Rachel Vincent can do no wrong. Yes, I said it and I probably mean it. Over the years I’ve undoubtedly grown as a reader and reviewer, and sometimes mRachel Vincent can do no wrong. Yes, I said it and I probably mean it. Over the years I’ve undoubtedly grown as a reader and reviewer, and sometimes my increasingly high expectation as to what makes a truly great urban fantasy novel leaves me feeling unsatisfied with what I come across. Yet, not once has Rachel Vincent fallen under that increasingly high bar. In some aspects I feel as if we have grown together. You know, as much as two people who don’t know each other can, and not in a creepy sort of way. Or maybe it is simply that her own development as a writer and continued success as a story teller has influenced the ‘standard of excellence’ I hold other novels and authors up to.
Who are these people?
Liv Warren is a tracker, capable of finding people (unofficially) within a 300 mile radius through even the smallest drop of blood. She is one of the Skilled, a subset of people born with special skills that go largely ignored by society. With the exception of criminal syndicates and the government, of course.
I’ve sat for at least ten minutes trying to think of one word that adequately describes Liv and nothing fits just right, except maybe desperate, or desolate, or confident, or defiant, or flawed, or empowered, or …see, the list goes on. She is complicated. She does what she has to in order to survive and keep her friends safe, even if they don’t realize she is doing it. Her world is full of black, white, gray, and boundary lines that were meant to be pushed up against and bent.
Cam Caballero, is the one she can’t have. There is certainly more to him and their relationship, but honestly Liv carries this story on her own. Their romance is secondary, if not unremarkable to the story as a whole.
What is this book even about?
Bound by a blood oath taken as a young girl, Liv is forced to help a friend find and kill a man in the name of revenge. Yet, when is revenge ever a simple and straight forward task? Coerced to work with a man she loves, but believes she is a danger to, Liv Warren finds herself neck deep in a complicated ring of criminal politics that threatens to expose her own secrets with every passing hour.
Trackers find people, Jammers keep Trackers from finding people. Travelers teleport through shadows and Binders can make promises a death sentence. There is an entire world of Skilled people officially ignored by society and the government, but unofficially used by both. The basic plot in itself isn’t revolutionary, it doesn’t need to be. Instead its a steady and well paced constant nestled among a rapidly shifting world and cast of characters.
What did I like love about this story?
The creativity. The innovation. The sense that this series would be unlike anything else I’ve read in urban fantasy so far. One of the things I enjoyed so much about Rachel Vincent’s previous Shifter series was that she didn’t just build a story resting on the back of traditional paranormal “shifter” lore, but instead created her own. She does the same with this new series, blazing a trail that is entirely hers and entirely unique to the genre. Not only is the world building creative and innovative, but it is believable. The characters, events, and dynamics of the Unbound world teeter along the line of credible possibilities in such a way that one can’t help being completely captivated.
What gave me pause….?
Truthfully, very little. I did find the romance subplot to be less interesting than the rest, but it certainly wasn’t badly done or in any way detrimental to the novel. It is likely my own disinterest in romance in general as of late, rather than the subplot itself. I’d like to speculate it could have been written without it, but I fear we’d lose character growth within Liv that manifested nicely because of the romantic entanglements. If you enjoy a good bit of romantic tension in your urban fantasy, this book has the perfect portion of it.
“But before you start officially asking me for help, you need to understand that there are certain requests I can’t carry out, and making those particular requests would be like pushing my self-destruct button. I’ll implode, like the fuckin’ Death Star.”
“Um, point of fact, I believe the Death Star exploded,” Cam said, leaning back on a bar stool, his elbows propped behind him on the counter. “Twice.”
“Congratulations. Your official super-nerd badge is in the mail,” Kori said, but I couldn’t get past the part about me accidentally pushing her self-destruct button.
Shit. Shit, shit, shit! “Please tell me that doesn’t mean what I think it means….”
Should you read this book?
Yes. In fact, if you only try one new series or one new author this year, Blood Bound by Rachel Vincent should be at the top of your list. ...more
Girl15, soon renamed “Deuce”, is a 15 year old girl, coming into her own as a Huntress. In her world, you don’t get a name or truWho are these people?
Girl15, soon renamed “Deuce”, is a 15 year old girl, coming into her own as a Huntress. In her world, you don’t get a name or true validation until you live to the age of 15 and proof yourself capable of fulfilling your role. She is hardened, determined, and has just enough naivety to make you care for her. I wanted to wrap her in my arms and protect her. She is only 15! This isn’t fair! I shouted it over and over again at her, and not once did she acknowledge that or give in to it.
Fade, is a seasoned but un-respected Hunter in their Enclave. He came to them from questionable events and has always been an outcast, even after proving himself physically several times over. Deuce is skeptical when first assigned to be his partner, but comes to trust him… mostly.
What is this book even about?
Superficially, Enclave is about a girl who has her world shaken up and turned upside down. Everything she has grown up knowing and trusting is not what she thought it once was. Enclave is a story of survival. Can Deuce and Fade live through the unfair and unbelievable fate that has settled over their heads? Or will they simply be killed and eaten by the increasingly intelligent band of “Freaks” threatening their people?
But maybe, Enclave is about more than just survival. Just maybe it is a story of political injustice and the faults of humanity. It’s a story about the pull of power, who has it and what humans instinctually do to keep it. The world built in Enclave is so easily imaginable and plausible that it pushed my buttons and made me think…. is that what I would have done? At it’s core, Enclave is a story of human nature.
What did I like love about this story?
Everything? That is probably the easy answer, but it is mostly true. It is hard to pick out just a few things that I loved because the story is so cohesive and well written that it sits in my head as one fully functioning entity. The characters wouldn’t be what they are without the world they lived in. The world they lived in wouldn’t be anything interesting without the enclave of people inhabiting it. The “bad guys” would just be another group of blood thirsty killers without the contrast of Deuce and Fade to measure against. In short, everything. The universe and story of Enclave pulls you in and wraps around you like your favorite quilt. All encompassing and familiar, but slightly uncomfortable as things heat up. Which brings me to….
What gave me pause….?
The end. This book would have gotten an easy 5 star rating if not for the ending. There was a point towards the end where I felt the story drag a tiny bit and I knew something needed to happen, and yet I couldn’t imagine what could wrap it all up in a tiny bow perfectly. I was right that something was about to happen to end it, but it wasn’t perfect. It felt awkward and slightly rushed. The conclusion was satisfactory enough, but it lacked the same punch as much of the story. I hate to sound cliche, but…. anticlimactic. I get the feeling the story was just too big for the word count goal and I almost wish it had ended on a cliffhanger to be continued in the next book.
I highlighted so many passages, it really is hard to choose a favorite.
People’s value came from their actions. In the enclave, the strong and the physically perfect survived, but if you were strong, you protected the weak until they had an opportunity to grow into their own power. At least that was the ideal.
Anything I would change?
As I stated above, I’d have cut the book a bit shorter and ended on a cliff hanger, even tho I hate cliff hangers! The story just feels too big and ran out of space.
Should you read this book?
Yes. A resounding yes. There will be some that say … “I don’t read young adult…” My response? Enclave is not defined by its genre. It is young adult in that it’s characters are not quite adults, but the story has universal appeal. If you like action, adventure, with just a smidgen of romantic tension that has the promise to blossom as the series continues… pick up this book. If you want to read something that feels truly honest and reflective, pick up this book. Yes, it is dark, dreary, and violent, but sometimes the best of humanity is born from that....more
I’ve talked about how much I absolutely love Kate Daniels before. This series started out rough, but has grown into one of my absolute favorites. It iI’ve talked about how much I absolutely love Kate Daniels before. This series started out rough, but has grown into one of my absolute favorites. It is easily ranked in the top 5 of my OH MY GOD YOU MUST READ THIS SERIES list, if I were keeping one (I am). I don’t simply love this series because Kate is a BAMF, she is, but also because the series itself is continuously growing and changing. Every book has been better than the last and Magic Slays is no different.
Things are different for Kate in Magic Slays. She is no longer living on her own fighting bad guys, fighting Curran, fighting herself. Instead she has accepted her role as Curran’s Mate and lover and finally moved into the Pack’s Keep. There is a certain level of security that comes with being mated to the Beast Lord and living in a fortified castle, however Kate has never been one to sit back on her laurels in style and comfort. Having quit the Order and working for her own agency, a seemingly simple case of a loose vampire and missing person quickly turn into a situation that threatens Kate, her family, and the Pack.
There were so many things I liked about this installment in Kate’s story. Magic Slays is more than just scary monsters being tossed at our heroine left and right, at parts it even has a slight ‘crime novel” feel to it. The romantic tension between Kate and Curran is lessoned slightly, as we are no longer wondering will they or won’t they, and there is an honesty and ease between them that is hard to put words around. They laugh, they argue, they fight (literally), and there are moment’s of doubt, but it is somehow all very natural. Their spats are some of my favorite scenes in the book because the sarcasm and dialogue are delivered so well, yet I was never once distracted from the overall plot. Additionally, I felt the side characters were utilized in a way to fully enrich the ongoing story and lay the groundwork for future novels in a way that I hadn’t noticed before. Kate really is no longer alone and she finally seems willing to accept that.
Kate and Curran’s relationship is a perfect foundation of humor, tension, and tenderness upon which sits a riveting and suspenseful story. I bit off at least three of my fingernails, gasped several times, and went on to whisper “oh my god, they wouldn’t do this…. no!” at least once. Additionally, an older and wiser Kate is thrown a curveball or two that will leave readers wanting more while setting up future books nicely. I agree with Danielle at AlphaReader entirely, this book does feel like the calm before the storm. It is not an all consuming read, but it was enjoyable and well done.
Magic Slays was one of my highly anticipated reads for this year and I am happy to say that it delivered on all of my expectations. There was never a paragraph I wanted to skip or a description I rolled my eyes at. The foreboding at the end was absolutely perfect and I can not wait to see where Kate finds herself next time and who she is faced with. I have a guess. It is taking all of my willpower not to type it....more
Mina, your heroine, is a pleasant surprise. Being a dectective inspector who has had to fight for respect every step of the way because of her heritage and her gender has made her wary and cautious, but also dedicated. She is intelligent, fearless, and loyal to her position and her family. She was also a breath of fresh air in the world of romance, but more details on that later.
Rhys, your hero, the Iron Duke, makes me want to hit him over the head with a cast iron pan. I am not a violent person (mostly, heh) but I could be convinced to make an exception for him. He is stubborn, dominating, and completely full of himself, or at least he comes across that way for much of the beginning. He has his redeeming qualities (loyalty, persistance, strength, bravery, and a seemingly talented tongue), but for the most part I did not want to like him and only did so at the end with a frown on my face. However, his jackassery was the perfect compliment and platform for Mina’s character.
What is this book even about?
Mina, our courageous inspector, is brought together with the Iron Duke when a dead body is dropped onto his steps from above. Her investigation leads us deeper into an interesting world of airships, steam powered inventions (vibrators even!), zombies, and nanotech enhanced human beings. As they race across the sky in pursuit of of a the man behind a dangerous conspiracy, Rhys takes on the challenge of making Mina his.
What did I like love about this story?
I was absolutely captivated by the world Meljean Brook was able to craft, it was unique and detailed without being so heavy as to distract from the story. I couldn’t help but pause on occasion to picture the steampunk elements in my head and commented more than once that I would have loved to see a visual representation of some of her creations. This book was not simply steam punk it its goggles and airships, but was rich with creative inventions from weaponry and armor to delicately designed vibrators.
Also. Mina. Just full stop, I adored her. She is a woman who gives everything to her job and her family. She thinks everything through, taking nothing lightly, and sticks to her decisions with admirable determination. She isn’t willing to be set aside in a safety bubble as men risk their lives around her, instead keeping hold of her independence with both hands and fighting in her own way. Further, when she says no, she means no. I snorted particularly loud when she knocks Rhys out cold after he ignores her pleas for him to stop. Which brings me to….
What gave me pause….?
Well besides Rhys, that is. Actually it isn’t so much Rhys but the attitude he carried. “She will be mine, even tho she protests. Once she is in my bed she will change her mind.”
I get that women, myself included, have fantasies of men strong enough to take us and whisk off our feet. We want men to take control and to trust that they will bring us pleasure, that they know better than we what we want. Or not that they know better, but instead that they can anticipate it before we have to say it. Maybe it is some deep seeded, albeit primitive, need that ensures us our men are “man enough” to protect us? Goodness knows a good hard kiss and a whispered ‘mine’ has my heart racing just in theory, never mind in practice. I might explode.
The male race would surely be better off if in the next evolution they could develop some sort of mind reading ability. And teleportation! But that is another problem entirely. Anyway, I am really tired of the overly cocky alpha male who forces a kiss on his heroine, only to have all of her doubts drift away because it “just feels so good.” Talk about sending men mixed signals! We want you to kiss us when we say no! Except when we really mean no, then we are going to say you took advantage! What do you mean you can’t tell the difference?
I was really afraid that I would hate this book because of that. Rhys first looks at Mina as something to posses, something unique that he wanted and would have because he always gets what he wants. I am happy to say that this book did NOT go down that path, instead Mina stood her ground and was not swayed with a simple kiss or a sexy glance. She certainly struggled with her desire versus her responsibilities and the dangers of giving in, but it was approached through thoughtful reasoning and careful actions that were entirely true to her character. Much credit to Meljean Brook for using a character trait I would have seen as a negative to highlight another character and make her stronger.
So he’d been watching her watch Scarsdale and Yasmeen. And now she looked at them again, because she didn’t want him to read the answer in her eyes. Did she want someone to touch her, not just to arouse but to soothe? Because he cared and wanted to please her? Not just a lover. A friend. Someone who needed her for the same reasons she needed him. The type of man she would marry, if given half a chance.
She’d accepted long ago that chance wouldn’t be coming for her. But did she want it?
“No,” she lied, and finally found the will to go.
Anything I would change?
Honestly, I would have loved to know more about Mina and her Horde blood. I understood why it was a negative thing for her and her family, but I didn’t catch what it was about her appearance that made her Horde blood so obvious. I assume there are facial features that are unique to the Horde and it would have been nice to know them, but it wasn’t vital to the story, just my own curiosity.
Should you read this book?
Do you like kick ass chicks? Do you like breathtakingly hot “non sex” scenes? Do you like a your romances thoughtfully blended with danger, adventure, and a healthy side of humor? Yes. Yes, and Yes. You should absolutely read this book. This was my first MelJean Brook novel and will not be my last. The pacing was a bit slow at the start but settled perfectly as the story stretched out and settled around the characters. The Iron Duke is a smartly written tale of boy meets girl, boy kisses girl, boy gives girl orgasm, girl shoots him in the neck. And he deserved it....more
How does one even start to review what is easily the most anticipated book of the year among urban fantasy fans? I guess I will start by saying, if yoHow does one even start to review what is easily the most anticipated book of the year among urban fantasy fans? I guess I will start by saying, if you want to read my reviews of the previous books go here. If you haven’t read the series, you might want to stop and start at book 1. I’m not going to be purposely spoilerly, but it is hard to be entirely vague.
I’ve been a bit overwhelmed with book choices lately. After reading almost nothing for the last few months because of school, all of a sudden I have a “to read” list that is crazy huge almost solely because of popular series books I have missed the release of. I pushed all of those aside and bought my kindle version of Shadowfever at midnight on release day. I read for about 2 hours for that night before I had to finally admit defeat and get some sleep.
Right out from the gate the book has you twittering “OMG! NOOOOOO”. There were several oh my god moments really. One thing Moning did incredibly well was keep us on our toes. There was not a single event in this story that I had guessed or seen suggested by anyone else. The twists and turns were thought provoking and frustrating all in one. In the end we get answers to some questions, but definitely not all. We get just enough about Barrons and his men to feel slightly satisfied, but still curious. We get in-depth history as well as out of nowhere curve balls regarding the Fae and Mac’s sidhe-seer heritage. We get the long awaited answer to Alina’s death and the future of Mac and Barrons.
Yet, I finished it was left feeling unsettled. Shadowfever is a lot of book, almost 600 pages, and honestly the first half it was a slow read. There was a great deal of emotional monologue and stubborn characters that dragged on the plot. Additionally, I’ve always adored Dani but I felt her character lacked growth in this installment and I can’t help but wonder whether or not the reveal we get was planned all along. I didn’t fully believe the events surrounding V’lane and I still don’t understand Christian’s progression. I almost think that the effort to create a story that lived up to expectation and defy all speculation may have led to an end result that lacked a certain amount of credibility. (I know that’s vauge, I’m sorry! lol).
My last complaint, too much of the finale was focused on the relationship between Barrons and Mac. Yes, their “happy ever after” chances are a huge draw to readers, but it is has never been the focus of the series. For me the series has always been about Mac and her search to find the truth about her sister, to find her place among this new world she has journeyed into. I needed a final scene between Mac and the killer.
I realize how one sided this review is. The truth is for all my complaints, it is an entertaining and good story. Mac 5.0 is broken down and then built up stronger and smarter than we have ever seen her. Barrons is everything we have come to expect from him and most people will be content with the series ending. Shadowfever may not have hit all the perfect buttons for me, but I enjoyed the creatively twisted story that kept me guessing and am sad to see the series come to an end....more
It wasn’t that long ago that I was asking for advice on which series were complete, and now… I’m finishing up three of my favorite series within one mIt wasn’t that long ago that I was asking for advice on which series were complete, and now… I’m finishing up three of my favorite series within one month. It’s killing my poor book loving heart. Yet I understand, sometimes it is time to let go of characters because there is only so much torture they can take. I wouldn’t mind a spinoff involving Jace tho… #justsaying
Faythe, Faythe, Faythe, my how you have grown. I went into this last book not expecting her to be so mature and so clear headed considering the emotional beating of the Prey and Shift. I expected her to flail and struggle and make mistake after mistake because her life was in turmoil. She certainly did struggle to find her footing when it came to her romantic interests. She stubbornly held onto her own selfish wants when it came to the men in her life up until the very end. I wanted to grab hold and shake her. It wasn’t fair to either Mark or Jace, but I can overlook it. Why?
Because she may have been acting selfishly and avoiding the problem, but for once it was the right thing to do. There was simply no way for her to stand up and lead in the way that she does, and needs to, in Alpha if she couldn’t see past her own problems and grab hold of the bigger picture. Immature, weak, whiny Faythe has grown into a fearless, courageous, intelligent bad ass motherf**ker (BAMF!). There are losses, there are wins, there is heartbreak… and she handles it all. She fully accepts her role, acknowledges her devotion to her pride, to her family, and it fits her.
I have to admit, Alpha isn’t perfect and won’t be my favorite of the series. I was fairly certain of who would die and the choice she would make in the end, but…. I didn’t care. This book didn’t make me bawl like Prey did, didn’t make me scream OH MY HOLY YODA like Shift did, but it did leave me feeling satisfied. It was a great story and a fitting end to a fantastic series. My favorite aspect of Alpha? The political world of the shifters once more being center stage, while the romance was still there, just as a supporting role along the side.
With this review, I say goodbye to one of my top 10 Urban Fantasy series. You have made me laugh, made me cry, made me gasp, and made me yell in frustration. You have entertained me and given me little pockets of fantasy to escape into. I’ve shared you with friends and pushed you onto complete strangers, all just so I could relive my own excitement through their experience. Thank you Rachel Vincent, may your new series be just as well loved....more
For as much as I enjoyed the first book in this new series from Ilona Andrews, I loved the second even more. I liked Declan, but I absolutely adore WiFor as much as I enjoyed the first book in this new series from Ilona Andrews, I loved the second even more. I liked Declan, but I absolutely adore William. He is complicated, flawed, and yet just so…. damn adorable. I really enjoyed the glimpses into his mind and the whispers of doubt when he thought about how he wanted Rose, the heroine from book 1, for himself. It was so obvious that he just wanted a family of his own, people to care for, people to love. I just wanted to cuddle and caress him til he was better…. and then jump all over his sexy weapon wielding ass.
Cerise reminded me of Kate, from the Andrews’ Urban Fantasy series, yet she isn’t Kate. Yes, she carries the same kick ass girl aura and the same courage and strength, but she isn’t afraid to be emotionally vulnerable. She is cautious but also trusting and and easy to relate to.
What I adore most about Ilona Andrews writing paranormal romance is that she holds nothing back. Bayou Moon is about the romance and the characters’ journey of finding each other, but it is also about the story. The plots are complicated and the world is detailed, filled with intense characters and tricky politics. These aren’t books that you can skip over the “non sexy parts” and still keep up. Andrews’ writes more than a story of boy meet girl. It is a story of boy meets girl with kick ass world building, intelligence, humor, and nerve tingling tension....more
The Missing is only my second Shiloh Walker read and it served as a good reminder that I really need to pick up more of her books. In spite of my “parThe Missing is only my second Shiloh Walker read and it served as a good reminder that I really need to pick up more of her books. In spite of my “paranormal/romance burnout” I flew through this book yesterday and could not put it down. I was cursing Shiloh Walker and updating my goodreads status at 4 am, wondering where the night had gone.
Taige, pronounced like Paige with a t (I asked!), has a unique gift. Ever since she was a little girl Taige has had visions or dreams that help her find missing kids. As a young girl she does her best to ignore her gift and the inconvenience it causes. Yet, events in her life push her toward using it to help kids any way she can, no matter the cost her own life.
Taige and Cullen were a sweet, but electric, couple. At first I wasn’t sure where things were going and I was a bit apprehensive about meeting them as teenagers. Over the first 50 pages all reservations I had disappeared and I was smitten. Shiloh Walker wrote them in such a sweet, yet realistic courtship it was impossible not to fall in love with the pair. She then went on to take my heart, rip it out of my chest and stomp on it. Shiloh Walker is evil, in the way all good tragedy writers are. She made me cry. There I admitted it. Taige and Cullen were so perfect for each other, yet their relationship takes such a heartbreaking turn. I hated it and I loved it. I couldn’t put it down once I got to that point. I would have liked to see Taige drag Cullen around by his “you know what” a bit to make him suffer, but that could just be the evil bitch in me talking.
The suspense of The Missing was haunting and readers are given enough clues to figure out bits and pieces here and there, yet I didn’t have an clear hunch about the bad guy until three quarters of the way through. I think portions of the missing children plot could have been prolonged and I would have enjoyed seeing Taige and Cullen’s relationship change during that hardship, but overall the story worked well as it was.
The only annoyance I had were the dreams Taige and Cullen shared. I knew where that subplot was going and I just couldn’t get on that train. It felt too easy and neither of them seemed like the kind to not face their feelings and be honest with each other. In the end I think the couple really needed a knock down, drag out, all things on the table, tupperware thrown at your head type of discussion and I felt shorted that because of the dreams. It didn’t annoy me enough to not love the book, but I would be a slacker blogger if I didn’t mention it.
The Missing is a haunting and emotional story you will not want to put down once you start it. Clear off your schedule for the day, bake some brownies, grab a box of tissues and curl up with some Shiloh Walker. You won’t regret it, I promise. ...more