Category Archives: Novella Reviews

Breathless Bundle 2 – Eternal Vows

In the last post from Breathless, I reviewed a book I really enjoyed reading, but it ended too quickly. I vented my frustrations at being gypped half a book. Eternal Vows, by Chrissy Peebles, is another of these novellas, but I’m glad I only got 1/6 of the tale.

Amazon: 3.9 (241 ratings)

Barnes and Noble: 3.9 (139 ratings)

Goodreads: 3.7 (1942 ratings)

Synopsis:

“Never marry a stranger…even if he is a drop-dead gorgeous immortal king.

Never pretend to be a princess.

And most importantly…never slip on an ancient wedding ring you know nothing about.

Sarah Larker returns to a cave where her sister disappeared ten years earlier. She walks through a portal and is mistaken for a runaway princess on the run by a dangerous immortal king in medieval times. Her plan is bold as well as daring—become this princess, wed the king, and slip on an ancient wedding ring that will unlock the portal back home. Then find her sister and run as fast as she can out of Dodge. But taking on the identity of Princess Gloria comes along with dangerous consequences; and slipping on the ruby ring comes with an even higher price.”

Soundbite from the web:

Good: Chrissy Peebles has outdone herself with this highly captivating, hold your interest to the end romance story with a twist in “Eternal Vows”. This is the first book in what is sure to be a successful series. (5-star rater on Amazon)

Bad: “This was too absurd to finish. I think it was supposed to be tongue in cheek humor, but it fell flat. I just could not beyond 41 0/0 of the amateurish plot.” (1-star rater on Amazon)

Ugly: “This book just wasn’t as good as I was hoping for. First of all, there are a fair number of really annoying editing problems. For instance, the vows for one of them say cling unto, instead of cleave unto. Or how about the Cardashian court becoming the Kardashian court. Did we move it to New Jersey!?” (3-star rater on Amazon)

I say:

This book had its interesting moments, but it reads a lot like one of those terrible teenage romance novels. Sarah is the female kind-of-equivalent Indiana Jones (which happens to NOT be Hannah Montana…so she’s Arizona Fiona? I digress….) She’s hunting Bigfoot with a squad of fellow scientists. They’ve been ridiculed for their research in the elusive ape man. Sarah’s is particularly interested because she believes Bigfoot captured her younger/older sister (the book begins with her sister being older, then ends with her being younger) during a camping trip in California and Sarah was the only witness. Hmm… I’ve been camping in California. It could have been a drunk hippie…

One night their campsite’s sensors and camera’s go wild with activity. A skeptic reporter and former love interest of Sarah (named Frank) has arrived on scene to stir up some backstory.Then Bigfoot appears and everyone chases him into a cave and get teleported into not-Narnia ruled by the Cardashian Court (instead of Liam Neeson, so…they fell into the infierno of Narnia).

Sarah is captured by King Victor, a very hot hottie hot sexy babe man of the medieval world. This is the part that truly bugged me. 100% teenage girl thoughts of “oh he’s so hot and dreamy, but he took me prisoner so I hate him” “Yikes, he wants to marry me and I do, but I’m not a princess, so I’ll pretend to be the princess that he was trying to capture so I can marry him or escape or…” I’ll end the horror of the run on sentence and the teenage female mind there.

Frank sneaks in to the prison and talks her into marrying King Victor, saying that the King has a ring that is their key back through the portal to Earth. Even though she loathes the King and thinks him a sexist sexy pig, she marries him and enjoys a few moments of making out with him before making her escape.

Here’s another thing I didn’t find convincing. The King believes that Sarah is the daughter of one of his former and once-trusted allies yet fails to see the difference in physical looks, or clothing, or accent (I’m sure California has a different accent than a medieval world, you know what I’m saying dawg?) He thinks she is playing stupid.

So what is the big problem with the book novella? The characters and their conversations feel forced and overdramatic, like every dialogue is trying to be important, yet nothing important is actually being said. Only King Victor really held a yoctogram of interest for me and only because he is so unintelligent and yet he’s supposed to be a god among his people.

Final judgement: 2 stars

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Breathless Bundle 1 – Radium Halos

I found a free bundle on Google Books that promises “6 fantasy/supernatural/paranormal stories that will leave you breathless…Each woman has a destined fate and an extraordinary story to tell.” Being that this stuff is right up this blog’s alley, I decided to give it a go, after all, heroines are just as cool to read about…usually… *cough Twilight*. So naturally I downloaded Breathless and found out that some of the books are not books. They aren’t even short stories. Or poems… The first of these “novellas” as they are called is Radium Halos, by W.J. May.

Amazon: 4.5 (25 ratings)

Barnes and Noble: 4.4 (9 ratings)

Goodreads: 3.5 (77 ratings)

 

Synopsis

“Everyone needs to be a hero at one point in their life. The small town of Elliot Lake will never be the same again after Zoe, a high school senior from Elliot Lake, and five of her friends take shelter in an abandoned uranium mine during a violent thunderstorm. Over the next few days, Zoe’s hearing sharpens drastically… to supernatural levels. She tells her friends, only to learn that four others have an increased sense as well. Zoe is determined to use her new power for good, while trying to keep her growing feelings for Kieran, the new Scottish boy from their group, under control.

Fashioning themselves into superheroes, the group tries to stop the strange occurrences happening in their little town. Muggings, break-ins, disappearances, and murder begin to hit too close to home. It leads the team to think someone knows about their secret – someone who wants them all dead.

An incredulous group of heroes. A traitor in the midst. Some dreams are written in blood.

** This is Part 1 of 2 **
*Warning: This book will end on a cliffhanger. Book 2 picks up where this book ends.*”

Soundbite from the Internet

Good: “Fantastic start to a series! I loved the play between the friends and the intensity during the storm when they are caught in a cave. W.J. May makes the characters come to life and I can’t wait to find out what happens with their senses in the rest of the series. Love the characters that this author creates. She never fails to entertain.” (5-star rater on Amazon)

Bad: “The book has potential, but the author leaves us hanging before really developing the plot.” (2-star rater on Goodreads)

Ugly: “Why don’t they put the WHOLE story in one book??” (5-star rater on Barnes and Noble)

My Take

The book centers around a group of friends: Zoey, Heidi, Rylee,Brent, Seth, and Kieran. They live by Elliot Lake (except Kieran, he’s Scottish). I didn’t find out until the 3rd chapter that they were in Canada. If one of them said “Eh?” just once or said some Canadian slang or spoke French I would have singled out Canada as the setting, but nothing really gave that away until someone finally says Canada. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just that I had no idea these people were Canadian. As far as the author fleshed them out in the beginning, they could have been teenagers anywhere where English is spoken as a first language.

That’s not what bothered me in the book. What bothered me was Kieran’s written accent. I’ve some English and Scottish people and I was trying to match the way they spoke to the way Kieran spoke in the book and none of it matched up. I don’t claim to be a linguist or specialist in accents, but Kieran seems to speak more like Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins. At the very least Kieran could have shouted “FREEDOM!!” at the climax of the book to tie off the American in Scots’ clothing idea in my head.

These characters get caught in a storm and take shelter in a uranium mine, hence the title Radium Halos.  You know, because radium and uranium are the same thing. But on the other hand, radium sounds better than uranium halos and gives readers a sense of chemical wonder as opposed to nuclear fallout and angelic zombies, so I really have no complaint here. The mine electrifies them and infuses each one the a superpower.

This is the part I liked. None of these superpowers is actually useful. Super smell, super hearing, super seeing-through anything-you-touch. No strength, no speed. Only Kieran doesn’t get a super power. They save a girl from getting raped and begin training and then they all develop super strength and speed so they can fight crime and then… the end. Go buy book 2.

I would say I spoiled the plot of the entire book, but that’s what irks me: the entire first book is exposition and the beginning of a conflict (dealing with having super powers). All of the conflict of the synopsis of this book isn’t in this book. In fact, the ending was so abrupt that I wonder why the author chose to split the story into two books. It doesn’t need to be two books. The cliff hanger wasn’t the kind that would get me to grab the second book, I still feel like I should be reading the first book.

With some books, it’s okay to split into multiple books. After 400 pages of exposition, conflict, minor climaxes, tiny resolutions, and build up to one climax to rule them all, it’s great to end on a cliff hanger and write the next 400 pages. I am not a fan of “episodic” writing, or novellas. I can’t stand the novellas on the Spanish-speaking channels on my TV…or my telly, as Kieran should say it.

I give 2 stars. Half the number of stars I would have given for the half-a-book that I got.

To all the readers, do you like the “episodic” way of writing? Like and leave a comment below if you want.

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