Review: The Secrets of Life and Death by Rebecca Alexander

The Secrets of Life and Death

I received this as an arc from Netgalley for an honest review.

4.5 chocolate kisses

I am very hard put on how to write this review because this novel is unlike anything that I have ever read before.

It is both a historical and a contemporary novel. That was the easy part.

From the beginning, I had a sense of unease that I can only describe as the feeling I had while watching the movie ‘Alien’ for the first time at a midnight show the night it opened. Later I was to find out that the sound track had channel where they used the sounds of someone trying to catch their breath. So the novel had a delightful tension all the way through it. I just knew something bad was going to happen in the present and the past.

The story developed slowly with the historical and the contemporary meeting with a crescendo. It was excellently done, the characters well drawn and the world building – all I can say is that I am very glad I did not live in 16th century Eastern Europe. The world was a visceral experience, at times I thought perhaps I could even smell the odors from the author’s description.

Quite fab story and I would read this author again. I have a little hope that she will continue with these characters in another story, but there is no cliffhanger and as a stand alone it is fine.

There is some romance, just enough to keep me happy that there was a connection on that level. And in fact, I liked the amount just fine and prefer it at this point in my reading life.

I enjoyed this book because both the historical and the contemporary dealt with the unseen in the spirit world very differently than a normal paranormal or urban fantasy story. The was an awareness that this is not just a normal day, that they were delving in dangerous things and this gave it an edginess that I liked. Maybe it goes on my religious paranormal shelf, but that is not quite right either.

Also, this was a refreshing look at a historical character who was known as a monster and how she came to be that way. This was very satisfying and intriguing because it was a culmination of entitlement, curses, magic that was interwoven into the very fabric of the time and the juxtaposition with historical and contemporary was very telling in how much of the unseen is discarded in contemporary approach to puzzles. It is more empirical – for better or worse.

I recommend this book to people who like dark fantasy.

Bite Me, I’m Yours by Stacy McKitrick

Bite Me, I'm Yours (Bitten by Love, #2)

Arc supplied by netgalley

3.5 Chocolate Kisses

This was an interesting tale, light and easy to read but with quite a bit of sex. It was a contemporary romance with a dash of paranormal-vampires. I say dash of paranormal because it could have been a story told without having vampires in it at all. Yes there was biting and bloodsucking mixed with sex, but the main theme to me was about the heroine and hero’s relationship and what crosses them; someone from the past with an axe to grind. So what I like to see in paranormals as in world building was decidedly lacking. And the vampire society, I believe more will come clear in later books, but in this one, they did not know alot about their circumstances and the idea of a ‘Perfect Mate’.

The writing was fine, but the hero was not the type I usually go for – brooding and dark. He was very nice and not at all Alpha which was certainly fine. It is a very valid choice to make such a type of hero.

Overall I felt that the sexual tension from them was ok but it was a bit blah in terms of atmosphere.  What I did like was Perry and how he fit into the story and he seemed to have the most transformation from the beginning to end.

I give a mature rating to this story because the amount of sex.

Undertow by S.M. Stelmack

Undertow (The UnderCity Chronicles #1)

Undertow by S.M. Stelmack

3.5 Chocolate Kisses

I did enjoy the book as it was refreshing. The whole idea of a world beneath the tunnels of cities existing was quite interesting. So I would say the world building was quite good. My problem was that I just did not feel the characters all that much except for Reggie who was a secondary character. In addition there was pages and pages of sex. My thought on that was that instead of making for more tension in that regard, the other just decide to let them have a go at it. It might work for some readers, but for me, it was something to skip because really, it did not bring anything to the story. So it could have been a 4 chocolate kisses, but went to 3.5 because I am quite bored with having pages of sex in a romance. Otherwise I enjoyed it.

Review: Faerie Blood by Angela Korra’ti

Faerie Blood

4 chocolate kisses

What a fun read this was.

Fast paced and I just adored the group of characters and how they interacted.  On a whole it was great.  It was rather warm, no sex which I found refreshing and sweet in fact in the romance sense.  In the Urban Fantasy sense, it was action packed and believable.  Gritty in some parts.  It was so unlike anything that I have read and what a pleasant surprise it was.

There was one thing that I had issue with.  It was the Sidhe being so opposed to the heroine’s skin color over and above the fact that she was half human.   That certainly should have been enough – the being half human part – for them to have extreme distaste.  It seemed almost gratuitous, that aspect of their bigotry.

But at the same time I still love it when the heroine’s mother speaks of the first time she saw her father.  That was very positive and a beautiful statement.

And that was not the only thing that made me smile.  There was a cat, a gun totting elderly woman, a quilt, a troll and Jude.  Jude totally needs her own story.  I thought that nearly all the characters were well drawn.

This book had many made me smile moments and some laugh out loud moments.  I would recommend it.