Witch Island by Stephanie Bedwell-Grime

Posted by Mrs Giggles on December 12, 2015 in 3 Oogies, Book Reviews, Genre: Fantasy & Sci-fi

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Witch Island by Stephanie Bedwell-Grime
Witch Island by Stephanie Bedwell-Grime

Liquid Silver Books, $6.99, ISBN 978-1-62210-266-2
Paranormal Romance, 2015 (Reissue)


Witch Island was first published in 2003 by ImaJinn Books, and Ellora’s Cave had its hand on this one for a while too. Now it is with Liquid Silver Books, but I’m not sure whether this version has been revised in any way. At any rate, I’ve never read this one before, so it’s brand new to me. If you have a previous edition, though, I’m not the best person to ask whether you should get this edition. Trying dropping the author an email.

If there had been any revision made, I wish the author had toned down some of the more gratuitous adjectives used here. I mean, after a while, “his eyes” would do just fine, no need to keep reminding me that the hero’s eyes are dark, sexy, whatever. I get it, he’s hot, I am supposed to want to have sex with him badly, et cetera – no need to keep telling me what color or shape or whatever of his everything is. And yes, I get it, he has hot muscles, no need to keep attaching the word “muscular” to every part of his limbs when it comes to describing the hero in a scene. How can one see muscles “moving fluidly” under a sweater anyway? Is the sweater transparent?

Oh yes, the story. Roxanne Gerik’s business is screwed up and she needs money ASAP. Have you noticed how it is always the heroine’s business, rarely the hero’s, which is at the brink of collapse? I guess women are more romantic when they have a masters degree in failing a business, while a man is only hot if he sleeps on a mountain of hundred dollar bank notes. Anyway, Roxanne will get $125,000 to restart her business if she would get the necessary computers and stuff and use them to teach our reclusive, dark, tormented, blah blah blah hero Aidan Nevan (don’t worry, girls, he’s also a millionaire despite not doing much to make those millions – maybe he poops thousand dollar bills) how to use them. He stays in a creepy island, the storm strands Roxanne in with him, Roxanne tries to swim out alone in the storm just because, a creepy tree thing knocks at her window (don’t worry – not the rapist tree monster from Evil Dead!)… it’s a perfect setting for those two to fall in love.

That storm was more than a stroke of bad luck. Now Roxanne had seen too much. He couldn’t afford to let her go. He needed her help. Needed her help so badly it humbled him. And that made him angry. Why couldn’t she have just been a bitter spinster running her own business? Someone gray-haired and plain. Someone he wouldn’t be so damned attracted to. Why did her gray eyes bore through him as if she could read every one of his dark secrets?

Yes, because a typical business owner woman must be a bitter spinster. And he’s angry that she isn’t. No, it’s not an overreaction at all. We are all perfectly down to earth, allergic to hyperbole, aren’t we cute?

Eyes are always tortured, some eyes are gray and luminous, brows are very dark, people wet their lips because merely speaking is boring… this story is so overloaded with descriptions of physical assets and what those assets are doing. I sometimes feel like I’m reading a catalogue from a plastic surgeon. What eyes would you like today, madam? Gray, luminous eyes or dark, black, tortured ones that “reflect a world of loneliness”? Those golden eyes are pretty hot too, and they go very well with that special kind of hair to give the following CGI:

Golden light haloed his hair but cast his face into shadow.

There are many… things… weird things in the island. But who cares about them, when our hero is posing like he’s in some kind of shampoo commercial?

He towered above her, a shadow against the dark sky. Moonlight reflected silver shards in his black eyes and frosted his hair. The effect unnerved her. He looked like part of the night itself.

Things can sometimes get very tour bus-like too.

Her attention was seduced once again by the moon’s beauty. Silver mountains towered above blackened valleys. Craters covered its pockmarked surface, all seeming close enough that she might step off Aidan’s clockwork platform and onto that alien world over two hundred and fifty thousand miles away.

Hurrah, we’re going to Narnia!

But still devastatingly alluring. The dark circles under his eyes served only to increase the intensity of his penetrating stare. While he looked as if he hadn’t slept well, his clothes were as impeccable as ever. Today he wore the same worn blue jeans and a navy sweater. Though his blue jeans were faded, Roxanne noted for the first time that they had been tailored by a well-known designer. How dare a man pass a sleepless night and look so good?

Wait, is it time for a Gap commercial?

There is admittedly a rather visually interesting paranormal setting here, and the author tries her best to create a Gothic-like environment with the heroine wandering around and taking in everything while her eyes widen to the size of sparkling UFO discs. But this is a slow-moving tale weighted down by some of the most purple, overwrought narrative ever, and the whole conflict boils down to an evil bitch being naughty again, sigh. I’ve nothing against evil hags, but for a plot device that crops up so often in romance novels, it’s actually perplexing how few of these evil female villains are actually memorable. Most are just lazy stereotypes, and this one isn’t much better.

Witch Island has some unintentional charms. I often stop to stare at the words on the page, sometimes chuckling at the unintentional comedy that arises from all those overwrought descriptions. And, despite everything, the setting is evocative and even haunting at times. It’s really too bad that the author doesn’t succeed in using the setting to its full advantage.

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