Another sweet romance in the Love At Stake series. The religious aspects were a bit heavy-handed, even considering that one of the main characters was...moreAnother sweet romance in the Love At Stake series. The religious aspects were a bit heavy-handed, even considering that one of the main characters was a very sweet angel, but it was still a nice romance. It was much too rushed, as usual (he felt her up the first night and they were in love by then as well), and the sex scenes were much more awkward than I remember from past books, but overall it was a nice story. I always like the characters in these books, which gets me over my general dislike of the rushed romance novel formula of sudden but fated true love; I'd rather see a relationship play out over time with some more depth. I didn't connect with Connor and Marielle quite as much as I have with some of the characters in past novels, but I liked them and I liked visiting with the Romantech family and seeing the next step in the story. (less)
Considering how much I was looking forward to this and how fast I tore through it, I wonder if I may have under-rated the first two books in the serie...moreConsidering how much I was looking forward to this and how fast I tore through it, I wonder if I may have under-rated the first two books in the series. I just hope that urban fantasy fans are checking out this really fun series. The covers of the first two books are more suggestive of the content than this one was, although all three together do paint quite a complete picture. I do wish that Miko, the evil Switchblade Goddess pictured on this cover, was gripping that knife like she was going to really use it to do some serious violence instead of just prettily showing it off, that would have been much more consistent with the previous covers and just made more sense. Why do publishers always show women holding weapons in such ridiculous poses? (Check out author Jim C. Hines' excellent and hilarious blog about this topic http://www.jimchines.com/2012/01/stri... ) Anyway, all three covers together show you images of adventure, humor, violence, sex, partnership (very odd partnership!), loss (Jessie's hand and eye), magic, mystery, mythology, edginess, and originality. The publishers were smart to invest in the terrific covers, it's what attracted me to the series in the first place and kept reminding me to go ahead pick up the first book already and give it a try, something I'm really glad I did.
Whatever my hesitations were with the storytelling in the first two books, they're gone now, Snyder has really hit her stride in this world now. I do remember wondering about Cooper and if he was respectful enough for Jessie, but there was a great scene in this book where they talked things over and addressed all of the things that were bothering me. I still really just love Pal, and the originality of the way Snyder has approached the familiar "familiar" relationship is terrific. In fact, she has an original take on a all of her somewhat familiar concepts, there isn't any time where I'm shaking my head and feeling like I've read this before. Yes, they have magical councils set up in structures protecting cities. They have familiars. There are devil's and demons and hells. But they all have a considerably different twist. The goddess has mythological underpinnings, but it's from Japanese mythology, nothing that I've seen referenced in American urban fantasy before, certainly not commonly. And Jessie herself isn't the typical UF heroine. She isn't a sarcastic bitch. She isn't tough. She isn't sweet. She's one of the women who gets caught up in something and has to fight for the people that she loves. It's just a different and welcome take on things. Was it the best book ever? No. Was it very entertaining? Yup. Should you give the series a try? Why not?
(Disclosure: some small amount of violence and sex included, not for the very faint of heart. But really, nothing extreme. Much less than most romance novels.)(less)
Very good dark paranormal romance/urban fantasy. While I had a few quibbles with the levelheaded ADA having sex with her defendant just after finding...moreVery good dark paranormal romance/urban fantasy. While I had a few quibbles with the levelheaded ADA having sex with her defendant just after finding out that he was a murderer, being unable to keep their hands off each other is a romance novel staple. Other than that, I liked the characters and the paranormal elements and, as always, Ms. Beck/Kenner's storytelling is great. Heck, she got me to read a romance, didn't she? If you're squeamish about hot sex or psycho serial murderers, this isn't the book for you. If you like smart gals, sexy guys, and a dark story then you'll like this.(less)
I'd rate it a bit better than average. I like the realism of Jessie's rough language, and sex drive, but don't read this if some crudeness will put yo...moreI'd rate it a bit better than average. I like the realism of Jessie's rough language, and sex drive, but don't read this if some crudeness will put you off. There is a lot of action (not just the sex kind) but it ends very anticlimactically. I still like her former familiar, Pal, a lot. I'm not entirely sure about her boyfriend, Cooper, yet; he still hasn't been show to his advantage. But I'm looking forward to seeing what developes in the next book with that, as well as with Jessie's family. So far they seem pretty suspect as well, I hope they don't end up breaking her heart. Overall, I like the creativity, it isn't just like every other series. And I really like the cover. It isn't quite as stunning as the cover of the first book, but once again it totally showcases the book and the characters. From Jessie's magical eye and hand, scratches, burns and opera glove, to Pal's big, scary legs, it's unique, original art and I really appreciate that the publisher went to the effort. (less)
A surprisingly quick read. Perhaps because the plot was more straightforward than the previous novels in the series. A little girl is in danger and Re...moreA surprisingly quick read. Perhaps because the plot was more straightforward than the previous novels in the series. A little girl is in danger and Remy is hired to track down those responsible. Marlowe, Remy's black Lab, reprises his role as the adorable sidekick; I've said it before and I hope to say it again, Sniegoski writes great dogs.
There are some somewhat more subtle (than in the last 2 books) digs at the Christian god and his role in our world, along with some interesting questions, and Remy's continued wrestling with his dual nature as a former angle who wants to live as a man. Which is really the heart of the series. Some will complain that the book departs from the plot about Lucifer, which is referred to but is seemingly left for another day. That's fine with me because it allows for further development of Remy's character and leaves more fun for future installments. Overall it was a good tale and a nice visit with characters who are coming to feel like old friends. (less)
I enjoyed Kim Harrison's story. Jenks is the star, with Bis as backup and a short appearance by Ivy. As a fan, it was fun to read a story from Jenks'...moreI enjoyed Kim Harrison's story. Jenks is the star, with Bis as backup and a short appearance by Ivy. As a fan, it was fun to read a story from Jenks' perspective and to learn more about his family and life as a pixy. I doubt non-fans would enjoy the story as much. Although it's a good tale, without the connection to the characters or knowing the background I'm not sure they'll care very much. Also, it's really only 1/2 a story, so I'm hoping for a continuation in another book.
I didn't read the rest of the stories. I either didn't like the authors or didn't have enough patience to try something new that day. (less)
Kim Harrison's story was very good. I'm not sure if I would have enjoyed it as much before I read Black Magic Sanction. Although it is clearly intende...moreKim Harrison's story was very good. I'm not sure if I would have enjoyed it as much before I read Black Magic Sanction. Although it is clearly intended to be read first, I think I was more intrigued because of the references to the story made in the book (and Pierce being a main character in both). Either way, I think it's a good story that should be enjoyable to Rachel Morgan fans and newbies alike. I enjoyed getting insight into Rachel's past.
Lynday Sands' story was awful. I was disappointed because I like her modern vampire romances; they're funny and the characters are great. This was just a juvenile and generic story.
Marjorie M. Liu's story was terrific. I had dismissed her books because I thought she only wrote romances and despite my liking for Sands, I don't read many romances. (Not a genre sneer, they just make me grouchy these days.) But the story really made the anthology business work again, I'm a convert. It has a great premise, really lovely and yet strong writing, great characters, and the interesting Chinese perspective as an extra bonus. It ended a bit abruptly, but that's a short story staple. I'm glad to see that she also has an urban fantasy series and I'm looking forward to checking it out.
I read a few pages of Petterrson's story, despite reviews warning that the elements wouldn't make much sense to people who haven't read the series. I decided not to finish it after reading a bunch of reviews of the Zodiac series, it just doesn't seem worth it right now. Maybe another time if I do decide to read the series. (less)
Extremely light-weight. It can hardly be called a mystery, the murder doesn't take place until 1/2 way through. It's basically just a description of a...moreExtremely light-weight. It can hardly be called a mystery, the murder doesn't take place until 1/2 way through. It's basically just a description of a sci-fi convention and the silliness Thay ensues, circa 1988. I find it hard to believe that the author is an award-winning novelist or that this book won an Edgar. It's mildly amusing, but hardly a significant achievement. (less)
I only read Kim Harrison's story about Mia the banshee. It was ok, didn't really explain anything that wasn't in The Hallows book 7. It takes place af...moreI only read Kim Harrison's story about Mia the banshee. It was ok, didn't really explain anything that wasn't in The Hallows book 7. It takes place after Holly is born, so Ivy isn't in it.(less)
4.5 stars. I got intrigued by this series when I read a story from later on in the series in Hexed, the story was really well done, it introduced terr...more4.5 stars. I got intrigued by this series when I read a story from later on in the series in Hexed, the story was really well done, it introduced terrific characters and the writing was great. It was one of the best stories/novellas that I've read and really proved the whole marketing concept behind the anthology idea because I immediately marked the rest of the series as top priority reads.
And I'm glad I did because I really liked this book, it has everything I enjoy in a story. The main character was smart and brave but not overly anything - she wasn't too pushy or too sarcastic or too bold when she shouldn't be. She was just a cool chick that I might like to get to know. The supporting characters were varied and interesting. The wider story arc was interesting and the shorter story arc for this book only set up the story well and was interesting enough on it's own. It was just solid storytelling, entertaining the way it was supposed to be, well done! It was fun that my hopes that were stoked in the short story bore fruit. It was also interesting to see the characters from the beginning and start to see how they got from there to where they were in the story I read, where many of the relationships had changed and developed quite a bit.
OK, so I realize that that was really general and some of you want specifics. I'm not so good at that kind of review. let me just say that Janet has two terrific kinds of magical powers, her boyfriend, Mick, is totally hot (literally and figuratively) and his secret is sexy and intriguing and won't disappoint you, Coyote (yes, the god) is always fun, the magic mirror is a hoot, Nash is infuriating but a great character, Maya the electrician is another smart, mouthy fun and infuriating woman, and Fremont the plumber seems like comic relief but may be more than that. Oh, and Jamison the artist/Changer appears, who it turns out I read about in another anthology, so I got a nice bonus. There are also some demons, skinewalkers, a version of vampires and some other cool critters and powers. Lots of interesting Native American culture is mentioned, but it's worked really nicely into the story so it flows naturally and isn't at all like reading a historical or sociology lecture. That's my favorite kind of writing, when I'm learning and enjoying at the same time, effortlessly.
So that was a lot of words to say it that it was a fun book. I'm sorry it took me so long to find this author, but now I'm glad that I get to read three books in a row without having to wait a year in between for the next to be published.(less)
Nominated for the 2009 Hammett Award. The International Association of Crime Writers: North American Branch presents The Hammett Award “for literary e...moreNominated for the 2009 Hammett Award. The International Association of Crime Writers: North American Branch presents The Hammett Award “for literary excellence in crime writing to a work of fiction or nonfiction by a U.S. or Canadian author”.(less)