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Thursday, November 26, 2015

Review for "Dragonfly in Amber" by Diana Gabaldon

3 or 4 stars? ☻☻☻?

I'm on the fence whether this is a three or a four star read. I spent a small deal of it bored, and wondering how on earth this is going to last for nine books. There were some more good parts, though. Mostly after they get back to Scotland.

I bought the 7 book collection, and I had to put it down after this one. It will be a while before I light into book 3, but I will, because I do need to know what happens. 

Dragonfly in Amber (on Goodreads)

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Review of Perfect Touch by Elizabeth Lowell

I'm probably more at 3.5 stars, but here's the deal. The first, oh, third of the book is S L O W, with so much internal dialog used as exposition that I wondered if I would be able to finish. Who *thinks* all that stuff? In that kind of language?

The descriptions of Wyoming (and the paintings) were beautiful, and I think captured the region well. It is beautiful country.

When the action finally started, it finally started getting good, and I binge read the last 8th of the book.

Then we got to the end, and (view spoiler)

So, the action was well done, but I thought the mystery resolution points were a little weak. Oh, and I mentioned the head-hopping in my status updates. How distracting! If it were truly omniscient, it would show all characters' thoughts, but it is mainly the H/h, and then at the end, we even get into the bad guy's head for a couple paragraphs. In my opinion, that's just lazy.

The romance was refreshing. No angst, which is a thing I totally appreciate.

In summary, I more than liked it, by the end, but I can't say I loved it.

Here are my status updates:
10/19/2015 marked as: currently-reading
10/21/2015 page 40
10.0% "Yeesh. A lot of internal dialog, blatantly used as a device for exposition. Here's hoping it gets better.

And what's with the 1.5" line spacing? Trying to make the book look longer than it is? Mixed with the tiny font, it is confusing, and a challenge to read. :-/"
10/24/2015 page 70
19.0% "Interesting thoughts about art and Wyoming, but the head-hopping is killing me. And again (still) the internal dialog as exposition. Yawn."
10/29/2015 page 194
52.0% "It's starting to get better. Even though I'm impatient, I do like the descriptions of the Wyoming landscape. Reminds my of my driving time."
10/31/2015 page 238
64.0% "She sure draws bad characters well. I'm plotting ways they can get rid of Liza!"

Monday, November 2, 2015

Review of "Outlander" by Diana Gabaldon

5 Stars! ☻☻☻☻☻

Loved this book. It's funny, kept me guessing, and yet a little predictable. If I had any issues with it, it's something I'd call the Jessica Fletcher Syndrome, where if anything bad was going to happen, it will happen to her or to someone close to her. Of course, that is the nature of fiction.

I totally loved Jamie, and the shit he went through...holy cow. No spoilers, but just, wow. Ms. Gabaldon sure put him through it. 

Outlander (on Goodreads)

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Review of the Spellbound Consortium series by A. Payne & N.D. Taylor

I'm going to post my reviews of all the Spellbound Consortium Books in one blog entry.

The series so far consists of 3 full length novels, one novella and one short story collection. There is one remaining full length novel to come.

The Regent's Gamble - Book 1
What a delightful romp. I read the original, unabridged version, which was a mouthful, but the underlying story was very intriguing, compelling, and kept me guessing all the way. It is an introduction into a fabulous world, full of great characters and great creatures.

The abridged version should be more focused and easier to follow. I look forward to reading the next book in the Spellbound Consortium series. 

ETA - I listened to the audio version of the updated, abridged version and it was fantastic! Will Watt is perfect for the job, and my hopes for the streamlined story were realized. 
5 Stars for the updated edition. ☻☻☻☻☻

Primal Legacy (Spellbound Tales #1) 

This was actually the first story in the Consortium I completed, and it was a little rough to enter at this point, as many of the secondary characters were already well established from other books, but Dahlia and Felipe were a cute couple, well suited to handling the crisis that occurred in the rain forest. I liked that Dahlia was a strong character who could kick ass as well as deal with Felipe and his people with compassion and even passion. Felipe was also strong and I could believe in his innocence of the ways of the world - due to the limited exposure his tribe had with the outside world.

I did like the story, but it fell short of *really like it*, so the rating would be 3.5 stars. ☻☻☻?

This took some time to process, but WOW.
Definitely my favorite Spellbound Consortium book so far.

I was right there with Griffin and Aisling and all their trials and beastly things the writers put them through. I don't want to give spoilers, but prepare to ride a hell of roller coaster with these two. I felt so bad for Griffin, and Aisling too, though more for Griffin.

It has been a long time since I read a book and actually fretted for a character as though he was a real person, thinking about him when I wasn't reading and trying to justify reading when I should be doing something else, and that says a lot about the quality of this story.

I was also very impressed with the way this story dovetails with Book 1 and Tales 1, which speaks to the authors' dedication to plotting and executing some complex story lines. I look forward to reading The Gatekeeper's Key, and any future Spellbound books to come.

There were a couple things I thought could be explained a little better, but nothing to take away from giving it a 5 star review. And these days a 5 star is saying a lot from me here on goodreads.

Well done, Taylor & Payne! ☻☻☻☻☻

Cute shorts. Sweet shorts. Sexy shorts. Exciting shorts.

These three short stories pack a pretty good punch for Christmas stories. The first story is a sweet first Christmas for a newly forming family that is just figuring out what a family Christmas should look like. The second story is about a lonely hell hound who finds connection and discovers he is needed by a special friend. That one is something of a tear-jerker.

Then there is the third story. It's not every Christmas story that features society balls where sizzling tangos are disrupted by gun-toting fanatics and chaos and magic abound.

Yep, they're not your typical smarmy Christmas tales. If you are wondering whether you'd like to read the Spellbound Consortium books, but you're not sure you want to commit, this trio of tales will give you a good idea of the series, and by the time you're done, you'll know if they are something you'll like or not.

4 Stars ☻☻☻☻

4.5 stars ☻☻☻☻/
These books keep getting better. The skill of the authors has grown so much. The storytelling remains rich and vivid, while the verbiage gets more concise - and therefore packs a more powerful punch.

The story of Jean-Luc and Krystine is a great love story as well as a great adventure. We're taken on the run from gargoyles at Notre Dame in Paris, through tunnels full of demons in a Labyrinth in Greece, and defending civilians from possessed gunmen across Central Park.

The battle against an organization of occultists is growing more heated with every book, and I find myself rooting more and more for the company of young mages and their fae and sylvan friends who put their lives on the line time and again.

The characters are so well drawn and the story so seamless that I felt like I was inserted into their lives, a passerby, or a close friend, who is asked to participate in the action. The drawback to that is sometimes I felt like important things had happened that I wasn't privy to, and I occasionally got lost. However, as I read on, things became clear again.

These books are supposed to be standalone, and the first two both contain a story arc that is complete by the end, however The Gatekeeper's Key has a story arc that is not complete, though I understand the next book will wrap up the entire series, including the overarching storyline. I do recommend that readers start with The Regent's Gamble, and follow the stories in order, if only to help you avoid spoilers, because the stories are intertwined, and the books do reference things that happened in a previous book.