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book reviews

Book Review: The Flaw in All Magic

The Flaw in All Magic was an absolute gem of a read! I loved it! Great and fun characters, plenty of action, a good plot, wonderful world and world building–nary a word was wasted on boring descriptions either. This book moved right along and told a fun story. If you like Frank Tuttle, Mercedes Lackey, Helen Harper or any of my books, I think you’ll like this book.

This is an author I’ll be keeping an eye on. Five star read, a huge bargain, highly recommended.

Posted: October 15, 2017
Filed in Book Reviews, Under $5
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Book Review: Murder on Black Swan Lane

Murder on Black Swan Lane is on a great sale for 2.99. It’s a reasonably decent read. It’s a Regency mystery, although I’d say it skirts being steampunk. If there were a dirigible in there, it’d be steampunk. The alchemy and chemistry mentioned is on the glossed over hocus pocus side. The main male character is not well-portrayed in the first few chapters. In what was probably an attempt to create the stereotypical powerful, rich and well-educated Earl, he comes across as arrogant, annoying, and stupidly interested in boring pursuits such as gambling, drinking and womanizing. His “brilliant” supposed chemistry talent is glossed over. Once past that misstep, the characterization was stronger. The main female was delightful most of the time, and it was easy to sympathize with her plight. The mystery itself morphed into about three different mysteries with a confusing cast of characters. The characterization of the main and side characters was enough to propel me through the story–as was the absence of romance. The author was particularly skilled at turning the two main characters into friends. It was very interesting to me how they were attracted to one another, but they were very much bound by, and accepting of, their class status. Ms. Sloane never once considered any kind of romantic dalliance. She was too worried about her next meal and the meals of those she was responsible for. In that aspect, she was realistic in a way that I don’t usually see in Regency mysteries or romance. As for the main, if he considered her a romantic interest, he never acted on it. He was too busy trying to stay out of the gallows. I enjoyed this focus quite a bit as it struck me as far more realistic than most books where “irresistible” urges take over the story at the most ridiculous times.

That said, much of the mystery was quite unrealistic with great leaps of luck and quite a bit of the denouements coming from the bad guys answering questions at the end of a gun or right before planning on killing the hero. There was more introspection scattered about than I like to read, and the end action scene was so improbable and cliched I had to wonder if the author had simply written too many of them to come up with any special touches.

But, it was entertaining enough to finish and a good price. I give it 3 stars.

Posted: September 29, 2017
Filed in Book Reviews
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Review: Slouch Witch

Slouch Witch is the best book I’ve read all year. Possibly longer, although I don’t keep critical records. This book had it all–humor, wit, snark that wasn’t over done (your mileage will vary), a good mystery and a touch of romance. This was such a fun read. The mystery had just enough complexity to keep me emotionally and intellectually engaged–one part personal mystery, one part mystery/mystery. The characters morphed/grew enough through the book, along with their magic and curses, that I was thoroughly satisfied and delighted with the story. Highly, highly recommended, a five-star read.

And the best news is that book two is already out. I’m hoarding Star Witch for the perfect weekend!


Review: Alight by Emma Adams

I was thrilled to find this gem of a series for the plane ride during my last trip to NM. I enjoyed Alight so much, I downloaded and began reading Arise the second I finished. What a great ride! Both books were filled with unique characters, a great setting and plenty of action. There were twists and turns, well-fought battles, great friendships–everything I love about urban fantasy. I was quite disappointed to find that book 3 wasn’t out!

Well…now it is! Aflame is out!!! WOOOT! And all three books are on sale for the release party!

If you like Urban Fantasy, you will want to pick this set up. From what I gather, the trilogy is the complete story–it won’t continue on with nine and ten books. I love it when a good story is told without dragging it on and on. I’m hoping for a perfect ending!!!

Highly recommended.

Wonderful covers too–the cover artist is Rebecca Frank.

Review: Playing with Fire

Playing with Fire is billed as a romantic comedy, but I’d call it a romance urban fantasy or paranormal romance. It started off really great with the exception of a couple of phrases to describe the main guy that I find kind of crude. Still, the tone was good, the pacing and characters were funny and good, so I kept reading. I’d say for 3/4rds of the book this thing was 5 stars all the way. It’s a wonderful read for the most part. At about 70 percent? 75? there’s a “recap” of what has happened. And I don’t mean a quick recap. I mean a drag-it-out, repetitious reminder of what we just read–with no new info. It’s done at the end of a very exciting escape, but I couldn’t figure out what in the world it was doing there. Sure, they needed to tell the new characters some info, but usually that’s done with a paragraph or a one-liner: “we brought him up to speed.”

In this case, I think the author wanted a chance to throw in the same quirky brand of humor found in other parts of the book, but it failed because we’d already been there and done that. The two main characters had already reached stability of sorts, so the back and forth was not only repetitious, the “whoops, when would I learn to keep my mouth shut” was over the top, unconvincing, and since it involved innuendos at best or out-and-out lust reveals at its worst, it came across as ridiculous. In other parts of the story, their repertoire worked and worked well with only the occasional eye-roller.

The new characters introduced near the end worked pretty well too. But there’s definitely a section of 20? pages where there’s nothing moving the story forward. There’s hints that the team is trying to find motivation for a particular crime, but it’s a terribly weak motivation/excuse and filler for what otherwise was a 5 star read. The last battle probably should have happened during/with the great escape that led to the filler. The last battle is a decent scene, interrupted by too much lust that wraps up a good story and shows some of the strengths of the main character, Bailey. By strengths, I do not mean her attraction to Quinn–I mean her compassion for some of the creatures in the story.

So I don’t know how to rate the story. It was 5 stars most of the way. The actual ending wasn’t totally weak, but there’s a lag of too many pages that I would rate as “skip.” There are some great and unique characters and magic in this one. It’s fun, funny in spots and has good pacing, good problems to be solved and characters with heart. There are no graphic scenes, which makes it very nice, but towards the end the whole lusting after one another was overdone. It’s also possible that the use of narcotic type substances or magical influences grated on my nerves by the end of the book. As with the above comments, I wish the book had just ended with a nice bang at the escape because the sections after that were where it reached overload with all of the things that had worked in moderation or already pushed the limit.

Do I recommend it? Yes. But with caveats that you might be a tiny bit disappointed as the end draws near. It could just be me because some of these issues are definitely pet peeves of mine and may not be noticed at all by other readers.

Book Bargains of the Day

This looks intriguing. Historical mystery. The Hanover Square Affair – freebie. If anyone has read it, let us know if it’s good! Update: This is definitely historical mystery, no real romance, although the main has meaningfully relationships. It’s not cozy and drifts into a somewhat grim tale in places. I thought it was a good read and I did enjoy it. I’m not certain whether I want to continue the series or not mostly because I’m not much of a series reader (I tend to like stand alones right now.)


A very reasonably priced historical mystery:
The Piper: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Story I’ve read the first in this series and enjoyed it–The Piper is sort of an introduction to one of the main characters in the series. If you like Scotland Yard mysteries, you’ll want to check out this series.

Charles Todd features Hamish himself in this compelling, stand-alone short story.

Before the Great War, Hamish is farmer in the Scottish Highlands, living in a small house on the hillside and caring for a flock of sheep he inherited from his grandmother. When one spring evening he hears a faint cry ringing across the glen, Hamish sets out in the dark to find the source. Near the edge of the loch he spots a young boy laying wounded, a piper’s bag beside him. Hamish brings the piper to his home to stay the night and tends to his head wound, but by the time Hamish wakes the boy has fled. He tracks the footsteps in pursuit of the injured lad and finds him again collapsed in the grasses—now dead.

Who was the mysterious piper, and who was seeking his death? As Hamish scours the countryside for answers, he finds that few of his neighbors are as honest as he, and that until he uncovers a motive, everyone, including Hamish, is a suspect.

A Great Bargain

savingThis entire boxed set is only 99 cents and it comes recommended by April the Dragon–she said the first book had a character that reminded her of Amelia Peabody (one of THE FINEST characters of all time, I might add). I’ve already downloaded the first, but now this! All three for 99 cents! EDITED TO ADD: I’ve read the first two. Definitely makes the list of great books under five! I enjoyed them both!

Society for Paranormals

It’s also available at Kobobooks but you might need a coupon to get the lower price. For my updated list of coupons, see the list here. The link can always be found on the left sidebar halfway down this page under Book Links. I keep it updated as I find new Kobo books coupons!

Edited to add another find: Prince of Tides is only 9 cents right now on Amazon (probably a typo so act fast if you see this). You can then buy the audio for about 4 dollars.