Book Review: The Crimson Throne

reveiewcover-the crimson throneTitle: The Crimson Throne

Author: Christi Stallard

Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Dystopian, Vampires

Rating: 1 Star (DNF)

amazon1GoodreadsButton

Description/Synoipsis:

Nearly a decade ago, the supernatural creatures hidden in the shadows conquered the world with unspeakable power. The mass takeover became known as the great fall of civilization and the most devastating event in recorded history. 18-year-old Sadie Carlisle has never seen past the walls of Section 18. After a city siege forces Sadie into a fight for survival, an unlikely ally turns her life into a thrilling and terrifying whirlwind. Peter is the ultimate drug; exciting, addictive, and highly dangerous. The war raging between dark creatures threatens everything they’ve discovered in one another. Loyalties are tested, and the fate of humanity rests in the balance. How far would you go for the one you love most?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I was so disappointed by The Crimson Throne by Christi Stallard. As a rule, I generally love paranormal romances, dystopias, and just vampires in general… but the writing was so poor that I couldn’t force myself through reading it. I gave up at about 7% into the book.

Although the book had a stunning opening, I spotted several typos as the story continued. The narrative didn’t flow well – it was as if it lacked any sort of soul. There was no seduction or charm to the characters, there was no tension, no pull, no impact. The characters lacked defined personalities. As the story wore on, I became bored… mostly attributed to the lackluster narrative voice and complete absence of description or atmosphere.

In the end, I gave up. There will probably be readers out there that get some form of enjoyment out of this story, but I was looking for more. I think the author could have done better.

Book Review: Token Huntress

reviewcover-token huntressTitle: Token Huntress [Token Huntress 1]

Author: Kia Carrington-Russell

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Rating: 1 Star (DNF)

amazon1GoodreadsButton

Description/Synopsis:

Esmore is one of the best; a Token in her Hunter Guild. After leading her team into the rubble remains of San Francisco and into an ambush, Esmore admitted her own sacrifice and defeat to protect her people.

Esmore went from being Token Huntress and leading her team to a life captured and hidden within the Vampire Council by a Vampire, Chase who claimed that she was his familiar.
In the year of 2,341, Esmore fights for her survival and the goal to maintain humanity from being entirely destroyed by the vampires who overpowered them those many years ago.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I noped right out of this one. It is incredibly rare for me to give up on a book before the first chapter is over, but I gave up on this particular book before the end of the first page – almost before the end of the first paragraph.

The word choices and stilted flow of the narrative were indicative of sub-par writing. What should have been engaging and fast-paced was instead jarring and awkward. Most of the little narrative I read was incredibly passive and weak, and I ended the first paragraph with a sense of distaste.

I did skim the rest of the first page, just to be sure, but like the first paragraph, it was poorly written.

This may sound harsh, but the first page of a book is often the best indicator of its quality – it is meant to pull the reader in, to catch their attention – and it is the most edited part of the entire work – always checked over and over by both author and editor. There is no excuse for it to be this lackluster.

Book Review: Bargain in Silver

reviewcover-bargain in silverTitle: Bargain in Silver [Solis Invicti 1]

Author: Josie Jaffrey

Genre: Paranormal, Dystopian, Romance

Rating: 3 Stars

amazon1GoodreadsButton

Description/Synopsis:

A deadly infection threatens to wipe out humanity. The only people who can stem its advance are the Silver, a vampiric race who offer a simple exchange: protection in return for blood and subservience. It’s not a deal that Emmy’s willing to make, but as her world burns around her she finds herself in the arms of the enemy and the line between oppressor and saviour begins to blur.

After an attack by the infected, Emmy is rescued by the handsome Drew who introduces her to the world of the Silver. Desperate to escape subjugation and confused by her attraction to him, she gathers what remains of her surrogate family and plans to make a break for freedom.
But despite her efforts to resist, she is drawn further into the intrigues of the mysterious Silver through the agency of their ruler, the Primus: Solomon. Emmy refuses to submit to the cold and detached Primus and an attempt on her life makes it clear that he is unable to protect her from the political machinations of his race.

As the connection between them deepens she must choose between her desire and her will to rebel, but can she trust his intentions when everyone is after her blood?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I have mixed feelings about Bargain in Silver by Josie Jaffrey. I liked the narrative voice and Emilie – even if she sometimes made poor decisions that often left her in danger. I liked the world-building, the concept of the weepers, and the story flowed easily throughout. For the most part, I was entertained and never felt the need to throw the book across the room – even when it was being overly dramatic.

That being said, it wasn’t perfect. The entire opening sequence of the story didn’t need to be there and had no impact on the story other than to turn the entire thing into one long flashback. On top of this, the characters were often needlessly dramatic, sometimes going into rants that didn’t even fit the scene at hand.

Worst yet, the romance between Emilia and Drew was terribly contrived, moving way too fast to be reasonable (especially on Drew’s end) given the circumstances.

The book, overall, wasn’t great. It wasn’t awful by any means, but it clearly needed more polishing. It’ll be great for a short time-waster, but nothing I’d keep on my shelf in the long run.

Book Review: Immortal Angel

cover-immortal angelTitle: Immortal Angel [Argeneau 31]

Author: Lynsay Sands

Genre: Paranormal, Romance

Rating: 1 Star (DNF)

GoodreadsButton

Note: At the time this review was written, the book was not yet released, so I have no Amazon link available at this time. Release Date: August 24, 2020.

Description/Synopsis:

For almost a century, Ildaria Garcia has been on the run, a trouble magnet with a knack for taking down bad guys. Lately, her vigilante tendencies have drawn unwelcome attention to her fellow Immortals. Forced to relocate, Ildaria is supposed to lay low in a new town. Instead, she quickly entangles herself with six and a half feet of muscular, tattooed trouble.

Joshua James Simpson Guiscard, aka G.G., knows a lot about Immortals—enough to make him wary. Yet from the moment Ildaria walks into his club, he feels desire stronger than anything he’s known. Accepting the fact that they might be life mates is disconcerting. But when her past catches up to them, G.G. faces a choice—confront his demons at last, or lose a passion that’s hot as hell.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I wanted to like Immortal Angel by Lynsay Sands. I’ve heard so much praise for the author’s work, and the genre was right up my alley, so I was excited to dive in as a reader new to this particular author… but to be honest, I was underwhelmed.
 
By the third chapter, not a lot had happened. The entirety of Chapter 2 was spent squandered on small talk in a bar, mostly about a small dog. I like dogs as much as the next girl, but it just wasn’t interesting. I was bored. Though the writing was technically well-written, there was nothing about the story or the characters that gripped me or enticed me to keep reading.
 
Maybe the book gets better… I don’t know. I am of the belief that a book should make you want to continue reading, particularly with a strong start, and this didn’t do that for me. It lacked soul. By the end of chapter three, I lost interest and DNF’d the book. There may be other readers out there that enjoy this book far more than I did. As a new reader, I wasn’t impressed.

Book Review: Kindred

cover-kindredTitle: Kindred [Kindred 1]

Author: Erica Stevens

Genre: Paranormal, Young Adult, Romance

Rating: 1 Star

AmazonButtonGoodreadsButton

Description/Synopsis:

What do you do when the one you love is also you worst enemy?

Trapped in a destiny she does not want, Cassie finds herself lost and adrift, until he walks into her life, turning it upside down and awakening her in ways that she never dreamed possible.

Cassie is stunned and devastated to learn that she belongs to a long line of vampire slayers known as The Hunters. A murderous rampage by a group of elder vampires has left the Hunter line decimated and the remaining Hunters scattered around the world. With her friends Chris and Melissa’s aid, Cassie struggles to rid the world of the monsters that murdered her parents. Though Cassie knows it is her fate, she chafes against her heritage, and is resentful of the shortened lifespan that has been placed upon her by the circumstances of birth. Struggling to get through every day, Cassie finds herself simply going through the motions of living. That is, until Devon arrives. Tall, dark, and mysterious his arrival turns the school, and Cassie’s life, upside down. Fighting against her fierce attraction to him, and the chaos he represents in her carefully ordered days, she is irresistibly drawn to him. Though worried that what she truly is will place Devon in danger, she is unable to fight her feelings for him. He is the one light, and the only source of hope she has in a world that revolves around death and fear. What she does not know is that Devon has some dark secrets of his own, secrets even more frightening and dangerous than hers. Secrets that threaten to tear them apart forever.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

It is rare for me to give up on a book so quickly, but at only 4% in, I set Kindred by Erica Stevens aside. I don’t know where the editor was or what their qualifications were, but their judgment lapsed on this one. In just the first page alone I ran into two instances of bad grammar and another misuse of punctuation. That is absurd for a first page.

The narrative voice was childish, regardless of which character was narrating the current scene, and every single one of them sounded the same – like a 9-year-old. It was aggravating to read through.

More importantly, it was just a terrible start to a story. There were two chapters of back story before we caught up to the present day – neither one of them imperative to the story. We didn’t learn anything from these snippets that couldn’t have been explained elsewhere.

Book Review: The Pageant

cover-review-the pageantTitle: The Pageant [Vampire Royals 1]

Author: Leigh Walker

Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult, Dystopian, Vampires

Rating: 4 Stars

AmazonButtonGoodreadsButton

Description/Synopsis:

Who’s the fairest of them all?

Young women from every settlement in the land are being handpicked to enter The Pageant, a beauty contest reminiscent of Miss Universe from the old days. Gwyneth West’s social-climbing mother wants her to compete, by Gwyn isn’t so sure…

The Pageant is government-sponsored. If you’re lucky enough to be chosen, participation is mandatory. Aggressive competition is allowed, even encouraged.

And then there’s the prize…

The winner of The Pageant gets a marriage proposal from Dallas Black, otherwise known as The Dark Prince. Dallas is the son of King Black, who won the last world war and now governs the new settlements. The Royal Family is mysterious. Rumor has it they don’t sleep. Rumor has it they eschew the sun.

Rumor has it they’re immortal.

When Gwyn is thrust into The Pageant, she fights to survive the competitive nature of the other contestants.

But even if wins…can she survive a vampire fiancé?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I enjoyed The Pageant by Leigh Walker, but it wasn’t perfect. The narrative itself was easy to follow, flowed well, and was devoid of major errors. the premise, while not exactly unique, had a nice twist with the addition of vampires. I liked the characters for the most part, and overall, simply enjoyed the story.

But that doesn’t mean everything was puppies and rainbows. Gwyneth was infuriating as a main female lead. She constantly broke the rules and put herself in danger – not for good reasons, but because she couldn’t seem to help herself. She was reckless.

On top of that, the romance between Gwyn and Dallas was almost non-existent, despite what the narrative tried to convince me. I just didn’t see it.

Were these enough to ruin the book? No. I still really liked the story. It was a fun and easy read – I only wish there had been a little more depth to it. If you enjoy YA Dystopian Romances, you’ll most likely enjoy this book. I look forward to reading further into the series.

Book Review: Sunrise At Sunset

cover-review-sunrise at sunsetTitle: Sunrise At Sunset [Sunset Vampires 1]

Author: Jaz Primo

Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Vampires

Rating: 1 Star

AmazonButtonGoodreadsButton

Description/Synopsis:

When is a bloodthirsty predator the best protection against a psychotic killer?

When the predator is both a vampire…and the woman you love.

Caleb is bravely overcoming a dark past while having no memory of the beautiful vampire that saved him.

Despite a promise to stay away, Katrina is compelled to return to him.

However, a vengeful rival from her past has dire plans for both of them.

Can one woman’s love triumph over another’s thirst for revenge?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I could not get through Sunrise At Sunset by Jaz Primo. At 8% in, I’d had enough. It wasn’t that there was anything inherently wrong with the plot, the characters, or even the more technical aspects of the story… In fact, the book moved along at a reasonable pace, it was easy to read, and it was fun to follow a vampire story from the vampire’s point of view, rather than from the more human male lead’s point of view.

No, the problem was the narrative voice. The story was told from a third-person point of view, and relied heavily on ‘telling’. It completely sucked any tension out of the narrative, as well as making it nearly impossible to sink into the story – it felt as if the reader was always being held at arm’s length while the story was told second hand. In the end, I couldn’t connect with the narrative or the characters and decided to cut my losses and move on. I want to be engaged when I read… I want to sink in and feel as if I have become part of the story – and I couldn’t do that here.

Book Review: Kindred

cover-review-kindredTitle: Kindred [Kindred 1]

Author: Nicola Claire

Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Vampires

Rating: 5 Stars

AmazonButtonGoodreadsButton

Description/Synopsis:

Vampires, shape shifters, ghouls and magic users abound in a world where the Norms, (those humans without paranormal abilities) are ignorant of the creatures of the night and the supernatural species that live alongside them.

Lucinda Monk is a bank teller by day and a vampire hunter by night, but she wasn’t always a part of this world. Thrown into a heady mix of powerful people and sensual beings, she’s had to find her way practically blindfolded in amongst the creatures of the night. But she’s a capable and realistic kind of girl. Her motto: never show fear. But, there’s something different about Lucinda, something those creatures she hunts, want. In order to stay one step ahead of the enemy she has to let the enemy in. In all his compelling, seductive and delicious ways. Sleeping with the enemy has never meant so much before. But, can she trust him?

From the urban streets of the city, to the dark alleys and sinful bars that promise a wickedness a girl from the farm has never before been exposed to, Lucinda gets drawn irreversibly into the dark side of life. And if the Master of the City had his way, she would always be his. For eternity.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I thoroughly enjoyed Kindred by Nicola Claire. The book was well-written and well-voiced. The narrative was engaging and flowed easily. The world-building and characters had depth… I really can’t complain.

I enjoyed the often tense and sexually charged relationship between Lucinda and Michel. The author did an excellent job of enticing the reader with tidbits of information behind the actions of the characters without giving away too much. Even having finished the book, I feel as if I have only barely touched upon the iceberg of what is truly going on in the story, and I am looking forward to continuing in the series.

If you like paranormal romances, vampire stories, or urban fantasy, chances are that you will truly enjoy this book as I have, and I encourage you to give it a read.

Book Review: Moonshade

review-cover-moonshadeTitle: Moonshade [Vampire Conclave 1]

Author: S.J. West

Genre: Paranormal, Romance

Rating: 5 Stars

AmazonButtonGoodreadsButton

Description/Synopsis:

When a handsome stranger whispers these three little words to Sarah Marcel, she knows her life is forever changed.

For two weeks straight, Sarah’s been unable to eat, sleep, or even form a coherent thought properly. She fears she’s losing her mind until a chance encounter brings a man into her life who seems to hold the key to solving her problems. With a single touch, he’s able to ease her troubled soul and bring her some much-needed peace. Yet, just as Sarah believes she’s found the solution to her dilemma, he disappears.

As Sarah begins to unravel a mystery surrounding her family’s past, she quickly discovers her role in a world that’s hidden from most humans. Being a Marcel comes with certain responsibilities, and there are some things that you can’t hide from forever.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I’m going to give Moonshade by S.J. West the benefit of the doubt. The book wasn’t perfect – I certainly ran into a fair number of typos and there were a few aspects of the romance and the plot that could have been handled better. None of that matters in the long-run, however.

I enjoyed the book. The world-building was new and unique. I liked the characters. I found the writing engaging and easy to follow. All the little points I wish had been perfected are barely mentionable in comparison to all the things I liked about the story.

Overall, I’m glad I read the book. If you like vampire stories, paranormal romance, or fantasy, you’ll most likely enjoy this book. I encourage you to give it a try.

Book Review: Beginnings

review-cover-beginningsTitle: Beginnings [The Trifectus Series 1]

Author: Logan Byrne

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance

Rating: 1 Star

AmazonButtonGoodreadsButton

Description/Synopsis:

What if a single touch could change your fate forever? What if moving to a new school meant your entire world would be turned upside down?

Juliet LaVoe is a normal 17-year-old girl with a not-so-normal life. She lives in a world where vampires, werewolves, and androidians roam the streets as the tyrannical government attempts to capture and exterminate them. Her father, Colonel Arnold LaVoe, is the head of the division tasked with the job of eliminating them. She also lives with a big secret: her boyfriend James is a vampire.

As the government starts to come closer, Juliet tries to hide her boyfriend’s true identity from her father. What will happen as she is caught in an odd love triangle with Marcus, an androidian boy that seeks the challenge to destroy the very fabric of her relationship with James?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I only got nine pages into Beginnings by Logan Byrne before I DNF’d it. The narrative was superficial at best. There was little to no description or atmosphere to the writing. The pace was incredibly rushed. The main character’s voice and actions were juvenile and shallow – frankly, the whole thing read like a terrible Twilight knock-off.

No thank you.

I read a lot – 100+ books a year. Probably half of those are young adult fiction. In the past handful of years I’ve been reviewing books, I’ve run into blessedly few books that were written as poorly as this one. Move along. I’m doing you a favor. Do not waste your money on this book. Trust me when I tell you that it is not worth any price.