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Sunday, November 17, 2019

Book Review: Stars and Nightmares (House of Dragons' Book 5) by H.M. Wolfe, and E.L. Nelson)

Stars and Nightmares: Dragons' House Book 5
by H. M Wolfe, E. L. Nelson
Genre: MM, suspense, PNR
November 1, 2019
A year after the previous events, with Alexander’s menacing shadow, no longer lingering over their heads, the members of the Stark and Bloom clans are gathered at the Connecticut mansion for a well-deserved vacation. New members are welcomed with open arms, but, unbeknown to the family, one of them has secrets locked behind tightly sealed doors, and a deadly enemy hellbent to destroy everyone.

In their game of greed and power, Julianna and Antonia, helped by the shabby duo of lawyers, Weldon and Williamson, are capable of anything to achieve their supreme goal: the world domination. Conroy does everything to help them, even if this means to change the rules of the game, mixing black magic elements in his experiments.

Supernatural creatures cross the border between the Otherworld and the human realm, taking sides in the ultimate confrontation between the Dragons” House and those sworn to take it down. Decisions, magic, love, destiny...Who will fall and who will still standing? Will the stars of the future shine brightly on the sky, or will they be swallowed by the nightmares of the past?

*This novel is the fifth installment in the Dragons' House series, and cannot be read as a standalone.

This is an EXTRAORDINARY Series, written by Two very talented writers. H.M. Wolfe and EL Nelson, this dynamic duo has taken us from the depths of depravity to the highest highs of love. - Amazon reviewer, 5 STARS
This book gave me so many feels that I couldn't put it down. I loved everything about this book. - Amazon reviewer, 5 STARS
I can't say enough this book. I love this whole series! I waited up for this book and stayed up all night reading. I could not put it down! - Amazon reviewer, 5 STAR

Available in KU 

I was originally given book five of this series to read for a review, but I had a hard time following the storyline consisting of many past events and numerous characters.

The author was kind enough to give me the other books so I could give the entire series a fair review rather than an incomplete one based on the last book.

I have tried to do just that, but in complete disclosure I did not finish either book one or book five, abandoning both around 50%.

Story Concept:
I normally start here with an overall view of the book or series I’m reviewing. But in all honestly, I’m not sure what it was supposed to be. And I can’t really summarize what I couldn’t follow.

Disjointed events created continuous confusion as to the direction of the characters and the world they lived in, leaving me with no idea what the concept truly was.

I attribute most of my failing to the numerous accounts of head-hopping (POV changes from one sentence to the next or within the same paragraph, both characters, and narrative) and sheer number of characters.

World-Building: D
I’m fairly certain the story took place in an “earth” type world with our laws, but with the addition of speculative features (such as male pregnancy). But this is about all I can tell you other than many of the characters were rich, and they were apart of mob families as well as police (simultaneously). Details to things like a room, or a building, or appearance were given, but I never knew where the characters were in their interactions with the space around them. 

There were plenty of finite details such as how a person dried off, washed, or walked, but nothing that anchored their existence in reality.

Characters: C-
Much of this book reads very omniscient with the occasional dip into third-person POV. I’m fairly certain this was not done on purpose, but I could be wrong.

The omniscient style made it difficult to connect with any of the characters because it kept them at arm’s length, and the sheer number of characters without good development to distinguish main characters from background characters, caused all of the personalities to blur together.

The POV shifts to third person on occasion exacerbated my confusion.

In the end, the characters never fleshed out for me and remained two-dimensional descriptions with no personality.

Secondary Characters: C- 
See above.

Plot: NA
I can’t give this a grade because I don’t have anything to really base it on. I feel like I should have some idea what the story was about with a minimum of 50% read on two books, but I don’t. This is one of the reasons I gave up on the books. I had a lot of characters, dialog, and minor interactions but no clear direction — nothing driving the actual plot.

Plot Execution: F
I hate to give any attribute a D, let alone an F, but when it’s the only fair score I can give because of the lack of clarity to the plot.

I felt what hurt this the most was the mass amounts of dialog exposition (dialog info-dumping from characters rehashing information known between them to deliver information to the reader) buried it.

This kind of information delivery is very awkward to me as a reader. It bogs down the story with information that would work better as a narrative, character interaction with the world, and character and world-building. As a read these attributes are what drives a story to unfold rather than remain sedentary.

Romance: D
The attempt was there, but I didn’t have enough character to provide a source for emotion or attachment.

Resolution: NA
I didn’t finish the books.

Enthusiasm: A
I do think the author cared about what they were writing and probably enjoyed writing it. Some of this came through on a few good lines, but much was lost under the crisscross of story fragments.

From what I did read they dove in ready to take on a massive story with huge twists, and numerous subplots with the hope to give the reader a great ride.

I really hope this writer continues to write and develop their craft. I think they might benefit from outside opinions. Not people they know, but strangers such as a romance oriented critique group. With a different set of eyes to look at the manuscript, they might be able to help fine-tuning dialog to work with character action to convey emotion rather than using exclamation points at the end of multiple sentences or combining exclamation with question marks.

I also think outside eyes could help avoid unneeded information or incomplete information that cause dents and bumps in the storyline.

A good content editor could also help tighten things up and help them read cleaner by pointing out dangling plotlines, POV switches, and out of character dialog or actions and or inconsistencies.

Guest Reviewer: Valentine

From The Darkness: Dragons' House


Into The Light (Dragons' House Book 2)

Out of the Shadows (Dragons' House Book 3)

From Dusk til Dawn: Dragons' House Book 4

About the Authors: 

Goodreads: H.M. Wolfe-E.L. Nelson 
H.M. lives with the coolest Mom in the Universe and a fat, gay, submissive tomcat. She loves writing stories about boys and men who love, cherish, respect and protect, other boys and men.
E.L. is an introverted, single mother and grandmother living with her furbaby Mortimer Mouse in the Rocket City USA. It’s where her love of all things space history and science is satisfied with the Space and Rocket Center and Marshall Space Flight Center. She hopes one day to see man travel to the stars like in her favorite TV shows of Dr. Who, Firefly and Star Trek. In the meantime, she loves to dive into the world of MM books, reading whatever she can get on her Kindle and interacting with her tribe of people on Facebook.


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