Tag Archives: book review

Review of Return of the Dragons by R.S.Williams

As you will have noticed, I took the festive season off. Now I’m back!

Happy New Year to you all.

Today I’m posting a book review. I finished reading this book a while ago, but have only just got around to reviewing it.

Overview.

This book is the second part of the Kane Saga. It continues where the first book left off.

Story

Elijah, the prince who was believed to be dead, has returned and is now betrothed to Princess Sienna.

The dragons, hidden in human form, are making themselves known. 

But Elijah has to go on a quest and leave his beloved behind. The dragons tell him that two things are needed to defeat the Master. One is a staff and the other a time. 

He sets off with his trusty friend, Salah, a grumpy dragon called Maelor and a feisty elf.

Needless to say, all does not go according to plan.

The plot is interesting and gripping. But sadly, it does not resolve the problems but leaves you hanging in the air, waiting for the next book. I don’t like series that do this. It’s a serial, not a series. Although in all fairness, Ms Williams calls it a Saga, not a series.

Blurb

Having grown up in Rheanydd, all Elijah wanted to focus on was entering the annual Hollom horse race. A year later, he’s one of Princess Sienna’s Elite bodyguards in Adelith, where he learns more about his hazy past every day.

King Roderick’s solution to Eli being revealed as the missing crown heir is to marry Eli to Princess Sienna and combine their two bloodlines. But when a body is found with a blood-splattered message and the queen reveals a secret about Eli’s magic, a wedding is the last thing on everyone’s mind.

Eli starts to doubt the Dragon Elders’ motives when their answers only come in the form of cryptic messages. Yet he can’t help but feel a connection between the dragons and himself. So, he agrees to fulfil their task to get the relics before The Master’s Agents of Cyran.

But the agreement between the dragons and his father is due to end soon, setting the dragons free from their human forms and able to rebuild their race. Unless The Master gains control of them.

Can Eli and the dragons work together to stop The Master from getting the relics, or will he gain control over the dragons to rebuild the world and become a god?

Characters.

I enjoyed the characters in this book. They are all different, with their own characteristics. Maelor is always grumpy. Salah is always loyal. 

They are all well-drawn.

Writing.

Sadly, like the first book, this is riddled with errors. I found a number on every page. Grammar, wrongly used words, typos, syntax. Also, I understand that the author is from Somerset, England, yet at least once she uses the American, ‘gotten’. While not wrong in an American book, it struck a harsh chord here.

There were other things not strictly wrong, but that gave me a strange picture. Like ‘Eli dropped his eyes to the ground.’ Too many superfluous words, mainly prepositions, too. 

Punctuation also left a lot to be desired, too. Often there were commas where there should have been a full stop, and missing commas when someone was named. And there were a few places where I had to go back and read a sentence or paragraph more than once to make sense of it 

This is such a pity, because the story is good, but because of my experience with the writing in the first two books, I am wondering if I can manage to read the next one.

Review of Windrush. Jack Windrush Book 1 by Malcolm Archibald

OVERVIEW:

I hadn’t read any of the Windrush books, but I will certainly be reading more. Mr Archibald has created a character that one wants to know more about.

The book is full of excitement and action, and the story holds the reader, wanting to know what happens next and how Jack can escape from the predicaments he finds himself in.

I read it in 3 sittings and found it hard to put down when I needed to do something.

BLURB

Burmese War, 1852. Unable to join the famous Royal Malverns, Jack Windrush is commissioned into the despised 113th Foot.

Determined to rise in the ranks and make a name for himself, he is sent with the 113th to join the British expedition. But when they get involved in the attack of Rangoon, Jack realizes that war on the fringes of the Empire is not as honourable and glorious as he expected.

After a chance meeting with a renegade British soldier, Jack witnesses the true terrors of war, and begins to question the whole framework in which he has grown up.

CHARACTERS

The main character, Jack Windrush, is going to join the Royal Malverns like his father and grandfather before him. He has dreams of glorious warfare and winning honour. But things go against his dream and he finds himself in Burma with the despised 113th foot and discovers that war is dirty and frightening.

Through the book, Jack has doubts and fears but he grows and becomes a true leader.

Wells is a sergeant in the 113th. He is well-drawn by Mr Archibald. We can truly believe he is what he is portrayed to be, a hard-bitten career soldier. But why did he decide to stay in Burma and not return to England with his regiment? And why has he volunteered to join the 113th?

There is sensitive writing of the only female character in the Burma part of the story. Her name is Myat and she is something of a mysterious character, but she has an important role in Jack’s development.

The other characters are mainly officers who are hidebound and unbending. I suspect a lot of Victorian officers were like this.

Even the despised soldiers of the 113th have their own growth arcs.

WRITING

The writing gripped me. I could feel the heat and humidity and the biting insects in the forest, and hear the drums of the natives.

I felt Jack’s suppressed fear, as he went into battle for the first time, and his determination not to show it. It would not be gentleman-like, nor officer-like.

There were one or two typos that had got through, but not enough to spoil my enjoyment of the story.

I give it 5*

My ranking of books. In order to get a particular number of stars, it is not necessary to meet all the criteria. This is a guide only.

5* Exceptional. Wonderful story. Setting well drawn, and characters believable. Not perfect, but with flaws. Will keep you up all night. No typos or grammatical errors.

4* A thoroughly enjoyable read. Great and original story. Believable setting and characters. Very few grammatical errors or typos.

3* I enjoyed it. Good story. Characters need some development. Some typos or grammatical errors.

2* Not for me. Story not very strong. Unbelievable and flat characters. Setting not clearly defined. Many typos or grammatical errors.

1* I hated it. Story almost non-existent. Setting poor. Possibly couldn’t finish it.

Review of The Allure of the Gypsies by Charles Yallowitz.

Overview.

An excellent continuation of the story begun in The Beginning of a Hero and The Prodigy of Rainbow Tower. It held my interest throughout. In this book, we learn the reason for Luke’s reluctance to return to his home town of Haven.

Characters.

We meet a new character in this book–a gypsy girl called Sari. She is very much a free spirit, and brings a new dimension to the characters we are already familiar with.

Luke continues to evolve. He gains new powers, but only after a difficult training. He learns much in this book, as does Nyx, his friend, and a powerful caster of magic.

I love Mr Yallowitz’s strong female characters. None of them are weak, simpering girls expecting the men to look after them. They are both physically and mentally strong.

The antagonists are equally complex. For example, Trinity, the Chaos Elf queen, has an ambiguous relationship with both Nyx and Sari. I look forward to learning more about her in the later books.

Writing.

Sadly, as with the previous two books, there are a lot of typos, incorrect grammar and a couple of wrongly used words. Or rather, the wrong word used. This, fortunately, is offset by a strong plot and interesting characters. This means that I can only give an otherwise excellent book 4*.

My ranking of books. In order to get a particular number of stars, it is not necessary to meet all the criteria. This is a guide only.

5* Exceptional. Wonderful story. Setting well drawn, and characters believable. Not perfect, but with flaws. Will keep you up all night. No typos or grammatical errors.

4* A thoroughly enjoyable read. Great and original story. Believable setting and characters. Very few grammatical errors or typos.

3* I enjoyed it. Good story. Characters need some development. Some typos or grammatical errors.

2* Not for me. Story not very strong. Unbelievable and flat characters. Setting not clearly defined. Many typos or grammatical errors.

1* I hated it. Story almost non-existent. Setting poor. Possibly couldn’t finish it.

Would you like an exclusive story by me? Of course you would.

It’s called The Haunted Table. To get your copy, simply click the link. This will take you to the page where you can download it.

Maria and Tom have bought an antique table for the old cottage they have bought. When they hear strange noises in the night that sound like crying, they worry their house is haunted, but the sounds seem to come from the table.

They set about trying to find what is causing the disturbances. The answer is stranger than either of them had thought.

(Clicking the link will add your email address to my email list, but don’t worry, you can unsubscribe immediately if you wish. Nor will you get any spam. I only send out an email each quarter, or if I have any exciting news–like a new release.)

Review of Darkwitch by Kat Kenney

OVERVIEW

This is the sequel to Dyrwolf that I reviewed previously. It is a good story, and I enjoyed it. It took me a little while longer to get into the story than the previous book, though. I’m not quite sure why this was.

STORY

This continues the story from Dyrwolf. The dyrwolves, a kind of werewolf, and the humans have learned to live together after the events in Book 1, although it is an uneasy truce, neither fully trusting the other. As well as that, some humans, and some Wolves have left the colony to form groups in opposition to the treaty, and each other.

It is in this scenario that Lea Wylder, a half wolf girl, and Henrick, a wolf shifter, find themselves. Lea is having visions of a mysterious man firing an arrow that kills Henrick. How true are her visions, and can she prevent them from happening?

There is a twist at the end that I didn’t see coming.

BLURB

After twenty years of oppression, Lea Wylder has freed the Colony, one of the last human cities in the Nordvend, from the wolves. But freedom has come at a terrible cost. Radical forces threaten unrest. Wolf shifters and humans are more divided than ever. Lea’s nightmares have returned, except this time it isn’t her own death she sees—it’s Henrik’s, the wolf shifter she saved the previous fall, who possesses a terrible magic that has marked him as a target among humans and shifters alike.

Attacks on the Colony increase by the day. Something lurks out in the dark, frozen woods, just beyond what Lea can see in her visions, and she must discover who is hunting Henrik before it’s too late.

CHARACTERS

I found I liked the characters in the story. Lea is battling with her heritage of being half wolf-shifter after she discovers this in Book 1. Her mother had been raped by a wolf-shifter, and given birth to twins. Lea and boy, Gunnar. Gunnar had been brought up with the shifters, and Lea with her mother and her husband whom she believed to be her father. When her mother left to find Gunnar, Lea believed she had been abandoned, and she has to battle this and the conflict when she finds her mother again.

All this and the growing romance between her and Henrick, the Darkwitch of the title, makes her a compelling character.

Henrick, too, has his demons. He has inherited great powers. Greater than all the other shifters. His mother had these gifts and misused them to hold power over the shifters in a cruel way. He is terrified he will becone like her.

The other characters are equally well-drawn and have their own problems to deal with.

WRITING

The writing is on the whole, good. Ms Kinney sets the scene well and draws the reader into the story and the characters. If I have one complaint it would be about the number of superfluous words used. An example is ‘Moonlight spills in through the yellow-paned window glass over my pillow.’

The words ‘in’ and glasse are not necessary, and it would read better, in my opinion, without it.

‘Moonlight spills through the yellow-paned window over my pillow.’

There are many instances such as this, and overuse of the word ‘just’, which most times can be left out to strengthen the writing.

Ms Kinney has built a wonderful world, full of vivid scenes. I can really picture where the characters are and the surroundings.

I give it 4*

My ranking of books. In order to get a particular number of stars, it is not necessary to meet all the criteria. This is a guide only.

5* Exceptional. Wonderful story. Setting well drawn, and characters believable. Not perfect, but with flaws. Will keep you up all night. No typos or grammatical errors.

4* A thoroughly enjoyable read. Great and original story. Believable setting and characters. Very few grammatical errors or typos.

3* I enjoyed it. Good story. Characters need some development. Some typos or grammatical errors.

2* Not for me. Story not very strong. Unbelievable and flat characters. Setting not clearly defined. Many typos or grammatical errors.

1* I hated it. Story almost non-existent. Setting poor. Possibly couldn’t finish it.

A Visit from Diana Wallace Peach, and an Exciting New Release.

Today, I am honoured to be a part of Diana Wallace Peach’s blog tour. She is stopping by to tell us about the book she has recently released. It’s called The Necromancer’s Daughter, but I’ll let Diana tell you about it.

Take a seat and help yourself to a biscuit while I pour you some coffee.

Isn’t this a beautiful cover?

Now you’re comfortable, I’ll hand you over to Diana.

Thanks for having me over to your blog, Viv. I’m delighted to share a thought or two about The Necromancer’s Daughter, and in this case, the challenges of crafting “good” characters.

My latest book has a couple of virtuous characters, different from my usual mixed bag of flawed souls. I think characters with flaws, inner conflicts, and ambivalence are easier to write because they’re inherently more interesting and often more active as they go around messing things up.

So, what did I do for my characters who aren’t emotionally compromised or moral wrecks?

Barus, my necromancer who starts off the book, is one of the sweetest people around. He’s led by his heart, and though that gets him into some dicey situations, his main challenge is simply to stay alive.

Fortunately for this writer, he fades into the background early on when Aster, the necromancer’s daughter, takes the forefront. She’s more of a challenge since she has to carry the story to the end.

She’s also “good,” and in her case, it’s that quality that creates danger for her and ambivalence for other characters. Her sweet nature gets her into trouble more than it saves her.

One way to make life miserable for our nice characters like Aster is to give them lose-lose choices. (Writers are ruthless, aren’t we?) And that’s exactly what I do to my poor heroine. She is constantly having to choose between two bad options, and that creates a lot of inner turmoil while also testing her convictions. By the end, she just might discover that there are worse choices than death.

Something about the story

A healer and dabbler in the dark arts of life and death, Barus is as gnarled as an ancient tree. Forgotten in the chaos of the dying queen’s chamber, he spirits away her stillborn infant, and in a hovel at the meadow’s edge, he breathes life into the wisp of a child. He names her Aster for the lea’s white flowers. Raised as his daughter, she learns to heal death.

Then the day arrives when the widowed king, his own life nearing its end, defies the Red Order’s warning. He summons the necromancer’s daughter, his only heir, and for his boldness, he falls to an assassin’s blade.

While Barus hides from the Order’s soldiers, Aster leads their masters beyond the wall into the Forest of Silvern Cats, a land of dragons and barbarian tribes. She seeks her mother’s people, the powerful rulers of Blackrock, uncertain whether she will find sanctuary or face a gallows’ noose.

Unprepared for a world rife with danger, a world divided by those who practice magic and those who hunt them, she must choose whether to trust the one man offering her aid, the one man most likely to betray her—her enemy’s son.

A healer with the talent to unravel death, a child reborn, a father lusting for vengeance, and a son torn between justice, faith, and love. Caught in a chase spanning kingdoms, each must decide the nature of good and evil, the lengths they will go to survive, and what they are willing to lose.

My Review of The Necromancer’s Daughter.

OVERVIEW:

This book is a definite page turner. I loved it all the way through and although I couldn’t put it down, I definitely didn’t want to get to the end.

The cover is beautiful.

CHARACTERS

Fantastic characters. D. Wallace Peach has brought us amazing people. They seem real as they have failings as well as good points. They struggle with knowing what is right and wrong amid conflicting views.

Aster has the ability to resurrect the dead. Is it evil to do so? She does not think so. Some think the Blessed One alone should have this right of who lives and who dies, and to go against her wishes is evil. But can Aster stand by and allow a death she could prevent? If the Blessed One did not want the dead person to be revived, surely she would not allow it?

Facing danger in the Forest of Silver Cats, Jorah questions his whole life. He has promised to help Aster get to Blackrock, against everything he has been taught to believe—that necromancy is evil and necromancers should be put to death. He is conflicted as to why he agreed to do so. His concerns trouble him throughout the book.

<p>Teko is a simple man. One whom the ‘civilised’ people consider to be a barbarian, but he is a loyal protector of Aster.

Finally, there is Barus. He is a man with a crooked spine. A truly good person. He resurrected Aster after she was stillborn and brought her up as his own daughter. He is a wonderful man whom I find difficult to forget. </p>

WRITING

The writing is amazing. This is one of the few books I’ve read recently that I have not had to get my metaphorical red pen out to correct errors.

D. Wallace Peach has a wonderful way with words. Her descriptions are beautiful, and I love her metaphores and similes. She takes you into the world of magic, dragons and kingdoms at odds with each other and makes you believe in it.

If you are a fantasy fan, I would recommend you go and buy it now.

Here’s a bit about Diana.

A long-time reader, best-selling author D. Wallace Peach started writing later in life when years of working in business surrendered to a full-time indulgence in the imaginative world of books. She was instantly hooked.

In addition to fantasy books, Peach’s publishing career includes participation in various anthologies featuring short stories, flash fiction, and poetry. She’s an avid supporter of the arts in her local community, organizing and publishing annual anthologies of Oregon prose, poetry, and photography.

Peach lives in a log cabin amongst the tall evergreens and emerald moss of Oregon’s rainforest with her husband, two owls, a horde of bats, and the occasional family of coyotes.

You can buy The Necromancer’s Daughter by clicking here or on the cover of the book.

Review of Kingdom of Lies by R S Williams

I would like to thank R S Williams for letting me have a free copy for an honest review.

OVERVIEW

A good story, even if it is a fantasy trope. A prince, hidden to save his life from an unknown enemy who has killed the rest of his family. A birthmark that proves he is the missing prince. He has no idea of his true identity.

Having said that, the fact that this idea is not an uncommon one does not mean it cannot be dealt with in a different way, and be an entirely different story which Kingdom of Lies does.

I love the cover. It’s magnificent.

BLURB

Magic is back in Adelith, and with it the return of Cyran.

Elijah spends his days preparing for the annual Hollom horse race and working at his guardian Merrick’s forge. That is, until Merrick is summoned back to Castle Aebarrow in Adelith by the king.

Unable to stay in Rheanydd without a legal guardian, Eli is forced to go with Merrick who takes up the position of captain and trains the new guards. But the more time Eli spends in Adelith, the more his lost memories resurface-and they throw up worrying questions about his past.

As a member of Princess Sienna’s Elite Guard, Eli saves her life when it’s threatened by the presence of a mysterious Missing Prince. Eli’s heroics incur the wrath of a mad sorcerer known only as The Master, hell-bent on ending the courting prince’s life.

Elijah enters a dangerous path of self-discovery where magic and secrets intertwine. The truth about his past is within reach, but can he unlock his memories and solve the riddles in time to save the true heir to the throne? Or will the castle be brought crumbling down once more?

CHARACTERS

Elijah, the prince, is a likeable character, although he does not have much depth. 

There was little to distinguish most of the characters from each other, except for Leon. 

When we first meet him, he is antagonistic to Elijah. He is mouthy to his superiors, but never gets punished for it. Then, suddenly, at the end, he’s suddenly friendly and joking, and talking as if he’d been best friends with Elijah all along. But Leon is a minor character.

There was little change in most of the other characters throughout the book.

WRITING

The writing was poor. As I read, I thought it was the first book by a novice writer who had got to the end and pressed ‘publish’. There are many mistakes, both typos and grammatical errors. Sometimes this caused confusion. 

The author confused me at times by using a pronoun that did not refer to the last person mentioned.

There were several places where the syntax was confusing, and she also had disembodied eyes floating around on more than one occasion. (Elijah’s eyes fell to the floor.)

There were other places where I was confused, and could not understand what was going on, and a few places where she contradicted something she had said previously.

I was surprised to read in her acknowledgements that she thanked her critique partners and her beta readers, as I saw nothing to indicate any input from them.

If I hadn’t promised a review, I don’t think I could have finished this book in spite of the good story, as I kept being annoyed by the poor writing.

I give the book **

Do you think the writing is important if the story is good?

Please tell us in the comments box?

If you would like to receive an exclusive, free short story by me, called The Haunted Table, simply click the link. This will take you to the page where you can download it.

Maria and Tom have bought an antique table for the old cottage they have bought. When they hear strange noises in the night that sound like crying, they worry their house is haunted, but the sounds seem to come from the table.

They set about trying to find what is causing the disturbances. The answer is stranger than either of them had thought.

(Clicking the link will add your email address to my email list, but don’t worry, you can unsubscribe immediately if you wish. Nor will you get any spam. I only send out an email each quarter, or if I have any exciting news–like a new release.)

Review of The Prodigy of Rainbow Tower by Charles E. Yallowitz

Review of Prodigy of Rainbow Tower by Charles Yallowitz 

OVERVIEW:

This is a continuation of the story told in The Beginning of a Hero. In this book, Luke and his companions, Fritz, the gnome, Nimby, the halfling, Aeden, the priest,and Fizzle, the little dragon-like creature known as a drite, set off to escort the heir to Duke Solomon home to Gods’ Voice.

First, though, they need to collect a caster apprentice from Rainbow Tower. She is a very prickly individual. Her first meeting with Luke does not go well.

The book is full of action. On the journey along the L’landrin River, they meet with traps and agents of the litch from book 1 that are trying to kill them.

We also learn that the litch is serving a much more powerful master that even the gods themselves fear.

This book has some shocking twists, but \I won’t spoil it by letting the cat out of the bag.

You will laugh and cry reading this book.

BLURB

Luke Callindor and his friends are about to learn that the life of an adventurer can be brutally unforgiving.

Hungering for another adventure, Luke agrees to escort the heir of Serab along the L’dandrin River and into the safety of Gods’ Voice. A deadly gauntlet of cunning traps and savage creatures lay before the young warrior and his companions. Lacking the powerful magic needed to combat his enemies, Luke’s survival and victory may be in the hands of his newest ally. That’s if the temperamental Nyx doesn’t set him on fire first.

Luke will bravely face everything that is thrown at him, but how can he defend himself when he’s ignorant of the truth behind his mission?

CHARACTERS

Mr Yallowitz has continued to enthral his readers with his story. We meet a new character in this book. She is the Prodigy of the title. Her name is Nyx and she is an extremely powerful caster. Sadly, she has a character flaw. She loses her temper extremely quickly, and with her being such a powerful caster, with a tendency to use fire magic, she is a dangerous individual.

Mr Yallowitz writes strong women. I love them.

We meet a new enemy, Trinity, the Queen of the Chaos Elves, who wishes to exact revenge on Nyx after they fight over the rooftops. Of course there is the Hellfire Elf who seems almost human in his desire to get his revenge on Luke.

There is the usual squabbling between friends, but nothing serious. This is how friends behave in real life. And we see lasting friendships beginning to form.

Nyx’s growing friendship with Luke makes her become less prickly.

As before, Luke and his friends are well-drawn. I fell in love with them all, but especially Fizzle.

WRITING

The world is believable, and fully realised and described.

We are introduced to a number of fight scenes that Mr Yallowitz describes excellently. As I have already said, the characters are well drawn and believable, and change as we progress through the book.

Sadly, though, this book has many typos, as well as grammatical errors and the wrong word used in some cases. (as Nyx’s weapon, a morning star, which Mr Yallowitz calls a mourning star all through the book.)

This gave me a problem as to how to rate it. The story deserves 5*, but the typos and grammar should have put it at 3*. I compromised by going with the average.

I gave the book 4*

My ranking of books. In order to get a particular number of stars, it is not necessary to meet all the criteria. This is a guide only.

5* Exceptional. Wonderful story. Setting well drawn, and characters believable. Not perfect, but with flaws. Will keep you up all night. No typos or grammatical errors.

4* A thoroughly enjoyable read. Great and original story. Believable setting and characters. Very few grammatical errors or typos.

3* I enjoyed it. Good story. Characters need some development. Some typos or grammatical errors.

2* Not for me. Story not very strong. Unbelievable and flat characters. Setting not clearly defined. Many typos or grammatical errors.

1* I hated it. Story almost non-existent. Setting poor. Possibly couldn’t finish it.

Book review, review of Legends of Windemere, Charles Yallowitz, The Prodigy of Rainbow Tower, fantasy, fantasy review,

Review of Beginning of a Hero by Charles Yallowitz 

OVERVIEW:

I got this as a bundle of 3 books, but I am going to review them separately as I read them.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Luke Callindor, even though he has a very Earth-like name for a half-elf!

It is filled with action and great characters. We have a mystery at the beginning. Luke is contracted to safeguard the heir to Serabia. There is only one problem. He doesn’t know who the heir is, for even whether he’s protecting a male or female. When Luke discovers who it is, he is plunged into further problems as he is pursued by a powerful lich and a demonic elf.

BLURB:

Every hero must take the first courageous step into adventure. For Luke Callindor, it’s more of a blind stumble.Depending more on bravery than common sense, Luke sets out to protect a royal heir who is attending the prestigious Hamilton Military Academy. With a demonic assassin in the shadows, the determined warrior will have to think on his feet to defend his charge. If only he waited long enough to find out which student is the hidden noble.With Luke’s dream on the horizon and a deadly enemy on his path, how will he transform from a reckless adventurer to a true hero of Windemere?

CHARACTERS:

Luke Callindor is the main character in this story. He is a forest ranger, tasked with keeping the forest in good health, but he is not the only one of interest.

There is a halfling called Nimby who is great fun. He’s a retired thief and helps Luke in his quest to find out whom he is supposed to be protecting.

Fritz, a gnome, is an illusionist and his illusions are a help in the story. His steed, bizarrely, is a sheep!

Luke, Nimby and Fritz are joined by a half-elf priest, Aedin who is invaluable when people get injured. As they do during the practice fights in the Acadamy.

My favourite character, though, is not humanoid, but a small dragon, a drite called Fizzle. Fizzle is a simple creature, but not without intelligence. He loves apples, especially when baked in a pie.

And there is Luke’s loyal companion, a dog called Stilletto.

As the main character, Luke develops from an inexperienced young fighter to one who learns that strength isn’t the only way to win fights.

All the characters are well-drawn, and have their own clear characteristics, as well as character flaws.

WRITING:

There are a few typos, and, in a couple of places a wrong word is used, but on the whole the writing is good.

Mr Yallowitz paints a clear picture of the world he has created. He shows us how the characters react to each other so we can easily picture the scene.

I enjoyed reading this book and will soon be starting on the second one.

I gave the book 4*

How I rank books.

In order to get a particular number of stars, it is not necessary to meet all the criteria. This is a guide only.

5* Exceptional. Wonderful story. Setting well drawn, and characters believable. Not perfect, but with flaws. Will keep you up all night. No typos or grammatical errors.

4* A thoroughly enjoyable read. Great and original story. Believable setting and characters. Very few grammatical errors or typos.

3* I enjoyed it. Good story. Characters need some development. Some typos or grammatical errors.

2* Not for me. Story not very strong. Unbelievable and flat characters. Setting not clearly defined. Many typos or grammatical errors.

1* I hated it. Story almost non-existent. Setting poor. Possibly couldn’t finish it.

Review of The Look of Love by Bella Andre

OVERVIEW:

I’m not a reader of romance as a general rule, and I don’t read erotic romance. Reading this book has made me realise why.

BLURB

After Chloe Peterson’s car skids off the road in the Napa Valley wine country, she’s ready to throw in the towel on a horrendous day. But when a gorgeous guy rescues her, though she’s immediately drawn to him, she knows better than to let her walls down with any man ever again.

Chase Sullivan is a successful photographer whose charm and charisma—along with his large and close-knit family—make him San Francisco’s most eligible bachelor. Intent on helping Chloe through this rough patch in her life, Chase soon realizes that she is not only lovely, inside and out, she’s also intelligent, talented, and extremely brave. He has never felt like this about anyone before, never knew love could be so powerful, or so true…until she came into his life.

Though Chloe tries to resist Chase, with every loving look he gives her—and every sinfully sweet caress—the attraction between them sparks and sizzles. But after everything she’s been through, can Chase convince Chloe that he will always be there for her…and that their love will last forever?

STORY

The story is weak and just an excuse for erotic scenes. I had trouble finishing it.

A troubled young woman meets a handsome man and tries to deny the obvious attraction between them. She is not ready for a new romance after her disastrous marriage. I don’t think that Ms Andre made enough of this. Chloe gave in far too quickly. Only a few days after her last traumatic encounter with her ex-husband she is in bed with a new man. Not very believable.

The story is told from the point of view of each of the main characters in in turn.

CHARACTERS

Chloe has problems. This makes her vulnerable. I did think that she got over them in rather quick time, though. Only a few days after meeting Chase she is admitting her attraction to him, sleeping with him, and falling in love. It all seemed a little too quick for someone so deeply wounded as Chloe is from her previous love encounter. (Or rather, not love from her spouse.)

Chase, is rather a cardboard cut out. He’s perfect. Good looking, clever, rich, talented. He is infinitely patient with Chloe, always putting her first, especially in sex, because he knows she’s been deeply hurt. In spite of wanting to have sex with her desperately, he manages to hold back.

Like I said. Too perfect.

WRITING

Sadly, I found the writing annoying. Ms Andre overuses the word ‘just’, as one example. She peppers it throughout the book, even more than once in one sentence on occasion. She also uses many other words that are not needed, and slow the action. (What action?)

Also, vague words, like ‘seemed’. Well is it or isn’t it?

She kept on telling us that Chloe was lovely, and that Chase had a beautiful body. We aren’t stupid, Ms Andre. We can remember that. We don’t need to keep being reminded.

I give this book 2*

Have you read this, or any other Bella Andre books? She’s apparently a Best Seller.

If you have, let us know what you thought of her books in the comments box.

A Review of Dyrwolf by Kat Kinney

OVERVIEW:

I don’t usually read books that mention werewolves (nor vampires, and definitely not zombies) I feel that they have had their time and are overdone. Having said that, I decided to take a risk and read Dyrwolf. Am I glad I did?

I would not so much call the wolf/humans in this story werewolves, more shapeshifters. Many of them can shift to their wolf personas and shapes regardless of the moon, but they do respond to it.

BLURB

Lea Wylder has spent so long hunting werewolves that now one is stalking her in her sleep. In the unforgiving forests of the north, shape-shifting wolves have enslaved the sole human city for hundreds of miles, driving survivors up into the mountains. When Lea tracks a shifter and finds him caught in a trap, she’s convinced he’s the white wolf from her dreams. Not that it matters. He’s one of them. And they’re at war.

But as Lea pulls back the bowstring, Henrik shifts to human and begs her not to shoot. By name. But how could he possibly know her?

In twenty years, the wolves have never crossed the river over to their side. Injured and unable to walk, Henrik needs Lea’s help to get back home. If he could be turned against the pack, it could change the course of the war. But first there’s the small problem of returning him to the wolves—without getting caught.

STORY

This is an excellent story that kept me gripped and wanting to know what happens next. The heroine, a sixteen year old human girl called Lea, needs to find a way to return a seriously injured shape-shifting wolf back to his home.

Of course, Henrick, as the dyrwolf is called, is an enemy, and Lea should have killed him, but he resembles the wolf she has seen in her dreams, and she cannot bring herself to do so.

It is a dangerous trip, where they meet near death on several occasions, not to mention their fraught relationship as enemies.

There are twists in the story as Lea discovers more about herself and the history of the people and their enemies, the dyrwolves.

There are humerous moments, too, as well as danger and anxiety.

CHARACTERS

Ms Kinney has drawn some very likeable characters in this book—and also some very unlikeable ones.

Lea is a girl with many problems—a mother who committed suicide, debilitating migraines, and she is considered strange by the villagers and has only one real friend.

Her friend is a young man called Salem. He feels protective towards Lea and turns up to help her when she goes out to perform a rite in which she has to burn the fields of grain of the enemy.

Henrick is most likeable. He is in many ways very innocent. The relationship between him and Lea is believable and their confusion about it is very real.

WRITING

This is a well-written book. Ms Kinney’s descriptions are wonderful and I loved reading them. They set the scene beautifully.

Lea’s referring to Henrick as a dandelion puff (referencing his white fur when in wolf form) is wonderful.

The descriptions of Lea’s problems with her migraines (that she doesn’t know what they are) are most believable and I could almost feel her pain.

The surprises in the story are also introduced at just the right places.

If I have to make an adverse criticism, I would say that there are a few unnecessary words. Mainly prepositions, like someone looking up at the stars. We know the stars are up! But that would be nit-picking. I found no typos or other grammatical errors, which is a refreshing change.

This is well worth a read. I gave it 5*

I have pre-ordered the second book, and am looking forward to receiving it.