Tag Archives: self published

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Book Review: Wild, by Adrienne Wilder

I purchased copy of Adrienne Wilder‘s Wild back in 2018. It’s been waiting patiently for attention. But since one of the short stories I included in my Christmas Reading Challenge is a sequel to it, I decided it was time to dive in.
Wild, by Adrienne Wilder

August Vallory had it all. A modeling career, a man he loved, and the extended family he’d acquired in the business. Then the world he knew was torn away when the plane he was on crashed en route to a photo shoot.

Lost in the Alaskan wilderness, August doesn’t stand a chance.

No sane man would choose to live in the Alaskan bush unless he had something to hide. And Keegan Brooks has secrets darker than night, more dangerous than wolves, more brutal than an Alaskan winter.

Every day was a fight for his life until he stumbled upon a downed plane with a lone survivor. Now it’s no longer just Keegan’s life teetering on the edge of survival.

It’s his heart.

my review

In general, I enjoyed this. To be a little more nuanced, I liked the beginning, thought the middle dragged, and then the story picked back up for an exciting ending that then tapered off to a sweet happy ending.

I especially appreciated how bitchy August could sometimes be. I know that sounds like an odd thing to compliment, but I felt like—being in the midst of such a traumatic event—his temper made him relatable. I thought Keegan’s desperate love was emotionally effective and ticked a lot of boxes for me. But I also felt like he and August hadn’t gotten to actually know one another enough for it. The addition of Daisy was marvelous, though she seemed a little too smart to be believed. The villains were admirably villainous, but I predicted exactly how their role in the book would end far before they even showed up. So, no surprises.

The whole thing was well written and easy to read. I caught the occasional editing mishap, but not many and none I thought particularly grievous. I’ll be picking up future Wilder books, for sure.

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Other Reviews:

Book Review: WILD by Adrienne Wilder

Book Review : Wild by Adrienne Wilder

the assassin's daughter

Book Review: The Assassin’s Daughter, by Shana Vernon

Author, shana Vernon, sent me a copy of The Assassin’s Daughter for review.
the assassin's daughter Shana Vernon

She’s a deadly assassin…

…but there’s something she doesn’t know.

Will learning the truth cost her everything?

Lenna entered the guild under a secret identity because if they found out who she really was, it could get her killed.

But she had no choice.

She had to find out what happened to her father.

As they each learned about their powers and the world of rogue vampires, the stakes grew. Lenna couldn’t afford any romantic distractions. Cade, her instructor, though, was hard to resist. It wasn’t the first time they had met and if he recognized her, it could be deadly.

She was willing to risk everything…

…but finding her father wouldn’t be easy.

Something was going on at the Guild and she needed to get to the bottom of it. There was only one chance for Lenna to get answers and the odds were against her.

Could she count on her new friends?

my review

This is essentially an academy novel, though I don’t think that’s what the author set out to write. And I think that’s part of why I didn’t get along with this book. It didn’t know what it wanted to be, so it was just too many thing…poorly.

The writing is pedestrian, but readable. I don’t remember any big editing mishaps and the cast is diverse. Plus, the plot seems like it has a kernel of a good idea. That’s about all the nice things I have to say.

The characters are supposed to be in their 20s. Several were in the military and all had finished at least high school. But they literally felt 16…which made the sex feel a bit out of place. Lenna is supposed to be some super trained assassin, but she’s basically useless. She almost dies several times when everyone else barely got scratches. (These injuries felt overblown though.) The whole Maximus angle wasn’t utilized enough to have been included at all. And, worst of all, the plotting was non-existent. Nothing develops or was allowed to entice the reader, things just happened.

She went to find a dangerous, well-guarded vampire and did so within moments. (Though this, at least, is later explained.) She decided to enter the assassin guild and within a day did it. She walked in the door exactly as they were starting a new training class (there was no indication that she did this on purpose) and just joined, la-di-da. The guild just handed out the superpowers the same night, despite not knowing her. She immediately made friends (revealed her closest held secret) and found an insta-love. Lenna twice (TWICE) accidentally stumbled across people discussing secrets for her to overhear and eventually founds her father by accident. There is no nuance or delicacy here.

And on a personal irritant level, two small things especially irked me.  As someone who worked with children’s services, the fact that Lenna’s secret identity is supposed to have bounced from foster home to foster home but have been home schooled struck me as ridiculous. That just isn’t possible. It’s unlikely that most states would even allow it and it would be basically impossible to find multiple foster parents who were willing and able to home school. They have too much else on their plate! I realize this is a small thing and it’s a fantasy book. But it was mentioned several times and I called BS every-time, which pulled me out of the narrative.

Then there was the little rich girl character who Lenna disliked and disparaged because she was like “Daddy” this and “Daddy” that. But the whole time Lenna was like “Papa” this and “Papa” that and I was like, “You’re the same, so maybe shut it with your attitude.” I found Lenna really unlikable in such moments.

Oh, and I hated—HATED—the ending! I wasn’t surprised by it, but I still hated it.

All in all, this is an intensely YA novel, even if it’s not meant to be. (YA, not even NA, IMO.) The Amazon blurb calls it an “Adult Urban Supernatural Fantasy,” which is the only reason I accepted it for review, but I can’t see that as true. All in all, I didn’t particularly enjoy it. By 40% I was fighting the urge to skim and by the halfway mark I’d given in and skimmed the rest (which isn’t something I do often). I’d have DNFed it if I hadn’t committed to reviewing it.

But to be fair, the book as plenty of good reviews. So, it could just be a “not right book for me” scenario.

the assassin's daughter photo


Other Reviews:

Gizmo’s Reviews: Assassin’s Daughter

The Assassin’s Daughter by Shana Vernon

 

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Book Review: The Unremarkable Man, by Lauren Coffin

Lauren Coffin‘s The Unremarkable Man has been hanging out in my Kindle cloud since July of 2013. I recently had reason to explore TBR and decided to give an oldie a chance. I’m pretty sure I picked it up as a random freebie.

the unremarkable man

Wendell Coombs is not invisible. He is, and always has been, supernaturally ignorable. After thirty-seven years of coping with the difficulties of his condition- the struggle, for instance, to simply attain a cup of coffee, let alone a place to live- Wendell does not mind. In fact, he is quite comfortable in his anonymity. Or rather, as he discovers when someone notices him for the first time in decades, he is quite afraid of people. Esme Middaugh knows none of this when she offers Wendell what she thinks to be an innocuous “Hi.” Having spent the past year in the company of books rather than people, having, indeed, cut out people from her life altogether, Esme only knows that she has little business interfering in the affairs of this man and the ailing houseplant he carries with him. But she may be the only one who can save the plant- a ficus benjamina that has been the one constant in Wendell’s life. Wendell is willing to go to extremes to keep it alive, including asking Esme to help him. The Unremarkable Man is the story of two deeply isolated, slightly absurd people struggling to connect. And to save a ficus.

my review

Despite being several years old, this novella doesn’t have many reviews. I saw one on Goodreads, however, that referred to it as “endearingly awkward” and I just don’t think I can improve on that description. Wendell and Esme are both too dear for words. But also blithely bumbling through life, with no real clue about how to people; how to exist in a world that requires them to interact as a person. I think it would be hard to read the 106 pages of this story and not fall a little bit in love with them.

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