I'm an avid reader and though I enjoy most genres, my favorite will always be Romance - specifically Paranormal Romance. There's just something about visiting fantastic places with a yummy hero and sympathetic, likable heroine! I also enjoy mystery, science fiction, and fantasy, as well as the sub-genre of Urban Fantasy.
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Smashwords book reviews by Anne Victory
- Under Witch Moon
on Nov. 19, 2010
Adriel is a witch for hire. Doing odd jobs here and there, she mainly provides healing aromatherapy, potions, and the occasional protection spell. Life is just fine until one of her clients, Delores, uses a protection spell not as defense against a were-wolf, but as a way to trap him. When her client turns up dead, things really start to get weird.
Adriel's world gets turned upside-down in short order. First, she finds out Delores' murder wasn't just a fluke, but was instead part of a series of killings. Just in case that wasn't enough, a handsome police detective, White Feather, wants to question her, a vampire is looking for her, and an evil witch is trying to kill her. To top things off her friend, Lynx, just turned up missing. Life just keeps getting better and better.
Adriel is a great heroine. She's spunky, she's got a code of honor, and she's got a heart of gold. The supporting cast is equally well done. Adriel's friend, Lynx, is a smart-mouthed, street-tough kid and White Feather, Adriel's contact with law enforcement, is sexy and mysterious.
Ms. Schneider's world of magic is very realistic feeling. She takes you through the process of Adriel's spell-crafting in a way that lets you know what it is possible for her to do, and also explains why she doesn't just wave a wand and "zap" the bad guy. Another reason it felt realistic is because it dove-tails pretty well with how actual pagans work magic. The method is realistic, even though the results are fantasy. It's laid out in such a way that it doesn't become boring but is, instead, pretty fascinating.
The story is exciting, with a fast-paced plot and plenty of villains. The only problem I really had with the book is that in a couple of places the dialog got a bit stilted, but overall it was a tightly woven tale with lots of action. A hint of future romance with White Feather also added to the appeal. I think fans of Mercy Thompson and Kate Daniels will enjoy this newcomer on the the Urban Fantasy scene.
Official review for TheRomanceReviews.com
- Little Miss Straight Lace, Book One of the Unbreakable Series (Free Romantic Suspense)
on Nov. 19, 2010
Little Miss Straight Lace has a great story to tell, a great cast of characters, and a wonderful brace of villains that you enjoy hating.
Josie Natale is a bio-statistician - she makes her living checking and correlating the data produced by pharmaceutical trials. She's good at her job and has earned a reputation for being by-the-book, never fudging numbers or cutting corners - Little Miss Straight Lace. Nic Remedian is a South American security consultant brought in by Josie's best friend to investigate threatening emails that have been received by various employees and appear to be coming from a religious cult.
The relationship between Josie and Nic is wonderful to see unfold. Josie is a vibrant character and so is Nic. They work well for each other. The supporting cast of friends and family is also well-drawn and fully fleshed out, and the villains are both brilliant and scary.
My only problem with the book was the pacing. At points it would drag on, and on, and on, like the Energizer Bunny. As an example, Nic thinks he sees someone leaving Josie's apartment. He tells her about it and she thinks he's mistaken - and then NOTHING happens for chapters and chapters and chapters. I'd read something like that and would gear myself up for the action / confrontation to start and then it would just wither. It sometimes felt as if I was reading two separate books. One was a contemporary romance, and the other was a romantic suspense. For the first half of the book, it was straight contemporary with a smidge of suspense thrown in here and there, and then at the last half of the book the romantic thriller took over. I feel like the book would have been better if pacing and flow had been a bit faster.
Despite the plodding plot, it was still an enjoyable read. I was really rooting for Josie and Nic, they were a great couple. Miss Romana really nailed the chemistry between them and created something very sweet where you just ached for them to have a Happily Ever After. She delivered on that, too, in a very satisfying way.
Official Review for TheRomanceReviews.com
- Out of Time: A Time Travel Mystery (Out of Time #1)
on Jan. 04, 2011
Set in the Roaring '20s, OUT OF TIME by Monique Martin is a roaring good read! With a backdrop of gangsters, speakeasies, and Prohibition, the romance that develops in this romantic urban fantasy is nothing short of gripping.
Simon Cross is a professor of Occult Studies at a California university. He and his graduate assistant, Elizabeth West, have an easy working relationship, despite the attraction they both feel for one another. One evening, Elizabeth brings some graded papers over to Simon's home to drop them off, and while she's there they manage to activate a pocket watch that had belonged to Simon's grandfather. Neither of them realizes that the watch is, in fact, a time travel device and the next thing they know, they're in an alley in the 1920's.
I absolutely love the characters in this story. Simon and Elizabeth are both wonderful. Simon has the quintessential acidic British wit-dry and full of snark. I laughed out loud at several of his caustic comments. Elizabeth, on the other hand, is a perfect foil for him. She's very diplomatic and often smoothes the feathers that Simon ruffles. At the same time, she's no push-over and doesn't hesitate to stand up to Simon or anyone else. She's a perfect mix of sweet and tough.
The supporting cast is equally engaging. There's the tough but lovable Charlie Blue who befriends them, and then the villainous King Kashian. All of the characters are painted deftly and contribute to the overall story.
Almost another character in its own right is the setting. The Roaring '20s is presented in all the glory of the time period, but also accurately. I wouldn't have minded seeing a bit more of the "Flapper" culture, such as what we see in The Great Gatsby, but we're still treated to a look at some of the cultural icons of the day. One of my favorite scenes is when Simon and Elizabeth go on an outing to Coney Island. Ms. Martin describes it so well that I could picture perfectly the rides, the games, the food vendors and it allowed me to share some of the joy and wonder that Simon and Elizabeth had as they explored.
The only problem I had with Out of Time is that it dragged a bit in the middle. The beginning was full of adventure and our fearless couple trying to survive being transplanted out of the blue into a different time, but the mid-chapters just seemed to be building... and building... and building. Eventually, the story reached the boiling point and everything took off again, but there was a bit of plodding.
Also of note was while one of the characters IS a vampire, I would in no way classify this as a vampire story. In fact, I think the story would have been almost exactly the same had that character been mortal and that raised the question of "Why make him a vampire?" I can only assume that it's to introduce the idea that paranormal creatures do exist in this world setting.
That aside (and truthfully, they're both VERY small quibbles), OUT OF TIME is a fantastic read. Elizabeth and Simon and so great together, you can't help but pull for them through the entire book. A perfect mix of romance and urban fantasy, you won't regret spending time with Monique Martin in OUT OF TIME.
Originally reviewed for The Romance Reviews.