Review — Taken (Beneath the Shadows of Evil #1) by Jolynn Raymond

This was a very hard review for me. I only review books I like and I initially stopped reading TAKEN. Why? Was it because the book was too dark? No, as an ex‐cop, I’ve seen what real demons look like in our world. I stopped reading because Ms. Raymond is a very unconventional writer and her technique threw me completely out of sorts.

Every type of writing has a style and within those styles there are certain “rules” the writer is supposed to live by. Well, Ms Raymond has a writing style all her own and doesn’t care about the rules! She loves to change point of views, not just once or twice, but several times. You’ll be reading from one person’s POV at the beginning of a paragraph only to end the paragraph from a different POV. If I remember right, we even had an omniscient POV a few times. And she’s an equal POV opportunist—it doesn’t matter if we only see the character once in the book because chances are, for a few short lines, we get to read from that incidental character’s POV. Now, I’ve said this before, I don’t mind head‐hopping (and truth be told, I tend to enjoy it) if it’s done well. Because Ms. Raymond jumps from one person to the next so regularly, I sometimes had a hard time knowing whose head I was in until the end of the paragraph and that was frustrating.

This book also had format errors, misspellings, and typos to add into the mix of why I initially put it down. So, what made me pick it up again? Because Ms. Raymond did something writers dream of doing and what good writers accomplish—she made me care. After I shelved the book, I spent the entire day wondering about Alliana, the poor gypsy girl married to the soulless demon, Mikhal. I wondered what new torture he’d inflict on her as she stood proud before him, refusing to back down. I longed to see a little bit of compassion in his eyes as his journey to redemption begins. Ms. Raymond made me care about these characters and that is great storytelling.

If you decide to read this book, you must understand a few things first: you will be jumping from not one or two, but several POVs. This book also is not for the faint of heart because as a demon, Mikhal truly is a heartless, cruel bastard. There is a lot of introspection at times which slows down the action. And finally, the ending just stops practically in mid sentence, there is no conclusion. You will be left hanging! If these attributes are going to bother you, then you might not enjoy the book. But if you remain vigilant, you might just surprise yourself and discover that you too care about the sweet, smart, and strong Alliana and the demon whose soul she’ll save, whether he wants her to or not.

Now excuse me while I go read TORN, the second in the series.

Focused. Strong. True.

(Click on image to visit Jolynn)

Taken — Jolynn Raymond

Review — SHADOWS of the SOUL by Angelique Armae

SHADOWS of the SOUL started off like gang busters for me. Ms. Armae does an excellent job of drawing the reader into her world. I loved her description (the rain didn’t just fall on the heroine, the rain assailed her). Words such as assailed are great descriptive words that create such a terrific reading environment for me.

SOUL was written in first person and I’m usually not a first person fan, but I fell in love with the heroine, Isabel. She’s a tough, passionate character with a terrific sense of humor. The hero, Nicolai, also is super sexy—loved that his uncle is none other than Lucifer!

About half way through the book slowed a bit. Ms. Armae’s attention to detail can also be a double‐edged sword and bogged down the pace in some of the scenes. I’d also hoped for more—I’m not sure how to say this in a politically correct fashion, so I’ll just say it—SEX in the bedroom. I mean Nicolai is half demon for crying out loud!

(A special comment to Ms. Armae would be to get another copy editor next time because the one you had didn’t do your work justice. There were just too many typos and missed track‐change marks for a book of this quality). But those few concerns didn’t prevent me from enjoying the fantastic world Ms. Armae created. Her main and secondary characters were a joy to discover and had vivid lives of their own. Nicely done.

Focused. Strong. True.

(Click on image to visit Angelique)

Shadows of the Soul — Angelique Armae
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