Monday, January 4, 2010

Review of "Lucifer Rising" by Barbara Fifield

Well, uh... let's just get started with this one. You'll see why I may skip through any opening statements when I get to the rest of the review.

From the back of the book:
When ace reporter Elsa Eldridge is assigned to profile a local religious cult leader named Tyrell, she doesn't expect to fall under his spell. But Tyrell's charismatic personality, muscled body and piercing gaze make him hard to resist, and soon Elsa is enamored. But all isn't what it seems. And what Elsa doesn't know could make her regret the day she ever laid eyes on this spiritual seducer. Before long, cracks show in Tyrell's glossy veneer. There's the intense possessiveness that threatens to burst into violence; the not-even-trying-to-hide-it womanizing; and the rumors about his prior life. Lawsuits from former lovers dog him; an ex claims he commited the ultimate sin. But through it all, Elsa is drawn as if by some mystical force into his world. Can Elsa find the strength and courage to stand up to the man she lusts after? What's the truth behind the whispered allegations? And what explains the bizarre sensations Elsa has that Tyrell is visiting her when he's not around? Savvy, sexy and spiritually aware, LUCIFER RISING mixes romance with paranormal intrigue for a thriller that will keep you guessing right up until the very last page.

Let's first talk about the cover. If I want to read a book that "mixes romance with paranormal intrigue".. I'm not going to pick it up if it has this cover. The listserv I got this book from didn't show the cover, or at least it didn't show up in my email, so I was a little freaked out when the book arrived and I saw the cover. Something you learn later in the book sort of explains why a cover similar to this MIGHT have worked.. but even so, it still doesn't. The devil (the Lucifer mentioned in the title) comes into play, but even so, there's no call for that purple demon.. thing.

Well, despite being such a short book (83 pages), it was one of those books that I had to get a notebook and make notes towards the review. There was some weird things going on, and I wanted to cover everything properly. I didn't really like this book, but I wanted to finish it so my review would be fair. There was an entire section of this book that didn't make sense - I believe it was because either a name was mixed up accidentally, or the author switched too quickly from one character's story to the next. Most of the book is told from Elsa's perspective, which is fine, but within a page the tense changes from first person to third person, but still following Elsa. And then later on in the book, the author moves from following Elsa to following another character for a page, then going back, which just confused the heck out of me.

Continuing.. the characterization wasn't so great. I had no clue what Elsa looked like, very little idea what Tyrell looked like, or any of the other characters. And Tyrell was supposed to be charasmatic, but he came off only as smarmy. Going off the summary, I would have assumed the author would want Tyrell to have some scary moments, but otherwise seem nothing but charming - I just didn't get that from him. And even Elsa seemed annoying and wishy-washy. She would think that she's starting to feel comfortable with him, then she would talk to Tyrell about not being sure about going somewhere with him, implying that she wasn't comfortable. This might be okay, if those two occurances didn't happen within a few sentences of each other.

I hope this book is still in it's editing stage, since I believe I have an advanced copy, and some of these odds and ends will be cleared up. I had originally hoped not just the former, but that this would be the author's first work. But according to the author biography in the back of the book, this is Barbara Fifield's second novel, and she is a retired journalist. I honestly thought this was a good idea for a story, and interesting one.. and the "revelation" at the end was something I'd be interested in reading more about, but the book was too short to go into the detail about it, and it needed to go through several more edits, as well as further characterization.

I will say I wish the author the best of luck with this and future books, but I would be lying if I gave this book anything but a ONE POINT FIVE out of FIVE. I'm giving it a one point five because I did like the idea of the book, I just wish it was fleshed out more, and cleaned up considerably.

Well, Happy Reading!
~!~ Morning Glow

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Review of "Wolf Signs" by Vivian Arend

I discovered author Vivian Arend's blog some months ago, and absolutely fell in love with the snippets I read of her book "Wolf Signs," the first of the Granite Lake Wolves series. And when I won my choice of ebooks from Samhain publishing, can you guess what I chose?

About the book (From
Robyn Maxwell doesn’t care that her brother has to cancel out on their backcountry ski trip. She can do it alone. The fact she’s deaf doesn’t make her survival skills any weaker. The chance to get away from it all and relax in the Yukon wilderness is just what she’s been craving.
Meeting wilderness guide Keil at the cabin starts cravings of another kind. Keil’s one hot hunk of ripped, tasty male. Now she has to deal with raging hormones as well as strange questions about wolves and mates and challenges to the death.
Keil was trying for a nice reflective retreat before challenging for the Alpha position of his Alaskan pack. He wasn’t planning on meeting the woman destined to be his mate, or finding out she’s not aware she has the genes of a wolf.
Between dealing with his accident-prone younger brother, a deaf mate with an attitude and an impending duel to the death, his week—and his bed—is suddenly full.

I loved the character of Robyn, the word "spitfire" comes to mind. Despite having what most people would consider a handicap, Robyn is rough and tough. And Keil - yummy! It was interesting to see them do their best to communicate, most of the time with Robyn using a piece of paper. And you can tell the author took the time to learn at least some signs, I recognized a few as accurate, though I'm far from fluent. And what a way to find out someone is your mate, than to read his lips while he's talking to his brother. Of course, she finds that out before she finds out she's a wolf, I can only imagine the confusion. I really enjoyed this book, and I can't wait to get my hands on the second (which I believe is called "Wolf Flight") to read.

Vivian Arend writes several series, and after reading this one, I'm eager to try out the others.. especially the Six Pack Ranch series. I'm for anything that's called Six Pack Ranch. It just brings up such delicious images.

As for Wolf Signs, I give it a FOUR out of FIVE stars. I really liked it, I'm glad I got it, and I will definitely check out the sequel, which I believe features Robyn's brother. I hope you get a chance to check out Wolf Signs, and if not definitely check out any of Vivian Arend's other series!

Happy Reading!
~!~Morning Glow