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Dec. 24th, 2015

Brenda

GRAVE DANGER by Katy Lee


(Yeah, the semester is over so I get to flex my reviewing muscles. First on my mind? This book.)

Ever read Beowulf? Yeah, most of us have.  Ever notice how the Christianity theme appears to be grafted onto the original manuscript like some sort of parasitic twin?  Yeah, I’m sure many have.  I speculate this was done because the scribe recognized the text as the magnificent depiction of an alternative culture that it is, but knew he had to save it from the prefects at his monastery who would have destroyed, all the while calling it “pagan filth” and “evil.”

What I mean by referencing Beowulf? I did so because the religious element in Katy Lee’s book is equally unbelievable.

Lydia only approaches the Divine when she wants something.  Her faith is all about what God can do for her.  A “convenient Christian,” as the term goes.  Egocentric.  Self-absorbed.  What do I mean?  Here (paraphrased):

·         “Please, God, help me get this promotion.”
·         “Please, God, help me conduct small talk with these people.”
·         “Please, God, help me get the guy.”

But never once did I see her saying Grace before her meal.  Or morning vespers, for that matter.  Worse, asking someone she’s just met professionally, “Are you a Christian?”  Thus, he either said "yes" or she wouldn't help him solve the crime that GAWD had sent her to solve...so that she could get that promotion.

Uh, she’s looking to get fired and/or sued.  Not to mention a defiance of God's Will. I mean, if he sent you there to solve the problem so you could get the promotion, but she would only do so if he shared her faith, then--you feeling me yet? CHAOS!

And what if he said, “I’m a Pastafarian?”  Would she enact the final scene of Attack of the Body Snatchers, stand there with finger judgmentally extended, and garbling a howl?  Maybe toss some soda pop into his face and chant, “The Power of Christ compels you!!”  Be serious.

Mean-spirited?  Intolerant?  No, simply realistic and again, no, it’s not just me.  Christians are rejecting “Christian fiction.”  Don’t believe me?  Hereà http://mikeduran.com/2011/04/the-new-demographic-christians-who-dont-like-christian-fiction/

But then, I remember that author Lee is a children’s minister which, then, that oddness does make a sort of sense since there is something…juvenile…in her prose.  Ignoring the “Questions for Discussion” section she (helpfully) supplied at the rear of the book, Grave Danger appears to be written for a non-adult audience?  Teenaged, probably.  Examples?  I have them:

·         “Lydia’s feet felt glued down” (128).  I speculate Lee’s trying for something like, “The bottom of Lydia’s feet felt glued to the floor.”
·         “Suddenly, the hair made sense” (131).  Indeed, yes.  In fact, I’ve always found that tonsures have a stunning understanding of quantum physics

None of that would have gotten past my SHU mentor, AKA the Diction Despot.
Neither would this:
·         “Shock swamped him”(286).  ß A delicious example of the prose enemy he’s identified as “waves of Hoo-Hah.”

This falls right in with the situation where Christians are not liking Christian Fiction.  For many reasons, but one of them is the quality of writing.  (Here’s the link again: http://mikeduran.com/2011/04/the-new-demographic-christians-who-dont-like-christian-fiction/)

Grave Danger is lacking any emotional connection with either Lydia’s faith or the romance between Wes and Lydia.  But we are told she feels something for him, and he for her, but…nope, I’m not buying it.  She did a wa-ay better job depicting Wes as a sulky little boy than a man falling in love.

Teenager Wes.  And clueless Lydia.
Set up: they're on the run from a ruthless murderer who is too close by for comfort.
Wes: “Stay in the light.”
Lydia: “Do you mean God’s light?”
Me: "Uh, no, diddums, he means stay out of dark corners and empty corridors."

Then what does she do?  She heads into dark corners and empty corridors.  But wait!  There’s more! She also follows the deputy down a dark and dangerous path and almost meets her doom.  The multiple clue-by-fours upside her blockhead apparently did nada for the arrival of common sense.

Romance?  Fail.  Faith?  Fail.  Suspense? FAIL, FAIL, FAIL. The effort is juvenile, as I mentioned.

Now, please don’t get me wrong.  I like a good story, any story, and that includes Inspirational Romances.  My disappointment with Grave Danger’s mystery has nothing to do with my gripes above.  For me, the problem with the mystery plot may be specific to me.

I knew how it was gonna play out early on.  (Man, I gotta stop watching the Justice Channel at 3:00am...)  Carmichael.  Just as I figured.  But then…Deux ex with the arrival of O’Connor. (Since it's an Inspirational, should I be okay with a Deux ex?  *cue rimshot*) Still, as a reviewer, I get to say that a Deux ex ending isn’t okay.

Oh, and if you’re gonna include O’Connor into the plot and as the Big Bad, he needs to show up much EARLIER in the book than midway, and far more substantially than as an annoying tertiary character.

Stepping back to look at this book from a consumer's point of view, it's clear that the publisher is having difficulties with their stable. Why else would a--*ahem*--book of this quality (and including gross editorial errors) hit the shelves?

Aspiring authors!  Seize the opportunity!! This publisher is needing authors!

ALL AROUND FAIL

Brenda Thatcher, Co-Owner Mystique Books

Will I voluntarily read Lee again?  Decisively, no. In fact, I now use her as an example of a publisher in distress.

I wish the book and author buckets of cash and glory, but I also wish her elsewhere.
Tags:

Sep. 14th, 2015

Brenda

SEX DEATH ROCK n ROLL by Staci Layne Wilson and Darren Gordon Smith




Sex Death Rock n Roll is an edgy, smart and often dark anthology that is captivating to read. Wilson and Smith clearly have a deep love for the subject matter and tackle it with the creativity and intelligence it deserves. It is impossible to choice just one of the stories in the anthology as a favorite.

"Fandom/Phantom" - Is a fun, pulpy look at rock n roll icons and what happens when you meet an idol. With a nice romantic, sci-fi plot that twists and turns the reader is in for one hell of a good ride.

"Little Rosie vs. The Devil" - A unique and original story that is told from the point of view of Little Rosie, a rosewood tree that is turn into a fender guitar. Wrapped up in the myth of fame and deals with the devil, this story was an easy favorite.

"In(ter)vention" - A humorous and witty story that made me laugh out loud. In(ter)vention tells the story of a music critic named Ian whose mother stages a cyber-intervention.

"Depraved Indifference" - The darkest story in the collection, Depraved Indifference, is a brilliantly creative look at suicide and the darker corners of rock n roll history. If I had to pick one favorite in this collection, this was it.

"Fishing with Grandpa" - A lighter story about two college roommates and what happens when your family includes a famous bass player who has an eye for the ladies. Charming and sexy.

I'm a music junkie and  love rock 'n' roll . Most of the books I've read about music, especially rock, have fallen short. Not Wilson and Smith. They deliver a fascinating and fun anthology that remains true to the spirit of rock n roll. I highly recommend this anthology.


Four and a Half Mystique Moons

Sara Gentili, Co-Owner Mystique Books

Jul. 21st, 2015

Brenda

CAROLINA BLUES by Virginia Kantra (and CAROLINA HEART)



Magnificent, as always. Kantra again delivers a brilliant, breathtaking story of family and love in the gorgeous and rustic Dare Island community.  I'm so in love with her Dare Island.  Of all fantasies, existing within a healthy and supportive family is mine.  (Ugly story about my childhood later in this post.)

Anyway, here we meet Jack Rossi.  No, not the dude from Criminal Minds although, yes, that one's a Rossi as well, but the new Chief of police for the laid-back, sea community.  He's there to put his life back together from what most of us face as we age.  A relationship that went bad.  Yeah, it sucks but it's also life.  More, he's the type or hero who can, and does, rescue a kitten and give it a forever home aboard his boat.  Sweet Lord, I love a guy like that!  The uniform is a plus.  (Gotta love a guy in a uniform, no?)  Add in the fact he's a hot Italian guy and, yeah, I'm soooooooooo in looooooooooove!

On the other side of the spectrum is Lauren Patterson, grad student and survivor of a police action that went back.  She's also in recovery and is dealing with a sever case of PTSD's avoidance cluster.  I get that.  No, really, I have that.  (Childhood thing.  Again, later.)

These two meet and the flames ignite into a beautiful storm of of passion and renewed trust.  OMG, a GORGEOUS story.  I know that a romance needs a black moment, a question of "will they lose their way?" but, sheesh!  I wouldn't have left that guy's life, let alone his bed.  (TMI?  Sorry.)

I'm in love with this series.  Can you tell?

Five Mystique Moons
Class Three sexuality

Now back to the topic of my childhood and why now?  Because of Kantra's short "Carolina Heart" found inside ASK ME WHY.  The dedication inside says "To all girls who were told they wern't smart enough or good enough or deserving enough.  This one's for you."  And, yes, that meant me and Cynthie's story made be cry because that was my story, which is something I reached out to Kantra to tell her that.



I'm not gonna lie and say my life was roses.  In fact, you can read about my life in my fiction.  Let's just say I won the Triple Crown of abuses: physical, psychological and sexual.  In fact, I was abucted by Mommie Dearest and placed into indentured Servitude.  No, really.  It's a matter of record.  More, my pain and my reproductive system was a stream of income starting with the creeptastic photos while I was in the second grade to deleberately breaking me up from my baby's daddy (when I was 19) to keep her hands on my welfare check.  It didn't work.  I ran out of there anyway, 19-years old, intentionally minimized and kept uneducated to destroy my self esteem and ability to care for myself and my 3-month child in hand, and continually destroying my life because of Mommy Dearest's eromaniac pathology.  (Really, she wants me to say "You're such a good mommy!" and makes sure that whever I build up is destroyed so that I'm forced back beneath her jackboot.   Delusional.  But, that's a different topic.)

Anyway, like me, Cynthie is a single parent desperate to turn her life around.  Unlike me, Cynthie has a supportive parent.  (Lucky chick)  Like me, she's also determined to remain away from people, especially emotionally, because she, like me, has learned that people want only one thing from me.  Profit.  A way to ensure their own betterment with no regard to my emotional wellness.

My life is as displayed exactly as Kantra mentioned in her book.  "I'm the chick who gets knocked up behind the bleachers."

I was abandoned by my baby's daddy because of Mommy Dearest's phone calls to his house telling his family that I was a stank ho' that was sleeping around on him.  He's a good man.  We were both 18 in my pregnancy and 19 in our daughter's first year.  For Cynthie, everything came full circle.  I still dream of that happening for me.

Her daughter has reconnected with her now and All Is Good.  For me, not at all.  He's moved on and is in a brilliant new life.  Bummer for me but he's a father to our child so that's a victory since Mommy Dearest's dearest's desire was to have him gone, gone, gone from our daughter's life.  The victory for me is something the Cynthie character appeared to know well.  And she, like me, didn't give up.  She would find a way into a new life and it would be beautiful.  And she would never give up.

"Carolina Heart" is my story and Kantra said "This one's for you."  Thank you, Virginia Kantra.  For too long girls like me have sufferend, invisible and dismissed.  Thank you.


Five Mystique Moons
Class Three sexuality

Brenda Thatcher, Co-Owner Mystique Books

Jul. 12th, 2015

Brenda

SING YOU HOME by Jodi Picoult

This bit of brilliance *koffkoff* bares repeating due to the actual plot of this book:  "A genre I've come to know, and to loathe, is called "women's fiction." (No, ladies, not all women are into treating men like genetic dispensers and walking ATM machines, tossing everything away for IVF treatment, nor obsessed with the "new baby smell." NEWS FLASH! The female experience isn't just a fertile womb. (Sacrifice the men in your life as necessary.)


This book is vile.

In my years of reviewing books, and my decades of reading Popular Fiction, I never thought I’d string those four words together into a sentence and use it to describe someone’s intellectual property.  Yet, behold. Here it is.  Picoult's Sing You Home is vile.

Nor have I ever before contemplated the idea of placing a book into a roasting pan, dousing it with lighter fluid, and striking a match.  Yet, the idea has crossed my mind on more than one occasion during the two hundred pages I managed to endure.

Was I buying what Picoult was selling?  No, no, and no.  I’m not a fan of socio-political programming, nor of swallowing anyone else’s idea of what’s “the right and true way.”  As such, when force fed the author’s agenda I imagine I may have reacted much like an unfortunate foie gras goose.  Badly.

The socio-political agenda I so loathe?  The gang’s all there.  Inside this book is the penis-is-bad argument, the men-are-useful-idiots argument, the womb-is-better-than-anything-delivered-by-the-Y-chromosome-ilk, that if-you-think-differently-than-me-then-you’re-evil argument, the lesbians-are-good and patriarchy-is-bad argument, the womb-is-more-relevant-than-a-penis, and the oft-presented White Woman-Middle Class-and-White-Chick-is-overly-relevant argument.  Yeah, in Sing You Home, the gang’s all there.  But, let’s take a look at the book as a tool for learning the audience.

EMOTIONAL CONNECTION? Zero.  We’re informed, in scene one, that Zoe seeks to repair the emotional trauma of her father’s death via a doll…which she transforms into her yearning for a child.  She proceeds to sacrifice her health, welfare, and marriage on the altar of “I wanna be a mother” without concern or care.  Her husband becomes little more than genetic material in her question of produce a child, and Zoe willingly steamrolls over the emotional, financial, and partnership of her marriage. That’s a mental illness.  Addiction? Of a sort, but I believe it’s called “Perinatal mental illness” which (thankfully) is benefiting for increased awareness.  No, I'm not going to subscribe to Picoult's attempt to make a sympathetic character out of this pathology.  Just ick.

SOCIAL CONNECTION? “I may be Caucasian, both blinded by and ripe with white girl privilege, but even I noted the absence of Women of Color in Weiner’s book.”  Oh, this time I mean Picoult’s book.  See a pattern?  I do.  Again, I note, “Surely there were opportunities for Weiner to insert a character of color, of any gender, into her story.  But she didn’t.  It think it’s obvious that in [Picoult’s] reality, there are only white people with white issues and white picket fences.” This is not my reality, thus, they should be portrayed inside of “Women’s Fiction”.  Did I resonate with Picoult’s social reality?  No.

WALL-BANGING MOMENT? Page one hundred and seventy-four, where Zoe and Vanessa engage in sex.  Lesbian sex, in case the point was somehow overlooked.  You see, “she’s been waiting for the person forever” (171).  Because penis is bad and womb is good. In sum: she was a lesbian all along but she needed a dude's genetic offering to fulfill her obsesson to be a parent.  PU-UKE!!

VOMITOUS? Her “evil Church people.”  Yes, there are some Fundies in this world who violate the entirety of “…Love your neighbor as yourself” (Lev 19:18) Biblical thing.  That alone would be an interesting topic for a book, but wedged into a book that argues that “gay is good” and “Church folk are bad” delivers more than a whiff of agenda.  Did I subscribe to the author’s socio-political programming?  No. My mind is my own, thank you very much.


1.  What she did to Max’s psyche because of her psychosis?  Icky, icky, icky.  The author wants us to believe this damaged character would make or a good life partner for Vanessa and, a make a good mother for unborn children?  How in God’s name can a person that damaged have any idea about or value in a healthy family?  Just, no, no, no.

2.
I see a world, a culture, of people of all colors.  Women, yes, all of them.  I didn't see them in Picoult's book.

3.
A sickening display of misandry and Second Wave Feminist agenda.  Oh, and let's not overlook that the baby delivered after the ubiquitous IVF was A GIRL!!  Anyone surprised?  I wasn't.  PU-UKE REDUX.

My overall impression of the book?  Does it really need to be said?

ALL AROUND FAIL

Brenda Thatcher, Co-Owner Mystique Books


Will I voluntarily read Picoult again?  Decisively, no.
I wish the book and author buckets of cash and glory, but I also wish them elsewhere.
Brenda

ALL FALL DOWN by Jennifer Weiner

Okay, I'm back. More, I'm in my VERY LAST SEMESTER for my MFA in Popular Fiction. Rejoice!!! I know I am. Now, it's been quite the journey. I've learned so much about popular fiction, encountered amazing new (to me) genres) and (sadly) discovered some genres that I ABSOLUTELY...DON'T LIKE. I don't do -isms in any way, certainly not to offer tacit support of discriminatory mindset of any type with my money. As such, I avoid current Young Adult fiction that displays ageism. Sure, not all does but enough do so, no, I avoid.

A genre I've come to know, and to loathe, is called "women's fiction." (No, ladies, not all women are into treating men like genetic dispensers and walking ATM machines, tossing everything away for IVF treatment, nor obsessed with the "new baby smell." NEWS FLASH! The female experience isn't a fertile womb. (Sacrifice the men in your life as necessary.)

Anyway, to that end, my next couple of reviews will demonstrate my loathing of the above mindset as well as spotlighting two horrifyingly popular books of the above type. (No, Powell's books wouldn't let me sell them back so I may as well get some use out of them, no?)

These books are not for me and (probably) not for many ladies of my generation.So... *drum roll*...here's the first in my (short) Hall of Shame.

All Fall Down, is the same thing I learned from Mr. Mackey of South Park, who gave us the sage commentary of, “Drugs are bad, 'mkay?” For this reader, Allison was an unlikable character. She’s popping Oxy like it was Pez candies and why? Because being a housewife, blogger, mother, and caretaker is so traumatizing. Furthermore, and if that wasn’t repulsive enough to this reader, Allison decides on more than one occasion to drive, child in the car, while under the influence of opiates.

Now, in real life it’s made very clear that’s not to be done. While my experience is only with my one doctor, he made sure to repeat his advisement many times during my visits. (My subsequent pain from a car accident.) If that wasn’t enough, the label on the bottle clearly urges one away from using heavy machinery while under the use of the medication. Yet, in All Fall Down, the reader is urged to somehow find some form of sympathy for the protagonist.

I didn’t buy what Weiner was selling. Decisively, no. However, like the book or not, I could learn something from it if I applied myself to the task, could I not?

MY EMOTIONAL CONNECTION? As hard as Weiner tried, for this reader her Allison character presented as nothing but a “Drama Llama.” A fancy house in the suburbs that she couldn’t (yet) afford to furnish? The horror! Her career is taking off? Terrible! Doing better than husband? Blasphemy! Issues with parents at the end of their lives? Stressful. A difficult child? Okay, yeah, if I had a kid like Excitable Ellie, I’d also be popping Oxy like Pez candies.

SOCIAL CONNECTION? I may be Caucasian, both blinded by and ripe with white girl privilege, but even I noted the absence of Women of Color in Weiner’s book. I recall “LaDonna,” who is identified by my assumption that her name identifies a woman of color. (An assumption, only.) The character “LaDonna” exists in a small scene that has little or no relevance to the GMC of All Fall Down. Three pages of scene, pages 148 to 151 specifically. Another (maybe) woman of color is Nurse No Name of Meadowcrest, described as a, “small, plump, dark-skinned woman”(p 271). These were tertiary characters at best.

WALL-BANGING MOMENT? Page three hundred and fourteen. What happened? That’s when Allison’s mask of a mother confessed to her alcoholism and to causing a car accident in Allison’s forth year, which broke her arm. Why is this a wall-banging moment? Because all that did is give Addict Allison a convenient “out,” also known as a “reason” for her choices and actions. Thus, all the work done by author Weiner is, thus, blown out of the water.

1.  In sum, nothing sympathetic about Allison. However, if a tiresome drama llama was what Weiner attempted to portray then she did a good job building her character. Did I connect with Allison? No.

2.
Surely there were opportunities for Weiner to insert a character of color, of any gender, into her story. But she didn’t. It think it’s obvious that in Weiner’s reality, there are only white people with white issues and white picket fences. Did I resonate with Weiner’s social reality? No.

3. Recovery is based in self-realization and personal accountability. Addicts lunge onto and latch onto any excuse for their addiction-choices. While folding in her mother’s alcoholism may have been a good choice for world- and conflict-building, it zapped any credibility to Allison’s character-building and the personal epiphany needed for an addict’s recovery.

Do I really need to say it?

All Around Fail

Brenda Thatcher, Co-Owner Mystique Books


I wish the book and author buckets of cash and glory, but I also wish them elsewhere.

Mar. 11th, 2013

Sarah

OBSIDIAN by Jennifer L Armentrout

Obsidian (Lux, #1)Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


So so so good. I don't usually turn into a crazed fan girl during reviews but I don't think I can help myself. Daemon *sigh* is very swoon worthy and Katy *fist pumps* just rocks. So for me this book was all about the fantastic writing and realistic character development. Just flawless. Also the dialog between Daemon and Katy sizzled. There was not a single wasted word and the plot moved at a breakneck speed.

Katy was a wonderful heroine. Well rounded and totally believable. Her reactions to the extreme situations she finds herself in are funny and spot on. She does not whine, ring her hands or want to be saved. She is not the doormat or damsel in distress that seems to be so popular in YA right now.

Daemon is a smart, sexy hero. He is also a jack ass to the heroine in an attempt to protect his family secrets. While this would normally annoy me, the fact that Katy the heroine calls him on it works for me. This leads to some of the funniest and at times sexiest dialog I have read in ages and makes the book fun.

Sexy alien hero + book nerd heroine = a snarky, smart, fun, thrilling read that I devoured and had me running for book 2.

A well deserved 5 out of 5 stars.

Sara Gentili, Co-Owner Mystique Books




View all my reviews

Feb. 24th, 2013

Sarah

COVETED by Shawntelle Madison

Shawntelle-Madison-Coveted

Shawntelle Madison is a brave author who has developed a full cast of rich vibrant characters with real struggles and problems they have to overcome to achieve their happily ever after. Natalya is a wonderful heroine in part because she has real problems that author Madison forces her to deal with in realistic ways. I really liked this character and was cheering for her the inter time.

Interesting premise, strong characters and an excellent buildup of tension and conflict. I enjoyed how author Shawntelle Madison focused on developing the heroine and getting her to a place where she had a more balanced dynamic with the hero. My only nitpick, and its a small one, is that I was expecting more romance development throughout the story. After realizing the full extent of the demons the heroine was struggling with I understood why. I can not wait to get my hands on book two and see how the romance progresses.

Nov. 25th, 2012

Sarah

IN TRAINING By Michelle Robbins

med_InTraining

In Training by Michelle Robbins is a hot, steamy read that left me breathless. I have read Erotica in the past and have not been moved. I have never experienced this lifestyle and usually have had a hard time engaging in Erotic novels because everything seemed so extreme. In the past I have been disappointed by this genre but IN TRAINING turned me into a believer.

Michelle Robbins delivers a stunning, shocking romance with well developed characters and heart. 


This is a beautifully balanced story that takes the reader by the hand and guides them into new territory. I loved the skillful way author Robbins uses Abby's inexperience in the world of domination and submission to escalate the heat. This was critical because we are taken not just into the world of BDSM but into the world of Internal Enslavement. This is difficult subject matter but handled so brilliantly that as the story progressed I was eager to see what happened next.

IN TRAINING is full of believable, flawed characters who need each other  desperately. Their journey to happily ever after is raw, emotional, and messy. Abby is a very likable character and easy to fall in love with.  Seth is a hot, dominate alpha male.  Together they sizzle on the page.

This is an intense, dark romance that will push the reader to the edge and deliver a true love story. I was delighted to learn after interviewing Michelle that Abby was based on her own experiences and that she had found her own Seth. 

You can read more about Michelle Robbins and IN TRAINING at :

http://aqpauthors.blogspot.com/2012/10/his-life-in-turmoil-due-topast.html 


Five Mystique Moons
Class Five Sensuality


Sarah Gentili, Co-Owner Mystique Books

Nov. 8th, 2012

Brenda

ENEMY GAMES by Marcella Burnard

EnemyGames

Joyously I tore the shipping packing around ENEMY GAMES.  It had come!  I dived in, totally ready for another air-burning romp in Marcella Brunard’s universe.  Jayleia’s story this time, and she is paired alongside a very hunky hero, Damen Sindrivik.  (ß she named him “sin,” and I easily understood why.  Hawt!)

We first met Jayleia on page seven of ENEMY WITHIN.  Author Brunard introduced us to that character by writing, “Jayleia’s people trained their women to be warriors, but jay had chosen to reject the path….She’d chosen a life of science,”(p. 7).  Wonderful!  A girl who uses her brains instead of her biceps.  She was right up my alley, as was the hunky Major Sindrivik.  And there was much to pit her wits against, a dangerous puzzle of cosmic proportion to be solved.  There was a plague, her father’s abduction, the entrapment and displacement of Sindrivik’s people, and the ongoing battle between the Big Bads—yes, two aliens now—the Chekydran-hiin and their sister species the Chekydran-ki.  Luckily, Jayleia’s mental chops were up to the challenge as brilliant solution after brilliant solution fills ENEMY GAMES

…until Author Brunard jumps the shark.  Never heard of the phrase?  “Jumping the Shark” was coined during one episode of Happy Days when The Fonz, in his eternal coolness, actually jumps over a shark during a stint spent waterskiing…yes, he wore the leather jacket in the salt water also.  That moment was when folks said, “Oh, Jeez” and is now considered the lowest point of the show.  Since then, “jumping the shark” has come to mean a moment when something once fantastic has taken a turn for the worse and has been reduced to the realms of irreversibly unrecoverable (urbandictionary.com).  That moment is when Jayleia forgoes her smarts and transforms into Kung-Fu Momma.

Suddenly being lovely and brilliant isn’t enough.  Suddenly Jayleia must deck herself out into ninjia-type garb, complete with mask, and face cyborg warriors engineered by the enemy.  She spins around the battlefield much like Yoda pitted against Christopher Lee, aka Darth Tyranus.  Indeed, exactly like the spinning top displayed on the big screen. 

We, the reader, are supposed to be okay with the previously-banished-from-her-people-but-still-in-practice ninja-cum-scientist lunging back and forth across the battlefield faster than a speeding bullet—no lie, it’s in there—and managing to down the deadly dangerous cyborgs with a boot to the face.  I may be the minority but this reader’s disbelief doesn’t stretch that far.  In fact, I was insulted for all the brainy girls that had just been betrayed by the desire to turn Smart Chick into Ninja Babe. 

I didn’t toss the book against the wall but I thought about it, which is why I took so long to write up this review.  I have remained angry, betrayed, and revolted by the author’s choice.  But, that aside the mystery and suspense is outstanding.  If you like smart and sexy chicks who must transform into warrior babes, this book is for you.  I don’t so this book isn’t for me. 



Three Mystique Moons
Class Two Sensuality


Brenda Thatcher, Co-Owner
mystiquebooks@gmx.com

Oct. 27th, 2012

Brenda

ENEMY WITHIN by Marcella Brunard

Enemy Within

This is a fantastic read.  What an adventure.  Warp ten with your hair on fire all the way!!

Wow, and I was totally and pleasantly astonished by the author’s final play, but enough of that topic.  I don’t want to spoil it for you.

We meet Ari—AKA Captain Alexandra Rose Idylle—who has recently been released from a POW camp/situation and is on the road to recovery.  Unfortunately, things are not going as planned.  One Captain Cullin Seaghdh (Shaw?  Seg-i-dew?) and his band of merry men have taken over her father’s science ship.  Not willing to simply let that happen, Ari goes to bat for the ship and its crew.  Unfortunately, Captain Seaghdh is more than capable of counteracting her every move.  In fact, he seemed to know every action she would take before she took it.  How was that possible?

Because she was the object Seaghdh had been sent to retrieve.

This is a multi-layered mystery and, as I said, it is awesome!  I was more than pleasantly surprise with each discovery.  “You go, girl!” I kept crowing aloud because, to my satisfaction, Ari came into her own with each revelation.  Seaghdh was a pleasant interlude, a lovely love interest, and a kewl wrench-in-the-engine.  Hawt! 

But what really crashed into my awareness was the unbelievably awesome worldbuilding regarding The Big Bad—an alien government and it’s very repulsive citizen, called Captain Hicci of the dread Chekydran Empire.  Hicci is a gross and repellant character in both form and character. I hated him.  His enjoyment over the torture of his captives was…EWWWWWWWWWW!  And I mean that in a good way.  What a concept!

This book, written by the very capable Marcella Burnard, is a stunning story and one that is due to become well known among the Sci-Fi/Romance audience.  Two things I want to complain about, and these are personal nits so I didn’t knock the book’s rating down to reflect it.  A)  easy with the hard to pronounce names.  I understand the intent, to show the difference between the many varying peoples within the book’s universe, but the truth is that I don’t speak Celtic so it was a stumbling block for this reader.  (Seag?  Sou-gtth?)  B) more carnality.  Those two characters could have burned up the sheets.  Sure, I bow to the author’s desire to do something else in a reflection to Ari’s mental and physical recovery, but sheesh, I needed a cold shower every time Ari and “Shaw” were in the same room.  A promise that rarely ever came to completion! (ßHo ho ho!  I made a funny!)

But, again, that’s simply my preference and clearly not the author’s.

ENEMY WITHIN is highly, highly recommended.  I can’t wait for book two.

Five Mystique Moons
Class Two Sexuality


Brenda Thatcher, Co-Owner
mystiquebooks@gmx.com

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