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Smashwords book reviews by Hillary Curran
- Of Witches and Warlocks: The Trouble with Spells
on June 09, 2012
The book starts off with a brief passage from Vance’s point of view, then switches to two years later from Portia’s point of view. While it’s the only part we see from Vance’s POV, and it’s really very brief, it starts the ball rolling on the connection between Vance and Portia from the very start. And what a connection it is! We spend some time in the everyday life of Portia, and we tag along as she discovers the truth about herself on her sixteenth birthday, and learns about the boy who’s had all the girls swooning since the moment he stepped on campus. We see their relationship grow ever closer, and struggle through the awkward and just plain tough moments. The big question is: will it be enough to save them from the evil that now hunts them?
The neat thing is that because we’re reading from Portia’s POV, and she’s just discovering the world of magic, it presents the author with the opportunity to character build, world built, and push the plot along without extraneous exposition. I call that a well designed story. The love story is incredibly sweet, and tackles hard questions, such as sex, while remaining realistic and honorable. I think it’s a great book for teens based on that alone! The magic is neat, if a tad convenient. I am a fan of shows like Charmed, movies like Practical Magic, and books like Significance, so the way magic was presented as well as some characteristics of Portia and Vance’s relationship made me think of all of them combined, which is totally cool.
A minor complaint I have is that the passage of time was occasionally a little unrealistic or hard to follow. When months have supposedly passed, I didn’t feel the couple showed the changes you would expect from having been together that long. But ultimately, it’s not something you notice often, nor does it really take away from the story.
- The Mystic Wolves
on June 09, 2012
This was a cute werewolf story about a girl and guy who are nauseatingly in love. He’s the alpha and she’s his betrothed, so Darcy’s gotten very comfortable in the pack, and very close with Mason’s sister. The story delivers betrayal, death, danger, and frustrating sexual tension because they need to stay “pure” for the mating ritual.
There’s a large section in the middle where Mason and Darcy focus on each other and just get away from it all for a bit. I personally enjoyed it because I love to focus on just the love story, however realistically I don’t think they would’ve been able to get away with it when there’s a threat looming.
While I enjoyed the story, the cliffhanger ending made me mad for a lot of reasons...that I can’t explain without giving it away, so I’ll zip my lips. Beyond that, my biggest complaint is that we once again have another werewolf/vampire story. I like vampires and werewolves, but hopefully Belinda Boring will shake it up a bit in book 2, Forget Me Not, which is available now!
- Immortal Voyage
on July 14, 2012
This book is very different from anything I’ve read to date. Set on Earth, it’s an Earth that is barely recognizable to what we’re familiar with as its set ages upon ages ago. We start off from a human’s point of view, but are quickly introduced to aliens and shown that there will be plenty of interaction as we follow several different characters. There’s a mystery about the book that lasts well into late chapters, surrounding who is what and all the relationships. It’s all very intricately woven.
What’s even cooler about this book is all the mythology that’s included. I am itching to gush about all the references made, but that would ruin the fun y’all can have when you go read it. The last page is the best though in terms of weaving the different mythologies together!
For several chapters I was disappointed with the characters, feeling they were fickle in their affections, but it’s all explained later, so I was able to let that go and enjoy the characters more, thankfully. What I didn’t like was that sometimes things felt a little rushed. The passage of time was a little confusing at times, but overall you’re still able to catch up quickly and fall back into the moment. The only particular problem I had that was ongoing was that I felt the editing could have been better. There were extra words and incorrect words scatter throughout which made it difficult to keep a smooth flowing read through, but if you can recognize and keep up with those, it’s really a neat and touching story.
- Sleepers - The Swarm Trilogy, Book 1
on July 14, 2012
So you open the book, and what’s on page 1? An execution! What a way to grab attention. The book is well paced, so your attention is always kept front and center. The fantasy world is neat with a mystery surrounding the peoples and their histories that is kept alive until the final pages.
In addition to the mystery, we’re also provided with an age old favorite – the love triangle. Lianne is torn between the boy she’s always been best friends with, Bryden, and the boy she’s always had a crush on that’s finally taken notice of her, Kellan. This has no bearing on the story, but I was personally team Bryden from the get-go, just sayin’. She struggles with this throughout the major conflict, and it gets her into further trouble.
Now, lately I’ve been getting pretty tired of love triangles, but this one is actually done in such a way that I only wanted to smack Lianne a couple times, so that’s a plus! However, there were other times that I felt she was seriously niave, but then had to remind myself that at the age of 16, answers can be staring you in the face and you would still not see them…because teenagers are young, blind, and stupid. Just because the world is such that 16 is older than it would be in our world, doesn’t mean that doesn’t apply. Alas, regardless of age, I still felt invested in the outcomes for all the characters!
- Prince of Wolves, Book 1 The Grey Wolves Series
on Aug. 12, 2012
This book was really enjoyable. It takes place over just a few days making for a really easy read, and though we go over some of the same events between two points of view, it’s surprisingly didn’t feel redundant at all. For the most part we only see from Jacque’s point of view or Fane’s, but every so often a pertinent character, such as Jacque’s mother, will have a little paragraph to put their two cents into a situation.
One of the best parts is that all the characters acted their age. As a teenager we’re full of hormones and walk the fine line between adult maturity and childish immaturity. Both are depicted in the story and made for a very realistic feel. The girls are so feisty that I couldn’t help but laugh out loud with them. They’re all very snarky, it’s so great! Fane’s adoration for Jacque is so romantic and sweet that you’ll melt.
A light hearted read, despite the life or death conflict, Prince of Wolves is a fun, yet emotional read. It reminded me of Significance by Shelly Crane with how connected the couple is and just how sweet they are together. I recommend it to any YA paranormal fan. It’s even a tad educational, as you might even get a little lesson in Romanian *wink*.
- Reviving Bloom
on Dec. 01, 2012
The beginning is really sad as both characters struggle with guilt and grief, but it just sets the stage. Once they meet, the contrast between before and after is very heartwarming. The plot is fast, grabbing your attention and keeping it.
The usual aggression you find in many werewolf stories these days was not present, which was refreshing and, coupled with short distinct chapters, makes for a quick and pleasant read. The plot is fairly predictable, but enjoyable none the less, especially since Bloom is adorable and you can’t help but fall for Pike.
The family dynamics, and pack ones too for that matter, added depth to both the plot and the characters and I really loved some of those characters almost as much as the main ones! There are some outside sources of action and suspense, but most of the conflict in this book comes from internal struggles as Pike and Bloom learn each other and their new roles together.
As far as the writing goes, I think there’s room for growth, particularly in the grammar department, but nothing took away my enjoyment at all. There’s plenty of room for sequels and I’m really looking forward to the next installment – especially since the ending is more of a lead-in than and ending. The best part is that it left me wanting more without being a cliffhanger!
Reviving Bloom is a very sweet werewolf tale that had me enthralled from the very first page. I was so engrossed in it that I stayed up half the night to finish it! It’s a story about life and its hardships as well as love and adventure. Can’t wait for more!