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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Review of All That Glitters by Jackie Sonnenberg

All That Glitters is a paranormal/urban fantasy novel that focuses on an undetectable thief looking for ways to enhance his power. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review; as always, what follows is my honest assessment of the work.

I give this book 2.5/5 stars. Here is my breakdown.

Characters: 2/5. Early on, I found no reason to care about the characters in this story. The point of view changed often, and a whole host of people were introduced. Unfortunately, those people did not ring true to me, and their interactions often seemed like a falsetto note in a song.

Plot: 4/5. This is a strength for this book. I think that Sonnenberg's idea is fascinating - a thief with magical powers terrorizing a town for reasons of his own. With some more work on making the story more fluid, this plot idea could be developed into a truly fantastic novel. As an urban fantasy author myself, I know how hard it is to make the storyline work, and Sonnenberg has a good start in this area.

Flow: 2/5. The language is...well, the language is not fun to read. The dialogue was stilted in many places, unrealistic. The narration was excessive - I prefer for my world to be described to me in small bits and through the actions of the characters rather than through exposition and loads of description. 

Spelling/Grammar: 3.5/5. I didn't notice much in the way of spelling/grammar problems, although the odd structure of some sentences (especially in dialogue) did strike me on occasion. Another proofread/edit session would probably clear up anything I noticed.

Summary: 2.5/5. This book builds slowly. Very slowly. Some people (my sister in law included!) like slow build-ups. I do not. The first few dozen pages of this book are spent introducing more and more new characters without giving me a reason to become invested in any of them. Some people may like this book very much, but I did not. I would not recommend it to others unless I knew that they were interested in the subject matter or the style.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Review of Soul Reunion by Lorraine Sears - 4.5/5 Stars

Review of Soul Reunion by Lorraine Sears Soul Reunion is a paranormal romance story and the first in a series. I was given a free copy of this novel for a review. As always, the review is honest and reflects my true opinions of the work.

I give this book a 4.5/5. Here is my breakdown:

Characters: 5/5. Lorraine does a fantastic job of creating characters. The world in which they exist is so rich, and the characters have such detailed storylines and history. From Soul Takers to Death Dealers to Vampires and Wizards, it’s a round-robin of wonderful design. The revelation of Maya’s secret curse cut to my soul, and Helena’s insecurities were all-too-realistic. Fantastic work! 

Plot/Storyline: 5/5. The storyline was amazing! The action and romance scenes were all believable and integral to the plot. I sympathized so much with Goran and his desire to be with and protect his mate, the desire which drove the plot of this book. Watching them fight to be together against all odds and enlist some unorthodox allies to do so made this book well worth my time. Flow: 4/5. Lorraine has done an excellent job of putting together a book that pulls one forward to keep reading. I finished this book in just under an hour (what can I say, I’m a speed reader!) and had absolutely no desire to put it down. There were no wasted words or scenes, and the points of view were kept clear and elegant. Normally, I’m not a fan of changing POV within a scene, but Lorraine did it well and with style.

Spelling/Grammar: 4/5. I noticed a VERY few typos in this work. There were a couple of missing quotes and maybe a misspelling or two, but absolutely nothing which interfered with my enjoyment of the work. Clearly well edited and proofread.

Summary: 4.5/5. Soul Reunion is the debut work of someone who should be writing for a living. The world practically ensnares you, daring you to take a step within it because, if you do, you’re likely to get lost. It was a treat to read, and I will be purchasing the next in the series soon. Thank you, Lorraine!

Gods with Fangs by D.C. Armstrong

Review of Gods with Fangs by D.C. Armstrong Gods with Fangs is a paranormal fantasy story with elements of romance. I was given a free copy of this novel for a review. As always, the review is honest and reflects my true opinions of the work.

I give this book a 3/5. Here is my breakdown:

Characters: 5/5. This is the strongest point of this novel, and shows the author’s ability to create realistic people. Each character’s motivations were strong, believable, and their reactions to the situations they found themselves in were plausible and interesting. Being able to create real people is the most important part of a story, in my opinion, so, with characters like Cora, Mark, Aries and Piper, Armstrong is ahead of the curve here!

Plot/Storyline: 4/5. The plot was interesting – vampires have come out of hiding and are in the process of taking over the world for “humanity’s own good.” The struggle between security and freedoms take center-stage in Gods with Fangs, and Armstrong does a good job of making the world believable and helping us care about the events within it. There were a few instances where I felt like the world was reacting unrealistically, but, for the most part, well done.

Flow: 2/5. This is a weakness in this novel. The author overuses ellipses and the dialogue sometimes slips into strange constructions that sound contrived. There are also a few Point-Of-View errors, in which, while we are in one character’s “head,” we receive information from the writing about the motivation of the other characters in the scene, rather than through sensory input.

Spelling/Grammar: 3/5. I noticed a few spelling mistakes and punctuation errors. They increased in frequency toward the end of the work, and came often enough that I noticed their presence and was jolted out of my happy story place. Look for conjunctions and missing commas.

Summary: 3/5. This is a work with an awful lot of potential. Armstrong has created a world that is interesting and enjoyable, and the novel touches on issues that are dear to humanity’s collective heart – freedom and choice. Another round of proofreads and the removal of some ellipses would go a long way to elevating this novel from “pretty good” to “outstanding!”