Jilleen Dolbeare


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Smashwords book reviews by Jilleen Dolbeare

  • Reign of Blood on July 15, 2012

    Well, I just lost a huge review, because my computer is stupid, so I hope this one is just as good. I received this book for an honest review. Since I already wrote the fluffy stuff once, I'll just cut to the chase. Reign of Blood is a decent read. It's quick, has lots of action, is not boring, and I didn't feel like it was a chore I had to complete because I said I would like some advanced reading copies can be. Pros: Loved the first line of the book. Wow! April, the heroine, is quite interesting. She stepped from her shallow party girl Las Vegas life right into leather wearing, dark huntress, vampire slayer without much angst. She might miss her old life, but the new one suits her. She had been lucky that her mother, brother and herself had found a survivalist's bunker outside the city so they have a safe refuge to return too after scoring the city by day in search of supplies. April is strong, her character is dynamic and she seemed real; full of uncertainty, ranging through levels of self doubt, but still strong and determined. The story, although not perfectly original (There was a chunk that sounded just like the novella "I Am Legend")was interesting. The "feral" vampires were creepy, all part zombie part vampire monster. Cons: I wanted to say that the story wasn't orginal enough for me, but as I thought about it some more, I didn't think that detracted much. The first half of the book flowed well. It built the world nicely and seemed balanced and patient. The second half felt hurried and it lost some of the flow, world building, and well, writing style that the first half had. The only beef I had with the first half was April calling the vampires "feral vampires" at that point, she and the reader only believe there are humans and vampires period. It sort of annoyed me and gave away that something else was coming later. One more, I hated that every time April speared some vamp, they dripped "blood and ichor." Ichor's an awesome word, but repetition caused it to lose effectiveness. (Spoilers here on...) There were some holes in the second half of the book. Several, actually, but the one that bothered me the most was when Christian (the villain) tells April that since she was a human she was weak, and later (after she leaves him dying) that humans are strong and will end up ruling the earth. The truth is, Christian (and the reader) both know that April isn't human. There's the whole big work up how she and her family are just another type of hybrid that don't have to drink blood, but become super human if they do. There are no humans left in April's world. Also towards the final quarter of the book, the writing sort of devolved, (I think that Ms. Purdy is a great story teller, but got rushed at the end)so maybe didn't get the proofreading needed. Here's a quote, "His wild look was gone instead the serenity of a man accepting defeat washed over him, making him look slightly gaunt but handsome once more." What? Someone accepting defeat may be resigned, but I doubt they'd be serene. Also, why slightly gaunt? If you want to say he's handsome, just say, resigned to his fate, the anger died and he was handsome once more. One of my pet peeves are writers with a thesaurus and no edit button. Sometimes the simple is the most profound! (Believe me, I'm guilty of this too.) Overall, I'd recommend Reign of Blood to those who like YA dystopian, or YA dark fantasy. It does have scenes of gore and lots of blood, so keep that in mind. It's a fast read, entertaining and a decent story.
  • Embrace - Kane Wolves, #2 on Sep. 13, 2012

    I really liked this story. I received this book free for an honest review. Before I read it, I figured it was fair to read the first book in the series so I could have a good idea about the story. I'm glad I did because I was comfortable diving in and knowing what was going on. The first thing I noticed was that the flow of the story was much improved from the first book and the main character, Sophie, had matured into her promise from the first book. Sophie has to take on a lot more responsibility and her duties and pain from her losses really shows in her character. I'm a character reader and I have to relate to my main character to enjoy a story, and Sophie is easy to get into and she seems real and well-rounded. We got the new introduction of the point of view of Daniel, which was nice, but he never felt as fully developed as Sophie. He seemed rather one-dimensional and no explanation was given for his about face from the first book that felt really believable. Frankly, it wasn't really believable how he acted in the other book if you considered how deeply in love he was supposed to be with Sophie. Pros: The book was a quick read, it was easy to get into the story, follow, and the action flowed so it never felt boring. The world was interesting, and I loved the introduction of the elven magic hinted at in the first book. I liked finding out the mystery of Sophie's ancestry. Cons: Both books were too short. At under 150 pages a piece, they were more novellas than novels. There was enough meat there that both books could have been expanded and time spent on characterization of the supporting characters and the villains. The villain in this story was very one-dimensional and the motivation was never really believable. More time could have been spent on the elf background/magic and the great-grandfather's motivation and experiences. Having his "ghost" hanging around was very forced and felt deus-ex-machina-y (but ended up doing nothing really). Her ex-boyfriend Jaime, was sort of written off and although he appears, he is also flat and his presence feels forced. I guess I just wanted better development and more story building, which could be an easy fix, since there could be another 100 pages added (hint hint) to make it novel length. Overall, it was a decent book, and since I read it quickly and had a hard time putting it down, I can recommend it to other readers of the genre (it would be best to read Howl first though). So, if you love paranormal romance, want a decent, original tale this is a story for you! I could also recommend this to older YA paranormal romance readers as both books contain adult themes.
  • Color of Loneliness on Oct. 28, 2012

    This book was awesome! I don't read normal romance type books, I sort of did when I was a teenager, but found them to sappy and formulaic that I quickly outgrew them. Basically, I won't read a romance unless there is something else going on like a mystery, or something supernatural. When my goodreads friend, Madeleine, sent me her book to read just "cuz," I said I'd do a read and review for her. I have to say,I was pleasantly surprised to like the book so much,(because it was a romance and not because of her:) I read it in less than a day! Myra is a girl who has nothing left in her life. She has just lost her last family member and broken up with her creepy cheater-ass boyfriend. So, on a whim, and her savings, she packs up and moves several states away to live in her inherited house. Unfortunately, said house is falling down around her ears and it takes a sexy if angry, gruff and foul-mouthed contractor to set it to rights. Dylan, said contractor, has a nasty past that he can't talk about. We know it involves a wreck and a death, but no details and he has a problem with the women in town all trying to get in his gorgeous and well-filled pants. He hates that and has developed his mean exterior to keep them at bay. Regardless, he finds himself drawn to Myra and she may be able to help him heal. Suzy, my favorite character, is Myra's best bud. She is a foul-mouthed, inventive, hilarious character always there to cheer up Myra with her escapades or clever mouth diarrhea. She's good for some very creative euphemisms for sex with a contractor involving tools. Some of her scenes had me smothering my laughter, trying not to wake up my husband during my midnight reading. I was laughing, choking, crying and doing it all with a blanket shoved in my mouth, and trying to not let my dimmed down Nook hit me in the face at the same time. Pros: This is an interesting romance with quirky characters that draw you in. I loved the supporting cast and laughed out loud with Suzy, and cried with Myra. The author did a great job of yanking on the full color-wheel of emotions with this one. She has taken the typical romance formula and flipped it on its ear. Well done! Cons: Myra's constant depression was a little draining and she was a tiny bit to passive. She does finally stand up to cheater-ass, but she needed to step out of victimhood sooner and show some backbone. I wanted to strangle her (especially in the very last scene). I liked the hints that maybe she had a match making ghost living in her house, but I think the story might have been a little more fun if the author had played that angle up. Someone from her family should be watching out for her! I would definitely recommend this to lovers of romance novels (adult, there is sex and a lot of foul language) who like quirky characters. I will read the sequel (finish it soon Madeleine)!