Publicat în 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.

Publicat în Cyndy Aleo, Uncategorized

Undying (Undying #1) by Cyndy Aleo

Synopsis:

What if the world isn’t ready for your miracle?

Cameron Tattersall’s wife, Adrienne, should not be cooking breakfast when he wakes up. After all, he buried her yesterday. Yet the woman in his kitchen not only claims she is his wife, but also refuses to accept that she’s supposed to be dead.

Cameron doesn’t know what this woman is: hallucination, con-woman, or bona fide miracle. For all he knows, he’s crazy, but her reappearance may return the only thing he ever wanted: a life with Adrienne.When their families discover Cameron isn’t alone in his house, the couple learns coming back from the dead has its own set of trials: angry surviving family members, confused insurance companies, and a media storm that simultaneously wants to build the couple up and tear them down. There’s also the matter of just who, or what, was buried in that coffin. Or not buried.

Thrust into the spotlight, Cameron and Adrienne have to decide whether living under a microscope is a fair trade for a miracle, and to reconcile their need for privacy with the desire for answers.

Review:

I probably cried when I was reading some sad books when I was a child. I definitely remember crying a damn cascade while reading half of the Harry Potter books. But it’s been decades ago and since then, my masochistic brain keeps looking for books that would tear me apart completely and make me feel everything that the characters feel at such a deep level that I’d forget that I’m crying for the pain of an imaginary person.

When I started this book I chose it because of how interesting the idea looked. Maybe it’s a thriller with an impostor trying to impersonate the dead wife of a poor husband. Maybe it’s a zombie book. Maybe it’s a fantasy one. A dead wife showing up in her husband’s bed next day after her funeral? I literally had no idea how things could have evolved. But what I definitely didn’t expect was to cry uncontrollably after the first chapter. I have no words to explain how amazing this book is. Without notice, the story starts flowing through your veins, touching every part of your soul, forcing your brain to feel absolutely every single damn thing that Cameron feels. You’re thrown into a path of pain and anguish so deeply that you feel the story at the most personal level. Because what is the biggest fear of all of us? Not spiders, not monsters, not poverty, not loneliness, not our own death. But the death of our loved ones. And the feeling that no matter how much you’d wish, there’s absolutely nothing that you can do to stop that, to help them, to keep them longer next to you.

Cameron goes through all of this in the year when he finds out that his wife, Adrienne has a devastating form of cancer. She’s young, beautiful and healthy and all of a sudden the terrible news descend over them. And one year is not enough to get used to the idea that the whole future that you imagined is shattering to pieces. But one year of suffering is also clearly not going to make things easy when he wakes up after her funeral to find her in their kitchen. Young. Beautiful. Healthy. Undead. And cooking breakfast.

So what follows is exactly what you would imagine. Because Cameron lives in our universe, not a parallel one, not in a fantasy world. He lives in this one, where miracles don’t exist, when you cannot continue your life like nothing happened after the wife that you just buried literally just came back from the dead. The world will not allow it. You will become a „case” that needs to be studied and explored from all the practical angles: legally, medically, by lawyers and doctors and churches and media. Over and over again, since there seem not to be any answers that could solve such a mistery.

I loved how realistic the author treated her idea. She took an unthinkable fact and throw it in our society that is very far from accepting the impossible as possible. There’s nothing forced, nothing romantic and magical about it. Her characters don’t treat the whole thing just like a miracle because the human brain simply doesn’t work like that. No matter how enormous the happiness and amazement can be once they accept that what happened is true, they are still very well anchored in reality and take the whole right and mundane road to understand how was it possible.

Every reaction, every gesture, every word and action, even the ones that piss you off are all perfectly drawn and completely understandable and realistic. I loved the fact that nothing comes easily, that the characters actually go willingly into the chaotic carousel that their lifes became, even if sometimes they cannot feel in any other way than totally overwhelmed by what’s happening to them.

If you have any doubts about reading this book, just take them all and throw them into the garbage right now. You need this book! The storyline is flawless, the writing, the characters, the action, everything has a bright, shinny „perfect” label on it! You will be carried through the whole spectrum of emotions, you will cry, laugh, be surprised, melt into a puddle, die of curiosity and live the whole story at the same intensity as the characters are.

Publicat în April Fernsby, Uncategorized

A Deadly Delivery (A Psychic Cafe Mystery #1) by April Fernsby

Synopsis:

Karis Booth has had psychic abilities for as long as she can remember. But this is the first time she’s used them to solve a murder. 

Things are changing rapidly for Karis. As well as filing for divorce from her unfaithful husband, she decides it’s time to make peace with her estranged sister, Erin. With trepidation, Karis visits the café which Erin owns. To her great relief, Erin welcomes Karis back into her life with open arms. 

During their reconciliation, a young woman, Carmel, calls into the café with a bread delivery. As Karis watches Carmel, she experiences a strong psychic vision. She sees two shadows following Carmel. Only one of the shadows belongs to Carmel — the other belongs to the person who is going to murder her later that day. 

With help from her sister and an old neighbour, Karis does all that she can to find out who murdered Carmel. It doesn’t help that the investigating officer is an ex-boyfriend who broke up with Karis because he couldn’t cope with her psychic abilities. Despite this, Karis won’t rest until she finds the killer. 

Review:

We all have guilty pleasures that we try and try to stay away from, but eventually we just give up to and succumb into temptation. Don’t we? One of this guilty pleasures of mine are chick lit books. I know, I know. The stories are more or less the same every time, there are no „wow” events that would blow your mind and the scenarios are not bringing anything challenging for your brain to digest. But still… every now and then I start missing chick lit so much that my kindle gets filled up in 2 hours with 137 books that will probably remain unread for the rest of my life. Pretty much like when you’re going to the supermarket while hungry and end up with a whole cart of useless products that will expire and die in your fridge, completely untouched. Do I ever learn my lesson? Nope. But the good part is that… well, at least books don’t expire. And honestly speaking, the pleasure with which I finally read that one chick lit book (from the hundred that I got) is priceless.
This time, my spark of joy was A Deadly Delivery: a crime/mystery novel, with a touch of paranormal. Fast, well executed, with a little bit of everything. The main storyline follows the suspicions death of one of the side characters but on the way, we discover a background family story full of guilt and regrets, a romance that was supposed to be dead and buried but seems to blossom unexpectedly and a lot of charming and heart warming characters. There’s literally not a single thing that I disliked during the whole reading time.
One of the things that surprised me is the age of the heroine. I’m used to this kind of books to have young and innocent main characters, whose naivety accentuates the humor of the uncanny situations they end up into. And considering how easily manipulated Karis was during her marriage, initially I thought she’s just a young chick, just discovering her new inner strength along with her psychic abilities. The surprise came later, when I found out that she’s a middle aged woman, with an adult daughter even and that she’s actually having this wakeup phase way later than expected. All of a sudden, the story caught new shades and I was forced to rethink everything in my mind, from the look of the characters to the relations between them and to the impact that every action has on them. And weirdly, the story became even better from that point on.
There’s not a lot to tell about the book if I don’t want to give spoilers that would ruin your reading. If you’re in the mood for something light that will put a smile on your face, A Deadly Delivery is a good choice. It’s not a shallow story, it has a good background, some heartwarming moments and follows some deep topics that are somehow avoided in this genre: abusive relationships, difficult choices when it comes to sick or old family members, the way past events that seemed unimportant actually leave scars that are never erased, asking for forgiveness and allowing you also to forgive yourself, etc. It’s a bittersweet read, leaving you with a warm feeling in the end, but carrying you through some areas that normally you might try to avoid thinking about.
Publicat în Johnny B. Truant

Fat Vampire (Fat Vampire #1) by Johnny B. Truant

Synopsis:

From the author of „Unicorn Western” comes a story of fangs and fast food…

When overweight treadmill salesman Reginald Baskin finally meets a co-worker who doesn’t make fun of him, it’s just his own bad luck that tech guy Maurice turns out to be a thousand-year-old vampire. 

And when Maurice turns Reginald to save his life, it’s just Reginald’s own further bad luck that he wakes up to discover he’s become the slowest, weakest, most out-of-shape vampire ever born, doomed to „heal” to his corpulent self for all of eternity.

As Reginald struggles with the downsides of being a fat vampire – too slow to catch people to feed on, mocked by those he tries to glamour, assaulted by his intended prey and left for undead – he discovers in himself rare powers that few vampires have… and just in time too, because the Vampire Council might just want his head for being an inferior representative of their race. 

Fat Vampire is the story of an unlikely hero who, after having an imperfect eternity shoved into his grease-stained hands, must learn to turn the afterlife’s lemons into tasty lemon danishes.

Review:

What a fun and refreshing ride this was! Read the book description please. See the feeling that you’re getting? Like… this sounds fun and original and perhaps without the usual cliches that you encounter in most vampire books. And yes, it’s confirmed! That’s exactly what the book is. The synopsis is not at all deceiving, you’ll get exactly what you’re expecting.

Reginald Baskin is…well… fat. There’s no other word you’d think about when it comes to describing him. You know how sometimes you’re labeling people under a single term? That charming neighbor, the cute grocery girl, the kind cleaning lady, the bitchy office colleague, the dumb gym trainer, etc? Well, everyone who’s ever met Reginald would probably have him in their minds under „the fat guy” stamp. His life is boring and mediocre, he has no friends, he hates his work, his colleagues, his body, he’s not special or interesting in any ways and nothing ever happens. Until that night when, by mistake, he’s turned into a vampire. And surprise-surprise! Nothing changes! Nothing. He’s still fat. Still sweaty and lazy and slow. He still loves pizzas and fried chicken. People still mock him. And he still hates his life. But when his existence is threatened, he might finally need to find some motivation under all those layers of fat.

I loved the story! So unexpected and fun and totally not something that you’ve read before! Especially since the general idea is that vampires are cruel, cold hearted and absolutely gorgeous creatures that would charm you even without the help of their glamouring abilities. And Reginald is exactly the opposite of that. I loved the fact that he doesn’t change in any way, that eternity seems to be just as lame as his everyday human life was. His social interactions get a small improvement, but even this happens on a minimal level and mostly because of external factors, rather than his own will of changing things. Probably the only thing that I didn’t really like was the way Reginald unveils some surprises about his new self in the end. But overall, I don’t have a lot of complaints. Thinking about it, what Reginald does even as a vampire, in order to save his life and the lives of his dear ones are exactly his human habits: reading and watching YouTube videos.

I liked the other main characters, even if the author is not giving a very detailed insight into their minds. You get a basic idea about their motivations, but most of the time, each character is somehow caught in his own story, dealing with his own problems and, most importantly, not giving up on their whole lives in order to help Reginald. In so many books the secondary characters are becoming sidekicks of the protagonists that you forget that they should actually have their own lives and you end up seeing them only as extensions of the main heroes. I was pleasantly surprised to discover this is not the case in Fat Vampire.

There’s not a lot to debate about the novel. It comes with a bright idea, explores it in the best way possible, but it’s not a very deep or challenging story. It’s a fast and easy reading that will definitely cheer you up and offer you a new perspective of this overly used creatures that fantasy readers love obsessing over: vampires.

Publicat în Amy Garvey

Cold Kiss (Cold Kiss #1) by Amy Garvey

Synopsis:

It was a beautiful, warm summer day, the day Danny died.

Suddenly Wren was alone and shattered. In a heartbroken fury, armed with dark incantations and a secret power, Wren decides that what she wants—what she must do—is to bring Danny back.

But the Danny who returns is just a shell of the boy Wren fell in love with. His touch is icy; his skin, smooth and stiff as marble; his chest, cruelly silent when Wren rests her head against it.

Wren must keep Danny a secret, hiding him away, visiting him at night, while her life slowly unravels around her. Then Gabriel DeMarnes transfers to her school, and Wren realizes that somehow, inexplicably, he can sense the powers that lie within her—and that he knows what she has done. And now Gabriel wants to help make things right.

But Wren alone has to undo what she has wrought—even if it means breaking her heart all over again.

Review:

I chose this book after I browsed through some GoodReads reviews and most of them were describing it as beautifully written, lyrical, heartbreaking, haunting, etc, etc. Plus, a lot of readers were mentioning how they cried while reading it more than they did in their whole life. And that’s exactly what I was wishing for. A book that would rip my heart apart, that would tear me to pieces and stick me back together, that would leave me breathless and make me live for a few days inside the protagonist’s mind.

And while I did enjoy going through the story, the book definitely didn’t reach the expectations those reviews created.

Wren is a teenager that inherits magical powers from her family, but is still pretty much witless of the way she can use the powers inside her, since they are a taboo topic in her house. So when her first love dies suddenly, she impulsively takes the decision to try and bring him back. Only that, of course, the… thing that she brings back is barely a shell of the boy that she loved. And slowly, day after day, she becomes more and more conscious of the fact that maybe this wasn’t such a great idea after all.

I loved how the author made a very clear difference between the flashbacks from the past, that illustrate the amazing relation between Wren and Danny and the present, when things are so wrong, but still tender, painful but still heart warming. Before Danny starts becoming a complete different being, in the first weeks after his death (and resurrection), he still holds most of the parts that made him be who he was. He’s still the one Wren loved more than anything, he’s still her comfort zone, still the one that makes all bad things disappear with only a hug. It’s only his need of her that starts growing in an alarming way, his increasing addiction to her presence that makes things worrying. And slowly, his memories that Wren was hoping to hide are now all surfacing, making him confused, angry and dangerous.

When the protagonist meets another boy that is also gifted in a similar way she is, and whom unexpectedly, seems to know what she’s done, it starts becoming obvious that she needs to fix the mistake that she made.

I loved the realistic feeling that the book offered, despite the fact that it’s a fantasy story. The magic has its own place, while life continues to be very normal in most of the ways. Wren has to juggle between hiding her undead boyfriend, going to school and a part-time job, not losing her best friends for good, following her mum’s rules and keeping a decent relationship with her family. And between all of this, she also has to deal with the guilt of falling for somebody else, while Danny’s new existence is revolving only around her.

Even if usually I roll my eyes when I hear about love triangles, the author did such a good job that it didn’t disturb me at all. Considering that Wren is only 17 and that her life is such a huge chaos, I didn’t find it weird or inappropriate that the new guy looks like the only light in the whole darkness. Plus, she’s mature enough to solve her own mess without turning to him as a damsel in distress. Or, at least, not more than she should. All her mood swings are comprehendable, all her drama queen moments are very much self explanatory because of the pressure that she’s holding on her shoulders.

I enjoyed the whole ride, I emphasized with all the characters and understood their decisions and motivations. I didn’t find any remarkable personalities in any of them, but they are all well written, without major flaws and give you the feeling that they could be any real persons that you could meet in your everyday life.

The strongest point of the book remains the romance. It’s sweet and surprisingly, comes in smaller doses than expected and makes you melt a little bit every time when you encounter it.

Of course the novel will have a different effect on each reader. But in the end, I believe it’s almost impossible not to like the story. Because what’s the biggest fear that we all have if not the fear of losing our loved ones? And so, just by thinking about it, all the actions and decisions of Wren become alternative realities of what each of us, the readers, might do in an imaginary world where death wouldn’t be the final step.