Blood In, Blood Out: Chapter 17

Chapter 17

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Nathan lay his head on his palm and watched Estelle read the Banshee handbook to herself silently. She was really something special. He wasn’t sure he had ever met anyone so perfect before. Lane had agreed to help him hone his skills so that he could transform himself into a male fairy, so that he could go flying with her soon, but he wanted it to be a secret.

Listen to this…” She said, her voice full of excitement as she read from the book on her lap. “This ancient Banshee language, known as the Sìna, has been used for centuries by the most elite of the species. Only those with the most powerful magic are able to even read such a language as to know what it means. This makes it an ideal tool for secret communication, even in the world of Banshees.” Estelle beamed up at him with a look of wonder on her face.

Nathan didn’t have to ask why. He could just imagine her thinking about how Riley had admitted to reading it once, and how her brain would categorize him as being in the Banshee elite.

I wonder if that’s why the person used it? To keep it a secret.”

It could be. Maybe there was some secret society here, for banshees?” Nathan guessed with hope. If such a thing were true, maybe they could find more information to help Riley through his latest hurdle. It would be nice to have something to repay him with, since he had been kind enough to help him get over his fear of water. They were going to start his lessons that weekend.

That would be nice. Then maybe Riley wouldn’t feel like the odd one out.” Estelle agreed, with a faint smile that said she was intrigued by such a notion.

What do you mean? He’s got his sister, hasn’t he?”

Yes, but she’s a girl. Riley’s the only boy here that is a banshee. That can’t be easy.” She spoke so softly, with such care for everyone and everything that Nathan couldn’t see anything other than the fairy sitting next to him. “Each species have their own quirks and from what I’ve learned of banshees so far, the males and females are vastly different in terms of intelligence, the gifts they can develop and how powerful they can be. If my reading is right, then Riley could be at least three times more powerful than his sister. And perhaps four or five times more powerful than all of us.” She explained, giving him that doe eyed look that made him melt.

I’m glad he’s on our side.” He teased her. Estelle laughed and nudged him. It was nice to see her so happy. The first day he’d met her, he noticed a sadness in her eyes that was no longer there.

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Estelle…why are you so happy all of a sudden?” He asked, well aware that it could be a bad idea. She beamed at him and then turned to pull a letter from her bag.

Mister Evander gave me this letter this morning.” She explained softly. Then she cleared her throat and began to read aloud.

‘To my sister Estelle,

I know I said I probably wouldn’t write you too often, because I want you to do well at your new school, but I just had to tell you about this great news. Stell, we’re being adopted!

It’s the most incredible thing. Just yesterday a new social worker showed up and told Mister and Misses fancy-pants that we had been adopted so we had to pack right away and leave with them. I don’t have to tell you that the Martin’s were not happy, but the social worker did something with his hands and the next thing they’re being nice a pie, sending us upstairs to pack. Ella started crying, saying we couldn’t be adopted and taken away, because then you wouldn’t know where to find us, so I told her about you going away to school.

She felt better once she knew, so I promised her I’d tell you where we were moving to so you could come see us. We both miss you loads.

Anyway, we were taken to our new parents last night and the house is huge. It has at least five acres, and my bedroom is a ‘suite’, or so they say. I’ve got my own bedroom, my own bathroom AND my own study. Can you believe it? Little Ella has a play room and all the toys she could ever ask for. They even bought me a fancy new computer; I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. It’s about the size of a big book and I thought I broke it, because when I lifted it up, the keyboard fell off. Our new dad, Byron says that it does it on purpose, because it’s a touchscreen, so I can choose which way to use it. It’s ridiculously expensive, but he says not to worry if I break it. I’ll try not to though.

Stell, we really miss you and we wish you were here with us, but I hope you’re having a good time and making new friends. I know the Martin’s said you were going to a school for bad kids, but I don’t believe it. You were so excited to go, so can you tell me all about it now? I really want you to be somewhere nice.

Byron and Jackie are really nice people. I think we’re going to be happy here. But Byron said that we should spend the night settling in and in the morning he’d tell us a secret. He said we can’t tell anyone but you, because you would understand, so I’m going to keep this letter and post it tomorrow once I find out so I can tell you. Ella’s really excited about it, she keeps talking about how it’s like a fairytale. I tried telling her that it only feels like that because the Martin’s were so rotten, but I’m not sure she’s convinced.

Well, I better turn in for the night. The sooner I get to sleep, the sooner I can wake up and find out this secret. We love you loads,

your brother,

‘officially’ Philip Sutherland.’” Estelle sighed happily when she finished reading it out.

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That’s a really nice letter, Estelle.” Nathan smiled, glad to see her so happy.

It gets better. He wrote a little at the end when he found out the secret.” Her eyes sparkled as she hinted at the secret, so he stayed quiet and adored her as she kept talking.

‘Estelle, I swear I’m going to kill you.’” She read out, laughing to herself. “’How you could keep FAIRY WINGS a secret from me, I’ll never know. I promised that I’m going to hug you into next year when I see you again. Mum and dad (doesn’t that sound good?) say they’re going to bring us to visit you at your new school soon, once you’ve had time to settle in. They say it’s a special school for talented people with magic. I can’t wait to see you and met all your magic friends.

I’m still finding it hard to believe, but I know you and I know that you would never go off to a school for order and discipline without kicking up a fuss. It was really clever of you to write a fake letter. I just wish we could have gone with you. Dad says we’re not magical, so we’ll have to go to a normal school, which sucks. But he and mum are magical and they’re going to show us what they can do. They’re going to wait until Ella understands it better first, because they don’t want to frighten her. I told them not to worry, because she believes in everything, but they’re going to give her a week or so to adjust.

Do me a favour Stell, go look them up at your school and see if you can find out what they are. I asked if they were witches, but they just laughed so I don’t know what else they might be.’” She finished, before folding the letter and putting it back into the envelope.

So did you look them up? Byron and Jackie Sutherland?” Nathan asked, looking forward to finding out more about her family, and meeting them.

I didn’t even know where to look, so I stopped by Mister Evander’s office and asked him. He said he arranged it. He wanted to get Phil and Ella into a safer environment and he knew a few families that were desperate to have children.” Estelle let out a happy sigh as she watched him. He loved the look of love and appreciation in her eyes that said their headmaster had just become her hero by doing what he did. “He picked the family that had been without children for the longest time and asked them if they would be willing to take on two kids without magic. They said yes, so he set it up with a vampire friend of his, who works at the social work department.” She explained.

So Byron and Jackie Sutherland are magical. Did he say what they are?” He wondered.

He says they’re Kelpies. But I’m not really sure what that means.” Estelle shrugged and pulled out a note book from her bag, where she began making notes. Nathan looked over her shoulder to see that she was writing notes on what she was going to put in her letter back to Phil.

They’re water horses. They’re pretty amazing, actually because they can create illusions to hide themselves.” He admitted, still a little obsessed with the creature.

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Nathan was a definite fan of kelpies, after researching them a few years ago. He’d turned into a horse one day and had investigated all magical creatures that resembled a horse to find out what he’d become. He’d been a centaur back then, but he longed to become a kelpie one day. He thought it must be a fascinating life.

Well I’m glad to hear that. Now that my family back home are happy, and safe, I just have to make sure my family here are the same.” She drew her shoulders in on herself and slipped her hands between her knees as she leaned forward. She looked like an excited schoolgirl who should be kicking her feet as she sat on a swing.

I’m sure Riley will be fine. The headmaster seems to know what to expect; I hear he taught his father and his grandfather. He’s in good hands.” He reassured her, once again reminded that he needed to do something to repay Riley for his kindness.

And so are you.”

Sorry?”

With Lane. He’s a good friend and he and Riley will both help you through this difficult transition.” Estelle gave him a full body nudge with a caring smile. Nathan wasn’t sure he would ever get over that smile. It was addictive and beautiful and heart-warming.

What transition?” He wondered, not sure what she meant.

Learning to swim. Dealing with whatever happened to you in the past.” She reached out and placed her hand on his knee, eradicating all logical thought. He loved that about her; one touch made him a mass of goo, and yet she had no idea. She could have asked him to explain why he didn’t like water and what happened that sent him to the school in the first place, but she never did. She wasn’t a gossip girl, and she would never pry into anyone’s life just to suit her own curiosity.

Oh, right. Yeah, they’re good guys.” He agreed, finally finding his words.

So are you.” She beamed at him.

Nathan decided not to say anything about that, since he wasn’t sure if Estelle was flirting with him or not. He’d rather not think about it too much, so he decided to change the subject.

So let’s see this book. If we can find our way through these, we might be able to help Riley decipher the letter and figure out why it was left here.” He decided, slipping the book off her lap and opening it to the last page they had read together.

He was just getting into the next chapter when Payson blurred into view. He was clearly using his vampire speed to get him to and from wherever he had been. He was flushed and looked worried when he stopped.

Riley’s going to be late.” He began, quietening their whole group. All the conversations going on around them stopped and everyone turned to stare at Payson, wondering why their most loyal, time-conscious friend would bail on them. “He’s had some sort of episode. He’s in the hospital wing but wants to come later. He just wanted me to apologise because he’s going to be late.” He explained.

Lane was instantly up and across, talking to Payson quietly. Nathan couldn’t hear what was going on, but he could guess that Lane was just making sure that Payson was coping okay with the whole thing. This was Riley’s third episode in as many days of school. It couldn’t be easy being there and being unable to do anything about it. Very quickly, Payson nodded to Lane and took off again at his vampire speed, probably heading straight back to the hospital wing.

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-

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Diantha was getting better at keeping her distance from everyone that was in her year. She wanted nothing to do with any of them, especially now that Payson was drooling over Riley. All she really wanted was to get on with her life and get out of the school as soon as she could. She didn’t like the teachers, the classes or the other students.

The worst part, by far, was that she was struggling to feed. It had only been a few days and she had fed twice. If she didn’t feed again soon, from a live donor, then she was going to pass out. She had found a lot of potential victims, but because there were so many students in the school and very few of them were without friends, there were no ideal opportunities to feed.

Diantha wandered through the woods, looking for any lingering student that may be on their own, or in a small enough group that she could overpower them all. She had been paying close attention to all her classes to pinpoint her own strengths and the weaknesses of other magical creatures, just in case she needed to use them. Now, that was her entire plan. So when she came across a boy barely much older than herself, standing in a clearing, doing magic, she knew she had come across a warlock. She had watched those pathetic twins playing around long enough to know what their magic looked like.

She wasn’t afraid of a warlock, since there was nothing they could do to her, that she knew of, that could prevent her from getting her own way. Diantha walked right up behind the boy, not even bothering to be discrete until she stood behind him. Then she grabbed his neck and bit into it, until he cried out at the pain it must have caused for her teeth to penetrate the skin. When she drank her fill, she turned him quickly and locked eyes so that she could use her mind manipulation powers to change his memory.

You were practicing magic. One of your spells backfired. If anyone asks, you were horsing around and it went wrong. You don’t know what happened.” She told him, waiting until he nodded his understanding before turning and leaving the woods.

With her hunger sated, she could get back to what actually deserved her time; figuring out how to get the better of her classmates and get home. Her friends back in Kirkcaldy would forget her and her mind manipulation that made her popular if she didn’t get back and redo her special skills. She was not going back home and being a loser. Not again.

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-

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Fed up of Spike’s lovesick mutterings since the day before, Sasha went in search of Linny. If there was anyone who could curb her brother’s infatuation, it was the banshee. She’d been crushing on Spike ever since he arrived at the school, claiming that he was a rock star. Something about how his hair was black and blue at the same time, how it was just long enough to run her fingers through, blah, blah, blah. She usually zoned out around that time. She didn’t want to hear anyone yacking about how hot and amazing her brother was. He was her brother and talk like that was gross.

Lin, we need to talk.” Sasha called as she walked over to her friend, sitting at the popular table with the other popular kids. Again, she was inappropriately flirting with their resident centaur, Lancelot. “You, get lost.” She told him, while sending a glare to the other boys flocking around her banshee best friend.

Lancelot knew better than to mess with her; as a Selkie she had the gift of seducing anyone she wanted to, with not much more than a look. And once it got that far, they were puppets to her every whim. No-one wanted that.

Once all the boys disappeared, Sasha took the vacant seat beside Linny and leaned her elbow on the table and her chin on the palm of her hand.

You need to have a word with your brother. Riley is an innocent child and he really doesn’t need to get caught up in a love triangle.” She complained gently. Linny just stared at her, with absolutely no understanding of what she was talking about. “The vampire kid, Payson is crushing on him. Everyone knows it. There’s talk of them being soul mates. And now my brother is drooling over him as well. It’s not Riley’s fault, but he’s young, innocent and good looking. The fact that he’s destined to have a soul mate only makes him all the more irresistible to guys like my brother.” Sasha tried to get her point across, but Linny just laughed and gave her arm a playful punch so that it fell out from under her chin.

Hold your horses, Sasha. I haven’t got a clue what you’re yammering on about. Spike doesn’t have a crush on anyone.” She giggled, as she reached out and dragged her bottle of coke closer. There was a pink straw sticking out the top and she guided it to her lips, just as Sasha began to wonder how oblivious her friend really was.

Yes, he does. He’s gone all goo-goo eyed over Riley. I can’t believe you’re blind enough not to see it.” She stared and stared, waiting for the penny to drop. But the longer she sat there, the more Linny looked confused. “What did you think that was all about yesterday? Spike literally ignored you so he could flirt with your own brother. How did you not notice that?” Sasha watched as very gradually Linny got the point. Her smile fell and she looked around for her brother and Spike; neither of them were in the room, despite it being lunch time.

Are you…” Linny turned to her and visibly swallowed. “Are you absolutely sure that Spike is interested in Riley?” She asked, rubbing her temples as if she was stressing out.

Yes, sweetie. I’m sorry.” Sasha patted her shoulder consolingly. It was a shame that Linny was so self-absorbed that she didn’t even notice or care about the predicament her own brother was in. Riley was a sweet kid and he was going through a tough time, thanks to being the only male banshee at the school and having ten times more talent than his sister had. It was never easy being the talented kid.

You mean…Spike wants to be with Riley?” Linny asked, as if she hadn’t heard everything she just said. Sasha let out a groan of frustration and banged her head on the table top. She was never going to win this argument.

WIP Extract – Go Hard or Go Home

Coming soon…

Go Hard or Go Home 2

 

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Extract:

“An hour later Stone walked into the second bus, where Byron and some of the road crew were bunking. Their manager was sitting at the table in the kitchen, with a pile of paperwork sprawled across the surface.

“Why is Felix not allowed to come out as gay?” He asked outright. He wasn’t going to beat around the bush. There was only one possible reason for Felix to be so down. The fact that he had zero books on his Kindle involving a girl in any sort of romantic situation told him that the bi option was off the table.

Byron sighed and looked up at him from his papers. “How did you know he even was gay?” He asked, in return. He looked completely unsurprised, so he knew his reasoning was right. Felix was gay and he’d been told to keep it a secret.

“It’s cracking him up. He can’t keep it a secret much longer.” Stone warned him. He didn’t even bother taking a seat because he wasn’t going to stay long enough to need it. Felix was falling apart, living a lie and it was very clearly killing him a little at a time. The longer it went on, the more of him they risked losing.

“How did you know?” Byron demanded, with a bite that spoke of how frustrated he already was. Finding out the secret probably shouldn’t have done that to him, so Stone guessed it was a culmination of Felix’s secret and the paperwork getting on top of him.

“He said something about being tired. I told him he’d been sleeping too much and he said that it wasn’t that kind of tired. Then I found this.” He handed over the Kindle, still switched on with the covers of all the books on view.

Byron rubbed his forehead and held the Kindle in his hand for a moment. “It’s not my decision. I only passed along what the record company told me. They don’t think a gay rock star will sell in today’s market.” He explained, even though it sounded like a load of shit. Since when did being honest become a crime?

“Really? We have gay pop stars, why can’t we break ground in rock?” He asked, since he knew plenty of celebs who were gay or bi, in all genres of music. Just because there were no flamboyant men going around making out with other guys in public or rampaging through magazines talking about big dicks and hard abs.

“That’s not how it works.” Byron disagreed.

“No, here’s how it’s going to work,” Stone wasn’t going to leave this matter unresolved. He wanted a fix and he wanted Byron to make it happen. “Felix needs to get out of that closet, now! He’s suffocating in there. So either you deal with it or I will.” He threatened him.

With his piece said, Stone left the bus and headed back to his own. Felix was still sleeping in his bunk, and he could see Hawk standing outside the burger joint flirting with Yolanda. Nothing had changed since he left the bus the first time, but he was adamant that it wouldn’t stay that way. He would give Byron twenty-four hours and if Felix was still down, he would be taking matters into his own hands.”

WIP Extract – Depth Over Distance

Coming Soon…

 

Depth Over Distance 2

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Extract:

“Happy that Zack was being taken care of, and that Devon was no longer sulking, Benji took another drink from his bottle of beer. He saw the hottie at the bar glancing back for the fifth time in the last five minutes and smiled.

Those big arms and thick thighs were exactly what he wanted wrapped around him. Short dark hair, in what appeared to be an army cut, and glittering green eyes were a bonus that he didn’t normally get to see.

Benji tilted his head, to show that he was curious and waited. The well built rock of a man turned to lean his back against the bar, keeping their eyes locked on each other, as a playful smile formed on his pink lips. They were just perfect for kissing.

Before either of them could move, Zack came bounding over and flattened him. Benji laughed as he fell back onto the bench seat and wrapped his arms around Zack. He was dropping kisses all over his face.

“Thank you,” He gushed. “Thank you. Thank you. You didn’t have to. If you wanted him for yourself,” He began, sounding halfway between frantic and elated.

Benji shut him up by clamping his hand over his mouth. “Not another word. I have never had any interest in Devon.” He promised, while pushing himself to sit up.

Zack looked surprised, so he got comfortable in his seat again and held his face in his hands. “But,”

“No. I have never wanted to be anything more than Devon’s friend. I had my eye on another prize,” He hinted, with a light chuckle. “But you frightened him off.” He tormented, making sure he kept smiling so he knew he was teasing him.

Zack bit his lip with a broad smile, accepting that he’d been a little over-exuberant, without feeling the need to apologise for it. “Devon went to get me a drink. Do you want one?” He asked, clearly trying to change the subject so that he didn’t have to feel so embarrassed.

Benji let him. “Nope. I have to go find my prize and tell him I’m still on the market.” He teased again, winking as he got up from his seat. He looked around for Devon, only to spot him making his way over with two glasses. He looked as happy as Zack did. He gave his shoulder a light pat on his way past, now assured that Zack wouldn’t be on his own. He headed off to find the hottie from the bar, who had disappeared with a look of disappointment, the moment he caught sigh of Zack’s pounce.

Benji just loved to kiss someone out of a slump.”

The Gifted Realm – Reviews

cover

I had a really hard time reviewing this series. On one hand there were parts that I liked, on the other there were parts that I loathed and in between there somewhere were a few moments, few and far between, that I loved and adored. It made it difficult to rate and difficult to decide what to say in my review, because I was so mixed up. I’ve been as honest as I can be, without confusing myself even more.

First I’m going to do the series as a whole, then I’m going to work through each book individually. This will take  a LONG time, because I had A LOT to say. Please beware that there is a lot of shouting (capital letters) and a lot of disgruntled reader attitude to follow later. There will be spoilers ahead.

** I WAS GIVEN THESE BOOKS, BY THE AUTHOR, IN RETURN FOR AN HONEST REVIEW **

** THERE WILL BE PLOT SPOILERS IN THESE REVIEWS **

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Book – The Gifted Realm Series

Blurb: Crime, passion, intrigue, drama, family life, so much has already been lost, yet there is still so much to gain…join my characters as they navigate their way into their adult lives. A sinister criminal organization that longs for more power and the men that are trying desperately to stop them, tender passionate love that’s rapidly blossoming into an all encompassing fire, and the family brings everyone back home is all inside of The Gifted Realm. 

Author – Jillian Neal
Star rating – ★★★☆☆
Plot – Very thinly spread through all books. Could have easily been 2 books instead of 4.
Characters – females are one dimensional and males are a little more broad spectrum.
Movie Potential – ★★★☆☆ (unless the sex is removed, then it goes up one star)
Ease of reading – okay. Simple words used, but too much flowery description that is distracting.
Would I read it again – No.

Analysis:

Overall, this series is about a bunch of different characters, mostly about Rainer and Emily and their ridiculous sex life. The real plot is about Wretchkinside and how he’s an evil genius who does disgustingly evil things. Dan, who has been hurt by him before, is on a mission to take him down and his whole criminal organisation with him. Rainer and his best friend Logan, Emily’s brother, are on his ‘elite’ team of ‘Gifted Iodex’ officers, helping him take down the bad guy.
In a nutshell, the Wretchkinside plot feels like a backlight to give Rainer and Dan some cool action crap to do, with car chases and guns going off, kidnaps and murder. It’s an excuse to have everyone in pain and give them all an opportunity to feel hurt, be soothed by their girl/boyfriends and then have outrageous sex. About 90% of every book in his series is sex. And no, I’m not exaggerating. Read it and you’ll see what I mean. Even when it’s not pivotal to the story, when other stuff is going on that’s more important, when you sit back and think a character is having a real moment, in comes an stupidly descriptive sex scene to ruin it.
I think if the author could, this series would be dragged on forever. You could get twenty books out of this weak, thinly plotted series and never get a solution. Which is also something you’ll have to deal with if you begin reading this. No book gives you a solution, only more frustration, anger and questions.
If I’m honest, if I’d been reading this for myself and not for review, I would never have got past the first 20% of book 1.

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Individual Books:

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Book – Within the Realm (The Gifted Realm Book 1)
Author – Jillian Neal
Star rating – ★★★☆☆
Plot – Missing. I don’t get the point of the book, unless it’s all about the sex.
Characters – females are one dimensional and males are a little more broad spectrum.
Movie Potential – ★★★☆☆ (unless the sex is removed, then it goes up one star)
Ease of reading – okay. Simple words used, but too much flowery description that is distracting.
Cover –
Suitable Title – No.
Would I read it again – No.

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Blurb:

He buried his father seven years earlier. As Rainer Lawson comes of age, he is set to join the ranks of Elite Iodex, the fiercest law enforcement organization in the Gifted Realm. Rainer will not allow his father’s assassination to have been in vain.
Emily Haydenshire has been the love of his life since childhood, and he wants nothing more than to start their life together. Heady desire consumes them both, but this raw sexual need could blind them to the dangers that surround them.
As they allow their voracious passions to consume them, evil seems to lurk around every darkened corner. The Interfeci criminal organization is desperate to regain power. Iodex is set to use their extraordinary powers to harness and control the energies of the Earth in order to keep the Interfeci at bay. Will Rainer’s determination be enough to protect his family and the love of his life Within the Realm?
 

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Book Analysis:

This book did nothing for me, to be honest. There was so much that I didn’t like that had I not been reviewing this for a blog tour, I would never have finished it.

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Pros:

When I began reading this story I was excited, hopeful and I really enjoyed the first 10%. I chose to review the whole series because I read Wendy Owens’ Guardian Series last year and it blew me away. It was an excellent series and this ‘Gifted Real’ series sounded similar. I had high expectations when I started and unfortunately, the book didn’t live up to them.
The story had a great start with an epilogue that introduced us to the main characters: Logan, his sister Emily, and Rainer. Rainer is Logan’s best friend, but he’s also Emily’s boyfriend. We get told this really early on. The first chapter then goes to years later when the kids are twenty.
The first few chapters are great. I thought it was really clever of the author to give us a history of this unfamiliar world and an explanation of how it worked through an exam that Rainer had to take. However, it was very difficult to follow because so many terms were being thrown at us, as a reader, and we were expected to understand what they meant with no explanation, sometimes, so this was a very half and half situation. Sometimes things were really well explained and some things you were left to work out on your own, which wasn’t so clever.
I’ll admit, that from the very first page I didn’t take to Emily. It began as me being undecided about her character and then progressively moved towards real hate. I’ll explain why later. As for Logan and Raider; I love them. They’re awesome and normal – for the first few chapters! I also really like Adeline, who is Logan’s girlfriend. She’s perhaps the most real character in the book.
I really like Logan and Adeline as characters and in their relationship. I like the overall story – or attempt at one – and the funny/awkward parts. I do giggle and cringe quite a lot when Logan and Rainer are together. They are what pulls this story up to a 3 star for me. But I’m still missing plot!
I like the way the book ended. At the end of the first book in series I always read ‘End of Book 1′, but this say ‘Just the Beginning’. Though I’m disappointed that it took 50% of the book for it to even start, this is a good way to move into the next one.

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Cons:

The premise of the characters all being ‘Gifted’ with magical abilities and separate from the ‘non-Gifted’ world was, I’ll admit, original. Until it went NOWHERE! Literally, we get introduced to this amazing world and then it all turns out to be a back story for Rainer and Emily’s romance. Let me tell you in advance that I gagged a few times because of that.
There’s a really awkward ‘talk’ between Rainer and Logan as they discuss sex and their girlfriends, early on in the book. At first I thought this was really funny, brilliantly done cring-worthy stuff. I literally giggled out loud, but then I realised that this realistic scene of two guys discussing this subject was going to be the real main story throughout. Yawn! And that brings me back to the characters supposedly being twenty…no! These kids barely act sixteen. I think this book was originally a YA about teens and then the author thought – Hell no, let’s add a gross, obscene amount of descriptive sex!. And…she did!
And this is where all my problems start.
Rainer has an uncle Stan and when he visits him early on, he has this really weird Spanish ‘friend’ who seems more like a loanshark. However, this moment gave me a really bad feeling – like these two would cause real trouble for Rainer later. Um…nope. The next 20% of the book was about him getting his freak on. Literally.
I expected this book, from the covers to the descriptions on Goodreads and Amazon to be a YA series for teens. Well, that opinion was thrown out the window when the obscenely desperate Rainer and Emily began rubbing and grinding all over each other every second they could get. I’m not kidding either. It was like the entire story was thrown out the window in favour of seriously explicit sex scenes. Well, if you want to write an erotica go ahead, but at least bill it as an erotica. And, even worse, the sex scenes were NOT good!
We get a small injection of relief with a challenge everyone talks about, but the author never explains. We’re just expected to know, all through the first 20% of the book that ‘the Angels’ are a team of some sort, without being told which sport it is. Then we get to ‘Coulomb’s Web’ the last game Emily has to play before graduation. Apparently she hates it with a passion and is no good at it, but, surprise surprise, *spoiler alert* their team wins with no problem. Urgh! That is something I said a lot while reading this book. It’s unbelievable and single-minded. The game description, when it finally came was very complicated and I barely understood most of it. It would have been nice to have a comparison to a game or idea that we readers would already understand.
I’m also not a fan of the repetitive words – ‘issued’ being used to describe movement? And people ‘panted’, ‘stunned’ or ‘hushed’ their words? Really? REALLY? There is a heck of a lot of panting going on throughout the first 30% of this book it’s unreal. And, FWI, people don’t inhale food! If that’s a thing with these ‘Gifted’ characters then that should have been pointed out by now. Normal human beings EAT food.
Let me just admit that by 20% of this book, the whole ‘sex’ issue was really getting old. If they were rubbing, grinding or talking about the sex then Emily’s thrusting her breasts into Rainer’s face. And I’m not exaggerating; that line is used many, many times. The book began well, with a good story and potential to be great. Then it became all about Rainer and Emily doing the nasty. And trust me, it’s nasty. I feel like the whole lot of them are horny pre-teens with nothing better to think about. I see glimmers of real character in Rainer and Logan, but not in any of the females. I feel like I’m missing the real point of the story.
To be blunt, I would have cut almost all of this trash out of the book and I could still get the basic storyline, without all the rampant, unnecessary, single-minded focus on sex. I’m really also not happy that all the females are weak, slutty and sob all the time. All the men are typical bad boys and all the women do nothing but flirt, sleep around and cry. It’s a gross injustice to the female sex. I feel sorry for any teen or pre-teen who reads this expecting a great YA story only to get full explicit sex shoved down their throat for 30% of the book and being told that it’s okay.
Let’s get back to the sex, shall we? Since we can’t escape it let’s evaluate it. Now, I’ve read a lot of novels with erotic/explicit and barely any sex. I write them too, but this one really takes the cake. It reads like an old 90s Mills and Boons with the description:
Though he’d certainly done this much before, he began to consider his next moves.”
This is about fingers going places I’m not allowed to talk about in a review. BUT, we’ve never been told this before. We get a flash back LATER that this has happened before, but no mention until now. The whole sex part of the story is gross, to be honest.
Her energy flowed into him as he opened and ripened her rhythmically.”
Seriously, I almost gagged just typing that out. Think what I felt reading it. Then there’s this constant, incessant frustrating MILLION times that Rainer asks Emily if she’s sure and everyone goes on and on and on about how much this will hurt her. GROSS and annoying! We get that he’s nervous and this is supposed to be a ‘big deal’ to the Gifted, but how many times do we have to hear it?
Then there’s trash like this –
he broke through her until he could fill her with all of him.” That sounds painful and gross. But, Emily’s all delighted and absolutely fine with it. Ew.
He placed his hand on her mound over the approximate place where he’d just broken through her.” Please excuse me while I’m sick. I mean, this is unbelievable and disgusting to read. You have no idea the amount of times I gagged, squinted and tried not to keep reading this stuff. It gets worse, but I can’t go into it now. I’m feeling sick as it is.
But let me saw one more thing about the sex – the first time all he goes is get inside her and blasts off (to keep it polite for the review). That’s not sex! Yet she claimed it was magical and blah, blah, blah.
How am I supposed to believe they kids are twenty when they do stuff like this after sex –
““I really want to take care of you, Em, always.” She swooned.
Tears formed on her lashes as she nodded. “Thank you.” She fell back on her pillow. She hugged the one he’d slept on to her chest and inhaled deeply.” Who swoons in this day and age? And don’t get me started on this one –
She could feel his every emotion because his release was inside of her.” GROSS! Urgh!
I really don’t understand Rainer and Emily’s relationship. I don’t believe it either. There’s a constant invisible, unexplained power she has over him and we’re told in the Prologue that she told him he was to be her boyfriend when they were kids. Now, that seemed cute and all back when they were six or seven, but it feels like it’s still that way. Emily tells Rainer what she wants and he gives it to her. It’s not realisitc.
To be perfectly honest with you all, if I wasn’t committed to reviewing this series it would have been a DNF the moment all the bumping and grinding started. That wasn’t what I signed up for and the NEXT TWENTY PERCENT of horny teenagers doing nasty things in disgusting ways wasn’t what I signed up for either. The sex isn’t hot, necessary or relevant to the story. There’s even a magical safe guard against pregnancy, so it’s not as if it’s a major story arc so that Emily turns out pregnant later. They’ve just told us it’s impossible, so WHY? For the love of God, why?
Though the basic idea if good and I like the male characters, I can’t take any more of this ‘sex is the ENTIRE point of the story’ plotline. And that’s how it reads. If they’re not thinking about it they’re doing it. WHERE’S THE STORY?
The blurb mentions this – “Heady desire consumes them both, but this raw sexual need could blind them to the dangers that surround them. As they allow their voracious passions to consume them, evil seems to lurk around every darkened corner.” But it never, for once, mentions explicit sex warnings or that the ENTIRE book is about sex. If it did say this, I would never have decided to read it, to be honest. I like my sex to come WITH a plot line, not instead of.
But, to be fair I committed to reading and reviewing this series and I’m darned well going to do it. I’m going to suffer every minute of it so that you don’t have to.
Lots of flowery description that isn’t necessary and distracts from the reading. I’m starting to see the plot coming through the story, but that’s at the 50% mark. It should never take this long to see the plot and even then it’s thin.
I have a REAL issue with these words being used so repetitively in the story: ‘issued’ is not a way to describe walking and NO-ONE ‘inhales’ their food. It sounds gross, painful and really disturbs my reading when it is mentioned so often. There are many alternative words to describe someone eating quickly. People also do not ‘husked’, ‘sassed’ or ‘hemmed’ their words. These are barely words as it is, never mind the correct term for someone talking. What is wrong with ‘said’?
I did a lot of eye-rolling and gagging during this book; it feels like it was written by a teenager with no knowledge of sex or adults. And I’m including the sex scenes in here. They’re not hot, not attractive, not sexy and neither are the characters.
And let me just ask you: does this sound sexy? “She hissed his name; it seared through him as a low guttural groan and escaped his lungs.” It sounds like Parseltongue and it sounds painful. That is not sexy, bedroom talk. And let me just mention this one: “To pull the erotic energy from its main storehouse would be exquisite.” I’m not even going to tell you what this was about because it made me gag so hard that I nearly choked myself.
And here – “The sunrise was reflecting off of the water.” Was it? Because this is Rainer’s POV and in the next sentence he opens his eyes, so how does he know? And saying ‘heartbeats’ in reference to one person, makes them sound like they have two hearts. Emily has one, so ‘heartbeat’ or ‘beats of her heart’ would have made more sense.
The writing style is very juvenile and reads as a first draft that no-one has edited. There is a lot of flowery and useless, unnecessary description. Simple things are being described with alternatives and using a heck of a lot of metaphors. The sex is cringe-worthy and makes me gag; it doesn’t sound sexy, enjoyable or exciting. In fact, it’s pretty gross and makes me really uncomfortable. And believe me, I read a lot of erotica, so it’s not the explicit part that bothers me, it’s the way it’s written. If the author can’t describe the body parts and practices of sex properly, in her explicit scenes, then maybe they shouldn’t be writing sex scenes just yet?
It would be nice if the memory scenes/flashbacks were in italics or something to separate them from the present time. It’s very hard to tell where one ends and another begins.
What actually disappoints me the most is that this would make an awesome YA novel if you just removed the sex and hinted at what happened behind closed doors instead. The conversations, the characters personalities and twist of danger versus humour and love is excellent – for a YA novel. But the explicit sex (which is horrible anyway) would have to be removed. Then, in my opinion, this would be a 5 star YA novel. The story, once you weed it out between the sheets, is actually really good. But it shouldn’t take 50% of the novel to get there. I could easily have chopped out about six chapters from this to make it an incredible, unputdownable, YA novel.
The use of ‘spastically’ and ‘spaz’ are really not okay with me. It doesn’t fit the character and it’s really offensive. I also hate the flippant way the author and character use the word. There are also a lot of instances where ‘and’ should really be ‘an’ and I’m not a fan of accents being written into books. I don’t mind slang words, but when words are spelled to look like an accent it makes it really difficult to read, especially when you’re not familiar with the accent.
I’m also confused as to whether the Angels are a sports group or a job sector. One minute they sound like a Quidditch team and the next thy sound like Aurors. (I’m sorry for the Harry Potter analogy, but that’s the only comparison I have.)
What happened to Rainer never having looked at or noticed other girls since he met Emily when they were little kids? It seems that every time I turn around he’d ogling some girl with a great ‘rack’. He did it twice within this book; first with Chloe and secondly with Fionna.
And I have no clue, whatsoever, what this means ‘He perked coffee, seated himself at the table, and waited determinedly.’ How does one ‘perk’ coffee exactly? What does it even mean? I also don’t think the author understands what the word ‘diatribe’ means or what negative connotations it has. She uses it multiple times to describe when someone goes into lecture mode. I suspect the word she’s looking for it ‘tangent’ or ‘monologue’, ‘lecture’ or even ‘speech’. Diatribe is not the right word to use in any of the places she has used it. There are also a few ?’s at the end of perfectly normal sentences, that suggest it’s either a typo or the author isn’t sure themselves about what they’re writing. It feels sloppy.
And don’t get me started on the multiple times that ‘IN’ has been used instead of ‘ON’. Like this ‘Everyone say in the living room floor’. Now, you can either sit in the living room or on the living room floor, but you can’t sit in a floor.
I also have a feeling that Fergus’ Gifted girlfriend will either be his saviour or really big trouble. I also don’t like Fionna looks and acts around Rainer; it feels to me that she’s flirting a heck of a lot, right in front of Emily. I also have a feeling that Emily will get pregnant from their bout of sex in the shower at her parents house, since no-one mentioned either of them doing a cast.
And, not for nothing, it says “Thank you for reading ‘Rock Bottom’” at the end. Except that I didn’t; this is book 1 and ‘Rock Bottom’ is book 4, so that’s a mistake that needs fixed, unless I’m reading an Arc, which wasn’t made clear at the time.
I also noticed that there’s a discrepancy between the book covers. I didn’t get a cover with my copy of Book 1, but book 2 says ‘Book Two’, while the third says ‘Book 3′. This is minor, but it’s important when broadcasting your series and it’s a matter of continuity, which is a problem in this book so far, as well.

~

Overall:

As you can see this book had more Cons than Pros. I think this book would be a 4-5 star favourite if it was written for a YA audience and the author had someone editing who knew about grammar. No offense to the author or the editor/publisher, but the whole thing read like a teenager attempting an adult novel. It just didn’t work.
The characters are one-dimensional, with flashes of uniqueness that don’t last long enough, and very stereotypical. The girls are sluts, the boys as bad-asses and the parents are overbearing, toothache sweet and overprotective. The only two things in this whole novel that I found believable or likeable were: 1. Logan and Rainer’s friendship because they had a real bromance going on that was fun and real; and 2. Logan and Adeline’s relationship because although they had sex, it was all about making her feel loved and sharing something special. It didn’t turn into this gross out sex-fest and he isn’t after it every second of the day like Rainer and Emily are.
The decent plot/story was let down grossly by the explicit sex, bad grammar and mistakes. I would have preferred this book had it undergone some intense editing; I mean, grammar, spelling and deleting a few chapters wroth of useless sex scenes. There’s really no need for them, because they don’t push the story along at all. I feel like they’re only there to provide some heat and make the characters seem more adult, but it’s a fail for me. The characters are juvenile, pathetic and barely read older than fifteen. The sex isn’t good, enticing or sexy and the little romantic parts there were could easily have provided enough romance to keep a YA market happy.

 

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Book – Lesson Learned (The Gifted Realm Book 2)
Author – Jillian Neal
Star rating – ★★★★
Plot – better than book 1, but still thin
Characters – even more slutty and brutish than book 1
Movie Potential – ★★★★
Ease of reading – easy to read, if you can get past the word usage
Cover – X doesn’t adequately represent the story
Suitable Title – ✔
Would I read it again – No.

~

Blurb:

One breathtakingly hot, passion-filled, night ignites a fire in his soul. Everything in his world should be nothing short of perfection…but he is Rainer Lawson.
His wild evening with Emily is the Realm’s front-page story. Could he have lost the respect of the man that has been like a father to him? Could his family’s hard-earned fortune really dissolve before his very eyes?
Evil rapidly cinches its chokehold, and everything his father fought and died for threatens to implode. Rainer attempts to protect those that he loves and satisfy the fiery passions between he and Emily, but everything in his world is spinning wildly out of control. His desire to prove himself could very well be his undoing.
Sometimes the best of intentions are not enough, but perhaps it is the trials by fire that make the man. Steel sharpens steel, and passion burns white hot in “Lessons Learned.”

~

Book Analysis:

This book frustrated me even more than the first. It has even more potential, but it is sadly ruined with the same mistakes, plot issues and misunderstandings.

~

Pros:

I like the Cascavel and Vindico storyline advancement. It’s the most interesting thing I’ve read in this series so far. Unfortunately, there’s not enough of it for me.
Logan and Adeline’s relationship is what saves this book. It’s what ups my 3 stars to 4 and what convinces me to keep reading. They are the only real thing in this story and it’s sad that there are only a few chapters where they get to shine.
I’ll admit that I am actually enjoying this series. There are A LOT of things that let it down, but the more I read the more I try to see beyond the terrible sex scenes, the selfish and single-minded behaviour of the characters and look for the real plot. When those moments crop up I’m like a giddy fangirl, giggling and gasping in surprise at what unfolds. But the bad parts do mar my enjoyment quite a bit and I just want to scalp the whole lot of it until it’s the well arranged YA novel I see beneath the surface.

~

Cons:

I think it’s really cheesy for an adult novel, which this is supposed to be, for the MC to be ‘Lawson’ and the bad guy to be called ‘Wretchkinsides’. I mean, could you make it any more clearer who the good and bad guys are? Fine for a YA novel, but cheesy and lazy for an adult.
I have no idea what ‘sausage biscuits’ are, but I’m guessing they’re American. They don’t sound appetizing at all. Did I mention before that I hate accents? There are also issues in this book, where quotation marks are missing. There’s the same mistake when ‘up’ and ‘down’ are used incorrectly, when ‘on’ and ‘in’ are in the wrong places. E.g. “down his chest and traced her fingers over his nipples.” Eh, I’m sorry, but you can’t do down a chest to reach nipples, you go up. And “hands move up her inner thighs until he caught her left ankle”: No matter how you spin it you can’t go up a thigh to reach an ankle. It’s physically impossible.
I also don’t understand why the whole Regis and his wife chapter is needed. It doesn’t tell us anything that we haven’t already been told; it’s just an excuse to get some ‘sexy’ moments in. The problem is that it’s not sexy at all.
The sex is still total overkill; there’s no need for even half of it. And this : “They’d hoped that moving into their own place would allow them to engage in the physical side of their relationship a little more often.” Really? They were at it like rabbits in Book 1. I don’t think they could do it any more often if they tried. Book 2 is still full of gross out, unwanted, unnecessary and irrelevant sex scenes that make me gag and roll my eyes.
Emily is still super slutty; in fact, she’s worse than before. She’s also weepy, irritating and frustrating. I don’t like her at all, just like I always knew I wouldn’t. Now, before you say anything; no, I didn’t decide to dislike her for any reason and then keep to that. No, I just saw things in her really early on that I detest in a female MC. She’s weak, hormonal ALL the time and she’s unlikeable, to me.
There’s also not enough of Logan and Adeline in the first half of the book. It’s like they’ve been forgotten entirely, except for Logan to offer that ‘light relief’ whenever things get too ‘heavy’.
I don’t understand how someone in the limelight for the last however many years can’t approach the press and choose to do an exclusive interview with them. If they gave them a no-holds-barred truthful interview then they would be less interested in them. All this sneaking around, never answering questions and always acting suspiciously is what keeps the media interested.
Rainer is supposed to be this big bad guy whose only interest is keeping Em safe, but all he does is get caught up in her slutty ways and forget how to function like a human being. And redeeming qualities he has as a character disappear whenever he thinks/talks or is around Emily. Suddenly he turns into this raging sex machine, and his only thought is to screw Emily until he can’t breathe anymore and grant her every wish. It’s sickening. Then she goes all Bridezilla on him.
I really don’t understand this book at all. These guys are twenty now and they’re breaking out in a cold sweat about going to a strip club FOR WORK!!! They need to grow a pair and Em needs to grow the F up about it all. They’re supposed to be adults, so they need to grow up and start acting like it. It’s a job; he saved a young girl and all they keep going on about is how much Em is going to freak out. They’re getting married!!!! What possible reason does she have to think that some stripper is going to catch his attention?
and when it came right down to it he’d taken her for granted” Ah, no! No he hasn’t. He’s been the exact opposite; always putting her first, even when it was illogical or stupid to do it. He’s always done what SHE wanted and what made HER happy. I don’t give a flying F that he kept secrets; every couple keeps secrets from each other at one point and let’s face it…if it’s that much of a problem then TALK about it.
Em can’t go on saying that she doesn’t want or care about his money, then turn round and be furious that he didn’t tell her about a lawsuit. It’s not of her frickin’ business if she doesn’t want anything to do with his money. Em needs to get some self-esteem. If any pretty girl that walks past Rainer is going to get her knickers in a twist then she needs to wake up and smell the coffee. The poor guy has done everything for her, for the last twenty years. He’s disobeyed her father, he’s obeyed every order and risked his friendship with his best friend for her.
They’ve been together forever and Rainer has never looked or strayed; why get uptight about a WORK JOB that he had no choice in? Doesn’t 20 years of loyalty and fidelity mean anything to Em? It seems like she cares more about the money going to someone else than him being at a strip club.
I am so sorry for how awful this must have been for you” Really? How was this awful for Emily? She’s the one making Rainer’s life a misery and acting unprofessionally in front of Fiona, who is her boss. She’s making Rainer’s work life a misery and putting her own life in danger. How stupid can you be?
I don’t care how young she is; she’s being a bitch.” Logan spat.” Well, I don’t agree with ‘spat’ as a descriptive speech term, but YES! He’s the only one who agrees with me. The whole time I read Emily I just think ‘this girl is either straitjacket crazy or pregnant’.
Rainer spends a heck of a lot of time going on about how sex isn’t the only thing he wants from Emily; how it’s love and a home and a future. He loves her so much that he would do anything for her, but he can’t look at her in the bath, without controlling his sexed-up hormones for five minutes? Their argument lasted one day before he was groping her up and they were rutting like animals. And why, oh why, does Rainer need to take his shirt off to talk to Emily while she’s in the bath?
Really, the amount of sex they have is unbelievable and ridiculous. It’s also really pathetic that it’s their solution for everything.
And how ignorant and selfish do these kids have to be to not notice that Mrs Haydenshire is either pregnant or seriously sick? If I can see it then they should too.
Why use ‘lamasted’ when chastised would do better? And how would you know this: “He blinked and tried to determine why he’d awoken two hours before he had to get up.” How did he know it’s two hours early? Oh, and let me just show you this: “I don’t guess I realized I was so awful to live with.” Does this make sense to anyone else? It’s very difficult to read. And so was this: “I’d walk away and let you have that because all in the world that I want is for you to be happy.” It almost reads, in places, that English isn’t the author’s first language. In which case, this would explain a heck of a lot.
Garrett is a total man-whore and all the girls are even sluttier in this book than book 1. The whole ‘guzzler’ thing at the bar just proves this. I also don’t understand why Rainer feels so responsible for all the bad crap that’s happened – the bar, the restaurant etc. It wasn’t his fault; Em goaded him every time and all he did was act like a brainless, horny teenager and give in.
I also don’t think saying that he wants to be a more ‘consummate lover’ is what the author meant. I’m thinking it should have been ‘considerate’. That happens a lot in this series; the wrong words are used. Not just words that unnecessarily long/complicated, but words that mean entirely different things to what the author thinks they mean. There’s also a real issue with quotation marks being missing or in the wrong places, so that you don’t know what’s speech and what’s observation/description half the time. There are also incomplete sentences where a full stop is used instead of a comma. A lot of the time it feels like a sentence has been cut in half and now makes very little sense until you’ve read on.
I also find it very hard to believe that Emily’s tattoo would all fit into the one tattoo, small enough to be discrete and yet large enough to have all of that detail, while only taking up her hip bone. It seems unbelievable to me that each detail is legible.
There are also lots of places where there is no definition between one scene and the next, one location and the next and memories of the past and actions of the present. There’s still no obvious, clear shift from past to present when someone drift off into memories. There are moments when the lack of speech marks makes it so hard to find out what people are saying and what people are thinking. There’s also a scene where they’re in the car, driving one minute and the next they’re on the sofa, with no explanation or indication of their having moved at all.
Rainer and Emily are so childish and focused on sex that they can’t see straight. It’s grossly disgusting and lowers the intelligence of the characters. What little redeeming qualities they have as characters are completely ruined by their single-minded obsession with sex. It feels like 90% of this book is Rainer shoving his fingers up Em and that’s not a book to me. That’s porn; not a story with plot.
I find the ‘magical’ aspect of this story to be a really lazy way for the author to have the characters connect and know each others thoughts. It’s used as a lazy way for the author to ensure against pregnancy and make keys, locks, and security systems obsolete. I don’t see any other reason for it. The magic and the society doesn’t seem to have a real focus in this story.
The main ‘plot’ of Cascaval and the Vindico is a much more intriguing story than the roundabout of when Rainer and Em are or are not having sex with each other. But it’s given a complete back seat to their sexual antics. It lowers this story from what could be an awesome 4-5 stars to a bare 3. That’s for potential. If I was to rate this book on what was actually in it, not what it could be, it would be a 2 star at most.

~

Overall:

This book made me even angrier than book 1. There are more pages dedicated to sex in this series than action or plot and it drives me up the wall. The overall story is excellent and I ‘nearly’ cried and laughed a lot while reading, but the incessant and unnecessary sex, whining and tantrums.
It takes half of the book, again, to get away from the sex and into the plot. Again, the first half is full of horny, desperate kids pretending to be adults. Then the real story begins about 45% – 50% of the way into the book.
Ultimately this book needs the stuffing edited out of it. It needs spelling/grammar checks and a major plot overhaul to remove the sex and turn this into a kick-ass YA series that would sell like hot cakes.

 

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Book – Every Action (The Gifted Realm Book 3)
Author – Jillian Neal
Star rating – ★★★★
Plot – same old, same old. Getting frustrating.
Characters – same old, same old.
Movie Potential – ★★★★
Ease of reading – disjointed sentences, words being used with the wrong meaning.
Cover – ✔ (all about the sex)
Suitable Title – Not really. I see what she means by it, but it doesn’t work for me.
Would I read it again – No.

~

Blurb:

“Mr. Lawson…” the man drawled. His French accent did nothing to cover his sinister tone. “Saw the little show your fiancée put on for you last night at the Tower. She’s quite a handful isn’t she?”
“I don’t know who the hell you think you are, but if you get anywhere near her, I’ll kill you.”
“Well then, Mr. Lawson, you better hope you find her before I do.”

~~~

If Emily’s father doesn’t win the vicious race for Crown Governor, the Realm falls to the savage clutches of Wretchkinsides. Evil chokes ice cold, but the hot, kindled burn between Rainer and Emily keeps them ablaze. 
A whirlwind trip culminates from DC, to Paris, Boston, to Seattle. The race is on and the stakes are far too high. Ultimately the entire Gifted world awaits their fate.
Everything that tries to rip them apart, everything that keeps them tightly bound, and everything involved in the ultimate betrayal, teaches Rainer that not Every Action is an option.

~

Book Analysis:

This one is slightly better than the previous two. There are still really badly written, unnecessary sex scenes that don’t belong in the plot and break up the flow of the story, but I’m already resigned to the fact that it’s a theme of this entire series.

-

Pros:

I really believe Logan and Adeline’s relationship. I believe they love each other and they would and have done anything for each other. It’s just sad that their parts of the story are the shining lights in this series. I feel like a completely different person wrote these two characters.
I’m not a fan of guys like Garrett, who sleep around and mistreat women, but I do think that he’s got to get a better storyline in the next book. Either he or Vindico has to get together with Fiona and make her happy. I feel like Garrett is as scarred by what happened to Amelia as Vindico is; that he knew he hadn’t been there and that not being there was what got her killed, so he’s felt guilty all along.
Like Vindico, who won’t move on, Garrett doesn’t want to let anyone get as close to him as Amelia and Vindico were to each other, so that he doesn’t have the risk of losing anyone he cares about. It seems like that’s the real reason he sticks with Chloe so much, because sex is an out for him, away from the bad stuff; it’s his coping mechanism and Chloe is too cold and selfish to really matter or care about him.

The incident with Stan, at the end of the book, is one of the most real, touching moments Rainer’s character has in the whole series, except for maybe sitting at his dad’s grave. It would be even more real and touching if, once again, it wasn’t ruined by their ‘solution’ to the problem: sex.

~

Cons:

Really bad grammar throughout. Example: “He’d suspected for some time; though, she was insistent that work wasn’t aggravating the cyst.” suspected what? There a lot of this throughout the entire series. Sentences are incomplete and have been chopped in half by a full stop when a comma or semi-colon would have been better and made more sense.
I’ve also been frustrated with the fact that there is only one major story arc. This follows through the entire series, but we never really get a minor story arc for each book; and when we do it’s all the same thing. One of Wretchkinside’s men does something to try to hurt Rainer or the Crown Governor and Rainer, Logan, Garrett and Vindico manage to stop that one particular bad guy. Which mostly results in his death, and Wretchkinside’s continues to escape. I knew that was the theme before the end of book 1, but can we not have something different?

Issues I had with the first few books, like word choices, are still all through this one. Using words like ‘issued’ for movement and ‘inhaled’ for eating are frustrating and really jar the reading, because they’re not used in the right context.
she had her legs folded like a pretzel.” Can’t you just say lotus position? It’s like this a lot, with random comparisons being made that really aren’t the right ones. Like this one – “Rainer took a quick bite of the soup” Who bites soup? You sip or you drink it, but you don’t bite a liquid.
Logan cocked his jaw to the side” Now, to me, that sounds painful. The boys do this a lot and if they’re not careful, they’re going to do some serious damage.
And here’s a perfect example of how disjointed some of the sentences are:

Rainer had no concern over this; however, as he’d yet to make a call on the phone so he’d certainly never amplified the signal.” That semi-colon is in the completely wrong place and it drives me up the wall. I keep having to re-read sentences like this to figure out what the real meaning is. Like this one:
Upon learning of my bid for Crown the Interfeci organisation, via a man that my opponent signed the release papers that ended his time in Felsink seven months early.” Now, I get what she’s trying to say, but it’s only try. This sentence makes very little sense unless you read the two after it as well. It’s incomplete and jarring to the flow of the story.
I also think the characters are acting more stupid as the story goes along. Sure, I can see why the author did it, but it makes her characters look ridiculous to keep making the same idiotic mistakes over and over again, just so that she can move the story along the way she wants. If you’re going to make something happen in the story, but don’t want your characters to look like Class A morons, then try something different.
I don’t see why on earth there had to be an entire chapter about Emily sending ‘dirty’ text messages and photos to Rainer! The messages were not all that dirty and her face wasn’t even in the pictures, so it wasn’t that big of a risk, but they still knew better. This is one of those moments where I asked myself “Really!? Are these characters THAT stupid?” How often had risky pictures been exposed by the media before? Why would they risk it again during Governor Haydenshire’s campaign? That’s right, because they’re stupid. It’s the only excuse.
Oh, and that the story needed it so that one of the bad guys could hack Rainer’s phone for information. It could easily have been explained, in one sentence, that he and Em had been exchanging photos and texts to each other for weeks, on that phone, without us needing an entire chapter to see it for ourselves. In fact, Rainer does admit this to Vindico later, without going into detail. With that conversation, the entire chapter of texting back and forward is obsolete.
Even worse, is that they did this even after their hotel room had been bugged. You would think with all that going on they would be more careful about what they talked about, shared and sent each other on something like a phone, which they already know can be hacked and cloned.
I also don’t like the entire chapter in the Paris restaurant. The texting, the pictures, the constant ‘panting’ and the whole restaurant thing only prove that Em is a total slut. She’s one of the least likable characters in the entire series for me, which sucks because she’s in almost every scene, being a main character. All she thinks about it sex, even when they’re at it most every other minute. When they’re being hunted by a bunch of hardcore guys who want them dead: Em is thinking about and demanding sex. When they’re being followed, bugged, threatened: Em is thinking about and demanding sex. When Rainer is having a complete mental breakdown: the solution is sex. It’s like the author had no other intention than writing their own porn book.
I’m also really not convinced that this needed to be a PNR. The magic used in this book is generic and barely does anything that couldn’t be done with a weapon, key or tool. Rainer needlessly uses magic to open locks, when a key or key card would be fine. The whole game aspect that Emily does is so badly explained that it would be better off being gymnastics or something to do with logic and mazes for all the sense it makes.
The only time I actually see magic being used is when they use heat or energy to heal or kill someone. Otherwise, I think the whole ‘magical’ aspect is there only so that Rainer and Emily can go on and on and on about how much they feel each others emotions and how it feels during sex. I swear, other than that, I don’t see why it’s necessary. You could have the exact same plot line, the exact same events and characters, in an action book, with regular, non-Gifted humans.
I feel like Rainer got the short end of the stick here; he’s a good character, who has been landed with a crappy storyline and a horrible girlfriend who does nothing but cry, throw hissy fits and get her own way. Logan and Adeline are a much better couple, but we barely see them. I would happily read an entire series about those two. Sadly, when Logan isn’t with Adeline, and especially when he’s unhappy about something, he’s made out to be a bratty teenager throwing a temper tantrum. While Emily – when she does the same thing – is cooed over and everyone rallies round to beta the stuffing out of whoever hurt her feelings.
I don’t get how Rainer is supposed to be ‘overbearing’ by worrying about the girls safety in Paris. They all seem to forget that there’s a maniac out there who is hurting their family and Rainer has been reading Gifted vibes at the restaurant. I mean, seriously, Logan and Rainer are supposed to be trained Iodex officers and they don’t even pay attention to an obvious danger. Maybe the author did it to drag the story out, but it makes her characters seem really ridiculous.

I don’t know whether I’m right or not, because nothing gets resolved at the end of each book, but I really think it’s obvious that Chloe is a bad guy. I’ve said since she was first introduced that I don’t like her. She’s bossy, slutty and she knows things. She flirts with Rainer whenever he’s near, she uses Garrett, and she’s a cold hard witch with no real feelings.
Don’t even get me started on this piece from Emily:
What if some girl, at the Senate, has just been waiting on me to leave, and then she’s going to ask you out?” Her eyes were spinning wildly as she fought tears. Logan shook his head.
[…]
Well, are you going to say yes?” Emily demanded insanely.
So…for one, clearly an engagement means nothing to Emily. Secondly, she doesn’t trust Rainer not to cheat on her and break their engagement just because she’s going away for one month. And thirdly, why are these two acting like a month away from each other is a suicide mission? It’s a month, she’ll be doing good deeds in Brazil and yet all either of them can think about is that they’re not going to be able to sleep together for four weeks. GET OVER YOURSELVES AND GROW UP!
And either this is a plot mistake or a revelation; I can’t tell, because you get NO answers at the end of each book, only more questions.
Yeah, that’s what I thought, but it was weird when I shook his hand it was like I knew him or something.” Logan looked extremely confused.
So either Adeline’s father is Australian, not British, or this should have been mentioned about two paragraphs before, when they were discussing the British Gifted people who shook hands with Rainer.
The inaugural ball really frustrated me. After all the things they’ve been through; Henry being taken, Mrs Haydenshire being poisoned, Emily being attached, the twins and Emily being forced off the road, Serena’s kidnapping, being followed in Paris, Marlisa, having phones hacked, having rooms bugged; Rainer goes and IGNORES an obvious threat? I mean, seriously? It doesn’t seem to matter how many times Em reads evil energy on someone and tells Rainer about it, he ignores it and tells her that security is too tight to let someone through JUST LIKE LAST TIME! Isn’t that how Serena was taken? Isn’t that how someone poisoned Mrs Haydenshire? Isn’t that what he said when they encountered the tattooed guy at the funfair? When will he learn his lesson?

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Overall:

This one gets 4 stars for making me cry and for having moments of greatness, even though they were sadly overshadowed by useless, terrible sex scenes that really spoiled the story and the series as a whole.
As with the other books in this series, there are multiple spelling/grammar issues and it needs the guts ripped out, edited, spell checked and then reorganized.

 

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Book – Rock Bottom (The Gifted Realm Book 4)
Author – Jillian Neal
Star rating – ★★★☆☆
Plot – marginally better than before
Characters – better; more Logan and Adeline and more Dan and Fionna
Movie Potential – ★★★☆☆
Ease of reading – difficult; real issues with spelling/grammar
Cover – ✔
Suitable Title – X – Yes for first 20%, but not really.
Would I read it again – No.

~

Blurb:

Dan Vindico is the Chief of Elite Iodex, the fiercest, peacekeeping, police force in the Realm. He appears to have been constructed of raw sinew and steel. He’s sought revenge for his fiancée’s murder for the last decade. As he tears apart the men responsible, seemingly without end, he finds himself drowning in the riptide. Amelia’s kidnapper is going to walk free. The knowledge drives Dan to the brink.
Rainer Lawson, son of the assassinated Crown Governor and the newest officer to earn the Elite rank, can’t seem to do anything more than watch his boss be crushed under the weight. With Emily on another continent, Rainer has already let his guard down for one brief moment and has seen the brutality of the Interfeci. They’ve taken something he can’t ever get back. Can they be stopped? Can they save Vindico from the hellish abyss he seems determined to let consume him? 
 
Vindico can’t continue on. He’s reached the end. Narrowly escaping certain imprisonment and possible death, his body seems unwilling to fight anymore. While licking his inflicting wounds, in walks his saving grace. He’s hit Rock Bottom. Rainer, Logan, Garrett, and all of his men can’t save him. Perhaps, what he needs are the wings of an Angel. Can he have anything good in his life? Can he have true love again? How can he keep her from ending up like Amelia? Could it ever be worth the risk?

~

Book Analysis:

Okay, so my real problem with this book is that it took the entire book to tell a story that could had been told in half of it or even a third of the book. There were so many unnecessary scenes that it really irritates me. Now there’s ANOTHER book to come.

~

Pros:

The rollicking Governor Haydenshire gave Dan on the plane made me cry, laugh and root for both of them. Out of all of the men in this series, Garrett would be my preferred book boyfriend, with Dan a close second. They both need some serious healing. Unfortunately, Garrett is a good character lowered to a manwhore and Dan is a wounded, foul-mouthed, angry cop with a grudge, who also happens to be really dirty in the bedroom.
The whole Dan and Fionna thing was adorable and made me cry more than once. HOWEVER, I would just, for once, like a love story that doesn’t revolve around sex. Logan and Adeline; at it all the time. Rainer and Emily; at it all the time. Garrett; never not at it, with some girl or other. Then we get Dan and Fionna, who have this lovely romance and then the inevitable happens – they’re at it all the time! Seriously, is sex the only thing this author thinks about?

~

Cons:

Once again, little ole’ delicate, selfish Em is drawing Rainer away from important work that could get someone hurt or kill just because she’s so self-involved. Nothing new there then.
Too much useless description of hotel rooms, scenery etc. I still don’t like the word ‘spaz’ and how lazily and stupidly the author uses it. And what’s this about Dan assuming that Fionna has a middle name? How does he even know she has one? Not everyone does, but it seems to be an assumption here. It’s lazy plot, if you ask me.
“Emily cries all the time.” Logan huffed.” Yes, she does. Thanks for noticing that too, Logan. You’re a champ.
“if you’re up to it, we’ll see what I might can do to rectify this.” Just an example of how badly this entire books needs edited for spelling and grammar issues.
My entire analysis of the characters in this book can be summed up here, in the author’s own words:
Rainer was certain that wasn’t true, to an extent, but he was still furious that grown women were having like bratty teenagers.” Wow! So am I. Grown adults between the ages of 20-30 are acting like brats.
The whole thing with the repetitive ‘might could’ is really grating on my last nerve. It’s been consistent in every book, so I already know it’s not a mistake. Only one of these is needed at a time; both is overkill and bad grammar. There’s a lot of both in this book.
Don’t even get me started on Emily whining every other minute:
“Are you going to cheat on me if my stomach looks like Brooke’s, after I have a baby?” She became overwrought and quickly lost all sense of reason.”
Yeah, Em looses all sense of reason quite a bit, doesn’t she? She needs to grow a backbone and get some self-esteem. How pathetic can this character be? She’s engaged to be married to the guy who had never once looked at any other girl in twenty years, yet she’s asked him twice (between this book and the last) if he’s going to cheat on her after they’re married. What is he, a horn-dog? I think Rainer can control himself and not beg any girl that walks past for quick sex. But maybe her insecurity explains why every single minute they’re having sex together.
What really ticked me off, is when we’re getting into the really good story of Dan and his visit to Germany and then after about three paragraphs of good story we’re interrupted for a page and a half of Rainer and Em having sex. Oh, and then the author suddenly remembers there’s a story to be told, so we’re given a half page of Dan again. I AM SO SICK OF READING ABOUT RAINER AND EM HAVING SEX!! Can I make that any clearer?
Every time we get Dan’s POV it’s ‘chiselled’ this and ‘massive’ that. He’s not that egotistical. If the author wanted to reiterate how hot and buff and built he is, find another way. Men are not usually thinking about how chiselled their pecks are when a girl is crying into them.
It’s all nice and dandy that Dan and Fionna’s romance takes up the ENTIRE book, and that Adeline gets to meet her father, but there’s one big, massive plot gap. WHAT ABOUT THE WRETCHKINSIDES?
There was also no follow up about Fergus and the trouble he should be in.

~

Overall:

Overall, this book was a major disappointment. Adeline meeting her dad was a let down and there was nothing but sex all over the place. If it wasn’t Logan and Ad, it was Rainer and Em or Dan and Fionna. It was old in the first book, now it’s just giving me a headache.
The entire point of this series – the Wretchkinsides storyline – went nowhere. That’s all I can say in a nutshell. Again we were left hanging, with no solution and only more questions. When the series and each individual book is a chore to read, then trust me, the thought of having another book to come just makes my head pound. I will read it, to finally see Dan get his justice, but it will kill me and I’ll probably curl up in a corner somewhere to read my favourite novel, sobbing in relief that it’s all over.

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~About the Author

 

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Jillian Neal is a New Adult author with a passion for passion. She writes strong character driven novels told from the male perspective. Her guys aren’t afraid to let us inside their minds or inside their bedrooms. Young love comes to life inside the author’s Realm, along with sinister crime fighting, mixed in with a hearty dose of family. The engaging adventures will stretch your mind and keep you coming back for more.

Jillian lives outside of Atlanta with her husband, children, and their pot-belly pig, Beans.

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Contact

 

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Website: http://jillianneal.com/

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