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....more
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
Forever Evermore is a series packed with entertainment. It’s funny and sexy with unique magical sequences and lore. King Tomb has all that, but it some how drops the ball.
Lily is the Queen of the Shifters, she’s in the midst of a war and she’s pregnant. That alone would be enough to make any woman stress, but Lily doesn’t know who her child’s father is. His identity and their time together has been completely wiped out. All she has is a blank memory, a mans t-shirt, a ring and a pregnant belly to tell her that she loved and had been loved by a man from another mystic fraction.
The premise of King Tomb is interesting, because it’s new for me. I’ve started a series where two people learn that they have a past they can’t remember, but I have never watched two people fall in love only to be physically and mentally ripped away from each other. It was entertaining but painful to watch Ezra and Lilly maneuver around each other without knowing or understanding what they meant to each other. That was all fun and well done.
What wasn’t fun? Everything else. These characters are in the middle of the war which they forget about for 90% of the book. Scarlett Dawn is just not very good at balancing her story lines. There’s just a lack of tension that should come with being at war and being the leaders of a war. Their subjects are barely ever seen and the characters don’t do a single kingly or queenly act. The kings and queens are like children and the elders are like parents running after them to stop them from dirtying their hands.
King Hall and King Cave have a similar “in a bubble” tone, but in those books the characters are supposed to be isolated, hiding or learning. In King Tomb, they are supposed to be in the thick of it. But they are still in this weird cocoon surrounded by only the same few characters.
All of that was manageable until the end, because Lily and Ezra’s chemistry is so fun even when they are strangers or hate each other. But then in the final act new characters are introduced and Ezra and Lily go on this whirlwind trip through time. It’s ridiculous, it is literally only a few pages and had no basis in the world that was set up in the first two books and 75% of King Tomb. Literally out of nowhere the genre changed and I was suddenly on a trip through time and one of the side characters I can’t remember from earlier books is pushed up to be like this grand master strategist who can see the future and arranges people like pawns on a chessboard.
As a fan of the series I can’t say that I hated all of it. I enjoyed the character dynamics and the few romantic surprises and twists, but as a whole this wasn’t a very good book and the ending is supposed to wrap up Lilly’s story but it doesn’t. I’m disappointed.
Liked a lot about it, but there is a 10 page adventure wity new characters that makes very little sense to me. Very little sense. Brought the book down. Also, the absence of Jack and Pearl. Besides that, entertaining and fun as ever. Review to come. ...more
The thing about HALF BAD is that it’s not a bad book. It’s well written, the characters are consistent and the story makes sense. The problem is that I did not get a seconds worth of enjoyment out of this book. There is not a single moment of happiness in Nathan’s life. Even when he is doing something of his choosing that brings him pleasure, a cloud of tension and anxiety covers it. It gets monotonous, the fact that nothing good ever happens to this boy.
There’s a strange sense of despair in this book. The strangeness is that the despair was not Nathan’s, but mine. This book pulled this emotional resonance out of me that made me want to crawl inside the pages, into the story and just hold this character in my arms until everything is OK. To me that is power and it makes me understand the insane bidding war that came with this book getting published. It is different from anything else I have read, but I am not sure that makes HALF BAD a good book.
There is a very limited perspective in terms of story telling that I think many readers will find difficult. I know very little about this world. I know that white witches are supposed to be good, but are ruthless, without morals and unforgiving. They are in a secret and covert war with black witches who are solitary and seemingly evil.
As the story progresses we see why Nathan is different and why everyone wants him either dead or on their side, but that’s all I know. Our view of the world is so limited. The audience is left in the dark about everything, but the sorrow that is Nathan’s life. It would have been nice to know about the cruelty of white witches and the insanity of black witches. Which came first? Were the white witches cruel so the black witches went insane? Or is the other way around?
That’s why I couldn’t give it a higher rating. There needs to be a balance, good and bad. Despite the title, claiming half, this book is filled with one heartbreaking, anger induced situation after rage building despair covered situation. There is no moment to breath, to decompress or to settle into situations. Things get bad and then they get worse right before it gets horrifying.
This book is absolutely draining to read and for me, that’s a negative. Unless it’s a nonfiction book about a persons actual life I expect to see range from the books I read. I expect highs and lows. All I did was cry, or be close to tears or rage when reading this book. This was intense, began to dread picking it up, because I didn’t want to fall back into depression.
I just don’t get what Ms. Green expected us to get out of this book, it’s not entertainment. Is this book meant to be a torture? Should we be thanking our lucky stars that we are not Nathan? As you can see, I had a very visceral reaction this book, which perhaps makes it amazing.
It’s a great premise, but the execution is not for me. It’s harsh and vivid. The injustice of it all sat on my chest like a hot plate. I cared about Nathan, I truly did. He’s the kind of character every writer wants to accomplish brining to life. He is reflective without being whiney, he is brave without being egotistical and he’s a survivor. Nathan has a desire to live which burns bright in him like a flame. Others would have given up and taken their lives, but Nathan is passionate. He will survive no matter what. That’s amazing.
Still, Nathan’s passion is not enough to make me ever want to read this book again. It is just too depressing.
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.
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.
Weird, weird, weird. Found it difficult and interesting, horrible and amazing all at once. I wanted to put it away, but couldn't wait to get to the enWeird, weird, weird. Found it difficult and interesting, horrible and amazing all at once. I wanted to put it away, but couldn't wait to get to the end. It's a thing I guess.
In reviews for book 1 in the Bloodlines series, fans of Vampire Academy expressed disappointment with how different the book was. They especially exprIn reviews for book 1 in the Bloodlines series, fans of Vampire Academy expressed disappointment with how different the book was. They especially expressed disappointment that Sydney Sage was not more like Rose Hathaway. I say, thank God that Sydney is not Rose, because as awesome and fierce as Ms. Hathaway is, she would not have survived Silver Shadows.
Sydney ascends in this installment. She is an honest to god heroine. And not just because she is the female lead in this series. No, Sydney is a fighter and more importantly she is a survivor. No matter what she faces, no matter what the Alchemist throw at her, Sydney refuses to be broken.
Don’t misunderstand, there are moments of despair. Moments where she is bent and twisted up in fear and doubt and heartache. But, though she bends, Sydney does not break. As heartbreaking and anger inducing as this book can be, it’s enjoyable to be in the head of Sydney Sage.
Unfortunately, Adrian breaks. He’s actually the reason that this is a 4 star review and not a 5 star. He is the weak link. Yes, he redeems himself and by the end he stands tall and fights, but I am having a hard time forgiving him for breaking. I know that he has spirit. I know that it torments him and that he struggles with depression, but he doesn’t try. For a good chunk of the first half of the book he simply gives up.
And part of me gets it. It’s months later. He has been struggling and trying and failing. The problem is that the struggling and trying happens before the start of the book. This is a failing of this books early structure. We see Sydney fighting so hard to keep herself and her love alive and then we see Adrian, moping. Just when I was so sick of his attitude and behavior, the damn broke and he found his resolve again.
I was not always an Adrian fan. The “romance” between Rose and Adrian was nonexistent to me. I felt that their “relationship” was creepy and that he forced her into a commitment that no one could possibly believe she could keep. So, my love for Adrian in this series was a surprise, but Richelle Mead evolved, changed and morphed Adrian into a man and a romantic lead that I could get behind. Which is why his behavior is so incredibly frustrating. He backtracks and reverts and I found myself unable to have sympathy for him not while Sydney is going through hell.
I compare it, in a way, to army spouses. Do they suffer? Yes. Oh yes, it is hell to raise children alone or to just be on your own when someone you love is gone and in constant danger. But when that soldier comes back, their husband or wife or partner, has kept home and hearth ready and waiting. The people left behind do their best to keep it together so that when that soldier gets in touch they get strength. Adrian doesn’t do this. In my opinion he falls apart.
This is a book that, for the most part, does not stop. Despair is replaced by hope which is stomped on by pain and then turns to joy. Silver Shadows took me all around the emotional world. I was terrified and angry one moment, laughing one moment and cheering the next. And all the while I was on the edge of my seat, because the Alchemists are a worthy opponent. They are not just one person, they are an organization with money and more a zealous belief that vampires are evil.
The Alchemists are everywhere and they will do anything…ANYTHING to be on top. To control everyone under their charge and destroy anyone who gets in their way. Terrifying really, because they are so cold, so calculating and really they are extremely evil.
We meet new people in Silver Shadows and it’s interesting to see the lengths in which the Alchemists go to keep their people in line. We also get to see Marcus Finch prove himself. Until this book, I found him to be incredibly disappointing. Seeing the team work to find Sydney was actually a lot of fun. Enemies become allies and all their resources and magic are thrown into rescuing Sydney. And still, it might not be enough. That’s how tough the Alchemists are. They may just be unbeatable. Adrian may never find Sydney. Marcus may just get caught.
Then there is the EXPLOSIVE final act. Where the entire world basically explodes and Sydney and Adrian make a leap from which their is no return. The kind of ending that literally has me chomping at the bit for the The Ruby Circle, the next and I’m sad to say, final book. Because, something huge is coming and I have no idea how Sydrian will weather the storm. But, I am excited to read every moment of it.
This book is action and magic packed. It is romantic, torturous and filled with familiar faces. I recommend it highly....more
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. ...more
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!)...more
Isolde has faced down vampires and werewolves, but she is about to face her biggest test, high school. I loved that! Izzy is a badass who goes alone into vampire’s dens, but quakes in her boots at the first day of school. It’s these anomalies in her character that makes her so interesting. Izzy is one part BAMF, one part awkward teen and one part clueless girl. Watching as she juggles paranormal activity with the normal angst of high school is why I read these kinds of books.
The story is a well-done mystery that asks lots of questions. Is it a ghost? What does the ghost want and why is it attacking a high school? Who is Dex? More importantly what is Dex? Is he a supernatural being or is that zap Izzy feels when they touch just chemistry? Discovering the answers to these questions equals a wild ride.
Izzy is an anomaly and Dex is a mystery. Izzy spends as much time suspicious of him as she does thinking about him. What is great about Dex is that he is unique. He is not the leader, jock or brainiac like in other books. Other YA heroes roll up their sleeves while Dex takes off his jacket. Not to be more comfortable but to protect the coat. Dex is a true teenage metrosexual and its great to see a guy like that featured as the romantic lead in YA.
My biggest issue is that I want to know more. I am not sure that I don’t know these things because I didn’t read “Hex Hall” or because it’s going to be revealed through out the series. I want to know more about the Brannick family history. How did they become monster hunters? How did they get their magic and why are there no more Brannick’s left? How did they get their extra strength and what other powers do they have? There is just so much more for me to know and I hope that the answers come in later books.
Having never read “Hex Hall,” I was really nervous to pick up this book. I wasn’t sure how much of it was a continuation of the original series or if the author would give enough back-story to keep my caught up. Fortunately, not only is School Spirits an entertaining adventure, it is also filled with intrigue, interesting characters, several mysteries and one pissed off ghost.
Recommended for fans of YA Paranormal, anyone who likes a good ghost story and fans of Rachel Hawkins....more
The problem with Spellbinding is that there is no real problem. It stars a perfectly normal, but completely ignored teenage girl. It has a supernatural mystery, hot guys and a very popular mean girl that makes everyone’s life miserable. Normal YA. It has everything you want in YA and that’s the problem. No real surprises. Well, I take that back. Had the Disney movie “Teen Witch” not been my favorite film as a kid, than maybe I would have been surprised, but for the most part, I wasn’t.
After discovering that she is the descendant of the infamous Sarah Good, aka one of the woman killed during the Salem Witch Trials, Abby does what any normal teenage girl would do with magical powers. Find the cure for cancer? No! Of course not! Abby be spells the guy she likes to like her back! Of course! As a kid watching “Teen Witch,” I had a huge crush on my guy best friend and the idea of making him love me seemed amazing! Now that I am over the age of 10, I could not get behind Abby’s choice to put a love spell on Travis. (I will not get into the Beautiful Disaster connection with those names, but when Abby first went gaga over popular boy Travis, I wanted to puke.)
The beginning of this book really intrigued me. Imagine you look into your family tree to realize one of the most infamous events in American history happened to your family. It would also be pretty cool to know that someone as immortalized as Sarah Good is actually your ancestor, was really a witch and you got special powers from her bloodlines. I was also very interested in Rem, the boy who was literally from her dreams, but after about a 100 pages into the book, everything stalled. I kind of lost interest and was like “huh.” That’s it. Not “OH MY GOD!” or “I HATE THIS!” Nope. Just “huh.”
I didn’t hate this book, but I didn’t love it. It’s YA, but it feels like it’s for a younger teenager. Perhaps thirteen and fourteen year olds. Or whatever age it is that your sole use of your power would be to get a guy to like you. That, or an age where you are too young to have seen “Teen Witch” or “Practical Magic.” This story just isn’t unique to me. I have seen it before and because of that I just could not get into it.
Recommended for fans of witch stories, people interested in a fictional retelling of the Salem Witch Trials and anyone who LOVED “Teen Witch” and would like to read a book almost identical to it.
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....more
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. ...more
Kiri Palger is rediscovering herself and working hard for a better life. She purchased a house in Mystic Circle, because she isn’t very close to her family and wanted to belong in a tight community. She wants a place to belong. More than that, she wants to gain her dream job at what she considers to be the best gaming company in the world. Her neighbors work at the gaming company and she hopes that by getting into their good graces it will help her win the job. After moving to Mystic Circle, she has friends, the close community she always wanted and Lathyr for a love interest. Everything seems to be falling into place, until it becomes clear that the games she is working on are actually real.
The one thing that really kept my interest in this book, was Lathyr’s back story. He is basically treated like crap due to his mixed blood. He is not allowed to find a place of his own to belong. Honestly, this guy is basically a slave, he’s homeless and he’s not even accepted by his people, because he is not purebred. I just wanted this guy to be happy and have a place of his own. He is not sure of Kiri in the beginning, because while he sees that she could help him reach his goals, he does not have a clear vision of how she can fit into his future. Still, he turns out to be a pretty solid ally for Kiri through out the story.
This book was very difficult for me to get through. I am not sure why, the concept is really interesting and Robin D. Owens did a pretty good job at blurring the lines between fantasy and reality. Still I picked this up and put it down so many times, I really didn’t think I could get into it. Robin Owens’ writing style felt very stilted to me. Other reviews I’ve read don’t seem to agree, so this may just be my problem.
The other problem is probably that this book is the third installment of the “Mystic Circle” series. I didn’t think I would be that confused, because this book doesn’t follow the same characters of the earlier books. After reading the book, I realize that skipping the first two books were probably a mistake. While Kiri is a new character, it’s obvious that the plot is intricate and basically weaved through out the series. I wasn’t completely lost, but I think that reading earlier books could have helped me picture the world we were in.
“Enchanted Ever After,” is all about realizing your potential and that perhaps you are capable of more than you think. At points I just felt like, Ok, I get it, they were undervalued and now they’re awesome. Cool.
I spent the first half of this book in utter frustration. I was still a little bit ticked by the end of “Dark Frost” and the new events that Gwen is thrown into in “Crimson Frost,” made me seethe. In the midst of her long over due fist date with her Spartan warrior and hero of a boyfriend Logan, Gwen is arrested. The first half of this book reads like a Salem witch trial. The adults and students are basically yelling “witch!” at Gwen and blaming her for Loki’s escape.
The charges against Gwen are pretty much the worst charges that can be brought against a member of the Pantheon. She’s basically charged with treason and called a Reaper. The students of Mythos and even some of the professors turn against her and she becomes worse than the “gypsy girl,” she is now the face of every Reaper who killed a family member or friend of the kids at Mythos. A good chunk of this book is pretty bleak as the threat of execution hangs over Gwen’s head.
I enjoyed this installment of Mythos Academy more than I enjoyed its predecessor. While there are still moments where I slapped my forehead in aggravation, I thought that the characters smartened up. I still cannot believe that the library’s security has not been heightened to Fort Knox levels, but I will just have to suspend my disbelief. The library is an important location and it is important for the bad guys to break in every single book and steal something. That is how the wind blows and it’s time that I accept it.
I really enjoyed the fact that the characters seem to have matured. Daphne, Carson, Oliver and Logan stand beside Gwen through out her trial. They refuse to let the other students attack her and they never doubt her innocence for a moment. Even when it becomes clear that her allies will be placed under suspicion, her gang of warriors stay strong at her side. These kids have been through a lot together and it is great that Estep uses that to her advantage. They’re still teenagers and have teenage angst, but they know when to put that aside and they are capable of deciding which battles are worth fighting.
Logan and Gwen finally acknowledge their relationship and are determined to try. There are obstacles, big and strong, thrown at them in this book, but at this point it is clear that these two are meant to be. I really hope that they can get to a place where Logan and Gwen can be constant. They have proven that they will stand together in a crisis; it’s time to see them together in every situation. I was glad not to hate Logan at all this book. He’s finally decided to become a grown up in his relationship with Gwen. I was relieved to see that his childish behavior did not continue into this installment.
I found the climatic scene in “Dark Frost” to be absolutely ridiculous. I opened “Crimson Frost,” expecting the worst and was pleasantly surprised. I really enjoyed the twists and turns in this book. Loki and the Reapers are finally developing into truly twisted and over zealous villains. The first few books were small time and now we’re finally meeting the true forces behind Loki’s army. I found the Reaper’s plans to be horrifying, horrible and awful. The idea of Loki’s transformation is very interesting and if the Reapers succeed it will be catastrophic for Gwen and the good guys. I’m glad that the Reapers have proven to be formidable. In the first three installments, I thought they were lucky, because they had the element of surprise. The pantheon was expecting them and still it’s surprising the steps they take and what their goals are.
I am excited to see what else will happen with Gwen. In earlier books we learn that she is destined to kill Loki. Gwen has achieved and survived so much, it still seems impossible that she could be strong enough to defeat the god of chaos. I am really excited to see where this stories leads and experiencing Gwen grow into the killer of gods.
Recommended for fans of Mythos Academy. Everyone else should read the first few books beginning with “Touch of Frost.”
ARC provided by Netgally and Kensington Publishing Corp.
I don’t usually read novellas. I find them to be too short and they usually don’t have the meat I search for in a story. When I read the official synopsis for Mona Hanna’s “High Witch,” I decided to make an exception. I’m glad I did. The story follows Ariel and Brayden, two people in their twenties, who meet and fall in love. Unlike many love stories, falling in love is the easy part for this couple. Ariel is a High Witch, making her one of the most powerful witches in the world. It also makes her the most hunted. There are people out there who would use her power and her body for selfish gains.
The magical world of “High Witch,” is the best part of this book. Dealing with the supernatural is one of the hardest things for an author to do well. There are hundreds and hundreds of stories, different take son legends and different interpretations of lore. Mona Hanna has come up with an interesting take on witchcraft.
I was absorbed by the world the author created. I found myself legitimately surprised at the first mention of magic and witchcraft. It’s so simply done and immediately caught my attention. I enjoyed learning about Ariel’s magic and discovering the many ways that a High Witch’s power can manifest. Still, I wish this book were longer. There just isn’t enough time to fully develop or grow attached to the characters. I wanted a lot more information and a lot more time with the world of “High Witch.”
The book relies a little too much on telling and not showing. Brayden seems to know and figure out everything and tells Ariel through conversation. I would have liked to experience it, to read in detail what was happening. To have twists and turns revealed through descriptions and have the story unravel before the eyes of my imagination. I also would have loved a bit more foreshadowing. There wasn’t enough of a dark cloud over Ariel and Brayden until the enemy is revealed a quarter into the book.
I would have loved more information about Ariel and Brayden. They fall in love and I don’t feel as if I experienced it. It just sort of happens quickly and without any personal conflict between the two characters. I wish we had more time to get to know them. I would have liked to know their family situations earlier on in the book. For example, I was surprised to discover that Brayden had family. From the set up of his character and the depiction of his fear of being fired I assumed he was orphan and would be homeless if he lost his position.
The story has very interesting and simple world building. It is also is a quick and entertaining read.
I recommend this book for lovers of magic, fans of witchcraft stories and anyone looking for an entertaining, but short book....more
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.
At the start of “KEPT” Natalya Stravinsky is exactly where she left off in “COVETED,” at least mentally. Though she fought beside the pack and showed herself to be a brave wolf that will defend her family, she is still not accepted. Farley, the Pack Alpha, is finally willing to give Nat a chance to regain her place in the pack. First, she must succeed in ‘The Trials.’ The trials are a series of boot camp like tests that start with a 10 mile run and end with a fight to conquer the other wolves struggling for a place in the pack. On top of the training for the trials, which Natalya has yet to begin, Nat discovers that her father is missing.
Armed with the assistance of her colorful cast of co-stars and a bag of disinfected wipes, Nat goes on a journey that takes her throughout the North East in search of her father. Like its predecessor “KEPT,” is full action, heartbreak, triumphs and obsessive compulsive behaviors.
“KEPT” is an entertaining story that questions right from wrong and duty vs. desire. At the start of the series, we learn that despite their obstacles and past behavior Natalya and Thorn love each other. Five years prior, Thorn went to the west coast and didn’t return for five years. It was Thorn’s abandonment that led to Natalya’s breakdown and ultimately her being kicked out of the pack. Finally we learn what kept Thorn away and why they were separated in the first place, still excuses and explanations cannot solve the problem. Natalya is an outcast and Thorn is engaged to be the mate of a rich female chosen by his father. No matter how hard they try, these two cannot seem to avoid each other and sparks always fly.
Especially, when you add in Nat’s therapy partner the white wizard Nick. Things with Nick are easy. They get along well, they understand each other and Nick has proven time and again that he will come to Natalya’s aid whenever she needs him. They have a spark, but Natalya cannot seem to let Thorn go.
It’s probably obvious from my earlier review of “COVEDTED,” that I really enjoyed that book. Loved it, read it quickly and could not put it down. While entertaining I did not love “KEPT.” Perhaps it was because I went into the first book with no expectations and into its sequel full of hope and excitement, but “KEPT,” just did not stand up to my expectations.
First, I thought that Natalya made choices that weakened her character. I don’t mean due to her OCD or the actions she takes to rescue her father and win the respect of the family. No, it is her relationship with Thorn that turned me off to the book. Madison made some choices that really villainies Thorn’s fiancé Erica and even to a lesser extent, Nick. It was as if Madison wanted to give her characters reason to make choices that are not really acceptable.
There were times where I downright disliked Thorn. He’s this alpha male, who has buckled underneath his father’s demands and yet refuses to leave Natalya alone. There were moments where it felt as if Thorn was purposely baiting and making Natalya crazy with jealousy and want. He never takes a step back and always finds himself in the middle of her business as if he wants her to rely on him, even when she cannot have him. Madison tries to explain this away and make it seem that no matter what his situation, he loves her and must help her. Unfortunately, I’d made my mind up about Thorn since book 1. Also, Nick really comes through when Thorn is off being a pack wolf.
Love triangles aside, the story progresses in a way that did not stun me. I thought that Natalya’s journey to help her family was interesting, but as a whole I wasn’t wowed. There are new creatures introduced in this book, but I felt I was more interested in learning more about the creature we’ve already met. I wanted to know more about nymphs, muses and mermaids. Still, we’re introduced to the fae and Madison’s vision of them is very interesting. They are terrifying, vengeful and powerful. They have powers that could keep you up at night and at moments I was happy to see their power at work.
Despite being slightly disappointed, I will continue this series. Huge events take place at the end of this story and I really want to see where Madison is going to take her characters from this point. ...more
There are many werewolf/pack/shifter stories out there. Many of those stories have multiple supernatural creatures like fae, witches and necromancers. What makes Shawntelle Madison’s debut series “Coveted,” stand out is her unique, completely messed up and incredibly entertaining characters. This book has a motley crew of obsessive compulsives, hoarders and germaphobes. Natalya, the heroine of this story, is at the top of the dysfunctional pyramid being in possession of all three.
This book is action packed with battle scenes, malicious attacks and even a hoard of zombie warriors. The writing is entertaining and flows so wonderfully from page to page, that it’s easy to breeze through and difficult to put down. In just about every version of werewolf fantasy novels, the Pack is portrayed as old school, incredibly brutal and not at all fair. The pack in “Coveted,” is no different. What is different is the quite compelling idea of how a werewolf with a mental disorder as debilitating as OCD, is not only treated, but viewed in this tough animal like world.
The story begins with the return of Natalya’s ex-boyfriend, Thorn. From the first moment his name is mentioned, it’s clear that Thorn is a trigger of Natalya’s condition. Her anxiety and discomfort grows just from the mention of his name. The minute he appears, all goes south. It’s easy to say, “well, that’s love,” but Madison takes her character to a different level of complexity. While Natalya is pleased at his return, she is terrified that he will see what she has become.
Natalya’s OCD is viewed as more than just a weakness. It is seen as a potential threat to the pack. She is more than ignored or abused, Natalya was tossed aside due to the pack’s inability to understand or help her. Thorn’s abandonment pushed her over the edge and allowed her disorder to swallow her up. His return forces her to face her issues and seek help. It is her desire to improve herself and regain access to her pack that pushes Natalya to join a quite awesome therapy group filled with supernaturals. The group ranges from a mermaid who is afraid of returning to the ocean to a dwarf who is too tall to find love within his own people. Their disorders and issues are wide ranging, faintly ridiculous to consider and yet so well mirrors real life problems.
In the midst of group therapy and reconnecting with her food addict best friend named Aggie, the werewolf pack from Long Island attacks. The Long Island pack takes the brutal and sneaky mode of action. The invading pack sneaks in kills the weakest and kidnaps beloved members of the pack for ransom. Being an rogue wolf and weak, Natalya is instantly marked for execution. While trying to keep her extremely neat world in order, Nat is constantly under attack, spurned by her fellow wolves and getting mixed signals from Thorn.
What follows is an incredibly entertaining story that ends with a battle so awesome and engaging, you will be cheering on these characters to the end. Throughout, there are moments of injustice, amusing Russian family dinners and adventures with an intriguing white Wizard, named Nick. ...more
“Entangled” moves at a pace that can only be described as whirlwind. Graylee is in bed, then she’s in her last class and then she’s at the dinner table. No transitions or segue. The author puts us in a scene and tells us whatever plot point she wants the reader to know and then moves us to the next scene or plot point. No finesse or flow. Graylee just bounces around the book until it comes to its incomprehensive end.
What must be applauded about this book, besides its beautiful cover, is the author’s vision of magic. “Entangled” is a very unique and different twist to witchcraft, the afterlife and possession. The magic that Raj is capable of is fascinating. The descriptions of the way that magic works, the healing process and the magic that brings Graylee back to life is new and unlike any other paranormal series.
Unfortunately, what Nikki Jefford wants her reader to understand about magic and magic users is unclear. Does magic or the power of witchcraft only come to those who are evil, morally bankrupt, stupid or crazy? That’s the way it seems. Every magical character Graylee comes across is ridiculously stupid, unaccountably selfish or certifiably insane. While on the subject of magic, it would be great to understand where the magic comes from. What makes someone a witch or a warlock, how do they discover their magic and how do covens work? None of this is explained. There are covens and those covens have rules. There is also a code that every magic user must swear to follow, but it is not clear why this code is there and who enforces it. There is no exposition of this world whatsoever.
The characters in this book are extremely foolish. Yes, this is a Young Adult novel, but by the age 16 or 17 you have a concept of why it is that you do the things that you do. There is no reason behind the actions of everyone from the hero to the villain of this book. If there is reasoning then Jefford is holding back until later books in the series. The conflict between Graylee and her sister Charlene started way before the book begins, but the reason this conflict has started is unknown. Is it jealousy or simple sibling rivalry? For a character to be three-dimensional their actions have to stem from emotions and feelings beyond simple jealousy. What did Graylee do to make Charlene hate her so much? Did is happen after their father that is never talked about or mentioned, died? Or was it the actions of their extremely weak and ridiculous mother?
One of the biggest issues with this book has to be the mother of these twins. She is an incredibly weak, foolish and a huge pushover. From the first chapter the twins run amuck and the mother does nothing. Charlene’s boyfriend breaks up with her and she is allowed to just mope around in her room, make magical threats and skip school, because her adolescent heart has been broken. The mother is completely ignorant of what is going on with her children. That can be said for most parents in YA, but at least other parents understand and know what their children are capable of. Mrs. Perez has no idea what kind of children she has raised and allows monstrous personalities to bloom under her own roof.
Then there is the love story. To call Graylee and Raj a love story would be a stretch. There is no build up or getting to know you section of this book. Suddenly, after years of knowing her, Raj is all about Graylee. He sees her use magic and all of a sudden he just knows she is the one for him. Reading YA and even adult romances can sometimes be tiresome, because authors don’t believe in allowing their characters to fall in love. Raj could have seen Graylee do magic and been intrigued enough to want to get to know her. Nope, he’s just into her. Just like that. Why do they like each other? Doesn’t matter, because the author didn’t give the audience anything to work with. They just become partners in crime and Graylee trusts him with all her secrets.
In fact, Graylee trusts every cute boy who smiles at her with her secret. Graylee comes back from the dead. It doesn’t matter that her soul is entangled with that of her sister’s, she is alive. It takes a lot of magic and probably some dark arts to accomplish something that huge. It doesn’t take a magical witch in a coven to understand that, but these characters run around telling this huge secret as if it’s hot gossip. Why are they so trusting? No reason, it just pushes the plot along. Characters are even capable of guessing the impossible, as if dead girls come back to life and inhabit their twin sister’s bodies all the time.
“Entangled” is a perfect example of a fantastic concept with a sloppy execution. Sloppy, might be too harsh a word, but this book feels like a first or second draft. It doesn’t feel fine tuned, polished or complete. The writer definitely needed to take more time to flush out her characters, her descriptions and her plot points.
The impossible has happened to Jessica McClain. She just became the first full blooded female werewolf and it is going to change her life forever. And not for the better. She is one of a kind and quite frankly the supernatural community does not take kindly to change. Most of her pack thinks she is an abomination and other powerful beings are interested in her. Like, they are kill or kidnap interested in her. Jessica quickly learns that she cannot avoid her problems; she has to face them head on and hopefully kill them.
“Full Blooded” is an interesting read, because some aspects are done well and other aspects…not so much. “Full Blooded” is Ms. Amanda Carlson’s first novel and it shows. Her world building is pretty great. I felt that I understood the way things work in Jessica’s world and it added to the anticipation and tension of my experience. I knew how things were supposed to work so when they broke down I could imagine how the world would react.
I LOVED everything with the wolves. The myth, the fear of the unknown and their varying reactions to Jessica were fun, interesting and just fascinating to me. Once the pack got very involved halfway in, I was really into it. It’s just that in the last act of the book everything explodes and it made no sense to me.
This is the real problem with this book. Carlson’s storytelling abilities could use some work. The story is there, buy the delivery left something to be desired. There was a lack of foreshadowing that made twists seem to come out of nowhere, which made the story feel weak. For example, vampires play a major role in the end of this book, but until they appeared 75% into the book I had no idea they existed in this world and not because Jessica didn’t know. No, it felt like they just forgot to tell us of the existence of vampires! Then we find out that not only do vamps exist….they have some kind of a history with the wolves. That would have been nice to know earlier in the story when the world was being set up.
Then there are the characters. I realized that I was reading this book because I liked the world and wanted to know what was going to happen and not because I cared much for the characters. For some reason my opinion of Jessica is still out for deliberation. We are in her head and we are experiencing what she lives through, but I don’t know Jessica. She seems to be a formula:
Part sarcasm + part vulnerability + all badass =urban fantasy heroine.
This works, but how does Jessica feel about the fact she is suddenly a wolf? I don’t know. People she has known all of her life may want to kill her, does that make her angry? Sad? Is she devastated or disappointed? I have no idea and there lies the rub.
Then there are the side characters. For example, the legend of Rourke vs. Rourke. They are not equal. When people are warning Jessica about Rourke he hasn’t actually appeared, but the warnings made him sound sexy and just all around badass. I was a bit disappointed when he was officially introduced. His interaction with Jess lacked finesse and her reaction to him was just like ‘oh hot guy alert.’ Not the ‘Omg here is a new Adam Hauptman, Curran, Ethan Sullivan or Bones for you urban fantasy fans to feast your eyes on.’ Within the end of their first appearances I knew I was in love with those guys. Rourke felt like a man not completely developed. Not completely defined and kind of a copy of the men listed above.
At the end of the day this book is very enjoyable. I am just not blown away. Still, it has enough potential and I am always more lenient on first time authors because they will learn from their first attempt. This series has the potential to be great. I am really interested to pick up it’s sequel which is titled “Hot Blooded.”
Recommended for fans of Mercy Thompson and Coveted series, readers of Urban Fantasy and fans of werewolves....more