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review 2017-04-24 11:27
Will be the last last one I read by this author...
Euphoric Dreams: Part One (The Quest of Dragons) - Adrian Geiger

This is the first part of The Quest of Dragons and will most certainly be the last one I read by this author.

The list of issues I encountered in this 42 page story is almost longer than the story itself.

If you are thinking about being a writer, publishing books, please do not do what this author has done, and publish something that is barely but a first draft. EDIT YOUR WORK! Get someone else who is good at writing or editing to look it over.

Worst example of a story I've read so far! The only redeeming features, are the fact it was only 42 pages long and the fact that I paid nothing for it!

Things I noticed:

Issues including overuse of the same word in close sentences:
'Very well' is used excessively.
'Tree, deal, wall, Sapphire' all repeated too much.

Overwritten text:
'You will perish a long painful, agonising death.'
There's only four words too many in that sentence.

Changes in POV mid paragraph.

Use of 'He seen'. Wrong!

Some paragraphs are indented, while others not. This occurs the whole way through the story.

Continuity issues at 82%. The group fled with no supplies yet they unpacked supplies when they arrive at Taisai.

82% - wrong use of their:
'The three sat their(there) for a moment...'

86% - if Taisai is the multicultural hub described when they arrived, why would their presence be unusual?

93% - WTF?!? That is horse shit!

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review 2017-01-31 06:40
All together the book just doesn't stand up as a polished piece of work.
For the Love of Women: Volume 2 - Kat Watson,Lisa Hollett,Toira O'Brady

Individually these stories range from 1-4 stars, but all together the book just doesn't stand up as a polished piece of work. There are some really great ideas within, but they need some work to make them stand on their own, or even in a collection of short pieces. Some of the ideas really need a lot more room to develop, while others are clearly aimed at the titillation crowd but they just don't mesh well with the rest of the pieces.

I've got some comments on each piece below:

She marries her
Sweet and tender, the blushing brides are a nice read, except the end felt a bit too much for the rest of the piece. If you're going to go with sweet and tender, leave it there. Don't go for too much. There's also a few adverbs and adjectives I'd pull to strengthen the story, but overall a nice story.
3.5 stars

Are Angels Allowed to swear?
Interesting premise, nice, albeit swift lead up to and complete sex scene, but reasonable. The story on the whole was more of a glimpse than a whole story.
4 stars (really needs to be longer!!)

Scars of War
What a sad story. The beginning started so peacefully, only to be shattered by war, fighting and death. I feel this one could benefit from being longer to give the reader a better picture of the world and belief system. In the story as it is, only a small glimpse is possible.
3 stars

Beautifully exposed
Way too short, not enough of anything to really get into.
2 stars

Wava and Claire
Paranormal vampires and a heap of backstory thrown at the reader. Too short to work well, too much info dumping. Not enough characterisation to really set the tone. Some editing required to smooth the adjectives and adverbs not needed.
2 stars

The Beach
There is so much wrong with this story it's not funny. Too much gushing, both characters are experts in bed when they've only just met, they each have way too many orgasms, the intimacy is too much and in general there's just too much of everything. Totally unbelievable and clearly written for the titillation crowd, not those who might want more of a story.

One thing I noticed: '...and slowly start moving my fingers in and out of her quickly.'
1 star

**Note: I was provided an electronic copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.**

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review 2017-01-31 06:30
The outline of the story is rather ingenious idea, but alas the way in which it was executed fell far, far below the mark.
The Year We Finally Solved Everything - Rudolf Kerkhoven

You know when you have a great idea, and you're really excited to explore that great idea, delve deep into it and have a poke around to see if it really is a great idea?! Well, sadly, I fear that Rudolf could have done a bit more digging and a bit more polishing of what he found.

The outline of the story is reasonable. In fact I'd argue that it's a rather ingenious idea, but alas the way in which it was executed fell far, far below the mark.

The main character, Richard, is a useless imbecile. He's not even funny when he thinks he's being funny. He's abrasive and immature and immediately put me off reading the story. The female characters also leave little to be desired, Mia is snarky and rude, Anna: a poster child for mental health issues managed poorly and don't even get me started on Richard's best friend...

The writing is stilted and repetitive to the nth degree. At several points in the book there's about 15 lines that start with the same few words. The same ideas and concepts are hashed and rehashed and driven so far into the reader's face it's almost as invasive as having your eyes examined by an optometrist.

The way in which society crumbled in the book seemed rather explosive, but not so far outside of the realm of possible that it wasn't believable, at least a little. If the writing were more palatable I might have allowed some of the other issues, but sadly all together this was a pretty average read. I'm quite glad it was a freebie.

I liked the idea, but loathed the execution of the book. I honestly couldn't recommend it, unless you wanted editing practice.

A few things I noticed:
36-37% pay phone is hyphenated in one instance and not in another.
57% - We walk(talk) about waiting on the couch...
92% - I can't breath(e) and I reach...

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review 2017-01-31 05:09
The unpredictability, sheer idiocy and childishness of the female protagonist, Ashling, undid every piece of great work Aurora did with the history and storytelling.
Bloodmark - Aurora Whittet

Bloodmark is the first book in the Bloodmark saga (of three books).

It is a rather intriguing idea, with some complex twists and plot shifts, a great way to entwine numerous folk lores into a story.

Alas, the unpredictability, sheer idiocy and childishness of the female protagonist, Ashling, undid every piece of great work Aurora did with the history and storytelling.

In one breath, Ashling is a childish little brat that makes stupid remarks to her elders when discussing serious topics of which she has no knowledge.

In the next, she's psycoanalysing those around her and making decisions that will impact a whole race like she was born to do it...oh wait, she was.

Her impulsivity and idiocy aside, the eye-rollingly juvenile expressions of true love between 'soul mates' left me with a sprain in my superior rectus (that's an eye muscle!) and a gullet that was trigger-happy to vomit at the purple prose that spouted out of Ashling's mouth at the slightest provocation.

The story arc follows a pretty stock standard direction. Yes, there's some pretty cool folk lore and beliefs thrown in, but it's a typical YA paranormal romance at heart. With characters that portray the norms for this genre.

A young heroine who is both wild and Royal, but feels trapped and rages against tradition, only to escape and get in major trouble, needs to be rescued and then... Then Daddy might accept her dark-horse of a boyfriend.

I started getting all hot and tingly (I must have spilt boiling coffee on me during one of my eye-rolls) at every mention of Grey. He's the big bad-ass boyfriend who is suitably messed up, but still totally redeemable... Especially when he happens to be the answer to all Ashling's prayers.

My issue with the Insta-love was never more horrendously obvious as it was at 25% through the book. Ashling had met her 'soul mate' a total of three times in two days (for minutes) and professed her undying love for him. He said it first!

I digress.

In summary, I loved the idea, loved the rich history and folk lore added to the story and even some of the traditional rules the werewolf race adheres to, but poor characters and an unfinished manuscript have forced me to rate this low.

The book needs a serious edit, there's continuity issues, far too much repetition, typos and just too many words.

I'm not sure why, but I am curious to see where Ashling and her pack end up, but I'll take a break before trying this author again.

If you like YA paranormal romance, give it a try. If not, avoid it like the plague.

Some things I noticed:

2% - I was certain Father was going (to) brand...
21% - "I(t) wasn't my fault...
33% and 34% - two instances of 'the week flew by' two pages apart. There was only one week mentioned before school.
42% - ...to think he liked(space)playing human...
51% - He was my(space)Grey.
75% - ...it was risky too(delete o) return and leave...
Continuity issues:
1. It was decided that they'd leave tomorrow night, but then she gets prepared and leaves tonight.
2. Ashling never picks up her leather jacket and the journal before leaving...
83% - "Than (Then) what are you doing?"
94% - ...and raged(delete d) consumed him.
...already into March as(delete as) when we arrived...
95% - continuity error: the night they danced around the fire of skulls and furs. The next paragraph nightfall came and the guys moved furniture.

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review 2017-01-31 05:02
Beautifully conflicting
The Orchid Nursery - Louise Katz

Two words to describe this book: Beautifully conflicting.

The Orchid Nursery contains within its pretty covers, a vicious and unflinching dystopian Australia. One where women have been bred to follow scriptures and beliefs that they should serve men, they should long to be 'Perfected'.

When girls (or girlies as they are called in the book) live under the supervision of an augmented dorm mother in dormitories that bare sexually charged titles and the girls are named after dirt, rocks and wood. Not to mention the horrendous scriptures the girls are led to believe and are brainwashed into not just following, but actively embracing.

For any woman in this day and age, the near-future world that Katz created will rankle and burn as your eyes grate over each word.

But, while the story is a bitter flavored pill to swallow, the writing, oh, my. The writing is superb.

One scene Mica, our pious little narrator, experiences is one of the most chillingly horrific scenes I've read (and I've read some whizz bang horror!) in all my born days. Yet, the way in which it was written drew me in, caressed my inner editor and led her merrily down the garden path. I was so conflicted. I loved it and hated it in the same breath.

Few authors have had this level of impact on me as a reader, and even fewer have been able to get me to check my hatred for open misogyny at the door and swallow my anger.

I should have hated this book for all the hateful crap it spouts (the world, not Katz - let me be clear here!) yet I was drawn in, wanting to understand how a world that decayed and broken could ever have come from anything resembling ours.

What I found, much to my dismay, is that Katz's vision and how they wound up that way, was not completely unbelievable. As much as I wanted to deny it, I can see us making similar mistakes. Taking similar steps into the fiery furnace.

Aside from inflicting extremely conflicting emotions in me, this book provides solid (albeit flawed) characters, it paints a picture of real people, ones filled with good intentions but are forced to make devastating decisions.

It highlights the way in which society can change in one moment, and how we deal with that change may make or break our world.

And it delivers such strong messages about what consequences our decisions have, not just to ourselves, but possibly, those around us too. And of course, it can't be all bleak and darkness, there's a tiny slice of hope and optimism that pokes it's head up too, which rounds out the novel delightfully.

I have never read anything remotely similar to this book, though others are likening it the Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. I am yet to read it, so I can't comment on that.

I don't know if I really love this book or I hate it, but it's a five star read from me because of how much it has made me think about the ideals and themes in this book, and also for the beautifully crafted writing and amazingly complex characters.

One warning, there's quite a lot of swearing, and frequent use for the c-bomb and other synonyms. Not recommended for younger audiences.

**Note: I won a paperback copy of this book through the GoodReads FirstReads competition**

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