Walking the Edge is a book tailor-made for readers who love spy fare like "The Bourne Identity" and "La Femme Nikita," with a little "Hitman" thrown iWalking the Edge is a book tailor-made for readers who love spy fare like "The Bourne Identity" and "La Femme Nikita," with a little "Hitman" thrown in. And the bonus is the heroine is equally if not more lethal than the hero. The atmosphere is spot on, with a sophisticated European vibe that is almost obligatory with this sort of espionage storyline. This is my first read by Zee Monodee, and definitely not my last. I have met her on Goodreads and shared friendly discussions about our mutual love of dangerous heroes and romantic suspense. She definitely brings all that knowledge and appreciation for these genres to vivid life in this book. The romantic elements are authentically hot and sensual, and they fit well into this edgy, noirish suspense tale of a woman who truly doesn't know who she is and goes on a journey to find the answer to this million dollar question. There are plenty of storyline twists that kept me reading, and I found myself pleasantly surprised at how well and intricately plotted this story was. Normally, you read these sort of books and criticize the decisions the characters make. Not here. These people act like the pros in the field that they are. I liked that she gets that cold, hard edge that needs to be present in this kind of story. Spies don't live sunny, fluffy lives. They walk in the dark, and that darkness always tries to encroach on their heart and minds. But love can vanish away that darkness, and the time comes when tough choices have to be made to reach out for that light in the darkness. It takes one heck of a heroine to deal with this, and this book has that kind of heroine.
For readers who enjoy a tough, sophisticated, edgy heroine, this book will definitely make for a good read. Especially with an equally tough, sexy, but loving hero at her side, and lots of suspense and adventure to round out an appealing romance.
I recommend this book.
Overall rating: 4.5/5.0 stars.
Thanks to Zee Monodee for the opportunity to read Walking the Edge....more
Devil's Kiss is the first in the Hellraisers historical paranormal romance series by Zoe Archer, and she has created an interesting world and an intriDevil's Kiss is the first in the Hellraisers historical paranormal romance series by Zoe Archer, and she has created an interesting world and an intriguing storyline that will keep me coming back to this series.
I loved how immersive this story was. I felt like I was in the Georgian period, where anything goes, if you have the money, power and status to make your own rules. With this background, the character have validity and their choices and motivations make sense. Whit is a hero that really sucked me in. He is not a good man, but he is a man that you want to be good, to make the right decisions in the end. I have to say that force of his personality pulled me right into this story. I found Whit very magnetic. Ms. Archer does an excellent joy of portraying the tug of war that Whit has between his good nature and his darker one. I don't think gambling was his vice in itself, but the desire to control fate and have power to manipulate fate and circumstances. Losing his family so young and becoming an Earl so early in his life gave him this vacuum inside, this feeling that he is being buffeted by fate, so that living on the knife's edge became the only valid lifestyle for himself. It's probable that he might have been a thrill-seeker, explorer or adventurer if he hadn't inherited his title. I found him quite fascinating as a character. I could see why Zora found him so irresistible and fell in love with him even though he's not a good man by any stretch. This aspect of the story, as well as the manner in which Archer establishes her story in the Georgian period reminds me of Anne Stuart, and that's always a good thing.
Zora was a great character. I loved her strong personality, her determination, her independent spirit, and that she doesn't give up on what is important to her. She always felt strange and disjointed in her Romani family and life, although she does value it. When the giorgo men show up in her camp, her eyes are drawn to Whit, and she can't look away. He compels her in a way no other man has. His obsession with her isn't one-sided at all. And she becomes the only means through which he can regain his soul back from the devil. Zora is a good woman, but she's also a vital, primal woman, not a plaster saint. It means that much more when she stands up for what is right when it is so easy to choose self and do what is wrong in the process.
When I read romance, I want the bond and the relationship between the characters to be meaningful, real, and deeply emotional. I felt all that with Whit and Zora. Although they share a very primal sexual attraction, there is also an intellectual connection, and an emotional bond. Zora could have walked away and left Whit to his fate, but she cared for him and wanted to help him get free from his devil's bargain; or she could have destroyed him when she realized that his actions might bring on the end of the world. But love kept her with him. As for Whit, although his actions towards Zora weren't honorable initially, he shows that she is very important to him, her love and her light keeps him grounded and gives him the strength to fight for his soul and to do the right thing. The love scenes are very sensual and well-written, and they fit very well into this intense story about dark passions and desires.
This series has gotten me hooked, probably from the first page. Ms. Archer promises to deliver forthcoming books that avoid being predictable, and where the main character could perhaps be the worst villain of all, if he chooses wrongly. I like that kind of risk-taking when I read a story, especially when it's well-written as Devil's Kiss is.
For this very enjoyable, well-written book, I have to give a rating of 4.5/5.0.
With Scoundrel, Ms. Archer takes us adventure-loving romantics on a splendid journey around the Aegean Sea on the hunt for mystical treasure. ReadersWith Scoundrel, Ms. Archer takes us adventure-loving romantics on a splendid journey around the Aegean Sea on the hunt for mystical treasure. Readers who enjoy Indiana Jones will get a kick out of this book, with its very real magic and a dash of steampunk-like adventure.
London is an admirable heroine. Despite the way she was raised, she wants to live her life, and have something grand to contribute. It took a lot of courage for her to break free from her family's expectations and restrictions, to realize that she was essentially orphaning herself. I loved that she was three-dimensional. She is both beautiful and intelligent. She is womanly and strong. What she isn't good at, she strives to improve. While loving a man like Bennett was a huge risk, she took the chance.
Bennett isn't my favorite type of hero. While I love a dangerous and edgy hero, I just don't have a taste for womanizers. I did like that though Bennett doesn't have a problem with loving and leaving women, he really does respect women and cherish them in his somewhat shallow way. When London comes into his life, he learns what saying "I love you" truly means. She doesn't force him to change. Instead, his love for her changes his feelings about his life with one woman in it. I liked how courageous Bennett was and his exploits help to make this book incredibly fun and exciting.
The romance between Bennett and London was good, but it's hard to me to get excited about a supposedly dead end/finite relationship in which sex is the main component. With that expectation that nothing would come of their time together except some good sex and companionship, I felt kind of sad for Bennett and London. What I did like was that each time they came together, it got harder for Bennett to hang onto his beliefs about love and forever afters.
I liked the secondary love story between Athena and Kallas. They challenged each other in pivotal ways and forced each other to reevaluate their own preconceived notions.
I like this world of magic where each culture has objects that are vital to them. There are a few 'wow' scenes in this book that I ate up. Let me say that if you are a Greek Mythology geek, you will too.
This book has some interesting things to say about Imperialism, the belief that one nation should forcibly ensure their superiority over others. I can't get behind that, even if I do have my share of patriotism simmering within. I could understand how Bennett and London and some of the other English Blades must have felt.
All in all, a very good book. While Bennett isn't my favorite hero in this series so far, I did like him. He was fun and exciting. He knows how to kick butt and he showed how much he did love London in the end.
Looking forward to the next two books, Rebel and Stranger, particularly my geeky darling, Catullus!...more
It's very true that if you do something well, people will notice. That's how I feel about this book. Zoe Archer did a fine job with Warrior. If I wereIt's very true that if you do something well, people will notice. That's how I feel about this book. Zoe Archer did a fine job with Warrior. If I were to imagine a dream book based on my favorite historical action/adventure movies, with the romance ramped up, then this is a very good example.
Warrior has a couple that I totally loved. Gabriel is a man's man, and I adored him for it. He's not macho and overbearing. Nope. He's just a rough and tumble guy who's spent his life as a soldier, and it's made one heck of a man of him. He worries about his lack of social polish--but his worries are groundless as far as I am concerned, and Thalia too. I adored him. I liked his confidence as a warrior, his ease with dealing with very hostile situations, his deep sense of honor. I liked how he committed himself to protecting Thalia and seeing her fulfill her mission. He was willing to stand up for a cause that didn't even make sense to him. And he showed a remarkable ability to adapt and to react to the very strange situations he found himself in. I loved how he adored Thalia for who she was, and didn't feel the need to change her into the average Englishman's ideal woman. She was his ideal, instead. Gabriel might consider himself rough and unpolished, but he definitely knew how to take care of his woman.
Thalia was an awesome heroine. I liked that she wasn't the typical English rose. She'd been raised in Outer Mongolia, and was a woman of that world. She'd yearned most of her life to take up her father's work with the Blades, and when she got her chance to prove herself, she was determined to do so. Thalia respected Gabriel for who he was, admired his strength, and the innate essence of him. She realized that he was the man she'd been waiting for, but couldn't believe that he'd want her and not a perfect English lady. Seeing their love affair unfurl like a blooming flower was such a pleasure. This book is very steamy, and wildly romantic. A perfect combination. There are many sigh-worthy scenes between Gabriel and Thalia. I was very invested in this couple, and I was cheering for their happy ending together.
On top of the great romance, this is a fantastic historical adventure. I loved the setting and the way that it was as much an integral part of this story as the romance. I think Ms. Archer did a great job of bringing this rollicking, good old-fashioned (in the vein of Indiana Jones and Stephen Sommers' the Mummy movies) story to life. Ms. Archer showed a respect for the Mongolian culture and its people. Before this book ended, it felt so familiar to me, I could have been on the Mongolian steppes myself.
The action and adventure aspects were fantastic. There is a sense of risk throughout this story, right from the beginning. I loved the fact that although Gabriel was a formidable warrior, he was not blood-thirsty. He respected life, but was more than willing to fight and kill for a worthy cause. Conversely, he went out of his way to save others. (Sigh break required) I liked the fact that Thalia could more than defend herself. I loved how things unfolded in the final confrontation in this book. Thalia didn't get shut out of the action, just because she was a woman. In fact, she plays an integral role in fighting the Heirs.
I think that Ms. Archer handled the multi-cultural aspects deftly. There is no preachiness here, but she addresses the imperialistic drives of the British Empire, using it as a backdrop in which there is a struggle between two groups who differ in their attitudes about how the British Empire will succeed. One group, The Heirs, wants to use the magical treasures of various cultures around the world to expand Britain's influence. The Blades of the Rose want to protect the cultural heirlooms and preserve the heritages of the various countries. I loved the fact that there were major players of various ethnicities in this story, and none stereotypically portrayed. I am already enamored of Catullus Graves, who is the intellectual giant of the Blades, constantly inventing nifty instruments to assist them in their endeavors. And the best part is he's black (and very British). I love to see the breaking of cultural stereotypes that portray people of color as intellecutally inferior (when the truth is that people of black heritage have been responsible for many scientific advancements in society although they typically remain unacknowledged for it). I remember talking to Ms. Archer on an Amazon forum about multicultural characters in urban fantasy. She posted about Catullus having a book of his own, and I put this series on my wish list right away, not just for that reason, but because I love historical adventure, especially with fantasy elements. She is my heroine!
The magic was very grand in this novel. There were some very novel elements, and I loved how the magic of the Sources was such an intrinsic, naturalistic force, tied to the people and their lands. It was beautiful. Ms. Archer has a great imagination, and she put it to very good use in this book.
I must say that the praise for this new series is well-earned. I had to think long and hard about what I was going to say in this review, because I hate being repetitive. I want my words to count here. A great book deserves a well-written review. It's the best tribute to an exceptional author and her work. I am a huge fan of Ms. Archer now, and I cannot wait to read more of her books. ...more
I really do not like to give books bad ratings. I feel like an author puts a lot of energy into writing a book, and I should respect them for that. BuI really do not like to give books bad ratings. I feel like an author puts a lot of energy into writing a book, and I should respect them for that. But, there comes a time when I am forced to do what I don't care to do, rate a book poorly. Such was the case with Prophecy of the Sisters. I went into this book with an open mind, and I was curious to see what Ms. Zink could do with the concept of sisters who are on the opposite side of an ancient battle between Heaven and Hell, if you will.
What were my issues with this story?
First of all, I don't feel that much was actually accomplished here. Mainly the situation was discussed, again and again with various people, and it was done in a rather vague fashion. The writing didn't come to life for me. The world-building was too pallid, and I never felt engaged into this story. The Victorian setting was not as vividly fleshed out as I would have liked--there was a generic historical feel to the story, instead of getting a distinct sense of time and place. I think that Ms. Zink did establish a gothic tone, but not to the degree that the sense of unease that should have been evoked was a sustained one. Honestly, for the serious nature of what these two sisters faced, it was very hard for me to actually care. There were only a couple of moments where I felt a sense of urgency and dread.
I didn't feel that the characters were very well-drawn either. Lia seemed a little bit wishy-washy to me. I felt that she had made her choice and was committed, but I didn't see a real sense of urgency or purpose in her. Alice, her sister, had chosen the opposite of Lia, she too seemed detached from the entire situation. I feel that the author wanted the reader to get a sinister vibe from Alice, but she seemed more petulant and skulking than frightening.
It's never a good sign when a reader has to force herself to keep reading, and constantly checks the page count. That's exactly what happened to me here. I was determined to finish this book because I needed it for my A to Z challenge, and not because I was compelled to find out what happened. Sadly, one of the few parts that engaged me filled me with such a sense of rage, I had to restrain my intense desire to fling this book against the wall with all my might. I don't think I could possibly have been more angry at something that occurs in this book, and Lia's lackluster reaction to it. Certainly, I understand the value of picking one's battles, but the manner in which she dealt with her sister's highly heinous actions was inappropriately subdued. I wanted to hate Lia for showing such passiveness and I certainly despised Alice for her cruel, selfish act that she tries to write off as not having had a choice in committing. You always have a choice. Certainly, one of the few redeeming parts of this book is that Lia didn't give in to what was suppposedly her fate, but made a choice to break the cycle, although I wish I saw more action from her from that standpoint.
To sum up, I was highly disappointed in this book. I don't like to say that a book is bad. But, this was certainly not a book I enjoyed or was happy with the reading experience. Instead, I am glad that I got it over with, and I am able to move onto other books which will engage me and enthrall me in the way that such an interesting concept like the one presented in Prophecy of the Sisters should have done, although it failed in the end in doing so. It is my hope that the forthcoming books are able to compensate for this book's shortcomings for other readers. As for myself, I have no desire to continue this series....more