I generally review romance, paranormal and urban fantasy. I tend to pick review books that I want to read, so generally my reviews will be positive. I always give my honest opinion: good, bad, and indifferent.
Note: on my blog I use a letter grading system. I've listed the ratings below. For sites with stars, I have listed the equivalent rating. If I didn't finish the book, I will not rate it with stars.
A+ Personal Favorite (5 stars)
A Loved It (4.5 or 5 stars)
A- Enjoyed A Lot (4 or 4.5 stars)
B+ Liked It A Lot (4 stars)
B Liked It -- Recommend (4 stars)
B- Liked It -- But I had a few small issues (3 or 3.5 stars)
C+ Liked It -- But I had issues (3 or 3.5 stars)
C Finished It -- Liked some, didn't like some (3 stars)
C- Finished It -- Liked a little, didn't like a lot (2 or 2.5 stars)
D Not A Big Fan (2 stars)
E Don’t Waste Your Time (1 star)
TW: Reading this book was like watching a Train Wreck
DNF: Did Not Finish
updated July 9, 2015
My Rating: B, liked it.
Dina Demille is an innkeeper. On the surface, she appears to run the Gertrude Hunt Bed-and-Breakfast in Read Deer, Texas, but she actually runs a “rest stop” of sorts for comic alien travelers looking for a rest on Earth. When three neighborhood dogs are killed within two weeks, Dina tasks new resident and lone werewolf, Sean Evans, to take care of the problem. However, soon the pair realize much more is going on as they stumble head first into a cosmic blood feud.
Clean Sweep introduces readers to an interesting and unique look at werewolves, vampires, and magic, all from a comic/sci-fi perspective. The writing team of Ilona Andrews has taken familiar concepts and creatures and created something wholly new. The new world is exciting and the story engrossing. Although there is a lot presented in this first book, I only felt lost once, and that was when the vampires were discussing house politics.
The primary story of Clean Sweep involves a feud between the Vampire House of Krahr and a dahaka assassin with his stalker creatures that are feeding on local livestock and pets. Unfortunately, the dahaka has decided to hide on Earth, and his presence is threatening the secrecy of off-world visitors. Innkeepers are supposed to be neutral caretakers who only get involved in outside matters if their guests or inn is compromised. However, Dina is not one to follow the rules, and for this I am thankful. Her love of life and her compassion for her community and neighbors makes her a special character.
The story also carries a few subplots that will arc over into future installments. The first is the fate of Dina's parents and their inn, which all vanished mysteriously while Dina was away at school. There literally is NO clue as to what happened to them, and I think the mystery of their disappearance will be an exciting one to follow. There are other characters who also introduced, each shrouded in a bit of mystery and intrigue. While it was entertaining to meet each one, I wanted more than the initial sampling had to offer.
In addition, there is a love interest for Dina in neighbor Sean. The romance is extremely light; however Sean has competition from Vampire Arland. This leads to one of the funniest quotes I've read in a while, when Arland tells Sean:
"I have spent my spare time studying literature popular with young women of this planet. One should always study the battlefield. ... I suggest you give up now. According to my research in a vampire-werewolf love triangle, the vampire always gets the girl."
Overall, I enjoyed Clean Sweep. It's different and interesting, also engrossing and a quick read. For a shorter-lengthed novel, there is quality world-building and lots of vivid, creative description. I liked that the reader is dropped into situations and had to learn what's happened from the characters. However, with all that was introduced and left unfinished, the story left me a bit unsatisfied - in that I wanted more. It felt almost like the first few chapters in a longer story - one that I definitely want to read.