Corey Reviews Soul Selecta by Gill McKnight


Soul Selecta is an odd novel. A funny, stimulating, enjoyable read, but still a little odd. I like odd, however, so it’s all good.

The publisher’s blurb simply states “Soul mates are hell to work with,” and I salute this truth in advertising. The story opens with a prologue set in Sappho’s Seminary for Artistic Young Ladies (654 B.C.) and imagine every drama that ever could happen in a girls’ boarding school. The author efficiently hits them all, then zooms to the Elysian Fields and the first-person narrative of the Soul Selector. Our narrator lays out the rules of soul mates finding each other and announces that “herding horny cats is easier.” Yes, it’s that kind of book.

By chapter two, we are introduced to American high school student Jesse Colvin. I was rather peeved, because I dislike YA novels, yet I was enjoying reading about Jesse (totally against my cynical will). Jesse is the soul mate of one Norrie Maguire, living 3,000 miles away in Ireland. The Soul Selector begins herding…

The story switches back often to the Soul Selector and the rather hilarious Gods and Goddesses and their minions who make her job more difficult. Aphrodite is a hard-assed bitch. No one likes the slovenly Ares, God of War, who cannot be bothered to get off the couch and end all those destructive skirmishes on Earth. Eros is a sullen, pimply pubescent punk. Death is a frivolous, shy, fluffy, colorful dresser who just hates conflict. And our intrepid Soul Selector just wants to get her soul mates together, despite all the gods and goddesses and other interfering players on Mount Olympus.

Then, a moment arrived in the story and I dropped my kindle and asked my cat, “Wait. What just happened? Wait.” Then I grabbed the kindle up again and read furiously. Spoilers, sorry, I must not tell you more. Go buy the book and find out for yourself.

Soul Selecta ignores most lesfic plot arcs and completely entertained me with trashy Olympian gods, young lesbian love, some hot sex, a conundrum, and enough twisty fun that I consulted several times with my cats about what might happen next. Recommended.

You can purchase a copy of Soul Selecta by clicking here.

December Book Binge – Week 1 or What I Did During Christmas Hiatus

For some reason or other I haven’t been reading as much as normal. It could be the fact that after three years, I got cable installed in my house and now I spend an inordinate amount of time watching Chopped and Iron Chef along with the odd sprinkling of Storage Wars, Parking Wars, Love It or List It, Dancing With the Stars, and others I’m too embarrassed to admit to. I’m beginning to remember why I decided against getting cable when I moved three years ago. Now that I’ve pretty much satiated my curiosity about what everyone seems to be watching all the time… and the fact that most shows are doing the “fall finale” thing … I’m back to reading and went on a bit of a e-book buying binge.

It seems that there is always a slew of new books released every month through BSB, Bella, and many of the other publishers and I’m finding it increasingly difficult to keep up on reading them – and in some cases increasingly disappointed when I make selections that are disappointing reads. So I figured I’d do a quick look at several new releases and give my first impressions.

This week’s reading was kind of a catch-all, running the gamut of speculative fiction, romance, uber, and erotica. At least I didn’t get stuck in a rut.


Silver Collar by Gill McKnight

If you haven’t read the Garoul series, stop reading this review and start reading the books. Seriously. Silver Collar is the fourth book and I like the way that the series and McKnight’s style is evolving. There’s still a wonderful undercurrent of humour in this one, especially with some cameos from Hope and Jolie (and yes the damned dog), but also a darker more serious tone, similar to Indigo Moon. Luc, the villain from Indigo Moon, is on the run – but not making it far as the mysterious illness is sapping her strength and her rationale. She ends up trapped by a scientist who is intent on revealing the Garoul’s secret to the world in order to avenge her father’s death years ago. Luc and Emily are at odds though most of the book in a “who’s got who” kind of struggle. I was curious to see how McKnight would handle transforming the manipulative and amoral Luc from Indigo Moon into a hero of her own story. It works well – pitting her against Emily who has no problem standing up against her and pushing right back. There were a few “Really?” moments in the book, but McKnight is adept at mixing in a bit of absurdity and I found myself more than willing to suspend my disbelief, giggle a bit and eagerly move on with the story. This is definitely a strong addition to a great series and I’m looking forward to seeing more of all the characters she’s introduced so far.


Crossroads by Radclyffe

Rad’s newest medical romance delivers what you would expect – hot doctors, emotional baggage, romance and HEA. Crossroads takes place in the Philadelphia and we get some cameos of characters from past books set here – Jett, Linda, Honor and Quinn. I have mixed feelings about having past characters make appearances in new books – there are fans of Honor and Quinn that love the chance to check in on their fave couple to make sure things are still going great; but, the scenes with Honor and Quinn detract from the budding romantic relationship between the protagonists.

The main characters are new – Hollis Monroe, the gorgeous and dedicated obstetrician who specializes in high risk pregnancy cases, and Annie Colfax, the lovely and wilful midwife who has some trust issues when it comes to doctors. There’s quite an obstacle for them to overcome early on and, refreshingly, they seemed to manage it like mature adults rather than wringing the angst out of it for half the book. This is a solid romance and it was nice to see the relationship build between the women rather than the instant soul mate attraction that sometimes rears its head in lesbian fiction. At the same time, Crossroads doesn’t deliver the same slow burn smolder that Fated Love or Turn Back Time did. I enjoyed this one more than the last few of Rad’s books – it had a believable plot and characters that were given time to develop – and I really do think she shines when she writes medical romances.

I just hope I never have to have surgery if I’m in Philadelphia, because none of the Doctors there ever get a good night’s sleep.


Love Match by Ali Vali

Love Match started out as online fiction and I will admit that it sold me on Ali Vali as a writer and got me to buy her early published works. With the published version of Love Match, Vali has made some changes – added a bit more exposition about both the characters and switched up a few things in the plot to give it a bit of a different flavour. It is still definitely an uber story and it managed to bring back all the things I loved about reading uber – the smart and sassy characters, snappy dialogue and a good dose of humour. There’s still some uber trope that irked me, but overall I quite enjoyed reading the more polished version and was quite happy that I took the plunge and bought this one.

When Parker King, a champion player both on and off the tennis courts, meets Sydney Parrish, a rather stern and serious commercial pilot, things get off on the wrong foot. Despite this, the sparks start to fly and Vali spends time developing both the characters and their growing romance. Sure, Parker is broody, rich and misunderstood and Sydney is spunky, stubborn and cautious to risk her heart again… but it’s a lesbian romance and its roots are uber. It works. There’s a few subplots conspiring to keep our lovers apart and injecting the requisite amount of danger and suspense. At times I kind of wish Vali skipped these and focused more on the developing romance. One expanded subplot didn’t sit well with me and I suspect that it was added and an extra justification but I found the additional POV distracting from the main story and it was a bit distasteful.


Summoning Shadows:A Rosso Lussuria Vampire Novel by Winter Pennington

Is it just me, or is it rather hot in here? This is the second in the Rosso Lussaria series and I would strongly recommend that you read Darkness Embraced first or you may be a bit lost. This is a different kind of vampire series, breaking from the current norm of having the vampires living openly or at least among humans and sometimes other supernatural creatures. In this series, the Vampires are isolated in their Clans, with little to no communication with other groups and next to no integration with humans – very unlike her Kassandra Lyall
series. I found both books in this series (and the Kassandra Lyall series) to be thoroughly enjoyable thanks to Pennington’s writing style and the characters.

Summoning Shadows picks up shortly after Darkness Embraced, with another attack on the Clan. Epiphany, Renata and Iliaria, after a good long roll in the hay, set out to forge alliances in order to protect the Rosso Lussaria and other vampires from the rogue Dracule who seems intent on destroying them all. It was nice to see the characters leave the Sotto – one of my main complaints with the first book is that it all took place in the underground home of the Rosso Lussaria and there was little interaction with anyone or thing outside that rather insular world. The second book expands the world and we get lots more action and world building – and I’m quite fascinated with the Dracule and Azrael. The characters are more than engaging – even the ones you aren’t supposed to like – and as the main character, Epiphany’s confidence in herself as well as her own powers is further developed.

This is a book that I would classify as bordering on erotica – there is a fair bit of very hot and heavy sex in it and a bit of kink. If that interests you, definitely pick this one up. If it doesn’t, you may want to give it a try because Pennington’s writing is strong enough to keep a good balance so that the sex doesn’t overwhelm the plot and her characters are compelling. Just don’t read it on the bus.

** All these books are available in e-book format through www.boldstrokesbooks.com and www.bellabooks.com. Kindle books are released a few weeks after the paperbacks come out.**

Ambereye by Gill McKnight

I usually put my thoughts about sequels in the comments of the review of the first  book in a series but I didn’t want anyone to miss this. I knocked this one out in about a day. Nearly left work early feigning illness just so I could keep reading all afternoon.

This is the second in the Garoul series – our new favorite family of werewolves. Yes, I know the supernatural/vampire/werewolf thing has really been done a lot lately but I really like this series. Where Goldenseal was more mystery and angsty romance (but still humorous at times,) Ambereye is much more romantic comedy. There are some more serious issues touched upon but, really, it’s classic McKnight but with her more mature story telling style that I’m very much enjoying.

This episode focuses on Jolie, one of the characters briefly mentioned in Goldenseal, who, along with her twin brother Andre, run the Garoul’s software company, Ambereye, and Hope Glassy. Hope is a long time friend of Andre and his partner, Godfrey. She’s also Andre’s Personal Assistant at Ambereye. But she’s been reassigned to Jolie, at least temporarily, to help out on a major project. Hope is professional and nice and well liked and Jolie is feared and volatile and, well, sometimes scary. McKnight really brings the chemistry out in this couple – sparks are flying right from the start. Not necessarily sexual sparks, but sparks, nonetheless.

You can read the synopsis by following the link in the title of the review if you want more on the plot. I enjoyed this one even more than Goldenseal and knew I shouldn’t have read the sneak peek of Indigo Moon included at the end of the book. I’m an immediate gratification sort of girl! Dammit!

Goldenseal by Gill McKnight

Right off, I want to say that I’m a Gill McKnight fan. I liked Falling Star and really liked Green-Eyed Monster. Now, Goldenseal, I pretty much loved. If you’ve read the two earlier books I just mentioned, you’ll notice that the author’s writing style has matured. Her sense of humor is still present, as is the decidedly European influence in the words used which are definitely not a normal part of American vocabulary. It took all my will power to write this review instead of starting on the sequel right away.

Ok, Goldenseal is the story of Amy, Leone, the Garoul family, and a big secret. Amy and Leone have a long history filled with love and hurt and Amy isn’t very happy with being in close proximity with Leone again. But when her Aunt Connie falls ill and isn’t able to complete an urgent project, Amy flies to Little Dip – the valley in Oregon owned by the Garoul family – to fill in. While working on the project, Amy comes upon a mysterious code and becomes quite determined to crack it. Which, of course, leads to all sorts of trouble.

McKnight weaves what I thought was a great story with wonderfully described scenes and characters that are easy to connect to and identify with. Sweet, violent, and funny at times, Goldenseal kept my attention from start to finish.