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review 2018-01-17 00:49
The Courtship of Julian St. Albans (Consulting Magic #1) by Amy Crook
The Courtship of Julian St. Albans - Amy Crook

I hope the author forgives me for my speculations, but I am just sharing my personal impression of the book.

It seems to me the story was started some time ago, like a decade or two. When the author came back to it, tho, she did with gusto and somehow propelled the time period from regency or maybe even early 20th century to 2013 without a single glance back. All that I like had ended with Chapter 12. Chapter 13 welcomed us with a very sudden and very vicious addiction to cell phones, texts, voicemail and turning the damn thing on and off. Energy bars, credit cards, modern technology and modern jargon (started with "dunno") is suddenly all over the place. 

Everyone is high on caffeine and sugar, hence, I assume, all the giggling, chuckling, laughing, smiling and so on (thesaurus was thoroughly exploited in this story). MC did a 180 and turned into a complete gigglepuss by 60%.

Then, there is all that food and clothes. The author is like a vice, she latches onto a subject and can't let go even after a new shiny pops up :( 

Consort/Master dynamics, inappropriate and overused crude dirty jokes appeared to be all wrong to me. Maybe I am overly PC, but I cringed most of the time when Julian stepped in to discuss his responsibilities as a consort. Why is he even male? O.o Alex's "mounds" got pretty old and overused pretty fast; several characters managed to come off as sexist as**oles.

I started the book looking forward to a mystery. I got over my disappointment on that matter very early in the book and decided to enjoy fantasy of manners, magic and The Courtship instead. Chapter 13 (yes, I know, I already mentioned it), disappointed me again. The Courtship stopped. The old charm disappeared. Modern world and modern jargon with multiple new inane characters, whose names mostly start with J, took over. 

Means of communication: first it was just a messenger or an occasional phone call, then it was cell-cell-cell, and t-h-e-n, because Alex/Julian relationship is not cheesy enough, we got Horace, The Messenger bird, who carried Alex's and Julian's letters in his chest where its heart supposed to be. 

I did enjoy bits of a story, finding the courtship and magic fascinating, too bad it was given up for clothes, food, drinks and endless empty banter. Is ever a revised, well edited version comes out, I will give it a second chance. For now I can only give it one star.

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review 2018-01-16 15:14
World Building a Bit of a Mess and Characters Needed Developed More
Midnight Curse (Disrupted Magic) - Melissa F. Olson

This was a straight 3 star book. Nothing really grabbed me, but it wasn't written poorly. I just thought way too much was going on for this first book and have just a general state of confusion occurring while I was reading this. I kept checking to make sure this was the first book in the series, and it is. I was told after the fact that I should have read something called the Scarlett Bernard series first before reading this and my reply was "Seriously? I don't have time to read three other books before I read a series starring this same person? Also why was there even a spin-off? This makes no sense!" So yeah, that turned into a 30 minute conversation I will never get back. 

 

Olson sets up a world in which there is something called the Old World that deals with supernatural creatures (witches, vampires, werewolves).

 

One of our main characters is Scarlett Bernard who is a "null" someone with the ability to null the magical effects around witches, vampires, vampires. For example, if Scarlett is around a vampire, the vampire becomes human. I have no idea why the person wouldn't just turn into dust if they are a 1,000 years old, but I learned to stop asking questions like that while reading.

 

The other main character is a former friend/partner whatever of Scarlett's, former LAPD detective Jesse Cruz. Jesse is bitter over a divorce and feeling like he got played by the Old World people (I barely manage to figure out what happened based on all the hints floating around).

 

When a former vampire friend of Scarlett (goes by the name of Molly) asks for her help, Scarlett goes up against the Old World to prove she was set up. She enlists the aid of Jesse who agrees to saddle up to work alongside Scarlett again. 

 

There was no there, there for me while reading. Scarlett got really annoying. I have no idea what her issues were, but she apparently has a long term boyfriend that she treated like an annoyance, a supernatural dog (that I never want to hear about again) whose every mood and tick she can pick up on. Jesse got a bit self righteous for me. Molly's character made no sense to me after what we see of her. I am speaking of the ending and the terribleness that is found out about why exactly Molly was targeted. 

 

There are additional characters in this, but none that really stuck with me while reading. 

 

The writing was okay. The book just got a bit awkward when it went from Scarlett to Jesse's POV. It didn't work that well. 

 

Look, I am always looking for an urban fantasy to sink my teeth into. This one just didn't move me either way. I may read the second book or I may not. I just hope that the author manages to fix the world building and develops the character. I get this was the first book in a series. But there was way too much information being thrown at me that didn't work seamlessly into this story. For example, we just got told that Jesse used to have feelings for Scarlett and they haven't seen each other in three years. There could have been some dialogue about that between the two of them. The only thing that I did like was Scarlett being happy she could just be friends with Jesse without any romance going on. I am sure that gets thrown out later, but I swear I loathe love triangles. If any of the future books seem to be heading in that direction just let me know. 

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review 2018-01-13 03:38
Earthly Desires (Tempting Tales #1) by Leta Blake
Earthly Desires - Keira Andrews, Leta Blake

4 solid stars (well, 3.5 really but read on --->). It's not the book, it's me - too much sex for my liking.

Other than that, a very nice and somewhat unconventional tale with Mother Earth as an antihero.
Love conquers all, of course, body parts be damned ♥ ♥

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review 2017-12-09 02:38
Wild Man's Curse (Wilds of the Bayou Book 1) - Susannah Sandlin
This is my first Susannah Sandlin book and I can say without a doubt, it will not be my last. The setting, voodoo priestess and an ancient curse combined with mystery and suspense fuelled my desire to read this book.
 
The Story
Wild Man’s Curse featured rich characters and a well-developed story line.  It was evident the author thoroughly researched police procedures and the voodoo religion. I was curious about the curse which plagued Ceelie’s family. Its origin and the steps she would need to take to put an end to it.   Eager to discover if the killer was Gentry’s brother or someone who bore a close resemblance kept me turning the pages. Uncovering the murderer’s motive was another aspect of the story, which kept me glued to the pages. However, there were moments in between where the story dragged, thus causing the page turning momentum to dwindle, which interfered with my enjoyment to some extent.
 
Characters
Gentry Broussard: He is a Senior Enforcement Agent responsible for capturing poachers.  While on duty and in the process of taking down a poacher, he spots a man who bore an uncanny resemblance to his brother, leaving Eva Savoie’s Cabin. The brother whom he killed three years ago at. Has his worst nightmare come alive or was his mind playing tricks on him?   
 
Gentry is protective by nature, which was evident in his behaviour towards Celestine. He is plagued by guilt from his past, most of which surrounds the death of his brother.
 
Celestine Savoie (Ceelie), an aspiring singer and guitarist is down on her luck. Her endless struggles to accomplish her dream in a competitive world was taking its toll.  Just when she thought things could get no worse, she received a call about the murder of her great grand-aunt.  Forced to return to the place she once called home, to settle her aunt’s estate she finds herself in the middle of a dangerous situation.  She had no plans to stay, but fate had a different plan for her.
Despite the threat to her life, Ceelie had no intention of running.  I loved her bravery and her tenacity.
 
Unfortunately, the villain did not impress me. His actions were haphazard, which made him dangerous. He was unhinged, erratic, and reckless.  His motives were driven by pure greed.
 
The Romance
The romance, which I found unimpressive, took a back seat. The story focused on the murder investigation and the threat on Ceelie’s life. The sparks between the protagonists were evident, but the build up to their relationship lacked intensity, making difficult for me to connect with them as a couple.
 
Conclusion/Recommendation
If you love romantic suspense, (heavy on the suspense and light on the romance), Wild Man’s Curse will be a great addition to your library.
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review 2017-12-09 00:00
A Curse of Fire (Fae Academy Book 1)
A Curse of Fire (Fae Academy Book 1) - S... A Curse of Fire (Fae Academy Book 1) - Sophia Shade Imogen has never had a place that she could call home. All her life her mother has moved them from place to place. They use to stay in one place for a while but now they only stay in once place for maybe a couple of months at a time. Imogen has tried talking to her mother about why they were always moving and never staying in one place long but her mother just won’t tell her anything no matter how much she argues. Something or someone is after Imogen’s mother and they want something or someone and that someone is Imogen.

Imogen has a big day planned out and she has been planning this day for a very long time. But her plans have fallen through once again as her mother packs them up and are on the move again. Whoever is after them is hot on their trail today. Imogen finally gets her mother to confess as to who is after them and why. Imogen finds out that she is a fairy and that is who has been chasing them all these years and have finally caught up to them and have given her an ultimatum go with them willing or be forced.

The ultimatum she was given is that she must attend the Fae Academy to learn who she is. Imogen’s mother has always believed this to be a bad place and didn’t want her daughter going there or maybe she is just afraid of losing her daughter.

Imogen decides that she wants to go to this school to learn who she is and where she came from. She is in for a world of trouble when she first walks through the door to the Fae realm and has to make it through dark fae territory.

When she finally makes it to the school there are a lot of students in the nurse’s office who are very ill and on the first day. Later she learns that one of the halls is being attacked. Imogen is on the case when it seems that the staff doesn’t seem to care. If their magic doesn’t fix it then they don’t seem to care but Imogen doesn’t need magic as she has never had or used magic in her life she will just have to do it the human way by snooping.

But Imogen has other fish to fry like dealing with two hot guys that really seems to heat her up in more ways than one. Yeah Imogen has finally found herself a home and have made lots of friends. She also has to contend with not being able to control her element fire. If she doesn’t get that under control she could be putting herself not to mention other people in danger. How is girl to learn how to control fire when she didn’t even know she could make fire? But figure it out she must.

I have really enjoyed reading A Curse of Fire and getting lost in the halls of the Fae Academy with Imogen, Dannika, Ella, Erick, Caleb, Driftblossom, Damon and Lady Shadowburn plus many, many more. This has been an epic journey in the realm of the Fae one in which I hope to rejoin in the near future.

Come join in on this great adventure and walk with Imogen through the halls of the Fae Academy and see what she sees. Sophia Shade is one of those authors who can pull you into a story and have you seeing the world through character/author’s eyes and have you so lost in the story that you actually forget where you are and have you racing through wanting to help Imogen find out whodunit. I can’t wait for the next book to find out more about Imogen and her life as well as all of her new friends and read more about the Fae Academy.

I would recommend A Curse of Fire to anyone who loves a good whodunit with a little magic on the side.
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