Book Review: The Genesis of Evangeline

cover-review-the genesis of evangelineTitle: The Genesis of Evangeline [The Lost Royals Saga 1]

Author: Rachel Jonas

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance

Rating: 5 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Evie Callahan is positive there’s something strange going on in Seaton Falls, her new home. The locals are bigger, stronger, and faster than most. That includes Nick, the boy next door who’s become her silver lining in this godforsaken town.

She wants to trust her instincts–about Nick, about what she suspects in Seaton Falls–but rumors of wolves and dragon shifters makes it hard to tell what’s real. With a history of odd dreams and the nagging sense that she’s never belonged, Evie fears she’s losing touch with reality. Her concern only grows when someone who’s haunted these dreams is suddenly tangible… and claims to hold the key to unlocking her true identity.

Finding out her entire life has been a lie is scary enough, but what’s downright terrifying is discovering who she’s destined to become.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

The Genesis of Evangeline by Rachel Jonas was a solid, fast-paced read. I immediately sank into the story and fell in love with the characters. The author did a good job of making the reader empathize with all of the different characters, particularly the love interests. I’m a firm believer that love triangles only work if both choices are equally appealing, and the author managed to pull that off.

The world building, though cryptic in this first installment of the series, hinted at a depth that I look forward to expanding upon in the subsequent books. The characters were authentic and smart – none of the ridiculous choices and actions you find plaguing young adult fiction these days. My only complaint really is that I did run into a handful of spelling errors. That aside, I would easily recommend this book to anyone who enjoys supernatural YA stories. This book was well worth the price for a fully-fleshed out read hinting at a larger saga.

Book Review: A Threat From The Past

 

review-cover-a threat from the pastTitle: Bentwhistle the Dragon: A Threat From The Past

Author: Paul Cude

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Adventure

Rating: 1 Star (DNF)

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Description/Synopsis:

Bentwhistle the Dragon in A Threat from the Part is an adventure story children and adults alike will love, about the present day world in which dragons disguised as humans have infiltrated the human race at almost every level, to guide and protect them.Three young dragons in their human guises become caught up in an evil plot to steal a precious commodity, vital to the dragon community. How will the reluctant hero and his friends fare against an enemy of his race from far in the past?Fascinating insights into the dragon world are interspersed throughout the book. Ever wondered how dragons travel below ground at almost the speed of sound? Or how they use magical mantras to transform their giant bodies into convincing human shapes? In an action packed adventure that features both human and dragon sports, you’ll get a dragon-like perspective on human social issues and insight into what to do if you meet a giant spider grinning at you when you’re wearing nothing but your smile You’d be flamin’ mad to miss it.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I tried to get into this book. It sat on my TBR list for two years while I picked it up, set it aside, picked it up again, set it aside… again. I just couldn’t get into it. I’m not a huge fan of high fantasy, to begin with, but it was clear from the outset that I was going to have a problem mostly with the way the book was written. To be honest, the writing was weak. There was a lot of the author telling his readers what was happening, without putting any effort into showing them the world so they could come to their own conclusions. The narrative was written in an extremely passive manner and was littered with cliché phrases.

In spite of its size the dragon was clearly agitated, roaring occasionally, scraping the large claws on its feet along the top of the rubble on either side of it, and banging its tail into the ground intermittently.

Why “in spite of its size”? That has nothing to do with the fact that it was agitated. Why are you telling us that it’s agitated, to begin with? Why not show us with the roaring and the scraping and let it speak for itself?

As the apparently inevitable drew closer, the sprinting knight managed to find a little more speed and at the spit second before hitting the tip of the flame, dived headlong towards the cobbles.

Why “apparently inevitable”? There were so many instances of “apparently” and “seemingly” just in the first chapter that I grew frustrated with each new reiteration.

“For all intents and purposes, yes,” said the knight.

Why not just say “Yes.”?

“I require no reward. I’m sorry for the loss of life and damage to your city,” the knight replied in a heartfelt manner. “I have companions who as we speak are making their way there with great haste to assist with what has happened this day, among them healers and engineers. I ask that they are allowed to help out as best they can, and also that you not address me as Sir, as I have not yet earned that title, but by my name: George.”

The lack of appropriate punctuation aside, the dialogue was heavily crafted and monologue-esque. It didn’t feel real. I kept pushing, but by the end of the first chapter, it was clear that the entire book was going to be written in this way, and I just couldn’t push myself to keep reading. When I start a story, I want to be gripped by it. I want to be pulled in and several hours later find myself staring blankly at the last word of the story wondering how I got there so quickly and why it had to end. I didn’t have that with this. There may be a reader out there somewhere (probably a middle-grade reader) that will absolutely love this story, but It isn’t for me. I’m setting it aside and moving on to something a little more thoughtfully crafted.

Book Review: Rising Inferno

review-cover-rising infernoTitle: Rising Inferno [Dark Alpha Dragon Series 1]

Author: Lucile Wild

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Romance, Novella

Rating: 3 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Skye Louise left her safe but predictable home in Texas, her overbearing parents, and moved to Manhattan to study at the Art Institute. Even though she doesn’t quite fit in with her hip, sophisticated New York classmates, she is determined to learn everything she can and turn her passion into a real career.

On her first night in the city, she is horrified to see a mugging outside of her window. A masked vigilante rescues the would-be victim and then burns the mugger’s face with his bare hands.

Later, she discovers that the masked vigilante is the grandson of a kind restaurant owner in her neighbourhood, and the last of a long line of dragon shapeshifters. Now, Skye must prove that she can be trusted with his family’s secrets. She must also find a way to fight her growing attraction to him.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I honestly don’t know what I was thinking when I picked this novella up. I was asked to give it a review, and I thought “why not, I’ve never read a dragon romance before!” What ensued, was a very strange 15-30 minutes where my face was continually stuck in “WTF” mode. Even now, I’m still kind of laughing at the absurdity.

Here’s the thing… the description, the tags on GoodReads, and the very title on both GoodReads and amazon (BBW Ménage) are a lie. This is not a ménage. There is no evidence of anything BBW. The cover shows a disproportionate Asian guy with feathery wings—but let’s be clear, the man in the novella actually has bat wings—and in no way does the main character, Skye, ever try to fight her growing attraction for Raiku.

What this book is, is a very short 33 page encounter between a naïve country bumpkin from Texas (who couldn’t be more stereotypical. I live in Texas, and no one talks like her or dresses like her here.) and  a very quiet and somewhat shy ‘shifter’ whose only claim to being remotely dragon-like is his ability to produce fire with his hands and a set of bat wings. He does not actually turn into a dragon. The novella is incredibly short and very sweet, but to be honest, it has its problems.

There were a few typos—too many for something this short, and a lot of stereotypes were used. The characters were pretty one dimensional and sweet as cotton candy in a dumb-blonde sort of way. The “romance” between the two main characters was kind of endearing… but wasn’t very substantial.  The events in the novella span about three days, so the characters barely know each other, and while drawn to one another, I don’t know if I’d call it a true “romance”. Unfortunately, it wasn’t really an “erotica” either. The story ends in the shortest dry-hump “sex” scene I’ve ever read. I don’t even really consider what the characters did sex. They were like two virgin teens playing at sex and failing miserably.

That isn’t to say the story was all bad, though. Despite its many flaws, I actually kind of liked it. Though the characters had all the depth of a puddle, they were adorable together in a shy “let’s hold hands and smile” sort of way. I liked them. Also, despite the time jumps and location switches (as has to happen in all shorter fiction) I didn’t feel like the story was rushed. It felt like a complete encounter from beginning to end. The writing wasn’t bad… it just wasn’t great.

Overall, I liked the story, but at the same time, it had a lot of flaws. More importantly, it is not what it is advertised to be. I give this one three stars. It was okay. It made 15-20 minutes of my life more interesting, and I’m glad to have gotten a taste of the author’s writing style. Were this a longer, more fleshed out book, I think I probably would have liked it a lot more… there’s just only so much you can do in 33 pages. If you’re looking for a kind of a fun read to pick up while you’re waiting in a doctor’s office somewhere, and you aren’t particularly looking for something steamy, give this a try. If you’re looking for a steamy erotica or in-depth romance, you may want to keep looking.