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review 2017-07-13 05:15
The Shadow Mark (Lords of Davenia, #2) by Mason Thomas
The Shadow Mark (Lords of Davenia Book 2) - Mason Thomas

Warning: 
NO sex. 
NO romantic relationship or indication thereof until the very end of the book.

Come to think of it, can't call it bromance either.

All of the above are perfect for me :p

***
Very good adventure/suspense. 
My only disappointment, I never felt much for Kane. The character was pretty flat and never came to shine. 


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review 2017-03-19 21:33
The Errant Prince by Sasha L. Miller
The Errant Prince - Sasha L. Miller

king's guardsman Myron, sent out to find and bring back a missing prince Tam, finds him in an enchanted cottage. They talk, they work, they play school of magic, where Tam spends pages and pages on teaching Myron some spell, they smooch, they cook and clean and so on. Nothing significant happens up until 45% of the book.

Then the prince suddenly decides to return to the royal castle to see his brother, the king. Tam magically transports Myron and himself to the king's quarters. Catching up with the brother and an ex-lover, kiddie scenes, more frigging spell teaching (hey, anyone needs beaming up? I have the manual! *waves "The Errant Prince" in the air*) ensues.

There is a minor issue of arranged marriage, but everyone plays nicely, even the evil ex, and as a result Tam and Myron live happily ever after.

The book is very nearly angst free. I was waiting for a conflict with the ex-lover, but the guy was decent, he apologized and said all the right words, even went an extra mile to teach Tam's new lover new spells. I really felt for the guy and Tam acted like a "bad dude" to him.

2 stars.

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review 2017-01-22 22:09
Mélusine (Doctrine of Labyrinths #1) by Sarah Monette
Melusine - Sarah Monette

I am reviewing a DTB version.

Wow! That was the longest prologue I've ever read!
Now I can go back to page 1 and start enjoying the book.
Many reviews that mention re-reads make sense now.

*****

Few thoughts on the book, the writing, the characters, the shenanigans. No spoilers, just want to keep my outrage contained in the spoiler tags.

 

Tho I like it when authors dump you right in the middle of things and you have to start running the moment you hit the ground, this was not the case. I sure did do some legwork, but it was mostly bouncing up and down on the same spot, trying to get hold on my bearings. What? Who? Where? How? but most often than not WTF? were the questions popping into my head every other paragraph.

 

None of the places, politics, history and even characters, including one of the MCs, are explored enough for readers to fully comprehend the magnitude of events that the author is bestowing upon us until it's almost into the second half.

* Felix doesn't get to shine in the beginning of the book; hell, Felix doesn't get to be or do anything before all hell brakes loose. He doesn't get. to. be. Although SM keeps showering us with "Felix is This" and "Felix is That", all we see is a mad, wounded, bleeding dog instead of a shiny pretty thing, and its running, whimpering, to his abuser after being called "a whore". That one word and an unsubstantiated implication to go along does not justify Felix's violent overreaction. I am sure it's all perfect in MS's head, but she clearly prefers not to share any additional bits with us (and there are more to come).
Where is this person who thinks quick on his legs? SM's shiny version of Felix should handle it in no time flat, instead he is seeking out his uber abusive master he hasn't seen in years and loading on drugs like there is no tomorrow.

.........................................

Felix the magnificent, "whose deadly wit is the terror of the court” my ass. Whiny little pup!

* The book is packed with too many elaborate names that mean nothing, people who never show up and have no impact on the events, places we never go to.

Not sure why French rev. calendar was used. To give an instant historical setting? Sorry, it didn't work. You can't use a calendar and a bunch of French sounding names to instantly set the stage, unless its real France and the time is set roughly during the very end of 18th/beginning of 19th centuries. Same goes for Troia/Greece. These tricks confuse, not clarify events or describe places or historical periods in fantasy fiction.

I jam fond of French history and literature, but even then it took me a few minutes to zoom in on Pluviôse, I simply did not expect it. It was one of my first in the long line of WTF moments. I am sure many of us remember the calendar, but then there are many who do not.

(spoiler show)



To SM:
*Please, translate for the overwhelming majority of your non-russian speaking audience, what the hell Morskaiakrov means. Would it kill you to make a footnote: *Morskayakrov (russian) - Sea Blood. In current setting it implies that the family who operates the boat has sea in their blood. They were born into the trade and sea is their home and their life.
Please, quit making people feel inadequate and leaving them tongue-twisted and cross-eyed.


* Too many side stories. For what purpose? Ah.... of course. Page count. But they slow down the flow of the main story and leave loose ends all over the place.
What was the deal with the hidden attic at St. Crellifer's? Great escape route. Great way in. But was it utilized? I really hope it will come handy later, because as of right now it's an opportunity and reader's time wasted.

*POV switching. Two paragraphs here. Half a page there. Past Tense, Present Tense... I am looking forward (not!) to colons in The Virtu, that's on top of Italics and Mildmay's bad and inconstant speech antics.

*Would it greatly burden you to have a glossary of terms and names in the beginning of the book? If anything it will expand your page count.

*Please, mention your septads in the glossary of your quirks. Two septads and six is an amusing take on 20 questions, but - really? Really? Invent your own question game and leave decimals out.

OK, shutting up now. There is more in my updates if anyone cares.

(spoiler show)



This book made me angry. Felix, too, at the very end, with his lack of gratitude and common sense made me angry. BUT. The story held my interest. I am starting The Virtue today. That counts for something, I guess.

3 stars.

PS Shannon. I feel bad for him. Felix is one ungrateful piece of ...work.

 

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review 2017-01-13 01:08
Bloodlust: A Tale of Erotic Yaoi Horror by Amelita Rae
Bloodlust: A Tale of Erotic Yaoi Horror - Amelita Rae

Want to mention: inconsistencies, contradictions, messed up narrative (not always sure in which timeline I was), cliches and various other wtf-ery waiting for you on every page and in every paragraph. But, yaoi novel, what did I expect. I went for something naive and low quality - a quicky, if you please - and I got it for about 60%.

And then BIG guns came out.

NOT A SPOILER, BUT A SERIOUS WARNING (this is all in the book, not my words, except for "wtf", so keep your finger off that "flag" button):

*

The book took a turn for pure brutality: brutal rape, brutal beatings, brutal murder, brutal zombies, brutal weres, brutal winter, just effing brutal all around with a bouquet of taboos thrown in just for the shocker. It includes consuming human flesh, tearing off limbs, sucking out brains and eyes, ripping out "bowels", fisting, tearing up assholes (literally, of course), dancing on the bloody floor and stomping through the guts, watersports, piss enemas, knotting, implied incest (why not go all the way, wtf?), bestiality and manimal sex/rape (shifted form). I am sure I missed a few juicy bits while rolling my eyes. Please, don't hold it against me.

1 star for the first 60-65%, which still contained a story. The rest - super-massive black hole.

Thank you for your time.

PS Must mention: one of the scenes in the book reminds me strongly ofPrisoner in the Viewfinder. Particularly the scene on the cruise ship with Michael Arbatov, his uncle Yuri and Akihito. A young blond photographer, a pure soul, raped and abused by bad Russian homophobic mobsters.

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review 2017-01-11 03:18
Old Loyalty, New Love (L'Ange #1) by Mary Calmes
Old Loyalty, New Love - Mary Calmes

I am not sure why Roman had to be set on fire. Mary Calmes already set him up with such a tragic family history, you think "WTF? Give the kid a break." Right? NO - Off With His Face!
But what is the purpose of this ...exercise? Kids in college couldn't care less about his scars. Everyone in the state of Maine (and beyond) still wants Roman. His injured face does not pose any difficulties to him, once he stopped the surgeries. He himself sometimes uses it for 'shocking' purposes or excuses when he doesn't want to talk to people.
i dunno, i dunno.... will keep reading. maybe it will make sense somewhere down the road.

UPDATE
I get it now. The pack accepts you. YOU. Not what you look like. The appearances don't matter. You're not damaged unless you can't hunt or contribute in any other way.
So, what if we have an ex-marine (for example), big and strong in no way physically damaged, except for a severe PTSD? Let's put another character through hell, so we can learn the ways of the pack when someone looks perfect but can't contribute, shall we? We'll have a manual on jackal shifters in no time by dragging people through pain and suffering.

Don't get me wrong, I love most of Mary's books, it's just this one seems to me unusually cruel. She has this meaninglessly mean (a sad 'ha-ha') streak that pops up every once in a while in her fiction. As much as I loved the first two Change of Heart books, #3 & #4 got 2 stars from me for that same reason. Jin, a cute lovable boy, was turned into something hateful, fearful and highly unpleasant. No wonder he didn't want to get mated in book one, he knew. Look where it got him.

That said, I do read books where the characters are damaged physically or emotionally or both, that doesn't bother me. But I am uber cautious now when it comes to reading Mary Calmes. Sad days :(

PS Forgot to mention: it ticks me off that the tragedy (actually many tragedies) that befalls Roman serves a singular purpose - to support one and one character only, Quade, who did not have live through the horror of it personally or even deal with it much. At least not the way Mary Calmes describes it. We only have a couple of tiny little peeks of how boys dealt with it. A brush off, no more :/

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