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Julius Caesar's great-great-granddaughter

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Kara's Wolves by Becca Jameson - erotica for specialized tastes [Feb. 7th, 2016|11:14 pm]
Julius Caesar's great-great-granddaughter
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I didn't finish this book.
I could tell immediately that this book was mainly about giving the characters a reason to have sex.   The height of romance (as far as I got) was the characters meeting in a kicker bar. And immediately lusting after each other because of the werewolf "this is my mate"  pheremones.  It's that minimal level method of getting people together by  "he's hot, she's hot, they touch and the sparks fly" attraction.   But I've read several books like this.
Strike two was a certain feel that the heroine in the story doesn't quite have a choice in the matter.  The heroine acts like she's almost compelled to kiss the hero against her will or maybe just her better judgement.  But it's ok, because he's hot.  It echos the "gentle rape" scenarios of romances of the past.
And then there's the mathematical impossibility of finding your one and only true soulmate, but we won't go into that.
The final strike was that apparently the hero's best friend is apparently also soul mate with the heroine.  So, not my thing
If you want to read threesome porn disguised as a romance, go for it.  But if you're looking for a decent romance, look elsewhere.
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The Change (Unbounded #1) by Teyla Branton - Engaging soft sci-fi novel [Feb. 3rd, 2016|05:57 pm]
Julius Caesar's great-great-granddaughter
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If you're looking for a romance novel, you might want to look elsewhere - the romance sub-plot in this novel plays only a very small part of the action (and there's no hot sex to be found, just a couple of passionate kisses).   Also, no vampires, werewolves or demons.  On the other hand, if you're looking for a stong female character that kicks ass and a novel that falls somewhere between urban fantasy and sci-fi, keep reading.
The basic set-up is that the heroine awakens in the hospital after a fiery accident has put her in the hospital.  (note - somewhat detailed - if fire is a trigger, this might be too much for you)  It turns out that she is one of a group of super-humans that all have super-healing, and other super-powers.  The rest of this book is the heroine learning about her new world and powers.   This is the first book in the series, and it mostly satisfies as a standalone, but it definitely leaves some things hanging.
I found the book generally engaging, and sometimes compelling, but there were also bits that made me feel like I could have done better.  There's a lot of world building to go through, and the book tends to drag in places just because of that.   And there were a couple of times when I started talking to the book going "No, you do this and this, not that".  I can understand out-thinking the person who just found out about this world, but when I'm out-thinking the characters who've been around for hundreds of years, I get a little frustrated.
So, not the greatest story to consider the implications of near-immortality and super-genetics (or magical powers - it's really no different except what you call it), but a reasonably good one, and worth your time to see if you're interested in the rest of the series.
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Cade by Tori Austin &V. A. Dold - If a Mary Sue meets a werewolf, does she become a hairy Sue? [Jan. 11th, 2016|11:18 pm]
Julius Caesar's great-great-granddaughter
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This is not a novel - it is a wish fulfillment daydream written down.  There are NO problems between the hero and heroine, no differences of opinion, no missteps, one very short angsty moment of "I don't deserve you" - "Yes, you do" - "Oh, Ok!".  There is no central problem to resolve; there are only a few problems that the couple run into during their time together - problems that are solved within a couple of paragraphs.  In one noteworthy case, it took three whole scenes for the problem to be resolved.
Reading the dialogue between the main couple is like listening to a couple who have just fallen in lurrve.  "You're so wonderful"  "Oh, you're wonderful too!"   Ok, my husband and I talk like that all the time, but we don't write it down and make a book out of it.  One line I have to relate.  When the couple do the magic werewolf mating ritual to bind them together, the heroine "swore she felt their souls come together, as if tiny knitting needles rapidly closed the gap between the two halves to  leave a complete, brightly shining soul"
It is a distinct story (such as it is) and the first in a series.  At the end of the story, we are introduced to the other brothers who will be the subjects of later books.  There's a great big flashing neon arrow saying "NEXT" pointing to the characters which will be the subject of the next book.
Read this book if you get annoyed by plot getting in the way of the sex scenes.  Otherwise, give it a pass.
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By The Light Of The Moon by Jodi Vaughn - *yawn* [Dec. 24th, 2015|02:05 pm]
Julius Caesar's great-great-granddaughter
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This book covered nearly every romance cliché I loathe.  It's an alpha male vs. feisty female set up and what I call the "F" plot (because they're always fighting or doing the f word).  He's hot, she's gorgeous, they're attracted instantly.  A touch of soap opera stupidity, such as when he pulls away from a steamy kiss, she decides he must not be attracted to her.  Insane demonstrations of jealousy - people, if your SO is this jealous, it's not a sign of love, it's a sign of toxic levels of insecurity!  The hero can't be with the heroine because she's some kind of werewolf royalty and he's just a nobody.  (I suspect this writer either writes medieval romances, or is at least a fan).  The plot is sparse at best, and resolved by a deus ex machina.
One trend I've noticed in this and several other books is the use of swearing.  I have no objection to vulgar language (I can swear like a sailor), but it makes for very weak writing, especially when the only swear words you use are the f-word and a couple of minor ones.  Authors, do yourself a favor - when you finish your book, find every swear word and ask yourself if there's another more descriptive word to use.  It's sort of like the verb "to say".
Two positives about this book - the actual stringing together of words is ok (which is definitely more than I can say about some of these books), and for once, while it is part of a series, it is definitely an independent book - while you meet some characters that are going to be heroes later in the series, all of the (did I mention sparse) plot lines are wrapped up in this book.
If you don't mind swearing and cliché-ridden stories that don't do anything but tread over the same paths as others, you'll love this book.  Otherwise, give it a pass
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The Ghost and the Graveyard by Genevieve Jack - surprisingly good, but I had some qualms about it. [Dec. 15th, 2015|10:05 pm]
Julius Caesar's great-great-granddaughter
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This book has a fairly complex mythos - the heroine is the reincarnation of a person who was more along the lines of a demi-goddess than the witch she is being described as, and the heroine needs to decide if she will take up the mantle of responsibility, and the perks and drawbacks associated with it.   Buffy has definitely influenced this work - the heroine has hints of both Buffy's calling and Willow's skills.
It is a series, and like most series, it's not the whole story.  Parts of the story are resolved in this book, but many more are left hanging, especially the romance.  There was enough of a story that what was left hanging didn't annoy me.
The romance plot here is a love triangle.  I'm not normally fond of these in romance, because it doesn't allow for the chemistry that I think marks a good romance.  It works here as this is more of a urban fantasy (with sex).  Both guys are hiding something, and both are telling the heroine to not trust the other person.  The author balances this nicely so that it's not clear who to trust, for the heroine or the reader, without resorting to the idiot ball.
What I did find problematic was some of the aspects of the sex.  One of the male leads has a level of influence over the heroine that makes it unclear to the heroine (or the reader) as to whether  she was actually up for what was going on.  It's rape-y enough that it bothered me, but I'm somewhat sensitive to this.  She is sexually attracted to him, and would probably been right there without the influence, so I'm not sure if this is intended to demonstrate that something about the guy is not kosher, or if it is to excuse getting into the sex as quickly as the book does.
There are a couple of other problems with the writing.  The quality of the writing is uneven - it flips between "I'm writing a novel" and "I'm talking to my BFF" .   And there are some holes in the plotting and flow.  One event that is part of the climax is anticipated so early that I wondered why it hadn't happened long before it actually did.  And the setup has some issues - the way it sounds the house should have been overrun with ghosts, instead of having only the two.
In the end, I think this is a pretty  good lightweight urban fantasy that would have been better with the sex toned down a bit.  Read it if the non-consensual aspect isn't a problem.
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Blood Magic by Jennifer Lyon - I want to read the book this could have been [Dec. 10th, 2015|12:00 am]
Julius Caesar's great-great-granddaughter
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This book has some really great concepts, and it had the potential to be not just a good romance, but a good fantasy novel.  But ...  nope.  It fails, by relying on some of the more annoying romance tropes.  This is one of those books where I want to regularly slap sense into the characters, and show them the obvious solution to the problems they run into!
The heroines are witches, and the heroes are witch hunters - I would have called them something else, because they're supposed to only hunt witches that have gone to the dark side, so to speak.
It has an interesting magic system (although not as realized as some I've read),  and a very creative curse with a catch-22 loophole, and the opportunity for some realistic conflict.  And while it is the first book in the series, the author does resolve the primary conflict and doesn't dangle too many loose plot lines at the end.
But every time I was really enjoying the story, the author would go back to moving the romantic plot along with Poor Communications Kills and passing the idiot ball, and maybe even a little bit of soap opera asshole.  Honestly, if someone endangers their life to save your much loved little sister, you owe them anything and everything, and you don't get pissed if they need you.  And in regard to  Poor Communications Kills if someone tells you that spell A could affect the person, but not force them to do something, for og's sake, tell the person about it.  (of course, there's at least two chapters that just wouldn't exist if your people are halfway intelligent about things)
Bottom line - If you like magic users and hot sex, and don't mind authors who use the idiot ball to move the plot along, you'll probably enjoy it.  I might read the remaining books if they show up for free, but I probably won't pay for them.
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New Beginnings by Brandy Rivers - mediocre, with one unpardonable sin [Nov. 23rd, 2015|11:59 pm]
Julius Caesar's great-great-granddaughter
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I am sure that there are going to be people out there who really enjoy this book - after all, it has hot sex scenes with good looking people, enough plot to fill pages between sex scenes, and a committed relationship in the end to give it a veneer of respectablity.
It does not have good writing, or even ok writing.  The characters exhibit what I call soap opera stupidity - for instance: Guy - I didn't want a relationship; girl - OMG, you don't want a relationship now.  Guy - there's an insane guy who wants to hurt you, lock your windows; girl - don't tell me what to do!
Plot is basic: Sassy independent woman arrives in town, falls for the alpha male (literally the alpha, since this is a werewolf story).  However, since the alpha male is perfect, the auther has to make the villian insane (he hears voices), so that we can have some dramatic tension without having to write realistic interactions or flawed characters.
And this is where the author commited what I consider an unpardonable sin.  It's not enough that we had to make the villain insane, then we make him gay as well, and all very "hush, hush, no one can know" gay.  It certainly doesn't add to the story, and - at best it comes across as "no one will care if I kill off a gay", and at worst "gays are icky, so he needed to be killed anyway".  Dear Ms Rivers - this is the new millenium - gays are not cannon fodder, nor are they throwaway evil. 
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Depravity by M. J. Haag - I didn't like it at all, and you might want a trigger warning. [Nov. 17th, 2015|04:50 pm]
Julius Caesar's great-great-granddaughter
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It's a re-telling of Beauty and the Beast, which is my favorite fairy tale plot, so this should have been a shoe-in.
The biggest problem I had with this book is that it starts with a scene depicting coerced sexual activity (not quite rape, but the next thing to it).  That's actually the worst it gets, although there's also at least one near-rape scene.  This may be some people's thing (Catherine Coulter is a huge romance author, and I've never read a book of hers that didn't have at least one scene that was rape at some level)  but I don't want to read it.  
The other problem is that the story is set in a vaguely medieval-ish setting, but the author's voice - and therefore the voice of the heroine, as this is first person - is entirely too modern, several times to the point of being jarring.
The Beast is a jerk - he breaks promises,  throws temper tantrums whenever he doesn't get his way, manipulates Beauty, and treats her poorly.  This is not how the story is supposed to go - the Beast is supposed to be a good man trapped in a terrifying body.
This is not a complete book - like many current "series", the primary story line is left at "to be continued" at the end of the book.  But I'm not interested in seeing how this one plays out.
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Haunted on Bourbon Street by Deanna Chase - Very good, although not a keeper [Nov. 15th, 2015|03:48 pm]
Julius Caesar's great-great-granddaughter
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I've made the mistake of not reviewing this book immediately after reading it, so I'm fuzzy on the details.
I like the concept - an empath settles into an apartment on Bourbon Street and attracts ghosts.  The author is doing some serious world building here but it doesn't impede the flow of the story, and better yet - there are some minor plot lines that are left unresolved, but the primary plot line is resolved in this book (something that cannot be said about a lot of urban fantasy series!)
The only things I remember not liking : The author uses pairing two beautiful people as a shortcut for  chemistry  - but that's the number one method of producing chemistry easily.  Also, there's a twisted ankle that's only a problem when it needs to be, and the heroine walks barefoot down Bourbon Street, which gave me the only real "You've got to be kidding me"

All in all, a good story for people who like ghost stories, and people who like magic and ESP elements in their stories.  I'm getting the next book (at 99 cents).
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Forgotten by Maggie Shayne - slightly better than meh [Aug. 30th, 2015|12:24 am]
Julius Caesar's great-great-granddaughter
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This book is a very common plot - psychic is "seeing" serial killer's future victims, has to figure out who the killer is before he(she?) kills again.  There are a couple of twists, which I won't spoiler.  There's also a couple of plot holes  that show the author is more of a romance author than a mystery writer - really, it seems like the coroners should have established an approximate height for the murderer.

Overall it was enjoyable (especially for free), but not a great book.  The writing was solid (which makes it better than a lot of the free ebooks), the plotting was adequate, but not particularly creative (and like I said, left some holes wide open).  Actually, every aspect of the writing was like that - adequate, but not anything that hasn't been done better before.

So, get it if you like psychics and serial killer stories - I'd say that it would even be worth paying 99 cents, but not more than that.
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