Customer Reviews: The Rhine Maiden: A Suburban Fantasy (The Rhine Maiden Book 1)
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on August 19, 2011
Okay, I got this for free and was expecting Paranormal Light. I almost gave up on it due to the excruciating details given of how hard being a SAHM is - I know some days suck, I know everyone's kids are monsters sometimes, but hers are absolutely horrible and seem to get daily spankings. Hmmm... maybe you should try something different? But then the plot kicked in and I really thought the story was going well. **SPOILERS AHEAD** Then the heroine needs to steal something from the bad guys, ultimately to save the human race, when some of the other races (weres, elves) think they may not really be worth saving because they kill their own children. Now this could really be a valid philosophical point, the heroine could question whether we should exist when we abuse, abandon, abort, or sometimes even torture, rape and murder children. She could have debated the point with the elf and wolf, they could have presented a viewpoint that, to them, a new life is so important that they imprison their pregnant in padded rooms and force-feed them the healthiest possible food until they give birth, or that of course they don't value the pregnancy more than the pregnant one, so they don't encourage their females to risk their own lives - but no. No discussion - it turns out that all abortions are done for mere convenience. And in case you were wondering who the bad guys are? They are black-magic abortionists. There is no such thing in an abortion clinic as counseling, because the Wiccans (no, not demons, Wiccans are the big bad) who run the place are using the deaths to fuel their black magic. SO IT IS OKAY TO USE A BOMB ON THEM - since life starts being not so sacred once it's out of the womb, I guess. Now, the heroine doesn't think that the bomb is going to kill anyone, and it doesn't, but she is told it is a magic bomb, which will destroy the magic shields around the place, and it never seems to occur to her that her allies might be lying to her and she might be the instrument of more damage than she knows. If the author had the grace to call it a delayed-action spell container, I might not have made the connection, but some Christian terrorists do think it's okay to bomb abortion clinics. Also over-the-top: there's a whole, recognizably human fetus being used as a sacrifice - which means to me that someone had induced labor or a C-section to remove that fetus, which would be a little less than convenient, in my opinion.
I was expecting light entertainment from this book, not graphic preaching. I enjoyed the pace of the story enough to finish reading it, but the author could have earned my respect for her viewpoint if she had explored it through the perspective of various characters. Instead she chose to beat me over the head with graphic, inaccurate, heavy-handed images of abortions. The primary emotions she raised in me by the end of the book were scorn and disgust for her tactics - truly a pity, as she had the potential and talent to do much more.
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on August 18, 2011
I really wanted to like this book, but I felt like I was being hit over the head with the authors anti-abortion agenda. I personally don't care where people stand on the abortion issue, but I downloaded this book thinking I was going to get a fun book about the paranormal and instead it was so depressing I couldn't even finish it. The main character was such a jerk I found her incredibly hard to like. She grouched about her younger sister, her mother in law and her children constantly and I found her 'all in good humor' homophobic remark pathetic. She constantly spanked or threatened to spank her 2 and 4 year old for everything they did and quite frankly I found it rather sad.
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on November 26, 2011
This was a very unique twist on the paranormal. Full of humor and quick wit, Piper is an endearing leading lady...with a very cool 'power'. I got this book for free, but would have been glad to pay for it, and did pay for the second installment, "It Never Rhines but It Pours". Looking forward to reading it now.

The only drawback is that the author uses the word 'anyways' quite often...and there is no 's' in anyway. A pet peeve of mine!
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on November 11, 2011
I have the 2nd edition of this book, so I'll briefly touch upon some of the issues the 1-star reviewers talked about.

I'm not sure if Evans changed the parts about abortion much from the 1st to the 2nd editions, but I didn't think it was over-the-top. I'm pro-choice myself, and certainly don't think, as Piper in the book does, that abortion is murder. However, although the pro-life talk could have been toned down a bit so as to not alienate readers (since, after all, this is supposed to be a light-hearted paranormal chick lit), I didn't feel like it made this book a piece of trash or anything remotely like that.

I didn't think that Evans meant for the Witches in the book to be the same as Wiccans in real life, although she did use the pentagram, which was, in my opinion, a mistake (it's like if she used the Star of David, the Om, or the Cross to make some characters evil; offensive to those religions). I think that was a matter of cultural insensitivity more than deliberate malice.

Ultimately, I thought it was a fun, fast read, and gave me what I expected: fantastical creatures, characters with special abilities who roam among us mortals, and a frazzled mom trying to deal with a LOT of stuff on her plate. Through it all, Piper kept her sense of humor and spunk, and I loved that about her. Evans writes humor really well, and develops her characters well. I'm definitely getting the next book in the series.
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on July 26, 2011
As the other reviewers mentioned, the tone of this book is definitely relatable. Mental commentary on Piper's children's antics mimic my own thoughts in dealing with my children. Piper's background and powers are original and well-thought out. The character's world is (mostly) structurely sound and solid (Aliens invasion? Really?)

And all this makes me almost miss the proselitism in the plot. There are lots of supernatural creatures in this book and its sequel. All the classic fiends of the nights: vampires, werewolves, sidhe, even quasi-bigfoot make an appearance. However, the biggest, baddest, most evil creature in the world are Wiccans? These Satan-worshipping villains literally bathe in the blood of unborn babies during their black rites. I sincerely wish the author had used one of the countless supernatural entities to set as the bad guys instead of an existing religious faith that would not do a single action the characters in this book do. The so-called Wiccans in these books would be better classified an anti-Wiccan. If you plan on using religion-based antagonists in a book, it would help to research that religion.

I did enjoy those parts of the book that did not include moralistic speeches on murder, abortion, and how witches were evil.
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on August 9, 2011
The premise of this novel is unusual, not one that has been done and redone. The leading character is married with two children, and is not fashion-model perfect nor a career woman, she's a relatively common SAHM, with a special talent. She even has the mother-in-law from Hell. Into this ordinary life comes an entire cast of preternatural creatures, starting with a vampire. There are challenges and problems to solve, tasks to complete, tests to pass. All of this engages the reader's interest, until suddenly the novel turns into an anti-abortion diatribe complete with first trimester fetuses described as "babies" whose gender is apparent. Then the author tosses in a little anti-tax rant. Plus painting witchcraft with a broad and negative brush.

Books are wonderful things. Novels can entertain and give cause for thought. Essays can present arguments and positions on controversial topics. But there is a problem when a novel promotes a political position in an unbalanced and propagandistic way. Certainly these topics can be addressed in novels. Jane Haddam's mysteries come to mind. But to be successful in a novel, they must be handled in a balanced fashion, and not allowed to take over the narrative.
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on June 7, 2012
Take your everyday average housewife/mother, shake world vigorously, and add in:
The ability to command others even better than the "Trouble Name" method used by most mothers.
Two children of questionable origin (ok, their origin isn't all that questionable, but like most children they sometimes make you doubt that).
A mother in law (need I say more?)
and finally
A group of unnatural beings with all the speed and grace of a government agency and less interest in keeping us alive.

When it's funny, it's very funny, and it's often funny.
As for the monsters in the book:
The witches claim to be wiccans (which probably ticks off wiccans), but then again, if they claimed to be actuaries it would tick off the actuaries.
The vampires claim to drink blood.
The toddlers are toddlers, and therefore both bloodthirsty and occasionally little demons.
The mother in law is a mother in law, and hands down the most terrifying thing in the book.

What others called "preaching" I found to be a pretty consistent world view. I mean, if I needed to sacrifice life, collect human blood and *samples*, I think I'd at least consider working where she has them.
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on August 18, 2011
Aside from the formulaic and facile writing, which makes it a waste of time to down
load, there is one huge isssue that makes this book one of the worst I have ever read. It is full of anti abortion propaganda, with such grossly distorted misinformation that it should be considered criminal.I could take it apart point for point, but won't dignify this piece of garbage. One thing I do have to point out, because it is so disgusting it can't be allowed to stand; abortions are performed before 12 weeks of gestation, at which point a foetus looks something like a lump of tissue inside a blood clot,about half the size of a woman's fist. It does not look like a baby, and no way can you see if it is girl! The author needs to check her facts, and leave her ignorant prejudices out of her stories if she is expecting to get very far.
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on November 9, 2012
SPOILERS I was enjoying this book regarding the admission of a human with powers of Persuasion to a paranormal species group up until the protagonist visits an abortion clinic to steal a version of the Wilendorf Venus. At this point the author has Piper Convince a teenage girl that she doesn't want an abortion and Persudes the other patients to leave for assorted reasons. Next the author has the aborted fetuses cut up for use in rites by a group of witches. The final straw for me was the use of two dismembered cat's rear legs as paintbrushes. If the book had anything funny in it from there on out I wasn't smiling.
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on September 5, 2011
This book was free and I downloaded it based on the reviews. I'm glad that I did.

This stay at home wife and mother has always had the ability to "suggest" things to people and they would do it. Her influence never lasts very long but it's useful. A bad experience with her ability makes her vow never to use it again.

Years and years later when her emotions are running high, she uses her ability again. Unfortunately, this puts her on the radar of the supernatural "government". They put a hit out on her because she risks exposing supernaturals.

The story goes on from there detailing what she does to keep herself alive and her family safe.

The book was pleasant, well written, and really funny in places.

I've read the entire series so far and cannot wait for the next book.

I can definitely recommend this book and its sequels with no reservations. Get the free book and download the rest!!
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