July 26, 2013

Autumn by Sierra Dean

Autumn (Dog Days #1)

Cooper Reynolds’s life is going to the dogs… literally.

As if being a high school senior in a small Texas town wasn’t hard enough, Cooper has bigger things to worry about than who he’ll take to prom and whether or not the Poisonfoot Padres will win homecoming. He has less than a year before his eighteenth birthday, when a curse placed on his family will doom him to live in coyote form forever.

The last thing he needs to complicate his already messed-up life is a girl, but fate has other plans in mind for him when it brings Eloise “Lou” Whittaker to Poisonfoot. She’s grouchy, sarcastic and has no love for her new Texas home, but she might be exactly the right person to help Cooper break the curse.

The clock is ticking, and Cooper will have to decide if he’s willing to let Lou in on his dirty little secret before it’s too late.

My Thoughts

Before I begin, I would like to thank NetGalley and Sierra Dean for the free book in exchange for a review.

I have to say from the moment I read this book, I was addicted. I literally couldn't stop reading it. I don't think it was the character this time (even though she was awesome and love her nickname of Lou which fits her perfectly), I think it was the plot.

It was so well written and developed that I literally tore through this book in two days. It was amazing and I'm so glad I read it.

However, I do have a few things to nitpick about this book.

Characters: Like I said, love Lou and Copper. It was interesting to see the whole character unravel in a very interesting way. I love the fact that this author brings a fresh twist to the paranormal realm and to the stereotypical characters.

She takes a jock and makes him unpopular and makes the "perfect" girl with a boy nickname have a flaw. It was nice to see that creativity in an author. 

I think I love her just for that simple fact. 

After reading Culture Shock, I needed something new. Something creative and I have to say Autumn did that in the most interesting way.

Overall, her character development is spot on. Love how she gives a twists to the stereotypical characters. It's just so refreshing.

Dialogue: Quick and witty. No cheesy love lines anywhere. I love the intensity she gave the characters. You knew that something was going on, but you didn't know what or even why. And she didn't tell, she showed!

She let the characters have their voice.

Plot: It kept me on the edge of my seat even when I knew I had to go to bed. I just couldn't. I had to keep reading.

She builds enough tension and mystery to keep you wondering and guessing. I kinda figured out a majority of the plot. Some of it was predicable but I still was curious enough to keep reading. I had some of the puzzle but I didn't have the complete picture. So it kept me reading even though I knew like half of the plot.

Anyway, I still say well developed plot and I loved how she played with the foreshadowing. Great job.

Setting: Love the name Poisonfoot and I absolutely love the fact that the author did her research on Texas. It was clear from the word go that the author knew her setting like the back of her hand. 

I know I keep saying this, but it just amazes me how much refreshingly different this whole story was and how the author incorporated into the plot line.  

Ending: This is where I fell out of love a bit. I'm not loving or feeling the ending. It ended suddenly. Without warning. And with a major twist. But not a twist I haven't seen before. However, it was a good twist that left me speechless.

It was good, but in a, "Dang, I didn't even see THAT coming!" 

So Idk about the ending. I'm on the fence.

Overall: Would I recommend this book?

Heck yes!

The only reason this book does get full five stars is because of a few typos and the ending. However, there IS good news: There's a second book coming in November. 

Cheerleader high five! 

So I would absolutely invite you guys to read the book and enjoy. You will thank me later. :)

July 24, 2013

Culture Shock by Jeanette Pekala

CULTURE SHOCK is a witty tale of mystery and romance with a large helping of southern hospitality.

Macy Holmes is a seventeen-year-old socially-isolated introvert since her best friend's death a year ago. When her family decides to move from Manhattan to the quaint country town of Bougainvillea, Florida, Macy finds she's in a completely different world. Macy is no longer the outsider hiding behind designer clothes when she is sought out by three strange students, one of whom she is particularly interested in. The more time she spends with Chad the more things don't add up. When his true identity is finally revealed, Macy is pulled into a supernatural society with its saturation of inhabitants residing in Bougainvillea. 

You would think she has enough on her plate, but no, then her dreams become infiltrated by an external magical force, Macy and her band of supernatural misfits must find the culprit behind the magic-induced nightmares. They must dodge zombie assassins, shifty shape-shifters and high school bullies in order to stop this perpetrator before Macy, her friends or her parents pay the ultimate price. Especially when Macy has the sneaking suspicion that these dreams are reality...

My Thoughts:

Well, this is without a doubt an interesting book. It has a very lovable main character (Macy), an incredible setting, and the southern drawl has me feeling like I'm home.

However, there are quite a few problems for this southern paranormal romance book.

For one, the book was far too long. 676 pages for any book other than a textbook is just too long for my taste. Especially for a paranormal romance. I would highly suggest to the author to cut it up into three complete novels. (Even Twilight was 450 pages for the first book!)

Especially since the villain was so obvious from the beginning.

Of course, what ultimately killed the novel was the exposition dumps and description dumps. There was literally a point where I skipped ten pages of description to get to the dialogue between the characters.

It was simply too much.

In fact, I think if the editor would have insisted on her cutting it, the book would have been 400 pages of solid work. And if the author was in a good slicing mood, 250 pages.

Anyway, let's dissect this book even further.

Characters: I have to say, I liked all of the characters. Macy can get annoying, but overall, I like her personality. She's a NYC gal dropped into the southern part of the US. 

Chad and Max were okay to me. I didn't really jive with either one of them. I liked Max better than Chad because of his charming personality and he's such a sweetie pie.

The problem I had with Chad was that he reminded me of the whole Edward Cullen struggle. He's trying to be the "vegetarian" type vampire and not be involved with humans. So he doesn't want to be with Macy. He tells her this point blank. But, of course, he can't help himself but to get jealous and to try to stop her from dating other boys.

Does this sound familiar? All I ask is for originality in the vampire-human romance stuff. I know it's a tall order, but please something different. Couldn't we start with Chad trying to kill her, straight up taking her as a victim, but something about her makes him stop to reconsider not killing her as a monster? Maybe something about her reminds him about his childhood sweetheart . . . Or something.

You know what I mean! Originality, please!

Additionally, I'm so tired of wishy-washy guys. 

Like pick what you want (either date Macy and screw the consequences, or firmly decide that you are not dating Macy ever) then stick with it! I know it's part of the struggle of his attraction to her, but it still irks. And it's not like it was a gradual, I don't know if I should let her go sort of thing, it was more one day he's jealous, the next day he's all over her like white on rice. Plot is something I'll get to in a minute, but I wish the author took more time to sort this whole thing out.

One more issue with Chad: His vamp teeth. Really? Needle thin teeth to dig into his victim? Not only is that a weird choice, it just seems like Chad is a wimpy vampire. I'm use to seeing vampires really go into their victims neck with all of this blood oozing from the side.

And they didn't do that with some needle-thin teeth. They did that with strong canine teeth. 

Anyway, I absolutely adored Emma. I even love that name. I'm actually going to name my daughter Emily, or some other variation (and no, I won't tell you, because I don't want YOU stealing it! :D). Which is why none of my characters will have that name.

Another concern was that Macy claimed that she never dated before. At 17. But she could get a friend? But she could be social? I get it, she's somehow (with a bubbly personality) an introvert but even introverts have close friends that they have crushes on. Or at least dream crushes that they pursue. And besides, she's gorgeous! How can someone NOT ask her out? OR hit on her?!

I'm sorry. I'm calling bullcrap on that one.

Dialogue: Overall, I have to commend the author on a job well done on depicting the southern drawl almost perfectly. However, I did notice one combination that didn't sit well with me. One character said, "Y'all 'ill."
As in you all will. I've never heard of that combination. Maybe it's just me, but I haven't heard of it.

Another thing that bugged me so much was the romance between Chad and Macy. Like the language was just so corny. The one liners reminded me so much of Twilight and Shiver it wasn't even funny. I couldn't even laugh at the corny lines (unlike Shiver, I had to laugh, they were just terribly corny). I just skipped right over them and sighed. 

I wish she would have been more creative with the love lines. That's all I ask for. 

Plot: Point blank: It needs a ton of work. For example, the big reveal of the supes and it's like the author decided randomly, "I'm going to put the big reveal (closes her eyes and selects a spot) here!"

Like no. I'm not buying it.

There needs to be a slow progression of what makes these characters so different than everybody else. Sure she managed to show on the outside that they look different. And I will fully admit, meeting them and her description of the characters did make me think that something was different. 

But then she stopped right there and got into a different plot avenue.

No reveal of any superpowers? No really weird strength or quickness?

Sure, she jammed it right at the end for Chad and Max, but nothing for Emma. I had no idea what she was other than British. That's the only clue I have to go on?

Not cool.

This is where the author could have seized the opportunity to build on the tension of not knowing who they are and questioning if they could really be friends of Macy. 

But nope. 

Additionally, the plot was rushed in some places (like the whole ending) then it was slowed down by description. It was just a hot mess.

Setting: I liked getting to know Florida through a northerners eyes. It was a refreshing take on Southern culture. I liked how she noticed all the landmarks and how far city life is from the country. 

All of the quirks of southern living were included and I have to applaud her for getting that distinctly right. As a matter of fact, you can tell this author is well versed with southern life so I'm glad somebody is doing their research.

Word Usage: I have to be nit picky on this. It was driving me bananas. 

The word coven does NOT refer to a vampire club or group!! 

I don't know why the author used a word that distinctly, even when it was first used, associated with a group of witches but it just irked the crap out of me. 

I can somewhat understand, as an author, expanding the definition of a word. But this still irks me. I think the English teacher side of me just hates that a word is being used incorrectly.

That's like using the word Wicca for vampire. It just hits a direct nerve.

Anyway, I had to point it out for that simple reason. It may not irk everyone, but it certainly irked me. It irked me so bad I had to look it up. But if I'm wrong, please feel free to correct me with the link and educate me. I would love to be informed of this new word usage.

Ending: Did I love it?

Hmm, still chewing on it.

To me, she wrote the ending well. It was well paced. I just skipped half of it because I was tired of reading it. I just wasn't invested and connected enough to the characters to care. I knew what was going to happen anyway.

Sorry but I have to be honest. 

I did read the last few paragraphs and caught the little twist at the end. Still chewing on it if I believe it or not. If that could seriously happen. It smells like Amy Plum sorta deal and I'll leave it at that.

Don't want to ruin the ending for you. :)

Overall: Would I recommend this book to persnickety people like me?

Absolutely not! Read something you can't dissect through editing eyes! 

This book is just not the type of people who are very particular about plot development and length of books. The characters I could stand. The plot, the description dumps, and the telling not showing killed the writer and English teacher in me.

However, it may be for you. I see there are a tons of good reviews for this book (surprised the snot out of me), but they state their reasons for loving it and I can't blame them. I do like the characters a lot. 

So overall, I would recommend this book to fans of Shiver. And maybe Twilight. To people who maybe want more description instead of action. Who want predicable villains. 

Anyone who is as picky as me, shouldn't read it. Read Dearly, Departed instead (if you're a zombie lover, like yours trully). You will thank me later. :)

July 22, 2013

Hidden by M. Lathan

Sixteen-year-old Leah Grant has given up on being normal. She'd settle for stopping the voices in her head, intrusive visions of the future, and better odds of making it to her seventeenth birthday.

That's the thing about pretending to be human in a world where magic used to exist - at any moment, her cover could be blown and she'll be burned to death like the rest of the witches.

Everything changes when she loses control of her powers and flees the orphanage she grew up in. She desperately wants to be invisible but finds her face plastered on every news channel as humans panic over the possible resurgence of her kind. And now the hunters won't give up until they find her.

Making friends for the first time in her life and falling in love with one of them drives her to discover why she is unlike any being she's ever met - human or otherwise. The dangerous powers inside of her that would repel Nathan, her new, handsome reason for living, are priceless to some. The locked up forever kind of priceless. And to others, they are too dangerous to allow her to live.

Let's hope she can stay hidden.

My Thoughts

My thoughts about this book aren't hidden: I like this book alot. I like the characters, the setting, and the twists and turns of the plot.

I can tell this author did a lot research on bullying and depression. I would so air high five her for that.

You would think this would make me flip out of my seat excited?

Not quite.

Characters: I like the main character Leah/Christine/Celia.

Yes, you read that right, the main character has three different names and switches through them. To give the author credit, she waits for you to get accustomed to name Leah, then tacks on the other two after a while.

So she doesn't slam you with names, but that doesn't include her nickname. 

So confusing much?

Other than that, I like all of the characters. I like the layers she added. I can't really complain (other then the multiple names) about characters. They're well written and developed.

Plot: Hmm, for the most part, the plot has plenty of twists and turns in it to keep me on the edge of my seat. For a while, nothing kinda happened which was okay by me. I was getting to know the character and there was enough going on to keep me from getting bored. 

I think pacing was a bit off near the end. A bit rushed. Or maybe it was just me and I didn't want it to end. 

Well, at least, the way the author ended it anyway. But more on that later.

Setting: I like the setting, but I'm totally blanking out on where it was. I know part of it was Paris, New Orleans, and another setting where it starts but Idk. 

But when she gets to New Orleans, I like she uses the house and kinda builds on plot through it. It's kinda interesting how she does it.

Ending: This is where I want to divorce the author and slap her silly.

I loathe the ending. The romantic end is fine, but the main plot ending sucks. I think she explains why she ended the way she did, but I was still in shock.

After all of that, she ends it like that? Um, no. Don't like it whatsoever.

Overall: Would I recommend this book to someone else?


Even though I'm not exactly thrilled with the ending, there's some hope: There is another book in the series.

So maybe she'll change her ending somehow or amend it in the next book. 

Additionally, the author has a great writing style. She had me smiling and laughing at some awkward but cutely awkward moments that were just precious. And her plot and character development were great.

So yeah, I would recommend this book to somebody. I would warn them about the ending a bit, but still. 

Other then, give it a shot and let me know what you think. And quench your need to read. :)

July 10, 2013

Whatcha Reading? Wednesday

Well, I like to read a lot of books at the same time. I know, worst habit ever, but whatevs. Here's what I'm reading this week. :) I'll probably be reviewing these books next week!

Josie's an average girl who just wants one simple thing out of life--to have sex with a vampire. When she receives an invitation to a party thrown by one of the world's richest vamps, she doesn't stop to question her luck; she jumps into her favorite stilettos and heads out to the event of a lifetime, hoping that she'll come home with a sexy party favor.

But the great undead aren't just pointy toothed hotties waiting to satisfy Josie's carnal desires. With a single-minded focus on fulfilling her sole sexual longing, Josie unwittingly entrenches herself in the twisted world of vampire relationships with no one to guide her but herself.

First Impression:

Quirky and funny so far. I hope she keeps it up. :)

Cooper Reynolds’s life is going to the dogs… literally.

As if being a high school senior in a small Texas town wasn’t hard enough, Cooper has bigger things to worry about than who he’ll take to prom and whether or not the Poisonfoot Padres will win homecoming. He has less than a year before his eighteenth birthday, when a curse placed on his family will doom him to live in coyote form forever.

The last thing he needs to complicate his already messed-up life is a girl, but fate has other plans in mind for him when it brings Eloise “Lou” Whittaker to Poisonfoot. She’s grouchy, sarcastic and has no love for her new Texas home, but she might be exactly the right person to help Cooper break the curse.

The clock is ticking, and Cooper will have to decide if he’s willing to let Lou in on his dirty little secret before it’s too late.

First Impression:

The blurb is too long for my taste, but the premise is interesting. I haven't cracked the spine on this one yet but I did receive this book for free in exchange for a review on NetGalley.

Now, I'll probably finish the vampire dating guide by Friday, and probably post it by Friday. Maybe. We'll see. And Autumn will be posted next week. Since it's only fair. 

I also will have more NetGalley books to review, so please lovely authors out there, do NOT send me any books to review. The book review policy will be back up probably by September-ish, but it's not set in concrete since I might be moving (again) this summer. And that can screw up my perfect timeline.

Well, I think that covers everything. So in the words of a famous cartoon character, "That's all folks!"

July 8, 2013

Diamonds and Toads: A Modern Fairy Tale by K.E. Saxon

Together, sweet Delilah and wicked Isadora make the perfect woman. But the Perrault family fairy is a troublemaker and imbues diamonds upon one sister and toads upon the other. Now up is down and down is up in a world where no good deed goes unpunished. Leather, blindfolds, and handcuffs purge sweet of all reserve. A few misspoken words of lust gives wicked a whole new meaning. 

Once upon a time, there were two sisters, one cursed and one blessed by fairy magic… 

Bibbidee-bobbidi-boo, They’re naughty. How about you?

My Thoughts

First off, I would like to thank Net Gallery and the publisher, Passion Flower Publishing, for this interesting read. I was offered this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Now, my honest opinion, well . . . I loved the Toads part but didn't like the Diamonds part much. I have to say, overall, not my favorite book. I think if the author had or took more time developing the characters and plot, it would have been ten times better. I really like the humor though she has in her book and I love Isadora, even though she's a snob. 

However, this book needed, at least, two more rounds of editing. The whole story felt rushed and predicable with stereotypical cardboard characters. The snotty stepmother, the beautiful but snotty sister, and the voluptuous but very self-conscious and seemingly shy Delilah.  

You know why I love Grimm so much? Or Once Upon a Time? Because they bring a whole new modern twist to the fairy tales. Especially Grimm. They take the classic Cinderella and make her seem like a privileged, spoiled brat.

I know, Cinderella, right?

Once Upon a Time brings the old timey characters and breathes new life into them with a modern twist. Don't get me wrong, they still pay their dues and give a nod off to the original story but they still give a twist that is unexpected. Especially in Grimm.

So what am I trying to say? I was expecting the same sort of twist on fairy tales in this book that Grimm and Once Upon a Time tv series accomplished almost flawlessly. Unfortunately, I did not get that modern feel to the story or any new twists.

Sure, the author gave the characters some interesting sexual twists, but there was so much more she could have done to make it fresh. 

There are a few positives in this retelling of a fairy tale, so I'll address it in this breakdown.

Characters: Like I said, there are 2 dimensional cardboard cut out characters with very to little twist at all. There was just no freshness to it. She literally took the characters out of the fairy tale, slapped them on her page, gave them a bit of a sexual make-over and called it finished.

And that's not how you do them justice. 

Additionally, I feel like Delilah should have been more confident. Not all BBW (Big Beautiful Women) are self-conscious about their weight. And it sounded like, to me, she wasn't fat at all anyway. Especially if you look at the cover. I mean, which one is suppose to be Delilah? 

Delilah just didn't have the depth that I think the character needed. I could see that the author put a lot of thought behind her sexual presence but not into everything else. 

So why didn't the character have that depth everywhere else in her life? Sex isn't everything, even in a romance book.

I liked Isadora a lot more than I liked Delilah. Why? Because, it seemed to me, she had just a tad more depth than Delilah. Besides, she's kinda funny. Not on purpose though (I'll explain later). 

Additionally, the pov (point of view) switching was driving me bananas! I literally ignored the guys point of view after a little while since she kept flip-flopping from one character (for like a page) to the other.

Now granted, I've read quite a few books that have managed the flip-flopping successfully, like Dearly, Departed. The author decided to switch between like five characters and it really didn't bother me much. Why? Because she gave them their own INDIVIDUAL chapter.

Unfortunately, this author only gave each character like a page at the most, and at the shortest, a paragraph, which is just jarring to the reader. So did she pull it off as Lia Habel did in Dearly, Departed?

Absolutely not.

Dialogue: I liked Isadora's slip ups, even thought I wish they weren't sexual ones. Like she would think one thing, but say another. Usually with a sexual twist, which I liked a lot.

Granted, the author didn't get me laughing out of my seat but she did get a smile or two.

What can I say? I'm a sucker for some humor. 

Other then that, the conversations were realistic but not like something I would pay close attention to.

Plot: Too rushed. I know she was writing practically two novellas but still. She should have spent more time developing the plot. 

Diamonds needed more attention toward character development than plot, but it was still too predicable probably because of the lack of character development. We all knew what Chas would pick eventually. We all knew what Delilah would have found out, eventually. We all knew what was going to happen at the very end. 

The only thing I didn't predict was the sexual parts. And I'll address that later.

Toads needed more time on dialogue and plot as well. I think she let Isadora off the hook WAY too early. Let her build more frustration, let her really get the message about her behavior and how inappropriate it is. Let her kinda feel the intensity of not being able to be understood clearly.

Another problem I saw with plot was the descriptions. There were WAY too many of them. I get it, you need to tell us the background story, but there was way too much of it for my taste. I think if she would have cut down on description and worked more on the characters, it would have helped move the story forward a lot better and help with pace.

Also, the chunky paragraphs were driving me bananas. You guys know how I feel about chunky paragraphs.
Which I know has nothing to do with plot, it needs to be addressed.

Now onto the sex scenes. It felt like the author was going in the erotic direction with the sex scenes but didn't achieve the feeling of erotica. Like for both stories, Diamond and Toad, they both started with the sex first, then love later. Which is pretty much erotica up and down. But the thing that killed it, was the descriptions. The guys could be rock stars in bed, but if I don't get the feelings of the characters, then there aren't any erotic feelings.

And of course, the pov swicthing in the middle of intercourse ruined it for me. Like if two characters (or more) are having sex, there should be only 1 pov duirng the entire time. Unless, at the very end, one of the characters has an epiphany then I would allow the switch AT THE END ONLY!

Now some authors can do this exceptionally well, the pov switches, and the only one that comes to mind is Kate Douglas in her epically long series, Wolf Tales. Love those books.

Anyway, I think the author should have stuck with EITHER romance or erotic romance. It just felt like the sex scenes fell somewhere in between or failed in the erotic romance part. Just pick one!

Ending: Predicable, but good. I did like Toads ending a lot better than Diamonds, even though they both did a good job of adding a bit of a twist. But still predicable. 

Overall: Would I recommend this book?

It depends.

If half of the stuff I mentioned doesn't bother you, then feel free to read it.

If the list of problems I had with it would bother you, then don't read it.

As for me, I don't think I'll be reading anything else by this author. There are just way too many problems in one book that makes me question. There is a lot of potential in this author to do great, but I don't know.

I would have to think about it, read the blurb, then read the first chapter of the book to see if I would read it or not. Then read the reviews. I just don't know if I could trust the author with my money to read her books.

It's really a gamble. I could say that this book was just her way of combining two stories that maybe she just wasn't ready for and in her other books, she's just focusing on one story that maybe the quality will improve.

Overall, I would say try it but tread carefully.  

July 5, 2013

Violets Are Blue by Carrie Green

Violets Are Blue

Newly-wed Sarah was delighted to move in with her mother-in-law, Martha, a widower who had raised her son, by herself, on an isolated Midwest farm.

A kid from a broken home who had been raised in a group house in Chicago, Sarah had struggled to put herself through college on scholarships. She considered herself to be self-reliant and willing to work hard for her dreams. She wanted only one thing, a real family. Todd was the love of her life, so that she was sure that she'd love Martha, too.

It never occurred to Sarah that Martha would see her as competition, to be eliminated.

My Thoughts

First off, I would like to say this is my first horror book. So kudos to me for making that first jump towards reading a horror book. It wasn't like I expect though. I was expecting to be just scared crapless. 

Like I started reading this novella at midnight. I was going for the whole, "This is going to scare me so bad I'm going to have nightmares!" atmosphere.

Unfortunately, it didn't scare me at all. It was more of a romantic suspense book, which is what I'm really use to. I was surprised by the lack of scare power in this book. It had such great reviews, and it seemed like a good premise. 

But it just didn't wow me. I think the main problem for me is that I was never included in the action parts. Like clearly there was a lot going on, but I just felt like my girlfriend was telling me a scary story about her girlfriend and what she went through.

I wanted to be part of the scare factor. I wanted to be shocked and have nightmares. Instead I listened on to what my girlfriend had to say. It was an interesting story, but to me, it just didn't include me into the action. Therefore, it wasn't SO finger biting or anything. It was just bleh.

But I will say she's an awesome writer, I just wished I enjoyed it more.

Characters: Believable and true. I could feel that these characters were realistic. Especially Todd. There are some men, who shall not be named, who do not feel their mothers do anything wrong. Ever.

So that, to me, is so realistic. I've seen it happen where the daughter and the mother-in-law don't get along and the husband refuses to believe his mother is "that bad". So that to me felt believable.

The only thing I can complain about in this section is how she told us their background story. She just dumped it on us. This is a typical example of exposition dump. 

I wish that the author and the editor sat down and talked about this a little bit more. I wish they talked about a lot more as a matter of fact.

Plot: This was clearly well developed. I just didn't feel part of the action. I wanted to be part of it. It was just the way the story was told that just threw me off.

The author clearly worked this whole thing out perfectly. 

Dialogue: This was a huge issue to me and part of the heart of the problem. The characters only had, at the most, ten lines of dialogue in the WHOLE novella. 

That is just ridiculous. 

Characters talk ALL THE TIME and should be allowed to talk. There should be conversations in the text and allow us to see into their personalities. The only was I was able to tell the mother-in-law was bad was because of her actions.

I don't even know what she SOUNDS like. Which is just wrong. I want to feel her evil. I want to hear her snub towards the daughter-in-law. I want to be able to see the difference in the way she talks to Todd and Sarah. I want to hear the sugar sweetness that she caters to Todd, and the rock hard hate she feels towards Sarah. I want to hear her spit out Sarah's name like it's venom.

I wanted the mother-in-law to corner her and say every loathing thing she could think of to Sarah and have Sarah talk back to her in the same matter.

In short: I wanted confrontation in words and not only in actions! 

I wanted the build up the tension in the conversations!

I wanted to hear Sarah and Todd argue in their bedroom and the mother-in-law to overhear it and grin maliciously!

I just wanted more in this department. 

I understand that this is a novella, but come on! I need something more than just hear Sarah complaining about what her mother-in-law did. I want to hear the pathetic excuses the mother had for her actions!

I just wanted to hear the characters more, and Sarah describe the actions less.

Setting: I do love how Carrie Green incorporated the country theme to the whole plot. It worked wonderfully.

I could feel the isolation that Sarah felt. I wish I could hear her complain to her husband about it. That would have been nice.

Ending: A bit rushed, but I love the last line. It was beautiful and rounded out the whole ending with a bow on top.

Symbolism: Yes, there is a category for this! I love how she incorporated violets from beginning to end. And how she unraveled the meaning at the end. I thought I understood what they meant, but she broke it down like a shot gun. It was nice and understated. And it rounded out the ending as well.

Overall: Would I recommend this book?

Eh. I don't know.

I would give her bonus points for writing talent. She can obviously write. And I would give her another chance. 

But I don't know if I would recommend this to someone with my high expectations. If it was free, then yes I would. It's only like 0.99 cents, so give it a shot and tell me what you think.

I would be cautious that's all. And please read other reviews. It could have been just me, but I just didn't like it. I know it could be SO MUCH BETTER and THAT'S what drives me bananas. I wish I could have sat down with them (the author and the editor) and had a nice long chat about where I expect the book to grow. I would been on her like white on rice to make sure the book came out like it should have. 

I would have loved to been her beta reader and tell her what I really thought needed improvement.

However, this is life. Just read it and tell me what you think. And please, never stop feeding your need to read! :) 

July 3, 2013

To Kill a Warlock by H.P. Mallory

To Kill A Warlock (Dulcie O'Neil, #1)

The murder of a dark arts warlock. A shape-shifting, ravenous creature on the loose. A devilishly handsome stranger sent to investigate. Sometimes working law enforcement for the Netherworld is a real bitch. 

Dulcie O’Neil is a fairy. And not the type to frolic in gardens. She’s a Regulator—a law-enforcement agent who monitors the creatures of the Netherworld to keep them from wreaking havoc in the mortal world. When a warlock is murdered and Dulcie was the last person to see him alive, she must uncover the truth before she’s either deported back to the Netherworld, or she becomes the next victim. 

Enter Knight Vander, a sinfully attractive investigator sent from the Netherworld to work the case with Dulcie. Between battling her attraction to her self-appointed partner, keeping a sadomasochistic demon in check, and fending off the advances of a sexy and powerful vampire, Dulcie’s got her hands full. As the body count increases, Dulcie finds herself battling dark magic, reconnoitering in S&M clubs and suffering the greatest of all betrayals.

My Thoughts

I can't say, I absolutely love this book, but I still like it alot. I love pretty much all of the characters. Even the cocky Knight Vader. Love him to pieces. It's nice to have a male lead who knows who he wants and how to get it. 

Can I get one in real life? Much appreciated! :)

The only thing I didn't particularly like with this book is all of the romantic potential partners. There was the vampire, the elf, and Knight all vying for her attention. It was way too many for me to juggle even though I get the fact she is a very attractive fairy and wanted by many men. 

Other then that, I think I have no complaints. I think I was expecting so much since I've heard many great things about this author, but I just disappointed by the lack of wow factor that I was so expecting.

Characters: Like I said, I love all of the characters. I don't remember any character that annoyed me, which is unusual. I even ended up liking an unlikable character. I know a total tongue twister, but still. That's pretty decent characterization.

I also really liked the fact that Dulcie and pretty much all the characters had layers. Especially Dulcie and Knight. Delving into their past and discovering their current situations was interesting to say the least.

I also liked the powers given to Dulcie. I had to tip my hate to Ms. Mallory for giving them unique powers. I love the fact that the author took it back to Peter Pan with the fairy dust, and then shaking the hand to accumulate fairy dust? Ultra nice touch. 

I didn't understand why the author gave Knight these powers and associated them with the god Loki. It such a weird mix, but I do dig it. I just don't particularly like it. I don't know why, maybe it's because I can't really get why she picked certain aspects that make Loki Loki and added other powers that have relation to that character. So I have mixed feelings about his powers.

Then, to me, the whole elf thing just didn't really register. It's almost like she's recreating some of the old fairy tales and their powers and I don't really like the way she did. Making an elf tall for example kinda irks me .I don't know what it is. And of course, there were no Keebler jokes (which is beyond me) but that's just a sarcastic twist that I wish she would have put in there. It dead obvious that she should have put at least one cookie joke, but then again, it's probably just me. 

I guess in general, some of the powers for some characters made sense and others had no correlation at all, which kinda bugs me. Anyway, I think it could have been done with a better respect to the older versions but still given a unique twist. I'm thinking something along the lines of Grimm or Once Upon Time type of twist.

Plot: Love the twist at the end! Overall, I would give the plot a thumbs up. I even give her credit for developing a solid plot.

The only thing, plot wise, I didn't like was the fact that bdsm was treated like some kind of foreign entity. I didn't like the way it was portrayed. I know that bondage is part of the kinky realm of sex, but it doesn't mean that it has to be treated like only freaks love that sort of stuff. 

I think it could have been handled better with a lot more research and some more delicacy. Maybe I'm partial since I'm into it a bit, but I still feel like I can't be the only one who felt like, "Sheesh, bdsm isn't THAT weird." I guess for me, I think it could have handled better.

But I do love the fact that Knight likes it. So there's some hope that bdsm will get its due in the book and shown in a more favorable light.

Setting: While I understand the main setting, I didn't completely understand the Netherworld. Maybe she'll explain that in more detail throughout the series since I thought the Netherworld is suppose to be hell. So where is hell and why did she change it to a place that is reflective of the earth as is? I mean, what is the point of having a duplicate of earth anyway? 

And this is the same problem I had before, she's not really paying her dues toward the historical aspect of the Netherworld. Like I think, and I could be wrong, I thought in the Greek history that Hades was in charge of the Netherworld. That's where all of the dead go. 

So in her new world, where do all the dead go?

Or is she creating an alternative dimension where all the demons reside along with other paranormal creatures? And that hell is still there, just beneath Netherworld?

To me something isn't making any sense to me about her world. I wish I could figure it out, but I'm struggling to piece it altogether.

Ending: I like the ending. It's realistic and ties the story with a bow at the end. It still leaves me with a lot questions about her world and about what will happen next, but it was still a nice ending. I especially liked what she did for the main character and how she changed her. So I'll give her props on that too. Clever idea.

Overall: Would I recommend this book to friends?

I don't know.

I think I'm still on the fence about this one. I would be willing to give it to them since it's a free book. Would I tell them to buy the second?

I would have to read it and find out.

Am I tempted to buy the second book?

A little bit. The thing is: Lucy has A LOT of explaining to do, and if she doesn't do it in the next book, where does it leave all of my questions? And sure, I could ask the author, but shouldn't her book have the answers? Shouldn't the world building be sufficient enough that I wouldn't have all of these deep questions?

Shouldn't she have done the research? And sure, she might have, but then where is the hat tipping off to the history? That's where I just have an itchy feeling that I'm not going to be satisfied with her style of twisting the old.

It's not I wouldn't give her a chance. I would have to think about it some more first. And I would have to read the reviews to find out. Maybe ask one of the reviewers what they think about her world.

For right now, I would say read it and see if you find it suitable to your tastes. As of right now, I'm leaning on not reading any more books out of that series. But I might try some other book in her collection since she has demonstrated clear talent and work through this book. Hmm. This is tough.

Anyway, I hope that helps. Enjoy and tell me what you think about it!

July 1, 2013

Dreams of Gray by Maurice Lawless

Dreams of Gray (The Marked Clan, #1)

Dreama Cargill is in trouble. She woke up naked, cold, and sporting a back mural. Where did it come from? Tattoos aren’t her usual scene. Then again, neither is blood and a strange attraction to the woods at night. Something is changing her, and not for the better. Can she unravel the mystery before the moon calls her to kill?

My Thoughts

Overall, I wasn't too impressed to be honest. Like I will give him his props for giving werewolves a different twist, but I just wasn't that into it. I will also give him major credit on the layout of the plot. It had enough twists and turns to keep my attention. And I love the cover. God, you guys know how I love a great cover story. 

 It was interesting enough to hold my attention but not interesting enough to make me go, "WOW!" I think the biggest problem I had with was the characters. I did like Dree but I didn't identify with her. I understood her, liked her in some parts, but I didn't like bond with her as the main character. I think if he spent a little more time on her and less time on her sex life, it could have been a lot better. 

But let's break this down.

Characters: I don't absolutely, positively love the characters. I like them and can relate to them. I like Dree well enough. But I do not like PJ at all. Something about her bothers me so much. Needless to say, in real life, she would definitely not be my friend. 

She's a slob, she is constantly cussing like a sailor for no reason. She came into a bathroom cussing about how she had to go. To me, that is just so classless. She is always calling Dree a ho.

Which granted, she may be one, but why bring your friend down like that? I just can't stand derogatory name calling. I expect an enemy to call her a ho, not her friend. Maybe it's a culture difference, since I know girlfriends may call each other b-words and such, but I just can't identify with someone like that. 

I also didn't like Slate but I liked her character development. She just came across to me like a stalker gone wrong. I just wish there could have been a different angle the author could have gone off from. I can see the layers that he built in her. I can see all of the time he spent developing her character, but I just couldn't like her either.

I think the only character I kinda liked more than Dree was Alan. But to me, he's a punk. He's a nice guy, he's a loyal guy. I liked his character a lot. I could also identify with him. He would be the guy you would bring home to your mother and be proud of. But I can't stand his, "We can make it through any problems you have baby!" attitude. Like that, to me, is a slight indication of desperation. You want to be in a relationship so bad, you are willing to go through practically Hades and back for a girl who treats you like crap.

That's a punk.

**SPOIL ALERT** If you don't want to know about the love interest and how it ends, turn away NOW!

 Like I understand this isn't a paranormal romance (which is clearly identified in the beginning as such), but why introduce a guy who could really have Dree's back then tear him away? I understand that there's a lot going on. I understand that he adds nothing to plot line. However, I'm a hopeless romantic. If a guy is great guy in all aspects (which Dree admits), then why not develop a romantic interest there? It's like she used him like a condom. And I can't really stand that about her character. I know there are people like her all over the world and probably have their own show (Keeping Up With the Kardashians rings a bell), but still. 

The author really annoyed me with the love interest. That's all.

**SPOIL ALERT OVER** You may now look at the rest of the review without me spoiling it for you. :)

Plot: I can't argue with this: He developed the plot well. The only problem I had was pacing. Some bits were too fast and some were too slow. But that's me being a bit picky. He could have done it on purpose but I still felt in some places the pacing was a bit off.

I also didn't like the fact that every chapter had some sort of sex in it. To me, that doesn't add to the plot. I get it, sex is part of it, but I still think it could have been left out. Like I'm a bit old school with romance. I get where he was going with it, and the changes. But at the same time, I think it could have been done a bit better. And with less graphic stuff in it. I just wasn't into it.

Granted, she's an adult. She's single. However, did he have to make it so focused on sex? I don't think so. Besides, I think some of the sex-fueled stuff could have been shown in other ways. I would go into it, but I'm trying not to ruin the story for you.

Setting: I didn't even know we were in the south, much less Houston. I didn't hear a y'all, any southern sayings or anything. And y'all know I'm from the south. I was so excited, then the author didn't use any terms that were from that place. I was slightly disappointed. We could have been anywhere.

Additionally, we didn't get any other mention of the weather or anything. I wish he could have delved deeper into the culture down there instead of doing a drive-by style: The setting is in Houston and now we're going to keep moving with the plot.

Now, I could be wrong about the sayings not being there, but for me, there wasn't any. Maybe the author could point them out to me. That would be great, then I will retract my comment.

Ending: I liked the ending a lot. It was a nice ending, I just wish it ended differently. The author stated the reasons why he ended like that, but for me, it could have been better.

Overall: Would I recommend this book?

Probably not, even though it is a free book. 

Especially if you are picky, like me, about some of the issues I had. 

I know you guys are looking at me and asking, "What?! It's a FREE book, why are you complaining?"

Because I've had better free books. I've had free books that have made me cry and tell the whole world how great this book is. And just because it's free, doesn't mean the quality should be lower. My expectations are still there. Granted, they may be a bit more forgiving, but still my expectations are still up there.

I hold the same standards for indie or traditionally published. Free or not free book. Of course, I'll be a bit more critical of the paid book (since I had to pay for it), but still. I expect the same overall.

And before y'all criticize me, yes, I know my views are slanted. I totally know I root for the underdog. The indie authors. However, my standards are the same: Make great characters and plot, and I will love you forever. And I will wait for your wonderful books to come out. Just keep the quality the same. That is literally all I ask. Keep the quality up and I will not whip you like you stole something from me. 

Bonus points for great sarcasm and wit. Bonus points if the main character is a minority. Double bonus points  if you incorporate both.

Anyway, that's what I thought of this book. If you had a different experience with this book, please let me know! I would love to talk about it more in depth. 

And please, never stop reading!