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.

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


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Who Is Maggie Lynn Heron-Heidel? A Heart To Heart With You (Video)

Who is @maggielynnheronheidel? I figured it was time we had a heart to heart about what I stand for, my dear readers. It’s far more than being an author, filmmaker, or comedian. Being here on this planet is so much more… I talk about the content in my novels, such as human trafficking, endangered species, etc. So many of you know me from Whatsit Comedy TV, but you don’t know the real Maggie Lynn.

If you enjoyed this video, make sure to claim your free copy of STILL DEATH before you go!

Q&A With Urban Fantasy & Scifi Author Maggie Lynn Heron-Heidel

If you could choose three people to invite for a dinner party, who would they be and why?

Maggie Lynn Heron-Heidel

– Oh, this truly is a difficult question for me! As an inquisitive personality type, limiting to just three is a quite the task. Perhaps the first I’d start out with is God himself. That’d answer a great deal of my questions over the years about humanity! As for the next two, I’d have to say Ronald Reagan and Robert Ludlum. Robert Ludlum because the Bourne Identity was one of my favorite books that inspired me as a writer and Ronald Reagan for a great multitude of reasons about our world as it stands in the now.

How do you think your writing style has changed over the years?

For the better, I hope! Humor aside, I firmly believe that the more a person writes over time, the better they become. You start to see patterns or areas where you need to improve, so you become more proficient at story telling. In particular, I myself noticed that I favored certain words too much and lacked a certain sense of urgency at times when I was in my first two years of writing. When it was pointed out to me, I went to work on it and, in turn, improved a great deal.

Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?

It takes some time to realize it thereafter, but I feel that my real life makes it into my novels all the time. For example, I realized that one of the scenes in War Machine (science fiction series) was actually a reflection of a serious operation I had. *SPOILER* Sierrenna was strapped to a table, another character preparing to torture her. The descriptions I wrote reflected the way I felt when I myself was going under the knife. But it took me years to realize the connection.

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

I read all my reviews. Everyone can learn something from their critics, even if it is just that the internet is sometimes a dark place where trolls hang out from time to time. From my reviews, I can see what people enjoy and what they do not. Or at worst, I learn that they do not read very well at all. The only one star review I have ever gotten was a complaint because the piece in question was not a full book, even though the buy page itself read that it was just a short story that they were purchasing and stated directly in the title. Sometimes keeping a sense of humor about yourself and your reviewers truly does help!

What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?

Remembering that the thought process in many cases can be entirely different than yours is helpful. A man tends to think about his obstacles differently than a woman and vice versa. Remembering that while plotting is very helpful.

What inspired you to start writing? How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing on and off since I was a toddler, but never truly took it seriously until my late teens. So, in a broad sense, I suppose I could say I have been writing my whole life. On a more professional scale, a little over a decade.

Writing can be an emotionally draining and stressful pursuit. Any tips for aspiring writers?

One helpful tip is to remember that your keyboard is not judging you. YOU are judging you. A first draft is most always going to stink, even for professional novelists. “The first draft is to tell yourself the story” is a quote by Terry Pratchett. I agree with it. Every draft thereafter is to tell the story to your reader and to refine the writing itself. There may be many drafts. Or on contrast, there may be a few. The trick is to keep at it, even when your internal critic is being particularly brutal.

How do you feel when people recognize you in public and appreciate your work?

Elated! One of my favorite things to do is discuss their thoughts about the story or character in question. Sometimes they reveal things that I myself missed. One reader insisted that I foreshadowed my own tale in an instance with a particular sentence. After speaking with her, I realized she was indeed right! It did foreshadow another plot point I hadn’t even thought of.

Questions were submitted anonymously by readers. Thanks for reading! If you have a question for me, feel free to comment below.

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