Category Archives: Reason: Asked by the Author

Twilight Rogue by Andrea Pearson

So often a book series will have a great beginning and end, but then loses steam in the middle. Not this one! Twilight Rogue is the third book of the Midnight Chronicles and it’s absolutely fantastic. Two huge things happen that I was seriously not expecting and one of them changes absolutely everything I thought I knew. I love how Abel’s character, including his feelings under that seemingly emotionless exterior, is being developed through this series. The writing is excellent. It’s the kind of story that you just don’t want to put down and leaves you with a book hangover when you’re all done. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes urban fantasy. It’s even better if you’ve read Lizzie’s series first, but that’s not necessary (though I do recommend it).

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 8
Pages Read in 2020: 2599
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Filed under Fantasy, Reason: Asked by the Author, Reason: I Like the Author, Reason: I Like the Series

Twinkle, Twinkle by LRW Lee

Twinkle, Twinkle, the fourth and final Sand Maiden book, wraps up the storylines quite nicely. Most of the chapters are told from Ali’s point of view, though some chapters scattered throughout are told from other characters’ points of view for things that Ali is not present for but are important for the reader to know. The writing is excellent, often using clever imagery. The character development is quite realistic. The theme of abuse, recovery from being abused and the cycle of abuse, is addressed very well and very sensitively. I highly recommend this book and the whole series!

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 123
Pages Read in 2019: 31,613
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Filed under Fantasy, Reason: Asked by the Author, Reason: I Like the Author, Reason: I Like the Series

Evening Storm by Andrea Pearson

Evening Storm, the second book in the Midnight Chronicles series, picks up right where the first book left off. It parallels things that happened in the second Koven Chronicles book (The Black Masquerade), but from Abel’s point of view this time. It’s very interesting getting to see where Abel was all those times he disappeared and what his emotions were doing when he was basically acting like a jerk to Lizzie. The story really sucks you in and is very well written. I highly recommend it to people who like urban fantasy and especially people who have read the Koven Chronicles (though you don’t have to have read them first – but if you have it will make Abel’s story even better).

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 122
Pages Read in 2019: 31,284
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Filed under Fantasy, Reason: Asked by the Author, Reason: I Like the Author, Reason: I Like the Series

Shadow Prophet by Andrea Pearson

Shadow Prophet is the start to a new series (and what a start it is!) that happens at the same time as the Koven Chronicles, just this time the story centers on and is being told by Abel. It’s darker than the author’s other books (it’s still not super dark), but that makes sense because Abel is a rather complex and intense character and the things he’s been through and is being made to do are really rough. The book reads fast, mainly because you won’t want to put it down. For people who have read the Koven Chronicles, it’s really interesting to get glimpse into Abel’s mind and start to understand why he acts the way he does. You don’t have to have read the other series first, though. This one can totally stand on it’s own. I highly recommend Shadow Prophet to people who like the author’s other books or enjoyed the Koven Chronicles or just like urban fantasy. You won’t be disappointed!

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 112
Pages Read in 2019: 29,059
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Filed under Fantasy, Reason: Asked by the Author, Reason: I Like the Author

Healed by Miranda H. Lotz

There is so much wrong with this book.

First, the characters are almost universally dreadful, unlikable people (this includes the ones you are supposed to like). The notable exception is Carson and his story suddenly goes into left field when he has a car accident and seizure right at the end of the book (absolutely no way someone with the brain injury he had would remember the details of an accident immediately upon waking up). And then… what? His story just kind of ends there like the author got bored of writing and decided to suddenly wrap it up without tying up any loose ends for the side characters’ stories she had started and only wanted to finish out the main story (that was weird).

Second, the characters are pretty much all stereotypes. What do you think of when you hear lobbyist? That would be Nick. What do you think of when you hear multi-term Senator? That would be Senator Steele. And so on.

Third, it needs an editor. There are many errors where words are missing, spelled wrong, or the wrong word is written (Dottie’s instead of Dorothy’s when referring to the slippers from Wizard of Oz at the Smithsonian for example).

Fourth, the author used way too many similes. About three-fourths of the way through the book she suddenly stopped using so many. I guess she had gotten enough practice writing that she wasn’t so dependent on them anymore.

Fifth, it was just weird when the lobbyist was given open-ended tickets to the Bahamas for his whole family by his pharmaceutical company owner boss just for literally doing his job. The author in the end notes said she was a little concerned about a pharmaceutical company reading her book and thinking she was talking about them and suing her. Clearly she has not read a plethora of medical thrillers where pharmaceutical companies are portrayed far worse (and far more realistically).

Sixth, it was really bizarre that she had the mom deliver the baby at a children’s hospital, particularly since it was set in the DC area where there are plenty of hospitals to choose from. Generally delivery at a children’s hospital is reserved for people who know ahead of time that their babies will have medical needs at birth. It also seemed odd that as an active duty military member’s wife she was not giving birth at a military hospital, nor were military hospitals even mentioned (she was about to deliver in the car so I could see going to the closest hospital – but I’d think they’d at least be attempting to go to a military hospital in the first place).

Seventh, the whole incident of the doctor being reprimanded for delivering the baby. It was an emergency. He was around while no other doctor was. ER nurses or doctors (as opposed to L&D nurses and obstetricians) sometimes deliver babies. It’s just the way it is when someone comes in very close to delivery and there is not time to locate the right doctor. This is not cause for being reprimanded.

Eighth, it didn’t make sense that the family always went to the children’s hospital where the baby was born for medical care even though the father was active duty military. They were never seen at a place like Bethesda, nor were any military hospitals mentioned. Now, it would be reasonable if there were no doctors who could deal with infantile spasms at a military location, for them to be referred to a non-military location and doctors. But they never saw a single military doctor at all.

Ninth, it was a big deal that they had to pay a fortune for vigabatrin and the insurance denied covering it initially. But, as an active duty military family, wouldn’t they have Tricare? I googled and Tricare covers vigabatrin for babies diagnosed with infantile spasms. So that whole part of the story makes no sense. (Also, as an aside, my googling found that vigabatrin can be prescribed for older kids with seizures that are not infantile spasms. A doctor in the book commented that the drug is only for infantile spasms and never prescribed for anything else and indicated that’s why it is so expensive, but clearly that is not the case.)

Tenth, the author clearly wanted to book to be Christian and by the end she was quite successful. For most of the book, however, the religious elements seemed very forced. Like she was going along and suddenly realized she hadn’t put a random prayer in or mentioned God in a while. It just didn’t happen organically for so much of the book.

Eleventh, The doctors were complete idiots about medical marijuana. In my experience, doctors actually know quite a bit and many are in favor of it even in states that do not allow it. I’m not sure if the author thinks CBD oil is addictive (kind of got that feeling) or what, but it seems that she doesn’t understand the drug schedules and what they mean and why beyond a google search and wikipedia article. She also does not understand what a clinical trial is, nor does one of her doctor characters (who would definitely understand what a clinical trial is in real life).

Twelfth, having grown up in the DC area it really bothered me how she referred to monuments by their full names. It sounded overly stuffy and formal and not at all how someone who lives in DC would refer to them (think the Abraham Lincoln Memorial instead of the Lincoln Memorial). It made the characters seem insincere and less believable.

Now, even with all negatives, it wasn’t all bad. The character of Carson was lovely and real. By the end, the writing had gotten tons better (perhaps this is why many published authors say to never publish your first book, or at least don’t publish it until you’ve written your second and have gone back and edited your first). She has the ability to be a good story teller and for the first half I was actually interested to know what happened to the baby (by the second half I kept reading mostly to just get it finished). Even with these few positives, due to the many issues I have with it, I don’t recommend taking the time to read Healed.

2 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 87
Pages Read in 2019: 22,612
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Filed under Realistic Fiction, Reason: Asked by the Author

Clouds Tumble Down by Daniel Pericich

Clouds Tumble Down is the fictionalized true story of Sara, a friend of the author. Both her brother and new/potential boyfriend were killed in car accidents and then she moved from a city to a tiny town. The book is the story of a very difficult year or so. Parts were good, but most of the time I just didn’t like Sara. She had been dealt a rough hand, but even when good things happened, she acted like a spoiled brat. I didn’t find it to be that great of a portrayal of mental health issues, mainly because she was so unlikable. It also really needs an editor for the many grammar, usage, and mechanics issues. It’s worth reading if you really want to, mainly because it’s so short, but I’d skip it if given the chance again.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 63
Pages Read in 2019: 16,906
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Filed under Realistic Fiction, Reason: Asked by the Author, Reason: LitHub Bingo

Operation Hail Storm by Brett Arquette

I was asked by the author to read and review Operation Hail Storm. I’m sorry I accepted. I’m also sorry that I seem to lack the ability to put horrible books down and stop reading them. There is so much wrong with this book. There are a multitude of typos and other errors. It reads like a rough draft rather than a finished book. Good writers know they should show rather than tell. The author occasionally succeeds in doing so, but then proceeds to immediately explain what he has just shown once or twice more. It’s kind of bizarre and kind of like when someone tells a joke and then explains the punchline even though you got it the first time. The dialogue doesn’t feel real. It is usually one character asking a question followed by another character answering for several paragraphs. The president is a complete idiot who doesn’t seem to understand how anything works and makes extremely stupid decisions. The CIA doesn’t seem to know that microdrones even exist and are just amazed, and kind of confused, at what Hail can do with his drones. The timeline of the whole thing is completely unbelievable. It’s only been two years since the terrorist attack that spurred Hail to action and, yet, in those two years he’s managed to gather and become the legal guardian of many who were left orphans from the attack and plan, create the tech, train the kids, and begin to carry out his retaliation plan. Most of the characters are rather unlikable and didn’t make me even remotely care about them. Quite simply, this is not a book I recommend anyone bother to read.

1 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 124
Pages Read in 2018: 32,563
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Filed under Reason: Asked by the Author, Thriller