Brekke K. (sfvamp) - , - Reviews

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Death Game: Stargate Atlantis: Sga-15
Death Game: Stargate Atlantis: Sga-15
Author: Jo Graham
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 7/13/2011
Helpful Score: 1


The novel is well written, but lacking the wit and humor inherent in the series. I would probably have liked this story fine if it weren't an SGA story. The characterization just didn't ring true. Not only is the pace of the story too slow for SGA, but the characters tell each other stories of their lives to pass the time and these stories don't have the right character voice. This is particularly glaring in characters like Sheppard and Ronon who are hardly verbose characters, and here they are in an adventure that is supposed to be set in the second season (ie when Ronon is still new to the team and still mostly grunting to communicate), not only telling unlikely listeners their personal stories but in a style that does not emulate the speaking or inner voice of the characters we grew to love in the series. Canonically Sheppard has difficulty expressing his emotions or talking about his past and that makes him all the more endearing and lovable. It also makes the unveiling of his past all the more worthwhile because it comes to us reluctantly and hard-earned. Instead, in this book it's just told to us and in a manner more befitting a tale about mythology or ancient legend.

I guess I miss dialogue, the banter and quick back and forth between the Team in which little is said but much is demonstrated. I was dismayed that Rodney was portrayed so seriously. He's a genius yes, but part of the fun in his character is how dismal he is with interpersonal skills and how endearing that can be also. I don't want him to be a clown but I want him to still retain that quirkiness, that mixture of arrogance and vulnerability so expertly conveyed by the actor who played him. It was the little personal touches that seemed to be missing in this book, that made the characters feel interchangeable and flat.

There are also backstories that don't make sense in light of how we know the series ended. This would be fine if the book was written around season 2 before we knew as much about the characters, but this book had to have been written after the show ended (judging from the the copyright date and the fact that previous books included details not mentioned until the fourth or fifth season) so there is no excuse for rewriting show canon.

Like I said, its a well written story but it isn't about Stargate Atlantis in my mind. I've only read one other SGA novel and it was Reliquary by Martha Wells. Unfortunately it is difficult to get a hold of but it has just the right balance of character, humor, and action to satisfy this picky fan. I would recommend picking it up and leaving Death Game alone.


Demon Blood (Guardians, Bk 6)
Demon Blood (Guardians, Bk 6)
Author: Meljean Brook
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 16
Review Date: 7/25/2010
Helpful Score: 1


I always look forward to new additions to Meljean Brook's Guardian series (which don't come out frequently enough for me). They are very engaging overall and well thought out. But, for me, this edition was a little boring. I suppose after the trips to Hell, revelations about Michael's past, and peeks at romance to come for the Doyen in Demon Forged, I just wasn't interested in Rosalia and Deacon as a romance worthy of a full-length novel. I read the book fairly quickly for hints of other characters and because Brook is a good writer even when I don't like the main characters as much as previous ones. But this was one of my least favorite stories in the series so far (along with Demon Night and Demon Moon). Actually, nothing compares to the first novel, Demon Angel, or the fourth novel, Demon Bound. (I seem to really like half of the Guardian books and feel meh toward the other half.) Demon Blood was interesting in how it affected the overall arcing plot, but other than that it just lacked the oomph of previous books. Rosalia kind of grew on me but she's not the kickass heroine we are used to seeing in the other books and the plot to annihilate the nephilim didn't seem as fraught with danger as it perhaps should have. Brook is one of those authors who usually has my heart pumping with adrenaline from the crazy situations she puts her characters into. This time, however, I was barely keeping myself focused on the plot and not letting my attention wander to other characters and what might happen to them in following books.

So, as far as continuity and good writing goes, Demon Blood gets 4 stars from me. But because it just lacked that little bit of je ne sais quoi I'm accustomed to getting from Brook, I give it an overall 3.5 stars. Still definitely worth reading, just not as exciting or intriguing as the previous two books. It seems to me more like a book designed to tie up loose ends from previous novels--necessary housecleaning--to make way for new plots and characters to come.

But, I did love this little dig at a popular vampire series: "Sunset was only thirty minutes gone when some pissant vampire waylaid Deacon on his way to Theriaults. One of those younger shits who wrote poetry to Mother Darkness and thought becoming a vampire would make him sparkle."


Demon from the Dark (Immortals After Dark, Bk 10)
Demon from the Dark (Immortals After Dark, Bk 10)
Author: Kresley Cole
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4.4/5 Stars.
 335
Review Date: 8/26/2010
Helpful Score: 6


Not my favorite IAD novel, but still an excellent addition to the series. Kresley Cole really excels at creating beautiful characters of such diverse and dark backgrounds but still manages to make them humorous and sympathetic while still maintaining their 'street cred.' Malkom is probably her darkest and most tormented hero to date who is both dangerously damaged in the mind and kind of sweet--my favorite combination : ). I LOVED the first half of this story where he and Carrow are getting to know each other Tarzan/Jane style in a Demon-plane wilderness. His rough wooing skills are heartbreaking as she desperately tries to resist.

I also loved the cameos by other characters especially in the compound where several Lore creatures are being held against their will and exposed to torture and medical experiments by Lore-hating mortals. There are several intriguing tidbits for possible storylines in future books particularly for Regin & Aidan/Declan and Thronos & Lanthe. I have to admit that, while I enjoy all of Kresley's novels, and this one was no exception, I mostly viewed this novel as a way to get clues for Regin's story (coming out in Feb '11) and because I knew Thronos & Lanthe had pivotal roles in upcoming novels. Dare I hope that they are the third book in the trilogy???? God I hope so!

For me the novel lost a little steam three quarters of the way through when Carrow, Malkom, and Carrow's newly adopted daughter, Ruby played house on a (somewhat) deserted island for several pages. Carrow lost a lot of her spunk and at times her relationship to Malkom truly bothered me. This is the first time that Kresley Cole's hero had crossed a line and squicked me. I found myself very uncomfortable for 3 or so chapters that it kind of killed the ending for me. But I should stress that their relationship at this point hit a nerve for me and might not for many others. So, it's not so much a critique of her writing as more an observation from the standpoint of a long-time fan who, for the first time ever!, was bothered by something one of her characters did and how they did it. Make sense?

All in all, a great story, though not my favorite. Dying, however, to get to Regin's story in February!!!


Demon's Delight: Witch Way / Street Corners and Halos / The Demon's Angel / Angel and the Hellraiser
Review Date: 7/9/2011
Helpful Score: 2


A truly forgettable group of stories. I'm ashamed that I waited almost 2 years for this book to become available.

Usually I have more to say, but it's not even worth the effort; they are that forgettable. I just had to counteract all the positive, glowing reviews because I seriously don't understand what these people found so appealing.


Demon's Kiss (Compact of Sorcerers, Bk 1)
Demon's Kiss (Compact of Sorcerers, Bk 1)
Author: Eve Silver
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.2/5 Stars.
 47
Review Date: 9/6/2010
Helpful Score: 1


I happened to read this poor book right after the new highly awaited Kresley Cole novel and just before I was able to purchase the also highly awaited new Larissa Ione novel. So, unfortunately I was prone to drifting off into other lands created by other authors as I was reading this novel. I'd also just read Eve Silver's Sins of the Heart, the first book in her new Otherkin series, which had several parallels to this first in the Compact of Sorcerers series, and it was very hard to not continuously compare the two storylines. In other words, I was reeeeeaaaallly distracted as I was reading this novel. But it attests to the strength of the author's characterization and world building that I kept reading and eventually liked the book enough to want to keep it instead of swapping it for something else. I even want to read the sequel because the hero in that novel had a small, but powerful, cameo in this novel that intrigued me. I would definitely recommend this novel. But do NOT read it directly after the Otherkin series as it will be lackluster in comparison. The Compact of Sorcers series is bleak, dark, and gritty. So is the Otherkin series. But the latter also has some humor, a lot more shades of gray, and a vibrancy to it that makes it a more entertaining read and showcases Silver's evolution as a writer.


Destiny's Star (Epic of Palins, Bk 3)
Destiny's Star (Epic of Palins, Bk 3)
Author: Elizabeth Vaughan
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 25
Review Date: 4/15/2010
Helpful Score: 4


Bethral and Ezren were two very important reasons I loved "Dagger Star." I was intrigued from the very moment Bethral looked into bright green eyes and found herself smitten despite Ezren's tortured body and soul. I wanted so badly for them to have a happy ending and so, when the next book, "White Star," left off in a cliffhanger in which Bethral and Ezren are magically transported :::alone!::: to the Plains, I literally squealed out loud because I knew their story was finally going to be consummated. I waited impatiently for April 6 to arrive because I so wasn't going to wait until someone made it available on PBS. I wanted it NOW!

So of course life interfered and I wasn't able to read it as soon as it hit the bookshelves like I wanted. But I can tell you that once I sat down to read, I read voraciously. This book is deceptively simple and it flows rather nicely so you can't just read a couple of chapters and call it a night. You must read the whole thing in one go! At least that is how it is for me. I'm pretty sure I need to reread it in fact since I probably read it so fast I missed a lot of nuances. What can I say? I'm just so happy that Bethral and Ezren are together--finally.

Like the two preceding novels in the trilogy, "Destiny's Star" has it's own flavor and rhythm. "Dagger Star" read like a fantasy, "White Star" more like a traditional romance (with fantasy elements), and "Destiny's Star" reads more like an epic poem or story. I'm not sure if this was intentional but the latter is filled with stately sentences, epithets, and repetitions in syntax that would be familiar to anyone who is knowledgeable of oral tradition such as the Odyssey or the Iliad. Whether this is my own prejudices (and tendency to see Homeric influence in everything) coming to bear or not, it makes sense that Ezren's profession as a Singer (Bard) and the oral tradition of the people of the Plains would affect the tempo and style of the novel depicting them. In other words I think the writing itself subtly mimics the kind of epic storytelling that Ezren would awe his mostly illiterate audiences with.

My only real negative (and this is very minor indeed) is that I doubt someone could pick up this book without having read the two preceding novels in the series, and not feel like they are missing a huge chunk of the plot. More than most, this novel really builds upon the UST excruciatingly nourished over the previous books. This romance would not be nearly as strong without the history related in prior stories. For this reason only I worry that people will pick it up with no knowledge of it being the third in a trilogy and hate it because it might seem incomplete to them. I really enjoyed it but then I like when intriguing characters from other stories get their own book and not too much time is wasted on rehashing what happened before.

Also, it should be noted that this book acts as sort of a bridge between the WarPrize trilogy and the Star trilogy. It's a must to have read the previous novels in the Star trilogy to fully appreciate this story, but I enjoyed it just fine without having any knowledge of the Warprize trilogy. It took a bit of orienting, but it was very doable.

My advice is to grab all the books in the Star trilogy, find yourself a comfy place to while away an afternoon, and read all of them in a row. It's really a very powerful and unique series with strong women and non-traditional romantic motifs.


The Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye
The Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye
Author: A. S. Byatt
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 10
Review Date: 6/11/2011
Helpful Score: 2


For the most part I really enjoyed this book as the stories focused on the pursuit of one's own story even if it bucks trend. I loved that, my favorite story in the anthology, "The Story of the Eldest Princess," subverted the usual fairy tale and allowed the heroine to choose her own path. It reminded me of Mercedes Lackey's Five Hundred Kingdoms series in which the heroes and heroines are always battling against the Tradition which is compelling them to follow certain predetermined paths. In this case the eldest princess is nervous because she is well educated in the ways of quests and believes that she will fail and therefore have to wait seven years for her youngest sister to save her. (As we all know, three siblings always set out on quests successively only to have each fail due to hubris or stupidity until the humble and savvy youngest sibling manages to get it right.) Instead our eldest princess is prepared, intelligent, and not at all arrogant. She manages to make friends with all manner of seemingly odious creatures who are traditionally to be avoided and who steer her clear of the many pitfalls of the standard quest and allow her to forage a new path that is just right for her. So even though she doesn't finish the quest her parents set out for her, she has successfully and competently begun her own personal story. The moral I took from the story is that you mustn't compare yourself to other's who have come before you but set forth on the path that is right for you, and that a personal quest is essential to all of us no matter where it ends. I guess I've been doing a lot of soul searching lately and I read this book at the most auspicious time.

The rest of the shorter stories seemed to also be variations on this theme. Another one that has particular relevance in this time of massive tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, economic disparity and the like, was "Dragon's Breath" which focuses on the very boring small village of no name that encounters a terrifying and destructive force that they can barely comprehend. The moral of this story though, is that after the fear and destruction are finished, the villagers are no longer bored but grateful to be alive. In other words, sometimes strife has a purpose and that purpose is to remind us that we are all alive and there is joy to be found in the darkest places.

This all sounds so trite and I don't mean to sound preachy, because this novel isn't at all. In fact there is a lot of dark humor, not to mention a sort of c'est la vie attitude and a lack of moralizing. "The Glass Coffin" hints strongly that a brother and sister have an inappropriate relationship while the sister's husband has a job that is far less masculine than his wife's inclinations; "Gode's Story" has one of the best last lines of any story I've read; and so there is a lot of wry humor and poking fun of the darker elements of fairy tales.

My only complaint was that I wasn't so enchanted with the longest story, "The Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye." I enjoyed the first half but quickly got tired of the almost stream of consciousness style of writing. It reminded me of how much I despised reading James Joyce and Virginia Woolf in AP English.

But all in all this is an intelligent, deceptively funny, and engaging read.


Dominic (Lords of Satyr, Bk 4)
Dominic (Lords of Satyr, Bk 4)
Author: Elizabeth Amber
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 98
Review Date: 4/29/2012


I felt dirty reading this book. I know there is some thrill to reading something a little naughty, but this book went beyond what I feel is appropriate in an erotic romance. I don't understand this trend toward displaying such graphic depictions of sexual violence in romance and erotic romance novels. Maybe I'm too sensitive but I feel like these graphic, extensive, and violent scenes of rape, necrophilia, and bdsm (in which the goal is clearly to demean and brutalize the victim) as not belonging in well over half of a novel that I'm to understand is meant to be, ultimately, a romance. If, like me, you prefer your romances to leave you feeling warm and fuzzy, then I'd avoid this novel. I'm not saying a little darkness or boundary pushing isn't ever appropriate in a romance, it just needs to feel like it has a purpose that furthers the story of the romance. In this book the torture was overlong and gratuitous. Plus, as another reviewer pointed out, if there had been less explicit sexual violence, maybe there would have been space for an actual plot.


Dragon Blood (Hurog, Bk 2)
Dragon Blood (Hurog, Bk 2)
Author: Patricia Briggs
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 157
Review Date: 7/19/2012
Helpful Score: 2


I loved this book. So much that weeks after I read it I look fondly back and wish I were reading something as pleasurable right now. It is the perfect blend of fast-paced readability, bone-chilling scenes, characters that resonate, and good old fashioned fantasy.

Dragon Blood is more a straightforward fantasy novel that seems to have a more mature voice than its predecessor. It picks up four years after the events of Dragon Bones and all the characters are a little more mature and self-possessed. This is most evident in Ward and Oreg who are no longer quite so burdened by the abuse of their pasts. In fact Ward fits more the archetype of hero in this book than he did in the previous. All plot points that were left hanging in book one are answered in this sequel. There is romance but it isn't overt. Really, the true strength of the writing comes from the relationships between all the characters and how Briggs can imbue such poignancy, horror, humanity (or lack thereof), and love/hate into people who, in some cases, only have a few lines written about them. This author knows how to say so much in a simple, elegant way that is no less eloquent for its very brevity.

Highly recommended book!


Dragon Bones (Hurog, Bk 1)
Dragon Bones (Hurog, Bk 1)
Author: Patricia Briggs
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 178
Review Date: 6/25/2012
Helpful Score: 2


I had really high expectations for this book. I'm not exactly sure they were met, but I grew to like this book quite a bit on its own merits.

At first I was disappointed by the style of the book. The writing was very simplistic but also really confusing at times. Now there were a lot of editing errors in my copy, so I'm not sure if some of the confusing language was a result of typos, grammatical errors, and the wrong name being used, or the author's style.

I also expected a different story. I'm a fan of the calculating hero playing the buffoon and so I was anxiously awaiting more scenes in which Ward acts dumber than he is while secretly laughing behind everyone's backs. I also couldn't wait for the grand reveal in which he surprises everyone with his actual cleverness. However, this book starts with the end of Ward's deception and a lot of the scenes in which he reveals his smarts are met with almost a cavalier, "huh, well that makes sense" kind of attitude. I guess I really wanted to get into the meat of his deception and how everyone would act upon it's reveal. But, though this book is primarily a sort of coming of age venture for Ward, it is also a political novel and a lot of characterization is--I won't say sacrificed--but abbreviated for the sake of making the story pass along quicker and more epically.

So I didn't get what I thought I'd get, nor what I wanted, but I'm fine with the outcome. It takes a lot of talent to say so much in so few words that I'm not bothered anymore by what I initially thought was lacking in this novel. I highly recommend it now, but I'd say go into it with no preconceived ideas of how these fantasy books usually go. Also, this book has more in common with a young adult novel than a dragon-themed epic like those written by Anne McCaffrey.


Dragonbound
Dragonbound
Author: Jade Lee
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.2/5 Stars.
 22
Review Date: 1/25/2010
Helpful Score: 4


I have mixed feelings about this book. On one hand the author creates a meticulous and believable world and I do believe in the love between the main protagonists. The writing is good enough to keep you reading without any of those glaring errors like poor editing or characterization. On the other hand, the author makes what amounts to me as the cardinal sin in the romance genre--she grants more pages to the heroine's sexual escapades with other men. This includes outright rape, subjugation, and questionable consent. I don't want to read about any of that! When I pick up a romance novel I'm not interested in reading about the in depth sexual slavery of the heroine. I don't need the romance to be fluffy, but I'd like to come away from the story feeling happy, not somewhat creeped out. And this story had many creepy elements (and not in the Halloween-cool sense, but in the pedophile-next-door kind of way).

So 3 stars from me. The writing is good and the fantasy plotline interesting. What little romance there is in the story is written poignantly. I just hated the three quarters of the novel that is gratuitously permeated with the sexual depravity, slavery, and other vices of the human condition.


Dreams of a Dark Warrior (Immortals After Dark, Bk 11)
Dreams of a Dark Warrior (Immortals After Dark, Bk 11)
Author: Kresley Cole
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 249
Review Date: 2/16/2011
Helpful Score: 9


Wow, I love Kresley Cole's novels and I was more enthusiastic about this story than any other. (I literally took off work to go track down the book and read it yesterday.) Usually I have no trouble writing a review of even my least favorite of her stories because she's so good. But this was a strange book. I wasn't sure I would like it for half of its over 500 pages!

It is dark. Very dark. In fact if you are one of those people who thinks that Peter Jackson's The Lord of The Rings trilogy was gratuitously violent (I don't), then this book might bother you. Declan is a very twisted, damaged, unsympathetic character for many pages. He is the anti-romantic hero. He's a junky, he tortures people, he's been brainwashed, and he has tunnel vision when it comes to his sense of right and wrong that he has no interest in contemplating. Oddly enough, I didn't hate him and I still maintain that the preceding Demon From the Dark is the more psychologically disturbing tale. However, I found Declan mildly distasteful and wondered if I would ever believe in an epic love between him and Regin.

Regin has been my favorite character since I began reading this series over 3 years ago. Though she had some really funny lines, she was not her usual bright self. Her glow was noticeably dimmed for a good chunk of the story. Since she was tortured, locked up, or suffering life-threatening injuries most of the time, it made sense that she wouldn't be cracking jokes every couple of lines of dialogue. We get the serious side of Regin--the "tears of the clown" if you forgive my unfortunate reference. I missed her crazy side. I really did. I wished we could have seen more of it at the end of the book after everything has worked out for her and Declan. But I did appreciate the somber side of Regin and that she wasn't a one-dimensional joke machine.

About half-way or so through, in one small scene involving a bathtub, I finally understood how Cole was going to bring these two together. It was some masterful writing because after that I quickly started to really like Declan as he was and not as some wrong version of the reincarnated Aidan. But in the end I still felt starved for more interaction between him and Regin because I realized that, unlike previous books, these two spent less time alone together than any of Cole's other pairings. Somehow it makes their story both more epic and intimate, instead of less so. I don't know how Cole does it.

After finishing this book I was left a little gobsmacked. I didn't know how to react. It didn't leave me with the same fuzzy romantic feelings I had for No Rest For the Wicked, but it still had an amazing impact. I'm still not sure I can define it. I do think it was the most well-written, evenly paced, and thorough of her books so far. Cole has written that Regin was one of the first characters that she came up with for her IAD series and I can see this evident in the ease with which this book was written and the way it flows. It's over 500 pages and seems to go by in a blink. There wasn't one section that I thought deserved more time or needed to be fleshed out more. I wanted more of Regin and Declan living happily ever like you sometimes want to read fanfiction of your favorite tv series after the curtain has gone down on the final episode of the final season. But Dreams of a Dark Warrior was the best self-contained story I have ever read in a series that still managed to create interest for future stories.

As always, side characters were well-developed while not taking up too much of the limelight. Lothaire seduced me with his quirky humor, ambivalent honor, and slightly homoerotic relationship with Declan. I'm curious to see if Regin and Declan have cameos in his story.

Overall, DOADW is a wonderful addition to the IAD series and perhaps the best written romance novel I've ever read.


Ecstasy Unveiled (Demonica, Bk 4)
Ecstasy Unveiled (Demonica, Bk 4)
Author: Larissa Ione
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 255
Review Date: 5/11/2010
Helpful Score: 6


I think this is my favorite in the Demonica series (at least so far)! I was disappointed with Wraith's story, for which I thought the plot and characterization were not as tight as the previous stories, so I was a little worried about starting Lore's story so quickly on the heals of that disappointment. Thankfully, what was lacking in the third Demonica book was not in the fourth. The plot was intricate, the bad guys were actually bad and not easily overpowered, and I loved the romance between Lore and Idess.

A lot of the previous reviews have panned what they consider the lack of building chemistry between Lore and Idess. I actually couldn't disagree more. For as dark as Larissa Ione can write, she's a master at romance. Normally I do dislike stories in which the characters miraculously fall in love after a few days together and some great sex, so I am all the more appreciative when it is done right. I think there was just the right amount of chemistry buildup and I have no problem believing that Lore and Idess are destined for each other. All I can say is that if Ione can get my normally super-picky and critical brain to believe in this fast courtship, then it is to her testament as a fabulous writer who can evoke great passion, world-building, and characterization in a short span of time and pages.

She is also a fantastic mystery/fantasy writer and those expecting a simple romance that just happens to be set in a world of demons are going to be sadly disappointed. Ione fabulously draws on threads from earlier stories and expertly wraps them up. One of the reasons I liked this story so well is that if you chucked out the sex scenes it would have been a great standalone fantasy novel. Yes I figured out some of the mysteries before they were revealed but I was just thrilled to read not only a great romance but a great plot as well. I do not expect such adept twists and turns from most romance novels.

I am also now very much anticipating Lore's sister, Sin's upcoming story. She was an entertaining and heartbreaking, strong yet vulnerable, character whose romance with the vamp/werewolf Conal promises to be a combustive and thrilling ride. I'm so glad I'm excited about the series again.

My only warning though is that you cannot read this story out of context with the other Demonica novels. But, really, it shouldn't be that much of a hardship to read the series in order. It's really quite good.


The Egyptian Coffin (Lord Ambrose, Bk 2)
The Egyptian Coffin (Lord Ambrose, Bk 2)
Author: Jane Jakeman
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 10
Review Date: 2/13/2014


A very atmospheric book that was lovely insomuch as it really set the mood. But it's neither about antiquities nor enough of a mystery to garner it a place on my keeper shelf. It's written in a very stylized way in which the events are communicated via journal notes and letters which gets a bit repetitious and even tedious. But overall it's a simple story that evokes a particular time period very well. Having been to and studied ancient Egypt and the antiquity trade, I thought the descriptions of 19th century Egypt were so vivid that I could imagine myself exactly there. But I wanted more of that (we don't even get to Egypt until quite a way into the book), more mysteries of ancient Egypt, more characterization, more action, less repeatedly speaking about trivial things. I suppose it's a matter of preference but I felt this book didn't live up to it's potential. Like the previous reviewer, I shan't be reading anything else in this series. 19th century Egypt and Britain hooked me, the weak characterization and boring delivery left me cold.


The Enchantment Emporium
The Enchantment Emporium
Author: Tanya Huff
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 24
Review Date: 8/6/2010
Helpful Score: 5


The Gale clan is like a more charming, slightly less incestuous, Canadian version of Anne Rice's Mayfair witches. But while the Mayfairs are dark and disturbing, the Gales get what they want with magical pie, the indomitable will of the family's senile matriarchs, and a more metaphysical/Wiccan approach to power. This is a very whimsical, fun tale full of humor and girl-power! This is a character driven plot with character dynamics to die for. I really really REALLY enjoyed this tale. I've never wanted to be so much a part of a fictional family as I did the Gales. (No, even the Weasleys can't compare.) It's full of what should be clichés in the fantasy and paranormal romance genres--fairies, dragons, urban heroine, promiscuity, and the woes of coming of age. Instead it takes a slightly twisted and humorous approach to these concepts that puts one in mind of the fractured fairy tales of Rocky and Bullwinkle fame. I can't recommend this book enough. Yes, one might find herself struggling to grasp the full concept of the world in which she is unceremoniously and unapologetically thrust into with very little information for the first couple of chapters. But, if she sticks with it, the journey is so worth it. And all becomes fabulously clear in the end.


The Enchantment Emporium (Enchantment Emporium, Bk 1)
The Enchantment Emporium (Enchantment Emporium, Bk 1)
Author: Tanya Huff
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 43
Review Date: 8/6/2010
Helpful Score: 6


The Gale clan is like a more charming, slightly less incestuous, Canadian version of Anne Rice's Mayfair witches. But while the Mayfairs are dark and disturbing, the Gales get what they want with magical pie, the indomitable will of the family's senile matriarchs, and a more metaphysical/Wiccan approach to power. This is a very whimsical, fun tale full of humor and girl-power! This is a character driven plot with character dynamics to die for.I really really REALLY enjoyed this tale. I've never wanted to be so much a part of a fictional family as I did the Gales. (No, even the Weasleys can't compare.) It's full of what should be clichés in the fantasy and paranormal romance genres--fairies, dragons, urban heroine, promiscuity, and the woes of coming of age. Instead it takes a slightly twisted and humorous approach to these concepts that puts one in mind of the fractured fairy tales of Rocky and Bullwinkle fame. I can't recommend this book enough. Yes, one might find herself struggling to grasp the full concept of the world in which she is unceremoniously and unapologetically thrust into with very little information for the first couple of chapters. But, if she sticks with it, the journey is so worth it. And all becomes fabulously clear in the end.


Enslave Me Sweetly (Alien Huntress, Bk 2)
Enslave Me Sweetly (Alien Huntress, Bk 2)
Author: Gena Showalter
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 146
Review Date: 1/14/2013


It has been a while since I read Awaken Me Darkly (Alien Huntress, Bk 1), but I'm fairly sure I didn't enjoy it as much as Enslave Me Sweetly. I like Eden Black as a character and her love interest Lucius a lot more than Mia Snow and her beau. Eden truly is a competent assassin for which I give Showalter kudos. However, I really wish that the author would have allowed the UST to develop and blossom better. Eden and Lucius have a great introduction but their mutual dislike and unease with each other is quickly swept away by their massive need to have sex. A little sexual tension is good. So much that they can't do their job around each other and jump into bed is not so good. I really wanted to be made to yearn for their getting together. Instead it was all too easy. Besides that, the book is good and was written before Showalter started over-writing. It just isn't a keeper for me because the whole sex slavery thing is a huge squick of mine and well, doesn't have a place in my idea of romance.

Quick edit: Yeah, so I just reread parts of the book while I'm not on cold medication and realized that it is pretty bad. I still think it starts off well, but the last half of the book is just too simple and unrealistic to be taken seriously. I'm downgrading this book from 3 stars to 2.


Eternal Prey (Gods of the Night, Bk 3)
Eternal Prey (Gods of the Night, Bk 3)
Author: Nina Bangs
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 48
Review Date: 10/17/2011


This was my introduction into the Gods of the Night series so there were a few confusing aspects to the storyline that, had I read the previous two books, I probably would have understood better or at least quicker. However, I found the book pretty easy to follow and I didn't miss the other two books because their main characters were so negligible in this book. I honestly had no interest in reading about them and doing so felt like a waste of time and like I would be going backwards if you know what I mean.

I had a curious reaction to this book. I felt both underwhelmed and intrigued. I felt underwhelmed because most of the characters came across one-dimensional to me. A little tightening of the writing could have made me care more for the Eleven instead of just Utah. I felt like the writing was particularly shallow in regards to characters like Seven and Seir. I get the idea that they are not evil and that there is the possibility for an intriguing connection between Fin and the "bad guys" but pivotal moments of interaction between these characters that could have expanded on this idea and really paid off in the books to follow, felt somewhat wasted and flippant. It felt like the author told a bit too much instead of hinted and unveiled through the actions of the characters. Utah and Lia are so obviously going to not be that important to the next books, just like the previous main pairings were not so important in Eternal Prey, that it pains me when more could have been done about characters like Fin, Seir, Zero, and Seven who are also obviously pivotal to the entire arc of the series. Their brief moments could have packed more of a punch.

I was impressed with the originality of men who were dinosaurs but also something even more ancient. *That* idea intrigues me very much. I like the cosmic quality of the premise. I hope that the idea is expanded into something worthwhile. The paranormal romance market is already saturated with so much of everything else going on in the plot of this series (ie vampires warring with other paranormal creatures like the fey and werewolves, a brotherhood-type of group led by a mysterious and more powerful deus ex machina, etc) that it needs for this more original concept to really pay off big in the end. If the books to follow actually expand on this idea in a satisfying way, then I'll be the first to continue reading the series. Otherwise it will become just another book that happened to help pass the time one day.


False Horizon (Rogue Angel, Bk 29)
False Horizon (Rogue Angel, Bk 29)
Author: Alex Archer
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 8
Review Date: 9/12/2011
Helpful Score: 1


For an archaeology-based adventure story, this is remarkably boring and has very little to do with archaeology. I'm really miffed. *Every* time I try to read an archaeology-based adventure story I'm dumbstruck by the lack of intelligent storytelling, decent characterization, or even witty dialogue. At least James Rollins or some of the other more prevalent adventure authors have decent plots that attempt originality even if their characters are one-dimensional and half the storytelling is devoted to whatever cool gadgets the heroes have to help them on their adventures. But I really found this book to be a veritable snooze. Even the "action" was boring!

Admittedly, it is my first in the series so it is possible that, due to the fact at least four different people churn these out every month, I stumbled upon one of the bad ones. Maybe earlier books are more inspired. Judging by the fact that Amazon reviewers gush about how the heroine is like the love child between Lara Croft and Indiana Jones, I can only assume at one time this series actually kicked butt. For these same reasons I have to say I was expecting more wit, more archaeological savvy, and more excitement from the cast of characters, especially the main heroine. But what I got was a group of interchangeable characters.

Seriously, not one character has any characteristic that makes him/her stand out from the rest. Okay, one Nepali man, Tuk, is really really petite and we have his diminutive size forced on us every time he is mentioned (and he is mentioned more than Annja Creed!) lest we forget. I think this was the author's heavy-handed attempt at foreshadowing. Annja has a sword and is really attractive. Her friend Mike is a large man who played football and may be dying. And that is about it for characterization. They all speak the same and they all are so freaking polite to each other that, again, it makes you want to fall asleep. There is absolutely no friction in this story. Even the bad guys are polite when they threaten our heroes. The inhabitants from Shangri-La are really polite. And Annja, Mike, and Tuk are super nice to each other even though Mike got Annja into a rather stupidly dangerous situation and Tuk was a stowaway on their crashed plane. Furthermore, all 3 main characters are more naive than their reputation or previous work experience would make possible. I think one cross word or a bit of suspicion would have been warranted somewhere in this story. And since the plot is so bland and full of happy coincidences, the characters really needed to be better drawn out in order to make something about this book worthwhile.

The only saving grace of this book is that it is an easy and quick read. But it reminds me too much of a Saturday morning cartoon with simple plots and poor characterization. The only way I could see this book working at all is if a really great cast and crew turned it into a movie and fleshed out the characters and some crucial scenes better. Unless, you are a diehard Annja Creed fan, I'd suggest skipping this book.


The Fire Lord's Lover (Elven Lords, Bk 1)
The Fire Lord's Lover (Elven Lords, Bk 1)
Author: Kathryne Kennedy
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 37
Review Date: 10/13/2010
Helpful Score: 4


Very original. At first I wasn't sure I'd like it. As a first time reader of the author I was placing my faith on all the fabulous Amazon reviews. As it were, the story was nothing like I imagined it to be whether from the reviews, the blurb on the back of the novel, or from my knowledge of the romance genre. In fact this is not a typical romance story and the book would probably be just as at home in the fantasy section.

The story is a dark fairy tale and the style of storytelling evoked comparisons with Ellen Kushner in my mind. Ellen Kushner is one of those authors whom I appreciate on the basis of her ability to tell a compelling tale but find the overall process of reading to be bittersweet as the story is often very dark and not of the 'happily ever after' genre. Like Ellen Kushner, Kathryne Kennedy's story is dark, full of intrigue, unlikable characters, and necessary evils. Even the 'good guys' have questionable moments at times that leave you wondering if you can ever fully like them as you would most heroes and heroines of other romance novels. The ending is bittersweet and I do not recommend it for those who want their romance stories to be tied up happily in the end. Of course if you shy away from reading this novel based on that criteria alone, then you are missing out on a truly creative, unique, and, yes, romantic story. It took a while for all the pieces of the romance to fall into place for me, but the wait did make the eventual payoff all the more intriguing and magical.

There is definitely room for more stories to come and I do so hope that The Fire Lord's Lover becomes part of a series that deals with the unfinished story lines leftover at its end. I recommend this novel to adventurous romance readers and lovers of historical fantasy.


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