Novel Review: MacRieve by Kresley Cole


It’s probably been a year since I’ve read any books for personal pleasure. It’s odd. Reading had been such a large part of my life, I almost feel a since of wrongness by not doing it. A little straight talk before the review.

I officially log 2013 as the worst year of my life. I spent pretty much the first half of the year depressed and in tears. It’s amazing how depression can sap the motivation right out of a person. Though no longer depressed, I spent most of the last half of 2013 recuperating from the first half and trying to get my feet under solid ground.

And here we are today. I only mist a little when I talk about the first half of 2013. I love what the future holds. Lately, I’ve been reintroducing the things I enjoyed in the past into my life. I smile and laugh spontaneously. And now… I’m reading again.

Since I’ve been out of the book world so long, I didn’t want to ruin the experience by choosing just any book. So, I went with my favorite author… Kresley Cole. And, I tell you… she didn’t disappoint.

I picked up MacRieve last week and finished it this morning. So my thoughts.

This story didn’t progress The Ascension along as much as I’d hoped. In fact, I can’t say it did anything for the big picture. Well, I learned of a couple behind the scenes deaths… or maybe it was one. We get a bit of a cliff hanger of a major player from Torture Island. Other than that… nothing really to progress the overall plot.

As for the romance (Chloe & Will), there wasn’t anything unique or special about it. Nothing to stand out. It was Kresley Cole’s basic, guy finds life mate and screws things up royally with her. He treats her like trash because of his past but won’t give her up. Then he has to find a way to win her over again. Same old, same old. 🙂

The sex seemed a bit different. It was more like something I’d imagine in a porn movie. Spankings, dirty words, and rough.

So if nothing is unique about this book, why did I like it? Well, it wasn’t bad… just not overly special. I think I liked it so much because I’ve been out of the book world for so long. It’s like watching horror movies to the point that nothing phases you. Then going on a horror movies sabbatical for a few years, only to cringing at everything. I think that’s where I am.

So I’ll give this book 3.5 stars. It’s definitely not my favorite. However, it was well written and enjoyable.

On another note. I told my husband I wanted another book. He said, “Maybe you should savor books rather than reading it all in one sitting.” What gives?

Trusting Reviews: Only as far as I can throw the REVIEWER

I came across a Kindle Select freebie awhile back, read it, and left the following review on Goodreads.

The Three LettersThe Three Letters by Robert Ruisi

I received an event showing this would be offered for free. It sounded interesting, PLUS it’s short… something I could knock out in a few minutes.

I imagine it was a heartfelt endeavor for a father to take the opportunity to write letters of love to his daughters. Kudos to him. Not everyone takes the time to say, “I love you” to the ones they care about.

The letters were told in a fairytale fashion–once upon a time. I can imagine in later years his daughters sitting with their children at bedtime and reading the letters. One child might even ask, “Who is he talking about, Mommy?” And the daughter would say… “Me.” Or “My sister.”

So what did I think of the work overall? Well, it wasn’t for me. I wasn’t fond of the story telling and couldn’t get into the once upon a time style. It also had an air of repetition. I think it’d work for a children’s book, as I mentioned, a bedtime story, but not so much on an adult level. And since the letters were written for grown daughters, I think it missed the mark when it comes to the adult audience.

For the most part, I think these letters are something his daughters would appreciate. Perhaps the letters would even appeal to his family and friends, since they’d have a background knowledge. As for me the reader, I didn’t connect with the work.

One last item I’m adding. This work could use another round of editing. It’s short enough that a pass through a critique group would likely do the trick. As it is, it makes me wonder if English is the author’s second or third language.

Just my opinion: An interesting conversational piece and keepsake for the author’s descendants but lacks commercial appeal.

An interesting discussion followed in regards to the author’s personal life and the purpose of his publication.

In the past, readers (and writers) have put up a stink about dishonest reviews. It’s a common practice for some writers to endorse their buddies writers with 5-star reviews regardless of the quality of the writing. I suppose it’s the mentality, I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine.

When I first got involved with the indie community (as a writer, that is), I saw a lot of this. I’d read through reviews and recognize the names of other indie writers. In fact, I noticed a trend where little cliques had formed. I knew those reviews couldn’t be trusted because they weren’t based upon the quality of the work but rather a cross-promoting scheme.

We hear about writers purchasing 5-star reviews or even writers adding their own fraudulent 5-star reviews under fake names. The lack of integrity is sad. Even sadder are the reviews which come after the book was top-loaded with the 5-star reviews which state something to the effect “I purchased this book because of all the great reviews, but when I read it, I couldn’t even bring myself to finish it because the quality was so bad. I can’t believe people rated it so high.”

I’ve seen the effects of the other side also where writers will do the opposite to the competition–pay for negative reviews or write them under fake names to lower the rating of other.

It used to be finding great books was a matter of following the review trail. Not so much these days. It’s reached the point general reviews one finds on retail sites can’t be trusted because one can never be sure which is a fake review and which is an honest review.

What are your thoughts on the matter? How do you overcome the lack of integrity prominent with reviews these days?

Novel Review: The Zero Knot by K.Z. Snow

I’ve been really slacking on reviews. Well, today, I’m going to try and knock out some of the ones I promised but failed to deliver. First up, The Zero Knot by K.Z. Snow. I picked this book up from the NetGalley thinking it was a young adult M/M novel. 🙂 Before my reception, the blurb from Ms. Snow’s website:

The Domino Club — a teenage version of a secret society, formed by four small-town friends to explore their bisexuality. Two years into his membership, Jess Bonner has had enough. He isn’t bi, he’s gay, but he’s just been afraid to admit it. He’s also an 18-year-old bound for college and bent on making a break from pretense.

When Dylan “Mig” Finch admits he’s also gay and fed up with the club, he and Jess give in to a mutual attraction that’s been building for years. Mig isn’t college-bound, but he’s one of the finest people Jess has ever known.

As the young men struggle to define their relationship and determine their priorities, forces they can’t seem to control keep tripping them up: sexual appetite, personal insecurities, fear of discovery, and more.

They need clarity. They need courage. Just as they’re on the verge of finding both, an act of vindictive jealousy sends one of them to jail. All their hard-won victories are in danger of falling to dust. 

The only way to save what they have is to recognize and declare it for what it is . . . and fight for its integrity. 

I’ve been dying to try a young adult M/M romance. I’ve read a few m/m adult romances and have had a hard time getting into them. I’d hope adding the young adult element would pull me in where other novels had not. What I found was although this is a coming-of-age novel, it is NOT a young adult novel. Yes, the protagonists are young (18), but the sexual scenes are very adult. While the level of sex in the novel surprised me, it didn’t detract from the work at all. In fact, I loved the realism, which really helped make it into a discovery, coming-of-age novel. Well done, Ms. Snow!

When I first read the prologue, I was apprehensive about this piece. The prologue didn’t grab me at all, and after reading the entire book, I wish it’d been omitted. If nothing else, it would have been nice for me to the type of person to skip prologues. After the first chapter though, the book had me hooked.

One of the passages I loved from the Zero Knot was:

“You weren’t a Freebird who’d soon be earthbound. You were an alien, and you’d never be anything else.”

It’s such a beautiful truth. A big part of adolescence and even life in general is about finding yourself, trying to fit in. But what happens when you figure out you’ll never fit in the way society expects you to? No matter the outside image you portray, you’ll always be you inside… and that you is different from the established norm.

That sums up The Zero Knot in the nutshell — young men, despite living outside the social norm, coming to terms with who they are. Throughout it all, Ms. Snow splashed enough humor to keep me laughing when I wanted to cry about the injustice of an unfair world.

Who I’d recommend The Zero Knot to? That’s a tough one. I want to say everyone because the story line was so touching and provided such understanding. However, the graphic nature of some sex scenes makes this work suitable for adults. Parents should definitely read this one through before they consider passing it along to their teen.

Bottom line: I loved it. I’ll definitely be looking for more works by K.Z. Snow.

The Zero Knot is Available at: Barnes & NoblesThe Book Depository

Novel Review: Tomorrow Is Today (Tempest 0.5) by Julie Cross

After reading Tempest by Julie Cross (see review here), I head over to Goodreads to see when I’d get my next fix. Would you believe she already had a short story prequel? Woot! I dug right in. The blurb from Goodreads:

The year is 2009. Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy… he’s in college, throws lots of parties, is interested in a girl he can’t have, and oh yeah, he can travel back through time.But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun.

This was a short read; this will be a short review.

I read this and totally wanted more. I absolutely love Julie Cross’s style of writing. The humor is fantastic. My only issue with this prequel is it left me sort of hanging. I’d hoped to find out how Jackson and Holly became an item, but it was more of a snippet of their relationship while Holly was dating David.

So basically, it was a decent read, but missed the mark in terms of filling in the “how did it happen?” elements from Tempest.

I’m really looking forward to the sequel of Tempest.

Tomorrow is Today is a free read. PICK IT UP!