Tag Archives: self published

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Book Review: Sweep With Me, by Ilona Andrews

I purchased a copy of Ilona AndrewsSweep With Me. And here I have a short review for a short book.
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Thank you for joining us at Gertrude Hunt, the nicest Bed and Breakfast in Red Deer, Texas, during the Treaty Stay. As you know, we are honor-bound to accept all guests during this oldest of innkeeper holidays and we are expecting a dangerous guest. Or several. But have no fear. Your safety and comfort is our first priority. The inn and your hosts, Dina Demille and Sean Evans, will defend you at all costs. [But we hope we don’t have to.]

Every winter, Innkeepers look forward to celebrating their own special holiday, which commemorates the ancient treaty that united the very first Inns and established the rules that protect them, their intergalactic guests, and the very unaware/oblivious people of [planet] Earth. By tradition, the Innkeepers welcomed three guests: a warrior, a sage, and a pilgrim, but during the holiday, Innkeepers must open their doors to anyone who seeks lodging. Anyone.

All Dina hopes is that the guests conduct themselves in a polite manner. But what’s a holiday without at least one disaster?

my review
This was another entertaining installment in the Innkeeper Chronicles. I feel like this one maybe had less meat to it than some of the past books. Dina and Sean spend very little time together, which feels like a missed opportunity since this is where he joins her as an innkeeper. Plus, an awful lot of the page space (in this already short book) is dedicated to describing odd aliens and/or decor. But it was still fun to catch up with the Gertrude Hunt crew. I look forward to more in the future.

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Other Reviews:

Sweep with Me by Ilona Andrews

Review: Sweep With Me by Ilona Andrews

 

 

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Spotlight & Excerpt: Huntress Prey + Giveaway

I accepted a review copy of Selene Kallan‘s Huntress Prey as part or its blog tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. However, since I wasn’t able to give the book a good review, I’ve held it until the tour finished (yesterday). The book was also featured over on Sadie’s Spotlight. You can find author information and the tour’s schedule there.

VALENTINE

After almost three centuries of running from my past, I should be used to loneliness. Being a mythological monster isn’t compatible with relationships. But the craving for company grows stronger every day, turning routine into an endless nightmare and making me wish for an end to my immortality.


The explosive encounter with a beautiful, lethal fae who knows what I am and how to destroy me reminded me of that proverb: be careful what you wish for.

AXEL
I thought fate could not surprise me after almost six hundred years. And then there she is—the echo of the brave young woman I’ve heard legends about. Only she isn’t human anymore, but a vampire, the greatest enemy of my species. After a fight that could have killed us both, and an uneasy truce, I am left with burning curiosity and so is she.

But will curiosity be enough to quench her thirst for my blood and my impulse to kill her before she strikes?

my review

I admit that when I accepted this for review, I did not realize it was 500+ pages long. If I had, I 100% would not have accepted it. Not only because I wasn’t really in a position to want to commit to 500+ pages, but also because 500+ pages is well outside the genre standard for PNR/UF. And, while not without exception, that’s because PNR/UF plots don’t usually support 500+ pages. That’s epic fantasy territory, not PNR/UF. Had I noticed the page count, I would have felt something rotten in the state of Denmark before I even touch a page.

And true to the norm, at 510 pages this book is FAR too long. I’m talking probably twice as long as need be. I’d say it should be split in two, but that infers that there is enough plot here to carry two 250+ page books, and there isn’t. (There’s barely enough for one!) Instead, I’ll say that half—a full 200-250 pages of this book—is chaff. It just plain needs to be cut. The whole excursion to visit Lily serves no purpose to the plot. Valentine making eyes and friends with Maya is extraneous. In fact, every scene with Valentine at work—with or without Maya—could be cut as not pertinent. Far too many side characters are given history, considering they do almost nothing but cook and eat during the course of the book. None of this excess is neutral. It all dilutes the already thin plot until what is left feels random, disconnected, and all but plot-less.

There are also too many references to things that aren’t expanded on. It made it feel certain there must be another book somewhere, though, as far as I know, there isn’t. Too many characters randomly introduced, even very late into the story.

The story has promise and if it had been given to a ruthless content editor with a scalpel, it could have been something worth reading. Instead, it feels like it’s written by a teen. A teen with a firm grasp of grammar and syntax, true, but a teen all the same. (I’m not saying it was. I don’t know anything about Kallan. I’m just saying it feels that way as a descriptor.) It’s in the shallow use of villainy, the frequent use of sexual assault, misogyny, and lasciviousness to signal evil or even just badness, the characters with a single emotional note, the Whedon-esque banter, the unsupportable wealth and technology of the fae had, etc.

Honestly, I would have DNFed it if I hadn’t accepted if for review.

I did appreciate the diversity (racial and sexual) of the cast (including two bi/pan-sexual main characters) and, as I said, the writing itself wasn’t all that bad. There’s some odd use of language, dodgy phrases, and the dialogue gets pretty clunky and stiff at times. Plus, the editing starts to flag in the last half—especially in terms of missing words, and in/on being confused. But the writing itself is readable.

All of the above is obviously just my opinion. Other people have given this book 5 stars. So, I suppose the best thing to do is decide where your own line and tolerance for such things lie and read the book or not.

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Other Reviews:

Eye Rolling Demigod: Blot Tour Huntress Prey

What’s Beyond Forks: Book Review Huntress Prey


Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card, International.

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Book Review: Dragon Mate, by Jen L. Grey

While Jen L. Grey‘s The Hidden King wasn’t featured over on Sadie’s Spotlight, I did post it on Sadie’s Spotlight’s Instagram page and ended up with a free ecopy of the books. I read book one, Dragon Mate last night.
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Sometimes, survival depends on not being seen.

I should know. That’s the only way I’ve survived. Getting accepted into a prestigious university was my chance at freedom; to escape and live without fear and resentment.

And with no emotional attachments–or at least that was the plan.

Until I see Egan.

He’s sexy, mysterious, and has muscles in all the right places. He invokes feelings I don’t want or understand.

The more he shows up, the harder of a time I have remembering why staying away from him was a good idea. But he brings deep, dark secrets that alter my entire world.

Monsters exist. Witches cast spells. And animals may be human after all.

I either embrace fate and enter a strange new world full of risks like never before or walk away.

Maybe, I’m destined for heartache because sometimes, love isn’t worth what it costs to fall.

my review
I wouldn’t go so far as to call this bad. Certainly, the mechanical writing is perfectly competent. I don’t remember any big editing foul-ups and I do always appreciate a big ol’ cinnamon roll hero. So, I really liked Egan. (I’m fairly sick of all the alpha a-holes. So, a softer kinder hero is nice to see.) But I would call the book super inelegant. There just isn’t any subtly in the plotting, emotional arc, mystery, or romance. It’s all just splashed harshly and half-haphazardly on the page.

The book would have been vastly improved with the addition of Egan’s POV. Jade’s traumatic past didn’t feel real or pertinent (though maybe it’ll be more relevant in future books). I didn’t believe she’d be such a mouse if she’d also spent years being taught to defend and respect herself. And “I can’t allow myself any friends” seems an illogical response to it. Her diarrhea of the mouth wasn’t cute, it was just annoying. I think I got whiplash with all the emotional yes-no-yes-go away-come back etc. The villain was painfully obvious. And I’m hoping this is a spin-off of another series, otherwise there is just a lot of history referenced but never explained. (Edit: It turns out to be a spin-off of The Wolfborn Trilogy). Then, it ends on a cliffhanger with nothing concluded. So, I didn’t finish it feeling particularly charitable.

I do actually have books two and three. Who knows, maybe I’ll be in the mood to read it some time. But I’m not betting on it.

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Other reviews:

Dragon Mate