• Join 664 other followers

  • Facebook

  • Twitter

  • Most Recent Posts

  • What I’m writing about

  • Archives

Review-Day of the Dragon by Katie MacAlister

Day of the Dagon

3/5*

Published March 201

I received a copy of Day of the Dragon in exchange for an honest review from Netgalley.

I used to read Katie MacAlister books all the time. She was one of the authors who got me back into the genre after a long absence. But I got to that point where I’d read her whole backlist, and her new books weren’t coming out soon enough that I got distracted–probably down a Nora Roberts hole–it’s been twenty odd years and I still haven’t read her whole bcklist! But I haven’t read anything by her in a decade.

Day of the Dragon reminds me why I enjoyed her books, although my tastes have changed somewhat since then (more on that later). They’re light and fluffy–the sort of books words like zany and romp were made for.

Thaisa starts off as a character who is mousy, unsure of herself, and blames her appearance for everything that’s gone wrong for her. Archer starts off as an arrogant man–and he grows, but not nearly as much.

The problem for me was that I wasn’t all that intrigued by the main story. The most interesting character was Bree, a spite turned something else who always seems to know more than the other players, but is absurdly funny. As is the demon Thaisa calls up, but forgets to bind properly.

The big crux of the story was that there was an ancient piece of text that needed to be translated to find the location of the two missing halves of the Raisa Medallion, which was supposed to turn Archer and his brother into the first dragon hunters (dragons who hunt demons, not humans who hunt dragons).

The book fits in well with the rest of the dragon books written by MacAllister, but works as a standalone.

Here is my issue with it–The stakes are so incredibly low. We know that Archer is accusing his brother of murdering his fellow dragons, but there’s a twist that it’s all confusing and makes those stakes non-existant really. While Thaisa and Archer both undergo some changes and growth, that’s all low stakes, too. There are also some secondary characters who are charicatures—Thaisa’s best friend, who literally shows up once, and was married to her current boss, and given the way he treats Thaisa, I kind of want to know what her deal was, and that boss is also more outline than character. The story didn’t hold my interest, which is the biggest issue of all. I had to push myself through it. Without Bree the sprite and the demon, it would be a 2/5 rating.

Love Grind by Shelly Ellis


Love Grind by Shelly Ellis

She’s used to baring it all . . . but baring her heart is a whole different story

Down on her luck and broke, Jennifer Dudley long ago traded dancing in the chorus line for swinging from a stripper pole to make ends meet. She’s hoping an offer to come back home and teach dance at her old performance academy will be the opportunity she needs to fix her life. When she moves in with and falls for a software developer with brains, a boyish smile, and muscles, she decides she might be well on her way to a second chance at success—and love. But her X-rated past may come back to haunt her, compromising her newfound happiness and hurting the ones she loves the most.

AVAILABLE ON:

AMAZON

ABOUT SHELLY ELLIS

Shelly Ellis is a NAACP Image Award-nominated women’s fiction/romance author and creator of the Gibbons Gold Digger and Chesterton Scandal series. Her fiction writing career began when she became one of four finalists in a First-Time Writers Contest when she was 19 years old. The prize was a publishing contract and having her first short-story romance appear in an anthology. She has since published ten novels and was a finalist for 2015 NAACP Image Award in the Literary Fiction Category, a three-time finalist for the African American Literary Award in the romance category (2012, 2016, and 2017), and a finalist for the 2015 RT Reviewers’ Choice Award in Multicultural Romance category.

She is married and lives in Prince George’s County, Maryland with her husband and their daughter. Visit her at her web site http://www.shellyellisbooks.com.


CONNECT WITH SHELLY ELLIS

AUTHOR SITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS | AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

Thalanian Dynasty Series by Katee Robert

Theirs for the Night (Thalanian Dynasty #1)

5/5*

Published 2018

A few weeks ago I reviewed an ARC of The Fearless King by Katee Robert, and absolutely loved it. While on Twitter, someone recommended this series as a hot MMF trilogy. Theirs for the Night was free (and still is at this second in time), so I dove in and ended up reading both the novella and the two full length novels in less than forty-eight hours.

The last triad book I reviewed was in the Dirty series by Jaine Diamond, and I mentioned that the triad had broken up into a couple and a single individual by the end. So I was thrilled to see the triad in this series stay intact.

Theo is the exiled prince of Thalania, and Galen is his former head of security. They’ve also been lovers for over a decade, and occasionally share women. After a stressful few weeks, they are up for a distraction when Meg enters the bar. For her part, it’s Meg’s birthday and she’s put the stress of not knowing where the money will come from for the next semester of college–so when two hot guys approach her for a threesome, what the hell, it’s her birthday, right?

That would be the end of the story, except Theo can’t stay away from Meg, and once he pulls her back into his orbit, Galen objects–not because he doesn’t want her (he does), but because he’s worried that someone could endanger her to get at Theo. When that happens, Meg is saved and has to go on the run with Theo and Galen in a hunt for the key to getting his crown back.

The two novels have a great deal of romantic suspense, which has been a running theme across the books I’ve read by Robert. The relationship building and maintenance for a triad is complex and Robert doesn’t skimp on that. Working things out takes effort.

This is a great series if you’re up for triad sex.

Unlimited Time and Money

Today’s MFRW prompt is What if you had unlimited time and money?

Without the constraints of time or money, so much would be possible. You wouldn’t have to balance things like work, time with family/friends, being a parent, taking time for your interests outside of writing, and writing.

Firstly, think of all the opportunities that unlimited time and money could provide for those in need. And while that might include you, it also includes anyone else who is struggling. Lifting others up is the right thing to do.

Think of traveling to wherever your book is set and doing some first hand research. When I wrote Capturing the Moment, I set it in Siem Reap, Cambodia and there are many places, people, food, and sights in the book that I experienced. Plunder is set in the Caribbean–and maybe I can’t visit 1700, but I could see what the water looks like and the weather feels like and so forth. For that matter, with unlimited funds, I could also probably pay someone to make a costume similar to the ones my characters wear and understand firsthand what it’s like to put on a period gown or sailors clothes.

For that matter, think about traveling anywhere you’ve ever wanted to. The pyramids? Done. Vegas? No problem. Greece? When do you want to leave?

Don’t own your own home? Buy one. Don’t like your current house? Buy a new one or renovate the hell out of your existing house. Need a writer’s shed (which is my dream)? Build it.

Don’t forget to help those who need homes. In Silicon Valley, many people have had to live in campers that are parked by the side of the road. Not just one or two here or there, but easily ten at a time along the park, along a major road, etc. Those families need homes, too. Look around, and help ensure that you’re not the only person with the home they need.

Unlimited time means you can spend that time with your loved ones, or get that extra time alone that you crave. The unlimited money means you don’t have to worry about it. And it will allow you to pass on that gift to others.

What would you do?

ARC review-Roll the Dice by Mimi Barbour

Roll the Dice by Mimi Barbour

2/5*

Pub Jan 2014

I received a copy of Roll the Dice from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Before I get into the meat of the review, I want to state up front that there needs to be a content warning for rape. Aurora’s partner is recovering from rape, and is unsure if the baby she’s carrying is her husband’s or her rapists–which is a big part of the plot. The rapist also assaults several other victims. The rape is all off screen, but I think this would a difficult read for a sexual assault survivor.

Having said that, I didn’t hate Roll the Dice, but I didn’t love it either.

Aurora is a detective with the LVPD, and Kai is her new partner, as her old partner, Debbie is on maternity leave. Aurora is after Earl Rhondo, the man who assaulted Debbie. Kai is after him because Rhondo raped his sister, who eventually suicided because of the rape trauma. The book is their hunt for him.

My biggest complaint is that this doesn’t really work as a romance. It’s a gritty crime thriller where the leads just happen to hook up once. There are some feelings, but the love story is not in the foreground of the book. If you are looking for a story that is primarily a romance, you might not be happy. If you like the In Death series, but wish there was less sex, you would probably enjoy this.

My second biggest complaint is that there are some lazy characterizations.

Ham, the ethnically Irish cop says “The skinny little eejit, he’s a bold one he is.” But unless I missed an immigration story in book 1, this feels like just an excuse to write an Irish cop.

A bar owner is referred to as a “Polack,” which even in 2014 was in poor taste.

Finally, the sex. As written, not my cup of tea.

Honestly, if it hadn’t been a Netgalley book, I would have DNF’d it. 2 stars instead of one because it wasn’t a painful read.

The impossible choice

Today’s MFRW 52 week challenge asks us to pick between reading, writing, and living.

Reading allows you to immerse yourself in a world. The “real” world falls away and you are sucked into a brand new world. If the book is written in the first person, all you read is I, I, I and it’s impossible not to feel like it’s about you. But even in the third person, you feel like the spy, sneaking into other people’s lives. Seeing their thoughts, knowing their dreams, and in the case of the romance reader–seeing the couple come together despite challenges and obstacles.

Writing allows you to play God. You decide what each character is like, you give them dreams and obstacles, and you create the world in which they live. Sometimes characters hijack your plans, but that doesn’t make it less fun. In fact, some of the most interesting content is generated when characters take over. It can be emotionally taxing though because, even more than when you read, you feel what the characters are feeling. Delilah broke down sobbing when she wrote the fight between Meg and RJ in Capturing the Moment.

And then there is real life. Let’s be real for a moment–real life can be fucking hard. Sometimes it’s awful. Sometimes we just need an escape.

But real life can be just as beautiful as the worlds you escape to. Doing Snapchat at a restaurant to keep a child happy is silly, but it’s a memory. Seeing a movie. Hugging a loved one. There are simple joys like your favorite song on the radio. Real life is hard, but it’s also beautiful as well.

All three share a common thing–they introduce you to new things. Why choose?

ARC Review–The Gem Thief by Sian Ann Bessey


The Gem Thief by Sian Ann Bessey

4/5*

Pub Nov 1, 201

I received The Gem Thief from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Gem Thief is a sweet, clean romance (no sex, only a few chaste kisses) between Gracie, a jewelry designer, and Quinn, the nephew of Dorcas. Dorcas is the widow of a Greek Cruise Line magnate, who enjoys treating herself to jewelry every so often. The story begins when one of Dorcas’s rings is found to be a fake, which leads to the discovery that other pieces are also fakes.

Quinn and his friend Steve at the FBI hatch a plan. Dorcas will go to the Venetian Jewelry Show as she always does, and go on the cruise that she always does–this time accompanied by her nephew and his fake fiancee, Gracie.

The characters are likeable, especially Dorcas. The romance between Quinn and Gracie proceeds slowly—a bit too slowly for me, as I’m someone who likes racier books—but in a way that is believable for the reader. With one exception–Gracie believes that Quinn is in a relationship and, at several points, makes the decision to ignore that knowledge. That was a little hard to buy given what the author tells us about her character.

That said, none of the characters is particularly well fleshed out. We only know a few details about Gracie’s personal life, and what motivates her. Same for Quinn. Ultimately, I think Dorcas is the most well-developed character in the book, which is perhaps why I was drawn to her so much.

The settings are well done. The book goes from New York to Italy to Greece and I felt like there was enough description that I was transported and added my own vision of what those places would be like.

The plot was satisfying, if very predictable. I knew who the villains were long before the main characters did, not because of breadcrumbs, but because given everything about the genre and the beats the author was hitting told me so. But it was enjoyable to watch the characters get there, too.

I probably won’t read any other books by the author, not because this wasn’t well written–it is–but because sweet romance just isn’t my thing.