Equinox (Secrets of Salem #1) by Jace Payne ~ Book Review by PizzyGirl

equinoxTitle: Equinox (Secrets of Salem #1)

Author: Jace Payne

Publisher: Loose Id

Cover Artist: Fiona Jayde Media

Rating: 2 of 5 Stars

Publication Date: 04/22/2015

Length: Novella (~ 15K-50K)

Genre: Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Urban Fantasy


After staring death in the face, Victor Blair takes the advice of his nurses and takes a vacation. It’s not only to help him heal, but to keep his mind off the trauma he’s endured. He travels to Salem, MA. A place he’s sure will calm his nerves.

Once he arrives in the seaside town Victor finds himself attracted to Rayne, a magical stranger with an opinionated pet barn owl, named Elvira. Though they hunger to see more of each other, it leads to conflict. Rayne’s parents aren’t too keen on interspecies mingling between mortals and witches.

Their rapidly building attraction raises the spectre of what will happen once Victor’s vacation is over. His time in Salem was never meant to be permanent. Does he go home and risk losing a great man, or does he throw caution to the wind and uproot himself, moving to a new town to be with someone that he’s only known for a few weeks?

My View:

I would like to start off by saying how much I LOVE THE COVER. I also love the concept of this story and the series. The author obviously has a great imagination and shows promise that his stories can be interesting and entertaining.

However, this story suffered from many new author mistakes and fell flat for me. I spent the majority of the story wondering what I had missed. Things were very rushed and had a manufactured feel to them. Like the author had a goal and his characters had to complete certain actions to achieve that goal. The connectivity that was needed to have this story flow naturally was missing in favor of predetermined forward motion. More time needed to be added between major milestones for me to truly understand the rationale behind many of the character’s emotions and choices. Yes, the author freely admitted in the story itself that this love was rushed, but that did not make it easier to understand.

The story raised tons of questions, but few were answered or were answered much later in the story after I had already moved on to another train of thought. In addition, thing were often implied instead of outright shown. I really never got a handle on what was what, who was what, who was who, or why anything happened like it did. This was a story about witches, but the author took for granted that the reader did not know details about these particular witches. There was little world building or establishment of witch characteristics. Things just happened and the reader was meant to follow along even without history or development.

I found myself having to re-read sections because later portions of the story revealed facts that I felt I should have known but didn’t. I thought maybe I just skimmed something important and didn’t retain the details, but when I re-read, the facts were not there. There was just so much that happened off page or in the author’s head that was not translated to me as the reader.

I also felt that because of the forced nature of the story, things felt too easy. The characters accepted things too readily and issues were almost instantly resolved. There was rarely any tension or buildup that lasted more than a sentence or two. In addition, I did not really see the point of this story other than the relationship itself. There were hints at powers and abilities and that maybe these would be used for good, but none of that was really explored. Things were just left hanging as a means to get to the HFN.

Overall, the lack of details made it hard to connect with this story. This felt like a good rough draft, a first attempt at fleshing out an outline. But it needed more to be complete. The concepts were promising and with a bit of mentoring or better content editing/beta reading, this story could have been fleshed out more and expanded to cover a longer time frame, I would not mind reading a second edition if this were to be made longer and the details filled in. But for me, this one did not feel ready to be published as it stands right now. There needed to be a few more content editing iterations before this one was released to the public.


Equinox (Secrets of Salem #1) on Goodreads
Loose Id
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
All Romance eBooks

I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

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One thought on “Equinox (Secrets of Salem #1) by Jace Payne ~ Book Review by PizzyGirl

  1. Maaaaaaan, I was so tempted to try this one. I like that you see the imagination even if the execution was lacking. That spells promise to me, too. I hope they keep writing. I’m still curious.

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