Thursday, July 18, 2013

Double Review of Herbal Remedy by Megan Derr & Beach Remedy by Sasha L. Miller

Megan Derr
Herbal Remedy
Less Than Three Press, June 12, 2013 | 12,000 words

Author’s website | Goodreads | Buy book here

Jordan is used to being the butt of every hedge witch joke, painfully aware he's a checklist of clichés, and long resigned to never being as successful as the more favored elemental witches. Then a prestigious magic firm puts out a call for hedge witches, and the chance to prove himself and become more than a joke is impossible to resist—even if he has to put aside all those things he loves for a little while. It's only temporary, the money is great, and it will all be worth it in the end.

Genre & Keywords: Romance, M/M, Urban Fantasy, Witches, Work, Spells, May-December Relationship

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 1 out of 3 flames

Reviewed by Lis/Larissa:

It’s no secret that I am a big fan of Megan Derr’s work and when a new book is released, I usually pounce on it like crazy. It was no different with Herbal Remedy. It had a lot of my favorite ingredients: a (hedge) witch, spells, a romance and a type of Cinderfella theme. It was even better because Herbal Remedy came out together with Beach Remedy by Sasha L. Miller. Two different authors, each taking on the story of a brother.

Herbal Remedy is an enjoyable short story, but it’s not among the best of this author’s work. The plot is not entirely developed to my satisfaction and there was a lack of chemistry between Jordan and Shayne. So now I guess you want to know the details. Well, here goes…

Jordan is a hedge witch – a witch that works predominantly with herbs for spells – which is not very popular in the corporate world. Everyone wants the flashier stuff. Jordan is not unhappy with who or what he his – a hippy really – but he is tired of just getting by. So when he hears of a big corporation looking to hire hedge witches, he applies.
And gets the job. But the job is nothing like what he expected it to be. His clients are difficult and demanding and he has to put in a lot of hours, plus Jordan is constantly on the road. Needless to say, he is not a happy person. Things start looking up when he meets the older, handsome Shayne. There is an instant click between the two and their romance takes off without a hitch.
But as the job gets more demanding and the colleagues start walking away from the job, it’s clear that something is up and Jordan is right in the thick of things.

Herbal Remedy is a good story to read. Jordan is a fun, relaxed, but hard working person. He is willing to go the extra mile. You get to read how he tries to make his way in the world and tries to reconcile his work with the hippy/surfer dude he is at heart. In that the story was very enjoyable to read.
It’s the romance with Shayne that actually complicates matters. It’s not so much the romance itself – because Jordan and Shayne are perfect for each other, but it’s the conflict that arises at the end of the story and how it is resolved that takes a lot away from the story.
The conflict is actually a big thing. If someone pulled a stunt like that on me even while trying to leave me out it, I would send them packing (no matter how hot he is). But this is not my story, its Jordan’s. Regardless, the conflict was underdeveloped and should have taken place much earlier in the story, so the fall-out could have been dealt with better rather than two pages.

Then there is the matter of characterization. Jordan’s brother Jayden is a presence in the story, but because he has his own story in Beach Remedy, I can understand that his characterization is less than round.
Shayne however, plays a big role in the story, but the reader never gets a real insight into who he is and what he does. Combine that with ‘the’ conflict and it makes him a less than likeable character and it takes something away from the chemistry between Jordan and Shayne. This is too bad, because Shayne is an interesting character.

All in all Herbal Remedy is good for some enjoyable light reading, but it’s not up to this author’s usual standard.


Sasha L. Miller
Beach Remedy
Less Than Three Press, June 12, 2013 | 17,000 words

Author’s website | Goodreads | Buy book here

With his cousin laid up from a broken ankle, Lee agrees to help him out and combine a beach vacation with a bit of legwork to scope out a haunted lighthouse. That his cousin agrees to pay for the vacation certainly makes a cheesy ghost tour bearable. Lee's plan is to get the work out of the way quickly, then spend the rest of his time on sun, sand, and all the blood and sex a vampire can stand. But the cute hotel clerk he picks out proves to be anything, but an easy snack.

Genre & Keywords: Romance, M/M, Urban Fantasy, Beach Bum, Lighthouse, Vampires, Witches

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 2 out of 3 flames

Reviewed by Lis/Larissa:

This was my first go at a story by Sasha L. Miller and I wasn’t disappointed. This author has quite a way with words and spins a nice short story. It was a little underdeveloped for my taste, but in no way a bad read.

Beach Remedy takes on Jayden, Jordan’s brother and polar opposite. Both stories can be read as a stand-alone, but it’s nice to combine them. I read Herbal Remedy first, but Beach Remedy is actually the first in the series. Both books comprise of the series Paranormal Days.

Beach Remedy tells the story of Jayden and Lee. Lee is a vampire and on a holiday. Well, sort of. In exchange for an upgrade in a hotel by a cousin who is laid up due to a broken ankle, Lee has to investigate the local lighthouse and the history surrounding it. Lee isn’t too put out. It’s the beach: sand, sun, waves and hotties. The first hottie to capture his interest is the receptionist at the hotel: Jayden – Jordan’s brother – who has no qualms about diving into bed with Lee.
A misunderstanding arises when Lee tries to make Jayden his food. Jayden makes it quite clear he isn’t going to donate blood to a vampire and leaves. But it’s not the end or is it?

This story has a nice spin on vampires. The only vampire we meet is Lee, but vampires are more humanized in this world. They need blood to survive, but can walk in sunlight and eat regular food. It was a nice spin and Lee is a fun character to get to know.
Jayden is every bit the beach bum. He works to get by but spends his days at the beach with his brother and his friends. He has no ambition to further his career or make more money like his brother. He’s relaxed and easy going.

Beach Remedy is a breezy romance to read, free of drama and angst or characters with a troubled past. It was fun to read how Jayden and Lee get along and their romance progresses and the HFN ending fits the story. There is a promise for more, but no forever love is promised.
At the same time the story felt like it was a bit too easy. The lack of real conflict, other than the misunderstanding at the beginning of the story, makes it almost as if I was reading a scene from a much larger story. In that aspect the story was easy to read.

Despite that I did like this story and I’ll be sure to pick up more of this author’s work. 

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