Review- Vardin Village

Screenshot (2717)When I read the excerpt on Amazon I thought Village might be an interesting if not all that well written a book but as I read past the excerpt I realized how poorly written it really was. I have called it derivative and I still hold that opinion. Derivative is not the end of the world if there is a writer of sufficient ability writing the story but that is not the case here.

On its surface Village would seem to have a lot going for it- a heart-warming story of a diverse group of small town adults coming together to provide a home and security for the main character, George, and his little sister. I love these stories but they only work if the characters work.  The characters don’t work here.

The characters are for the most part clumsily drawn, Eleanore is an almost silent cipher more of a prop for George’s story than a sympathetic little girl, Archie is a buffoon whose speech is so badly written that it has to be a deliberate choice of the author, and then there are the village villains- so over the top, especially Waverly the Beauty Queen, that even a 5 yr old would be rolling their eyes. There is no subtlety, no nuance, even the “good” characters aren’t very likeable because there is no passion in their actions, George feels more like a device to help the story along rather than the central character that the story should be about. It is all  tell not show.

I understood that this was supposed to be a YA book but it is only YA in parts, some parts seem like the writing is more suited for younger children but not all of it and some parts seem written for a slightly older age group.

The writing was at times rather clunky or confusing or just wrong, “George sobbed into arms on the big table”, “”The old Vardin High School,” George exclaimed. “I’ve heard the stories about him””, “”Oh. Your mother’s family? Obviously, right?””,  “… dressed in what George imagined was Resort Attire”.

There are all the components of a good story for  YA , the good boy, the bad boy, the pretty girl, the imminent loss of home, the helping hands of friends, secret tunnels, the ancestral mansion so close yet so far away. It’s all there but Spence was not up to the task.

There are any number of good stories built on this premise so keep looking because this isn’t one of them.



Review- Paw Enforcement

Screenshot (2435)

I haven’t read any of Kelly’s previous books but I simply couldn’t resist the cover on this one. Awww, who’s a pretty girl? Officer Brigit, that’s who.

Rookie cop Megan Luz is lucky she still has a job after she expresses her dissatisfaction with her now former partner. He had it coming which is why she still has a job but her new partner doesn’t seem like any improvement- a 97 lb. package of brains, muscle, and shiny black fur.

Brigit isn’t impressed with Megan either. It’s a match made by necessity, Brigit’s former partner has retired and Megan needs one that isn’t going to encourage her to wade into deeper hot water.

It’s a fun read, Kelly head hops between Megan, Birgit, and the villain of the piece. Normally that would drive me round the bend but Kelly does a good job of it and doesn’t switch without telling you.

As Megan and Brigit struggle to find a good working relationship they also find a bomb in a mall food court waste bin. Both of them are slightly injured by the bomb as they evacuate the building and each wants to find the bomber.

With plenty of suspects, Megan and Brigit attach themselves to the investigation and start sniffing for clues. Then a second bomb explodes at the country club.

The plot moves along, the heroines are entertaining.  It was a little too easy to guess who the bomber was and the end was rather obvious and lacked any degree of tension but on the whole a nice, easy, entertaining book. Kelly has book two coming out in December and I am looking forward to another adventure with Officers Luz and Brigit.


Review- Beauty Dates the Beast

Screenshot (2710)I thought this book would be a fun, funny PNR. It wasn’t. I stopped just past halfway and I’m not going back.

It started out okay and quickly descended into a hot mess. Meet our heroine, Bathsheba or Bath for short. And right there it all started to go downhill. Bath? Really? I expected the hero to be named Calgon because he definitely took her away.

Bath has a sister who is a werewolf and hiding in plain sight. Too plain of sight for my brain to accept. They both work in the office of a paranormal dating service.

The characters were rather dumb, Bath makes the wrong choice probably 98% of the time. The hero, not Calgon but Beau, is an alpha werecougar. Beau calls the dating service in need of an accommodating shifter for a night or two of hot sex when a female in his pack goes into heat.

But when he hears Bath’s voice he decides she’ll do just fine. Ah, romance. Um, did I mention that dating between humans and shifters is sort of forbidden? Unless you’re a virgin like Bath then you’re the one human all the shifters want. Sigh.

The plot, I guess there’s a plot- sort of, is weak and, well, I’m not sure just what it is. I have a feeling that the big scary things that growl in the night are just an excuse by the author to have Beau swoop in, drug Bath, and whisk her away to his private house in the wilds for sex, sex, sex. But I never got to the sex, sex, sex because I lost interest.

Bath was just too dumb and Beau needed a silver bullet between the eyes.