Curiosity Quills

Book Review – Krampus: Countess of Cachtice (The Krampus Chronicles Book 2) by Sonia Halbach.

3 out of 5 stars

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

Okay… so this book almost became a DNF (Did Not Finish) for me and all due to my own fault. It has been two years since I read the first book in this series (I looked it up) and this usually isn’t a problem. Part of the savant area of my idiot is that I remember stories and can pick them up years later and not have to reread… most of the time. Obviously ‘The Krampus Chronicles’ is not one such series.

So! I know there are a lot of reviewers out there saying this can easily be read as a stand-alone books, and they are in some ways correct… but if you’re returning to this series a few years after reading the first book, I strongly suggest you reread the first book ‘The Three Sisters’ before heading into it.

And I only give this warning as I stumbled a lot over the first few chapters as I honestly couldn’t remember 100% who was who, what they’d done and where I’d left them. This is not the fault of the book or the author! It is the fault of the reader… well, THIS reader, and I think the tale would have gone a lot more smoothly for me if I’d had the time to rehash first. Ah well, we live and learn.

The reason I persevered is I did remember loving the first book and enjoying the whole Three Sisters and the Sister Wheels story. And, as I’ve said in previous reviews, who doesn’t like worlds within our own stories? I mean, seriously, WHO?! You? Oh we so have nothing to talk about, move along! 😉

Back to the book! ‘Krampus: Countess of Catiche’ begins three years after ‘The Three Sisters’ ends and it does take a little time for the characters to all get back into the world of the Foundlings and Poppel. Took me a while too! But once the pace of the book got going, things went well.

The story is actually a few different timelines interwoven well as we cross centuries, locations and characters. But it all builds up to the same end result and the ending was another “wait, what? No, don’t stop writing THERE!” moment for me. Oh you authors, you’re such a tease the way you get us hooked and then leave us dangling, hungry for more. Can I just ask the next book isn’t two years in the making? Selfish of me I know when my own series is spaced just as far apart. 😉

So… a slow read, but in the end well-paced, well written and all the characters, times and locations well described and not hard to separate and know where you’re going… even when they all start to spin together and characters cross timelines. The overall storyline was kept smooth, easy to understand and very entertaining. Don’t I look the goose having almost not finished reading it?

As for the formatting and the like? Well, I can’t remember any major clangers and even if there were, this was an ARC and the final edit will be fine. Actually, I tend to find that Curiosity Quills go over their books with a fine tooth comb before even sending them out as an ARC so really not surprised at the quality received.

Would I recommend this book to others?

I would… but I would be reluctant to recommend it as a stand-alone. I would suggest people get both books and read them in order. I mean, yes you COULD read it on its own… but you would be missing out on a great beginning story.

So yes I would recommend, but both books in ‘The Krampus Chronicles’, not just this one.

Would I buy this book for myself?

Uncertain. For now, mostly due to my own fault of not rereading ‘The Three Sisters’ first, I feel a little disjointed and disconnected from the series and therefore not that willing to own it, despite having enjoyed it. For the moment both books are at ‘library book’ level… as in something I would read, but only if borrowed. They aren’t quite at ‘would proudly own’ level yet… sorry. Maybe as the series grows? I am now following Ms Halbach on Amazon just to ensure I know when the next one it out… so obviously a good series as I only follow the best authors. 😉

In summary: A good continuation of a creatively original series.

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.

Book Review – Homunculus and the Cat (The Omnitheon Cycle Book 1) by Nathan Croft.

Homunculus and the Cat

3 out of 5 stars.

I would like to thank Curiosity Quills for an ARC of this book in exchange for an open and honest review.

What an intriguing book. An enjoyable spin on the creatures of myths and legends, lands of fantasy and magic. Think Terry Pratchett’s Discworld with a slightly straighter face… but only slightly straighter!

It was colourful, witty, fast paced and all round a mostly good read. Despite the rating I’ve given it, this book was a pleasurable new story and, despite what I say below, I can see myself seeking out the next in the series to see what comes next.

And a cat that flips the bird? Took me a moment to get my mind around how it was done… was tempted trying to help one of my own cats learn do it just to get the idea right… but got there in the end without annoying a pet. Fun mental image.

Now for the constructive criticism side of things. Please note I’m not doing this to be mean, or negative or nasty. I provide constructive criticism to try and provide decent feedback on a story. As an author myself, I might not always appreciate people not liking my books, but if they explain it with constructive criticism I can at least learn why it didn’t work for them.

The reason I didn’t rate this book higher was that I found the storyline a little too fractured and splintered. And I’m not just talking about the mild inconsistencies in the plot like the Sanctuary Alchemist staying behind in Atlantis… but also joining their little pocket of fighters in the briny depths. The worm that snatches them from all the baddies then being a snake… those are just the usual hiccups that you often see in an ARC that are usually smoothed out in the final edit. I noticed them, but would never mark a book down for such things.

What really had me drop a star was I found the plot jumped all over the place too much. As if too many ideas were being crammed into the one storyline, rather than being paced out into the series. I also didn’t like the way chapters would start mid-conversation and then, still mid-conversation, the story would be backtracked and the plot, situation and surroundings then filled in. It just came across as a little too disjointed for me. Please note – this could just be an issue with the reader and not the author or their work! This is not me saying it was badly written or terrible. This is just me explaining why I didn’t score it as high as I might have.  No hate mail please simply because I, the reader, couldn’t come to grips with the writing style! 🙂

Also, and seriously not a big issues (none of them are big issues, minor flaws really in a great story) is that I feel a glossary might be needed for some readers. This is due to the vast array of mythical creatures, deities, places, objects, etc. listed from the world of fantasy. I knew what most of them were… but did find myself having to Google a few. So a glossary would have been nice. It’s a problem I’ve found with my own books and so, to draw the reader to my other work, the glossary can be put on the authors page rather than in the book. Just so readers have somewhere to go for an explanation. Something Mr Croft might like to look into?

Then there was the way the book came across if people are going to know and recognise each creature, deity, place and so on made it come across as more of an extension of existing work. So I’m not too sure if Mr Croft has had some shorter stories from this universe of his published elsewhere, or if the book is a culmination of writing in an online fantasy group… I don’t know. I just got the feeling this wasn’t the first works of this world, if that makes sense? This is not a bad thing, just a feeling I got that made me curious.

Would I recommend this book to others? Yes I would. Ignore my constructive criticisms for the moment as they are mere niggles as to why I rated the book the way I did. The story was fresh, new, entertaining and enjoyable. I’ve already mentioned it to a few people who I know are into this sort of light-hearted fantasy. It is a good book.

Would I buy this book for myself? I probably would. And, as said, the ending has gotten me intrigued enough to see how the series unfolds.

In summary: Slightly disjointed and fractured in parts of the plot, but all in all a good and enjoyable read and one I would recommend. It is a good start to an interesting new series that anyone who likes fantasy, urban fantasy – or cats that can flip you the bird – should read.

Until next time,

Janis. XXOO