Tag Archives: KDP

Review of U.S. Army Mage Corps: SWORD, by John F. Holmes

U.S. Army Mage Corps: SWORDI downloaded a copy of  U.S. Army Mage Corps: SWORD, by John F. Holmes, from the Amazon free list. At the time of posting, it was still free.

Description from Goodreads:
What if … magic were part of every day US Military Operations? 

In a backwater Central Asian Country, a threat to Western Civilization is growing, unnoticed by the world. The men and women of the US Army Mage Corps, feared on the battlefield and despised back home, enter into a struggle which may cost them their lives and their country. 

This is another case of interesting concept, poor execution. Basically, I liked the characters, though they were never deeply developed. I liked it idea of magic in the modern army and honestly, the army bits are well done. But the story stops and starts, jumps around and isn’t particularly developed. There are also no limits or descriptions of the world or the magic, so creatures and abilities just seem to pop up willy-nilly. The writing is simplistic, POVs shift without warning and the editing is a mess.

I’m actually going to take a moment to address this last point, because I downloaded my copy of the book on May 11, 2015 and there is an author note on Goodreads saying, “As of 09/25, heavily edited to fix mistakes.” One would presume 9/25/2014. This is supported by a comment on an Amazon review in which the author states, “Uploaded a much edited version. Thank you for the comment.” That was Nov 3, 2014. So, I can only assume I have that newly edited edition. Now, Holmes may have fixed some errors, maybe even ‘heavily edited’ it, but there is no way this book has been in the hands of a professional editor. There are still a ton of mistakes, some of them things like zeros showing up in the middle of words. Things a standard spell-check should have caught.

So, in the end I think the book could have been better…maybe even could have been good. But it’s not there yet. It’s too rushed, there isn’t enough explanation of the magic limits, and there are too many characters and POVs to feel invested in the characters. Meh.

Review of The Duchess War, by Courtney Milan

The Duchess WarI picked up a copy of The Duchess War, by Courtney Milan, from the Amazon free list. At the time of posting, it was still free.

Description from Goodreads:
Miss Minerva Lane is a quiet, bespectacled wallflower, and she wants to keep it that way. After all, the last time she was the center of attention, it ended badly–so badly that she changed her name to escape her scandalous past. Wallflowers may not be the prettiest of blooms, but at least they don’t get trampled. So when a handsome duke comes to town, the last thing she wants is his attention.

But that is precisely what she gets.

Because Robert Blaisdell, the Duke of Clermont, is not fooled. When Minnie figures out what he’s up to, he realizes there is more to than her spectacles and her quiet ways. And he’s determined to lay her every secret bare before she can discover his. But this time, one shy miss may prove to be more than his match…

I really really enjoyed the first half of the book, but I knew I was in for trouble when the H & h got together at roughly the 50% mark. I thought, well, what nonsense is the author going to toss out there to fill the rest of the pages? And that’s pretty much what it felt like, a bunch of needless drama to fill pages. Plus, it got too saccharine sweet for my tastes, what with EVERYONE needing their happy ending.

I did appreciate the non-alpha, damaged hero, the smart, feisty heroine and the lesbian aunts. I thought the writing was pretty good. And considering I generally avoid historical romances like the plague I’m shocked to have liked this as much as I did, but again, the beginning far more than the end.

Review of Unmemorable (Unmemorable #1), by A. P. Jensen

UnmemorableI picked up a copy of  Umemorable, by A. P. Jensen from the Amazon free list.

Description from Goodreads:
A housekeeper with mad street smarts collides with a supernatural bodyguard who’s been sent to protect her from an underground war that has raged for centuries. 

Raven leads a solitary existence and that’s the way she likes it, but the life she knows turns upside down when her apartment gets gunned down and Cain Henson steps in. Cain’s been sent by a Seer who believes Raven is a woman of prophecy that can control an ancient army that no one can see. 

Filled with mystery, magic, a kick-ass heroine and romance, Unmemorable will lead you on a wild adventure that will keep you on the edge of your seat and guessing until the last page.

Nope, I was not impressed, not at all. The bones of a good story were here. The writing is pretty good. The editing is un-noteworthy, meaning it didn’t grab my attention, which is what you want in editing. But there my praise mostly ends. Yes, I’ll concede that Raven was sassy and determined to remain independent. Both of which are good qualities, too bad they’re completely undermined at every single stage of the book. Every-time she attempted independent action she ended up in trouble, needing rescue.

She’s obstinate to the point of ridiculousness. Well past the point when the truth is impossible to deny she’s still denying it and insisting on going back to work, which is just stupid and suicidal. As is insisting she be allowed to go to the club when people are hunting and trying to kill her. It was so obviously only a chance to get her in a skimpy dress so he could ogle her and move the sex along that I actually cringed. But mostly it was just STSL.

The sex was…oh, wow…bad. When she yelped indignantly, he pulled off her pants and put on a condom. Before she could sit up, he sat with his back against the headboard and pulled her over him to straddle his cock. That’s her loosing her virginity and there is literally NO FOREPLAY (or hymen to deal with). All of the sex is like that, abortive and un-erotic.

There are also a few plot holes that, while maybe not large, annoyed me. First, she is so forgettable that her mother literally walked away and accidentally left her in a park at 1 day old. So, how did she manage to get raised in foster care? How did her Foster parents remember her? Second, if she is so dramatically forgettable how has she made it to 27 without noticing that this is something special? It’s freakin’ impossible. People forget her between one blink and the next, even when standing in front of her. But it did provide the perfect opportunity to show a woman as so stupid she doesn’t even know about herself until a man (Cain) comes along and mansplains it to her. No thank you.

Similarly, she is a Barbie. I don’t mean her physical appearance. I mean the book is full of things she’s never done, never experienced, never tried, etc. It’s so prevalent that I finally decided she didn’t really exist until Cain showed up to see her and take her out of her packaging, because apparently she spent 27 years doing nothing.

But worst of all, the whole this is bloody boring. Almost nothing happens. They play scrabble, talk and watch Lost (an unfortunate and dated media reference). Then nothing concludes or wraps up. As far as I’m concerned it might as well have been a series of random events with no beginning point and no end.