The Blurb on Other People’s Words – Katie Salidas and More Shorts

April 25, 2011 at 2:19 pm (writing)

Until I actually receive requests for reviews, I’ll be offering up reviews of things I like. Today I’m going to begin with a review of the first two books in Katie Salidas’s Immortalis series, Carpe Noctem and Hunters & Prey. I’ve enjoyed the books for the basic fact that they are a smooth, easy read and they are lots of fun. I’ve continued with the series despite the fact that the rather dumb choices the protagonist, Alyssa, seems to make on a regular basis frustrate me to no end. She is a lovable fool, however, and still engaging. I also think I read the stories for the other wiser characters, not for her. I’ll also be covering two new digital shorts from Trestle Press.

Immortalis Carpe Noctem

The intro to the book was my favourite part, even though it happened because Alyssa was being careless. I loved the way she resisted the transition and I found her attempts to reclaim her old life very poignant. I also found the chemistry between Alyssa and Lysander, including the sex scenes very titillating. Lastly, Lysander’s background seemed to be reasonably well researched and explained – another positive point.

The main problem I did have with the book was that there were two plot points I found discordant with the story. At one point, Alyssa unintentionally kills an innocent, but she does not really dwell on the matter much, despite the fact that the idea of this had seemed to bother her a great deal beforehand. The other point that did not work for me was that Lysander suggested that he considered the vampires that he had turned his children…apparently, all but Alyssa. I would have preferred an explanation as to why he did not have these “fatherly” feelings for Alyssa. If he actually did have those feelings for her, it would have given their relationship a creepy and incestuous spin, not something I would find romantic or appealing. These points aside, overall, it was an enjoyable read.

Immortalis #2 – Hunters & Prey

I picked up the Kindle version of this book because I often write pretty heavy stories, and when I do make the time to read, I need something light and fun to lift my spirits. I wasn’t disappointed. I think Ms. Salidas aims for dark, sensuous and brooding, but the storyline is too playful for that (although it is quite sexy in places), and her main character is too naive and airy. That’s part of its appeal, however, and why it makes for a quick, easy read.

I’ll try to avoid any real spoilers, but I have a few things I liked and disliked. As with her first book, I enjoyed the author’s writing style. She had good flow, appropriate dialogue, and no awkward sentences. I’m a sucker for interesting characterization too, and Santino was probably my favourite in this book. I like the fact that the author addressed my point about little reflection on Alyssa’s killing the innocent in the first book, but the explanation why Lysander has romantic rather than fatherly feelings towards Alyssa still is not there. To make matters worse, there are a few moments Alyssa does things that are so dumb, I was ready to throw my Kindle across the room. She at one point needs to escape to a location where there are a lot of humans, and all she can think of is the cafe she frequented before she turned. The only place she could think of with crowds of people…in Las Vegas…you can’t be serious. Lastly, the constant reiteration of the rule about vampires not exposing their existence to humans was repetitive and annoying. I got it the first time, certainly the second, and definitely the third – I didn’t need to read it several more times.

In spite of these minor irritations, it was a good book and considering how tired I am of the paranormal romance vampire/werewolf thing that has been done mostly to death, I’m still willing to rate this as a worthwhile read. I vote that you put your blinders up to any questionable items in the plot and enjoy a fun story.

Down Low-Dead (The Author’s Lab/Collaboration) 

by Vincent Zandri, Giovanni Gelati and Katherine Lahart

This is another action-packed multiple-authored digital short from Trestle Press, but this one comes with a hearty dose of humour. I especially appreciate writing that is original, which is why I generally like Trestle Press’s offerings, and this one is very much a story imitating real life – the foundation of the tale, that is, and not the story itself (at least I certainly hope this was fiction…) I can view this story from both sides, as a writer facing critique which can be frustrating and disheartening at times, and as a reviewer, inclined to say it as they see it, even if the honesty may hurt at times


Operation Coffee Deprivation (Dribbles The Squirrel) by Cody Toye

Just how far would a disgruntled ex-employee go to take revenge for losing his job after many years of service? The protagonist comes up with a creative plan, the likes of which would be difficult to imagine. On the surface this story appears quite comical, but there is a sad and cynical undertone resonant of the feelings of a man lost. The main character is in the desperate downward spiral resulting from having his sense of security ripped away and his hold on the future destroyed. While I laughed in places, I still found it very moving. Also, even though the reader may root for Bob and want to cheer him on, especially since his primary target is rather heinous and heartless, you’ll also find yourself feeling sorry for him.

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