Search This Blog

Friday, June 28, 2013

Read and Review Competition!

We're going to have a fun month! Goodreads' Paranormal and Urban Fantasy thread is hosting a RaR competition! How many books from their thread can I RaR in a month? Who knows? If you have a book that you would like reviewed by me (and lots of others) post to that thread! It'll be a blast! So far on my list -

Monday, June 24, 2013

REVIEW - The Hunter's Rede by F.T. McKinstry

4.5/5 stars.  Full review available at the Authors Alliance web page; I will post it here in 30 days (conditions of the Alliance). Thanks for reading!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

REVIEW: Ghost Light by E.J. Stevens

Please note - this review is on the ARC for Ghost Light and was provided in return for a free copy of said ARC.  However, this is an honest review and reflects only the opinions of myself, Jason Crawford.

My overall rating for this book is 4.8/5. 

Here is my breakdown, as usual:

Characters:  5/5.  The development of the characters of Ivy, Ceff, Jinx, and the rest are logical, reasonable, and entertaining.  It is thrilling to watch Ivy struggle through the implications of her true nature, her self-imposed tactile exile (rhyming!), and her relationship with Ceffyl, King of the Kelpies.  The introduction of Melusine, Ceff's ex-wife, is also a nice touch and makes for a deep, interesting dynamic between Ivy, Ceff, and Mel considering what was revealed in Book #1.

Storyline/Plot - 5/5.  Fantastic as well.  I was hungering for this book as soon as I read Blood and Mistletoe and it did not disappoint.  The aftermath of both preceding stories was clearly felt in this one, and the mystery involved in the missing Fae children had me gripped from the beginning.

Flow/Construction - 4.6/5.  There were fewer spelling/grammar errors in this story (or I didn't see as many), but Stevens does exhibit a small problem with repetition.  Specifically, she has a minor tendency to describe certain things multiple times in the course of the same work (vampire appearance, for instance, is one example I can think of immediately).  This was not a big deal for me, but it was something that I noticed and which interrupted the flow a bit.

Spelling/Grammar:  4.9/5.  As noted above, I found/noticed fewer spelling or grammar considerations in this work.  There were none that caused me concern or slowed me up in any way.

Overall:  Stevens continues to impress with Ghost Light, the second full novel in the Ivy Granger series.  If she continues in this vein, her work may stand among the paranormal fantasy greats.  You owe it to yourself to give the Ivy Granger series a try.

Jason P. Crawford

Monday, June 17, 2013

REVIEW: Shadow Sight

Overall Rating:  4.75/5.  Here is my breakdown:

Characters: 5/5.  Stevens has created a very diverse cast of characters, each with unique strengths and flaws that compel the reader to follow them wherever they go.  Psychometry may sound like an amazing talent, but the effects it has on the main character are realistic and believable.  Ivy Granger is a heroine that I can trust to make sense, and that is one of the most important things.

Plot/Storyline:  5/5.  A mystery blended with a paranormal fantasy novel, Shadow Sight does a fantastic job of keeping the reader excited and following along.  I know a book is good when I start reading it faster and faster, and this book had me turning e-pages at a blazing rate.  A rich world combined with a rich storyline leads to a fantastic read.

Construction/Flow:  4.6/5.  Easy to follow and easy to read, Stevens' command of language creates vivid environments, especially when describing Ivy's inner thoughts and feelings.  There was no time when I felt confused or had to re-read in order to understand what was going on.  My only concern in this area - Stevens does have a bit of a tendency to repeat descriptions from place to place in the novel, but this is easily overlooked and does not cause difficulty at all.

Spelling/Grammar:  4.9/5.  As usual, Stevens shows care in her sentence construction and her spelling.  Only a few spelling errors were noticed, and they were only noticed because I was looking. 

Overall:  A great introduction to a wonderful series.  If you enjoy Neil Gaiman, you will enjoy E.J. Stevens.  Keep it up!

Find Shadow Sight at Amazon HERE: 

Jason P. Crawford

REVIEW: Blood and Mistletoe by E.J. Stevens

Overall Rating - 4.9/5
Here is my breakdown:

Characters: 5/5  I love the characters in the Ivy Granger series:  each has an important role to play in each story, from the main players of Ivy, Kaye, and Ceff to the "bit players" of Hob, Jinx, and Marvin the bridge troll. I wanted to know more about them from the first book, and this novella did not disappoint.

Storyline/Plot:  5/5 As a novella, this story was shorter than I am used to reading, but you wouldn't know it by what happened.  Filled with exciting action and the compelling tastes of mystery flavored with the spice of folklore given Stevens' signature twist, the plotline kept me reading until the end and made me immediately wish for more to read.

Language/Flow:  5/5  As always, this is more a "did it bother me" category, and it did not.  I enjoy Stevens' use of language and the references to various mythologies.  As a student of mythology it tickles me whenever an author uses the creatures and myths appropriately, and Stevens did just that.

Spelling/Grammar: 4.9/5.  Way better than necessary to keep me involved.  I have read many books wherein the author/copyeditor had fallen down on the job in the grammar or spelling department, and the few errors I found in this story were not enough to disrupt my enjoyment of the story.

Overall:  It is important to understand the background of Ivy Granger before stepping into this story; although Stevens does a good job of providing background information within the novella, it is a shorter work and there is not a whole lot of room for that.  If you like paranormal fiction splashed with a bit of romance you will enjoy Blood and Mistletoe. 

Pick it up today!

Jason P. Crawford

Saturday, June 15, 2013

REVIEW: Seer's Hope by Maree Anderson

I rate this book 4.9/5. Here is my breakdown:

Characters:5/5. Maree has created and juggled a diverse cast of characters with skill and aplomb. The people in this book are relatable, understandable, and believable. She does a particularly good job at helping the audience understand the frustrations of being blind in the situations Hope finds herself in.

Story: 5/5. I settled comfortably into the tone of an epic fantasy, but Maree runs with her characters to make a story all her own. I felt almost no sense of the dreaded deus ex machina; the plot evolved naturally and organically. Well done!

Style: 5/5 - this is a hard category for me as I generally only notice writing style if it brings me out of the story; nevertheless, I was pleased by the descriptions and verisimilitude in this story. I particularly enjoyed the depictions of Hope's experiences as a blind woman; it was very well done.

Grammar/spelling 4.9/5. Overall fantastic, but I did note a few missing words (often linking verbs). Still better than many novels I have enjoyed.

Overall - thank you for a fantastic read. I loved walking with the Dayamari, with Hope and Blayne and Willem and Maya and the rest, and I look forward to rejoining them.

Thanks again!

REVIEW: The Beholder by Ivan Amberlake

The Beholder is a sterling example of what happens when an author introduces real people into a world which he/she has clearly envisioned. The characters are deep, real people with authentic motivations and desires; I wanted to follow Jason Walker on his journey of discovery, and I held my breath as he fell for the otherworldly Emily Ethan.

I did not feel that there was a wasted word in this book. I read it in about 2 and a half hours (I read fast, obviously) but a good chunk of that time was me being up waaaay too late :) Any author that can make me put off sleep for reading is doing something right. If you like anything by Neil Gaiman, you will appreciate Amberlake's "The Beholder." I look forward to reading more!

Jason P. Crawford

What lies behind the curtain?

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen!  I have decided that, because I am reading an awful lot to improve my writing and to form relationships with other authors, that I would begin by posting a book review blog.  I will focus on paranormal/urban fantasy novels, as that is my genre of choice and the community I most want to interact with. 

If you want to request a review, please email me at  Please be sure that you believe your book to be finished before sending it; I am not going to critique or edit your book to prepare it for publication, as much as I might like to :)

Once I have received your email,  I will be glad to follow up with you and let you know when I can read your book.  The reviews will follow a particular schema, and, at your request, I will also post them to Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, or wherever else your book is available.  You are welcome to take my reviews and post them on your site, AS LONG AS YOU LINK BACK HERE! 

I have two reviews ready to post, so here we go.  Thanks again!