Reviews by me
Here’s a list of reviews I did for fellow authors, preferably indie-authors/self-published works, in order of my submission:
Malediction – Rise of the Crimson Confessions by J.D. Lexx, on September 12, 2016, FIVE STARS from me:
J.D. Lexx just has a way with words, with playing with your mind and senses, and at the same time challenging the reader with intricate plot and literary language. If you want just a “sexy” read, this may overwhelm you. But if you love a tasteful, well thought-out, beautifully written masterpiece of sensual romance, this is it. You’ll be drawn into characters and settings you didn’t expect. J.D. Lexx is a wonderful writer with deep and rich language, and you have to take time and be “ready” for the experience. There aren’t many authors out there who can do sensual, erotic stories in a language so beautiful. I loved every page!
Swaying by Lucinda Blanchard, on August 9, 2016, THREE STARS from me:
The author explores what an obsession (in this case about the gender of her unborn child) can do to a woman, her relationships, and life choices. It is well written but I couldn’t connect with the topic, and found her motivation, where her obsession stems from, unclear. A theme like gender-obsession has to split the readership into those able to relate (and probably liking the story, which is the inner journey of the narrator), and those who can’t. Controversial topics can’t please every reader, and you’ll soon find out whether or not this is a read for you. Apart from the content, the narration as such is lovely, but lacks experience with story building, structuring, pacing, and could be tightened a lot (esp. the dialogue, which contains unnecessary small talk, and the retelling of events the reader just witnessed before). Overall, the writing is interesting and spotless grammar-wise, but the author could improve the quality of the read by using more “showing” than “telling” strategies in her narration. Overall, it is a book people will either love, or not be able to relate to.
Forged in Fire by Juliette Cross, on November 28, 2015, FOUR STARS from me:
I won the ebook in a competition and as it isn’t my favourite genre, or at least what I usually read, I was a little wary. But Juliette Cross had me hooked very quickly, because her descriptive writing and perfect pacing made it easy to get involved and be sucked into the story. At first I thought the amount of info the protagonist Genevieve gets in order to understand what being a Vessel means is too much, it was often close to info-dumping…but then: it was done in witty dialogue and the reader needs to know all these things just as she does. So I forgave that and the fact that Jude is always avoiding a direct answer at first, where I thought, “damn, man, she needs to know it all to survive! Don’t play mysterious when all I’d want to do is ask a thousand questions in order to function and understand..” But that was probably the author’s solution to info-dumping – spreading the info out. Which in turn led to the readers always learning something new, with Genevieve, and it kept the story interesting. The settings were plausible and the world she laid out was intriguing, though somehow sketchy in places, and I’d have liked a little more details in some places (Dante’s world, for example, HOW does he live and why?) and I loved that Genevieve, though overwhelmed, always can rely on strong people to pull her through. I never really feared for her, but that could also be a flaw of the plot, depends on how you view it. It relaxed me. The (sub.-)plot of the romance between Genevieve and the beautiful, mysterious Jude is lovely. Of course she at once falls for him, and I loved the element of how her opening up as a Vessel, her learning and understanding and her powers, brought them always a step closer together. And now comes a maybe European way of seeing romance: it felt too orchestrated in that he holds back and has to protect her by keeping her untainted. Read more…
Tregunna by Carla Vermaat, on October 3, 2015, FIVE STARS from me:
I absolutely enjoyed this book and couldn’t put it down until I finished. Not only is it a solid crime story with many likeable and realistic protagonists, there are many different layers to this story that make it unique and drew me in so that now I want to read more. Carla Vermaat uses the lovely, rugged setting of Cornwall, its beaches, pubs and people, to give the reader a realistic insight into life (and death) there. Her people are original and the characters full of depth and emotional realism. You will come to like inspector Tregunna a lot, and the subplot of what he has to go through in his private life is as entertaining and interesting as the murder investigation itself. Even when he only narrates from his hospital bed I found myself hooked and hooting for him. Carla Vermaat manages to easily make the reader connect with her characters and feel for them, there is no black-and-white painting of good and evil, everything is highly realistic and believable/plausible. Technically, I was at first wary of her intersecting of time-frames, but she pulled it off nicely so that Tregunna’s investigational time-frame and his (later, then again present) private life were set against each other, keeping things interesting and giving insights bit by bit. Jumping back and forth in time can be tricky, but in this instance it made the read even better, fresher. I found myself looking forward to the hospital scenes, even though those aren’t cheerful, but Vermaat’s realism and character-depth drew me in and kept me hooked until the end. I just hope that what she hinted at at the very end will come true, in a later sequel with Tregunna, who then hopefully will have an easier time, I kept to like this investigator a lot and can’t wait to read more of this author. This is a crime story that can easily keep up with the “big” players in the field and Vermaat is at eye-level with most authors of the genre I enjoy.
Banker’s Draft by Clive Mullis, on March 21st, 2015, FOUR STARS from me:
I was drawn into this quirky world Clive Mullis created straight away. He made me laugh out loud especially in the first chapters, which are fast-paced and well-written. His world contains not only very familiar characters, such as the private investigator with his feet on the desk and the dazzingly beautiful woman clouding his mind, but also with unexpected creatures, like dwarfs, talking cats and bears. There was always a surprise around the corner. The protagonists are likeable and flawed, the women beautiful and clever, frequently checked out and underestimated by the males. I would have liked a tighter middle and ending, where the first parts drew me right in and unfolded a new world. Overall an enjoyable read and highly recommended for anyone liking an original detective story with twists and quirks!
The Prisoner of War (Pilot): Part I of the Serial Novel, by E. M. Amabebe, on Feb. 1, 2015, FOUR STARS from me:
This pilot is just a short introduction to the forthcoming serialisation, but it wet my appetite for more! The characters are lovely and well-crafted, the setting is spot-on and I love how that unexpected “cargo” (the beautiful prisoner) spices up events and challenges the main characters! Amabebe’s language and descriptions are beautiful, some of her metaphors stuck with me for a long time — though there are a lot of people, descriptions and connections to digest at the beginning. I can’t wait to read what happens to the characters and am looking forward to the serial novel!
Runo’s Curse by Elaine Coetzee, on Dec. 28, 2014, FIVE STARS from me:
A highly original story that draws the reader into the icy, remote world of the North, with a protagonist I wanted to follow around and felt for. The description of the antagonist (if Runo is such) is so vivid and fascinating that I understand her motive for following him, even if it looks daring or careless at first glance. Her fascination became my own, and so I watched with bated breath as the horrific climax unfolded, and here the author really exceled herself. She writes best at the paranormal/horror core of the story and the descriptions are vivid to the point that I cringed. In this story you can see that she writes cross-genre, as she can pull off not only that core, but also the relationships, the characterisations, the flirting and attraction, the setting of the scenes…and I absolutely loved the quirky villagers that are hovering in the background all the time! The unexpected ending makes this an absolutely wonderfully chilling read with many aspects to it — and is so satisfying, too! I definitely want to read more of her as she puts so many genre-aspects into one little story.