Search

So, I Read This Book Today

Editing, Proofreading, Reviewing and Other Stuff

Tag

vampires

Review: Dead Spots By Melissa F. Olson

Dead Spots (Scarlett Bernard, #1)

“Your perspective on life comes from the cage you were held captive in.” ― Shannon L. Alder

Scarlett Bernard is one pragmatic lady. Of course, she has to be considering her job is supernatural crime scene cleanup. As in, get in, clean up the mess, steal the body, and book the hell out of Dodge before the cops arrive. She is truly good at her job, and her boss, the cold and distant Dashiell, Master Vampire of the city, may be scary, but he pretty much allows her to do her job without interference. But then, the worst happens.

She gets caught. Caught by a newly minted detective, Jesse Cruz, just after she arrives at a scene more bloody and grotesque than any she has ever seen. What happens next is fast paced action with terrific world building and interesting characters. I first read the book back in 2012, and enjoyed it then. This time I listened to the Audible edition narrated by Amy McFadden (one of my favorite narrators) and, as sometimes happens, I liked it even more as I listened. Scarlett is a strong character with a well-developed, though brutal, background and is likeable. She isn’t perfect, but that is what makes her interesting. She has taken horrific hits in her life – but the one she walks into later on is absolutely devastating and Olson does a rather wonderful job of writing the horrors of betrayal. I would have liked her to be more mature in her interactions with others – her tendency to cope a nasty, self-serving attitude at times was a downer. I am hoping that the next books will show growth in her as a character (especially since I own them all). Her behavior isn’t as horrendous as other female characters in the genre, but I am hoping for more maturity in upcoming works.

There are some things that were irritating. The Dreaded Love Triangle. Irritating! Not only do love triangles make me retch, this one felt stilted and unnecessary, dragging down the storyline. Also, the POV switches between characters and from first to third person erratically and unnecessarily. Irritating, but not as irritating as the lurrve (titter titter, Groan) triangle. Olson’s take on werewolf psychology was more interesting than a lot of other books in the genre, and her friendship with the Alpha and Beta were more realistic than many others. The Alpha isn’t as ‘Alpha’ as in other books (thank the Goddess!) and the tortured Beta was very realistically portrayed in the vein of “I never wanted this in the first place.”

So, flawed, it isn’t perfect by any means, but I still enjoyed it as much as I remembered, and Amy’s narration was, as always, spot on.

Advertisements

Review: Dead Rising by Debra Dunbar

Dead Rising (The Templar, #1)“The noir hero is a knight in blood caked armor. He’s dirty and he does his best to deny the fact that he’s a hero the whole time.” — Frank Miller

“When in doubt, follow the truth. The path is often well-illuminated and it usually leads me in the right direction.” — David S. Brody, Cabal of The Westford Knight: Templars at the Newport Tower

“Let evil swiftly befall those who have wrongly condemned us – God will avenge us.” – Jacque (Jack) De Molay, last Grandmaster of the Knights Templar, Friday 13th, 1307

They started as protectors of Pilgrims on the Path. About 1119, Hugues de Payens, a French nobleman, began The Knights Templar, a group of knights charged with protecting the weak and innocent on their journey to visit the Holy Places.

But that changed.

From religious vows of obedience, chastity, poverty and piety, and under the orders of the Church, they became slaughterers of anyone who didn’t believe in Christianity. Thousands perished under their swords, men women and children. They became bankers to the world, an order without “clear purpose or support,” but with enormous financial resources and power.

Well, the church couldn’t have that. So, at dawn on Friday, October 13, 1307 their members were arrested, charged with heresy, blasphemy and various other crimes, tortured, and then executed.

Now, in Debra Dunbar’s marvelous imagination, the Templars still exist – but nothing as they were before. Focused on protecting their Temple filled with magical treasures and conducting research, they no longer Protect Pilgrims on the Path. Oh, they still train. With swords. Yeah, try riding a horse around town with a hand and a half bastard sword strapped to your back and see how far that gets you in this day and age. But mostly? They sit around the pool at their mansions, sipping martinis and playing golf. Well, all that treasure, invested properly, means that everyone inducted into the order pretty much lives a life of fairly obscene luxury. Well, except for Solaria Angelique (Aria) Ainsworth. Nope. Aria works in a coffee shop for minimum wage, lives in a hovel of an apartment, and lives on Ramen. At 26, she is far past the age she should have taken her oath to the order (no matter that her mother nags her constantly!). She knows the Templars should be more. They should still be protecting the Pilgrims, not counting their gold. The modern Templar belief is “only God should judge.” Of course, after their brutal and bloody history, it is easy to understand the reasoning – but to Aria it is a cop-out. There are still Pilgrims trying to find their way along the path, and they need protection.

Even if they are vampires.

When Leonora, the local vampire Mistress, asks for her help in identifying a mysterious sigil, she thinks it will be no problem. After all, she is a well-trained researcher with a massive collection of mystical texts. Oops. Finding the meaning is hard enough (after all, she only has seven days) but then? Things get sordid. Mass murders, the forty year old slaughter of a happy family, and secrets and lies force Aria to make a decision. Who is right, who is worthy of her protection – and who deserves to die.

I loved the idea behind the story. Aria? Nope – not so much. Almost not at all. The woman is 26, she has intense training, and not a lick of self-preservation or emotional common sense. Tell me this. If you know for an absolute fact that if you are to screw the vampire you will last maybe a few weeks, at most a couple of months, and then you will die . . . would you Really be considering actually doing it?!?! Yep. That pretty much ruined the book for me. Everyone who knows me know I love a strong female character. And in a lot of ways, she is strong. She is trying to do the right thing, for the right reasons, but her emotional “I am a pre-teen with a vampire crush” whining throughout the book really turned me off. I mean, seriously turned me off. I kept reading because the book overall was quite good, but I doubt I will read another.

The Dowser Series by Meghan Ciana Doidge on Audible.com!

Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic: Dowser Series #1 | Meghan Ciana DoidgeThe Dowser Series is out on AUDIBLE!! Wooo Hooooo!
Here is my review of the first in the series, Cupcakes, Trinkets, and other Deadly Magic:

Meghan, Meghan, Meghan! I am expecting cupcake stocks to sail through the roof, and a run on cupcake ingredients at local markets just from reading this book. Whee!!!

OK, listen to this . . . Bliss in a Cup – peanut butter-iced fudge cake (did I say fudge cake? OMG wait a sec, I have to go get a towel . . . whew, there)  Now, where was I? Oh, yes. Sex in a Cup – chocolate butter icing with a wallop of cinnamon and cocoa in the batter. Or, this particular favorite of mine, Buzz in a Cup – mocha fudge cake with mocha butter icing . . . oh, yes, I could go on, but I might swoon from pure overload. . .

Jade is a sweetheart. A nice young half witch, half human (maybe. . . ) with a nasty tempered foster sister, a wild earth witch grandmother, and a cupcake bakery. A very popular cupcake bakery with a reputation for ‘magical’ tasting cupcakes. She has a quiet life, happy with her baking, her trinket making and her quiet, apparently fulfilling life.

Then, of course, things change. And not in a nice way. Poor Jade. Life will never be the same. Apparently she isn’t who she thought she was. But then, who is she?

Cupcakes, hot werewolves, cupcakes, mystery, oh, did I mention cupcakes? Yummy, luscious, delicious, chocolate, fudge. . . Oh. My. Goddess. The hardest thing about reading the book? First, I am dying for cupcakes now. And second? Hurry! Hurry! Write the next one, Meghan! Please!

Highly recommended.

Now, all the books (except for #5, which isn’t up yet, but I am sure it will be!) are on Audible for your listening enjoyment. And the first book is only $2.99! So grab your copy while you can at that price, because you are going to want to buy them all!

Back to Nocturne Falls with “The Werewolf Meets His Match”

The Werewolf Meets His Match (Nocturne Falls, #2)I first visited Nocturne Falls with the first book in the series, The Vampire’s Mail Order Bride. I didn’t know what to expect, but I found it in one of my email ‘freebie’ newsletters, and it sounded like fun, so what the heck?

It was, in a word, a Blast. I loved the town of Nocturne Falls, where Halloween is 365-days-a-year. What better way for witches, weres, vamps and all the other supernaturals to live their lives without fear of notice by the norms?

The books are $4.99 a piece, and with my tiny book budget and the plethora of less expensive books out there I hadn’t picked up another. But I finally broke down and bought The Werewolf Meets His Match and it was just as much fun as VMOB.

Hank Merrow, sheriff of Nocturne Falls and alpha’s heir, has always known that he would probably have to enter into an arranged marriage. Just part and parcel of being in his position. Sigh. But when he is notified that, not only is he going to have to have an arranged marriage, but it is to one of the bloody Kincaid Women (HORROR!) the temptation to back out of the whole deal is strong. But Hank is a good man, an honorable one, and his people don’t need another war. So, Suck it up, Buttercup, and marry the heathen already. Only, things may not be just exactly what they seem . . .

Ivy Kincaid’s first intro to Hank is from the other side of jailhouse bars. Well Hank isn’t really surprised by that. She is a Kincaid after all. But Ivy is just full of surprises. And the more Hank learns, the more he begins to think that things just may not be as bad as he expected. And when Hank learns Ivy’s secrets, he will soon discover that, lawman or not, some things are worth killing for.

I adored Ivy, her charming secret, and goofy, lovable Hank and his family. If you haven’t tried this series, check out the first one, it is only .99 on Amazon. Bet you get hooked as well! This one gets five stars. I adore Ivy, and her story made me want to stand right beside her and fight. Someone give me a map to Nocturne Falls – I want to live there!

Kill It With Magic (Lillim Callina Book One) by J. A. Cipriano – Young Adult

Kill it with Magic by J.A. CiprianoHere’s the thing. I don’t normally like “YA” books. Hey, been there, done that, didn’t even want the flipping “I lived through being a teenager” T-shirt. But I was looking for a Whispersync book, I had downloaded this book from a “freebie” email, and though there was no description on the “About this book” on my Kindle, the first couple of paragraphs grabbed my attention and made me laugh.

“What kind of a tip do you give someone you’ve just blown up? That’s the thought that ran through my mind as I frantically rummaged through my pockets for something, anything to give the delivery boy I’d just blasted into the brick wall outside my tiny apartment.

It wasn’t my fault, I swear. It’s not like my day planner reads: brush teeth, shower, get dressed, blow up delivery boys.” – Lillim Callina

You have to admit, that is pretty darn humorous, right? So, I paid my $1.99 for Whispersync, popped on my headphones, and wandered into my studio to work on my art. Let’s face it – that is a LOT less money than paying for a full Audible Edition! And you can simply stop listening and start reading any time you want.

Score.

Come to find out, Lillim Callina is actually sixteen – but you wouldn’t know it from reading her. Well, actually, actually she is something like six years old. Yeah, weird, huh? You see, Lillim is a reincarnation of one ass-kicking, name-taking female with a nasty streak and some deep, dark secrets. Throw in a ton of magic, a spectacularly sped-up growth rate, a mother who thinks that the perfect way to ‘teach’ her toddler “Vampires Bad!” is to tie her to a tree outside a cave full of blood-suckers right at sundown (OK, I just thought my egg donor was a raving lunatic!) a dragon turf war, and a truly pissed-off werewolf king (Well, OK. She did accidentally get his son kidnapped as a pawn in the aforementioned dragon turf war. Sigh.) Add to that various and sundry other weird, hideous and downright loco monsters, and this was a riot wrapped in a Dresden-esque ass-kicking on steroids. Lillim appears to be sixteen, but her thought process are wildly skewed by the memories from her eight former lives – especially the previous one – making her a clever mix of teenager and burned-out middle aged woman.

This is non-stop action, with plenty of blood and blades to go around. Lillim is quite interesting, though I had a bit of a problem with just how often, and just how severely, she got herself beaten to a pulp and still walked away. The author goes to great pains to write her as a mortal creature in a world filled with immortal monsters – but it stretches belief when every time she turns around she is being slammed into brick walls by dragons, set on fire, and basically subjected to brutality that should have killed her. Over, and over, and over again. Still, the book was amusing, the story itself is unusual – not as formulaic as is so common these days – and Lilllim is an interesting character with a striking backstory.

Overall, I don’t regret the time I spent with the book. If you are a fan of YA, I recommend it. If you aren’t a fan, you still might enjoy it – I did.

Fire Touched – Out March 8th!

Fire Touched (Mercy Thompson, #9)

It’s coming out March 8th. I am still hesitant after the last one (Night Broken pissed me off. . .)

Have any of you read a beta? Thoughts?

The library has it ordered on disk. I am fifth in line, so I can give it a listen without having to buy it for Penguin’s fixed price . . .

Mercy Thompson has been hailed as “a heroine who continues to grow and yet always remains true to herself.”* Now she’s back, and she’ll soon discover that when the fae stalk the human world, it’s the children who suffer…

Tensions between the fae and humans are coming to a head. And when coyote shapeshifter Mercy and her Alpha werewolf mate, Adam, are called upon to stop a rampaging troll, they find themselves with something that could be used to make the fae back down and forestall out-and-out war: a human child stolen long ago by the fae.

Defying the most powerful werewolf in the country, the humans, and the fae, Mercy, Adam, and their pack choose to protect the boy no matter what the cost. But who will protect them from a boy who is fire touched?

*Library Journal

Review: The Vampire’s Mail Order Bride by Kristen Painter – Fun!

The Vampire's Mail Order Bride (Nocturne Falls, #1)I had really fun Halloween. Well, a fun reading Halloween. Out here we don’t get trick-or-treaters, but I did get to read The Vampire’s Mail Order Bride by Kristen Painter. Truthfully, I am not a vampire lover. As anyone reading my reviews knows, after working in the morgue, the whole ‘kissing the dead’ thing just really doesn’t do it for me. But in this case, the mythology Kristen developed made it a whole lot more fun for me.

Delaney James is in a bad spot. After seeing her boss at the restaurant shoot someone, and getting caught at catching him, she is on the run. Slipping into a business to slip her pursuers, she finds it to be a dating service. Snatching a file off the desk, she finds herself posing as a match for a groom-to-be. Hummm . . . gunned down by a mobster, or faking being a bride wannabe? Easy peasy.

Only, it really isn’t. Because not only does her possible groom not actually not want to be a groom (those pesky moms and their manipulations in order to get grandkids can be a real pain – even if they are really, really old) he is a 400-year-old vampire. Uh. She certainly didn’t expect THAT!

The town of Nocturne Falls, where Halloween is a 365 day event, is a character in the book all on its own. A great one at that. This is book one, and I can hardly wait to dig into the next. Great fun with a light and fluffy attitude!

DOWSER 4 IS HERE!!!! Shadows, Maps and other Ancient Magic

Book cover by Elizabeth Mackey
amazonBigamazon-ca  amazonUK
ibooks-logo
kobo_logo_FINALPMS

Snippet:

I had new cupcakes to bake, a new treasure to hunt, and a new dragon in town — literally. Who wouldn’t be ecstatic filling their days with chocolate, trinket collecting, and martial arts training?
Yeah … me.
Because no matter how much chocolate I ate, I couldn’t fill the dark pit in my soul. A darkness born from blood alchemy. A darkness that reeked of the black magic I now knew I was capable of creating.
Maybe it was time to walk away.
But what if there were important things left to do? What if I was the only one who could do what needed to be done?
I wasn’t sure I could handle the responsibility, but as long as I had my chocolate stash and a good friend to back me up, I was willing to give it a try.

dance cupcake

The Black Swan Inheritance – Marigold Deidre Dicer – FREE on Smashwords

My friend Marigold is offering her book, The Black Swan Inheritance free on Smashwords until February 6th. You should pick up a copy! Click the cover to read my review and order your copy. And yes, there is a new cover and type-style.

https://dwtr67e3ikfml.cloudfront.net/bookCovers/fdf02f29ac4dd3c3b9587e2d7f984027931b5ebc

Anita had the kind of reputation in high school that no one wants to carry into adulthood. Now at university, she is determined to be good, but one little end-of-semester celebration can’t hurt, right? Well it can if she ends up having a one-night stand with a werewolf that triggers a dark awakening. Turns out Anita’s over-active libido has become more than something hormonal – it’s magical.

The striking Black Swan is native to Australia, unrelated to the seemingly pure White Swan of Europe. She is found in the strangest of places – from ugly mines to cultivated farms, peaceful bushland to violent coast.

Yet, she always shies away from humanity.

The Black Swan is always beautiful, surprisingly resilient and very, very powerful. Most Black Swans are wise enough not to use that power to challenge the status quo.

Most…

Anita had the kind of reputation in high school that no one wants to carry into adulthood, especially since she wants to be a doctor like her dad. Now at university, she is determined to be good, but one little end-of-semester celebration can’t hurt, right? Well, it can if she ends up having a one-night stand with a werewolf that triggers a dark awakening. Turns out Anita’s over-active libido has become more than something hormonal – it’s magical.

The Black Swan is a powerful legacy that brings both temptation and danger. Having now inherited the title and all that comes with it, Anita finds herself beset upon by ancient abominations that won’t take no for an answer. No wonder the Black Swan had been driven to seclusion and banishment in the past. But Anita is determined not to run away – she is here to help, whether the medieval dragon-wolf or the undead cultists want it or not.

She will be no one’s pawn. She will rise to the challenge.

If she can just manage to deal with her own flaws first. Anxiety, panic-attacks, and bouts of bitchiness does not a successful diplomat make.

DISCLOSURE: PLEASE NOTE
This New Adult Paranormal Fantasy includes regular coarse language, violence, sexual references and sex scenes.
There is also reference to rape. Not in any detail, but there is reference to it.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑