Sep 062010
 

I’m not sure how I started following Zoe Winters, but I know in terms of my twitter lifetime, it’s been awhile. I’ve talked to her a few times, but have never gotten around to reading her work. Kinda felt guilty about that, but not guilty enough to do anything about it. You know how that goes. :)

Anyway, I came across these videos called Zoe Who? They were quite amusing. And what do you know, they were created by Zoe Winters. I mentioned them in a post about Indie authors (see here) a week or so ago. I haven’t taken many chances on Indie writers but gave her a try after the post. I found Kept (Novella 1 Blood Lust) as a free read on Ms. Winters’ blog. Now before I get too caught up in my ramblings, the teaser from Ms. Winters’ website:

As a cat therian (shifter), Greta’s blood is already sought after to enhance spells and potions, but due to a quirk of her birth, her blood is potent enough to kill for. When her tribe plans to sacrifice her, Greta must ally herself with Dayne, the dangerous local sorcerer, and the only person strong enough to protect her.

Without beating around the bush so much, I’ll admit I had a false start with this book. The beginning started a bit shaky. Only after reading a few reviews did I decide to settle down and read the entire novella. I’m certainly glad I did, because it was an enjoyable read. Before I get to the good stuff, let’s just get out in the open what made me balk.

Mainly, I don’t think the story started in the right place. The earlier scenes focused on the introduction of minor characters which reappeared once or twice later in the novella. Very little time was spent on these scenes, other than to give identities to names. It gave the read a jerky feel with Greta popping in and out of people’s lives.

However, once we got beyond the introductions, the story really got underway. I stayed up well into the night to finish this read. If it weren’t for the breaks I had to take between laughing fits, I probably would have finished sooner.

One item I enjoyed about this book was the realism in terms of romance. I’ve never understood how people in novels could fall head over heels with one another without knowing anything about them. I guess I just don’t believe in the love at first sight. Lust at first sight? You better believe it! And this novella had it. Greta and Dayne had an immediate attraction which I could completely buy.

Sorry, Greta, but Dayne was my favorite character in this book. When he wasn’t lustful (which I loved!), he was cold, calculating, and a bit of a dick. Not the greatest personality traits, but it was his honesty in being himself which attracted me to him. It was more on the lines of you get what you see. I could trust that. Besides that, he was funny as hell—an endless source of amusement.

In terms of plot, I was up and down on that issue. The main plot itself was very believable (as far as realism goes in the paranormal scene) which kept me in the book. However, a few areas were kind of glitchy and distracted me with thoughts such as “why did they do that?” Even so, my understanding was this was Ms. Winters first published book. Not a bad first attempt, I have to say.

So a few of my favorite lines:

  • That little shit was my bestest best friend until he found out I wasn’t out saving the world every night. (bestest best friend you say? tee hee)
  • Greta suppressed a giggle as she tried to imagine Dayne Wickham, the hapless victim of a timeshare scheme. (Been there, done that :( )
  • Even ten years ago, Dayne never would have made a speech like the one he’d made in the basement about locking her up. It sounded like it had come out of Evil for Dummies. (I’ve got to get that book.)

Other than a few plot issues which didn’t quite make sense or seem reasonable, this was quite an enjoyable read. Now that my computer is functional (even though not really fixed), I think I’ll get around to finishing Blood Lust.

BTW, Anyone else get a craving of Star Wars episodes after reading this book?

Kept is available at Ms. Winters’ blog || Barnes & Nobles || Amazon  Kobo || iTunes || Smashwords

Or get the complete collection (Blood Lust) at Barnes & Nobles || Amazon || The Book Depository || Kobo || iTunes || Smashwords

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  4 Responses to “Novella Review: Kept (Blood Lust #1) by Zoe Winters”

  1. Hey Reena,

    Thanks for the review! Kept is definitely the weakest of the three novellas, but it has a strong fan base now, so I felt like going back and changing anything would be a betrayal to the fans/readers who love it exactly as it is. So it’s definitely a mixed bag there. Anthony and Charlee, both fairly inconsequential characters in Kept, are the main characters in Claimed. I think readers in general have much less patience waiting to get into the main story, but I felt like I had to set things up properly because those characters need to be introduced because of later things that happened, and there was no other place to introduce them. Once she’s locked away with Dayne, there just isn’t opportunity. And in many ways this novella starts to set up the whole series.

    I realize setting things up instead of diving right in will turn some readers off, but for me it’s usually jolting when a story just “dives right in”. (Like you know the ones where on page one you’re in the middle of a car chase and it’s like… WHO are these people and why do I care? LOL)

    Having said all that though, yes, it was my debut release so it does have a few issues. The only problem is, different readers have diff issues with it. If I edited them all, it would be a different book and that would upset some readers.

    Hopefully you’ll see the novellas get stronger as they progress. Thanks again for the review!

  2. Reading tastes are so subjective. You can’t please everyone all the time. I’m not sure where, but I swear you mentioned something about writing groups smothering an author’s voice. Same thing with reviews. It’d be torture to try to write for everyone’s particular tastes.

    As much as people fuss about their likes and dislikes in a book (me included), no one wants a story stripped of personality with the same old tired lines. You have your style which likely is evolving with experience. It’s yours, unique, AND it’s your story to do however you please!

    Sure I’m rather opinionated about my preferences. :) But I like to think of my reviews more of food for thought rather than directions for authors to take on their writing journey. I’m glad you don’t let subjectivity sway what’s important to your stories.

  3. hehe, I was paranoid when I replied that you would feel like I was “arguing with you”. It’s more that we’ve chatted a bit on Twitter and such, so it felt natural to converse about it. It’s definitely been a struggle for me to not second-guess when someone doesn’t like something. Generally the things people don’t like about my stuff are the same kinds of things. But, then other people either don’t have a problem with those things or “like” those things, LOL. So I think at the end of the day writers have to please themselves first. We do want readers to love it of course, but everybody never will. It’s maddening, but it’s how it is.

    I think probably I shouldn’t whine though since I get to sit at home all day and make things up! :) That’s a pretty good life to have. :)

    And yeah, I don’t write by committee. I have a pretty strong vision for what I’m wanting to do. I always hope people will love it, but not everyone will. And some will like it, but also have criticisms. And totally your criticism is valid and fair. And Kept is flawed in some ways. In the end I did everything I could do with it that didn’t compromise the larger vision for the work, and just hoped for the best. It’s all you can do! :)

  4. […] is the final review of the Blood Lust series (review of Kept here and Claimed here). Why? Because Mated is the end of the trilogy! Of that doesn’t mean […]

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