Reading Fanatic Reviews

All Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Paranormal Reviews

 

 

Soothsayer by Allison Sipe

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Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, Scribd, 24 Symbols, Mondadori, and Angus & Robertson

Soothsayer*

Good Idea, Execution Weak

I am of several minds of this book. I liked the Arthurian backdrop, though I don’t think it was explored to its full extent. The characterization seemed inconsistent, and I thought the heroine was a bit too naïve and trusting of the hero. Just because he’s hot and saved her life doesn’t mean he’s necessarily trustworthy. There were definite issues with grammar, punctuation, and usage. Commas were problematic, as they often are in self-pubbed work, but there are other places where the wrong punctuation was used as well, like errant periods and incorrect punctuation of dialogue. The dialogue tags were a little odd at times and didn’t seem to always go with what the action was, so it was a little jarring. I think the story definitely needed tightening and focusing at the hands of a good editor. That being said, the author did create an interesting world; the execution just didn’t quite live up to the ideas.

Come Halloween by Robbie Cox

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Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, 24 Symbols, and Smashwords

Come Halloween*

Come Halloween, Indeed

I have read a few books by Robbie Cox before, and I like the way that he is able to make characters seem so real, even paranormal ones. This book is relatively short, but the author is able to build anticipation, making the reader wonder what the heroine is going to do about the two men who take up so much of her mental space, her dead husband and a good friend who has helped keep her from despair while she has been in mourning. Surprisingly, it is not as simple a choice as it might seem. You can’t help but feel for poor Derek, the living man who has a ghost for competition. The author has created a world that feels much like our own but with a paranormal twist. The author did warn about strong language and sexual situations. I don’t mind the sexual situations, but I don’t think that the use of strong language was necessarily handled well. If profanity and crude language are going to be used, I think it should be done to illuminate character, not just to use “bad” words. After all, a writer’s medium is words, and there are so many more than the blue ones! That said, this is still a delightful and intriguing read, and it might be fun to re-read it around Halloween.

Wild Type by M. Telsch-Williams

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Available at Amazon only
Free with Kindle Unlimited

Wild Type*

A Strange Blend of Elements

I am not quite sure what to make of this book. It’s kind of fantasy meets Indiana Jones. But the protagonist is an intelligent female in a society that does not value smart women. She is the daughter of the former top researcher in her land. The book was odd in that it seemed like it had some modern things, like microscopes, while other parts of it seemed somewhat primitive. The bulk of the book details a trip that she takes to the Farlands, a place her father always wanted to go but never did before he died. She discovers things about the Farlands… and her father’s past. She is in a power struggle with the leader of her area, who rules with an iron fist. Can wild type just define what she finds in the Farlands, or does it come to define her in her quest to be more than her society wants her to be?

The Key to Her Past by Blanche Dabney

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Available at Amazon only
Free with Kindle Unlimited

The Key to Her Past*

Surprising Supernatural Element… and Not in a Good Way!

I have read two other books in this series, and I wasn’t particularly wild about them, but I do like to give authors several chances before I give up on them completely. Sometimes a book or two just isn’t right for me, but other ones will be. The issues I didn’t like in the other books were present here and were actually worse. While historical time travel books do have an element of the unreal to them, because time travel isn’t currently possible, they are usually still grounded in the reality of both in contemporary times and historical times. But this author has chosen to take time travel romance in a completely different direction that wasn’t even really hinted at in the blurb. In this book, there is a wholly supernatural element that underpins the entire story, and I found it to be shocking and bizarre—and not in a good way. When I realized it this is where the author was going, I had a hard time keeping with the book because it was just too bizarre. Honestly, the author should have warned about this in the blurb or had it accurately reflected in the book’s cover. The cover looks like it could be for any Highland romance, not for a supernatural one.

Like the previous book in the series, too, this one didn’t have the hero and heroine meet until after the 30% mark of the book. Even if the book didn’t have the bizarreness mentioned in the previous paragraph, this late meeting of the couple makes it so that there is not any time to truly develop the romance. This is especially important in the case of this book because it explores the enemies-to-lovers trope.

I will admit to being somewhat surprised at how well this series is rated by other readers. The stories are not well plotted, the characters are without much dimension, extraneous information that adds nothing to the story takes up valuable time, and the books are too short for the romance plot to be explored as it ought to be. I cannot recommend this book or the series.

Star-Crossed with Scarlett by Shelley Munro

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Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Google Play, Kobo, Scribd, Thalia, Mondadori, Angus & Robertson, and Bol.de

Star-Crossed with Scarlett*

Main Characters Lacked

I have read at least one other book by this author, and I enjoyed that one, so I thought I would give this book a go. I liked the dramatic beginning and appreciated that it wasn’t weighted down with too much backstory. However, the two main characters never really became “real” for me, and I didn’t sense chemistry between them (most likely because of that fact). As so much of the book relied on their evolving relationship, that made the entire book fall flat for me.

Irish Magic by Susan B. Jamies

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Available at Amazon only
Free with Kindle Unlimited

Irish Magic*

Setup Doesn’t Pass Reality Check

Contemporary romance with a dash of the supernatural. I thought that the setup of this book was contrived, which kind of spoiled the rest of the book for me. It might sound silly, but even in fiction with fantastical elements, I expect a book to pass a reality check of sorts. So what in the setup bothered me so much? As someone who writes, I found it odd that the heroine would need to take a trip to find a new model for the hero of her book, which was supposedly in the revision stage. (Oh, and the snippets we read of the heroine’s “book” seem like stereotypical bad historical romance, which feels like a bit insulting to those of us who enjoy good historical romance.) If a writer really based characters so heavily on real people, she doesn’t have much imagination! And there is no way someone who quit her job and is living off her advances could do this. To me, it just seemed like a plot device to get the heroine to Ireland so the rest of the book could happen there. Once all players were in Ireland, the book did have some humor, and I did like the paranormal aspect and the concept of the heart wish and its fulfillment.

Gullible’s Travels & Taxing Rabble by Rachel Ford

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Available at Amazon only
Free with Kindle Unlimited

Gullible's Travels & Taxing Rabble*

Good Concept, Not Well Realized

What an odd book! As the title suggests, there are some references and subtle nods to the original Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift. The book opens with a scene where the protagonists are before an intergalactic/interdimensional council that is looking into their inappropriate uses of a time machine. They can either surrender the machine or become enforcement agents who track down people much like themselves and try to right their wrongs. I like the concept of this book, but I don’t think it was well realized by the author. Parts of it seem quite slow, and sometimes the humor falls flat. They’re also definitely issues with grammar, punctuation, and usage. I found multiple mistakes, like missing commas that made for problems with meaning and wrong words/misspellings (e.g., curios/curious). I did receive an ARC copy, but the ones in my first 10% were still in the original at Amazon, which is always a disappointment.

A Touch of Necromancy by Laura Greenwood

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Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, 24 Symbols, Thalia, Mondadori, Angus & Robertson, and Bol.de

A Touch of Necromancy*

A Good Sampling of Writer’s Work

I have read a variety of this author’s books, and I thought I would check out this particular collection because I was intrigued by the idea that the overall theme binding this collection was necromancy. It is such an offbeat topic for paranormal romance that I was wondering how the author would keep the stories distinct. Knowing what I know of her other writing, I should not have been worried. Each story is unique, with different setups, mysteries, and action. Even the romance aspect was different because some of the books are reverse harem—with different dynamics between the harems—while others were not. The only book I wasn’t wild about was Fae Blessed, which is one I had to read before as a part of the Blessed series; that series as a whole just didn’t jibe with me. I enjoyed reading more about the Paranormal Council universe, though. All in all, this was an enjoyable collection of books. If you haven’t read this author before, this is a good sampling of her writing.

Mummy Issues by Paula Lester

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Available at Amazon only
Free with Kindle Unlimited

Mummy Issues*

Not Easy to Keep Mum

I have read every book in this series about Zoey and the zany characters at the paranormal retirement community where she works. Something in Zoey’s past is coming back to haunt her, literally and figuratively! I absolutely love the way this series mixes Zoey’s life with those of her residents. The community members add such color. In this book, Zoey is facing parental issues. Her crew with her retirement community has her back, but oh, my! I love that the magical aspect of these books is written with such humor. If you’ve read and enjoyed the other books in this series, you will thoroughly enjoy this latest addition.

Archdruid by Tiffany Shand

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Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Archdruid*

Sibling Rivalry Ramped Up to Fight of Good vs. Evil

This book picks up where the previous one left off. Urien is still at it, even though he is trapped inside of Xander’s body. I actually quite enjoyed the conversations that Urien and Xander had in their conjoined minds; much resembled conversation as you might imagine it would be between brothers as different as this. The novel takes sibling rivalry to the next level in the classic fight of good against evil. I loved Ann’s strength. The book is very action-oriented with lots of twists and turns that will take you for quite a ride. It ends, unfortunately, at what feels like a cliffhanger to me as it is in the middle of a pivotal scene. I didn’t think the end of the blurb was wholly accurate, which is disappointing. However, I’m definitely curious to see where the series goes next.

Disclosure

The asterisks (*) by the book title denote the source of the book copy.

One star = I received it as a free advance/review copy or directly from the author.

Two stars = I borrowed it through my Kindle Unlimited subscription.

Three stars = I purchased the book outright (sometimes for free).

The Amazon book links on this site are affiliate links, which means I make a tiny percentage if you choose to buy a book linked from this site.

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