Book Review – Supernatural

Book Review – Escaping From the Abyss (The Crossings Trilogy Book 3) by D.L. Koontz.

2 out of 5 stars

I obtained a copy of this book via Kindle Unlimited so only have myself to thank. 😉

Okay… there is going to be some constructive criticism within my review so please brace for it. It is not meant as a verbal attack, to be mean or to try and make the author look bad. It is simply an explanation as to why I rated ‘Escaping from the Abyss’ so low.

As we know the “bad stuff” is coming, let’s get some positives in there first. Well… it ended ‘The Crossings Trilogy’ to some extent. It did still include ghosts and was partially about the supernatural still. And… well, I read it to the end within about three days so it wasn’t a completely terrible tale. 😉

Basically, the constructive criticism is this – I really felt the author lost her way with this series. It started out as a promising tale of the supernatural that dealt with past and recent deaths and some growth allowing the protagonist to move on… and it ended as just a chick lit coming of age tale, with an unnecessary love triangle – or was that square? – that then tried to mash some supernatural like things into it to connect it to the original idea.

Sorry to sound so harsh, but that is really what it came across as. The first half of the book seemed to be more about the protagonist, her inner turmoil, her coming of age and her love life… and then, oops, this was meant to be about laying ghosts and demons to rest so we better try and do something that includes that.

What is worse is the continuity issues. In the first two books it was said that Clay had lost his leg… yet in the third book it had grown back and was merely injured? Another continuity issue was who was ‘Old Man Mint’ and why was his death on the same night as Mason and Clyde never explained? Was it just forgotten? Hmmmm, maybe I am being too nit-picky? I mean I am perfectly imperfect and so should let other people be that way too. I guess I got so annoyed by these and other flaws – that I won’t mention as they are spoilers – is because they seem to add to the feeling this book was hastily written by someone who was no longer really focussed on the original idea and, as it was a trilogy, thought it best to ensure there was indeed a third book.

I don’t know. Call me super critical… but it was just such a let down to what started off to be a promising and interesting YA supernatural mystery series.

And before everyone starts spamming me with unlikes just remember this is merely one opinion and to remember that magic mantra: “Pfffft, what would SHE know?!” It works wonders on those who leave reviews I don’t agree with. 😉

Would I recommend this book to others?

This is a really tough call simply because it is the third and final book in a trilogy. And so if I recommend the first book… I would then have to warn the reader that I felt the series went downhill from there. And I hate doing that as it can create a biased opinion of a series before it’s even started. So… after reading ‘Escaping from the Abyss’ I would have to say I would have to retract my previous statements about recommending any of ‘The Crossings Trilogy’ as I don’t want to be blamed for recommending a series that ended so weakly and so different from ow it started. Sorry. 😦

Would I buy this book for myself?

No I wouldn’t. In fact, I only joined Kindle Unlimited to read ‘Escaping from the Abyss’ and the previous book in the series ‘Edging through the Darkness’. I can’t find a heck of a lot of other books ON Kindle Unlimited that I would want to read and so I will be unsubscribing. Which will mean I lose these two books… not something that I will be that upset over.
In summary: A weak ending to a trilogy that started so well.

Until next time,

Janis.

Book Review – Edging Through the Darkness (The Crossings Trilogy Book 2) by D.L. Koontz

3 out of 5 stars

I obtained this book via Kindle Unlimited and so only have myself to thank. 😉

Okay, let me start by saying if I gave half star marks, this book would really be a 2 and a half stars and the first book in this trilogy – ‘Crossing into the Mystic’ – would have gotten a three and a half stars. As, basically, I found this second book a little bit of a letdown compared to the first.

Now, before you all start hitting the “unlike” options hear me out. I DID still like ‘Edging through the Darkness’, it just wasn’t as good as I had hoped it would be after the great lead up and ending that happened in the first book.

I could be wrong, but it was as if a great deal of time elapsed between when Ms Koontz wrote ‘Crossing into the Mystic’ and ‘Edging through the Darkness’ and didn’t quite get back into the storyline’s headspace as much as she could have. And I am saying this from experience with my own work. When writing a sequel I need to go back over the story so far, remember how to write like those characters and try and let it seamlessly flow… which is why I got the feeling some time had passed between book one and two as they were similar… but not quite the same story anymore.

The second book sticks to the original foundation themes… but seems to go off on a different tangent as to how the characters worked, thought about it and reacted. It was still a good read, and I read it in like 4 days so that shows I enjoyed it, but it just wasn’t the same. I wish I could put my finger on where the spark had died… but yeah. Not too sure.

There was still a lot of the supernatural theme happening, but it was as if the book was now more interested in moving away from it being a story about ghosts and helping them and more a teen coming of age tale. Perhaps the inner teen I used to read YA just got bored as I’ve never been a fan of coming of age tales. Growing up is hard enough on its own without books trying to show you how good it should be. 😉

Please don’t get the wrong idea, there is still some great supernatural and spiritual writing within this book and the history shared is obviously well researched by the author – showing a true passion for making the story a good read. But, yeah, just not the same (not as good for me) as the first book.

Would I recommend this book to others?

I would, but only if they had read the first book first. It is a fairly okay continuation of the story and if you were as hooked on the ending of ‘Crossing into the Mystic’ as I was, you will be wanting to see what happens.

The story is a little different than I assumed it would be, based on the first book, but who’s to say I am right? It is just one opinion and I freely admit I could be totally wrong about it all! 😀

I suppose you could read it as a stand-alone story, but it is obviously part of a series and I wouldn’t find reading just this book on its own as logical or fun as reading all three.

Would I buy this book for myself?

Well, I did join up with Kindle Unlimited just to finish reading this trilogy… but am going to be unsubscribing from it shortly as Kindle Unlimited just doesn’t offer me the books I want to read.

Saying that, when I do unsubscribe from Kindle Unlimited, it will mean I lose not only ‘Edging through the Darkness’ but the third book ‘Escaping from the Abyss’ and… to be honest… it won’t be a great loss to me. Nor can I see myself buying them when I can.

They are library level books (I will be reviewing ‘Escaping from the Abyss’ shortly). As in, something fun to borrow from the library to read and enjoy… not something I see myself ever owning as it just doesn’t hold that right spark to keep my attention. Meh, probably my loss, right?

In summary: An okay continuation and second book in ‘The Crossings Trilogy’ but not as good as first book.

Until next time,

Janis.

Book Review – Crossing Into The Mystic (The Crossings Trilogy, #1) by D.L. Koontz.

3 out of 5 stars

I would like to thank Brimstone Fiction and Xpresso Book Tours for providing me with a free ARC of this book, via Netgalley, in exchange for an open and honest review.

Okay, so I have mixed feelings about this book… Not as bad as a love/ hate sort of thing… more a love/ mild dislike. 😉

But I believe that mild dislike comes from two things – Firstly, this is a YA book and as an old fart (I know it’s not PC to call a 40+ an old fart but I feel you should be allowed to call YOURSELF an old fart whenever you like) I felt the age of the protagonist too young for all the things she was able to do… BUT!

I can honestly say that, when reading these sorts of books almost 30 years ago I would lovingly eaten her adventures up with a spoon and idolised her freedom. So, you can see, being an old fart I needed to let my inner teenager out to read this book to me before I could accept parts of it.

Secondly, saying all that, I was very anti religion as a teen – especially Christianity – and so would have had major issues with reading ‘Crossing into the Mystic’ back then. These days I’ve mellowed, chosen my path and faith and am happily a Pagan who sees the good and bad side of all religions and faiths, my own included. And so old fart me needed to talk down my inner teenager to ensure the book was read and not thrown onto the DNF pile simply as it included some harmless faith references.

Can you see why I have mixed emotions now? Yes, yes it is because I am just a fruit loop, well spotted. 😉

All that aside I have to say this was a well-written and very enjoyable YA story. Don’t look down on it as an adult and say “a 16 year old would NEVER get away with that”, look up to is as a 14 or 15 year old and say “gosh I wonder if I can be that free and independent”.

The characters were a little sketchy at first and did stay a little two dimensional throughout the story, but if I’m honest, that’s nothing that unusual in a YA book for me so not a negative. The setting was well written, the house, towns, surrounds… that is what a teen wants their imagination to be captured by. That and the emotions portrayed by the characters. So, again, I felt ‘Crossing into the Mystic’ well-written for a YA tale.

It is also the first in a trilogy and so that “sketchy” nature can be explained away. The first book in a trilogy needs to not only be an entertaining story, but fit in a lot of the foundations and intrigue to keep you wanting to not only read it, but the next two books.

And, to continue with the honesty side of things – that ending!!! Yes I went on over to Kindle Unlimited and got the next two books there and then! No spoilers about it but yes, both the old fart me and my inner teenager were HOOKED and are now reading the next book in trilogy ‘Edging Through the Darkness’.

The supernatural side of it was well done too. Scary and a little goosebump making… but not so scary or gory that it became inappropriate for the YA genre. A good mix of ghosts and things that go bump in the night.

Would I recommend this book to others?

Yes I would. Probably more your teens and – in the case of my advanced reader G&T kids – some tweens too. Those older lovers of YA stories would need to be advised to let their inner teenager out to help them read it though to ensure they got full enjoyment from this tale.

Would I buy this book for myself?

Open and honest time – I was given a PDF of ‘Crossing into the Mystic’ and so probably will be a cheapskate and not but another copy of it… but as said already, I have gone and gotten the other two books in this series via Kindle Unlimited as I got so hooked by this first book. So, yeah, you could say that I would buy this trilogy and not just this book. 😉
In summary: An entertaining and thrilling first book in a YA supernatural trilogy and something I highly recommend.

Until next time,

Janis.

 

Book Review – Rasputin’s Supernatural Dating Service by David D. Hammons.

rasputins-supernatural-dating-service

4 out of 5 stars

I would like to thank the author David Hammons for offering me a free electronic copy of this book as,  quite simply, I love his work. Can one be in love with someone else’s imagination? Or is that just getting into the ultra-creepy cougar stalker zone?

Oh, and I also got offered a free electronic copy of the book, via Netgalley, by the publisher Curiosity Quills… so not totally stalker zone. 😉

Can you tell I really liked this book and truly do love Mr Hammons’ imagination? Such a funny, sarcastic and whimsical view of urban fantasy… seriously going to have to get myself signed up as an over 40’s fan girl.

I have read other works by Mr Hammons, starting with ‘Alice takes back Wonderland’ and I thought it was… okay. But his ‘Don’t Eat the Glowing Bananas’! Oh my goodness! I have not loved such a skewed view of a dystopian world – ever! The humour and intelligence in that book was just so me!

And so, we come to ‘Rasputin’s Supernatural Dating Service’ from the blurb I did raise an eyebrow as I wondered if it would be at Alice level or Banana level… it was at Banana level. A brilliant, funny and whacky look into the world of urban fantasy. I simply loved it.

The only reason I’ve not given it the top score is there was just something lacking… maybe the slow start, I don’t know? But I just didn’t go bananas over it as much. Though by the end I was getting antsy and preying this was the first book in a series as my goodness! We have found Mr Pratchett’s replacement! The humour, sarcasm, irony and skewed outlook on life that so resonates with me  – and will resonate with so many others – this is going to be a killer series. Hint hint there Mr Hammons!

Okay, enough gushing about the author – he’s probably getting a restraining order put together as you read this.

On to the book. ‘Rasputin’s Supernatural Dating Service’ did start a little slow for me and I did wonder if/ when it was going to get to the point. I mean, the plot was there and I got that… but our protagonist took a little too long to justify why he was the protagonist. Or maybe I was just too impatient? Who knows?

Loved the things to google mentioned throughout the book. I will not confirm or deny having used google to look up facts mentioned in the book… but, yeah, just adds that special level of humour within modern day reading. And what is it with Montana? Since I started reading this book I’ve heard a few similar comments on TV shows. Don’t tell me I may or may not have to google again!

The story was well worth it in the end as, when it got going, it really got going. The whole not exactly Men in Black, this is the reality of supernatural creatures in today’s society thing that ran throughout the book was fantastic. Made it a highly entertaining read. Just so glad the Winchester boys don’t know about RSDS!

Oh and Ivan… Just Yes. Is good for health. Yes.

Would I recommend this book to others?

Hell yes! Loved it, totally entertained by it and while you’re out buying it, go grab Mr Hammons other two books I’ve mentioned and thank me later. I like proper chocolate and free books. Just a hint. 😉

And, as much as I feel my 12 year old would enjoy ‘Don’t Eat the Glowing Bananas’ (she keeps hearing me go on about it and so wants to read my copy) I don’t feel ‘Rasputin’s Supernatural Dating Service is as age appropriate. I suggest more your New Adults, rather than Young Adults as an audience. As well as we old cougars with a love of both the NA and YA genre! 😀

Would I buy this book for myself?

Uhhhh, let me think on that for a moment. Yes! Huge fan, not a stalker, just a fan. Would most definitely buy this book – and any more of the series to come. You should too. Thank me later. Remember proper chocolate.

In summary: for lovers of quirky, sarcastic, tongue in cheek urban fantasy that is still an adventure and has a HEA ending… this is the book for you. I highly recommend it!

Until next time,

Janis.

The Curse Mandate (The Dark Choir #3) by J.P. Sloan.

curse-mandate

4 out of 5 stars

I would like to thank Curiosity Quills Press for providing me with a free electronic ARC of this book, via Netgalley, in exchange for an open and honest review.

The Curse Mandate is book three in the ‘Dark Choir series’ and just as fantastic as the first two. Though, I do have to say I really should have re-read the first two before I read the third as there were moments I couldn’t quite remember who was who, who had done what, etc. But that was totally my fault and not a flaw in the author’s work! But, yeah, definitely not a stand-alone book – so go buy and read the first two first. Thank me later. 😉

Okay, back to the story – loved it. The whole plot and concept of the ‘Dark Choir series’ developed well within the Curse Mandate, though I did sometimes get the feeling a few too many things were being squeezed into the one book to line up the story for the series as a whole. Hey, this happens, many a good author and fantastic series can suffer this minor issue. Live with it, no biggie honest.

The pace and tone was smooth and consistent with the previous two books – The Curse Merchant and The Curse Servant – and I really did like how the characters all developed and grew in ways that has me curious to see what happens next with them – good writing. But there was a moment I went “WHY!!!!!” but knew it was all for the plot and so have accepted it and am moving on. I can’t tell you what my why was… spoilers.

I also want to put it out there to fans of the ‘Dark Choir series’ that a young Alan Alder looks like Dorian… or vice versa. I suggested this to Mr Sloan, but do feel he was humouring me in my fangirl moment. I don’t fangirl well, it’s against my nature. Yes I am a fan… but I like to be one of the silent types up the back doing her best to not look like a stalker. 😉

The swearing is still there, but I’m used to it now and it is never out of context – which is why I think I am now used to it. But, yeah, it has been an issue for me in the last two books. Now? Meh. I want to read about Dorian and the gang; I deal with the words they use.

Would I recommend this book to others?

Yes I would. But I would also strongly recommend they go buy and read the first two books first. Yes, buy and then read – any true urban fantasy fan should own copies. Don’t say I didn’t tell you.

Would I buy this book for myself?

Yes I will be, once we have the funds once more. Though, sadly, as much as I would love them as paper books, as I own the others as eBooks, I would continue in that medium for now.

In summary: third book in the series that was well worth the wait. Consistent with the series so far, can’t wait for the next one. Highly recommend.

Until next time,

Janis.

 

Book Review – Once a Gypsy: The Irish Traveler Series-Book 1 by Danica Winters.

Once a Gypsy.jpg

2 out of 5 stars.

 

New disclaimer due to new Amazon rules: I was approached by Diversion Books and gifted a free electronic copy of this book, via Netgalley. I am not obligated, nor being forced, to post a review – I’m doing it of my own free will as I enjoy reviewing.

On advice from Amazon, and based on their emailed reply I can say – “My review is given voluntarily and the Author/publisher does not require a review in exchange for the book, or attempt to influence my review.”

My Review:

Please forgive my low score of ‘Once a Gypsy’ but this book was just one I could not connect with. I just found something lacking… the words were there but I failed to feel any emotion behind them that drew me into the work and connected me to the story.

The whole concept of ‘Once a Gypsy’ is definitely an interesting one. But I just found it very slow, laching the promised supernatural “similar to ‘The Veil'”, hard to read – the casual tone of infrequent typos – as well as not finding an emotional or curious attachment simply meant this book was not for me.

Would I recommend this book to other?

Sorry, but no I wouldn’t. There just wasn’t enough there to make me enjoy it enough to share it in a positive light with others. So I would much rather not say anything than say something negative about it.

Would I buy this book for myself?

No I wouldn’t. Nor would I seek out any other books in this series. Without that needed connection, it was just a dull book where I was waiting for something to happen and instead kept getting a jumble of a story with emotion words… but no true feeling behind them. Please note the fault is totally mine and not the book’s or the author’s. Sometimes you find a book that just isn’t for you and yet others adore it. It happens, we move on. 😉

In summary: An interesting concept, but not a story for me.

Until next time,

Janis.

 

Book Review – Fish Out of Water (Fred the Mermaid, Book 3) by MaryJanice Davidson.

Fish out of water.jpg

3 out of 5 stars.

I would like to thank myself for this book as I bought it years ago, in paper form, for my own entertainment and enjoyment and don’t regret that at all. So, no one paid me for this review and it’s all my opinion and therefore my fault if you don’t like it!

And here we are with book three… and one I raced through in a matter of hours I enjoyed it so much and when done, like always, wished the series had been extended into more books.

As I really love the characters, enjoy the story lines and possibilities out there… but did feel this book was rushed, had too much crammed into it and was then chopped off, neatened up and finished as the required word count was met. (Oh Ms Davidson, please don’t hate me, I am a HUGE fan!)

But, yeah, there was just something about this series that felt like the author’s heart just wasn’t in it. Maybe too busy making the Queen Betsy series so awesome? I don’t know… but it was something.

I did like the twist and (sorry) red herrings thrown into this story, and maybe it is just me being greedy, but I felt it wrapped up all too quickly and posted itself off as finished before the readers had even gotten a chance to get into it. I did say it only took me a few hours to read, right?

As with all three books, the characters were great, very engaging, funny, annoying, etc. All the right mix needed in a supernatural series. The plot was a bit jumbled and seemed to take a long time to get going… hence me reading all night long. 😉

But a good book, I wish it wasn’t the final, and well worth a read.

Would I recommend this book to others?

Yes I would. Again, like with book two, I would mention this is the third book in a series and would recommend people buy and read the first two books as well as ‘Fish out of water’.

Would I buy this book for myself?

Been there, done that and can’t say I’ve ever regretted doing so. Any fan of Ms Davidson’s would be silly not to own the three books in this series. They aren’t really stand-alone reads, so do ensure you get all three.

In summary: Final book in a good series – and one I feel could do with a few more books in it, but maybe that’s just me being too greedy? Seriously something lovers of the lighter side of a supernatural mystery series should buy as they would enjoy.

Until next time,

Janis.