Tag Archives: self published

high priestess title

Book Review: High Priestess, by Wendy Hewlett

I do this thing, sometimes, where I search the extremes of Amazon Prime’s algorithm and let fate and random mathematics sell me a inexpensive book. In this manner, I bought a copy of High Priestess, by Wendy Hewlett.

high priestess wendy hewlett

Detective Constable Raven Bowen’s life seems to be falling apart around her. Her Wiccan mother, Ena Bowen, has recently passed to spirit and even though Raven hasn’t seen or spoken to her in twelve years, she feels the loss.

Then there’s her relationship with lesbian lover, Riley Gallagher, which ended rather abruptly and Raven only has herself to blame.

When the body of a young woman is discovered with the spring thaw, Raven takes on a new case and isn’t impressed when her sergeant assigns a rookie to investigate it with her.

If all of that wasn’t enough, Raven’s mother starts speaking to her from beyond the grave. She only has one question for her mother … “How the heck do I get you out of my head.”

The answer comes swiftly and shocks Raven to her core.

“Find my killer.”

my review

I quite enjoyed this. Though fair warning, the plot centers heavily on rape/rapists, including the rape of a child. I didn’t know this going into the book and I usually try to avoid such things in the books I read for fun. But I’ll grant that it is integral to the plot and not just tossed in as cheap plot fodder, which is quite often my complaint about rape in the books I read for entertainment.

I liked DC Bowen’s though she has quite a lot going on in the book and maybe isn’t at her most likeable. I also liked most of the side characters. I did think the villains a tad cliched, some of the personal drama dragged out longer than it felt like it needed to, and the whole being The Most Powerful made Bowen feel like too much of the special snowflake. But ultimately the book is quite readable and I’d be well up for reading another of Hewlett’s books.

high priestess

magic thief title

Book Review: Magic Thief, by C.C. Sommerly

I borrowed an audio version of Magic Thief, by C.C. Sommerly through Hoopla.
magic thief c.c. sommerly

Stolen magical artifacts, missing girls, and a hot partner I don’t want, what could possibly go wrong?

Paranormal Private Investigator (PI), Rayne Martin races against the clock to solve a case that is becoming more complicated by the moment. What started as a simple missing grimoire and stolen ancestral necklace has now morphed Into a potentially debilitating new reality for magic users.

Now, young women are missing. Others are turning up stripped of their magic and raving about monsters. Stealing magic once seemed inconceivable, but it is now a very real threat. It’s up to Marty to find out who is stealing magic.

Just when she has things in-hand, a partner is forced on her. Marty never learned to work well with others, so this is the last thing she wants. He is a straight play-by-the-rules guy. There is no rule she wouldn’t break. If they can’t learn to work together, then they will fail.

When her closest friend is taken, time is running out for Marty and Lochlan to crack the case. If they can’t find the magic thief, there may be nothing left of Marty’s friend to recover.

This was a bit of a fail for me. It was almost something good, but just seemed to miss the mark. The writing was pretty good, but there were some continuity issues in the plot, quite a lot of pointless drama that just seemed like filler (I’m thinking of the whole trip with the bone man, for example), and what felt like missing bits. For example, two characters would have a conversation and one would react to something the other very obviously was meant to have said. Except, that the one hadn’t said the thing being reacted to. The scene seemed to have a chunk missing from the middle. Then, later, the narrative would act as if the information hadn’t been shared at all. It’s hard to tell in an audio, when you’re not looking at text. But I can only assume this is a matter of editing.

I did like the characters and the man theoretically being position as a love interest. Though I wouldn’t say this is a romance, certainly none develops here. All in all, a pretty mediocre experience. I might be tempted to see if the next book gets better. But unless it does, I can’t see continuing the series.

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susan taki

Book Review – Susan Taki: The New Coven, by Dee Rose

Author, Dee Rose contacted me about reviewing the audio version of Susan Taki: The New Coven. However, I don’t think I can truthfully review it without first discussing the exchange she and I had prior to my accepting it.

susan taki: the New Coven

Susan Taki awoke from a magic-induced coma in the events of The Death Brothers: A Supernatural Awakening. After helping her boyfriend, the demon hunter, Father Tom Padilla in New York, she has now returned home to San Diego. She is weighing an offer from the vampire slayer, Jericho Caine, to be his partner, while she patrols the streets as a supernatural policeman at night.

However, her old witches coven has returned with a new and powerful leader, Tatiana. They intend to make Susie stand trial for her role in the death of one of their former leaders. The punishment is death. The underworld also has an interest in the outcome of the trial as they know Susie is an ally of their enemies, the Death Brothers, the Grand Librarian, and the Hangman.

my review

I made a mistake in accepting this for review. I usually check to ensure a book has previous reviews before I’ll accept it. I do this because I write an honest review, which means there is a chance I might write a negative one. But I’m not usually cruel enough to knowingly write a castigating review if it’s going to be the book’s only review, with nothing to balance against it.

However, when the author emailed me to review this book, I got distracted by it being 9th in a series. I wrote her back and asked her if it stood alone, saying that if it did I would accept it and inferring that if it didn’t I would pass. But in the process I forgot to check for reviews. By the time I realized there were no others I had already said yes and received the Audible code.

All of this is relevant for two reasons. The first is that Rose said, “It is definitely a stand-alone book. There are only rare references to the previous books as Susan Taki is a newer character that I was introducing to the series. The intro sums up the smaller role she played in the previous books.” But I have to disagree STRONGLY.

The recap in the beginning does help, but it’s not enough, not nearly enough. Characters aren’t introduced. There’s no world-building. The magic system isn’t explained, such that types of magic users feel like they appear randomly. We start with witches and vampires. Then we get demons. Then angels. Somewhere in there Slayers and Death Brothers show up and I still don’t really know exactly what they are or if they differ. Are there other magic creatures that just haven’t made an appearance yet? I don’t know. So, I don’t know the limits of the world.

The book feels 100% like you’ve picked up a story in the middle. This may not be relevant to the review of the book if you’re reading it as part of the series. But it absolutely effected my ability to read and enjoy it on its own. I would not advise reading it as a stand-alone book.

Second, if I hadn’t been reading this for review, I would have DNFed it very early on and avoided writing the review at all. I would have done this regardless, but most especially since it has no other reviews to counter-balance this one.

Both the book and the narration are simply bad. The narrator, Jeremy Olivier, did OK with the parts that were just straight narration. But he took super cheesy dialogue and made it sound even more cliched and stereotypical. (“Sucka” was particularly jarring. It didn’t sound at all natural.) It was a catastrophic combination. Usually a if it’s a decent book with poor narration or a mediocre book with good narration one balances the other out. But here they just compounded each-other.

Outside of the narration the writing is an issue. Even in audio I caught a few editing mishaps, though that’s not a huge thing. There was just so much description, even in places where there shouldn’t be. People don’t talk like omniscient narrators. They don’t notice and relay details in conversation like an outside narrator creating atmosphere would. And there are several points in which characters tell stories and describe things that a speaker simply wouldn’t. Had these been narrative flashbacks, it probably would have worked, but as person speaking, no. Events jumped around such that I barely followed what was happen half the time. There’s no build-up in the plot. Susan is suicidally rash. No one has a believable emotion, they’re all just blown out of proportion. And then the ending went totally against the villain’s personality.

I did appreciate that there’s some diversity in the cast. And as far as I could understand it, I think the kernel of an idea that formed this book was interesting. But it was a big fat flop for me.

susan taki