Posted in Jennifer Stevenson

Beth (Coed Demon Sluts #1) by Jennifer Stevenson

Synopsis:

Aren’t you tired of doing everything right?

Wouldn’t you like a second chance to go back and do it wrong?

Beth is fifty, dumped by her husband for the babysitter, jobless, skill-less, homeless, cashless. She’s about to jump in front of a bus when she meets Delilah, recruiter for the “Regional Office” and receives an offer she can’t refuse: become a succubus for the Second Circle of Hell. Heartbroken, Beth decides to use the powers of her new sex demon body and the remains of her thrown-away life to track down her ex-husband and find out why he dumped her.

But Beth can’t get any information without help from her team, and she can’t accept their help until she learns something about what she has become—a coed demon slut—about who she’s always really been, and who she wants to be from now on.

The first adventure in the Coed Demons Sluts series!

Review:

One of my friend’s reaction when she noticed my GoodReads mark on this book was: “What the fuck are you reading? 😂” And honestly, that’s probably anyone’s reaction when they’d get to see this book’s title. But really now… can somebody say that it doesn’t sound interesting?

This novel has almost every little detail that makes a great story: (mostly) great characters, mind blowing set-up, puzzling rules, humor, entertainment, few secrets, etc. Unfortunately, the one thing that’s pretty much missing is… the action. Nothing is happening! Or very little things do, but they develop in such a sloooow and boring rhythm that it’s almost guaranteed to throw you in a reading slump.

So Beth, this novel’s heroine is a fifty something ex-rich lady who just got dumped for a much younger chick and was left with nothing after the divorce. Her friends don’t want her, her kids refuse to help, she’s homeless, with no working skills as she was a stay at home wife, unemployed, completely broke and mad with revenge and self pity. Of course she’s going to say a big “yes” when a Hell recruiter comes with an offer to hire her as a sex demon. She already lost everything, so there’s nothing else to lose from now on.

The only thing is that her drunk self who accepted the proposal had no idea how much different her new life will be. And here’s where the story starts. Because despite all the perks that the new job offers, Beth is still incredibly attached to her old self. And her new team of demon friends who got stuck with her have no choice than to help her out of the whole mess.

Beth is the least likeable character of all. She’s miserable and not really willing to let go of her misery and embrace the totally different lifestyle that’s in front of her. I loved how the author emphasizes the human tendency to refuse something better just because they’re used to the bad, while still complaining about how bad things are. Most of the people will do this: complain and complain but always find excuses for not changing a single thing. It drives me crazy. Beth surely did. I hated her and I was sick and tired of her and with every new and wrong step she’d take, I just wanted to enter the book and slap her. I’m truly surprised that none of her new team members didn’t lose their patience and do it, although they were so close for few times.

But other than Beth, all the characters were wonderful. Each of them comes with an intriguing background that I cannot wait to explore more in the future novels, each of them is complex, well built and the relations between them are realistic, without being idealized, with all the ups and downs that you can expect from a group of demons.

But despite loving the interactions between the characters and the funny and original world that the author created, I was sooo bored of how little action there was. I get it, the story rolls mostly around Beth and her deep transformation from who she was into this new being. You cannot expect her to change completely from a day to another. But… nothing else is happening. There’s no plot twist, there’s no mystery, not a single page that would leave you breathless and eager to start the next chapter. You can put the book down at anytime and completely forget about it for weeks in a row. Don’t get me wrong, it was not a bad reading. Just… boring.

However, I’m still very curious to continue the series. Each new novel will be centered around another one of the heroines that we already met in this book. And considering that literally each one of them seemed so much more interesting than Beth, I won’t miss the chance of discovering their own stories.

Posted in Maggie Shayne

Mark of the Witch (seria The Portal, volumul 1) – Maggie Shayne

Mark of the Witch (seria The Portal, volumul 1) – Maggie Shayne

Editura: Harlequin

Data publicare: 18 septembrie 2012

Numar pagini: 400

 

Sinopsis:

Ea s-a nascut pentru a salva ceea ce el a jurat ca va distruge…

O fosta „vrajitoare” Wicca a renuntat sa mai creada in magie. Dar atunci cand o serie de vise ciudate in care e sacrificata unui zeu antic babilonian ajung sa o trezeasca pentru a-si descoperi  incheieturile pline de cicatrici reale datorate legaturilor, este fortata sa constientizeze ca e posibil sa se fi grabit cu respingerea necunoscutului. Apoi il cunoaste pe misteriosul si chipesul preot Tomas. Provenind dintr-o misterioasa secta gnostica, el o intampina cu povesti despre un demon, despre un trio de vrajitoare razboinice si despre chemarea secreta a Indirei. Totusi, exista ceva ce nici macar Tomas nu stie, un adevar ce il va obliga sa aleaga intre a salva viata femeii de care se indragosteste si a salva lumea.

Parerea mea:

Multumesc editurii Harlequin si autoarei, Maggie Shayne pentru ca mi-au oferit aceasta carte pentru recenzie.

Romanul Mark of the Witch abordeaza cu siguranta o gama noua de teme si idei. Spre deosebire de alte subiecte, cele propuse de  Maggie Shayne au fost destul de rar tratate in literatura fantasy. Acesta este si motivul pentru care am fost curioasa sa citesc romanul. Povestea se desfasoara in jurul Indirei, o fosta practicanta a religiei „vrajitoarelor” Wicca. Din cauza unor aspecte dezamagitoare, in urma cu cativa ani, Indira a renuntat sa mai creada in magie si in teoriile de baza ale religiei. Romanul incepe cu un cosmar ce o bantuie pe protagonista de ceva timp, cosmar ce incepe sa para infricosator de real. Indira descopera urme fizice ale intamplarilor din vis, iar singura persoana la care poate apela este o fosta prietena, preoteasa in cadrul comunitatii Wicca. Iar de la aceasta, Indira ajunge la Tomas, un preot gnostic, care ii spune o poveste incredibila despre reincarnare, vieti trecute, Babilon, vrajitorie, demoni si sfarsitul lumii. Si din pacate, episoadele fantastice de care are parte Indira tot mai des nu fac decat sa ii confirme spusele preotului. Relatia celor doi este la un pas de a depasi anumite limite permise, iar fiecare protagonist are de partea sa o persoana apropiata. Misterele se indesesc, amintiri infricosatoare din alte vieti incep sa revina, neicrederea creste si ea si tot felul de intamplari ciudate au loc din ce in ce mai frecvent. Iar adevarul Indirei este tot mai departe de cel al lui Tomas, insa este imposibil sa descoperi care este de fapt singurul adevar. Iar o greseala ar insemna distrugerea lumii.

In ciuda faptului ca intriga este bine construita, personajele atent creionate si  per ansamblu, nu poti spune ca povestii ii lipseste ceva, totusi nu am fost in totalitate cucerita de romanul Mark of the Witch. In prima parte, intamplarile se desfasoara intr-un ritm putin prea lent si chiar daca stiam importanta unui singur pas gresit, nu am reusit sa simt tensiunea asa cum ar fi trebuit. Pur si simplu, esti mereu constient ca citesti o poveste, nu esti transportat in lumea descrisa de autoare, nu rezonezi cu personajele, nu simti nici o emotie, nu detectezi tensiunea si suspansul.

Mi-a placut modul in care sunt construite personajele, chiar si cele negative. Indira accepta destul de dificil ceea ce i se dezvaluie, in ciuda semnelor pe care visele le lasa pe trupul ei si a diferitelor dovezi pe care le are ca totul este real. Am apreciat faptul ca nu se arunca in avalansa de informatii cu ochii inchisi, ci incearca sa constientizeze lent ceea ce i se intampla, de multe ori fiind la un pas sa refuze ceea ce afla. Prietena sa combina perfect discretia cu tendinta de a o incuraja sa creada in ceea ce se intampla, in fortele proprii si  in magie, fara a fi insa insistenta si fara a o impinge intr-o directie pe care nu si-o doreste. Lupta interioara a lui Tomas este si ea impecabil descrisa. Acesta este impartit intre principiile in care a crezut intreaga viata si o teorie noua, care le contrazice in intregime. Iar mentorul lui Tomas este exemplul perfect de persoana indoctrinata, ce refuza cu inversunare orice alta varianta a povestii pe care o stie el, indiferent de car de bine construita este aceasta sau cat de slabe ar fi argumentele sale proprii.

Bile albe:

– Mi-a placut ideea reincarnarii, am apreciat teoria conspiratiei transmisa de mii de ani si modul in care fiecare personaj isi apara cu indarjire scopul. Romanul se transforma la final mai mult intr-un thriller, iar dezvaluirile facute au exact doza necesara de dramatism si surpriza.

Bile negre:

– Prima parte a cartii este parca prea lenta, actiunea se tergiverseaza, iar visele si experientele paranormale ale protagonistei nu echilibreaza povestea.

English version:

Sinopsis:

She was born to save what he is sworn to destroy… 

A lapsed Wiccan, Indira Simon doesn’t believe in magic anymore. But when strange dreams of being sacrificed to an ancient Babylonian god have her waking up with real rope burns on her wrists, she’s forced to acknowledge that she may have been too hasty in her rejection of the unknown. Then she meets mysterious and handsome Father Tomas. Emerging from the secrecy of an obscure Gnostic sect, he arrives with stories of a demon, a trio of warrior witches-and Indira’s sacred calling. Yet there’s something even Tomas doesn’t know, an inescapable truth that will force him to choose between saving the life of the woman he’s come to love-and saving the world.

My opinion:

I received Mark of the Witch by courtesy of Harlequin publisher and Mrs. Maggie Shayne, the author of the book. Thank you for offering me the book for review! Because English is not my native language, please accept my excuses for the possible mistakes.

Mark of the Witch approaches a new set of themes and ideas. Unlike other subjects, the ones promoted by Maggie Shayne weren’t covered very often in the fantasy literature. This is one of the reasons why I was curious to read this book. The novel displays the story of Indira, a former Wiccan witch. Because of some disappointing angles, a few years ago she stopped believing in magic and in the Wiccan religion basis.  The book starts with a nightmare that haunts our heroine for a while and that starts being really scary. Indira finds physical evidences of the dream and the only person that can help her is an old friend, a Wiccan priestess. And because of her friend, Indira meets Tomas, a Gnostic priest, who tells her an incredible story about reincarnation, past lives, Babylon, witchcraft, demons and the end of the world. And unfortunately, the fantastic episodes that keep happening to Indira confirm what the priest tells her. The relation between Indi and Tomas starts exceeding some innocent limits and both characters have a close friend to support them, even if the directions the’re dragging them in are totaly different. The mysteries are thickening, scary memories from past lives keep coming back, the disbelief is raising and weird things start to happen more frequently. And Indira’s truth is more and more different of Tomas’s, but it’s impossible to discover which is in fact, the only truth. And a tiny mistake could mean the end of the world.

Despite the fact that the storyline is well built, the characters are described in a perfect manner and you can’t say that the story is missing something, I just wasn’t fascinated by the novel. In the first half of the book, the story has a slow rhythm and even if I knew the importance of any tiny mistake, I just didn’t feel the tension as I should have. You simply know all the time that you are reading a story, you’re not carried away in the world described by the author, you don’t feel the emotions, the tension and the suspense.

 I liked the way the characters were created  (even the negative ones). Indira accepts pretty hard what she finds out, despite the signs left by her dreams and other proof that show that what happens is real. I liked the fact that she is not throwing herself in the information avalanche, but she tries to slowly understand what’s happening and sometimes, she almost refuses to believe what she finds out. Her friend is perfectly mixing the discretion with the tendency to encourage her to believe again in magic and in herself, but she is not pushy or obtrusive. The interior fight of Tomas is also well written. He’s divided between the theories he believed in all his life and a new fact that contradicts everything he knows. And Tomas mentor is the perfect example of the ideologue character, which refuses any other version of the story he knows, no matter how well that version is built or how elusive his arguments are.

Pros:

– I liked the idea of reincarnation, the conspiracy theory carried through thousands of years and the way every character strongly believes in his aims. At the end, the novel becomes almost a thriller and the revelations are offering exactly the needed dose of drama and surprise.

Cons:

– The first part of the novel is a little too slow, the action is prolonged and the weird dreams and the paranormal experiences of the heroine are not able to balance the story.

Alte recenzii care te-ar putea interesa:

Circle of Silence – Carol M. Tanzman

Pale – Chris Wooding