I'm an avid reader of paranormal romance and urban fantasy.
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mish's favorite authors on Smashwords
Smashwords book reviews by mish
- Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble
on Aug. 08, 2010
Jolie Wilkins is just your average ghost whispering, sometimes psychic, tarot card reading girl next door with a lackluster love life, a quirky BFF, and unbeknownst to her... some latent witchy powers! Rand Balfour, the hunky warlock who comes by for a reading, knows Jolie has powers and needs her ghost whispering talents to help him discover who killed his client.
What neither Jolie nor Rand expected was not only could she talk to ghosts, but she could reanimate the dead as well! Word spreads fast about Jolie's ability as a necromancer and now there are factions of the underworld who want to use Jolie for their own agenda.
Jolie's world is turned upside down. Not only is she suddenly thrown into a world of vampires, witches, fairies, and werewolves, but she has to try and prevent an underworld coup while maneuvering around the advances of an amorous werewolf, a sexy vampire, a rake of a ghost and a randy fairy king. And then there is Rand, her gorgeous warlock who waffles between wannabe lover and distant employer.
Though the author labels this book an Urban Fantasy, I personally view it more as a light Paranormal Romance. Regardless of what you want to call it, it was a fun and absorbing read that kept me turning the pages. The romantic tension between Jolie and Rand is carried throughout the book. Rand is constantly struggling between his attraction to Jolie and his position as her employer (or at least that is the excuse he is using, eh?). Much to Jolie's chagrin, he is kissing her one minute and keeping his distance the next. This is an ongoing struggle throughout the book that will likely continue into the next book if the cliffhanger ending is any indication.
I like that the story did not take itself too seriously, but neither was it overly silly. The characters were likeable, quirky, and fun with plenty of alpha male sexiness to go around.
This was a great debut from an author that I will definitely be keeping an eye on. If you like the lighter side of Urban Fantasy with a dash of romance and a plethora of paranormal characters then give this one a try!
Cross posted from http://indieparanormalbooksreviews.blogspot.com/2010/08/review-fire-burn-cauldron-bubble-by-hp.html
- Glimpse (Zellie Wells #1)
on Aug. 27, 2010
When I started to read this book I wasn’t sure what to expect. What started out as an unassuming, though enjoyable, YA romance with a light clairvoyant theme suddenly took me by surprise (and kept doing so throughout the book) and ended up being quite an engaging read.
The point-of-view switches back and forth between Zellie (first person) and Avery (third person). Though I really liked seeing both perspectives, at times it was a little confusing since the switch often happens from one paragraph to another. With that said, I got used to it and it didn’t deter from my enjoyment of the story. The author’s “teenage” voice was fantastic and it was so easy to fall into this story.
Glimpse starts with Zellie totally crushing on Avery, not realizing that Avery feels the same way about her. When they are finally coerced by their friends to step it up, the story really starts to get interesting. I lurved the following scene and was absolutely hooked at this point:
We loitered in awkward silence for what seemed like forever. I finally turned towards him to espouse some more of my wisdom, when a strong gust of wind blew past us, unleashing my crazy hair from my ponytail, and blowing it right into his face. I rushed to smooth it back again, but Avery grasped my wrist.
"It's cool. It's not bothering me." He rubbed his thumb up along the inside of my palm. "Your hair is really soft. It's nice."
Commence heavy sigh and warm fuzzies!
Zellie and Avery are so likable you can’t help but root for them. In fact, all the characters in this book are well rounded and interesting. The plotting was very good with unpredictable twists that kept me guessing which way the story would go next. The climactic scene comes earlier than expected and reveals something quite intriguing about Zellie that sets up the remainder of the story. By the end of the book a new mysterious character will be introduced as well.
As I approached the end of this book I was sure there was going to be a huge cliffhanger. I was wrong! Again! The author did a great job of wrapping up the story for this short novel and was even able to create a satisfactory HEA (at least for this book) while still creating a wee bit of a cliffhanger to make you eager for the next book in the series, Glimmer, due to be released November 2010. Yay!
- The Necromouser
on Sep. 06, 2010
Rating: 4 - I Really Liked It
Shreddy, a disgruntled cat, discovers the ability to bring back mice from the dead with the help of a broken All-In-One machine. He devises an evil plan to use the mice to get at the yummy orchid his owner has cordoned off to protect it from Shreddy.
This was a quirky, fun, and quick read that any cat lover is bound to appreciate. I'm not sure I "got" the ending but I enjoyed the story nonetheless. I often find short stories to to be unsatisfying but this one did not disappoint. I'd love to read more of Shreddy's adventures and hopefully there will be some more to come in the future. And hey, it's free! Can't be that with dead mouse ;)
- Hush Money (Talent Chronicles)
on Sep. 27, 2010
Rating: 5 (I Loved It!)
I have one word for this book...awesome! I loved everything about it--the voice, the story, the writing style, the dialogue, and the characters. All were great. I really can’t think of anything I didn’t like.
The writing style and voice of this story grabbed me from the beginning. The teenage dialogue was fantastic and believable with just the right amount of snark. The characters were flawed but very likeable and fleshed out. You can see how Dylan and Jocelyn (Joss) grow and change throughout the story, both personally and in their relationship to each other.
The story narration switches back and forth between the first person point-of-view of the two main characters, Joss and Dylan. Each section where the POV switches begins with the character’s name and that was very helpful to keep focus on which character was narrating. I really enjoy the dual POV as it allows me to see how each character interprets what is going on in the story.
The plot moved along swiftly and was paced well with plenty of action and interaction between the characters. It kept my interest and I didn’t want to put it down.
I did sort of wonder if there is a reason for all these kids to have special powers. Usually there is something that triggers a superhero power like Spiderman getting bitten by a spider or the Incredible Hulk with the gamma waves. I also wondered why there is such a large concentration of Talents in this particular area. Hmmm… hopefully all will be revealed eventually in future books. I really look forward to seeing more of Joss and Dylan’s growing relationship and the adventures of the whole “Talented” gang. Though the story arc for this particular book was mostly wrapped up at the end, there are definitely some unresolved issues and a little cliffhanger action going on that will make you eager for the next book, Heroes ‘Til Curfew.
If you like YA fiction with a superhero type theme (think Heroes TV show or X-Men movies) and a wee bit of romance then I highly recommend giving this book a try.
- Sissy the Vampire Hummingbird Slayer
on Oct. 03, 2010
Rating: 4 (I Really Liked It)
Vampire Hummingbirds. C'mon! How could I not want to read this? This story was so much fun. I loved the character of Sissy. The humor was dry and had an indifferent tone that reminded me of the Seinfeld TV show. In fact, Sissy's neighbor Sal reminded me a lot Mickey--Kramer's friend in that show--and the Seinfeld-ish banter between Sal and Sissy gave me a chuckle. Sissy is also quite the "MacGyver" of vampire hummer slayers and is very inventive in her methods of battling the little buggers.
If you like fun, quirky, oddball stories this is a great lunchtime read. I'd love to see the continuing adventures of Sissy the Vampire Hummingbird Slayer.
- Moon Rising
on Oct. 18, 2010
Rating: 1 (Didn't Like - Did Not Finish)
Vampires. Romance. Vampire Romance. This should have been right up my alley, but I had to give up on this one about 1/3 of the way through the book. So sadly, this will be my first one-star DNF (did not finish) review and will only cover the first third of the book.
On the positive side, I think the story concept was okay and I also found myself interested in the Gulon characters (large cat-like shifters that hunt vampires) though I didn’t really experience enough of them in the time I had with the book to get a complete feel for these characters. If there was one thing that might have encouraged me to stick with the book, it was seeing more of the Gulon. However, it just wasn’t enough to force myself through more of this book.
Now for what I didn’t like--unfortunately, it was almost everything else. The writing style was awkward and I found myself constantly having to reread sentences or paragraphs that seemed nonsensical or poorly structured. The grammar and punctuation appeared off to me. I’m no expert in this area, which is why I usually don’t nitpick on this much in my reviews, but in this case it jumped out at me on a regular basis. Then there are the typos. I experienced about 12 or more in just the first third of the book so if you factor that out to the rest of the book I can only assume there are considerably more to be found. There were misspellings (or maybe just simply use of the wrong word) like “baited breath” instead of “bated breath” or “innocence” instead of “innocents”. There was also an inconsistency I noted in Nessy’s eye color. Early in the book Nessy is described as having black eyes and later they are “greenie-blue”. At times I honestly wondered if this book received any objective editing.
The main characters, Nessy and Charles, seemed one-dimensional and wooden. I felt absolutely nothing for them. As far as the relationship between them, there was no romantic connection or spark at all. Zip…Nada…Nothing. The romance was completely underwhelming. The dialogue followed suit; it felt unnatural and stilted.
The pacing of the book wasn’t too bad at the very beginning. I was pulled in at first, but it quickly slowed down. Perhaps it picked up later but I wasn’t compelled to find out. As for the plot, I cannot speak much for that since I only got through one third of the book. I just couldn’t get past the poor mechanics and execution of this book.
Since I did give this book a low rating I looked for other reviews to provide a balance. I was also interested to know if my review was in the general flow of traffic or if I was traveling down my own road. I found quite a few reviews on Goodreads and a handful on Amazon (some appear to be cross-posted). Well, color me surprised that this book had a high number of 5-star reviews. Upon closer inspection of these reviews, I am a bit wary of the validity for many of them. You can make your own judgment.
I cannot honestly recommend this book to anyone, but it appears somebody out there likes it and in the end a review is simply one person’s opinion. So, if you are curious about this book, then by all means try the free sample and judge for yourself whether it is worth pursuing.
- Scary Mary
on Dec. 07, 2010
Rating: 4 (I Really Liked It) As soon as Mary opened her mouth, I knew I was going to like her character. She is the school “freak” but doesn’t take guff from anyone, even the adults…or the ghosts. Then there is Cyrus, the new kid. I loved it when he totally dismisses the popular crowd and immediately takes an interest in Mary, much to her surprise. Cy ends up taking a trip to asshat land when spooky things happen in his house and he blames Mary for it. But then he has a redeeming moment that brings his character back into my good graces. I did think the whole jerk phase was a bit out of character for him so I felt it was only a matter of time before he came around...
For full review: http://indieparanormalbooksreviews.blogspot.com/2010/12/review-scary-mary-by-sa-hunter.html
- Jenny Pox (The Paranormals, Book 1)
on Jan. 02, 2011
Do you hear that slurping sound? That's me…getting sucked into this book.
The three main characters in this story are Jenny, Seth, and Ashleigh. Each wields a different supernatural power. At first they don't know this about each other but soon they discover each other's secret. Jenny and Seth just want a normal life, but Ashleigh has other plans. Their lives are intertwined more than they realize and eventually Ashleigh's evil intentions are discovered. Jenny and Seth are the only ones who can stop her.
Jenny is the shy loner -- by necessity. She cannot touch anyone without giving them a disgusting pox or even, ya know...killing them. She has to cover her bare skin even in the summer and wear gloves at all times, hence the cruel "Jenny Mittens" nickname her classmates give her. The first couple of chapters set the stage for how Jenny has grown up living a lonely life, never able to touch or be touched without deadly consequences. I did kind of wonder how she could get through grade school unsupervised without being touched (except for the one incident between her and Ashleigh) and her power being discovered, but I decided to go with the flow and assume she was able to do this.
Seth has the opposite power to Jenny. He can heal with his touch. Their powers seem to cancel each other out and he is the only person Jenny can touch. Seth starts out as a bit of a jerk but you soon realize he is not quite himself because of Ashleigh. He turns out to be stand-up guy. Seth actually likes Jenny, and Ashleigh is none too happy about it.
Ashleigh's power is to make people feel love...love for her or love for each other. She is like an evil and selfish cupid. People become her puppets and she uses this power for her own selfish reasons regardless of the consequences to that person. She is the ultimate mean girl: nasty, manipulative, cruel, devious, power hungry, selfish, and vengeful. She has no remorse and no redeemable qualities. Nothing and nobody will get in her way to get what she wants. She is the character you love to hate.
At 103K words, this is a fairly long novel, but it read very quickly as I was totally absorbed by the story. At one point I had to stop to recharge my ereader and I was impatient to get back to it. There were times when there was more description than I would like as I'm more of a dialogue kinda gal, but it still held my interest. This book is labeled horror and for most of the book I didn't really see it that way, but when you get to the Carrie-like climactic scene you can see why it might be considered horror. It was pretty gross, but given Jenny's power of inflicting an instant plague-like disease on people, it makes sense that it played out this way.
The main characters are in high school and much of the story revolves around the school environment so you might take this as a YA book. However, I would probably recommend this book to the older end of the teen audience or adults as it does have quite a bit of casual drug use and a couple of brief sex scenes.
So, overall I thought this was a well-written and absorbing story. There were actually quite a few typos but I was so into the story that they did not distract me like they usually do. If you like stories with superpowers, high school angst, villainous mean girls, a sweet romance, and a dash of the horrific (and don't mind the gross factor), then you might like this one. Oh, and there’s a dog in the story – just icing on the cake! :)
- Thinks and Things
on Feb. 05, 2011
Thinks and Things is a quirky novella that spins a fairy tale type story. The book itself is made up of many chapters, each being a little story unto itself but contributing to the overall story line. These stories, much like classic fairy tales, are whimsical on the surface but often have darker underlying themes like depression, mental illness, grief, and bullying to name a few. However, it also has some classic fairy tale characters you will recognize, as well as references to faeries, vampires (sort of), witches, imaginary creatures, and more.
The characters in these stories are usually younger children and the writing feels like it is geared to a younger audience than the YA/Teen category it tends to show up in. You could argue that the darker elements are more suited to an older YA audience, but I don’t feel it is any worse than your average Grimm fairy tale.
Though the story is imaginative, the storytelling felt a bit dry and did not engage me. It did not pull me in and I had to push myself through it – picking away at it one chapter at a time. I was also a bit dissatisfied with how the Fixer resolved some of the thinks that turned into things. The reader mostly has to take it on faith that he did something to fix it. I would have preferred more detail here. I did enjoy the Fixer’s log book. Some of the entries were quite humorous. Finally, it really needed some good proofreading and editing to address the significant number of typos and other errors.
Though this story really wasn't a good fit for me, I think some people might enjoy it. If the story concept is of interest to you (and you can get past the typos/errors) then why not give it a try? Considering this novella is currently a free read at the time of this review, the only thing you risk is a little time. It wasn't right for me, but as the saying goes...your mileage may vary.
- (technically) DEAD
on March 29, 2011
Rating = 3 (I liked it)
I would describe it as a ghost story wrapped in an afterlife mystery and tied with a big bow of snark, then sprinkled with a generous amount of cuss words (though I think the first book may have had even more cussing). If you read the first short story in this series, DEAD(ish), then you are familiar with the characters of Trent and Linda, who work together again in this book to solve another ghostly mystery. Though I wasn't that happy with the whodunit (or maybe I should say howdunit), but it gets brownie points for the lol cat reference that made me, well...lol!
If you are inclined to read a humorous, snarky, cuss-filled, Aussie mystery, then this might be the short story for you. Since short stories don't really have a lot of room for back story, I recommend starting with the first story, DEAD(ish), which happens to be available free at Smashwords at the time of this post.
- Glimmer (Zellie Wells #2)
on April 02, 2011
So, have I mentioned lately how much I heart Zellie and Avery? I really enjoyed the first book in this series, Glimpse, and was eager to revisit this world. I was not disappointed. All the elements I enjoyed in the first book were also in this book: great teenage dialogue, Zellie and Avery, an engaging story, twists and turns, Zellie and Avery, a smooth writing style, Zellie and Avery...ya get the picture ;) There are also a couple of other characters who have bigger roles in this book -- Ben and Christopher. We first met Ben at the end of Glimpse and his character continues in this book in a more significant role that also creates some romantic conflict. Christopher also adds some conflict to the story as the "bad guy" or at least one of them. He may seem like a new character at first, but he is actually one you have seen before in Glimpse.
The story opens a short time after Glimpse ends. Ben comes back into the story and we learn more about his abilities and his past. Zellie and Avery's relationship is tested when the parental units band together to keep them apart to protect Avery from the death seen in Zellie's vision. They will have to stay apart unless they can find a way to prevent the vision from coming true. Christopher is plotting his revenge on The Society, and an attack by a greater evil must be thwarted or they are all doomed.
Like Glimpse, the story had plenty of twists and turns that kept me guessing which way it would go. There were multiple POVs, but it seemed to be mostly Zellie and didn't switch as frequently, so it was a little easier to keep track of who was talking. It was a smooth read that I didn't want to put down. I was drawn through the story and eager to see what would happen next.
The few nitpicks I had include one of the characters doing a complete flip-flop on his focus that did throw me off a little. He spends a good portion of the book focused on a goal that he had been working toward for a long time, and then he suddenly does a complete turnabout without seemingly much more than a shrug of the shoulders. (That’s a little cryptic but I don’t want to give away any spoilers!) The transition just seemed too easy.
Just a heads up...this book has more sexual content than the first book. Some readers may feel it is inappropriate for a YA book and others will not see a problem with it. You will have to judge for yourself, but I would probably recommend it to the older end of the teen audience or adults.
Stacey spins a great story that keeps me engaged and turning the page. I love the characters and Glimmer is a great addition to the series. Though the ending doesn't have a huge cliffhanger, it does leave some open story threads to be explored and also a few questions in this reader's head. I look forward to the next book, Glow, and another dose of Zellie, Avery, and the rest of the gang.
on May 08, 2011
A dark retelling of the Rumpelstiltskin fairy tale that is in dire need of editing and proofreading. The story telling felt choppy to me and I suspect the author's first language is not English. Phrases here and there seemed slightly off or he didn't use quite the right word.
- Lovers and Beloveds: An Intimate History of the Greater Kingdom Book One
on May 15, 2011
Rating = 4 (I Really Liked It)
Temmin is Prince of Tremont and Heir to the throne. He has grown up with his mother, the Queen, far from the King's residence in a sheltered environment. Now that he is turning eighteen, he must return to court and start his training to one day become the next King.
Once there, he meets Issak and Allis Obby, the Embodiments of the God Nerr and Goddess Neya of the Lover's Temple. He is infatuated with them and wants to become a Supplicant to the Lover's Temple. Not so much out of piety but because he wants Issak and Allis. This plan is not popular with the King due to the prophecy that says if this were to happen, prosperity would come to the people. Sounds good, eh? Well, not when the King believes that prosperity for commoners means downfall for the royal line. Should Temmin follow his desire or his duty?
While Temmin struggles with his choices, he has to adjust to his new, more formal life at The Keep, dodge assassins, avoid the annoying prat, Lord Fennows, who has come to live at The Keep, deal with the servants' love lives, and escape the machinations of the King to keep him out of the Lovers Temple. He gets an unexpected ally in Teacher, the immortal advisor and tutor to all the Kings of Tremont. Teacher shows him the Intimate History of the Greater Kingdom. This is a story within the story that has parallels to Temmin's experiences.
Temmin starts out a bit whiny and spoiled, but you see him grow through his experiences and the choices he has to make. Though he could act a little naive at times, he also showed a tendency toward compassion, protectiveness, and loyalty. He loves his sisters and is protective of them even though they do annoy him at times. He also shows kindness to the servants. These qualities made Temmin a very likable character to me. He seemed to be good at heart and wanted to do the right thing. There are a number of interesting secondary characters too.
There is magic in this world, but it has been diminished. The magic that was once wielded by the King and his line is now mostly in the hands of Teacher. The reason for this was explained briefly, but I would like to have learned a little more about how this occurred. When Teacher shows Temmin the Intimate History of the Greater Kingdom (and I do mean show...falling into a book takes on a more literal meaning with Teacher) we see the magic of the past. This story unfolds slowly throughout the book.
The ending seemed a bit abrupt to me. I turned the page and was surprised that it had ended. There are definitely open story lines to be continued, so don't expect everything to be neatly tied up at the end. I don't know how many books are planned for this series but I get the sense that it will be a fairly long saga. There was at least one story thread that seemed to disappear -- the assassins and their attempts to kill Temmin -- that I suspect will come back into play in upcoming books.
Miranda has created an interesting world that is not bogged down in excessive world-building details. There are enough similarities to our own world to make a connection, but also enough differences to give you that "we're not in Kansas anymore" feeling. I've noticed this book is tagged as steampunk, but other than it taking place in a pre-industrial age and a steam engine being one of the primary modes of travel, I don't really see anything steampunk about this story. This world is also polytheistic; there are several gods and goddesses that people can choose to worship. Each one has its own Temple, with the Lover's Temple being the one of choice for Temmin. You can probably guess what goes on in this Temple.
This book is often compared to Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel series. I haven't read that series so I can't say for sure, but I understand the gist of it and I think it may be a good comparison. Like Carey's books, there is a significant erotic element to this story. Lovers and Beloveds is not a romance and you won't get an HEA. I would consider it more an alternate world fantasy with strong erotic elements. I don't feel the sex is gratuitous. It supports the story rather than the other way around. However, some of the erotic elements may be uncomfortable for some readers. Be prepared for dubious consent/rape, menage, anal, m/m, light bdsm and elements of incest.
The beginning of the book was a wee bit slow for me but it didn't take long to pick up. I thought the narrative and dialogue flowed well. It was also edited well, which made it a delightfully smooth read. This book was crowd funded, which means enough people enjoyed the initial drafts and believed in the author's ability to deliver a good story that they were willing to donate money so the author could get it professionally polished with editing and cover art. If you are inclined to read a fantasy saga with a strong erotic theme, I would recommend giving this book a try. I look forward to Temmin's continuing saga.
- Dead People
on June 04, 2011
Rating = 3 (I Liked It) Dead People is a romance wrapped up in a ghostly mystery. There is more emphasis on the romance than the mystery. In fact, if you are looking for a classic whodunit that keeps you guessing until the end, then this isn't the book for you. Like Ramer's other book, Cattitude, the mystery is more of a howdunit and whydunit than a whodunit. The bad guy is made obvious by the author early in the book, but there are a few mild red herrings thrown in to make you wonder if it might possibly be someone else.
The attraction between Cassie and Luke starts off immediately but it's not in-your-face instant attraction. The reader isn't hit over the head with it from the get go. They are both dealing with personal baggage that makes them keep their distance and resist each other. Luke is suddenly a father to a daughter he didn't even know he had and whose mother is a junkie. Cassie is independent and spunky but also has self-image issues and has given up on finding love due to always being treated like a freak by boyfriends, classmates, and family because of her ghost whispering. She has learned not to expect anything from people and to keeps her distance. She prefers the companionship of Joe, her ghostly friend and sidekick. I really liked Joe's character and wished he had a bigger part in the book, but it looks like he will have a book of his own in the next installment of this series. I also liked the fact that Cassie wasn't the perfect heroine with the perfect body, though at times I think there was a little too much focus on it.
Overall, I liked the story but sometimes the dialogue didn't work for me and was a little confusing at times. In one case, I couldn't figure out what Cassie was even responding to. On the other hand, Cassie is a bit of a smart ass and there were several good verbal exchanges or snippets of narrative that gave me a chuckle. Unfortunately, there were a lot of typos in this book and it did start to distract me along with a few other nitpicky things.
Dead People was a good read and I feel it is well worth the time for a reader who likes a romance with a light mystery and some ghosties, a sassy but lonely ghost whisperer, a conflicted but sexy songwriter, a little girl with emotional baggage, and a not-so-scary haunted house with a temperamental ghost. Cassie and Luke's story seems pretty wrapped up at the end so no major cliffhangers but the story does leave the door open for the next book involving Joe the Ghost. I'll definitely be looking for it!
- Toil and Trouble
on July 18, 2011
Toil and Trouble picks up right after Fire Burn & Cauldron Bubble ends.The power struggle for control of the Underworld continues and the battle between Bella's and Rand's forces is imminent. While the politics, strategy, and preparation for the battle move forward, the love triangle between Rand, Jolie, and Sinjin continues as well.
Rand is his usual conflicted yet sexy self, but we learn a little more about why he has an approach/avoidance issue with Jolie. Then there is Sinjin, our bad-boy vampire who also wants Jolie, but is it because he really likes her or does he have some other agenda? Sinjin plays a much bigger role in this book and the affections of Rand and Sinjin continue to yank Jolie in two different directions for most of the book. However, events toward the end of the book will seem to move her more in one direction than another and makes me wonder how or if this love triangle will be handled in the next book. I have to admit that Jolie's character grated on me a little at times, but I liked the romantic tension between Jolie, Rand, and Sinjin.
There is an element of time travel in this book and during this part we learn more about Rand, Sinjin, and others and get answers to some of the whys and whats of the story. We also learn more about the source of the bad feelings between Sinjin and Rand. If there were any time travel continuity issues I couldn't tell ya.... thinking about the mechanics and issues of time travel tends to give me a wee headache, so I don't worry about it and go with the flow. :)
Mallory has notched up the heat level in this book and the sex scenes are more explicit, though I didn't think they always flowed well--maybe even a little rushed at times--and I felt there were some inconsistencies or continuity issues.
The beginning was a little slow but it picked up soon enough, especially when Sinjin started to get more involved in the story. (Well c'mon..it's Sinjin!) The story kept me turning the pages and I got all the elements that I liked from the first book... a light paranormal romance with a dash of humor and snark, paranormal characters galore, and a romantic conflict but with some extra spice this time around. Since this is a series with a continuing story line that uses the same main characters in each book, I recommend reading it in order so you understand the conflicts, relationships, and history between the characters.
on Aug. 21, 2011
Rating = 3 (I Liked It)
A woman gets a tattoo and some hot sex from a sexy tattoo artist.
Inked is simply an erotic contemporary short story that doesn't have a deep story line or fleshed out characters, but I didn't really expect that (ya know...because it's a short story). I thought the scope of the story was right for the size. It is only about 12 pages of actual story text and, as expected, focuses on the sexual encounter. However, I did end up getting a little more than I expected. I really liked that in those 12 pages (especially the beginning and end) it almost felt like the start of an erotic romance, not just an erotica short story. A lot of erotic romances start out with the lust first and the love and romance later, and it felt like that is where the story could have gone if it was extended. I'm not saying it should be longer but I liked that there was a spark of potential romance.
I think the set up to the story at the beginning was done well too. It didn't just jump right into the sex, but gave the characters a chance to meet and spark an attraction that leads to their encounter.
One issue I did have is the amount of typos. I counted about 12-14 and for a short story of approx 5,000 words or 12-ish pages that is quite a bit. I think another proofing pass would be helpful to the ratings.
Warning: sexual content includes anal sex(less)
- The Tingles
on Aug. 28, 2011
Very short, very cool. About 3-4 pages of story text depending on how your ereader flies. Considering the size of the story I think the author did a great job of building the suspense so you are wondering just what the heck is going on with this guy and the tingles, and then you get a cool twist at the end. It almost felt like it was part of a larger series, so I went looking (and hoping) there was more associated with this story or maybe this was a prequel to one in the works. I wanted to read more of this world. But alas, there does not seem to be anything else. I hope others have asked for more of this world, too. It would be an awesome premise for a larger work.
- Taken by the Dragon
on Nov. 20, 2011
As tradition goes, when the old dragon that protects the village dies, the new dragon protector demands a price--a young virgin bride. As the only eligible woman in the village, Isabelle is given to the dragon. This story starts with Isabelle waiting for the dragon to come and take her away. He swoops in and carries her away to his mountainside lair and immediately performs a marriage ceremony. Poof...they are now husband and wife. Next up is the honeymoon night, but Julian, that big, fierce, sweetie of a dragon shifter, doesn't want to push his virgin bride into anything too soon. He turns out to be actually very sweet, tender, and considerate to her from the get go and I found myself really starting to like this character. As you might guess, Isabelle soon begins to have an "unfamiliar but growing desire" towards her brand-spanking new hubby and she wants to be a "good wife" so she overcomes her fears and romance ensues.
I felt the scope of this story was a little too big for the length. It felt very rushed. She is given to a dragon, he carries her off to his cave, marries her, there's some heavy petting/oral sex, she starts to have feelings for him, he calls her "my love", he fights a dragon, they consummate their marriage, and by the next night after she arrives she is in love, cue HEA...the end. I think this all happens in about the space of 24 hours or less. A longer story that could explore the plot and emotions even just a little more would have made a more believable romance for me. I felt like I was dropped into the middle of a longer story then rushed the rest of the way through it. I wanted to know more about Julian and his back story and more about the village/dragon relationship. I also needed more connection between the main characters to buy into the romance.
I think it is difficult to do a romance in a short story length as a lot depends on making a connection between the characters, which can take time. There wasn't much dialogue in this story either--Julian doesn't really say much at all for the first half of the story--and that made it even more difficult to get that connection.
This story is categorized as an erotic short story but to be honest, I don't really think it qualifies as erotic. I would probably classify it as the spicier end of a regular paranormal romance. This is my opinion and yours may vary. There were only two sex scenes and only one was consummated and it was fairly short. The door was open but the description and language was not as graphic as I usually see in erotic romances and in some parts a little on the euphemistic side. That is not a complaint, just a description of what to expect. One issue I did have was that Isabelle was a virgin and when they did finally have sex, the scene didn't really reflect that at all.
On the technical side, there were some typos of course, but not an excessive amount, maybe about 8-10, but in a short story that amount stands out. There was also an odd hyphen thing going on and I don't know if it was intentional or a formatting glitch. It was quite frequent and kind of distracting.
Even though I have mentioned quite a few things above (and wow, I think this is officially the longest review I've ever done for a short story!) I actually did enjoy my time with this story and I really liked Julian's character. I would certainly consider trying other works by this author.
Word Count: 7200 (Short Story)
PDF Length: 13 pgs
EPUB Length: 24 pgs on PC / 18 pgs on my ereader (odd that)
Kindle Locations: 354
- Marked by Odin (Broods of Fenrir Book 2)
on Dec. 05, 2012
4.5 stars - I read the first book in this series, Broods of Fenrir, a while ago and really enjoyed it. When I saw this one show up on a giveaway I didn't hesitate to request it. I was confident that it would be an enjoyable read. My assumption was correct and I absolutely enjoyed this book, but it did give me a surprise I didn't expect. It ended up being a good surprise for me, but I think some other readers may not appreciate being blindsided when the story develops into a male/male romance. And this book is definitely a romance. The story revolves around Gunni and Leo's building relationship that must overcome obstacles. Other aspects of the story almost take a back seat for a significant portion of the book. There is the eventual "I love you" moment, lots of smex, and an HEA with no cliffhanger...so yeah, romance.
Based on my experience with the first book and this book's cover art, blurb and tags, I had a certain expectation for the story that was turned on its head as I read the book. Fortunately, I'm a romance reader and I like m/m romance so it turned out fine for me. In fact, it turned out more than fine (I'm sooo happy for Gunni!) but a reader expecting a more straight-up (no pun intended) urban fantasy may be sorely disappointed. So with that elephant in the room out of the way, let's move on to the review.
The story picks up a short time after the first book ends and you will see several of the same characters in this story, primarily Brand, Dagny, and Gunni. However, the story will end up focusing on Gunni and Leo. Brand and Dagny will play a secondary role but still in the story in a significant way. Almost like an ensemble cast but with a heavier focus on Gunni and Leo.
The opening scene involves Gunni and it really caught my attention and drew me in. Why? Because of what happened to Gunni in the first book. My heart hurt for him and I was already emotionally invested in his character. I wanted him to have a happy ending. Gunni in his wolf form is doing some recon on a brood that Brand needs to get under control. Gunni is spotted so he runs and then gets run over by a car. He ends up at a vet's office. I had thought the vet, Cass, was going to be Gunni's love interest and as the story progressed, it seemed to point in that direction with Gunni even having protective feelings over her. Then suddenly Leo comes into the story and wham...the story just takes a total turn into another direction. I almost wonder if Cass was an intentional romantic red herring. I even went back to the blurb to reread it and I can now (with my knowledge of the story) see a very vague hint at it but without knowing the story, I would not have picked up on it.
I did like the romance between Gunni and Leo. It was very tender and emotional. I thought they made a good match. They both had emotional scars that needed healing and they complemented each other well. I believed in their relationship and felt a connection between them. The sex in this story is explicit to a certain point but it does not reach what I consider an erotic romance level. It felt like the author was being careful not to cross certain lines in her descriptions of the love scenes but did so without resorting to corny euphemisms (which I so appreciate!). There were even a couple of scenes that faded to black. Even though more explicit scenes would not have bothered me, I felt the author struck a good balance and there was enough to help build the connection between Gunni and Leo. Did I mention that I am soooo happy for Gunni? Because I am!
As I mentioned briefly above, the conflict involving the poacher does take a back seat at times to focus on the romance and that part of the story actually did seem to fizzle a bit, but there is some intrigue and it does come back into the story eventually. Much like the romance, the plot takes a sudden turn and goes in a different direction. It doesn't come out of nowhere though; there are events earlier in the book that set it up if you pay attention. In the end, I think it played out in an interesting way.
I enjoy the author's writing style. It is easy to read and flows well. The dialogue for the most part is comfortable and felt natural to me except for some moments during the love scenes that felt a bit corny but I expect that from almost any romance. I mean love can be corny at times, right? As long as it doesn't go overboard, I'm okay with it.
I really enjoyed this book. In fact, I liked it better than the first book. It was a page turner for me and I look forward to the next book. I'm very curious who the focus will be on in the next story. There are also a few things that come up later in the story that I think will be carried over. I recommend reading the first book, Broods of Fenrir, before you read this one. The characters carry over and there is an overarching storyline. Also, understanding the emotional place that Gunni is in (which is a result of what happens in the first book) is important to the story, IMO. I definitely have the next book on my radar and look forward to continuing the series. And for the last time I just have to say...I'm sooooo happy for Gunni! :)
on March 30, 2013
"Some people say they don't care. I actually mean it."
This tag line really sums up Mercy's attitude. Whenever I read a book about immortal beings, whether they be vampires, gods, or whatever, one of my thoughts is always how horrible it would be to truly be immortal. I mean, seriously... who would really want to live F O R E V E R ? Think about it. Seems like a great idea on the surface, but give it enough time and um, yeah...thanks, but no thanks. The premise for Perpetual touches on this and maybe that's why I was interested in the storyline.
Mercy Green was made immortal after she was attacked and murdered in 1822. She doesn't know who did this to her. She was left to discover everything about her new existence on her own. Her unending life has made her jaded, apathetic, and bored. Everything she does is calculated to protect her secret from being discovered, to stay away from other immortals, and also to protect herself emotionally so she can tolerate her neverending existence. By the end of the book, all the behaviors and rules she has created for herself over the years, the type of life she made for herself, and her "immortal" worldview will be challenged.
The beginning of the book is not action-packed but sets the stage and paints a thorough picture of Mercy and how she feels about her immortality. You learn about the lengths she goes to keep from being discovered and to exist through a ceaseless life. This part was not boring to me at all. I found it very interesting and it pulled me along right from the beginning. It gave me a really good sense of how jaded and detached Mercy had become. The author's writing style is also very descriptive, though not in the sense that it takes five pages to describe a flower petal. It was the attention to little details that I enjoyed the most and the types of comparisons that were used to describe them. It helped paint the picture and kept my head-movie rolling along smoothly.
Now, though I liked the attention to detail in the descriptions, at the same time the style also tended to be overly descriptive and florid at times. Sometimes the wording used was a little over the top. A fancier, more uncommon word would be used where a simpler and more common word would have sufficed and worked just fine. This made the prose sound like it was trying too hard at times. Of course, writing style is subjective so other people may not notice or may even like it a lot. I guess I had a little bit of a like/dislike thing going on with the writing style but the dislike portion wasn't that big of a factor for me. I truly enjoyed the imagery and storytelling. It was very easy for me to fall into this story.
There were also some instances where I felt there were some inconsistencies with the story that just made me go hmmm. For example, why is she using his chest as leverage when it was burned in the fire? Why did Nick dress the bed when the mattress was soaked with blood from Mercy's attack? (Pssst, dude! Get rid of the mattress!). Why does Nick act surprised when Mercy tells him the year she died? He already knows what era she lived in from the book scene at the beginning. Little things like this that just didn't make sense to me or seemed inconsistent with what happened in the story.
It is sometimes hard to express why I do or don't like a character, but I liked Mercy. You might think that she sounds a bit depressing, but she didn't come off that way to me. Nor does she act TSTL (which is good since she is immortal!) Mercy has built walls around herself and stays emotionally secluded from the world--until Adam. She is intrigued by and attracted to him. Because of this she starts to break some of her rules. I liked Adam's character, too. In fact, I actually liked all the characters in this book. The interaction between him and Mercy felt natural. It was easy to connect with them. Adam isn't your typical alpha male hero and that was actually a little refreshing. I did guess what would happen to him eventually *pats self on back* but not the details of how it would happen. The dialogue between Mercy and Adam and also Mercy and Nick worked for me and felt natural as well. Speaking of Nick, he is another immortal that makes a brief appearance early in the book and then gradually comes more into the story as it progresses. You don't know what his motives are at first but it eventually becomes clear and I think it makes him even more likeable and endearing. There was one thing he did that I felt was out of character, and I'm curious if it will come up in some way in the next book.
A few more characters in this book worth mentioning are of the four-pawed and furry variety. Mercy has a dog and a cat, both of which were rescued from abusive situations. Adam also has a cat and they both volunteer at an animal shelter. There is a lot of attention to the pets in this story and a lot of description about them and their behaviors. I really loved this aspect of the book and gobbled up these parts. Giving this much attention to the pets in this story convinces me that the author must be an animal lover herself (and the images on her website reinforce that theory!). I will give a warning though to other animal lovers, there is a dog in this story that gets hurt (not Mercy's dog--more of an extra like a "redshirt" dog so to speak) BUT it works out okay! So don't let it scare you off.
I think I would call this book an Urban Fantasy with a romantic element. Though I had some small issues with some aspects of the writing style and I occasionally pondered why someone would do or say something that made no sense to me, these ended up being minor to me in the end. I definitely enjoyed the world, the story, the characters, and the style overall. It is one of those books that I can have issues with but still really enjoy because the storytelling engaged me. Immortal characters are by no means a new story idea, but the way it was presented felt a little different than what I have read before. I want to know what happens next and I look forward to returning to the world of Mercy Green. I will definitely be keeping my eye out for the next book in this series. :-)
My Tags: urban fantasy romance, paranormal, immortals, dogs and cats
Heat Level: more sensual than spicy--only 1 short scene
Word Count: approx. 87,000 (Novel)
Print Length: 279 (per Amazon estimate)
Kindle Locations: 4615 (story text ends at 99%)
Epub pages: 257 (story text ends on pg 256)
Includes Table of Contents
(I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review)