Sunday, August 2, 2015

THE GOLDEN BALLS by Delilah Storm



Publisher: Torquere
Date published: 05/13/15
PRINT ISBN: 978-1-61040-911-7:
MM Fantasy
E-book
Reviewed by Helen
Weblink:

Japer is the king’s youngest offspring, a lonely young man, whose only happiness comes from staring at the national treasure, the Golden Ball. The orb brings light and happiness into his world, but he has to hide at the bottom of the garden so no one can see him with it.

Anyone who has heard the fairy tale can predict what happens next, but after that the story has some very novel twists and turns, including hints of several other fairy tales thrown in as world building and plot twists.

The story itself is a lot of fun with an innocently engaging hero, an intriguing secondary character, and the obligatory bad guys. The world is absolutely genuine fairy tale fantasy as one might guess, but I really appreciated the nods to various other fairy tales so cleverly linked in with this one. Kudos to the author for that.
What I didn’t enjoy was the quality of the writing. My first thought was that the book hadn’t been edited at all, but then I recalled reading other books from this series that were quite clean. I can only assume this one had a far less talented editor, or an author who disregarded her editor’s suggestions. There were homonym errors (prayed/preyed), repetition both of words and of ideas, mixed up POVs, and poor use of dialogue tags (several long sentences without sibilants supposedly hissed). There were also a couple of sentences that had me scratching my head and trying to guess what the author meant. All of which was a massive detraction from what was a clever idea that could have been a genuinely delightful little read.


This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

 

Friday, July 31, 2015

ETERNAL GRIND by Salome Wilde




Publisher: Torquere Press
Date published: 05/13/15
PRINT ISBN: 978-1-61040-911-7:
MM, Fantasy
E-book
Reviewed by Helen
Weblink: http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=96&products_id=4399
Obtained via publisher
Rating: 4



 

 Fnx and Gwq are demons who work as baristas in Hell. Their boss, Yzk, is just as annoying as any corporate boss on Earth, but in a more demonly manner and setting. Still, the two women manage to snatch occasional moments together. But trouble is just about to descend on Fnx.


This completely off-the-wall story won’t be everyone’s cup of tea by any means, but Salome Wilde has come up with something absolutely different from anything anyone will have ever read before. For such a very short story, only twelve pages, there’s a wealth of world building. It’s more hinted at than described, but is none the less extremely vivid.
 
These are demons and this is Hell, so it’s not surprising that the opening scene is a little bit gross, but not horrific. Also, the explanations later in the story temper the effect and smooth over any discomfort a reader might have felt.
The lesbian romance is also a little rough, but sweet and tender simply wouldn’t be realistic in such a setting. Besides, Fnx’s passion for Gwq is very clear.
All in all, Ms. Wilde has created a unique world peopled with realistic characters for whom the reader will wish a happy ending. Readers of darker romance will truly appreciate it, but even more mainstream readers might get a kick out of something so very different.


This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

CLIPPED WINGS by Shiloh Saddler




Publisher: Torquere Press
Date published: 05/13/15
ISBN:
PRINT ISBN: 978-1-61040-911-7
MM, Fantasy
E-book
Reviewed by Helen
Weblink: http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=96&products_id=4401
Obtained via publisher
Rating: 3.5






Christopher is a naive young swan shapeshifter. He makes the mistake of swimming in human form, leaving his feathers on the bank of the pond while he swims. Along comes a Missouri plantation owner who takes the robe and enslaves Christopher. Christopher can’t escape without his feathers.


This is one of the stories in Torquere’s “Mythologically Torqued” anthology. I enjoyed the concept of a male/male romance coming from the basis of a captured swan. So many shapeshifters are big, fierce, alpha animals, the idea of a sweet, gentle swan finding love is appealing. Also Christopher might be young, sweet, and na├»ve, but he knows what he wants and is ready to make an effort to go and get it.
Fortunately for him, Stephen, one of the landowner’s other slaves, is very willing indeed to help Christopher. The two men have instant chemistry.

Because this is a short story in an anthology, there aren’t a lot of words available for backstory, scene setting and character description, but there is a mild sex scene included, and enough story for the reader to see the connection between the two men has good potential for the future.

Despite the very short length there was a dangling modifier and another grammatical error, but basically the story was a clean and entertaining read, with bonus points for being different from the pack and the characters being so right for each other.



This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.



Sunday, July 26, 2015

THE SILENCED by Heather Graham




Krewe of Hunters Novel, Book 15
Mira/Harlequin
June 30th, 2015
978-0-7783-1799-9
Mystery/Contemporary/Romantic Suspense
E-ARC
Reviewed by Dawn (love2read28@gmail.com)
Obtained by Publisher
3.5 Hearts


Lara Mayhew is a congressman’s media assistant and passionate about politics. When her friend, new FBI agent Meg Murray finds out she disappeared after leaving a cryptic message on her phone, she grows worried. Add in there are bodies fitting Lara’s description that are popping up in local rivers. As the days go by, Meg worries that this terrible serial killer has got Lara. When Meg is assigned to the elite and unusual group, Krewe of Hunters, Meg finds a group of agents with different abilities and alongside agent Matt Bosworth, Meg finds out that someone will silence anyone who gets in their way. Can Meg, Matt and the Krewe find Lara and figure out what is going on before the truth hits the fans? Will a political conspiracy destroy another person?

I love heather Graham’s Krewe of Hunters series but lately she seems to keep adding more and more characters to the group. It felt like I should keep a scorecard of who is where in the Krewe. With that said, I have to admit THE SILENCED is pure reading enjoyment on a lazy summer afternoon. We get caught up with the main group of the Krewe of Hunters, in the heart of Washington DC, where they are based. I loved seeing Jackson Crowe, Adam Harrison and the rest of the original group before it snaked off to other areas in the country where other groups of the Krewes are. The setting with Washington DC as backdrop and the political issues play a part in the storyline but it also has history. The battles of Gettysburg, Harpers Ferry and more also play out as readers’ race alongside Meg and Matt as they search for clues to Lara’s disappearance as well as to the brutal murders. Ms. Graham does a great job with the many different characters as they had defined jobs throughout and the story keeps its center on Meg and Matt as well as their search for Lara. The different players kept the story moving smoothly and fluidly, with no lags in the storyline to get distracted by.

THE SILENCED is a perfect addition to the Krewe of Hunters series and I applaud this author as she delivers another spellbinding story filled with suspense, history and more to entertain the reader. What I love the most about this series is how the author incorporates the history into the storyline. It gives me chills as I read about times gone by and more that played into the mystery as well. Add in some new characters such as Matt and Meg as well as this adorable dog aptly named Killer and villain that left me guessing who they may be…well I found that last chapter to be one I couldn’t put down, even to go to bed. I just had to know who the killer was and why they did it. Ms. Graham is a prolific author who delivers a perfect summer beach read to enjoy in THE SILENCED. You don’t have to read the other Krewe novels to get a sense of the players. The author does a good job in explaining who they are and whatnot within the story so a reader won’t be lost. Overall, THE SILENCED is one of those books if you enjoy history, mystery and a little romance then this series is perfect for you to enjoy. I can’t wait to see where the author goes next in her next Krewe of Hunters book.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement


A NEW HOPE by Robyn Carr



A Thunder Point Novel, Book 8
Mira/Harlequin
June 30th, 2015
978-0-7783-1787-6
Contemporary Romance
Paperback ARC
Reviewed by Dawn (love2read28@gmail.com)
Obtained by Publisher
4 Hearts




After losing her child and getting a divorce, Ginger Dysart was lost amid the grief she felt. Enter in her aunt Ray Anne and the peace of Thunder Point. She is making friends, has a good job at the flower shop and is excited to be able to help out at the big Lacoumette wedding. She was having fun until Matt, the bride’s brother shows up, drunk and tries to make a pass at her. Ginger, filled with embarrassment, flees back to Thunder Point. She knows she won’t see Matt again and all is well in her world until Matt shows up at the flower shop, contrite and full of apologies. When he asks her to dinner as part of his heartfelt apology, Ginger finds a man who is just as wounded as she was. But when their friendship turns to passion and love, can these two wounded hearts let go of the past in order to have a future with one another?

I got to admit Ms. Carr delivers another wonderful tale set in Oregon’s Thunder Point. I just love this series and always devour the new books when they are released. This is an author who has a way with words, capturing the characters strengths and weaknesses perfectly as well as the setting of Thunder Point. I am so hoping this place is real because her descriptions of the place and surrounding area are just awe inspiring. I want to yell ‘ROAD TRIP’ each time I read one of the Thunder Point novels. The writing is superb and the author clearly knows her series. In A NEW HOPE we get some new faces as well as a few familiar ones popping in as well.

Meet Ginger and Matt. Two lost and wounded souls that are just trying to heal their broken hearts. Ginger just blooms in A NEW HOPE. She finds herself healing amid the lovely townspeople of Thunder Point and I couldn’t help but love her. She learns how to deal with her grief as she makes new friends and finds the woman she was meant to be. Matt on the other hand is bitter over his short lived marriage and subsequent divorce. He is intense, intelligent and a farmer, though this farmer has master degrees and teaches at local college at times. When these two meet after that awkward first meeting, the sparks just sizzle between them. I loved how they complemented each other and Ginger didn’t take any crap from Matt later in the book. These are well rounded, well written characters that just jump off the page and into your living room. This is an author who knows how to create complex and enjoyable characters to fall in love with. They are just like you and me, with fallible, vulnerabilities and more. I also loved how the author incorporates past character storylines into the new books. It was nice to revisit old friends and see how they are doing after their story was all done.

A NEW HOPE is more than the classic boy meets girl, they fall in love and live happily ever after. This is a story of two wounded hearts yearning to be loved, of letting go of the past and making darn sure your future is just as bright. I got to admit now I want the next book in this magical series. If you enjoy small town romances with characters that brim with life and romance that fairly sizzles the pages, then give Robyn Carr’s Thunder Point series a chance. You just might find that perfect beach read to devour.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement