The Hollows was one of the first series I read when I first made the jump into urban fantasy. It’s a flag ship series for me and has literally everything I love about the genre. Shifters, vamps, witches and a slow burn romance books in the making. I have cried with Rachel, laughed with her, rejoiced with her and buried favorite characters with her. Knowing that the series is over fills me with melancholy, because on one hand Ms. Morgan deserves a break, she deserves to be happy and settled, but I am going to miss going on adventures with her. I’ll miss the foul mouth of Jenks, the shifty anti-hero that is Trent, the fierce Ivy (the Ivy from the 1st few books not the annoying emo Ivy we’ve been getting lately) and of course the deliciously demonic Al.
Still, all good things must come to an end and Kim Harrison does a pretty good job of wrapping it up.
I should preface this review by saying that I did not read the end of this book, as the final chapter of the book was cut from the ARC. So, this review is of the book without knowing the actual very end of the story.
The resident vampire master of the hollows wants his soul and he will do anything to get it. Even of it means killing Ivy and forcing Rachel to try and find her friends soul. This storyline has been going on for a few books, but in The Witch with No Name, Rynn Cormel ups the ante. He’s tired of waiting and he wants his soul now!
Due to the vampires forced involvement in Rachel’s life The Witch With No Name hits the ground running and doesn’t stop until the end.
Rachel is a powerful witch/day walking demon. With Trent, her Elf boyfriend beside her, she’s even more powerful. Because he brings his knowledge of wild magic and the history of relationships between the demons and elves into the equation.
Together they figure out a possible solution to getting the vampires their souls back, but that could prove problematic. There is a reason that the soul leaves the body when it becomes the undead. The body might need the soul, but can it withstand the soul? That is the question of the story and it drives a strong message through out. What is a soul? What is it’s purpose and can the soul handle all the evil the undead have done?
The Hollows is once again in uproar. The demons blame the elves, the elves play the vampires against each other and everyone is looking to Rachel to fix it.
Honestly, Rachel Morgan may just be the most exhausted character in literature. People always want these world shattering magic tricks from her without knowing the consequences or the price.
Just about everyone makes an appearance in this book, the good guys and the bad. Her enemies, allies and friends and it was great to see the usual suspects mucking it up one last time. Something should be clear also, Trent is in every scene. Almost, literally. He is entrenched in the story as the new Jenks and Ivy. His devotion to Rachel is really intense. He refuses to leave her side no matter the cost. Which is all good and well, but he has a child and responsibilities. His obsession with Rachel seemed ridiculous, selfish and over the top. I’m not sure how true to his character it was.
But, now here’s my problem with this book, it all seems a bit easy. Rachel spends book after book yelling from the rooftops that she doesn’t know how to capture a soul and affix it to the body. She doesn’t even know how to go about searching for the souls of vampires! She has absolutely no idea where to even start! Then within like 10 pages possible answers all fall into her lap. The answers may not all be out of the blue and even makes sense, but Kim Harrison should have spent more of Ever After and The Undead Pool, setting this up so that I wasn’t so taken aback by how easy it all seemed.
Something that Kim Harrison does really well is ask the question just because you have it, does that mean you should use it? And I kind of want to ask her that question about the finale of this book. Just because you have this cosmic deity, does that mean you should use it?
The final climatic scene happens on a cosmic level and really upset me. I like final books that connect to the first book. Obviously, a series will change and evolve over years and 13 installments, but I wanted the Hollows to return back to it’s roots of being the story of witches, vamps, elves and demons. I wanted it to end in a way where we know things will go back to relative normal. Well, as normal as the Hollows can be, but Harrison brought back the convoluted a bit too big for this one book storyline.
And like I said, Rachel’s final battle isn’t about her skill with the leylines and her spell magic. It’s this up in the stars, power of wills where she simply has to survive or hide or whatever happens in that sort of all over the place battle that ensued.
Then it’s over. Quickly. One of those impromptu actions of one character fixes everything and puts everything in place with literally a half a page, finales.
No, I have not read the final chapter. But the chapter apparently is 10 pages. Which kind of breaks my heart. 10 pages to not only wrap up this book but also wrap up years of story? I don’t have a lot of hope for those final pages.
All in all, this is not my favorite Hallows book, but it’s not the worst. And, let’s face it you have to read it. Just like I’ll be off to read the final ten pages on Tuesday.(less)
Disappointing. Reyes doesn't have much if a personality. Which isn't true! This was just flat. His thoughts didn't reveal anything new about his life...moreDisappointing. Reyes doesn't have much if a personality. Which isn't true! This was just flat. His thoughts didn't reveal anything new about his life or personality. It only made him kind of boring.... I think a novella from his POV could be good if she delved into his psyche and made his obsession with Charley about more than her glow.(less)
I didn't love this one, because 1. Charley is kind of a foot stool letting Reyes get away with everything. 2. We need more focus on Charley's destiny...moreI didn't love this one, because 1. Charley is kind of a foot stool letting Reyes get away with everything. 2. We need more focus on Charley's destiny and less cases. 3. What was the point of the Captain storyline? 4. What is going on with Charley's dad.
This series doesn't need to be 100 books. The author is obviously stretching out.
Still, fun read and I am excited for book 7.(less)
Spoilers: You should be at least up to River Marked in the Mercy Thompson series.
I notoriously dislike short stories, because when I reach the end I always crave more. I am never satisfied with them, but when Patricia Briggs comes out with a collection of short stories that gives me insight into favorite characters and a glimpse into the epic past of her world, I CANNOT resist. Just can’t. I am only going to review the four new shorts, but I want to go on the record and declare very loudly that I would read a complete novel of every single story in this book. Every story has interesting characters, diabolical villains and the ever consistently talented voice of Patricia Briggs. The stories were creepy, sad and even sexy in the case of Alpha & Omega. I really enjoyed this and very happily could have read a lot more.
For a long time it was understood by readers of the Mercedes Thompson series that Samuel Cornick, loved Mercy. They had a broken love affair in her youth and he came to town in order to rekindle that love. When Mercy fell in love with the alpha (and amazing) Adam, it seemed that Samuel the age old werewolf had finally lost enough. Then out of the shadows, a fae woman named Arina stepped into the light as Adam’s true love.
As a long fan of the series I was like, who the hell is this? Arina seemed like a cop out and easy save for the end of a love triangle. All of a sudden Samuel didn’t really love Mercy and he was pining over this fae woman. Silver gives us the back story into the ill-fated love affair between Samuel and Arina. Probably the most depressing installment in the collection, Silver is the story of hurt, and abuse, captaivity, hope and heartbreak. The happy ending comes centuries later and it really gives us a look into what it means to be a werewolf. They are not immortal, but they might as well be, as they are extremely long lived if they could survive the violence of their lifestyle.
My favorite part of Shiver is the much desired look into who Bran is and history. Bran is one of those characters so engimatic and mysterious, that I just want to crawl inside his head and learn his secrets. I don’t understand him, even as I love him and seeing the history of Bran and how he became a werewolf really is the icing on the cake of this collection.
Roses in Winter
Roses in Winter is the story of two fan favorite werewolves. Kara, the youngest known person (well to me) to survive the change into a werewolf and Asil, a werewolf who is so old he feels he’s lived long enough. He is the legendary Moor and he has come to join Bran’s pack, because Asil feels it’s his time to die and only the Marrock is strong enough to take him out. Really, both Asil and Kara are on the edge. Kara, because she is incapable of controlling her wolf and Asil, because he fears that he will lose all control and succumb to the madness that can only arise with age.
Naturally, Bran decides to throw them together. He tells Asil that the old wolf must help the child, because if Kara cannot control her wolf within weeks, Bran will have no choice but to kill her. It’s the law.
Besides, giving us a sweet and action packed story of a old man who thought he was beyond caring, love a child who needs all the caring she can get, Roses in Winter gives us another look at the brutality of the pack. Sometimes, with Adam being so dreamy and Charles being so protective and the Vampires being so crazy, it’s easy to forget how incredibly brutal and violent the werewolves are. Here is this kid, who was brutally attacked and turned into a werewolf. She does the impossible and survives the change and grown ups are calling for her death just, because that’s the way things are.
It’s really frustrating an rage inducing, but Patricia Briggs is a master of giving us a well rounded and entertaining story that stays within the realm of the world she’s built. It was short, but it left me at the edge of my seat and it was sweet.
I love Ben, which is why Redemption is the most disappointing story in the collection. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it. But, when I heard that women hating, foul mouthed, can’t help but be a hero, Ben, was getting a story I was threw the roof! When I interviewed Ms. Briggs on my blog, the one thing I begged her for was more info on Asil, Bran and Ben. When she mentioned this collection, I thought that the heaven’s had opened up to give me my biggest wish. My problem with Redepemption is that as fun as it is, I don’t really know that much more about Ben. A lot of his back story has been hinted about through out the series and I got it. I put 2 and 2 together and unerstood all that he has survived and faced.
I expected to get more than confirmation of my assumptions. I expected a new and unique look at this character who understood Mercy so beautifully after her attack.
Still, it was funny and getting a glimpse of Mercy through Ben’s eyes was a lot of fun. It was also fun to see him be a hero in a realm that was completely outside of the pack. We see Ben in the human world and as you can guess, he absolutely hates it.
Can there be a Mercy Thompson universe story collection without a Mercy Thompson story? I think not!
Hollow is a short version of everything I expect from a Mercy book. Our favorite Cayote shifter, stumbles into a paranormal situation that is over her head and that she didn’t ask for. There’s supernatural bad guys, a mystery, comedic moments, danger and of course, Adam coming in at exactly the right moment. It really was the cherry on top.
I really enjoyed this anthology and wish I had some kind of power over time so that I could gift Ms. Briggs with the time to expand every single pone of these stories.
I highly recommend this for Mercy fans it will hold us over until Dead Head (Alpha & Omega #4) and the yet to be titled Mercy #9
Liked this one a lot. Reyes kind of has creepy stalker thing going on, but I think that these two can be an exception considering how their lives are...moreLiked this one a lot. Reyes kind of has creepy stalker thing going on, but I think that these two can be an exception considering how their lives are weirdly entwined. It's all very creepy, but fascinating.
I find the "comedy" aspect and Charley's one liners to be corny as hell.
Fun read. Really helping with my book burnout. I needed some supernatural adult fun. Been reading too much YA.(less)
I love Urban Fantasy. Growing up fantasy always happened on faery rings, in Neverland and on the grounds of Hogwarts. I love Urban Fantasy, because I’m from New York and I like seeing my Urban world infused with magic. In fact, that is exactly what Jaye Wells has done with her new series. She infused the nitty gritty of crime, gangs and police investigations with magic.
There’s no more crack, weed, crystal or illegal prescription drugs, in the world of DIRTY MAGIC, people use potions for pain reduction, weight loss and high as a kite highs. It’s actually a really great idea. Instead of selling hard drugs, a life of crime is based off of how strong your potion is and not how good you can cook that blue crystal. Imagine Walter White as a Wizard. That’s Kate Prospero’s world.
Kate’s a simple beat cop with a dirty past. She walks the streets looking for petty crimes and small misdemeanors. On a normal night, on a normal shift, Kate runs into the abnormal. A man so high on potions he has transformed into a creature with a taste for blood. Kate’s altercation with the supped up druggie grabs her the attention of the MEA (Magical Enforcement Agency) and has a her put on a case that brings her dirty past back. Kate comes from a coven family. Her mother was a magical sex worker and her uncle, a wizard king pin. After heartbreaking events that surrounded to her mom’s death and her uncles imprisonment, Kate took her baby brother from that world. She stopped cooking potions and became a cop. Now, her old contacts, enemies and ex-lovers are all suspects behind the new potion Grey Wolf that turns the average human into wolf like murderers.
After ten years of banning magic and treating potions like the plague, Kate is thrown back into the deep end. When her case gets a little bit too close to home, she must decide whether or not she has the ability to use magic without getting addicted to the power.
It took me a bit to get into it, but half way through I just couldn’t put it down. This book is fun, because it seems so real. It’s “Law and Order,” “Bones” and “Fringe” with magic instead of technology and science. The lingo is similar, the criminals just as bad, but instead of violent sociopaths, you have magical mercenaries.
DIRTY Magic is filled with twists, turns, action sequences, frustrating events and heartbreaking collateral damage. Kate is dealing with trouble from all sides. Her kid brother wants to learn magic, because he can’t remember the events that lead to their magic-less existence. Kate’s put on a task force where she is unknown and disrespected. The ex-boyfriend who she left years ago, not because she didn’t love him, but because she had to get out of the life. It’s all thrown in and reading has Kate stumbles through it all is real entertaining. She’s a great heroine. Tough, but vulnerable. BAMF, but not an ice queen. Just the right combination to make her likable and admirable all at once.
This book was good. I am excited to see where the author takes her characters in the next installment that comes out later this year.
Recommended for readers of Urban Fantasy and fans of Kim Harrison, Ilona Andrews and Patricia Briggs. (less)
Rachel Morgan is at it again! Or, in it again would be more accurate. There’s strange magic at play in the Hollows that is causing magic, spells to backfire and supernaturals to act extremely strangely. The Master Vamps are asleep, the Elf’s are in a religious crisis and our favorite witch turned day-walking demon is in the midst of it all, because the same magic that is being pulled through Cincinnati is coming from Rachel’s personal ley-line.
THE UNDEAD POOL is the best Hollows book we have had in awhile and is without a doubt one of my favorites in the series. It is action packed, funny, filled with those fantasy elements that we all love and to top it off it is romantic. It’s truly amazing how Kim Harrison has been able to keep this series, entertaining and fun for a decade. Usually, I’ve given up by book 12, but not THE HOLLOWS. Never the Hollows, because Kim Harrison keeps me coming back and emotionally entrenched in her characters and in the story.
The story and action in this installment packs a powerful punch, as always. I couldn’t put it down. I had to know who was behind the magic, what it had to do with Rachel’s ley-line. In the midst of all that we get to see how the wild magic effects the vampires, the witches an the shifters. More excitingly, there’s new lore connected to the Elves that we’ve always got a glimpse of, but we finally get to really experience. In THE UNDEAD POOL, we really get to see into Trent’s world. What he’s trying to save and ultimately what he is trying to fight against.
From the moment the cover was revealed fans of the series have been in a tizzy. Why? Trent was on the cover. I picked up the novel with frightful anticipation. After ten years of being enemies then friends, then enemies and friends, it was finally here! Finally, Trent and Rachel were going to be a thing. This could either go one way. This new couple could either destroy the series or make it all the more interesting.
I don’t want to give anything away, but I really want to address the people who have doubts about reading this book, because of rumors or a dislike of Trent. This is not a paranormal romance! This book is as Urban Fantasy as ever. Filled with magic, adventure, fighting and snarky inappropriate comments from one sassy pixy.
I’m going to try my best to write a serious review with a minimum amount of gushing, but it will be hard, because I absolutely loved this book.
It was just every single thing I love about urban fantasy. Action packed with magic and magical creatures. It was funny and sad and filled with romance. A roller coaster of emotions that took me on a wild ride, so, yes I am going to attempt not to gush, but guys it’s going to be hard.
Kate Daniels is an investigator by day, consort to the Beast Lord by night and magic user extraordinaire at every other available moment, at least she’s trying to be. Her merc status is in jeopardy as her company Cutting Edge is struggling, the pack is always in constant drama and her magic doesn’t seem to be progressing as quickly as she would like. Add to that the knowledge that her father undoubtedly knows of her existence and you have one stressed out Beast Lady.
Magic Breaks begins very much business as usual. Kate is on yet another ridiculous mission, and the pack has yet another problem that needs Curran’s attention. I have to say that the entire set up of the beginning worried me. First, there’s a letter from the authors promising that this is not the end of the story(like whoa why did we need that stress), then a trope is used that I very much hate, because it separates me from beloved characters…
But, then it happens. In the middle of the conclave between the Pack and the People, all hell breaks loose. Literally, the character that I would akin to the devil walks in and brings hell with him! Then the plot does not stop. I would call this probably the most action packed of the entire series. It just doesn’t stop or slow down. Our heroes are in constant danger and battle. They face impossible odds and still somehow keep swinging.
Exhilarating. Magic Breaks is exhilarating.
Kate Daniels is a series which means the authors are taking us on a journey. One of the things that this novel does beautifully is remind us how far Kate has come on the journey. Not, just magically or in her relationships, but also emotionally. Kate, the character has fought for her life, killed, sacrificed, loved and lost. She is not the same character we met in Magic Bites. She is braver, stronger, more skilled and she has a lot more to loose.
Lots of names from the past, enemies from prior books and even locations are visited from earlier installments. We are reminded how and why she met Curran, her Merc past with Jim and even easier days with Derek. These blasts from the past are important to the journey and makes the way that she needs Curran even more beautiful.
I love Kate and Curran’s relationship. Sure, all the getting together, cook for me in your underwear stuff was hilarious and fun, but them as a couple have a certain kind of magic. I don’t give a damn what happened in Magic Rises, Kate and Curran are the bees knees and I love them together. I love that they understand each other’s violence. I love that they don’t shy from a fight and that they don’t back down. I love that they both know that the other would tear the world apart in search of them. I love their unwavering faith and loyalty to each other that they have in this installment. It was hard won and even harder fought, but they have reached a place of absolute trust that is startlingly beautiful.
I also love that no matter how badass Kate is, she needs him. I love that it doesn’t weaken her or push any kind of anti-feminist ideal, because we all need someone and also, Curran needs her, too.
They are so fantastic together and honestly if after this installment you refuse to forgive him for Magic Rises…then I shall simply ignore you and assume you are fool. (Yup, I said it) I love this book. I love it and I love Kate and Curran.
Besides the action and the drama, you will also get to know Ghastek better which is fun. We also spend a roller coaster ride with the alphas of clan rat, which is great because we know literally nothing about clan rat. We get to see magic work in new and wondrous ways and we get to really glimpse into the magical world outside of the norm. Basically, we get to see the world Kate has been preparing to face.
Every single fan of this series has been waiting for the moment where Kate looks into the face of her father, the all powerful Roland. Don’t you worry, I won’t tell you the hows, where’s or why’s. What I will say is that I was not disappointed. In fact, I truly commend Ilona Andrews for the work they did in building up to Roland over the entire series and somehow making him everything one would expect and yet so much more.
Kate Daniels has been training her entire life in order to kill her father. Roland is so powerful he has been considered a god and he is the force behind the People, aka the humans who pilot vampires like they are vehicles. The question has always been…is she powerful enough to defeat him?We get the answer in Magic Breaks and it is as terrifying as it is interesting. I am obsessed with getting my hands on the next book, because really the conclusion of this book is brilliant.
It sets up everything that we love about the series and yet it’s a whole new world. I am always apprehensive when a series goes beyond five books. It always stretches the story and is filled with fillers. In order to prevent that, Ilona Andrews blew the Kate Daniels world as we know it, wide open.
It honestly astounds me that the authors that are Ilona Andrews can pack so much intensity into a book and still have time for humor. Honestly, I am stunned. I was emotional. Heartbroken, stressed, fearful and on the edge of my seat…and still, I laughed. Or smiled. This one book encompasses why I love fantasy. You get transported into a world beyond your greatest dreams and yet you get to feel every single human emotional, possible.
I want more. I want it all. And I want it now.
I highly recommend this book and I scream from the rooftops that you should be reading the Kate Daniels series. (I readily admit that I am not a fan of book 1, but the rest of the series is gold…noo! Platinum!)(less)
There is nothing really wrong with this book, it’s just boring. Boring, because it’s more of the same. The City of Chicago are still bullies, Merit and gang stumble upon yet another magical mystery that only they can solve and nothing much else happens. Lots of series have formulas and monster of the week type formats, but in my opinion Chicagoland suffers for it. There just isn’t much holding me to the series beyond the fact that I love Ethan Sullivan, but even he fell flat for me in WILD THINGS.
We finally learn the meaning behind Gabriel’s infamous prophecy and I kind of guessed it years ago. But! But after years of reading this series, the prophecy seems illogical and against the lore Chloe Neill has spent years setting up. More, Merit has been taken from normal girl to Ms. chosen one, special, first of her kind, McAwesome. Completely against the premise that a grad student becomes a vampire. All of a sudden she’s something more, which isn’t what I signed up for. I’m kind of tired of the “chosen one” angle, no matter how simple or intimate the anomaly is.
Then there is the mystery. I have often felt that Merit and team were weak detectives, and they are, but for some reason the characters in this particular installment seem to think that they are getting better or accomplishing feats, when really they are just bumbling around in the dark. They stumble across leads without any real deductions or investigative prowess. Everything is solved with a single phrase or action. Too easily wrapped up with not enough tension or resolution. In fact, I could care less about the villain.
The ending was intriguing and I’ll no doubt read the next book without such high hopes, but interest non the less.
I am really disappointed and underwhelmed by this book,
Recommended for fans of the Chicagoland Vampires series.
A powerful goddess has stolen Jessica McClain’s mate and she is going to get him back. She is a brand new werewolf, the only female wolf in existence and she is still new to her powers, but that is not going to stop her. Armed with two familiar werewolves, two foreign vamps and one crotchety human, Jessica sets out to seek revenge and get back her man. Along the way they encounter underworld creatures they never knew existed and discover that Jessica’s powers are far more potent than they ever imagined.
In many ways “Hot Blooded,” the second book in the Jessica McClain series, is better than its predecessor. Jessica is learning more about her abilities and her place in the great circle of supernatural life. The characters have definitely grown on me and I did feel a strong desire to see them take down their enemies. I am not in love with any characters or this series, but the world is so interesting I couldn’t put the book down.
“Hot Blooded,” is an Urban Fantasy novel rolled into a rode trip story rolled into an adventure. Most of it takes place away from the pack and away from home. While there is progress in the story, “Hot Blooded” still feels like an intro book. There is still so much we don’t know. The true villain or goal of the series is still unknown. So far it is still talk about prophecies and everyone in the supernatural world is freaking out. Besides a few glimpses into Jessica’s power, I still don’t know anything that I didn’t know at the end of “Full Blooded.”
The great thing about the Jessica McClain series, so far, is Carlson’s world building skills. The supernatural sects are rooted in the lore that every fan of fantasy already knows. Wolves run in packs, vampires sleep at night and demons belong to a different world entirely. Ms. Carlson has done a great job of taking those norms and breathing new life into them. I enjoyed reading of Jessica’s strange anomalies, the telepathic powers that ran between Jess and her twin and the strength of a goddess who has sold part of her soul for more power. As a fan of the other, these aspects were fascinating to me.
My biggest issue with this novel is the lack of Rourke. Due to the fact that the whole story is about getting him back from the insane goddess, I knew to expect his absence. I guess the old term “absence makes the heart grow fonder” really applies here, because I wanted more of him. I am really interested to see Rourke and Jessica together. Working together, dating and whatever else is to come. I am just interested to know more about Rourke. Like what kind of cat he is, why he chose the life of a mercenary and how does he feel about being mated to a one of a kind werewolf who will always be in danger.
I am still not 100% into this series. I like it, but it seems to be lacking the kind of emotional connection that I look for in a series. With a series I love, I feel like I fall into the book and am pulled into the story like a participant. I still feel like an observer.
Recommended for readers of Urban Fantasy and fans of Kitty Norville & Mercy Thompson. (less)
From the moment Maya Delaney discovered that she could shift into a cougar, her life has not been the same. Two powerful Cabals are chasing her, she’s been officially declared dead and one by one the members of her small runaway gang have been taken. Maya and her friends, Daniel and Corey, are at the end of their rope. They are out of ideas and in even more danger every day that passes. Using the number of the one person who may be able to help them seems to be a dead end, but leads to even more adventures. We’re introduced to new characters, catch up with missing friends and the Darkness Rising group finally meets up with the runaways from Darkest Powers.
I am sure a lot of people will find the story to be repetitive. It is very similar in structure to “The Gathering” and “The Calling.” Maya and friends are on the run, they escape, all looks dreary and then there is a stroke of good luck. I don’t want to give anyone the impression that I rated this book five stars, because it’s the best book I have ever read or because I will be rereading it over and over. It wasn’t and I probably wont. This is a five star review, because this book was an absolute joy to read. I have been in a reading slump. Everything has frustrated me, offended or annoyed me. Or it just didn’t do much for me, but keep the smallest bit of my attention. With “The Rising,” I had an absolute blast.
“The Rising,” is without a doubt one of the most entertaining books I have read all year. I have read so many ok or plain mediocre books lately; I almost forgot what it is like to truly enjoy a book. This book pulled it all out of me. Fear, happiness, sadness, indignation, anticipation, rage and finally satisfaction, it is all in there.
I didn’t cry. Anyone who knows me knows that tears are usually my measure for a truly great series end. If I have been with characters through multiple books, movies or seasons, I want to be sobbing when I see how things work out for them in the end. It seems that I must add smiling to my measuring stick. I smiled so much during this book. I smiled at the comedic moments. I smiled when a character surprised me, when beloved characters reemerged and in sweet satisfaction of revenge. Most importantly the ending made me grin from ear to ear.
One of my favorite things about the “Darkness Rising” series is Maya’s relationship to the other characters. All of Maya’s relationships are layered and complicated. There is as much love as there is frustration and secrets. Maya is a character who loves few people, but when she loves them she is loyal and devoted. Which is what makes her separation from her parents so heartbreaking and makes you root for these kids even more. Even her interactions with long lost family members that she barely knows is so interesting and gives the story so much heart. Then there is the romance.
From the first moment Maya kissed Rafe it was pretty clear that she stumbled into a love triangle. Clear to everyone, but Maya who was blind to the fact that her best friend Daniel was in love with her. It has been interesting seeing these two guys maneuver crisis after crisis knowing that they are into the same girl. That’s one of the things I like about the series. That while these characters are kids and they have a level of immaturity, they are very adult about other aspects. For the most part everyone puts their feelings aside to deal with the crisis on hand. Which adds to the tension, because you know it’s going to explode eventually, but also made me respect the characters. A lot of YA characters don’t know how to prioritize and it can sometimes be annoying reading romance angst in the middle of a crisis. I will say that in “The Rising” Maya’s eyes are finally opened and it adds a new layer to the series that I truly enjoyed.
It was great to see things come to a conclusion for not only the “Darkness Rising” kids, but also the original group from “Darkest Powers.” The ending is not perfect. These kids will never have the white picket fence with the dog, but I was still very satisfied. I had no idea how Armstrong could solve this, but she does and it’s a joy to read.
Recommended for fans of the series, readers of YA paranormal/science fiction and anyone who likes a good adventure.
Stay tuned tomorrow for my interview with Patricia Briggs! :-)
Mercy Thompson is one of the best Urban Fantasy series around. Maybe the best of its kind. While other series start out good and promising they then fall and buckle under the weight of extended contracts, and trying to stretch a story that was originally a trilogy into five or more books. Not so Mercy Thompson. Patricia Briggs has consistently released installments that are engrossing and maintain a level of stable entertainment that few can boast of. NIGHT BROKEN is another action packed, fantasy driven installment in what is without a doubt my favorite series barring Harry Potter.
Mercy Thompson has gotten her man. The good looking and loyal pack Alpha Adam Hauptman is her husband and their bond is as stable as ever. So, when his ex-wife needs a place to hide out from a stalker ex-boyfriend, Mercy magnanimously offers the woman a place to stay. This opens a can of worms, because while she left him Christy still believes she has full rights and ownership to Mercy’s husband. Adding insult to injury, the pack who are not big fans of Mercy as Adam’s mate…love his ex.
Besides a manipulative ex and her stalker, Mercy is pulled into an investigation of brutal murders that the authorities believe are the crimes of werewolves. It’s pretty amazing how innocently Mercy stumbles into trouble. Trouble finds her. In eight books, I cannot think of a single mishap that she purposely brought on. People are just drawn to the mischievous coyote in her veins.
NIGHT BROKEN is pure unadulterated entertainment. It encompasses everything I love in Urban Fantasy. Sassy heroine, super hot hero, action, drama, interesting villain, great side characters and of course fantasy. The fantasy in NIGHT BROKEN takes an interesting turn. After eight books, Ms. Briggs evolves her mythology. We’re getting more than the usual vamps, werewolves, Fae and occasional coyote lore. It’s brand new and it is big.
At moments in this book it is really difficult to decide who Mercy can and cannot trust. She’s surrounded by haters at every turn. There’s the manipulative Christy, who is a lot more interesting than I thought she would be. Honestly, any woman who can manipulate people who know they are being manipulated, is a well written antagonist. Then there is the pack. For several books it has been clear that the pack is not 100% on board with letting a coyote into a world of wolves. They have been against Mercy at every turn and with the added memory of the human and domesticated, Christy, Mercy really has to watch her back to make sure she is not stabbed in it.
Add to that the ever present Fae threats. For quite sometime Mercy has been in possession of an ancient Fae artifact and now that the Fae have locked themselves away in their mound, they want it back. Mercy is all too willing to return it, but the pesky walking stick has a mind of its own and always returns to Mercy. Its connection to Mercy is forever saving her life and putting her in danger.
Now to the murder investigation, it is gruesome. It’s the kind of thing that you can just see in your mind and know that if you were standing next to Mercy your stomach would roil. The hunt for the killer is really fascinating and it’s interesting to see all these different story lines connect, because while this story is broad, it is a small world, after-all.
This book is a funny, smart, romantic and action packed thrill ride! I laughed, I cried, raged and rejoiced. The ending is wrapped up and yet opens the series to new possibilities and Mercy to new struggles. I am excited for book 9. Another great installment to the Mercy Thompson series. Oh, and Adam is still my FAVORITE guy! :0
Recommended for fans of the Mercy Thompson series. If you have not started this series yet, I honestly have nothing to say to you, because how many times can I say this series is amazing?!
*ARC Provided by ACE Hardcover an imprint of Penguin. Release Date: March.11,2014 (TUESDAY!)(less)
I am a huge fan of Kelley Armstrong’s “Darkest Powers” series. When I heard about this new series that would eventually interact with the “Darkest Powers” characters, I was like sign me up!
Maya lives in a small town of a few hundred people, where everyone knows everyone else and a stranger coming to town means that the mayor, sheriff and chief research doctor in town get a phone call. This town is probably the most claustrophobic and a bit creepy town I have heard of. It is surrounded by woods, wild animals and doesn’t have any kind of entertainment. When a strange reporter shows up and begins asking questions, Maya starts asking questions of her own. About her town, about the medications they keep giving her and what the paw print mark she was born with really means. These questions leads to an action packed, intense and explosive climax that changes the very fabric of Maya’s life.
“The Gathering” is what I like to call a slow burn. A slow burn book is the kind of story that slowly escalates. It starts calm, but by the last page it’s on fire. Now, don’t confuse my use of the word ‘slow’ to mean boring. This book is never boring. I love that we were given a chance to really meet the characters before the conflict starts. We’re also allowed to get to know the world that Maya lives in and it allows us to feel dread. This town is too perfect. There is just too much convenience and it is too well set up that alarm bells go off in my head.
Then there are the characters. There seems to be something a little off about all the teenagers who live in this small town. Everyone has a certain amount of athletic skill and then there is the individual issues/skills. Maya’s affinity for animals, Daniel’s instincts and Sam’s violence all made me wonder what the deal is with this town. Is it supernatural? Scientific experiments? Aliens?
I found the character dynamics interesting. Especially, the way the author uses those dynamics to reveal secrets and plot points. Maya has a very unique relationship to the people in her town. She is popular, but it doesn’t faze her, because what is popular in a class of 20 kids? She has influence. If Maya says someone is innocent then everyone believes it. She is best friends with the school’s most popular boy and has gained the attention of the town’s resident bad boy. It’s really interesting the way that her unique position puts her in an ideal spot to learn new information, have bad things happen to her and be the center of our story. Add to that Maya’s dry wit and sarcasm and you get one interesting heroine.
I liked Maya a lot. Maya is strong, she stands up for herself, doesn’t let her hardships bring her down and sees past swagger and pick up lines. Which is why the few times that Maya does revert into average heroine, it annoyed me. There were moments when her miscommunication with characters and her self doubt kind of annoyed me. Part of drama in relationships is when the two characters misunderstand, miscommunicate and misrepresent themselves in some way. Sometimes Maya completely missed the point when someone was interested or when she hurt someone which made them react in a negative way. I wanted to slap her and scream ‘smarten up!’ Luckily, these moments happen so infrequently that my annoyance comes from my own personal pickiness and probably wont bother most people.
My biggest issue with this book is that at the end of it, we still do not have an idea about what’s going on. I have a lot more questions by the final page than I did at the first. Those questions have me immediately opening book 2 in the series, which I guess, is the point. Still, I would like to have understood exactly what was happening. Who is the bad guy? What is the St. Cloud family hiding? Are the kids actually skilled or is it just a coincidence? Are all the kids skilled or just a few? Are the skills some kind of natural talent or is it scientific? More importantly how do these kids connect to Chloe and her friends in the Darkest Powers series?
I don’t have answers to these questions, but Kelley Armstrong’s writing is so good that instead of being annoyed, I’m just like next book please!
Recommended for fans of the Darkest Powers series, fans of Urban Fantasy YA and anyone looking for an interesting series to pick up.
This book is beautiful and terrible and heartbreaking. I cried so much through out. I stayed up all night to read it and it was perfect. And when you...moreThis book is beautiful and terrible and heartbreaking. I cried so much through out. I stayed up all night to read it and it was perfect. And when you realize how important the title of this book is you will just die.
In the final installment of “With All My Soul,” Kaylee is facing the greatest challenge of her life and her very soul is in the balance. Avari and his hellion counterparts have taken almost everything from Kaylee. Her childhood has been ruined, she has buried her friends and has lost her life. Twice. Now she is on her third chance at surviving and she is not going to give it up. She is also freaking angry. She is angry that due to Avari’s obsession with her, she has been in danger and she has put the people she loves in even more danger. She has had enough and together with her undead boyfriend Tod and their friends, Kaylee has a plan to free herself from the hellions forever. Unfortunately, Avarice is one greedy hellion and before they can get their plan off the ground, Avari unleashes an evil plan of his own.
From page one of this book, I was heartbroken. With all my excitement to read this book, I forgot about the devastating finale of “Before I Wake.” Kaylee and her friends have suffered so much. They have died, been resurrected and just barley survived. The opening of this book reminded me that surviving can be extremely difficult and sometimes impossible to get over.
It starts at a funeral and is filled with emotions and tears. For me, the tears did not stop there. Of all the young adult fantasy/paranormal novels I have read, Kaylee has suffered the most. In “With All My Soul,” we experience some of the guilt and shame that her survival has brought her. She lives and is happy with Tod, but others were not so lucky. Even though it isn’t her fault and no one really blames her, Kaylee cannot help but feel guilt at how life has turned out. Everyone from her mother to her best friend Emma has suffered due to their connection to Kaylee. If there isn’t a rogue reaper after her soul, there is an Incubus teacher or even worse a Hellion is after it. That’s a lot for an 18 year old girl to take. That guilt leads her to make some reckless, dangerous and life changing choices. Kaylee makes huge sacrifices all in the name of saving the people she loves.
What has always made the “Soul Screamers” series stand out to other YA fiction is the fact that the parents are active in the danger. Usually, parents have disappeared, are clueless or are lacking the skills needed to be of any real help. Kaylee, Tod, Nash and Sophie have always had their parents. Not this time. Due to a series of unfortunate events the kids are truly alone. This causes strife within the group as everyone struggles with their own feelings of weakness and uselessness in the wake of tragedy. Everyone wants to help, but it is too dangerous and it seems unlikely that everyone can be the hero.
This is where readers of the book will separate and argue in their opinion. Kaylee takes a lot of the responsibility on herself. She foolishly opens the door to danger and places herself in situations where she could be hurt and her friends wouldn’t know. This of course upsets team good. Then there are the times where her sacrifices are so vast, amazing and selfless. Some will call her self-righteous or a martyr. And, they would be correct, but under the circumstances I don’t see how any of this could be helped. When it is all said and done everyone is in danger, because of their connection to her. Of course she wants to be the one to take all the risks. Of course she wants to prevent anyone else from hurting, just because they are close to her.
I cannot end this review without talking about my favorite thing in this series, Tod. For a long time Tod was the saving grace of these books. Just when my frustration with Kaylee, Nash, Sabine, etc would rise Tod would swoop in and say or do the right thing to bring me right back into the story. When the series began, Tod was an interesting outsider. With every book, Rachel Vincent brilliantly built him into an absolutely fantastic YA hero. In a world filled with borderline abusive males, psychotically possessive boyfriends and vampires who have to fight the urge to drink their girlfriend’s blood, there is Tod. A shining beacon. Tod is not perfect. He has done awful things, but his heart is always in the right place. He will do anything, face anything and give anything to protect the people he loves. Even if what he must give his own life. At the end of the day, the person I wanted to have a HEA most was Tod.
This book is jammed! Jammed pack with action, intrigue, romance and all manner of emotions. Everything you have been waiting for happens. Characters you thought you hated turn out to be heroes who step up at the right moment. Secrets are revealed, sins are forgiving and everyone is closer than ever. That of course is when all hell breaks lose and one of the most traumatic climaxes of my book geek heart transpires. I had tears in my eyes on page one and constantly throughout. Soooo much has happened to these kids and their families and the events in this book felt like salt in the wound. I am sorry to see the series end, but happy all the same. I am happy, because I cannot possibly stand anything else happening to these people.
A fantastic ending to an entertaining series. A must read.
Originally Posted at my link text">Confessions of an Opinionated Book Geek
Larissa Ione is without a doubt one of the most talented paranormal roma...more Originally Posted at my link text">Confessions of an Opinionated Book Geek
Larissa Ione is without a doubt one of the most talented paranormal romance writers with the most unique ideas and interesting characters. But, here’s the thing about BOUND BY NIGHT, I didn’t buy it. I didn’t buy character motivations, I didn’t buy the plot twists and I most definitely did not buy the love story.
For some reason I am surrounded by stories of slavery and forced servitude. I saw “12 Years A Slave” twice, I’m watching “Spartacus” on Starz and it’s even happening on “Breaking Bad.” The writing in each title varies, but one thing that comes across loud and clear is the inhumanity of slavery. The absolute barbarism of taking away rights and civil liberties of another person.
I think the notion that romantic affection transcends emotional pain is ridiculous. It happens all the time. Two people fall in love and it’s as if everything in their life falls away. In real life, it takes years of therapy, maybe some medication and the desire to move on. You have to heal and change for yourself, not for other people. With that in mind, I could not believe the journey these characters take. It seems impossible to me that two people, who have suffered so completely at each others hand, could find love in each other. Not unless it was the unhealthy, brainwash or violent hate filled love.
I could not believe that with all of Nicole’s knowledge, her education and expertise, that she couldn’t understand Vampires hatred of humans. I understand that it must be horrifying to watch vampires kill the ones you love, but the idea that in her 28 years of living she never got that its the hate that hate begot is preposterous. She spends so much time stunned to see how normally free vampires live, shocked to discover that they had lives before slavery and she supposedly evolves in 24 hrs after years of hating vamps.
Then there is Riker. Riker suffered at the hands of Nicole’s family. How am I ever supposed to believe that after one day his opinions about her could change. Listen, anything is possible. It is possible that a slave could have fallen in love with their slaver. It is possible that perhaps you could see the heart of someone and change your mind, but not so quickly.
Riker is someone whose life is often on the line. I cannot imagine that a human saving his life could so quickly soften him. Especially not when the human made him sick in the first place! This book isn’t set up like a Stockholm syndrome story. No it’s a “Pride & Prejudice” misconception story and it just doesn’t work for me!
It’s all cheap tricks. “Riker is really sad, cuz he loved someone once so now I am attracted to him.” “Oh, Nicole nursed me back to health instead of abandoning me so now she’s sexy.” There is no depth to this relationship. There is no meat, just smoke screens and mirrors.
I expect more from the woman who made me forgive Pestilence in The Lords of Deliverance series. Who made me love the long lost Demonica siblings and made me believe that even a demon’s heart can beat for his children.
This is a formulaic book, with characters cut from the image of characters from other books. Not Ione’s best work, not at all.
Recommended for readers of and fans of Larissa Ione.
*Review copy provided by Pocket Books and Edelweiss(less)
I have been a fan of Lara Adrian’s Breed series for several years now. I like the series, but the Order has always felt like an imitation of JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series. The biggest issue I have with the Breed series is that it drags on. I assume that is due to the success of the series, her contract was extended, but it seems to me that Adrian might be ready to start writing something new.
Sterling Chase aka Harvard has been the saving grace of this series. His transformation from government man to member of the order to addict, has been interesting. After the events in “Darker Than Midnight, “ I was so excited to start this book, but it has taken me months to complete it.
The beginning, though action packed, felt slow. It just seemed more of the same. Supernatural guy does insane things, kidnaps a human woman who thinks he’s insane. That’s not new to this series or paranormal books. Then the reveal; the human Tavia is not what she seems and more is going on here.
I appreciate Adrian’s attempt to revitalize the series and give us new twists and turns in her Breed lore, but I don’t buy it. After centuries they are just realizing something is strange with the Breed mates? I have always wondered why this small crop of women just happen to have the right genetics to bond with breed males. The author gives us this new conspiracy and we’re just supposed to go “Oh my god! Brilliant! I never suspected.” No. It just seems like something Lara Adrian just created in an attempt to revamp the series.
The romance between Chase and Tavia is sweet, but generic. What makes it readable is that after so many books I wanted Chase to be happy. He has lost so much, fought his bloodlust for so long and ostracized his brethren. He deserved not only a break, but a happy ending. I am pleased that he finally got one.
I have to admit, the last 30 or so pages of this book riveted me. I t was action packed and brought the first half of the series to a satisfying end. My issue is that after years and many books about this war it seemed to end too easily. Really? That’s all it took? No, no. I expected more, but I am excited it came to a conclusion.
This book ends with the start of a whole new world and I am actually pretty excited to read about Mira, Kellan and Nathan as adults. These kids have survived a lot and it will be great to see what they become under the tutelage of the Order and in this whole new world.
Recommended for fans of the Midnight Breed and Blackdagger Brotherhood series and fans of paranormal romance. (less)
After the events of “Deadly Descendant,” Nikki Glass is hiding. Not from her enemies, the Olympians, but from her boss Anderson. Nikki knows that Anderson will want her to use her Liberi skills up help him find and kill his enemy and so she is doing her best to avoid him. Avoidance leads her into taking a virtually unsolvable case. Heather is searching for someone, but the only information she has is his first name, where she met him and a description. Not nearly enough for a normal PI, but luckily Nikki is a descendant of and can locate almost anyone.
I picked up this novella, because I love Nikki Glass. The third book comes out in April and I am literally chomping at the bit to have it in my hands! When I saw that the publisher was offering up for review I immediately pounced. I needed my Nikki fix and I needed it now!
Here’s thing thing about being a fan of a series. It is not just the Heroine or hero that keeps you coming back book after book. It is also their love interest and their best friend. It’s their super smart hacker co-worker and the guy they sit next to at the office who fills pages with witty banter. That is what is missing from pros and cons and it is also the main reason I usually like to skip novellas and short stories. I was already half way through the book when I began to seriously miss Anderson, Maggie, and Jamaal. The book has Nikki being her normal PI skills, but it is missing the relationships that keep the series together.
Needless to say, I did not get my Nikki Fix. The novella is enjoyable, is easy to read and is really smart with lots of twists, but it missed elements that I crave from the series. Jack does show up in the last third of the book with his usual humor and mischief, which I really enjoyed.
“Pros and Cons” is one of the most aptly named books I have ever read. When the secrets of the story are revealed I literally thought OF COURSE! It is such an innocent play on words and Jenna Black does a great job of making her story live up to its title.
It is a short book, but it is filled with intrigue, mystery and an investigation you’ll be trying to solve in your head. “Pros and Cons” ends with an action pack, but ridiculous action scene it will have you shaking your head in bemused amusement.
The important thing is that it reminded me that I really love this series and filled me with even more excitement!
Recommended for fans of the Nikki Glass series and anyone who likes a quick test before committing to a novel/series. This book has enough of a hint without revealing major plot points from the series.
I loved the first two books in this series. I ignored the easy to spot plot points. I ignored the romantic dialogue that some times came off cheesy. I ignored the fact that the main romantic storyline was cliché. I ignored it, because it really did not bother me. I took the books for what they were, quick and enjoyable reads.
Unfortunately, the main actin of Dark Frost is so ridiculous and implausible that I just cannot let it slide. This huge event happens and this academy filled with students and teachers, miss it. It just happens right under their noses with not a single witness or ally for Gwen. In fact, there are two events in this book that happen and it’s astounding that no one was around to give assistance. At the start of this book it is clear that not only is the academy at risk, but Gwen is also a target and Mythos Academy does not up their security? More guards aren’t brought in? More magic security and wards aren’t set up or even normal human security systems? I just cannot fathom the fact that this is a school full of kids and their parents are so blaze that they do not demand that their children get more security? The Mythos library holds the major artifacts that the bad guys want and that building isn’t as secure as the White House?
These problems are too immense to be ignored. This is sloppy writing on the part of Jennifer Estep. She planned a certain end, she wanted an event to happen and so she made her good guys make huge mistakes and lose all common sense. I am the opinion that instead of making the good team stupid, you make the bad guys even more cunning. Or you the bad guys have to outnumber and overpower the good guys. The events in this book were so easily avoidable and after centuries of fighting, it seems impossible that the good guys could be so careless.
Besides the war with the reapers, the other story that has played through out the series is the complicated relationship between Logan and Gwen. Halfway through this book I became so sick of their angst. Logan finally broke up with his girlfriend Savannah and still Gwen and Logan cannot figure it out. What was more annoying to me, is the aftermath of Logan’s choice to date and then break up with Savannah. Logan used Savannah in the first two books. He had feelings for Gwen, but he dated Savannah anyway. I know that in real life, many women focus their hurt and anger on the new girlfriend, the mistress, etc. I just wished that in fantasyland, Savannah focused her anger on Logan. He’s the real jerk in that equation, but no Savannah calls Gwen a bitch and says nothing to Logan the person who actually broke her heart. This is a small thing and it happens in so many novels, but these stories are usually written for young adults. It would have been cool for Estep to use her characters as an example to young people.
Also, what is this trend that have characters waiting around for their love interest to be ready to commit? It’s ok for Logan to kiss more than one girl in this series, but not Gwen? I say, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.
Another thing that annoyed me in book 3, that kind of just made me roll my eyes in the first two installments, is that Estep seems to have no real idea of how the other half lives. She seems to think that rich people only eat caviar and escargot. Gwen is constantly complaining about the lack of normal food choices. This point has been brought up often in all three books. I guess it’s supposed to bring home the point that rich kids surround Gwen. Mythos Academy is a private school, on the top of a mountain, where the students don’t have to share rooms! Of course they’re rich! Anyone who has been alive for more than a day can guess that a school like that doesn’t run on hope, but lots of money. Gwen doesn’t need to complain about designer bags and fancy food every other page for us to get it.
The ending unfortunately, ruined “Dark Frost” for me. I enjoyed it for the most part, but it just didn’t give me the vibes I got from the first two installments. I found the character’s choices to be incredibly stupid and it astounds me that the adults in this series are not better prepared or even intelligent.
Recommended for people who’ve read the first two books.
“Kiss of Frost,” picks up a few weeks after the events in “Touch of Frost.” Gwen has finally accepted that the people at Mythos Academy are not crazy and that there is indeed a war going on between good and evil. In this installment, Gwen is very much trying to figure out who she is and catch up to her classmates. The other students at Mythos Academy have known about Loki their entire lives, they have trained and they have experienced the death of family members and friends. This violent and deadly world is new to Gwen and she tries her best to catch up.
Unfortunately, someone is trying to kill Gwen. She is almost run over by a car and an arrow flies a few inches from her head. She is being hunted, but instead of sitting around waiting for the killer to find her, Gwen decides to find them first. This leads to an epic battle, mythical beast attacks and an avalanche. Gwen just cannot keep herself out of trouble. Even when she is forced to stay inside in order to stay out of trouble, trouble always finds her.
“Kiss of Frost” is not complex. I pretty much knew who the bad guy was and figured out the story’s big twist in book 1 of the series. If you are looking for a complicated story with twists and turns that has you scratching your head, then the Mythos Academy series is not for you. Actually, if you are looking to be shocked and stunned by your reading material then YA is not for you.
Though the plot is simple, I really enjoyed this book. I love the idea of young adults training to be warriors. The students of Mythos come from long lines of warriors and ancient cultures like the Spartans. These families have continued to fight to keep the world safe from Loki and his Reapers. Love it. That alone is enough to keep me turning the page. I also really like the characters. I’ve read reviews where people have called Gwen whiny, but I don’t feel that way. I am often annoyed by the resilience of characters. Something happens to them and they just brush it off and keep going. That’s not real. When something happens to me, I think about and I examine every side of it. When someone I love dies, it takes me a long time to move on. I think Gwen is as realistic as any character in this world can be. She’s been thrown into a world she didn’t know existed a year ago and she’s discovering all these new things about her family, her powers and herself.
What I really enjoyed about “Kiss of Frost,” is the new cast of supporting characters. In the first book, Gwen has no friends, is an outcast and is barely talked to. Through the events of “Touch of Frost,” Gwen gets herself a small crew of friends in Daphne and her boyfriend Carson. They are a sweet couple and help to make the tone of certain scenes light and funny. Gwen also has more reluctant companionship in Logan and his Spartan pals Oliver and Kenzie, who I wasn’t sure how to feel about them, but once I realized what part they played in the plot, I rather enjoyed. “Kiss of Frost” has a lot more dialogue than it’s predecessor and I was glad that Gwen finally got to do things besides stalking and moping around alone.
The only part of this story that I found truly frustrating is Gwen’s relationship with Logan. At the end of “Touch of Frost,” Logan decides that he cannot be with Gwen, because he does not want her to know all his secrets. Due to her gift of psychometry, it is almost impossible for Gwen to be with Logan and not learn his secrets. Psychometry is Gwen’s Gypsy gift, that gives her psychic impressions from the things and people she touches. There were moments in this book where I could not stand Logan. I was practically snapping my fingers and saying, “girl, forget him,” with attitude. Then there were moments where my heart went out to him. Mostly I just wanted these two kids to get together. I hope that this doesn’t drag on much longer. I hate series where the couple is together on page two, but it’s equally frustrating when your on book 5 and the couple still dodges each other.
I felt strongly about Logan and other aspects of the story, because I was channeling Gwen. Estep did a wonderful job in getting me to relate to Gwen and her life. That’s what I love about first person narration. If it’s done well it feels as if a friend is telling you an amazing story or as if you’re reading a long-winded journal. I tend to be overly critical of characters and their choices, which can really diminish a book for me. Luckily, I like Gwen and I like being in her head. That made this story all the more enjoyable for me.
Recommended for readers who enjoyed “Touch of Frost” or Estep’s Elemental Assasin series. The Mythos Academy series is recommended for lovers of YA, fans of mythology and anyone who likes a fun fantasy novel.(less)
I am a very reluctant fan of Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassin series. Reason? I don’t like books about Assassins. I really don’t, but Estep has managed to hook me firmly into the story of Gin Blanco and her quest for revenge. I picked up “Touch of Frost,” because the last few books I’ve read weren’t that great and I needed a sure thing. I am a fan of Estep’s writing and figured her Mythos Academy might just be that sure thing I needed. I was right; I love this first book in the series.
“Touch of Frost” follows Gwen Frost who is an outcast, the ignored girl in school and a gypsy. Like her mother and her grandmother before her, Gwen has psychic powers. She has the gift of psychometry, which means she gets psychic impressions from the things she touches. By impressions, I mean that she can literally see every person who has ever handled the object and can even feel their emotions. It is that power that has made her a bit of an amateur detective at her school. Lost a cell phone? Can’t remember which guy’s room you left your bra? No problem, call Gwen and for a reasonable price, she will find your lost item. After discovering the body of the most popular girl in school, Gwen decides to use her power to discover how Jasmine Ashton died.
Her desire to find the truth leads Gwen into dangers she never believed existed. Suddenly, the stories aren’t so much fiction or myth, but actuality. She discovers that there might just be a secret war between the gods and that she might be a player in that war. Along the way she tangles with mean girl Daphne Cruz and gains the attention of school bad boy and Spartan warrior in training Logan Quinn.
Something I like about Estep’s writing in this book, is that her style is very simple. She doesn’t overwhelm us with words, but lets the story speak for itself. I am always aware of where the characters are and am able to allow my imagination to build the rooms and see what Gwen sees. Lots of YA authors try to overwhelm us with slang and making their characters sound ‘hip.’ Teenagers are just young people and for the most part they speak just like adults. I’m glad that Estep’s characters don’t make me roll my eyes and wonder what planet she got her dialogue from.
I have to stop my objective review to make a subjective declaration. I love Gwen Frost. If the story had been boring (which it’s not) or if Jennifer Estep’s writing was horrible (it’s actually really good), I would still love Gwen Frost. When I read reviews and it goes as follows “the world is fascinating, but the main character frustrated me beyond belief!” I never pick up the book. If all I am going to do is roll my eyes and feel the desire to slip my hand through imaginary worlds just to slap a character, why should I pick that book up?
Gwen lives in a magical world where her classmates descended from gods and she can see the history of any object just from touching it. Gwen’s world is unreal, but Gwen is one of the more realistic YA heroines I’ve read. YA heroines are either total badasses like Rose Hathaway from “Vampire Academy” or a step back for women everywhere like “Twilight’s” Bella Swan. Don’t get me wrong, I love Rose Hathaway, but let’s be honest. Rose isn’t a realistic teenage girl in any sense of the word. She’s who we all wished we could be, but we’re not that strong or that resilient. I like Gwen, because she is real. In lots of books, someone’s parent dies and it’s sad, but kind of at the back of their brain. The death of Gwen’s mother is always with her and Estep did a great job of writing the guilt people often feel at being the one who gets to keep on living.
Gwen’s guilt and despair about her mother’s death gives her a kind of protection in her new world. The world of Mythos Academy is difficult for Gwen to absorb. She doesn’t fit in with the students, she doesn’t believe their histories and she doesn’t seem to be filled with the kind of magic that can help her in the war they are preparing for. Since she carries survivors guilt, Gwen doesn’t care if no one talks to her, invites her out or that she doesn’t have a date to prom. Why should it matter? Her mom can’t enjoy life anymore, so why should Gwen? What’s great about this story is that we literally see Gwen heal. We’re there as she makes her first real friend at Mythos and when her feelings come alive around a certain Spartan. While her mother’s death will always be apart of her, she heals and begins the process of moving on.
The inciting incident of this story is definitely the moment that Gwen finds Jasmine’s body. Gwen does not run away screaming, her immediate thought is to check if Jasmine is still alive. That action tells me so much about her character. In the aftermath of Jasmine’s death, Gwen cannot believe how little her classmates seem to care that one of them has died. Gwen decides that someone has to care, someone has to investigate and the truth about what happened to this girl must come to light. Her investigation winds up and the actual truth behind Jasmine’s death is pretty over the top, but it works. Most important, it gives this series legs. “Touch of Frost” is a call to action. The beginning of a story that I believe will be epic. (less)
There is always a moment or a line where I know picking up a book wasn’t a mistake. Sometimes I am disappointed and other times I get a really entertaining read. For “Dominion” the moment I knew I made the right choice is when Gideon says, “that’s one stupid spider” in reaction to the Itsy bitsy spider song. It’s a simple and yet a great moment that reveals the jaded nature of the character.
The story follows Gideon, an evil Guardian Angel. In this world, humans have two sets of guardians. The guardian sent to protect us and the guardian sent to hurt us. Basically human life is a game and the outcome of our lives rests on which of our guardian’s is the strongest. Gideon, the most evil of Angels, is placed on a human subject with Tristan, the best of all the angels. That human’s name is Abigail and she is about to throw these two angels for a loop.
This book did not wow me. There was never a moment where I considered putting the book down and I wanted to know how it ended, but I was not in love. Lots of things made me roll my eyes and I had a hard time believing many of the facts of Abigail’s life. It wasn’t until a character recited the old line “if you love something let it go” that I realized my issue with this book. It is cheesy. It is entertaining and funny, but cheesy. Especially in the last section where the action kind of slows and there’s a lot of dialogue. Reading these characters talking for pages, was just really difficult. I was glad when the action returned at the very end leading up to the obvious and yet completely shocking cliffhanger.
Another issue I have with the story is that I do not buy the CIA storyline. Not at all. Abby has a state of the art weapons training facility underneath her house. This training room or whatever has trick doors, elevators, lasers, an arsenal full of guns and agents who are there to be Abby’s adversaries in training simulations. I have watched enough Alias, Nikita and Homeland to know that this kind of facility is expensive. Manful tries to explain it away by making Abby’s mom a fashion designer. Listen, yes fashion designer's are rich, but 'I can build a 100 million dollar facility in my basement and not blink rich?’ No. Ok, maybe 100 mill is a bit of a stretch, but lasers are expensive!!!
I found the training center to be so unbelievable it made every reference to Abby’s training ridiculous. For example, there is a moment where she is pushed off of a balcony and lands on her feet. If the fall was high enough to kill her is it possible for her land on her feet without breaking her legs? I’m not a scientist or a doctor, but I don’t think so.
I didn’t love this book and there were moments that I absolutely did not like, but I will recommend it. Why? The world is extremely unique. The idea that the fight for our lives is not angel vs. demon, but angel vs. angel is fascinating to me. I thought Gideon and Tristan’s world was one of the most interesting take on Angels I’ve read. The ending reveals secrets and has actions that make me absolutely want to pick up the next book. I’d like to know the fate of the characters and how the revelations at the end, will effect the characters.
At the end of the day this book is not amazing and it is not one of a kind, but it is unique enough that you will enjoy it despite it’s many issues. Melody Manful is a brand new author. “Dominion” is her debut novel and you can feel that in the writing. Anyone who reads a lot, knows that an author’s craft grows with experience. I think we should support this writer and give her the chance to let her craft grow. Her ideas are just that good.
Recommended for readers of YA fiction, anyone who likes books like “Angelfall” and “A Shimmer of Angels.”(less)
I don’t usually read horror, mystery or ghost stories, but after reading Kim Harrington’s “The Dead and Buried,” I have decided it might be time to change that. The story follows Jade. A girl from a not so great neighborhood who finally gets the life she believes that she has always wanted. She moves into a nice house, in a great neighborhood with an even better school system. Jade is not your typical high school girl. She doesn’t care about appearances, could give a damn about popularity and chooses her friends based on personality and not status. This makes Jade stand out, but it’s not the reason everyone at school is staring at her. Jade is more than a new girl. She is infamous, because she lives in the house where Queen B Kayla Sloane died.
I may be wrong, but I personally think it is humanly impossible to read a mystery and not try to figure out the villain. The guessing game is my favorite part of this book. Everyone is a suspect. From the boy Jade likes, to her new best friend and her creepy next door neighbor. No one was safe from Kayla’s mean spirited actions and because of that, they are all suspects. Harrington did an absolutely fantastic job with red herrings, misdirection’s and misjudging of characters. Every five minutes I’d scream “THAT’S THE KILLER,” in my head and then change my mind five pages later. This book is also great with making you facepalm at your own thoughts. I quickly judged people and when the truth came out I would feel guilty. Guilty, because I misjudged a fictional character in a book!
“The Dead and Buried,” is definitely a page turner. Once it pulls you in, it will not let you go until you know the truth. I like that about a book. If it’s a mystery it better be mysterious. If it’s a horror it better at least freak me out. Kayla, the girl who died in Jade’s house, was a total mean girl and the idea that a mean girl may or may not be haunting Jade, is pretty freaky in my opinion. Regular ghosts yup freaky, but the ghost of a mean girl is terrifying!
This book is probably not the greatest thing ever written and Harrington is probably not going to become the next Edgar Allen Poe, but I believe that this book is smart. The author gives us an interesting cast of supporting characters. On the surface they seem like the normal cliché people you read in every young adult book, but they are not. They have family secrets and ambitions that you wouldn’t guess from just looking at them. Our misconceptions and prior knowledge of the popular girl, the nerd and the jock helps Harrington to muddle the investigation in our minds. We take what we think we know and we decide that makes them guilty or innocent and most of your guesses will be wrong.
There are two guys in this book that catch Jade’s attention or better yet Jade catches their attention. There is the artsy guy with the chip on his shoulder named Donavan and the nice, but is probably a player jock named Kane. Both these guys have very different personalities and yet we like them both. They both have a stake in the truth about Kayla and are both major players in the twists and turns of the story. Harrington doesn’t have Jade thinking about boys for every second of the day and I really liked that. As much as I love romance, sometimes heroines think about boys in life or death situations and I want to slap them. Jade knows how to multitask and boys while nice are not her priority. It is also not the priority of the book, but still I had very strong opinions about Jade’s love life.
This book is a quick and very entertaining read. The mystery and the investigation is interesting, but not overly taxing on the mind. You will not ask “what?!” in utter confused frustration. This is a young adult novel and it’s for entertainment and it succeeds at it’s goals. Lastly, Jade is an absolutely excellent heroine. She is smart, without being pretentious. She is friendly, but doesn’t need the approval of her peers. She is pretty and while she is not completely ignorant of it, she doesn’t sit around staring at mirrors or using her looks against others. I really liked her and I think if you give this book a chance, you will to.
Recommended for fans of Pretty Little Liars (the TV show, I have never read the books) fans of YA and everyone who likes a good ghost story.(less)
Favorite Quote: He died in a way that befitted his audacity.
When I finish reading a book I immediately open Microsoft word, Tumblr or even notes on my iPod touch to write down my thoughts. I always find that my immediate feelings are my most honest and sincere. Not this time. After reading “Dark Dealings,” I needed to take an hour or so to process what it is I read.
I have to give author Kim Knox credit for how different this book is. I cannot recall a book that is quite like “Dark Dealings.” Not just in terms of the fantastic world building. Knox uses sex and approaches characterization in a very unique way. Ava is the main character, the heroine and for most of the book I could not tell if she was the good or bad guy. Sure, I understood that she wasn’t responsible for the crimes she investigated, but her actions and desires make it impossible to really call her “good.” I have to say that I loved that aspect of the story. I didn’t know how to feel about anyone and I didn’t really know whom to root for until the last third of the book.
This world is filled with brash, vicious and magical creatures. Mages, Thieves and Elementals are all savage in their own way. They feed and use magic in different variations and cannot seem to get along for any reason. The characters live in the Institute, which I imagine is a magical city, but could also maybe be a large university type situation.
Ava and Heyerdar are different beings of dark, old and forbidden magic and they are both the only of their kind within the Institute walls. Ava is a thief, a creature who consumes the flesh and magic of her victims. She is an outcast. The pet of a higher powered mage. She is feared, hated and distrusted by the people around her. Heyerdar (honestly, how do you pronounce that?) is an elemental with power over the earth and gains his strength from the pull of the sun. He is also the Emperor’s left hand and one of the most powerful men in the Institute. Together they use their forbidden magic, harnessing their sexual energy to drive a couple apart. Ava wants her master and friend, Reist, to herself and Heyerdar wants Fallon back in his bed.
Ava and Heyerdar have to work together to investigate strange deaths within the Institute walls. This is obviously a ploy by the author to get them next to each other and talk about sex. After ten years of living in the Institute and never speaking, suddenly there is a case that forces the two to interact closely? It’s convenient, but it works well. While investigating the murders, obviously committed by Thieves, Ava must fight her baser instincts.
Ava’s situation is enough to make anyone angry. This is a woman who has given ten years of her life in support of the Institute, the Mages and their Emperor and they do not respect her. At all. They keep secrets of her very nature from her and she realizes how little respect they have for her. There are scenes where these people actually spit at Ava! It is disgusting and really makes you feel for her.
Ava’s main interest in this book is not finding the murderers. The problem that consumes her is how to get Fallon away from her beloved Reist. The issue with this is that Ava secretly views moments between Fallon and Reist that makes it clear that they probably love each other. After reading a tender moment between the couple, I rolled my eyes every time Ava talked about how Resit should be hers. I really wanted to slap some sense into her and tell her to move on!
Knox then complicates my feelings, again. While Ava is selfish and closed minded about her relationship with Reist, it seemed to me that Reist knew how Ava felt about him. Who do you root for in this situation? Do you hope that the girl that is willing to use undermined means gets her man? Or, do you hope that the guy who enjoys her attention without the commitment, get his cake and eats it too? Then there is the domineering alpha male Heyerdar. I was never sure if I wanted Ava to run to him or from him. By the end of the book you will pick a side and know which characters to love and which characters to ignore.Up until that point, it is a bumpy ride.
This book is really entertaining. It has great dialogue, a unique world, strong sensuality and a love story that takes you by surprise. It is a very satisfying read.
I recommend this book for Paranormal Romance lovers, readers of fantasy and anyone who likes a good sex scene or ten.