Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Kristen S. Walker's: "Small Town Witch" (Fae of Calaveras #1) (4/5 stars)


Walker's "Small Town Witch" is a very imaginative supernatural tale told through the perspective of the burgeoning teen witch: Rosamunde. Walker's prose entranced me very quickly.

Walker's world is one where humans, supernatural denizens and those blessed with magic mix and mingle on a daily basis. I really enjoyed this aspect of the book and knew"Small Town Witch" was much better than other teen paranormal books within the same vein.

 The novel reads like a slice of life/coming of age tale set in a supernatural world. The medley of characters reminded me a little of the anime "Soul Eater", and I think Walker's work would be phenomenal if it were adapted into an anime.

By the second chapter, I knew the world of the story and the characters within it are quirky, yet dangerous. I was on the edge of my seat: the impending conflict of the novel was going to rear its head at any moment, and I wanted to see Rosa rise to the challenge and grow as a character. Unfortunately, it took some time for the novel to get to that point.

My only criticism of "Small Town Witch" is that the first 50% of the novel is too focused on setting the foundation of the novel. Readers are overexposed to the world and the characters, with very little interjecting conflict. Once you read the whole novel, you are able to remember the subtle hints Walker gives to indicate there is something amiss in Rosa's life. I just think that its too understated. Much of the first 50% could be streamlined or adjusted to bring what is actually going on to the forefront. I know I'm being vague, but I don't want to spoil the plot because it is well written; it just needs a little reorganization to accentuate the main conflict.

I highly recommend this novel for teens that are seeking a unique, wonderfully told paranormal tale.
I'm about to read the second installment in Walker's Fae of Calavaras series: "Witch Hunt". I can't wait!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Hello Everyone!

Happy holidays! Am I back? I would like to be. I'm going to start playing catch up, one review at a time. Whenever I get out of the weeds I will start accepting new requests tentatively. I apologize for the drastic delay. Do not fret. I have not forgotten about any of you. I know what that feels like: I have at least fifty reviewers that promised to review my work, but never did. And, as bleak as it seems, when I say I'm going to review your novel, it will happen. And when it does, you will be emailed. I just wanted to post a brief update. I wish you all the best!

Shannon Houff's: Spring Blessings (3/5 stars)

Shannon Houff's "Spring Blessings" is an urban fantasy tale full of action and promise.

Unfortunately, it falls short in it's current state. 

Overall, the work reads as if it is still in beta stages. It has many interesting aspects, characters that are like-able and a unique expression of fantasy: allusions of pop culture, theatre, literature and classic fantasy denizens. However, there is no substantial story. The episodic nature is so nebulous, it is hard to latch onto what is important. When I say "important", I'm referring to what each character wants and needs and what the overarching scenario is that drives them to self-actualization. This is a short work of prose, which means all of this needs to be established quickly. It just didn't happen quickly enough for me.

I also felt like the novel is straddling audiences. At first I felt like it would make a great young adult novel, but with the violence, romance and language it is better suited for adults. I think the next revision should bring this novel off the fence. The romance scenes could have been more erotic without being porny, and the action could have been a bit more visceral. 

I tried my best to read between all of the faults and just enjoy the story, and did, but I can't give this work more than three stars in it's current state. 

I truly think a meticulous, non-biased edit will do wonders for this novel. There's something amazing here, but readers shouldn't have to try so hard to find it. I recommend this novel for lovers of fantasy and paranormal novels with light hearted, humorous narration.