Author Archives: Sadie

Review of Sacrati, by Kate Sherwood

SacratiI received a copy of Sacrati, by Kate Sherwood, from Netgalley.

Description from Goodreads:
As an elite Sacrati fighter in the mighty Torian military, Theos is blessed with a city full of women who want to bear his children, and a barracks full of men proud to fight at his side and share his bed. He has everything he needs—until he captures Finnvid on a raid.

Finnvid is on a secret mission to prevent the Torian invasion of his homeland Elkat. Being enslaved by Torian soldiers wasn’t in his plans. Neither is his horrified fascination with the casual promiscuity of the Sacrati warriors. Men should not lie with other men—and he should not be so intrigued when they do. He definitely should not be most intrigued by the leader of the soldiers who captured him and plan to invade his home.

For Theos, everything would have been easier if the infuriating, lying, bewildering Elkati had never come into his life, but he can’t stay away. When betrayal and treachery threaten both their nations, they must work together to stop a war that could destroy their homes forever—even as they begin to question everything they’re fighting for.

I rather enjoyed this book. I did think that the way Theos treated Finnvid was COMPLETELY unbelievable for a man raised with normalised slavery. But once I deliberately forced myself to suspend that particular disbelief, I could roll with most the punches and enjoy myself.

I thought Theos was adorable—not dim, exactly, but not a man who thinks deeply either. I wasn’t as enamoured with Finnvid. I thought him a bit inconsistent. But as a counterbalance to Theos, he worked.

Unfortunately, the whole idea of what is ‘natural’ or ‘unnatural’ was over-emphasised and heavy handed. Yes, I understood the message, but didn’t need it reiterated quite so often. Similarly, I think the men lost the ability to verbalise anything but “I love you” in the last ten or so pages. It got redundant.

Speaking of endings (and this may be spoilerish), forcing the two men to desire monogamy felt like an artificial machination to provide the proper type of HEA to a Western audience. It didn’t at all fit the culture as established by the author.  What’s more, thinking past the last page, it would undoubtably cause future discord and I have trouble believing Finnvid would even request it of Theos (considering the social importance of sex between male Torians). I thought it was a cop out.

So, I had a few complaints, but for the most part, the writing was readable, there was some humour, I like the characters, it was an interesting world (at least the Torian culture was, Elkat was just a hollow reproduction of the recognisable), I don’t remember any editing issues and I enjoyed the time I spent with the book. It was just plain cute. I really can’t ask for much more than that.

Review of A Surefire Way (UltraSecurity #1), by J.T. Bock

A Surefire Way (UltraSecurity #1)I downloaded J. T. Bock‘s A Surefire Way from the Amazon free list.

Description from Goodreads:
UltraAgent Surefire’s plan is simple: Capture the transhuman thief Raven. Win back the respect of her father. Get a raise.

Easy, right?

Except Surefire just broke the number one rule of her employer, UltraSecurity, a niché security firm that solves crimes committed by genetically enhanced humans like Raven. She trailed Raven into a warehouse without backup. And something more powerful than any transhuman is waiting inside.

Raven’s plan is simple: Atone for his past crimes. Return stolen spiritual artifacts to restore the world’s balance. Don’t get caught by UltraSecurity.

Easy, right?

Until a spunky UltraSecurity agent is suddenly on his tail, although Raven wishes she was on … well, never mind … he can’t get distracted from his mission. Because she’s followed him into a warehouse filled with his reclaimed relics, and Raven’s ex-partner in crime is about to unleash a supernatural-sized complication into his plan.

His old partner has accidentally summoned an Aztec god who will destroy the world unless Raven stops this spirit with a superiority complex. To do this, Raven must team up with Surefire and reveal the truth about his powers, exposing her to a force that can either save the world or destroy them both.

Following Raven into that warehouse throws Surefire into a surreal world filled with moody gods, day-glo skulls, dizzying dimensional portals, maniacal half-roach magicians, and a sexy thief who is more than he appears under his snug t-shirt. Is Raven a criminal, or is he working for a higher power? Surefire needs to be certain, because if she joins him on this mission, she’ll have to surrender everything she believed in for a surefire way to save the world, discover her destiny and find true love.

Just ’cause it is annoying my at the very moment I’ll indulge myself and give a quick gripe about that ridiculously long description. Why do authors do this? As a reader, I’d have rathered it ended after the second ‘easy, right’ and left me with a little more mystery. Oh well, just my opinion. Moving on.

A Surefire Way is a well-written, well-edited genre non-specific read. It falls somewhere between sci-fi and urban fantasy (With romance thrown in, but I’d call it supernatural as opposed to paranormal, so I don’t know if I’d classify it as a paranormal romance.) Yeah, I kinda feel sorry for the author who has to find the proper niche for this thing, must be frustrating. Either way, it was enjoyable.

It takes Surefire and (peripherally) a group of X-men-like genetic mutants (many of which will feel very familiar to the reader) with skills ranging from never missing a target (Surefire), to fire (Inferno), to shrinking fairy-sized (Pixie), to space/time manipulation (TimeTrap), etc and throws in a little ancient Aztec god-magic to form an entertaining ‘we have to save the world’ type of adventure.

I think it’s set in modern America. It’s never stated, but there are a lot of contemporary media references and I never got the impression it was supposed to be in the distant future. So, I’m going with the here and now for setting. I might have liked a little more clarity here, as well as a little more actual world-building. For example, with so many transhumans about, with SERIOUS powers how were people largely unaware or, if not, what was the human/transhuman situation (beyond the Department of Defense’s involvement)?

The MCs were both sarcastic and relatable. I especially liked Surefire’s need to be successful and Raven’s emotional self-awareness. Watching them fight and eventually give in to their love was a pleasure.

The whole thing did get a little ridiculous at times, going back in time to play ulama, for example. It just stretched it’s own credibility a bit too far. It began to feel like having a Transhuman with a convenient power/skill to solve a given problem became a bit of a plot crutch. However, this was made up for by some of the really remarkable side characters. Pax and Oracle (alone and as a pair) were a favourite and St. John was amazingly revolting. All this without even mentioning the god and goddess.

For a fun, if somewhat slap-stick read this one is worth picking up.

Review of Dark Indiscretions (Dark Indiscretions #1), by Shakuita Johnson

Dark IndiscretionsI downloaded a copy of Dark Indiscretions, by Shakuita Johnson, from the Amazon free list. 

Description from Goodreads:
What happens when your whole family is scarier than any nightmare and you have no desire to be anything like them? Do you stay and go along with the family plans or do you rebel and have them possibly turn their viciousness on you?

Jennifer Johnston experiences first hand why whispers are spoken in the dark about her species’ being evil when she was just a century old. What should have been another family dinner spent arguing over why she didn’t want to keep the bloodlines “pure” by being married off to her older brother turned into a nightmare and left her with more than tortured memories.

Jackson Dawls and Taylor Durham had been pack mates, best friends, and the other’s mate for as long as they could remember. They were a deadly species all their own but even they feared the Mystics and their overly cruel and barbaric ways, but unforeseen circumstances bring them face to face with not one but a few. Will there lives be in danger or is something great and unexpected awaiting them?

They also have to stay under the radar of the human society that is set out to destroy those they believe to be “Tarnished” and a danger to mankind.

When the three meet long ago secrets are brought to the light. Secrets no one but Jennifer knew. Not only do they have to learn to get along with each other because they are fated, someone is also stalking Jennifer and preforming sinister acts without her being any the wiser.

Jennifer must seek guidance from old acquaintances and form alliances with those she never thought she would. She is met with riddles and startling revelations that she never would have imagined possible.

Will they accept their fates and work together or will old fears destroy their lives? Will Jennifer be able to reclaim what was taken from her right from under her nose?

Years ago, when my husband and I were young and had time for such things, we used to enjoy something called Good Wine/Bad Movie night. It was exactly as the name implies. We would take turns picking out a good bottle of wine and a bad movie. The idea being the better the wine was, the worse the movie could be. We had a lot of fun on such nights. You couldn’t take the drack we were watching seriously (serious B grade sci-fi was a favourite), but when paired with high quality alcohol you would have been laughing at it too. It was fun.

If Dark Indiscretions was a movie, it would have been a prime contender to pair with an excellent Côtes de Bordeaux. It’s bad. I mean, really bad. I wish I used star ratings here so that I could say that the only reason I’m not giving this a one star is because it’s so bad it trips over into the ‘so super-bad it’s funny’ category and since I’m the sort who enjoys staying awake to watch the cheesy late-night fantasy fair I actually got a kick out of this.

I cringed at the writing. The dialogue just about killed me. The plotting was a disaster. The editing was MIA. The character development was nonexistent. The sex was brutally blunt, brusque even. The POVs and tenses were erratic at best. But it was like a train wreck I just couldn’t look away from. Not once did I consider putting it down and not finishing it. I was too busy being amused at it’s horridness.

I highlighted a number of examples that I had intended to include here, but I think at this point it might just seem cruel. Instead, I’ll link to my Amazon highlights. And despite my assertion that the book is a rolling disaster, I’d still recommend it to people like me who enjoy a good cheese-fest on occasion, maybe a little WTFery thrown in on the side. This is the book for you.