Author: Jewel E. Leonard
Genre: Romance, Steampunk
Review by: D.A. Henneman
A delightful story, filled with colorful characters! Maeve is marvelously feisty and her love/hate relationship with the mysterious Shadow Wolf adds a delightful fuel to the fire. There is plenty of sassy innuendo, with touches of steampunk in a Wild West setting that is refreshing and fun.
I loved the inclusion of Maeve’s connection to earth magic and the way the author showed her abilities, especially when she is desperate to keep them secret. I also appreciate the nods to the heritage of each of the characters through things that they say… especially when they argue!
There was no shortage of twists to the plot and I am anxious to see where Maeve’s story goes in future books. - DH
Had a co-worker suggest the series to me, and was not disappointed! The first book of the Gardella Vampire Hunters series was beautifully written and is deliciously paced. The story brings us into a world that walks a fine line between formal London society and a shadowy realm of immortal creatures.
It is Victoria’s duty to keep the residents of London safe from the evil that surrounds them, as they dance their waltzes and fret about what color dress to wear to their next party. She is an empowered and beautiful woman who tries in vain to embrace both worlds. She ultimately suffers because of it.
While parts of this story came as a surprise, it only made me more curious to learn more about the world that Victoria lives in. I’m excited to see what comes next for her and would definitely suggest this series to anyone who loves to read Paranormal Fiction! - DH
I love reading almost as much as I love writing and I do lots of book reviews. Because I have been through the gauntlet of bringing an idea to life, I know that every book requires a great deal of work. When I do a book review, I keep this in the back of my mind. That way, even if I don’t particularly care for the story, I can focus on the positives.
I decided recently that I needed a system that would not only streamline my review process, but also help me to remain as objective as possible. I realize that ratings are ultimately reflective of the reader’s likes and dislikes, but sometimes I find myself in the position of reading a genre am not necessarily a fan of. I feel this system I am about to share helps me to rate the books fairly no matter the story or genre.
My rating system is set up for 10 points, but you can easily adjust it for a 5-star rating by cutting your score in half and rounding up or down. I have 10 criteria that I have listed on a worksheet, and each of those criteria are given a score of .1 to 1. They are:
Cover – Style/Color/Theme
Formatting – Justification/Flourishes/Spacing
Editing – Typos, punctuation, sentence structure
Blurb – Does it sufficiently describe the book? Or misleading?
POV – Is it consistent? Does it switch with sufficient transition?
Character Depth – Is character realistic?
Character Motivation – Does character’s motivation make sense? Is it explained?
Character Description – Is character description adequate? Can you visualize their qualities?
Plot – Does the plot move along? Any holes or things that don’t make sense?
Impression – Based on this book, would you purchase more from this author?
If you feel that this rating system will help you with your reviews, I have provided a copy of the document that I developed. Feel free to use it or pass it along to other reviewers who may find it helpful. I would like to add that I will only post reviews that I rate between 3 and 5 stars. Anything less than that would, more than likely, be the direct cause of poor editing or severe plot holes. I feel in these rare cases, the direct contact with the author with some constructive criticism is much more helpful to them than posting a negative review.
Authors truly appreciate feedback and I hope that you will consider leaving a review the next time you read a book that you feel others will like. I would love to hear from you if you feel this tool has been helpful, just make a comment here or shoot me an email. Happy reading (and reviewing) everyone! - DH
Original Post: saraybooksllc.com/2017/02/25/my-book-review-rating-worksheet/
Author: Paula Fox
Reviewer: Sharon Quiroz
Genre: Literary Fiction
Reviewers keep calling it “Chekhovian.” It is a family novel, but what a family! They have gathered for a bon voyage party: Laura and Desmond are off to Europe, and she has invited her daughter, Clara, and Carlos, Laura’s brother, and Peter, a family friend, to dinner. Most of the story takes place in their hotel room before they go to the restaurant for dinner. And there, Fox brilliantly develops the characters in her riveting, terrifying, style. For any writer a look at how Fox develops characters is a must. There’s a great deal of not saying and not listening in this story: Laura knows that her mother, “the widow” has died that morning. Apparently, just because she is jealous of the relationship between her daughter and the widow, who raised the child, Laura withholds the information that the widow died this morning. But it seems to account at least in part for her more than usually outrageous behavior. This is a fascinating study of a family, and an even more fascinating example of Fox’s beautiful writing. SQ
What if your dreams weren’t simply images, sensations and ideas that your brain organized in your sleep? What if they were something more? In Dream Girl, S.J. Lomas weaves an intoxicating tale of the possibilities of dreams, and the people who are tapping into their potential.
Christine doesn’t think much about her dreams until she meets her new co-worker Gabriel. As they learn more about each other they find that, not only are they connecting in their dreams, but they are connecting to others as well. They have unwittingly come under the attention a group who is interested in examining their abilities in detail and unravelling the mystery of the dreamworld they all share.
This coming of age story has the stirrings of young romance, with helpings of confusion and mixed emotions as Christine navigates her feelings for two young men who have entered her life. In order to find answers, she must place herself in the hands of the unknown, and agree to enter a world that most only ever dream of. - DH
Author: D. A. Henneman
Review by: Madelyn March
Winds of Change is a fantasy romance that you won’t want to put down. It’s a fast-paced book packed with magic and mayhem, an engaging plot, and strong female characters. D. A. Henneman’s fantasy world is stunningly beautiful and packed with unexpected characters and creatures. It’s the second in the series, The Power of Four.
Amie Petridis is a strong, capable, beautiful pilot. When she first meets Aleck Eyres, she’s setting an old fling straight who is reluctant to let her go. It doesn’t take long before the sparks fly between Amy and Aleck. Little do they know that their lives, their reality, is about to change.
This story seamlessly mixes romance with masterful fantasy. It takes place in current time on our earth, but the elements (of which Amie is one) have abilities to reach into another dimension. This new land, named Wisteria, is filled with treacherous dark forces that are working to destroy the elements. Amie will have to work with newfound friends to uncover the causes of deceit and evil. Then she will have to find a way to try to stop the dark powers before they destroy both worlds.
I highly recommend this book. You will not be disappointed. In fact, you’ll want to pick up the next one right away.
Genre: Historical Fiction
By: Linda Grischy
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel! The journey takes you deep into the world of 1676 New England.
James Bailey, an agent and spy of the King of England, is sent to Boston to investigate the details surrounding the death of Sir Benjamin Cotton, another of the King's agents. James and his trusted friend Peter Church, a Native American and Quaker who is traveling with him, quickly find themselves in a hostile land surrounded by danger.
Prudence Cotton, wife of the deceased Sir Benjamin Cotton, is anxious for the King's agents to help her find her young daughter, who she believes is living with the Nipmuk or Abenaki people.
The characters are rich and lively, the setting wild and fascinating. An adventure into the untamed New England territory ensues, as the truth of what happened to the village of Winton and Crow Hollow unravels. - LG
I can't recall the last time I read a book in one sitting, but this was one of them! Beautifully written, and very close to home for someone who can relate with some of the things the main character, Maggie Abernathy, has been through. The book touches on grave misunderstandings, loves that are lost and found, and the hesitation we sometimes feel when faced with the decision to share our weaknesses.
The relationships were real, sometimes raw, and I found myself laughing, crying, and at times shaking my head at the antics of the characters that Ms. Bradley brings to life. What a wonderful book, and my only disappointment was when it ended and I realized I would need to go on to book 2. Suppose you could call that a win win though! Looking very much forward to the continuation of Maggie and John's story! - DH
Zadie Smith’s Swingtime gives us two “Brilliant Friends,” to paraphrase Ferrante. One beautiful and very talented friend, Tracy, is black, the other beautiful and very talented friend is Aimee, white. The narrator is black/white: talented and beautiful black mother; loving, ineffectual white father. But the narrator is neither talented nor beautiful. Predictably the black girl will not really make it, the white girl will make it, though she can’t remember why. She also turns everyone around her into servants and mindlessly blunders into Africa to “save the girls.” I suppose the mixed blood of the narrator is to give her credibility: she’s on both sides? Men do not come off well. Male characters simply buzz around the various females. I enjoyed the book, but it’s true that the relationships between the women are rather undeveloped. An effect of race? I suppose that’s true, too. - SQ
Author: Heather Sunseri
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Review by: D.A. Henneman
The continuation of Brooke & Declan’s story in Covered in Darkness has the couple sorting through the latest mystery facing the Governor’s office, while simultaneously testing the strength of their relationship. This time the power has gone out, but the outage isn’t due to the storms. The outage was intentional, and Brooke needs to find out who is behind it before it is too late.
Brooke is now the head of Homeland Security for the State of Kentucky, a job she loves, but that places her at odds with the F.B.I., an organization she is intimately familiar with. Declan thought this position would be less dangerous for her, but it seems that Brooke keeps getting pulled into the middle of volatile situations. Brooke learns that the recent power outage is anything but routine and as she follows the clues, they lead her deeper into a terrorist plot to extort large sums of money from the power companies. The men who are requesting the money aren’t messing around, and don’t care who they have to kill to get it. Her associate has been taken by them and it is up to Brooke to save her from the terrorists.
Heather delivers a great story that is believable and suspenseful. It is evident that she does a great deal of research on her topics, and her characters are well rounded and developed. I am looking forward to reading more about Brooke’s journey to come to terms with her past heartbreak, and Declan’s attempts to win her heart. I am definitely looking forward to learning more about Dimitri, so glad to hear he will be getting his own story!
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