on August 19, 2012
Bad things happen to good people, even good folks with special powers. The Temple is one of those books that grabbed me from the first page. Vale Avari is not your ordinary heroine. Possessed with super powers and a sassy mouth, she relocates to England based on the throw of a dart. My kind of girl! In the off-the-map village of Quicksilver, Vale finds employment and a use for her unique skills in a temple dedicated to an ancient Mother Goddess. What is the Wild Hunt? And will Vale survive it? And who was rotten enough to poison her cat? A suspenseful read with just enough red herrings... no, the cat didn't eat the herrings. Highly recommended.
on December 4, 2011
I was also swayed by all of the 5 star reviews for this book. Is it good? Yes. Is it creative and better than most indie authors? Yes. But is it 5 star? Sadly, not. It's still a little rough around the edges, particularly with some of the writing style and the leaps that are taken to make plot connections and resolutions. That being said, I really did enjoy this book and read it in 2 days because the plot and storyline was unique and interesting. Overall, I would recommend it, even with its imperfections.
on July 4, 2011
I don't read romance novels. It's a guy thing. But I picked up The Temple because of a discussion of the book elsewhere. The author's imagination and ability to write wonderful descriptions combine to produce a story that, while there is romance, there is also adventure, a dose of fantasy and a splash of humor. I really enjoyed it.
on December 12, 2011
Vale Avari decides to leave her home in Mississippi, throws a dart at a map and it sticks in Quicksilver, a small town near York, England. Her father knows someone there, so she arrives with a job and an apartment waiting. Predestination is only one of the mystical plot devices in "The Temple." Vale has several powers that she uses in her employment. This time, she is guarding a temple dedicated to three personifications of the Goddess: Cerridwen, Freya and Bast. The Wild Hunt rages around the temple every night and terrifies the village. Villagers have gone missing, to be found dead of natural causes and The Wild Hunt is blamed. Vale discovers some of the temple guards have also been victims. Were they killed by The Wild Hunt, or mundane methods? Vale makes it her business to find out and meets a number of characters that help her. She also meets a handsome guard named Brett that she is attracted to. The attraction is mutual, but Brett seems to be hiding something.
This is a difficult review to write because I found so much in this novel annoying, yet I also enjoyed it.
Let's get the annoyances out of the way first. Editing in the first two chapters was poor, although it did improve as the book continued. Poor sentence structure, messy wordage, wrongly used references, some inconsistencies, one of which is so obvious, I can't believe the editor missed it. Transition from one action to another was often nonexistent.
Also in the first few chapters where vital plot points should be established, I was not convinced the story took place in England. It felt more like small town USA. And I do wish writers would properly research when they write about another country. The bin of crazies?
Some of the characterization was repetitive. Flamboyant gay men. A LOT of "overweight" people, most of them women. Overweight is a broad term and came across as judgmental. Also, the women Vale did not care for were, for the most part, garishly dressed. And (pet peeves) the author seems to think dogs are not a sentient species!
What did I like? I love Vale, her personality and her humor. Her observations, particularly of the attractive men in her life, were hilarious. Once it got going the plot moved along nicely with a good blend of suspense, mystery, romance and humor with a twist at the end. I did struggle with the first few chapters but after that this novel sucked me in and kept me in. Recommended if you can ignore "the annoyances."
on December 9, 2011
I enjoyed Heather Adkin's "The Temple." This book tells the tale of Vale, an American with superhero powers who moves to England for a job guarding a mysterious temple. She's warned not to go outside during the darkest hours of the night and finds out why the first night: The Hunt rides, and kills anyone it catches during those hours.
Ms. Adkins' writing is strong, and her pacing solid. She was able to successfully interweave a couple smaller subplots - Vale's romance with a coworker and Vale's family problems - that added depth to the world she created. The well-placed memories or glimpses of the wiccan lifestyle of her parents helped me understand this world better, as I'm not wiccan and have never had any exposure to the culture and its ceremonies. I loved the idea of both Vale's superhero gifts and The Hunt, and the way these two were developed and explained throughout the book.
Much to her credit, Ms. Adkins didn't rely on prose-dumps to explain the mysterious parts of the world she created. Instead, she showed the reader during the natural course of the book. This is probably the most important sign of a solid writer, in my opinion, which is why I'm placing her on my list of new writers to watch.
I liked the characters, the pacing, the setting, the concepts. What I wasn't too keen on was the ending. I felt there should've been more, or maybe, I wanted there to be a chance for vengeance for all the souls lost to The Hunt. The Goddess at the end basically gives the creature managing The Hunt a slap on the wrist, when I would've preferred a lengthier explanation of why he'd been allowed to run free for all those years, killing innocent people. And, I guess I really would've liked to have seen Vale's man get the chance to even the score with the creature that took a member of his family.
While everything wrapped up in a neat little package, I was left feeling disappointed, because so much care went into crafting the majority of the book. The ending was a bit sudden, tidy and perfect in a world that really wasn't crafted to be perfect. Maybe there will be a book two?
on November 30, 2011
I usually only write a review if I love or hate a book. But given the other reviews here, I had to chime in. This is an okay book. Better than average certainly but not a 4 or 5 star imho. The premise is interesting, but the author falls short really exploring what could have been an interesting and quite scary world. Things were resolved too quickly and easily which made it hard to be very involved with the story and the characters. I bought the book on the basis of the reviews, but the weird thing is that if you look at them together something looks a bit off. They are all so brief. A couple of lines "recommending" the book. As if the writer's friends, or more likely writing colleagues, got together to make some quick comments. Of course my review is brief as well, but I hope it helps. Might read the next book because I think there is potential here for sure - but will take a closer look at reviews next time...
on April 24, 2013
From my blog: [...]
Heather Marie Adkins is a born story teller. There’s no debating that with regards to this book. A good balance of description, consistent action and likable characters all carry the story along agreeably. That is, for most of the book. What disappointments me most about reading a story is when it starts off so strongly and I’m loving every bit of it — but then something goes awry. It gets weird. For me, that’s what happened with The Temple.
First, I want to point out the strong points about this book. The rising conflict is perfectly set up. Vale Avari is a small town U.S.A. turned small town U.K. female protagonist who recently moved overseas for an unusual job — to help guard a temple dedicated to the goddess Cerridwen (worshipped by Wiccans today). Vale has superhuman powers along with the other temple protectors, one of which she becomes romantically involved with. The temple is protected at night from the ghost-filled gang of men and wild horses (picture the Headless Horseman). The legend has haunted the town for centuries, and the residents blame it for the lost lives of several of its inhabitants. While residents believe in this myth, our protagonist thinks a serial killer is in fact committing the murders and using this ‘Wild Hunt’ as a coverup.
I liked this premise. I was into it. Though it isn’t evident from the synopsis, the book was starting to feel like its own fun genre — a paranormal romance crime thriller. But as the story moved on, I don’t think this premise was executed that well. About 60% way through the book, to be specific. At this point the two genres that were coelesced so well earlier on — crime thriller and paranormal romance — become separated. The two concepts even get their own climaxes and resolutions.
I enjoyed the part I thought was the resolution, when I thought the ‘bad guy’ was caught. And sometimes this works really well in literature and film — when you think the bad guy is gone, but then you realize they didn’t catch the right person because bad things are still happening. The Temple did not succeed at the second-ending concept. Mainly because the second climax/resolution is so bizarre, so suddenly very supernatural with a scene in the temple involving a living breathing goddess coming to life unexpectedly and solving the world’s problems.
Aside from the incongruous plot, my only other critique of this book is the neat, too-tidy of an ending. I honestly believe the book would’ve been better without the bow-tie last chapter. Nothing was learned about the characters at this point, and it didn’t move the plot along any further. I don’t need to know how happy the characters are and how well they’re doing months after the conflict resolution. The final chapter could have been left out entirely.
Don’t get me wrong — these things don’t ruin the book entirely. There’s enough suspense with the consistent killings, the sketchy Temple employees, and the question of whether the ‘Wild Hunt’ is a hoax or not to keep you turning the pages. My issues were with a) the last chapter and b) how the paranormal aspects of the story were not always weaved together well with the normal. I like it to be apparent what genre book I’m reading. I don’t think this book knows what genre it is. If I had to categorize it, I’d have to say “crime thriller turned weird fantasy.” If that sounds appealing to you, you may truly enjoy this book. The seamless writing and suspense will certainly keep you entertained until the end.
on February 17, 2012
Vale was found by her parents in the woods behind their house one evening and instantly adopted her. When she got older, she discovered that she had many supernatural powers. With the support and love of her family, she has chosen to move to England and work as a guardian at a secret temple to the Mother Goddess. The job is pretty easy, get to work by ten, trade off car keys, keep the incense burning, don't mess with the temperature, and lock up the temple between midnight and three am so the Wild Hunt doesn't take her.
Not believing in the Wild Hunt, Vale is surprised to learn that people have been killed in mysterious ways that are blamed on the Wild Hunt. She also stumbles onto the face that every two years a female guardian disappears without a trace. Vale wants to know what is going on.
During her trips to the library, she meets another guardian, Melissa, who is looking into the same thing. But the more they learn, the more dangerous things get. Vales cat is poisoned then her brake lines are cut. She also learns that something is going on at home, her mother is acting strangely. Also Brett, her co-worker, is getting closer to her. But something strange is going on because he just disappears without giving a valid reason why.
I have to say that I LOVED this book!!! I was sucked in by the second page and couldn't put it down. The characters were sensational, especially Vale. She was so realistic and actually grew as the story went on. The setting was fantastic. I felt like I was right there. I also liked how you had the romance between Vale and Brett without the over done sex scenes. I admit that I do get tired of that in most paranormal romances.
If you like paranormal romances and science fiction, you are going to love this story. Now I can't wait for Heather to write more. What a great author!!
I received this for free from the author in exchange for an honest review.
on June 29, 2012
I can really say that Heather Marie Adkins doesn't disappoint.
After reading "Underneath" - and loving it - I was more than eager to read this new novel and I have to say that I loved it and it's a shame I didn't read it sooner.
The story revolves around Vale , a 24-year-old girl from US, who -when the book starts - has agreed to move overseas to England and take on a job that is both weird and potentially dangerous.
Not exactly normal herself, Vale fits right in.
Member of a very loving family, of hippy, college professor parents (Dane and Theresa)and a younger sister, Macy, Vale - even though adopted- has had a very happy childhood.
She was found in the woods near her parents' house and they took her in without question giving her love and affection.
From the beginning it is evident that Vale is unlike other girls, as she possesses super-strength, super-speed, telekinesis, a form of talking to spirits (only when they appear) and an orgasm-inducing touch when she chooses. Dane and Theresa know that right from the start, but like practicing wiccans they have faith and open-mindedness and have instilled that into her.
It is obvious that more or less, Vale, isn't unhappy about her abilities - on the contrary - and does not suffer from any complexes due to them.
Her powers are exactly the reason she accepts the "security" job in England, since her father knew the man in charge and her abilities make her uniquely qualified for it. All the guardians have abilities.
Her task seems menial enough, as she is presented a tower/castle in the middle of a forest and she is asked to keep the doors locked and -since it is actually a temple for three goddesses, Bast, Cerridwen and Freya- to keep the incense burning.
It seems easy enough, simple, quiet and dull...up till she gets one last advice.
Whatever you do, ten to midnight lock the doors carefully, pull a switch and no matter what you hear DON'T OPEN THE DOOR, DON'T GO OUTSIDE TILL IT'S 3A.M.
Jordan, the guard doing the shift before her is not helpful enough to explain anything and earns him a place in Vale's black book with good reason as we find out later.
It seems the switch she is meant to pull, adds additional doors and reinforcements to the locks and everything protecting the Temple and it is with effort that Vale makes out the terrible noises, groans and howling at first.
She soon finds out that it is all because of "The Wild Hunt". A group of damned souls led by a lesser deity or a demon, wreaking havoc and condemning everyone that sets eyes on them to be part of their parade. She thinks it's just a myth, an urban legend to keep the teens in check, but as does some research at the local library she realizes that not only is it real, but it has also taken the lives and souls of many innocent people , men and women, adults and children alike, in the past forty years.
In her search for the truth she is aided by a fellow guard, Melissa, who is just as intent on finding the truth. As she investigates Jordan, the mean-tempered guard, who is awfully suspicious and as his wife divulges, very violent and blood-thirsty, she finds out that he had been arrested for murder, fact which causes Vale to think that he may be the one behind the disappearances of female guards over the years without a trace.
While working there, Vale meets, Brett, the guard who often takes the shift right after hers, Bella, a call-girl living next door with a psychic ability which may very well save her life, and Anya, the ghost of a previous guard who went missing but gives only cryptic answers over what is going on.
I have to say that the story started relatively slow, but exactly because of that it gave us the chance to get to know the main character really well and love it. Vale is strong, brave, altruistic, loving and caring but in a laid-back way, that makes sense. She is only 24 years old, she is not normal and even though she has been loved, she strives for independence and wants to have and do something of her own.
The author often gives us insight into what she is thinking and not only because it is written in the first person, but also because we can actually see and feel, how Vale second-guesses herself at times, chastises herself over her decisions and generally her thought-process is thoroughly explained and justified.
The other characters are very well fleshed-out as well, starting with her sweet, wiccan, peaceful mother with a strong dislike towards anything chemical from conservatives to medicines and her father who is just as wiccan, but more level-headed and balances his wife out. Her teenage sister, comes across as an intelligent young woman who makes her own way and even has the courage to come out to her parents for being a lesbian - not that they mind.
Jordan is despised all around, whereas Melissa and Bella really step up to the challenge of being Vale's friend in their own ways and abilities.
Finally, Brett, the main love interest is charming and mysterious enough to make him drool-worthy and dark enough to raise suspicions.
Should Vale trust him or not? Is he honest with her? Is he faithful to her?
I loved how the author didn't make Vale trip over herself to justify him. Yes, she feels the attraction and raw magnetism and sexuality that he emits, but she is not frivolous about giving her heart away and being hurt.
I thought the story was original and well thought out. It flowed very smoothly.
Not that it didn't have a climax towards the end, but it felt like a natural thing... It's hard to explain but it felt like completion. At first I thought it would end with whatever happened at the temple and was ecstatic for book 2, but the end felt like a closure of shorts... It would really be a delight to have a sequel though.
If I had to name something that didn't set well with me regarding the book, it would be towards the end, where Vale is in a hard situation and somehow using her telekinesis occurs to her at the last minute. For someone who grew up feeling comfortable with her powers it struck me as awkward and it would make more sense to have her kick butt that way and not the one that was chosen... After all, she could move things with the power of her mind and she didn't have to wave her hands or anything.
If you haven't read this yet, you should.
Totally worth your time as the writer is really talented and the descriptions are wicked.
I for one will definitely be reading more by this author!
on September 9, 2011
The Temple is a riveting paranormal story from an up-and-coming new author. I daresay that we have not heard the last of Heather Marie Adkins! If you prefer prissy religious fiction, pass this one by - it has strong pagan elements. I love it! I have never heard the Wild Hunt described better. As you get into the story, you will wonder as Vale did if the murderer isn't all too human and blaming the murders on paranormal forces. I loved the story of Vale coming to know the Mother Goddess.
I have read some of Heather's other literary offerings. She is good. She is very good!! I highly recommend 'The Temple'. I've read it all the way through twice.