What’s more, all of my complaints from Haunted have to be repeated here. The love is instant, unsupported, and unexplained. I mean, if you’re going to create a paranormal world and include insta-love, why not give it a reason—fated mates, matching magics, genetics, past lives, hell anything? But give a reason if two people are going to be inexplicably drawn to each other and act outside the norm.

I almost got whiplash from the two characters’ push-me-pull-me attitudes. I hate the way every scene is broken up with some lust-filled reverie. It doesn’t build the sexual tension for me. I just feel like it clutters the narrative and annoys me. Lastly, the way Alex pursued Willow was pushy and creepy as hell. She’d say some variation of “No, I don’t want to have sex with you. I’m mad at you.” And he’d come back with, “Let me make it up to you,” (by having sex).

Specific to this book, my complaints mostly focus on the lack of worldbuilding. We have mages and sorcerers and witches, but no explanation of what the difference is. Demons are both the villains and work for the good guys and I have no idea what it actually means to be a demon (other than having horns). There are vampires and pixies, but their place isn’t explained in any fashion. Hell, I don’t even know if the rest of the human population knows they exist. I assume so since everyone walked around without issue, but I don’t know.

Having said all that, the writing is perfectly readable and other than the occasional inconsistency (walking into a room full of crossbows and knives on the walls and then not being able to find anything to cut ropes with, for example) the editing is pretty solid. Like I said with Haunted, I think maybe this just isn’t the book for me.


I am actually coming back to this post a month later to add a review of book two of the Ravens Hollow series (Midnight Temptation). I thought it would be less confusing than linking back to this first review in a separate post. The author sent me an e-copy. Honestly, it was this book I initially requested, leading to the author sending me Midnight Desire (book one) until this one was released yesterday. Thus, the month between reviews.

Description from Goodreads:

What are the stakes for falling in love?

That’s the question tarot card reader Gillian Howe ponders when she hosts a supernatural speed dating event. Making the perfect match is her passion, too bad she can’t find one for herself. A chance encounter with a wealthy vampire provides her an opportunity to attend an exclusive after-party and prove she isn’t opposed to love. But she finds herself plunged into a secret society of trancing, blood bonds and human escort rings. The night ends in a police raid and of all the vampire detectives in Raven’s Hollow, Garrett Mulroney shows up at the scene. Even if he is scorching, hot, he accused her of a crime she didn’t commit and nearly ruined her life.

Fate has thrown them together again…

Garrett has been down this brutal road before and it didn’t end well. His sire tried to force him into a life of debauchery, but he chose to uphold the law instead. The fact that the one woman he can’t seem to get out of his mind or out of his lust-filled dreams is at the center of his investigation doesn’t bode well. It’s a good thing she hates his guts because it helps douse his growing desire for her and focus on the case. But when Gillian’s cousin is kidnapped into the Du Sang Brotherhood, she becomes the prime witness. Now they’re forced to put their differences aside and go undercover by pretending to be a couple. The more time Garrett spends with Gillian, the more he wants her in his life—and in his bed.

Knowing who to trust and who to love becomes a matter of survival, and possibly the only way to take down the Brotherhood.

Review:

This was not for me. The whole thing just annoyed me. Most of the decisions driving the plot made no sense to me. The heroine too often acted too stupid to live and the hero’s entire personality seemed to be developed by virtue of his fancy house and expensive car (and big dick). It was completely predictable. (I predicted not only the ending but how that ending would come about before the halfway mark.) Obstacles were overcome too easily and everything felt flat.

The flatness I know comes from the writing though. It is almost entirely tell and dialogue. There is far too little show to make the reader invest in anything. It also does things like force the author to make everyone run a charity so we know they are good people, instead of just showing us the actions of a good person in the course of the book. We’re told everyone’s heart is overflowing with love or emotions, instead of showing us people overwhelmed with love or emotions. Both characters have to share their traumatic past in order to have any depth, instead of the reader simply being shown some character depth. We’re constantly told, “she decided she should…” or “he thought…” instead of simply being shown what she decided of he thought.

Lastly, the book needs another editing pass. Off the top of my head, I remember missing spaces, the word ‘curse’ used in place of course, and some phrases popping up repetitively. (I think “magick pure and bright” must have shown up almost every time Gillian accessed her magic.)

I liked Gillian and Garrett, don’t get me wrong. But the book itself didn’t light me on fire.