Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: cabingoddess-com-reviewed
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2014-07-29 07:48
Chameleon's Spell (Chameleon's Trilogy Book 1) - Roni O'Connell

Roni O’Connell’s Chameleon’s Spell was a fun read over all, but I did have some issues with things which I feel perhaps a bit of editing and re-working would fix. But again, in a complete “meal” this book was fun to read. It is a story about a girl who has grown up far to fast for anyone her age, which is just about to turn 18, because of her half-immortal race of a chameleon. The idea behind this fantasy read is this is a world after a great war between what the author labels Immortals and humans. Immortals being shifters; (there are were’s from bugs to wolves), Daemon’s in several different “flavors”; (which are different from demon’s mind you in straight mythology. Daemon’s, according to my OED, are benevolent spirits from the Hellenistic period and philosophy. O’Connell shows they are good over all but just as with human’s not all of them turn out as good on average) and we are also introduced to Chameleon’s; which our protagonist is half on her mother’s side. There are a few others discussed but these are the ones we are given the most info on.


The main protag, Juliet, is just trying to create a life for herself. She owns a cabin in the woods (liked this part) with a lake which she swims in and a forest which has no-hunting allowed. Immortals do not have full citizenship so she keeps her bloodline secret from everyone and the laws are not there for their protection as much as they are there because of treaties to keep the peace. For every immortal there are over a thousand humans, so immortals, mainly because of the war and because of their long lives (not really immortal) they do not “breed” as fast as humans.


I know I usually do not do this much explaining but I don’t want you, if you choose to pick this up, to get frustrated in the beginning like I did and not finish reading it. If I had I would have missed the best part of the book, which is the meat of it. This is why I think perhaps a bit of an edit or maybe some more fleshing out would benefit the complete experience of the read.


The only reason I think this can be labeled as mature young adult is there are a few aspects she has to deal with which are touched upon which would fit it into the young adult arena. It is somewhat of a coming of age story because Juliet is dealing with learning how to deal with her newly emerging immortal breed’s talents, she also has to deal with the fact she is so beautiful humans fall at her feet in adulation, which can be quite a pain in the ass when she just wants to be left alone, especially after a few horrific things which have happened in her past. Otherwise, I really wouldn’t call it young adult. It is more fantasy or post-apocalyptic fantasy even, just because it is happening in a post war world build.


The problem with labeling could be because the author doesn’t really give us a good info dump. Some of you maybe going yay, me? It is Fantasy, I need a bit of info dumping so I can get the lay of the land, especially when you are not using a typical  fantasy creatures. Or you are putting your own spin on the creatures. Not enough time was given to flesh the immortals out, heck I just remembered there are angels in the immortal races. So we have Hellenistic Greek, Judea Christian Angels, paranormal were’s (though I know these were sprinkled throughout a lot of different cultures) and then Chameleon’s which are not Greek; because she would be associated with air and this Chameleon’s is associated with water and talks about how her immortal side was once confused with Mermaids.. see how it could be a bit confusing?


Perhaps I am being to over-analytical and I decided I was after tearing my hair out at 25% when I had figured out the main mystery already. It still meant there had to be more to it than the mystery, right? There was, much more and it ramped up about at the 40-45% mark and had me completely taken in. If I was to describe this as hamburger I would say the top of the bun was the beginning and was too thick but not dense enough (as in not enough information for me to fully grasp and get taken in), the majority of the rest of the story was a gourmet burger of good quality and the ending… was the heel left over from a loaf bread. I say this because I got to the end and didn’t realize it ended and kept trying to turn the page only to realize I was at 100% finished. It felt rushed and was not complete. I felt let down and almost cheated. I really do hope there is a sequel because to many things were left hanging.


But these are things which probably won’t bother most people because the main bit of the story was entertaining. I really did enjoy it and I loved Daniel and Juliet. I won’t go any further into my issues with the development of their relationship because I am not exactly one to have a firm grasp at today’s romance troupes. He kind of went from asshole to awesome in nine-seconds flat, hehe.


Over all because of my own issues I am giving this a 7 out of 10 (or a 3.5 stars). I do recommend this book for those who are not heavy fantasy readers and who like urban fantasy with a new twist. On thing I do want to stress is this does have triggers for those who have experienced domestic violence and or abuse from a partner. Just to keep that in mind, not huge ones but enough where it could be an issue. It was a little rough but entertainment wise? I truthfully could not put it down after I hit the 40% mark. I needed to know what was going what was going to happen next. What Juliet would do with her good intentions and how they would effect the world around her. Where Daniel would fit in, what would happen to the were pack on her land, what about past loves, what about damaged lives?!! The author caused me to to have a need, and I need a sequel… 


The original review is on CABINGODDESS.COM and is a REVIEW & a RECIPE. I have a recipe for Vegetarian Smoked Porter Chili, which is to DIE for and even will have meat eaters tricked into thinking they are having a really good bowl of mean laden chili!

Like Reblog Comment
review 2014-07-23 22:38
Seeing spots already... UGH
Sunspots - Karen S. Bell

Let me start by saying Karen S. Bell is obviously a very intelligent person.. and she knows it and embraces it and expects everyone else to recognize it too because, well it is obvious she is not just confident, she is convinced.. It’s also quite obvious from the voice she uses from her protagonist. Personally after finally finishing this book, which I had to stop myself from skimming past the purple prose so I could honestly write this review (that and I would have been done in 30 minutes if I did), I wanted to drink 5-liters of wine, black out and forget I had read it. Damn it.. I promised I would not be one of those reviewers, but this is really hard. Seriously, I am trying not to be mean, but the thing is? It really is the perfect example of purple prose (and this is not a good thing). Let’s try this again.


Sunspots, if you like a story which is full of itself, whose characters are stereotyped from the tippy top of the heels of her Milanos and descriptions are tell.. tell… throw a bunch of $25 dollar words in to prove just how smart you are but never show what you are trying to show. Where the magic that is the Aurora Borealis (and believe me, honey I know, I am an Alaskan) is.. umm wrapped up in TIEDDIE (we will cover that little SP issue in a bit). If you like an author who uses those big words to make it balloon out into a full length novel. If you are looking for a story with .. umm wait what was this about? Oh gods I give up, if she gave up trying to be so bloody flowery and put more effort into showing (this doesn’t mean showing off) and not telling it may just have been a novella around 10-15K but at least it would have been a story and not, whatever this was! It would have been so much more tolerable, probably really enjoyable and it would have been a much better experience if it were. The repetitive style also seemed like an attempt to be allegorical without really understanding allegory, basing the use of her poem at the beginning, I maybe assuming too much here, but the use of the poem throughout the novel leads me to believe this is the case.


As it was, I wasted an afternoon reading it and yet I still keep giggling a little bit inside when I think of some of the things I read. I was struck with the evocation of smugness which screamed from between these ballooned lines. So when I got to the third chapter and it starts with “One can never be, and should never be, smug about life.” I spit my drink out and thought holy shit… yep, that’s about all I could do. After this, the protagonist when not whining) was all of a sudden barreling through this myriad of name dropping, pop-culture, mish-mash something or other with .. again I am just still at a loss for words.


I was insulted on the extreme pompous tone, the cliche and generalized characterizations and extreme stereotyping of her characters. I also loath when the characters are constantly harping on with name brands they are wearing. I am reminded of the class I took from Bram Stoker award winning editor Michael Knost who says “Remember when writing a description, the rule of WGAS (who gives a shit.” If you are going to write it, does it really matter. Does it matter that Frodo has green eyess? No, who gives a shit, SHOW It don’t tell it. What brand of shoes she wore, or purse she had, etc,  did not really matter in this story, it just did not fit!! And.. MAGICAL REALISM, don’t claim to be a story within the genre of magical realism just because there is a bit of magic in it. The tone is passionate and as I said above, has magical aspects, but that does not make it magical realism. This is as much a book that falls in the realm of magical realism as the last zombie book I read. Sorry, that is base fact. It has qualities of paranormal and magical feelings, a touch of the unknown and again passion but, not magical realism.


I know folks like books like this! And sometimes there is something to be said about ones writing of purple prose. It is a style which can be done well and successfully. Dickens did it and did it well. Vladimir Nabokov is another author who not only studied romantic styles of language but again did it well, like Tolstoy who successfully pulled it off and many contemporary writers have made and make it work. But, if you cannot even spell tieddie right and yet the protag is constantly talking about her parents hippie lifestyle .. ummmm, hello? Then in next breath how she bought some name brand shoes which takes a few paragraphs to pontificate about and doing the whole obnoxious swoon…


Yet with all this passion there was still no depth, nothing and I still never really figured out what the hell this was about. Sure I know the story was about loss, her prologue was pretty nice. I did finally manage to figure it out.. I think, but I kept thinking.. THE POINT, what the hell is the point? The synopsis promises us a journey through her grief, not the showing off vocabulary!!! ARGH.. again sorry, sorry sorry I am really trying here!!!


This was suppose to be this magical journey, this window into grief and coping… I think? One may want to make sure you know how to spell important words, use a comma or semi-colon correctly and understand what run-on sentences are. (I certainly do and am OK with writing a blog post with run-ons however…) Or you insist on using tee shirt instead of t-shirt and your grammar is worse than mine in some places (yes some because it was not consistent at all). At least I know, can admit and be humble enough to admit my grammar blows? The book is in hardcore need of a very tight line-edit. Maybe I am off-base here but if it takes me out of the book it is probably worse that it is.


You would think someone who is obviously as intelligent as this author is and who is as passionate as she is she would want it to be perfect, self-published or not.  Finding the magic in everything she observes is great, but she may want to find something other than contemporary romance to express it with because this book fell flat on it’s face.


What are Purple Prose???

Purple Prose: Writing so extravagant or orate that it breaks the flow of the narrative and draws attention to itself.

The Elements of Style calls this writing that is “hard to digest, generally unwholesome, and sometimes nauseating.” There’s no solid example of purple prose since the definition is subjective, but it is something you definitely don’t want. Below is one example of the evolution from concise language to purple prose:


  • Plain: He set the cup down.
  • Middle Ground: He eased the Big Gulp onto the table.
  • ACK: Without haste, the tall, blond man lowered the huge, plastic, gas station cup with a bright red straw onto the slick surface of the coffee table.



I do want to say some positive things here though. I thought the prologue shows promise and I liked the structure of the book, yep I did. I loved how she took a poem, one of hers … of course *wink* and she used the lines for the titles of her chapters. I liked that and thought it was clever and I am sure Ms. Bell does too *wink*.

Source: cabingoddess.com/2014/07/21/seeing-spots-alright-sunspots-karensuebell-twofer-tuesday-reviews
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2014-07-13 02:15
Sometimes a Bologna Sandwich is…Lakebridge: Autumn: Lakebridge Cycle
Lakebridge: Autumn: The Lakebridge Cycle - Book 3 - Natasha Troop

…and sometimes it isn’t


I could not resist using the line, yes I make myself giggle, but this week has been one of the most difficult of my life in a long time. I think perhaps I will write about it later but today I want to share Lakebridge: Autumn, a book which is part of the series which is near and dear to my heart. 




I am always leery when reviewing books by authors I end up becoming close friends with. I was one of the lucky ones who got spoon fed the chapters before the final draft and in the end I let the last few just sit in my inbox because I did not want to ruin the full book experience. After my reviews of Lakebridge: Spring and Lakebridge: SummerI am hard pressed to top the complex deconstruction of that with this new installment of the horror series from Natasha. To simply say it will scare your pants off is doing Autumn an injustice. To say go read it, is just strong-arming those who trust me (but GO READ IT). What I will say is this is the best in the series and has secured itself in what hopefully will become a cult classic in the area of horror.


As I have mentioned in the past, horror for me is not just a genre. However in our reading world today everything needs to be in it’s own special box and it is a specific genre which is one of the most popular across most forms of media/entertainment. We as a society need more and more to get our heart racing, unfortunately some writers and film makers feel the need to just shock us instead of challenge us on a deeper level, as the masters in the past have. Horror books would be more about the psychological aspects of fear instead of being lazy and showing us gore. If you have noticed the only books within horror I have been reviewing lately are zombie books because let’s face it, those at least are not really about the gore, and the zombies are not the monsters in the book but part of the landscape. The real monsters are within the people. Troop does the same thing, except…. but I don’t want to compare her to zombie reads, her books are literary fiction, as is “complex, literate, multilayered novels that wrestle with universal dilemmas”.[Sarrick 2005, page 32]Lakebridge: Autumn is not a book you can breeze through and skim in areas. Jump into the book and discover the other monsters some with form and some with no form. It is up to you to discern and separate them and at times let them take over.


There is a movie I have watched over and over again, FOUR ROOMS unlike many people what I find intriguing about this movie is that though each “episode” within each room is setting us up for the finale. You can read each of them by themselves, but you will miss the thread that holds the books together (yes there is another book coming… and I will apologize to you ahead of time for what I will be posting…). Lakebridge: Spring is setting it up, giving us just a tiny taste of the kind of writer she is. Lakebridge: Summer allows us to feel almost safe but still tasting a bit of grit … Lakebridge: Autumn? Oh holy crap make sure you are not on anything because otherwise you will be questioning a few things and have one of those bizarre conversations with the cat because everyone is thrown on one of those carnival rides which spin you around and around and around..and darkness falls because.. well



(I warned you guys!)


moosePerhaps one of Troop’s strongest talents going for her is character development. By now readers of the other two in the series are majorly invested in some of the main characters, especially Gil. Who would have thought this one-armed man who was building toy trebuchets to take out his tiny covered bridges while selling Birch Beer to extremely tall women who are passing through on their way to Vermont, that is if they can resist the pull of the bridge and not heed the warnings of a lone moose… Oh the Moose…( hmmm maybe the moose is the MacGuffin..)


Her characters, even the ones which are at the beginning of each book (see excerpt) all solid. We are completely entranced by even the mention of some weird lady living in a cabin in the woods with some obsession about bacon (who the hell inspired this I have no clue.. hmm). The funny thing is, well the humour! It is chuck full of it. Talk about a story device (and there are a plenty within the book). She builds up all these characters, some as simple as the hermit in the woods, some as complex as Gil. No matter what we are heavily invested in each and every one so when Troop does what she does to a few of them, well let’s face it we are shocked, we feel and we weep or we go… WTF now what??? We all want to have certain folks make it… but this is a horror story, and when I saw this is going to go boom I thought I understood it… then it ended and things started to crumble and a door opened in my mind (not just in the end of the book but several times throughout) I went …

And the people go... OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!


But what about the sandwich? I mean if a bridge is not just a bridge, and a sandwich is… or is it? Or is the sandwich not a sandwich but a bridge or… help! Seriously, perhaps the bologna sandwich is the MacGuffin! Hmmmmm… well, you never know till you read it!




Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2014-07-13 02:08
SAFE for #MiddleGrade! No gore, real violence and a FUN premise!
The Zombie Upstairs - T.W. Kirchner



It had zombie in it, I auto-signed up, looked good! Plus I think reviewing middle-grade and young adult reads, especially in the summer when I know my kids read a lot and parents are looking for safe and fun reads for the kids. This truly is going to be short and sweet like each of the two volumes of this series.


The second volume is 92 pages long, it reads quick, it is gore free because these zombies are not craving brains, they want bling! You see, these zombies are created by a zombie bokar and he is sending them out to find something he lost which happened to find Goldie while she was taking a walk on the beach during book one. So they are controlled by the voodoo priest. The item she found is wrapped in both light and dark magic and with everything combined in this ongoing mystery, it has all the ingredients for a fabulous and fun read! (I’ve read both in the series, so this sort of will be a combo because it is hard to separate the two). During book two she has to figure out just what is going on and try to stay ahead of the bokar before he finds the right Rich in the zombie phone book (grin).


I don’t want to go further into the story but I will give you reasons why it is totally safe for MG and younger YA readers. No gore, no horrible deaths, full of fun and antics from the kids involved. The characters are well fleshed out and developed and even with the setting, it is not a ridiculous silly story. Lots of action and mystery to keep your young readers attention (and their parents.. *coughing* I loved it) and also full of lots of places to giggle! Especially Gemma, Goldie’s older sister! Oh my WORD that woman! Poor Goldie, I was afraid she was going to starve! At least her aunt is there to make sure she has plenty of pancakes to keep her belly full.


These books would be great for Scholastic to pick up for selling at the stores and during book fair! I highly recommend you getting book one, The Zombie Next Door and grabbing this one and making your young reader very happy (as well as getting a cool mom or dad award)!


4 1/2 voodoo dolls!


Source: cabingoddess.com/2014/07/08/labeled-safe-mg-zombie-upstairs
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2014-07-13 02:05
Vampires, Cowboys... OH MY! LOVE this book!
The Cowboy and the Vampire: Rough Trails and Shallow Graves (The Cowboy and the Vampire Collection Book 3) - Clark Hays,Kathleen McFall


Kathleen McFall and Chuck Hayes have brought to life two unlikely groups of folks and thrown them into this incredible series. And though you may think vampire stories are just as over saturated as zombies have become, I argue there will always an over saturation of the popular genre tropes. Plus *smirk* these vampires really do not sparkle or even smile a lot, except for Lizzie.


Lizzie the queen of vampires whose blood and possibly unborn child will save the vampires and possibly everyone's way of life. But for now all she wants is a respite from the upcoming struggles within her new "kingdom", which at the end of book two looks up. Ever since Lizzie's nightmare started at least she always had Tucker, her cowboy and the rest of the gang... she is happy, or at least she is till all hell breaks loose on what should be the happiest day of her life, her wedding.


Clark and Kathleen weave a world of darkness, hope and despair, terror, joy, sadness, death and life, color and a mixture of grays and muddy browns but most importantly they have taken a worn out paranormal creature; the savage vampire, and breathed new life with this genre bending series of work.


cowboysI have a feeling the series is not over, but I think we will see a different trilogy, who knows. I can truthfully say I am OK either way.  I am betting a few who have read the book are looking at your screens right now saying, "What are you smoking, Kriss!" The way it ends completely caught me way off guard yes, and it was .. is... umm... hmmm not sure what I can tell you guys, let me ask the cat *cue Jeopardy Music* nope she says I cannot tell you even a little, as in I was going to tell what type of ending and *struggling* argh! Nope, never nope... back to my review. *wiping the sweat off my brow and wishing I had some of the above food*


Elita is back, and for those who want to know who she is .. in a nutshell she is a homicidal psychotic vampire from one of the families no one thinks much of and who provides us with the much needed comic relief. The 'Red Scare' better known as Rurik who is one of the oldest vampires and who Tucker; our cowboy, hates and who is a badass and in book two is drool worthy and much more fleshed out. In this one, he is a jerk off but a savior. Tucker's father was buried in book two but Lenny; our conspiracy theorist, is back and as awesome as ever! (Lenny is one of my favorites). The cast is tighter but this book is not as focused on the cast of people, but around a more philosophical and metaphysical questions involving life and death and love.




The balance of funny from Elita, the serious brooding character of Tucker and the metaphysical aspect of ... well the Meta (must read it, it is where they go between morning and night when they "die" each day), the horror of what happens to Lizzie after the disaster of her wedding day is boiling away on high and causing the necessity to read till you are done. The darkest of the bunch and the best written so far I am just delighted. They are each finding their voices which peek through with a few o the different characters. I am absolutely thrilled to have grabbed this!


You think you are over vampires in books? You haven't read ones with cowboys and vampires thrown into the ring together. I cannot recommend these for paranormal lovers enough! Grab the series while you can and read away. Be prepared to have your jaw hanging open at the end of this book and whistling out of at least one of your orifices (yes, I had to go there).

Source: cabingoddess.com/2014/06/30/rough-trails-shallow-graves-clark-hays-kathleen-mcfall
More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?