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Posts Tagged ‘3 Stars’

Description From Goodreads:
The Kingdom of Sieunes is rife with taverns, dirty streets, and clay pipe smoking citizens all toiling to feed their families and keep themselves in something little better than rags. With a foiled revolution just ten years prior still burning in the hearts of many, the royals enlist the aid of assassins to keep things in order. The townsfolk entertain themselves by dreaming of better times to come and regaling in stories of the undead said to walk the graveyards at night… and of Cameo the killer with corpse-like eyes…

Scarred and jaded Cameo is one of the most effective assassins in the employ of the Association, moving from one mission to the next as long as the alcohol keeps flowing. Her acceptance of the murder-for-hire lifestyle is thrown into doubt when she meets a local highwayman with a penchant for fine clothes and women, and then she begins to think about breaking with the company but no one ever breaks with the Association under good terms.

CAMEO THE ASSASSIN, by Dawn McCullough-White
Available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Review: *** 3 Stars
The characters drew me into CAMEO THE ASSASSIN, and though I hated the ending, the novel was an entertaining read, and a nice break from physical perfection and honorable heroes.

Characters: **** 4 Stars
It was nice for once to have characters who aren’t physically perfect, or even very desirable. The author did a great job making me feel connected to these imperfect people and able to relate to their foibles.

Cameo is a coldly compassionate assassin, with dead gray eyes to match. She has a fairy tale monster reputation for living in graveyards and killing children who don’t go to bed, but she doesn’t kill indiscriminately…well, unless she’s paid to do so.  When she’s assigned to kill Black Opal, a notorious highwayman, she finds she can’t go through with it, and ends up alienating herself from the Association she works for in order to keep him alive. She’s an interesting mix of self-loathing, empathy, loneliness, warrior, and friend.

Black Opal, the apparent love interest, is a bit of an enigma. A dandy with a passion for fine coats and makeup, he is described both as pock-marked and handsome, and he has only one eye. While he is a womanizer, constantly picking up on ladies and whores alike, he has a soft spot for Cameo and becomes incredibly jealous any time she takes any interest, platonic or not, in another man.

Secondary characters include Bel (Opal’s partner in crime), Kyrian (a young acolyte who’s more than what he appears), and Wick (the leader of the Association and a witch capable of convincing everyone but Cameo that she’s a beautiful young temptress rather than an ugly old woman who smokes too much). Overall, a very well-rounded cast.

Plot: ** 2 Stars
The plot wasn’t terrible, but the ending killed it, no pun intended. There was a reasonably strong story arc with a good balance of action sequences and character development. However, it sometimes felt like the author was trying to build suspense by not telling the reader something that the character knows. For example, Cameo is given a task by her Master, but we’re not told what that task is until she’s practically done achieving it. Even given that, I probably wouldn’t have given the plot two stars, except that there was no ending. The book ends seconds after the climax, literally ending with an ellipsis and the word “End”. There are several plot points left open and no emotional release. I know the story continues in a trilogy, but each book should still be a complete novel.

Setting: ** 2 Stars
The story is set primarily on the road out of Lockenwood, in a quasi-eighteenth century world, but the characters just go back and forth, back and forth, back and forth…you get the idea. The description is limited, even when they visit taverns or inns along the way. I really wanted more sensory detail throughout the novel.

Romance: ** 2 Stars
Cameo and Black Opal are an odd pair. Arguably, neither is the ideal of beauty, and yet they are attracted to each other from the beginning. That being said, Opal is more concerned about his makeup and being desirable to everyone than he is about wooing Cameo (not that she would be easily wooed, but that’s beside the point). Meanwhile, Cameo is stuck in a loop of self-pity and can’t see that Opal likes her, despite his obvious jealousy when she’s around other men. Though they help each other through some rather horrific and violent events, they don’t actually come together in a romantic way until the last couple of pages.

Genre – Dark Adventure Fantasy: **** 4 Stars
CAMEO THE ASSASSIN is a pretty good representation of a Dark Fantasy novel, despite its flaws. There’s blood and violence, undead creatures, and two different graveyards. While I abhorred the ending of this first book, I imagine that the entire trilogy is probably a pretty decent story, and I may even give the second book, CAMEO AND THE HIGHWAYMAN, a chance.

Note: This review was requested by the author. The only compensation received was a free copy of the book.

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Description From Goodreads:
When shy and retiring Llandry Sanfaer discovers a mesmerising new gemstone, she suddenly becomes the most famous jeweller across the Seven Realms. Demand for the coveted stone escalates fast; when people begin dying for it, Llandry finds that she herself has become a target.

Lady Evastany Glostrum has her life in pristine order. Prestigious, powerful and wealthy, she is on the verge of crowning her successes with the perfect marriage. But when her closest friend is murdered for the jewellery she wears, Eva is drawn into the mystery surrounding the curious “istore” gem.

The emergence of the stone is causing chaos across the Seven. Gates between the worlds are opening at will, pulling hordes of creatures through from the shadowy Lower Realm and the glittering Uppers. As Eva works to discover the culprit behind the spreading disorder, Llandry must learn the truth about her precious istore stone — before she herself becomes a victim.

DRAYKON, by Charlotte E. English
Available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Review: *** 3 Stars
At first, DRAYKON seemed a bit juvenile, with winged fairies living in trees and an insecure young protagonist, but after a few chapters, the book really grew on me. The world-building was unique, with three different planes of existence and multiple realms within the “middle” plane that aligned themselves with one or the other of the “upper” and “lower” planes. As the characters traveled through the world and the plot unfolded, the complexity and true depth of the story was revealed. However, while I enjoyed the story, and it was fun to read, nothing hooked me to the point of never letting go. It was like taking a stroll through a lovely park, rather than riding a fast and furious rollercoaster; enjoyable, but not thrilling.

Characters: *** 3 Stars
Llandry is an immature twenty-something, afraid of crowds and insecure in her own skin. A young jeweler, fame overwhelms her when she discovers a rare gemstone and uses it in her designs. As the story progresses, Llandry starts to take some risks and attempts to assert herself, to mixed results, but I enjoyed seeing her grow and develop.

Eva is almost an opposite to Llandry. She’s older, wiser, and confident in her abilities. She is also friends with Llandry’s mother and as their worlds collide, she provides a good foil for the younger woman.

Devary comes in to the story as a mystery, and stays that way. I’m not sure if he is a love interest, a babysitter, or just a friend of Llandry’s mother, but he does help bring Llandry out of hiding and into the world, literally and figuratively. I imagine more will come to light about him in later books, and I definitely wanted to know more about him and his role in Llandry’s world.

Plot: **** 4 Stars
DRAYKON moved along at a nice easy “goldilocks” pace; neither too fast nor too slow. The author does a great job of twisting together different plot lines until they finally meet toward the end of the novel, revealing a big “AHA!” moment.

My one complaint was the choice of the name of the jewel: an istore gem made me think of an Apple product, as in an ipod or an iphone, and I couldn’t get that out of my head for the whole story.

Setting: **** 4 Stars
DRAYKON seemed like a wonderful world, very well-drawn and easy to imagine, though fantastical. I loved the concept of the realms being aligned with the “upper” and “lower” planes, the upper being light, bright, and airy, and the lower being dark, shadowed, and chaotic.

Eva’s realm, Glour, is aligned with the lower realm, and exists in the dark. As a result, all of the people of Glour are extremely sensitive to the light and the environment has evolved to thrive in nighttime conditions.

Meanwhile, the Glinnish people are winged and live in perpetual daytime. The author did a great job incorporating the flying into the story, where danger can come from above and Llandry’s escapes had to be faster or higher than her pursuers.

Romance: * 1 Star
Llandry and Devary seemed to have a bit of a “thing” going on, but they never did anything about it. There was a nice scene at the end, when Llandry saves Devary’s life, but at that point it was too late to have a great romance. Perhaps in later books their relationship will deepen, but for this first book I wanted more from them both.

Genre – Adventure Fantasy: *** 3 Stars
DRAYKON is a fun, easy story to read, but lacks the extreme highs and lows of a great adventure. It’s a book that would be a great beach read, when you want to have something undemanding that you can put aside for a little while but quickly remember when you return.

Note: This review was requested by the author. The only compensation received was a free copy of the book.

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Description From Goodreads:
In steampunk Victorian London, Lady Phoebe Hughes develops an herbal elixir, Viridis, unlike any other. London’s elite flock to her club to experience the euphoria and heightened senses the drink brings. Imagine an orgasm brought on by a single kiss. But when Lord Hawthorne is murdered after leaving her club, Phoebe is shocked to find that not only was he working for the Special Services to infiltrate the Cause, a movement fighting for the city’s poor, he was also in possession of her secret formulation for Viridis.

Adding to her difficulties is the unexpected return of Mr. Seth Elliott, a brilliant tinkerer who stole her heart and imagination, only to abandon her when she needed him most. Unable to ignore all that is between them, Phoebe finds herself falling for Seth once again, only to have a powerful rival for her affections wrongly accuse Seth of attempted murder. As Phoebe struggles with a way to free her love, revolution, conspiracy and murder threaten to ruin it all.

VIRIDIS, by Calista Taylor
Available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Review: *** 3 Stars
I finished this book awhile ago, but it’s taken me a long time to write this review. In its fundamentals, VIRIDIS was a good book. It was well-written with relatively few typos or formatting errors, the plot was decent, and the characters were more or less likable. The problem, I think for me, was one of taste.

VIRIDIS is dark, and I don’t mean that in a blood and guts kind of way, but in a psychological, I-think-the-author-might-have-gone-slightly-off-the-deep-end kind of way. I’ve read a lot of dark books in the past – with S&M, blood, violence, psychopathic killers, and everything – but something about VIRIDIS really bothered me. It took me a long time to put my finger on what that thing was, and eventually I realized it was a lack of positive outcome. I guess I’m a happy-ending kind of gal, and although the book does end on an upswing for the protagonist and her lover, the pain and suffering throughout the story far outweighs the hope and joy. In fact, the very last chapter is the scene of a murder.

This is not a book for the faint of heart. There is rape, some sexual bondage, multiple murders, conspiracy, and a monster in human skin. However, for those that find the dark side of human nature fascinating, and enjoy steampunk London, this still might be a good book for you.

Characters: *** 3 Stars
Pheobe is likable and semi-realistic for an independent steampunk Victorian lady and brilliant herbal “tinkerer”, though a bit delusional about her own safety. She travels about London on her own, even to the poorest parts, without an escort or bodyguard or any kind of security. She even refuses to carry a weapon. However, she’s feisty and stubborn, and a bit of a revolutionary, willing to fight for who and what she believes in. Her ex-boyfriend, Seth, is also a brilliant mechanical “tinkerer”. He returns from a special mission for the Cause and pursues Pheobe with determination, trying to win back her heart and ultimately her hand in marriage. I liked that both Phoebe and Seth were ambitious and motivated individuals, but never really connected with either of them.

Secondary characters include Pheobe’s brother Gabriel, who I wish played a larger part in the story (his character is integral, but we don’t learn much about him until the story is almost over), and Gavin, Seth’s best friend and an airship captain from Scotland that always wears a kilt.

The villain is Lord Victor Fenwick, a self-righteous cold-hearted man, who demonstrates an absolute lack of compassion as well as an impressive network of allies. I actually wanted to know more about Victor – why he was so interested in Phoebe, and how he came to be the bastard that he is. Unfortunately, his motives were never fully revealed.

Plot: *** 3 Stars
While the story was well-built with few plot holes, I had a hard time enjoying the novel. One bad thing leads to another, leads to another, and the few glimpses we have of potential happiness for the characters are quickly crushed under the weight of another lie or catastrophe. The final resolution to the murder case was also a bit disappointing, as I think the author could have done a better job of providing subtle clues throughout the novel.

Setting: ***** 5 Stars
The setting was perfect for a steampunk romance. The club, Viridis, was really well described, and the author brought Victorian London to life throughout the novel.

Romance: *** 3 Stars
I was not a fan of Seth and Phoebe’s relationship. Seth was overbearing and nearly abusive in one instance, and Phoebe keeps secrets from Seth, never really trusting him completely. While this makes sense given their background (Seth left Phoebe after her sister died, when she needed him the most), I never felt like they were a good match, despite their passionate physical relationship.

Genre – Steampunk: **** 4 Stars
VIRIDIS was a solid steampunk romance novel, but didn’t excite me as much as some of the others I’ve read. Phoebe’s lab (really more of a distillery) had some interesting security measures, and some of the devices sounded cool (if a bit too futuristic for Victorian London, even steampunk Victorian London), but I wanted more ingenuity from the author. Given Phoebe’s herbal elixirs, I had hoped for a bit of a twist on the regular steampunk themes, but VIRIDIS failed to deliver on that.

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Description From Goodreads:

Valerie Dearborn wants a cotton candy life, but it’s more like a puffer fish: pointy, unusual, and—if not prepared exactly right—deadly.

In London for graduate school, Val knows she’s finally free. Her father and ex-almost-boyfriend are back in California and she’s out of the Vampire hunting biz for good. Or is she?

She draws the attention of Lucas, a 1600 year old Vampire, and King to his kind. He’s also wicked hot. As golden as Lucifer, and just as tempting, he makes Valerie an offer she can’t refuse— help him find out if the Others (Empaths, Fey and Werewolves) still exist or he’ll stop protecting those she loves.

Lucas tells her that Empaths were a Vampire’s biggest weakness before going extinct hundreds of years ago. While the Fey or a Werewolf might kill a Vampire, an Empath could enslave them, seducing or harming with emotions at will. The one detail he leaves out? Valerie is an Empath.

And after 1600 years of an emotionless existence, Lucas wants Valerie like a recovering alcoholic wants a wine cooler.

Can she keep those she loves alive, stop Lucas from munching on her, survive a fanged revolution and still find a way to have that boring, normal life she’s always wanted? Probably not, but boy is she gonna try!

LOVE IS DARKNESS, by Caroline Hanson
Available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Review: *** 3 Stars
The Goodreads description pretty well sums up the book. Valerie Dearborn wants a simple human life, but she keeps getting sucked into the dark underworld of the Others…well, the vampires anyway.

Overall, this was a good book, but not a great one. The characters were reasonably believable, the plot was fast enough to keep me entertained, but there were also quite a few problems that were distracting during the read, including grammar and spelling errors, and problematic point of view switches (one paragraph from one character followed immediately by another paragraph from a different character, and back again). At $.99, it’s a fun distraction and a quick romp in urban fantasy, but don’t expect anything extraordinary.

Characters: *** 3 Stars
Nearly every character in this novel was a contradiction of themselves. Valerie wants to have a “normal” life, but she loves men who can’t give her that normalcy. In fact, the only man that could, Ian, is a non-character that was present for a couple of chapters and unnecessary for the plot. I actually would have preferred her just focusing on her grad school studies rather than getting involved with a stand-in. Meanwhile, Jack is the bad boy from her past that simultaneously wants to protect her by keeping her away from the action, but gets jealous when she actually tries to have a life outside of his world. Lucas is the vampire king that has been emotionless for centuries, but on finding out that Valerie is an empath, wants to take her as his own while using her as a tool to find more of the Others (empaths, werewolves, and fae). None of the characters really grew through the story or resolved their issues, although at least Valerie realized she was probably never going to have her white picket dream.

Plot: *** 3 Stars
Beyond the basic spelling and grammar issues (which automatically subtract a star), the story concept was strong but the execution of the plot was forgettable. The intro flashback chapters could have been incorporated into the rest of the story better, providing integrated background and adding some suspense instead of being front-loaded on the novel. Once we finally get into the meat of the story, Valerie does a lot of complaining while being whooshed around by Lucas or ordered around by Jack. Some of the action sequences toward the end were good, and the verbal repartee was fun, but there were huge plot holes that needed to be filled. For example, a whole section of the story is devoted to Valerie doing research on the Others. Lucas whisks her off to the British Library, sneaking her into the stacks using his ability to dematerialize. However, in subsequent chapters, Valerie is going to the library on her own. How does she get to the books she needs without Lucas? Similarly, she finally discovers some information, but never has a chance to report it to Lucas, yet somehow he magically knows about it. It left me with a lot of unanswered questions.

The ending also left me hanging. It was too open-ended and too abrupt, like a cliff-hanger at the end of your favorite TV series before they go on break for the holidays. LOVE IS DARKNESS clearly wasn’t intended to be a stand-alone novel, but I shouldn’t have turned the last virtual page thinking there were still several chapters to go.

Setting: **** 4 Stars
I love London, so the setting worked for me, but probably because I’ve been there. The description was somewhat limited, and I never fully felt sucked into the world, but I was still able to enjoy it.

Romance: *** 3 Stars
The love triangle was set up nicely, but failed due to an overabundance of jealousy, lack of willpower, and inability to make a decision. I loved the tension between Valerie and her two interests, but I never felt emotionally involved in either relationship. I wanted to her to have some kind of epiphany, even a small one, that would start her down the path toward one of the men.

Genre – Urban Fantasy: **** 4 Stars
LOVE IS DARKNESS fit right in to the urban fantasy genre. It’s dark enough to please, with a couple of kinky twists and lots of vampire action. That being said, I didn’t feel the story offered anything new to the genre, so I can’t give it a full 5 stars.

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Description:
A young mother has vanished without a trace and Sophie D’Angelo has been hired to solve the cold case that left police stumped. Tensions are high between the local cops and the newly ‘out of the coffin’ vampire community, landing Sophie smack in the middle of the toughest mystery she’s ever faced and in the middle of a possible civil war. Her only allies are her loud, overbearing italian family and her ex-fiancee turned-vampire, Caleb, who shares her house, her business, and generally gets on her nerves. If he wasn’t already dead, she’d probably kill him.

As if that wasn’t enough, Sophie has become the fixation of a twisted killer who is leaving a trail of bodies straight to her door.  Can Sophie uncover the truth behind the strange disappearance and unmask her stalker before she, or someone she loves, becomes his next victim?

BORN OF BLOOD, by Sherry Ficklin
Available October 9th

Today I’m pleased to have Sherry Ficklin, author of Born of Blood, join us for an interview!

1. Tell us a little about your background…how long have you been writing? What’s your favorite part of being an author?

I’ve been writing professionally for almost five years now, but it feels like I’ve been doing it all my life. I suppose to clarify my first book went under contract three years ago. That’s when I went from ‘writer’ to ‘author’. So far there have been a lot of cool perks, not the least of which is getting to rub elbows with other amazing authors that I just love. But the absolute best part has been the response from readers. Hearing people tell me that they love my books, it’s surreal and humbling. It’s amazing.

2. Your previous books have been YA fantasy…why did you switch to urban fantasy?

It wasn’t a strategic decision. When I first began trying to publish my YA books, all people wanted was vampire novels. I always knew (because I am such a fan of Paranormal) that I’d do one eventually, but the time wasn’t right for me then. During the publication of the YA series I started tinkering with adult paranormal/horror. Born of Blood was an absolute blast to write. I think because I enjoyed writing it so much, I was really proud of it. But when I started looking for a publisher, no one wanted to touch another urban fantasy (at least a non romance) with a ten foot pole. Then I met the great people at Tell Tale Publishing. It was like, they really got me, got my book. And they loved it. It was the stars aligning. It has been a challenge to sort of make the jump from YA to adult just because I can’t really take my fan base with me. But if ever a book was worth taking that risk, it’s this one.

3. Where did you get your inspiration for Born of Blood?

It evolved very organically. I was working on a writing prompt, “You are in a burning building. Describe the scene”. Before I knew it I had three chapters. It was the first book that I actually would laugh out loud while I wrote, Sophie was that real for me.

4. How many books are planned for the series?

A hundred? I honestly don’t know. I have outlines for two more, but there are so many places I want to go with these amazing characters. Who knows? If people keep reading them, I’ll keep writing them.

5. You live in Colorado…why did you choose the setting of Charleston, South Carolina?

I travel a lot. Sometimes I fall in love with the places I visit. That was what happened in Charleston. Honestly, I could have stayed there forever. Such a rich culture and a unique mix of people. It was breathtaking. When Sophie first popped into my head, there was no doubt that was where she was from.

6. Sophie seems to be a bit of a contradiction: on the one hand, she broke things off with Caleb when he was turned, even though it wasn’t his fault, yet on the other, she seems to be far more accepting of vampires in general than many other people in the story. Where does this contradiction stem from?

Sophie is a very practical girl in some ways. The vampires simply are in her world. So she deals with it. But Caleb is sort of a special case. On one hand she had this sort of picture perfect life all planned out with him, then in the blink of an eye it was taken away. Marriage, kids, everything she wanted was stolen from her. She tries not to blame him for that, but every time she looks at him it’s a reminder of what she lost. I think there’s a part of her that would be willing to forget everything else and be with him anyway, but it’s the reckless part of her and at the end of the day she knows it would never work out. One day she’d grow old and he’d be gone. So she puts up a wall with him, to protect herself. Sometimes we see it chipping away, but then something happens and she is brought back to cold reality. It’s a bit like whiplash of the heart.

7. Can you give us a bit more background on the vampire culture and how they ‘came out’?

There will be a bit more about this in later books so I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say that everything the Conclave does is calculated. There was a reason that a specific time and place was chosen, but the underlying rules of vampire culture have existed for centuries.

8. Why do werewolves and vampires instinctively hate each other?

For me it boiled down to base animal instincts. Here we have two extremely powerful alpha preditors, it would only be natural that they would instinctively avoid and distrust each other. Like if you put a tiger in a cage with a wolf. It would be nearly impossible to know how it would end but it would be bloody. It’s that primal survival instinct that drives the rivalry. But it can be overcome, as Rayne has managed to do in Charleston.

9. Why is Rayne so interested in Sophie?

Sophie presents a unique problem for Rayne. On one hand she is potentially a useful ally, but on the other her humanity makes her uncontrollable. I don’t think he’s ever met a woman, a human woman at least, who keeps him so off balance. He likes it. Plus, for all his bluster, I think Rayne really sees humanity for all its beauty and flaws. He likes Sophie because he’s never quite sure what she will say or do next. I think if he were ever able to really figure her out he’d lose interest. Sophie realizes that too.

10. Will Sophie ever completely forgive Caleb?

I think there’s a fine line between forgiving and forgetting. She is working on it, but until she can find a way to either let go of her old life or find a way back to it, she’ll never really be happy with anyone. It’ll just be a matter of Sophie getting out of her own way.

And now for my review of BORN OF BLOOD, by Sherry Ficklin

Review: *** 3 Stars: A Fun, Fast Read
Sophie is the somewhat unwilling owner of Palmetto Private Investigations, having taken over the business after her father’s death.  It’s not that she doesn’t like her job, in fact she seems to thrive in it, but she was forced to give up college to run the business and keep her family afloat.  Her business partner, Caleb, is a vampire who lives in her attic.  He’s also her ex-fiance, who left her standing alone at the alter after he was changed into a vampire the night before their wedding.  Oh, and he now has a girlfriend, a vampire who occasionally stays over.  Can anyone say “awkward”?

As you can imagine, all of this makes life a bit tough for Sophie, who’s left bitter and confused by her feelings for Caleb.  Somehow, she manages to keep her sense of humor as she’s thrust into the middle of a missing person case that points her directly at Rayne (the leader of the the local vampire council, called the Conclave) and the Church of Redeeming Sacrifice (an anti-vampire religious sect).

I’ve read the first two books in Sherry Ficklin’s Gods of Fate trilogy (the third to be released sometime next year), and I loved them.  Unfortunately, I didn’t think BORN OF BLOOD lived up to their standard, or its own potential.  While it was fun to read, it somehow felt like this was still an early draft of what could be a great novel.  It just wasn’t quite there yet.  That being said, if she comes out with a second in the series, I’d probably still read it, if only to find out whether Sophie chooses Caleb or Rayne.

Characters: *** 3 Stars
Sophie was a strong lead, but some of her actions and attitudes seemed contradictory.  On the one hand, she seemed tough, keeping her head in the middle of any crisis she faces.  On the other, she’s bitter that she can’t have her ‘dream life’ with Caleb, but she not only let’s him live with her, she let’s him bring his girlfriend around and supports his decision to join the Conclave.

Meanwhile, Caleb irritated me.  He’s supposed to be her business partner and helping her with the case, but he spends more time with his girlfriend than anything else, and Sophie lets him get away with it.  I didn’t understand how she could just let him walk all over her, when she’s strong in so many other areas.

Rayne was also introduced as a potential love interest…at least, he’s interested in Sophie.  I liked Rayne.  He seemed a little awkward, not knowing how to romance a human and clearly still living in another era, but also very domineering, not used to being refused.  Unfortunately, he didn’t have a very large role in the novel, and I would have liked to see much more from him.

Plot: *** 3 Stars
The beginning of the story was great, shoving us right into the action…and a burning building.  But while the concept of the story was solid, the ending was lacking.  It felt like the author was rushed, or didn’t know how to end the story.  In fact the last chapter was all summary ‘telling’, when I personally would have preferred more ‘showing’.  For example (without giving anything away), there’s a really nice twist at the end, but Sophie tells us her reaction in the final summary, leaving us, the readers, emotionally hanging.  I wanted to be there with her, not listening to a narrative.

Setting: **** 4 Stars
I could tell the author had visited Charleston, SC.  Some of the scenes really breathed, bringing me into the story, but others needed a little more punch to tie it all together.  The setting was solid, but I could have used a bit more description overall.

Romance: *** 3 Stars
The romance in BORN OF BLOOD was limited, at best.  There was a lot of emotion, don’t get me wrong, but with Caleb it was all bitter loss, and I never felt like Rayne was any kind of possibility for a romantic interest, even as he declared his intention to “woo” Sophie.  In my opinion, the sexual interest and intensity could have been beefed up between Rayne and Sophie, or Caleb could have done more to try to win her back.  Either way, the romance would have been improved and it would have added another dimension to engage the reader.

Genre – Urban Fantasy: **** 4 Stars
This was a good novel for a debut urban fantasy.  The heroine gets a little beat up, but ultimately wins the day, and there’s plenty of blood throughout.  It’s dark, gritty, and a fun, fast read.

**Note: this review was made at the request of the author.  The only compensation received was a free copy of the novel.

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