Purr More Bark Less

Reader of primarily paranormal romance and urban fantasy, occasional reviewer, slowpoke reader, abuser of ellipses, twitter challenged, and Goodreads refugee. That's all you need to know...for now. ;)

Review - Go Deep by Sam Elswit

Go Deep: M/M Gay Romance (True Bliss Book 1) - Sam Elswit

The blurb for this book states that the book "has a happy but realistic ending". Happy? Yes. Realistic? No. In fact, from the cover to the ending there is nothing about this story that is realistic.

 

Let's start with the cover. Why the heck are there two white dudes on the cover when one of the main characters is black? Why whitewash it? The cover helps set the mood for the book and also gives the reader some expectations. In this case, the reader gets the wrong expectation.

 

Now for the story. This is a novella and everything moved super fast and seems to come out of nowhere. There is no buildup to the relationship at all, and one unrealistic thing after another happens, often out of the blue, and I'm left wondering wheredafuq did that come from? And the ending, well that is more fantasy then realism, unfortunate as it is. I know it's fiction and there is some artistic license, but sorry, not realistic. Not to mention that Michael is essentially outed without his permission and he's not even upset about it even though there was so much emphasis on him keeping his secret to save his fledgling football career.

 

The writing style didn't suit me and the dialogue was eye-roll worthy at times. The blurb above also states that this story is for mature audiences yet the author repeatedly uses silly euphemisms like "organ" and "member" and "rosebud". Seriously? The book could also use another round of proofreading.

 

Though I really like m/m sport romances, this one didn't work for me. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 

UPDATE: The cover was supposedly changed to reflect the characters more accurately but it's not showing on Amazon yet as of this post.

Books available to gift from ARe - time sensitive!

Hi guys! As you probably know, All Romance ebooks is closing its doors at midnight 12/31/16 - tomorrow!

 

I have several books that I never downloaded and so they are available to gift to someone. If anyone is interested, please PM me with the book you want and the email address you use for ARe (if you give me a different email, you won't be able to claim the book without an account associated with that addy). 

 

The clock's a-ticking so if you want one of these books, contact me asap!

 

Promises by Marie Sexton (this one is m/m)

 

A Mess of Reason by A. Wilding Wells

 

First Surrender by Katie Reus

 

Up on the Housetop by Suzanne Rock Claimed

 

Riding Tall Box Set by Cheyenne McCray (3-book box set)

 

Bad Kitty by Eliza Gayle

 

Bondmate by J.J. Lore Claimed

 

Her Secret Dom by Samantha Cote

 

At Her Service by Cerise Deland

 

Big Love by Rick R. Reed

Big Love - Rick R. Reed

It felt like a big chunk of the relationship was skipped. It took quite a while to really get the relationship going past the friend/colleague zone, and when they finally both get on the same page and it is really just beginning, the story jumps ahead several months and now they are an established couple and in love. It felt like someone pressed the fast forward button and jumped over all the good stuff. Also, I thought the scene with Seth's ex-boyfriend was pointless. It seemed like it was just an excuse to create some very, very minor conflict between Seth and Dane, which was resolved in a flash. It could easily have been left out. Looking back on it, the story seemed to be more about Truman (the troubled student they try to help) than the romance between Seth and Dane.

Omorphi by C. Kennedy

Omorphi - C. Kennedy, Jamie Mayfield

I don't know what to rate this one. I keep waffling between 3 and 4 stars. I may end up changing the rating several times. It's a freakin' long book--about the size of two full length novels--yet I was engaged and compelled to keep reading. I didn't feel the need to put it down and that makes me want to rate it higher, but whenever I think about it I end up focusing on all the things that annoyed or frustrated me and that makes me want to rate it lower. I haz confusion...need to think about this.

Wolfsong by TJ Klune

Wolfsong - T.J. Klune

Joe said it best. It was candy canes and pinecones and epic and awesome. Just be sure to keep a box of Kleenex nearby... you're gonna need it. This was my first TJ Klune book and it sure as hell won't be my last.

$1 Sale at Dreamspinner Press (M/M Romance) April 11-17

— feeling happy

Dreamspinner Press is having a $1 sale on 36 titles. Sale expires April 17th. Looks like the $1 price is available at Dreamspinner website and most major venues: Amazon*, B&N, Kobo, AllRomance.

 

Check it out if you like M/M Romance. There were a few on the list I've been wanting so I'm a happy reader!  

 

*Dreamspinner titles are lending enabled!

 

 

 

Eyes Only For Me by Andrew Grey

Eyes Only for Me - Andrew  Grey

I think the main issue I had with this book was the dialogue but this also influenced my connection to the characters. The dialogue felt very unrealistic and awkward. Clay's numerous monologues came across as constant lecturing or some kind of imparting of his wisdom... whatever. I often gave the dialogue a side-eye and wondered why the heck he would say that or what the heck does that mean? I think this issue with the dialogue was the reason, or part of it anyway, why I couldn't connect with the characters that much and I didn't really feel much of a connection between Clay and Ronnie either. Some of the characters behaviors just felt off in a way I can't really describe. The feels were seriously lacking.  And what's up with Clay who says more than once he won't tell anybody about him and Ronnie, but then he tells like three people!  An old work friend, his dad, and one of their mutual friends that they both hang out with who is also gay. Seriously? The cover is a little misleading, too. It comes across to me like the guys are angry at each other and gives the feel of an enemies to lovers story when in fact it is a friends to lovers story.  So interested enough to finish it but overall a little meh.

The Other Man by D Breeze

The Other Man - D. Breeze

Cliffie alert! With absolutely no warning in the book blurb, grrrr...

Cheating alert! If you hate cheating in romance, skip this one.

Bad editing/proofing alert! Tons of typos: missing words, extra words, misspelled names, punctuation issues, etc. Also, way too many unnecessary exclamation points.

Chopped up book alert! Not just a cliffie but a completely unresolved ending. You have to read book 2 to pick up where the story leaves off and who knows if that is the last one. More of a serial than a series and absolutely no warning for the reader in the blurb or title, grrrr... again. Could have at least labeled it Part 1 (instead of Book 1), which would at least imply an incomplete story arc.

And, two final words... lube and condoms! Just sayin'

With that said, I did finish the book and there were *some* parts of it I liked, which is why I gave it two stars, but it just wasn't enough to make me want to read the next one. I also don't appreciate the author not disclosing the fact that this is an unresolved story that ends with a major cliffie. Mostly though, the typos drove me bat shit crazy. If this book reflects the quality of future books, then I'll definitely pass.

Buzz by E. Davies

Buzz (The Riley Brothers Book 1) - E.  Davies


ME: Knock, Knock

BOOK: Who's there?

ME: Conflict

BOOK: Conflict who?

ME: Exactly!

Interlude with Tattoos by KJ Charles (Short Story)

Interlude with Tattoos - K.J. Charles

This is a very short story (about 4500 words) related to A Charm of Magpies series by KJ Charles. It is not often I give a short story five stars, but I loved the end of this story when Lucien and Stephen are sending notes back and forth to each other (the Victorian era version of texting, I guess). It had me laughing out loud and was related to the thing that happened with the tattoos. Loved that too. I'm working my way through this series and I'm really enjoying it.

Review: Playing for Keeps by Avery Cockburn

Playing for Keeps - Avery Cockburn

Book Blurb:

 

Rule One: No Drama!

 

Fergus Taylor is damaged goods. Reeling from a brutal breakup, he’s determined to captain his LGBT soccer team out of scandal and into a winning season. For that, he needs strict rules and careful plans. He does NOT need a brash, muscle-bound lad messing with his head and setting his body afire.

John Burns has a rule of his own: Don’t get attached. Boyfriends are for guys with nothing to hide. Nobody—not his university mates, not the men he beds—knows his family’s shame. Now his double life is starting to unravel, thanks to a certain Highlander whose storm-riddled eyes turn John inside out, who wears a kilt like he was born in it.

Fergus is the first man John wants to share his secret with—but he’s the last man who could handle it. John knows the truth would shatter Fergus’s still-fragile heart. But how can he live a lie when he’s falling in love?

Note: The Glasgow Lads series contains dirty talk with a Scottish accent, naughty bits of a gay nature, and characters who call soccer “football.”
Approximately 95,000 words/325 pages

 

~~~

 

My Thoughts:

 

Playing for Keeps is a M/M romance set in Scotland against a backdrop of football (soccer) and religious sectarianism. I read primarily paranormal romances so I don’t know why I was drawn to this book, which is a contemporary sport-themed romance… oh who am I kidding?  There’s a kilt on the cover!  But really, for some reason this one called to me and it was free, so I gave it a shot. OMG I am so glad I did.  It was just the kind of romance I like, full of angst and emotions, secrets and lies, blame and forgiveness, Scottish accents (yum), sexy times, an engaging story, and characters I cared about and rooted for. Feels people, full of feels. I didn’t want to put it down even though I had to sometimes (stupid work) and was up ‘til 2:00 am this morning to finish it.

Playing for Keeps is a full size novel with an HEA, a story that will pull you in, and a romance that will melt your heart. I’ve already bought the second book. This is why I read indie books and suffer the slush, because I never know when I will stumble on a gem. It’s the bestest feeling ever discovering a new-to-me favorite. I now have a new author and series to follow.  Looking forward to spending time with the rest of the Glasgow Lads. HEAs for everybody! :)

Yellowstone Fugitive by Saige Silver

Yellowstone Fugitive (A BBW Bear Shifter Menage Romance) (Beasts of Yellowstone Book 1) - Saige Silver

Series: Beasts of Yellowstone, Book 1

 

Story in a nutshell…
Tess panics when she is pulled over by the police while transporting drugs for her ex-boyfriend, Nick, who is a drug dealer. She takes off then eventually ditches her car to escape into the Yellowstone Park woods. Dean and Jace are two ex-cop bear shifters, now Yellowstone Park Rangers, who get assigned to track her down and bring her in. When Jace and Dean first see a photo of Tess, they have an instant attraction and Dean, at least, knows immediately he is looking at his fated mate. Jace needs a little more convincing but still has an undeniable attraction to Tess. So they finally find their destined mate but she is a fugitive from the law and they have a responsibility to apprehend her to face justice and possibly jail. Well, doesn’t that just suck?

What I liked...
I liked the fugitive angle of the story and especially that Tess was an actual fugitive, not just someone who is really innocent but was set up to look guilty. Tess was a drug runner. She admits and owns it, no excuses. She made some stupid decisions, including running from the police, and she knows it. She does explain at some point how she got into the drug running business. I was very curious how this problem would be resolved in the end to bring them all their HEA. That is another thing I liked. It was a full story with an HEA. Romance readers rejoice, you will get an actual HEA.

I also liked Dean and Jace’s characters, their interaction and banter with each other, and also that they had very distinct personalities.

Dean is very carefree and wears his heart on his sleeve. He reminded me of a loyal puppy, just living in the moment and not questioning his feelings. He knew Tess was his mate from the moment he saw her picture and never wavered. He wanted to find her to learn more about her and hoped she wasn’t really wasn’t guilty of the charges. He half-heartedly tells himself he should be doing the right thing and find her in order to take her into custody, but it really was never an option for him in his heart. Once he finds her, all bets were off and Tess was his. Turning her in was not an option any more.

Jace, on the other hand, is more reserved and cautious. Due to past family trauma, he is resistant to the idea of a fated mate and resists his feelings. His desire for Tess and his sense of responsibility and duty constantly war within him until he can’t resist anymore and accepts Tess as his fated mate.

I also liked that their characterization as bear shifters wasn’t just lip service. They shift numerous times during the story, usually to fight, protect, and track or travel in the woods, so their characterization as bear shifters was developed. Some shifter books I’ve read have just one or maybe two, if any, brief scenes and then the reader is supposed to accept them as shifters. Um no, I need to be shown they are shifters and have it be a strong part of the character behavior. I think this book did that for me.

What I didn't like...
As much as I like the fugitive plot as well as Dean and Jace, I just didn’t like the way the sex scenes were written. At all. I read romance for the feels. I want the emotion to come through regardless if it’s a little sex or a lot of sex, whether rough or gentle. I want the angst and the struggle and all the emotions and feels that go with it. The sex scenes in this book didn’t give me that. It felt more like something one would expect from erotica/porn, which isn’t a bad thing per se, but it just didn’t work for me in a romance. The dialogue in these scenes got cheesy and came off like a porn movie. For example, Tess says stuff like:

“F*** yes! F*** me, Dean!”
“F*** yes, Jace,” she panted. “Do it! F*** me good… don’t hold back!”

All the explanation marks made it read like they were yelling at each other, too. Even the time Dean blurts out “I love you!” during one of these scenes, I didn’t really feel the emotion. The sex scenes were just a fail for me. Just no overall sense of romance. I also didn’t like some word choices in the book, which not surprisingly, are often related to the sex or body parts.

Nick needed to be in the story earlier in the book. Her ex-boyfriend is actually a villain of the story but he doesn't come into the story until near the end. He was always this distant villain described by Tess or someone else. Instead, he sends others to go after Tess. I think witnessing him in all his villainy ways prior to the final confrontation would have made him more believable as the bad guy.

Jace and Dean seem to have gotten off too easy, as in absolutely no consequences, considering some of the things they did in their pursuit and protection of Tess. At a minimum I would think they would have been subject to some minimal investigation and accountability for some of their actions.

Finally, the book needs more proofreading. The short sample I read at first wasn’t bad, but the book overall had more typos than I would expect from a book this size and some inconsistencies/logic blips.

Overall…
Mostly I like the fugitive story plot as well as Dean and Jace’s characters but I really disliked the way the sex scenes were written. I would give 4 stars for the story/characters and 2 stars for the sex scenes, so I’m giving this book a total of 3 stars.

-Did the story keep me turning the page? Yes
-If I put the book down did I want to get back to it? Yes
-Would I try another book by this author? Hmmm, maybe I’d be willing to give it a try but if I didn’t get the feels I expect and want from a Romance, then it would probs be the last one.
------------------------------
I received a free advanced review copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

-Heat Level: Erotic, door is wide open, m/f/m ménage, several scenes, no back door
-Cover Art: Good and genre appropriate - I know it is ménage and about bear shifters from the cover image but I don’t think it necessarily reflects character descriptions that well, except maybe Jace.
-Print length: 228 (estimated per Amazon)
-Word Count: 67,000 (novel on the shorter side)
-Kindle locations: 3736 total - story text ends at 3722 or 99%.

Review: Scottish Werebear: An Unexpected Affair by Lorelei Moone

Scottish Werebear: An Unexpected Affair: A BBW Bear Shifter Paranormal Romance (Scottish Werebears Book 1) - Lorelei Moone

BOOK BLURB:

Romance novelist, Clarice Adler, has lost the inspiration to write ever since dumping her cheating boyfriend. How do you dream up a plot of two people falling in love, when you’ve stopped believing in love yourself? But her deadline is looming, and her career hangs in the balance, so she decides to lock herself away on the secluded Scottish Isle of Skye to finish her manuscript. Upon meeting Derek McMillan there, it seems she’s found her new muse and the words start to flow out of her as if by magic. Clarice falls for him, hard, despite knowing nothing about the man, except that he’s unavailable.

Derek McMillan has been managing his farm and renting out a few holiday cottages on his own for years now. He deals with the occasional tourist for some extra money, but mostly keeps to himself. When he first lays eyes on the curvy beauty, Clarice, he immediately regrets accepting her booking. Lightning strikes, and as much as he tries to deny it, his inner bear knows that she’s his mate. But he’s a shifter, and she’s a human, and the two can’t ever mix, can they?

In this steamy paranormal romance novella, follow along as an impossible love blossoms between two people, who couldn’t be more different. One might say fate intended for them to meet, if you believe in that sort of thing, but they’re both set on fighting their attraction with everything they’ve got. They’re going to need another push to admit to themselves as well as each other what’s going on…

 

Please note that this is the first title in the Scottish Werebears Series. Each book features a different couple from first meeting to HEA, as well as an overarching external plot that won't be fully resolved until the end of the series.

 

***

 

WHY I CHOSE THIS BOOK...
The blurb interested me and I like the yummy cover. The setting is Scotland. So yeah... Scottish + Werebear = 'Nuff said.

STORY IN  NUTSHELL...
Clarice, a writer, takes a two week trip to a secluded Scottish Isle to overcome her writing block (due to a cheating boyfriend) and finish her novel. She meets Derek, the owner of the cottage she rented. Attraction ensues but she is human and Derek is a werebear and a somewhat reclusive one at that. His fated mate cannot be human so he tries to keep his distance until she leaves, but then an event occurs putting Clarice in danger and forces him to accept his feelings and make Clarice his mate.  

WHAT I LIKED...
I like the story pace at the beginning. Even though it was a novella, it didn’t rush right into the relationship and sex like many of them do. It went slow, relatively speaking for a novella, but it pulled me through and I enjoyed getting to know Derek and Clarice a little. I just wish there was more interaction between Derek and Clarice themselves. They interact very little during the first half of the book as they work through their own issues and misunderstandings. I found Derek and Clarice to both be likable characters, but I think the lack of interaction between them early in the story may be partly the reason why I didn’t really feel much of a connection between them. Like most novellas that I have read, eventually the story pace speeds up and suddenly everything starts to happen quickly…too quickly for my tastes.

I also like that there is no cliffhanger and it has an HEA. The next book looks like it focuses on a different couple, which is set up at the end of this book. So even though it's a novella, I greatly appreciate that it follows the basic reader expectations of a "Romance".

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE...
- The werebears talked to each other in their bear form. It pulled me right out of the story and felt like a Disney movie.
- There were some inconsistencies/logic blips like when the power is out but Derek is able to warm up some mulled wine and later implied they would have some stew that I assume would have to be warmed up.
- No real external conflict. The Sons of Domnall (humans who hunt shifters) were introduced late in the story but they weren’t really part of this story. It seems more of a setup for an overarching conflict for the continuing series. There really wasn’t anything that happened to create much suspense in this story other than the storm and its result that finally brings Derek and Clarice together. There was some internal conflict in the form of Derek and Clarice getting over their issues and a minor misunderstanding both of which kept them apart for most of the first part of the book. Derek needed to get over himself about having a human for a fated mate. Clarice made an assumption leading to a misunderstanding based on something that Derek says (he says it intentionally to keep his distance from her so this was partly Derek’s fault... actually it's all Derek's fault... stupid bear).
- Derek’s dialogue was not written with any Scottish brogue at all. I consider the accent to be a yummy bit in a romance with a Scottish hero so the lack of it was disappointing and I had to keep reminding myself that Derek was Scottish and the story is taking place in Scotland.
- The ending felt a little abrupt. I wasn’t expecting to turn the page and suddenly find the epilogue.

OVERALL…
It appears this book is the first in a series of novellas each with an HEA for a different couple but with an overarching conflict in each book in the form of the Sons of Domnall. This is just my guess and I could be wrong so don’t take my word for it. UPDATE: I just noticed at the end of the blurb where it basically says this exact thing... ha! I honestly hadn't read that until after I posted my review and copied the blurb here. If nothing else, I nailed that part at least :)

I enjoyed the story but like most novellas, I felt it was too short for me to get a fully satisfying story. A longer story would have allowed for better characterization, a slower and more fleshed out relationship between Derek and Clarice, some better world building, and better suspense and conflict. I guess in the end I just wanted “more” from the story.

------------------------------
I received a free advanced review copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Heat Level: open door and steamy/spicy, 1 scene near the end
Kindle locations: 956 - story text ends at 934 (97%)

Print Length: 100 pages
Cover Art: Yum!

Review: Bearly in Time by Erin Kelly

Bearly in Time (Drummond Island Bears Book 1) - Erin Kelly

Story in a nutshell: Carrie moves to a secluded island to escape the stalkerish behavior of her ex-fiancé. The island is home to a population of werebears and she meets one of them, Jack, who is the captain of the ferry bringing her to the island. Insta-attraction and fated mates story ensues. You can probably guess, like I did, that the ex-fiancé stalker will make an appearance later in the story.

Though this was a fated mates story, I don’t think there was immediate in-your-face insta-love. Jack didn’t believe in a destined mate and Carrie, a human, wasn’t immediately falling all over him either. They felt an attraction but weren’t stripping off each other’s clothes from the get go. Jack tried to take it slow, relatively speaking. I thought it was cute the way he collected flowers to bring to her cottage for the first time. He eventually accepts the notion she is his fated mate and goes after what he wants, but he always acted considerate and concerned for Carrie. All of Jack’s werebear friends and their mates were nice to Carrie and accepting of her as Jack’s fated mate. They would tease Jack about it until he finally accepted it for himself.

As I was reading the first half of this book I was thinking that I may have finally found a PNR novella that may actually be a satisfying romance. I have a hard time finding PNR shorts or novellas that don’t feel rushed or like part of the story is missing. It all changed when it hit about the 65%-ish mark when they were going on a nature walk and where it comes out that Jack is a werebear.  This is also where the story started to come apart for me. The first half of the book was a slow-ish build and I was actually happy with the pace. But then it was like somebody suddenly flipped a switch and the story just went into high speed. Jack briefly woos her, they have a date, they are now a couple, they have sex, he marks her, there’s a mild confrontation with Simon, and then he proposes. This all happens in the space of a couple of days (and half a novella)?  And since it is a novella, half a book isn’t very long.

There really isn’t any disbelief / resistance on Carrie’s part when she finds out he is a werebear. In fact, when she is told that Jack is a werebear, she states that she knows about werebears but hadn’t met any yet. Uh, what? Where did that come from? It totally threw me out of the story. There was no set up to that revelation or any type of world building to let the reader know that humans are aware that werebears exist and are apparently out and about in the world. Speaking of Jack as a shifter, there really was only one brief scene in the story that has him shifting and it was barely a scene. He shifts to go into the woods with his friends then a little bit later it mentions them shifting as they come back out of the woods. His characterization as a werebear wasn’t very strong.

The climactic scene was a little underwhelming and I thought it might be a pre-climax where Simon would show up again later as a bigger threat but no, that didn’t happen. However, I loved the way all of Jack’s werebear friends stood beside Jack to protect and support Carrie. It was like you got a problem with Carrie, you got a problem with all of us.

Mechanically, there were some issues with the story.  There were a number of typos. It needs another proofreading. There were also some continuity/inconsistency type issues and what I consider logic blips. For example, Carrie is described as stepping out of Jack’s truck and then in the next paragraph she is described as opening the door as Jack comes around to the side of the truck to help her out. There was also a number of things during the sex scene had me scratching my head as well. Finally, there was formatting issue causing sentences to break off into new paragraphs inappropriately. I received an advanced copy of this book so maybe the formatting wasn’t finalized yet, but it should have been if it was going to reviewers. I also didn’t like the way the paragraphs were formatted. It was in block style with a space between paragraphs instead of an indent at the beginning of each paragraph. Block style always feels like a business letter to me. For some reason, it is distracting in a fiction book.

Overall…The story pace started out okay but then moved into fast forward. I liked Jack and Carrie, but did not connect to them as a couple. I felt the book needed to be longer to build the relationship and make a more believable romance as well as add more suspense and conflict. The editing/proofreading wasn’t the worst I’ve seen but not that good either. And of course the formatting issues made for awkward reading. Despite the issues, it was not a struggle to finish the book. I liked the story to some degree and it had an HEA with no cliffhangers. If the editing/formatting were not a problem and the story didn’t feel so rushed, I probably would have rounded up.

I received a free advanced review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Word Count: ~22,000
Heat Level: Spicy, open door

It's been a long time coming...

Secondhand Souls: A Novel - Christopher Moore

I won this on Librarything! Woot! I've been waiting a looong time for this sequel. Hope it was worth the wait.

 

 

via GIPHY

The Valkyrie by Charlotte Vassell

The Valkyrie - Charlotte Vassell

Book Blurb:

Glory’s job is to lead Valkyrie Unit 401 as they reap the souls of dead soldiers and take them to the Norse afterlife. That’s all fine and dandy when you haven’t got a raging hangover and the apocalypse to deal with. There’s also her psycho ex who won’t leave her best friend alone, a missing team mate, and a tonne of paper work to do. Follow Glory as she tries to save the world and her own dignity.

 

My Thoughts:

I decided to read and review this book because I like humor, mythology, and urban fantasy. I looked at the related website and it seemed to have a flavor that I would like and it looked like it would be funny. I also looked forward to reading about a Valkyrie as that isn’t a character I come across that often. As it turned out, I didn’t really enjoy it as much as I expected. The book was full of sarcasm, which I could certainly appreciate, but I didn’t really find it particularly funny. I was actually somewhat confused as to what was going on for a good portion of the story.

The characterization of Glory and her friends as Valkyries fell flat. We are told what they are but you don’t really get any significant scenes of them being a Valkyrie. The only thing they really did as Valkyries was plan the next big war so they can reap the souls of the soldiers. It seemed they needed to get as many as possible.  Not sure really why they needed them. Glory is also supposed to be the head of Valkyrie Unit 401, but I had no sense of her being the leader of anything.

Considering the book is supposed to be humorous, I was surprised at how melancholy the beginning felt and how jaded Glory seemed to be. Glory and her Valkyrie housemates popped pills, drank a lot of alcohol, snarked a lot, and didn’t seem to enjoy their existence much. The story does reveal why Glory gets that way and how she changes by the end of the book. Her character does show growth, but there are also things she does that made me think, “Why the hell did she do that?”  For example, at one point, Glory kills another immortal. I won’t say who so I don’t spoil it but it seemed really sudden and I didn’t feel there was enough motivation or reason why she would do this. It also seemed crazy simple for her to kill this person. A simple quick stab with a simple knife, not even a special super-duper knife made with some kind of magic or god-killing property.  Immortal gods and goddesses are usually portrayed as really hard to kill. I don’t know how they could last for millennia if they are so easy to knock off.  So that was another characterization fail for me.    

Then there is Apollo. At first he seemed like a total philandering jerk, but then you start to see another softer side to him. But then his personality changes again and he starts to act kind of psycho. As the story moved toward the end, I was flabbergasted at how it looked like it was going to end and was about to throw my kindle against the wall  (well, actually a proxy book—can’t hurt my precious kindle!) then something happens to spare my wall from damage. Phew! That was close. Thinking back on it though, I actually cannot remember exactly how this book ended (I had to go take another look see to remind myself) so I guess it didn’t really make much of an impression on me. I do remember the implied ending before the twist.

This book reminded me of a mythological Peyton Place. It was a soap opera of devious calculating gods and goddesses of multiple pantheons (though mostly Norse and Greek) bent on manipulation, betrayal, and backstabbing to achieve their own agendas--pretty much how gods are usually portrayed, I guess. There aren’t really any mortals in this story to speak of. One or two appear briefly in the story but it is primarily just about gods and goddesses.

Besides the lack of characterization, some of the issues I had with this book were mechanical such as typos and punctuation. First the typos, of which there were more that I would find appropriate in a published work. It really needs another proofread. There was one particular word “draw” that was used to mean “drawer” and occurred frequently and repeatedly. It happened so much that I started to wonder if it is British slang I am not familiar with. An internet search didn’t find evidence of this and there were a couple of instances of the correct word being used so I am considering this a chronic typo unless I learn otherwise.

Secondly, the punctuation was lacking. I’m not a pro at it and generally not too picky as I know it can be a fluid thing. As long as it reads smoothly, I’m good. But when it’s lacking, it makes for difficult or confusing reading and becomes an issue. There was quite a bit of what I felt were run-on type sentences that would have benefited from a pause or stop to make it easier to read. Commas after an introductory word were mostly missing and that really drove me bat guano crazy. The punctuation issues didn’t make for smooth reading.

So overall, I had to really push myself through the first part of this book. It did pick up a bit later but I still wasn’t being pulled through it. At some point in the book I actually put it down to read something else. The story just wasn’t engaging me. I was disappointed in the lack of humor that I was expecting and there was a lack of characterization of Glory and her friends as Valkyries. The story felt confusing at times and the mechanical errors distracted me. There is a lot of cussing which didn’t bother me—just a warning for those who don’t like it.  

I did really enjoy the mythological aspect and the interaction of all the gods and goddesses. The name Glory, and the names of her Valkyrie friends Liberty and Honour, ended up having some meaning to the story at the end which was interesting.  This book’s narrative and dialogue are very British, which I enjoyed though occasionally I had to look up a word or two. I have no idea if this is a standalone story or part of a future series.  Though it seemed mostly wrapped up at the end, there also seemed to be an opening for a continuing story.

 

I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review

Heat Level: Fade to black - sex scenes are implied and happen off screen.
Word count: ~74,000
Kindle Locations: 4660
Story text ends at 99%