House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J Maas – Book Review: Disappointing

This book had such potential, but unfortunately fell disappointingly short. That said, I won’t trash it entirely. The novel kept me reading, even though at times I was scratching my head with the inconsistencies and sudden, impromptu twists. The story had intricate elements which were at best intriguing, but at many points did not cohesively mesh together.

My thoughts:

1 – Pacing issues. For 800 pages, perhaps the story would’ve gripped the audience more securely if things had been sped up. I do not know if the book was rushed in its editing period, but I felt as though at minimum 200 pages might have been trimmed down even further, if not removed entirely.

2 – When twists surfaced in the plot, I often felt they had not been properly set up for the reader. They came without warning and sometimes felt out of character for the person in question. Perhaps more foreshadowing would’ve aided the transitions and actions.

3 – The copious amount of swearing, and mostly at the beginning of the novel, felt as if it cheapened the writing. Having read Maas’ other works, I know how well she can write without resorting to that measure. They began to feel like a crutch to support the story, especially since about halfway through the book, less expletives were used by the characters. That character inconsistency there made it feel as if they were unnecessary and added only for shock effect.

Note: I’ve read and enjoyed many books where the characters swore (and far more copiously and colorfully than in this one), but it seemed natural for them to do so. The usages in this dialogue seemed unnecessary and forced.

4 – The allusions to banging everyone in the bathroom only added to that ‘cheapened’ effect. And considering everyone knows that Maas’ previous adult books have been loaded with sex scenes and pulled them off without devaluing the story or the characters (Rhysand and Feyre being deliciously sinful examples), it was disappointing.

When the two protagonists finally did get around to their love scene, all the other references to meaningless sex had already burned out the powerful effect of a good romance scene. It’d already weakened the moment to the point it didn’t stand out at all between the two of them and felt like more of the same we’d already read. It made the attraction less meaningful. In this sense, a double positive equalled a dismal double negative.

5 – Character issues. Much of the character building was lovely and very well done. The devastation of many of the events was very well expressed and brought sympathy for the characters. But again, things would often surface that did not feel consistent.

(SPOILER) Hunt, for example, as a trained soldier, was unrealistically unaware of his surroundings at times. When he was ambushed twice, it felt as though he deserved it for being so lax about monitoring the goings on around him. I’ve known soldiers, and they keep their eyes open so to speak. It was out of character for him and his skill set.

Pros:

When the novel finally did get to the climax, the story exploded. The last 150 pages were fantastic and kept my attention flawlessly. Everything was action packed and it leapt off the page. I only wish the beginning half or more of the novel matched it. The few glimmers of action in the beginning and middle act of the book were promising, but did not keep up the momentum. If they had, the story would’ve been outstanding. They felt like two different books entirely, but with the same characters.

I almost feel as if this book would’ve benefited from more time spent being edited and smoothed out. All the elements of a sizzling best seller were there, but the potential for it was seemingly unreached. Having read Maas’ other works, this novel could’ve surpassed them entirely. Unfortunately, it did not.

All I can hope is that these kind of issues will not plague the next in this series. Or the next book in the Court of Thorns and Roses series, A Court of Silver Flames, which is set to release next January.

Regretfully, 3 stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

– Maggie Lynn Heron-Heidel


If you enjoy Urban Fantasy action and romance series, you may instead enjoy:

Cursed Hart: Book 1 in the Vaktare of All Realms series, TOP TEN FINALIST FOR BEST URBAN FANTASY 2019 – CAFFIENATED FANTASY AWARDS. –

Click HERE to read it now.

A Twist In Time Review – A New Steampunk Adventure

A journey into Victorian England with a new fresh ‘Twist’.

Oliver Twist never looked so good. As far as I know, before this, he’s never been a vigilante either.
I’ll be very honest and say at the beginning of this novel, I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy the story. But by the end, I was won over. Having never been a super fan of steampunk, I found this book refreshing and a delightful change from the usual offerings of the genre. Oliver turns out to be a worthy hero for the story, protecting the orphans of the city and rising to the challenge.
While there were a few questions left over at the end of the novel, they lead on into the next book in the series and do not lead to a cliffhanger. All in all, it leaves you wishing to read the next in the series. Though the book is technically YA, the plot arc is by no means juvenile. It is perfect for adults and teens alike.
Well done, Mr. Harris. Four and a half stars.

For those who are intrigued, here’s more about the book:

Dickens Meets Steampunk.
Foundlings are disappearing from the workhouse where Oliver Twist once begged for a second bowl of gruel. He sets out to save them, with help from tinkerer, Nell Trent, and a slew of fantastical contraptions – including a mysterious pocket watch that allows its bearer to bend the rules of time. With Oliver’s childhood nemesis, the Artful Dodger and her lethal bag of tricks dogging their steps, he discovers that there is more at stake than his own life and the missing orphans. Can he save London from the flames?


If you enjoyed this review, you might also enjoy this cyberpunk adventure:

An Assassin In Time – SciFi Book Review (SA Asthana)

This book leaves you with more internal questions than you began with, and in the best possible way as a reader. Ones that will tease your mind long after you finish reading…

With elements of time travel, history, and science fiction, this short story reaches beyond its minute length. If anything, it leaves your own mind to wonder what happened after it ends and the consequences of altering time. If you modify history, does it mean that humanity will be bettered for it? It begs the question if killing is justified when many other lives are spared… especially if the savior in question has a grudge of her own and one that is shared by many. Is it still morally right to kill?

Slight spoiler alert. This story involves talk of the Holocaust and Hitler, so those triggered by the topic may wish to skip this title. Otherwise, it is a very good short read.

Now if only it were a full length book, S.A. Asthana. You’d have an immediate customer in me if you were to make it a full length novel.

Four stars

About the story:

What if you were tasked with traveling back in time to alter history and save millions of lives?
For Navy Seal Jessica Kravitz, that is precisely the assignment. But will she have what it takes to make history by changing it? How far will she go to save lives? Would she be willing to kill? Read and see. If you like thrilling science fiction, strong female characters, and time travel, this story is for you…”


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Taking Submissions for Fantasy & SciFi Books To Review

Okay my dear readers and fellow authors. I’m tentatively looking for some book suggestions to review for this blog. And when I say tentatively, I mean because I have specifics. Yes, I’m a fusspot, as are many of your fellow readers here.

Looking for:

– Fantasy with emphasis on action and adventure (romance is okay, but no erotica please). Bonus if its urban fantasy, paranormal, shifters, fairy tale retellings, etc.
– Scifi (again, action heavy books are preferred. No erotica). Space opera isn’t a favorite, but we’re willing to give it a try.
– ASSASSIN BOOKS BOTH GENRES WILL MAKE IT TO THE TOP OF THE PILE 😁THEY’RE PARTICULARLY FAVORED BY READERS
– Love female POVs, but either gender is fine
– Would like the books to be on KU if possible. If not and you are an Indie author willing to send an ARC, indicate in your submission.

EXTRA BONUS: If you’re an author and tell me you’ll share the review when I post it on this blog, it helps increase your chances of being chosen

If your suggestion is excluded from the criteria or isn’t chosen, please don’t be offended. Your book choices are still awesome, I still love them, but I (and many readers here!) just can’t handle certain genres like horror. I need to sleep and due to an overactive brain, have a tendency to bring what I’ve read into my dream 😂 When I jaw Jurassic World recently, I wound up dreaming the T-Rex chasing me that night!

Okay, folks. Have at it. My TBR review pile is gonna lap my house by the time I’m done. I can just feel it 😂

Make sure to comment your submission and links to be considered.

Nexus (The Hollow Men #1) Book Review

When I opened this book, I was ambushed with monsters of a human making that demanded I turn the page. From the get go, this book grabbed my attention.

While dystopian, post-apocalyptic YA science fiction is not my usual preferred reading genre, this book stood out with a maturity that makes it apt for all ages. With plot points of AI machines attempting to exterminate the remains humanity, it brings up questions that should be on every mind. What are the consequences of integrating human elements with machine, especially emotions? And what about the interpretation of desires that could rule both our kind and artificial intelligence?  Wrapped up with a message of love conquers all, I enjoyed the story.

The only drawbacks are for those who have nightmares easily and frightening situations leave them unable to sleep, it might not be the book for you. While it is most definitely science fiction, there is an element of horror due to the Hollow Men sequences. It also includes mild LGBT themes for those who might be offended by the POV from a young man.

Overall, it is a very good read and the ending leaves you wondering what will happen next. Five stars, Mr. Joshua Grant.

Here’s more about the novel:

“When the Hollow Men came, humanity fell. Forced to scrape out an existence from the rubble with the rest of the survivors, Jonah Byerly struggles to get by. Hunted by dark murderous things, he yearns for something more—a hope from civilization long past, for love and acceptance. But Jonah isn’t like the others as much as he would like to be. He harbors a secret, a shadow in his soul that could revive humanity…or see it drown in the endless hunger of the Hollow Men…”

Did you enjoy this review? Before you go, make sure to pick up your free bonus E-book from my Destiny in the Shadows series, STILL DEATH.

Steel Dragon Book Review

Just wow…

Two notes to start this review. A) If you’re offended by strong, profuse language, this is not the book for you. B) If you’re not a fan of long books (good Lord, 160,000 words and for the first installment of a series no less!), definitely not for you. But if you enjoy a great action adventure from points of view that most dragon shifter books don’t usually cover, then this is definitely up your alley.

Straight up, I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy this novel when I started it. But by the end, I was won over. The fact that it incorporated SWAT into the main plot was an unexpected bonus, especially in Detroit. Many different points of view were explored and I truly loved that about the story. The gritty world in which it was set, while based on our own with addition of fantasy creatures, was wonderfully thought out.

All in all, I will be picking up the next book. Upon reading that the next installment is an even larger 180,000 words, my inner bookworm is quivering with wide eyes. But I think we’re up to the challenge. Here’s to hoping Steel Dragon 2 doesn’t disappoint…

Just a note to the authors Kevin McLaughlin and Michael Anderle. Just what did your editor say when you plopped a 160,000 words on their desk? If I did that with mine, I think she’d match a few more of the choicest curses Jonesy could come up with…

For those interested, here’s a bit more about the book:


“Dragons rule the world. Their claws are into every aspect of human life, from government to industry. But Kristen Hall is about to throw a wrench into all of that.

Because she’s a dragon, too. She just doesn’t know it…yet!

A dragon raised by humans, in the human world.

After graduating from the police academy, she’s dropped right into the ranks of Detroit’s elite SWAT team. A rookie, in SWAT? Unheard of. But what the dragons want, they get.

The reasons behind their machinations become clear as her dragon powers begin to surface.

Will Kristen rise to the challenges her new life delivers? What designs do the dragons have for her future? And perhaps most pressing of all — how did she come to be a dragon with human parents?”

Find it on Amazon


Did you enjoy this review? Make sure to pick up your free copy of STILL DEATH before you go! Or stick around to read my serial fiction series, DEL MUERTA: SANCTUM OF HELL.

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