Poison Promise is the eleventh book (eleven!) in Jennifer Estep’s excellent Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series. I always look forward to reading a new installment from this series because, simply, it’s excellent. I love these books, these characters and these stories.
I am always amazed how easy it is to fall back into one of these books. Part of that is how wonderfully these characters are written and how they grip you completely while you are reading. It’s also due to the fact that Jennifer does not spend 1/3 of a new book rehashing events from past books. I am grateful for that because if you are a religious follower of a series, you don’t need to spend that much time being reminded of things.
Gin is such a great character. We have watched her grow and mature so much over the course of the series. It takes strong writing chops to make readers not only sympathetic towards but also adore a character who is an assassin. Jennifer does just that. Gin is one of my favorite characters to read because she is very intelligent, loyal, independent and strong.
Finn is always a character I look forward to running into. He is serious when he needs to be but most of the time he provides the comic relief. Owen is yummy as always and all of the other supporting character we look forward to seeing are all accounted for and still doing great. Well, there was one character I wanted to smack a time or two…and it’s not who any of you would expect.
Bria was dealing with some pretty insane resentment and revenge issues and was so not herself in this book. I actually didn’t like her much in this installment. At all. No, she was not supposed to be liked or anywhere near her usual self so in that respect, she was written well, but that didn’t stop me from wanting to shake her and ask her what the hell. She was completely selfish and I think Gin was a bit too forgiving of her. I’m curious to see if any of this will appear in the next book, but I feel not.
A new character is introduced in this book. Silvio is his name and man did he turn out to be a complete surprise. And it looks like he’s sticking around. I am very interested to see what he brings to this close knit circle of friends and to Gin’s life in general. It will be interesting to say the least. But he is a solid character that I enjoyed reading and I am glad that his role is going beyond this one book.
As with any Elemental Assassin book, the pace is crazy-excellent in this book. And of course, there is a ‘final showdown’ near the end. I did find this dual to be a bit cartoonish but it was very entertaining nonetheless. I will say that how Gin er…’took care of things’ shall we say, was done in a way that was never seen before. Gone are the days of complete secrecy. And the way the final fight is done is all in an attempt by Gin to curve the attempts on her life. She is getting a bit tired of that and wants to do something about it. Not sure if it will work – we’ll have to wait until the next book, Black Widow, to see. But it was nice to see Gin try to take matters into her own hands. Not that she doesn’t do that normally…it’s hard to explain without giving too much away so to know what I am talking about you’ll all just have to read the book. ;)
The first five books in the series followed a very distinct story arc that finished in a climactic way in Spider’s Revenge. Since then each book has focused on discovering a popular supporting character’s backstory, developing Gin and Owen’s relationship and/or learning more about Gin all while solving a mystery or two. Well, it looks like that newer direction the series took is about to change. We have finally met a mysterious character who, up until know has only been known by their initials and never in person, and it looks like this might be the beginning of a new storyline – one with long-ish term potential. It will be interesting to see how Jennifer distinguishes this arc from the one in the first five books because on the surface, much seems the same. But when you look at clues here and there you see that things can get so much worst for Gin than ever before. Should make for some excellent reading.
Overall, I was very pleased with Poison Promise. Things are definitely not going to quiet down for Gin and her friends any time soon and I for one, am grateful for that. Is it bad that I want Gin to have crap to deal with? The more crap Gin encounters, the more books there will be and where Jennifer is contracted for 12 books total right now (so if you do the math, that makes the next book the end of her contract), I would not mind seeing this series go well beyond that.(less)
My jaw hit the floor, I giggled, I cried, I laughed and I balled. Repeatedly. This book was perfect and it ended the series perfectly. I am so proud o...moreMy jaw hit the floor, I giggled, I cried, I laughed and I balled. Repeatedly. This book was perfect and it ended the series perfectly. I am so proud of Sierra for being able to finish the series so well. Everything was dealt with and it all made sense. And even if you don't agree with Secret's ultimate choice, as far as the men are concerned, you will not be able to argue that the choice is good and it suits Secret well. One more time, this book was perfect. Full review closer to release date. 5plus stars. (less)
Shattered is the seventh book in Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles series, and the first to be offered in hardcover.
As usual, the story is busy and crazy and intense. But it’s also smart and witty and funny. Atticus is funny, yes, but the funniest character this time around has to be a long-lost man from Atticus’ past who happened to reappear at the end of the previous book. He’s been away for centuries and seeing him trying to acclimate to modern times is quite hilarious. But Kevin didn’t stoop so low as to make this character seem weak while trying to adapt and I was happy for that. One of the things I enjoy most about this series is how very clever and smart it is. It does not treat its readers as though they are simpletons. And it’s storylines and characters are never dragged down to an uncharacteristic level either.
Another of my favorite things about this series is how Kevin writes the supernatural creatures in his world. He adds such clever spins on them! We are introduced to the Yeti in this book and I just loved them. There are hints that they may be back in later books and I sure hope so.
I also absolutely love how the gods are portrayed in this series. In these books, all the gods are real and we have met many of them. And none are as you would expect them to be. Kevin adds such a human factor to them, even though it is completely obvious that they are most certainly not human. There are many scenes in this particular installment that show just how vulnerable these supreme beings truly are. These are the moments that ground you as a reader and show you just how relatable these characters are.
Shattered is told quite differently than any other book in the series to date. It is told from three different perspectives…and these perspectives tell pretty much three different stories. Atticus tells one story while on his journeys. Granuaile tells another story on her journey to find her father and battle demons and the mysterious stranger tells the last story. His is slightly intertwined with Atticus’ story but Granuaile’s is not. That’s right, Atticus and Granuaile are not together in this book, hardly at all, and I found myself missing that. It was nice to see that Granuaile is strong enough now that she can take care of herself on magical quests and such but I still missed watching her with Atticus. They are so amazing together – all mushy in their own non-mushy Shakespeare way – and I always look forward to reading their banter and of their travels. It was not horrible that Kevin chose to write the book this way, it was just different. I have no idea if the next book will be written this way too because certain events in this book suggest that time apart may be a good idea. As usual, I am left wondering what can possibly come next for our favorite Druids. I’m just happy they weren’t running or being chased a lot this time around. That was a nice change for the series.
I mentioned about how it was nice to see Granuaile and how strong she’s become. I am very impressed with how Kevin has written her character throughout this series. She has grown so much! There is one chapter in particular involving Granuaile and her father that made me tear up for her. The raw emotion she is feeling is written in a way that you feel it too. Completely. Kevin captured that perfectly.
Overall, Shattered felt like an important chapter in this series’ telling. We find out what Loki is up to and we see what other gods are prepared to do about it. It feels like a ‘setting-up-for-something-big’ book and I hope that it is. Because I would just love to see Atticus and Granuaile, along with Oberon and Orlaith (LOVE those hounds!) kick some Loki arse. These books and these characters are on my favorite list for a reason: they are brilliant. Clever writing and engrossing story-telling, it’s impossible not to get completely absorbed into the world Kevin has created. It’s a grand place to be and if you have yet to try it, I urge you to do so.
Cliffhangers. Some cliffhangers make you go “OMGOMGOMG!!!”. Some make you go “Oh dear God no, No, NOOOOOO!!!” and some others make you want to throw your book across the room. Some make you want to scream at the top of your lungs while others make you calmly put the book down, sit back in your chair and have you say “whoaaa”.
The end of this book will make you say “whoaaa”.
Sixth Grave on the Edge is the sixth book in Darynda Jones’ Charley Davidson series. This is easily one of my favorite series. I love the mysteries that are one of the focus points of the books, I love the supporting characters and how real they feel, I love Reyes and his relationship with Charley but mostly, I love Charley.
Charley is a character that is so much more than she appears to be. She comes across as flighty and undependable but really, she is loving, witty, loyal and smart. And boy is she funny. I love her humor. If readers don’t connect with this series it’s usually because of Charley’s humor. But for me, it’s just right. Very sarcastic and fun. Charley is the Grim Reaper and I really enjoy how that aspect of her is portrayed in these books. Very unique. In every book Charley learns something new about her abilities and it’s no different this time. I can’t wait to see all that she can do.
Reyes. Holy hell on a cracker is he ever sexy in this book. I mean, he’s always alluring and hot, and yes he is even always sexy, but this time around he is like sexy on steroids! Day-um! He is another character that is hard not to be drawn to. He’s just so gosh darn nice and amazing and hot and smart and… *sigh* I love Reyes.
Cookie is Charley’s best friend. She has always been a great friend to Charley but I found that in this book she steps it up a notch and is a super extra amazing friend. I love reading their friendship. They really are a super team.
As usual, the main story involves around a couple of mysteries that Charley, who is a PI, is trying to solve. I always find the mysteries to be very well written. They tend to completely grip you and keep you on the edge of your seat. This time around Charley is trying to find a demon who eats souls for a client who is missing his (love that demon character!) while she is trying to find someone who is in witness protection to ask her some questions. On top of her PI investigations, we have Reyes mysteries and Charley mysteries and Uncle Bob’s mysteries… There is, as usual, a whole lot going on but it never feels forced or too much. Darynda is excellent at weaving everything together and turning it into one smooth and highly addictive story.
Most of the time, the main mysteries are solved by the end of the books but this time around, there is one mystery that is not and it’s a doozy. It involves Charley’s dad…and that’s all I’m going to say about that.
Something else that stood out about this latest book for me were all the confessions. I almost want to call this “the confession book”. So many things come into light (ha! light!) and many from people I never expected confessions from!
In a past book, Rocket, another excellent character, explained a premonition he had. Not that we understood what it all meant but we do get a glimpse of what it was about in this book. And Ooo!
Speaking of past books, I am well aware that the last book ended with quite the jaw-dropping moment but I don’t want to tell you whether or not you will get an answer for that particular moment. I wouldn’t want to spoil anything…but I will say read this book because it’s worth it.
Back to Charley the Grim Reaper for a sec. How it works is, when they are ready, the departed can pass through her. As they pass, Charley can see their life through the departed’s memories. There is one particular ‘passing’ in this book that brought me to tears. It was just beautiful.
All in all, Sixth Grave on the Edge was an absolutely amazing read. These are stories and characters I have trouble parting with once I reach the end of the latest installment. In fact, I didn’t want to let them go this time around so I started listening to the audiobooks. I started with First Grave on the Right and am absolutely loving the narration and reliving the stories. This really is a stunning series and Darynda Jones is an incredibly talented author. For me, this series is a must-read.(less)
Julie: Then Came You is the fifth book in Jill Shalvis’ Animal Magnetism series. I am a late comer to this series, having started with the last book, Rumor Has It. Anne loved that book so much I knew I just had to read it. And after reading it I can see why it enchanted her the way it did. I may not have adored it as much as she did but it did draw me in enough to want to continue with the series and to one day go back and read from it the beginning. In this latest installment, we are back at the animal hospital to witness two doctors as they meet “again” and fall in love.
Anne: As Grif would say, “Jill, you never disappoint.” Well, it would be Kate, not Jill, but you get the idea. I get excited every time I know a new Jill Shalvis book is coming out. When I actually get it, I wriggle with joy and I want to read it right away. This series set in a small town, with animals, is wonderful. There is a new vet, Wyatt and a new vet intern, Emily, along with all the other folks I know and love.
I like Wyatt. He lives with his sisters and I find them fascinating. He is caring and giving and strong. I do find it annoying that he won’t express an opinion because he doesn’t want to influence the other person, since he wasn’t given choices when he was young.
Julie: I absolutely loved Wyatt’s relationship with his sisters. Some of my favorite scenes in the book involve him and his sisters even though I did find them eerily similar to Tara and Chloe in Jill’s Lucky Harbor series. But those two women are fantastic characters so to see their ‘twins-of-sort’ in this series was no bother. There is such love and admiration there and it’s all hidden under biting words and snarky remarks. Their scenes together were a lot of fun to read.
I agree with you about Wyatt. As much as I loved Wyatt, and I did really like him, I was also a bit frustrated at times with his incapability of telling people exactly how he feels and what he thinks. Yes, I understand the ‘why’. I know it’s because of his childhood and how his parents carted him around to wherever they felt like going, but c’mon. You’re an adult now. I just thought that by now he would understand how choices are really made and how they really work.
Anne: The private scenes with Emily and Wyatt together are just ridiculous enough; they are funny. They do work well together and treat each other well. I also adore the backdrop of their families.
I understand Emily. Sometimes a person needs to have a somewhat rigid plan to get through hard things in their life. She does what normal, good people do. They do the best they can, make the best of what they have. I do this myself, focus on the tasks and stuff down the emotions. It’s easier to live in your head than your emotions. And sometimes when you feel so strongly after holding it all back for so long, it overflows. Emily can’t stop herself and how she feels about Wyatt. It’s not in her plan. But she IS with him.
Julie: I am also someone who has trouble when “the plan” isn’t followed so I did understand Emily. Sometimes we just need the other person to say specific words to make our feelings real. And when we don’t hear what we need, we don’t have the fuel to change ‘the plan’. I liked Emily a lot. She was so cute! And I too really enjoyed their scenes together.
As much as I really enjoyed Emily and Wyatt, what I did not appreciate was Evan. I didn’t find him necessary to the advancement of the story and often wondered what he was even doing there.
Anne: That whole part of the plot was not needed, other than to give the story something other than a sexy romance, with two people working out their various personal issues with their family and friends in the mix. I guess overall it was maybe a little too real life, in that respect, since there was not huge drama, other than the internal issues both Wyatt and Emily faced. I don’t mean to minimize anyone’s issues but they weren’t life-threatening. They were more like preconceived notions formed as children which they had both outgrown as adults, once the ideas were examined.
Julie: You are exactly right. The whole Evan plot felt like it was thrown in there just to add drama that someone felt the story was missing. But that person wasn’t me and I really felt it did nothing for the story except take time away from Emily and Wyatt. I don’t know why sometimes people think there has to be a ‘big bad’ in every book. Sometimes just the issues inside a hero or heroine’s head are enough of an obstacle for the couple to overcome.
That being said, I don’t feel like every single scene in a book needs to advance the story to be effective. Jill wrote quite a few scenes in this book that did not add to the plot or bring the story forward. What they did do is add a layer to the character the scene featured. I loved this! I felt these scenes could have been seen as ‘slower’ moments in the story but for me, they added so much! They helped make Emily and Wyatt so much more real for me.
Anne: I completely agree. Not every scene needs to advance the plot. It is great to add depth to the characters. OK, I have to say this. There were just a few sentences of Grif and just that made me shiver with pleasure. I’m not sure I will ever get over Grif. A glimpse of him was my favorite part of the book! Ridiculous but I’m that attached to him.
Julie: It’s great that you are still so attached to Grif! It means that Jill did a great job with the hero from the last book. She really does write great heroes and heroines.
Anne: This book was a great addition to the series. It added some new characters to this wonderful little town. It sets up things for possible future couples with people about whom I definitely want to know more. I’m thinking of you, AJ. And any book by Jill has the sweet sexyness and humor which are so satisfying.
Julie: I’m with you. Then Came You was a really sweet book. It has a similar vibe to Forever and a Day, my all time favorite Jill Shalvis book, so I was all over that. Jill really does have a knack when it comes to writing this genre. All of her characters feel like people you could easily meet at the grocery store or at work and her stories feel like tellings of events anyone could go through. Her books are relatable with a side of fun and fantasy and Then Came You fits that description perfectly.
No Accounting For Cowboys is the second book in Leah Braemel’s The Grady Legacy series. I have to say that I had a lot of trouble clicking with this book. That probably mostly has to do with the fact that this is a book number two and that I did not read book number one before picking this one up.
Now, before you all scold me (which I know you are mentally doing right now ;)) I must defend my actions. I was told that this is a stand-alone book and that I would be fine not having read book one. But the more I read the more I think that isn’t quite true. I am a detail and character driven reader and where I don’t feel I missed much on the character development side of things, I do believe I missed a lot in the ‘why would such and such be doing such a thing’ side of things and the ‘why is he such a douche and why is there so much friction between these two’ side of things. Yes, things are explained-ish but I feel I needed more. I needed to witness the whole situation first hand and not just hear about it after the fact.
Jake is the hero of this book. He is a rancher and a budding country music musician. This really is Jake’s book. What I mean by that is yes, there is a romance and yes we do get to know Paige quite a bit, but I felt that the real focus of the book is Jake and where he is in his life, having to make some pretty serious decisions. I didn’t mind this. I felt this was a slightly different sort of contemporary romance.
Where with your ‘usual’ romance, you get to know the hero and the heroine equally with the focus truly being on both of them. But in this book, you get to know Paige but you follow Jake. Is that making any sense lol? I found this to be an interesting way to write a contemporary romance. Almost fresh. And Jake is a good guy. I just wish he was going through his own crap and not just recycling the crap his brothers and family went through in the first book.
From what I gather through this book, it seems that a lot of the major plot points from book one repeated themselves in this book just with different characters living through them. I found this a bit odd. I mean, there are tons of challenges that our poor hero could have gone through. He could have lost a toe in a tragic cow riding incident or found out he was really half Canadian. But instead betrayal was had, feelings were hurt, conclusions were jumped to and fighting ensued…and all revolving around pretty much the same issues as in book one. As I said, odd.
I liked Paige. I didn’t quite grasp the severity as I feel I was supposed to of her being from one family and Jake being from another (it was an attempt at a Romeo and Juliet sort of thing) but again, that may have been because I missed the first book. I liked her strength and her personality. I feel she meshed well with Jake even though I didn’t quite feel crazy chemistry between the two. But their rapport was good.
Overall, even though I felt that the plotlines were somewhat recycled from the first book and the characters weren’t as magnetic as I like in my contemporary romance books, No Accounting for Cowboys wasn’t all bad. I enjoyed the insight into Jake’s budding music career and found that quite interesting. If you like ranchers and burgeoning country music stars, you may like this one. Just be sure to read book one first.
Shadows of Fate is the first book in the new Shadow Born series by Angela Dennis. In the world created for this book, humans are aware of paranormal creatures. They are also the minority. Nobody wants the humans to become extinct so a special ‘peace keeping’ unit was created and everyone tries to live in a semblance of peace. I have not read many books where the paranormal creatures outnumber the humans so, for me, that was a neat little twist. What was also very unique was that paranormal creatures come from parallel dimensions and have crossed to Earth during The Fall, a war where the Veil was compromised.
Not that we learn or read much about the humans in this world. This book definitely focuses on the supernaturals. Brenna is a Shadow Bearer. She has magic and hunts/fights demons for the IRT (the ‘police’). She starts off coming across as quite the badass with a huge heart yet we learn quickly enough that she also has a very vulnerable spirit. She has not had an easy life. She was banished to the earthly plane as punishment for something she had no control over doing almost one hundred years ago. But she is strong and has carved out a life for herself here. She is the type of character you want to see do well and strive. I enjoyed reading her quite a bit even though I found her character swayed from strong to unsure a little too easily at times.
Gray is another Shadow Bearer and has pretty much come out of nowhere. Brenna thought she was the only Shadow Bearer on Earth for almost a century but then nope, up comes Gray. I did have a bit of trouble connecting with him in the beginning as his character was sort of thrown into the story. He suddenly starts almost bossing Brenna around and what surprised me is she mostly lets him. They have a history yet I didn’t quite feel this. As I mentioned, I like Brenna and I did grow to like Gray but I didn’t quite feel Brenna and Gray together. The chemistry was a little short for me.
Who the ultimate bad guy is sort of surprised me but not really at the same time and the story leading up to his reveal was solid. People close to Brenna are dying and she needs to figure out why and who is responsible. This book is a bit on the darker side so many people die quite horribly. But the why behind it all is interesting to discover. This book was definitely filled with twists. None of which particularly surprised me but again, fun to read.
Being the first in a new urban fantasy series means there are a lot of details shared with readers in order to set up the characters and the world. I have to admit that sometimes it was a bit much and other times, it’s like there wasn’t enough information. Some things didn’t quite fit while others found me thinking ‘okay, we know already’. I feel all of this was because this is a book one and that things will balance out in the next installment, Fading Light, due to release September 23rd 2014.
There were many interesting side characters that really added to Brenna’s character development and to the story as a whole. Sam, Mira, Seraph and Heidi all intrigued me and kept me reading.
Overall, I found Shadows of Fate to be a decent beginning to a new urban fantasy series. The bones are solid. I feel if the author builds the main characters, makes them more solid, and smooths out some details here and there, this series holds the potential to be great.
What is the first thing I did after finishing Against the Dawn, the fourth book in Amanda Bonilla’s Shaede Assassin series? I went to my good friend twitter and sent this message to Amanda:
@amandabonilla #youareevil That is all ;)
She responded by telling me that she knew but that I still loved her and she was right. After reading a book as exciting as this, it’s hard not to.
I have to say that for me, this book was filled with poor first impressions that change dramatically throughout the book.
Darian. First impression in this book was that she went through a horrible ordeal in the last book and she’s dealing. But she is bordering on not dealing well which means she’s letting it get to her…which to me didn’t suit. Next impression was that she is doing great and is finally learning that opening up to people does not make you weak. She understands where her heart is and where her loyalties lie and won’t budge from that. She continues to be a strong character that I enjoy reading…even though it would be nice if she was able to catch a break every once in a while. *grin*
Xander. First impression was that he is a spoilt child who is pouting because he is not getting what he wants. Next impression was pretty much the same thing. I just didn’t understand why no is not no for him and why he is putting everything on the line! I really didn’t get that. But my final impression of Xander was OMG! Now I am actually thinking I may have been a bit, *gulp*, wrong about him. Don’t get me wrong – I will never be on team Xander – but I was still shocked by him and now I need the next book.
Lorik. First impression was that he is a selfish man stuck in the life of a college aged boy. Next impression is that he is a bit of a jerk. Final impression was…more of the same with a bit of wha’??? thrown in. Lorik blindsided me and now I need the next book.
Tyler. First impression was that he is awesome. Next impression was that he is awesome. He is so good for Darian!!! He’s a Jinn and I just absolutely adore how Amanda writes her Jinns. So unique and interesting. And Tyler is so drool worthy.
There are a few other characters that were awesome from the beginning and remained so to the end. Asher, oh how I love that guy! I want him to have his own novella with a HEA because I am dying to learn even more about him and I feel he deserves to be happy, romance novel style. There is also Raif who is a great friend to Darian. He is someone else who I want to read more about…and I believe that is in the works already. If not, it should be ;)
I was happy to see Tyler’s novella tie in here and there in this book. Lost to the Gray was released last year and where I don’t feel you need to read it to be in the know for this (or even the last) book, it definitely sheds some light on a few things. And it makes you smile when you realize there are connections. That’s also where you first meet Kaii.
Kaii. Holy cow could there be a more mysterious character?! Okay, yes, I am aware that there are a few extra mysterious characters out there is literary land but this one…well you don’t even know if Kaii is male or female! I want more and I want to know more now.
The story was crazy in a very good way. It went this way, it went that way, always keeping you guessing and always making you wonder how everything ties in and the why behind it. Very well done.
The reason why I wanted to tweet Amanda and give her sh*t was because the way this book ended…the way this book ended…THE WAY THIS BOOK ENDED! And that is all I’m going to say about that.
Overall, I was very happy with Against the Dawn. It was a wonderful continuation of this series. I honestly have no idea where the story is headed and I can’t wait to join Darian in the next installment to see just what is going to happen next.
Black Rook is the first book in a shiny new series by Kelly Meade. For those of you who don’t know, Kelly Meade is actually Kelly Meding, author of some of my favorite urban fantasy tales. If you are wondering why the name change, tune in tomorrow at the same time and same place. I interviewed Kelly and my first question is about this very topic.
The Cornerstone Run trilogy is about a group of loup garou but mostly focuses on the McQueen family. This is slated to be a trilogy and each book will focus on a son of the Alpha. We have Rook, Bishop and Knight. Black Rook is, you guessed it, Rook’s story.
Oh, and I was forgetting to mention that this is a paranormal romance series so where the overall story will be continuing from book to book, each installment will have its own HEA. In this case, her name is Brynn and she is a Magus.
The story starts off with Brynn traveling to visit Rook and his family because she foresaw in a vision that her father was going to be murdered and it looked like Rook is slated to be the killer. What a way to meet someone, eh?! Where sometimes wolf shifters are portrayed as being rash and violent, I enjoyed how logical and intelligent Kelly’s were. Rook and his family trusted Brynn and helped her decipher what she saw. And in turn, she helped them. It’s a nice relationship and it really made it easy for me to like the loup garou of the Cornerstone Run.
I enjoyed Brynn. It’s easy to think of her as weak or meek when you first meet her as she is shy, way out of her element and used to being told her abilities are unreliable, but as you read on you see that there is definite strength there. And the twist about her background and her link to the villains was well done. Can’t say I saw much of that coming when I cracked open this book.
Rook was an alpha-male but not too hardcore and I appreciated that. I think if he were too gun-slinging-action-movie-hero it just wouldn’t make sense with Brynn. Rook is not sure of his future. Not only is he the youngest McQueen boy but he is also technically slated to become the next Alpha. But his brother Bishop has been training to be Alpha his whole life where Rook has been a musician. Rook has to decide whether or not he truly wants to be in charge and ‘take’ the position away from Bishop. The reason Bishop would not really have a say is because Rook is a black wolf where Bishop is a gray wolf…and I’ll get into the color thing in a bit.
I found the story to be very interesting and very…Kelly Meding/Meade-ish. Meaning it was quick and crazy and people died and things came up that made you wonder where the hell the idea for such a thing came from. When I finish one of Kelly’s books my first thoughts are usually muffled by my head banging on a wall and it was no exception this time around. Of course I mean all this in the very best of ways. But I will say that it was maybe a bit less severe seeing that there was a romantic HEA thrown in. That made the story have a sense of closure, even amid the chaos of the ongoing storylines.
Kelly did put her own spin here and there on her shifters to make them her own. My most favorite thing was how she used the color of the wolf to indicate where he or she stands in the pack and his or her strength. You have black wolves who are enforcers and Alphas, gray wolves who are considered common and white wolves who are calming and a huge asset to any run. The white wolf was the most intriguing of them all to me and in this case, that would be Knight. His book is last and I can’t freaking wait. But I don’t feel I will fret too much because Bishop’s book is up next and due out in October 2014. I am very curious to see how his story will pan out. We have already met Bishop’s HEA and right at this moment I can’t see how the hell they are actually going to be able to have a happy ending. But such is Kelly’s way – twisting and turning our brains until it is inside out only to fix everything back into place after telling one hell of a story.
So overall I really enjoyed Black Rook. The McQueen family is wonderful and I look forward to spending a couple of more books with them. This series is a PNR series but it reads a bit more like an urban fantasy story with a side of romance. And seeing that UF is my favorite genre, I was completely okay with that. Kelly shows us that, no matter what name she writes under, she is an exceptional storyteller, layering characters, stories and action like a dream. Fans of shifter, fans of Kelly Meding, fans of urban fantasy and fans of romance with a side of kick ass should give this series a try. It’s well worth it.(less)
Bitten is the first book in Kelly Armstrong’s hugely popular Women of the Underworld series. I am going to keep this review on the shorter side since I feel I’m the only one in the world who had not read this series up to now ;)
Let’s start by chatting about Elena. She possessed all of the qualities I like in a UF heroine. Strong, smart, vulnerable and full of growth potential. I like how she is fighting the losing battle of leading a ‘normal’ life. I liked her coming to terms with things and look forward to seeing what is next for her. What she goes through emotionally is very well written. You truly feel like you are inside her head, living what she is living and feeling what she is feeling.
Clay. Let me be honest with you. I have heard about this gentlemen for ages. “Clay is yummy.” “Clay is drool-worthy. ” “I want to lick Clay.” These are just some of the things I was told about Clay. But when I first started reading, I did not feel this way about him. I actually found him a bit annoying because he acts like a spoilt child! But as you keep reading, you learn the ‘why’ behind what he does and says and things start to make more sense.
There was not a build-up to Clay and Elena’s relationship because there was already a past there. I did miss that though – I like witnessing the ‘dance’. But they have insane chemistry and I can see how they can end up as being one of my favorite UF couples.
Jeremy was a very strong character and I liked the other members of the North American werewolf pack. And Phillip leaves me wondering if this is the last we’ll see of him or if there is more there to know. It can really go either way so I guess I’ll keep reading to find out.
What all of the characters have in common is how they were written. I am noticing that Kelley has a knack at bringing her characters to life. And I’m not just talking about flat people on a page that you follow as they eat, sleep, have sex and so on. Kelley’s characters jump off the page and grip you as though they were in the room with you. A very important talent when writing UF and Kelley definitely possesses it.
The story is very interesting. Tons of action and twists and turns. I like the world and how Kelley wrote her werewolves. And the lore is interesting.
I was warned that this book was filled with information. Not completely surprising seeing that it’s the first in an urban fantasy series. But yes, I did notice that there is quite a bit of info dump in this one. However I did enjoy how the dumping occurred. It was not only done at the beginning of the book. It sprinkled in the first half – I would say – and done by some characters explaining things out loud, by Elena flashbacking and by just witnessing Elena’s observations of what and who is around her. So even though the info drop is big, how it was presented made it bearable.
After reading Bitten, I am very drawn by Elena and Clay and want more of them. I know that this series changes its focus in later books but right now I can’t fathom wanting to read about people other than Clay and Elena. I will mostly likely change my mind as I get more into these books but right now, that is where my head is at. As of now, I am liking the characters and the premise. I want more. And isn’t that the ultimate sign of a good first book in a series.
Searching for Perfect is the second book in Jennifer Probst’s Searching For… series. I have to say that in no means do I find this author’s writing to be flawless. There are quite a few thing that sort of make me scratch my head in her books. But there is something about her stories that keeps me coming back. Her characters, although not incredible, are strong enough that I always find myself thinking of them after I put the book down and want the best for them. So for those reasons, I keep reading.
This book tell the story of Kennedy and Ned. Kennedy works for Kinnections, a matchmaking agency, along with the heroines from books one and three. Ned…well Ned is a rocket scientist. An actual rocket scientists. Girls who turn to goo over extra geeky characters, proceed to do so now.
Ned is the ultimate geek but is he ever captivating! He had me shaking my head, giggling like crazy and wanting to hug him all in one scene. And man, when he and Ken get it on…he is h.o.t! I completely enjoyed him.
Kennedy is also a strong character. I liked her in the first book and that certainly has not changed in this second one. I found she possessed many of the characteristics that I look for in a contemporary romance heroine. She is damaged but not so much so that is became daunting to read her.
The main issue I had with this book was that nearing the end, it was almost a carbon copy of the first book in the series. Ned is tired of being alone at the end of his long days and is looking for someone to be serious about. He decides to try out a speed dating event that Kinnections is hosting. That is where he meets Kennedy, who is organizing it. She spots him and sees that he needs desperate help. They spend lots of time together and grow closer until sex happens and love follows. But Kennedy does not feel worthy. Those of you who have read the first book see the pattern here. The only difference is that book one has the hero feeling unworthy and this time around it’s the heroine. But, when sh*t hits the fan, the heroines keep working, looking for the perfect woman for the men they are in love with. Yum…yeah… Great that they are professional and all but does it really have to be the same in both books?! Will it be the same in the next one too? And that part, the part where the heroine is miserable while the hero goes out on tons of dates, dragged a bit too much for me in this installment. Thinking back, I found that there were quite a few similarities between the author’s Marriage books. Maybe writing similar plots from book to book is the way she writes a series… But it was a little frustrating for me to read.
Fans of Jennifer’s Marriage to a Billionaire series will rejoice as there are cameos from pretty much every major character in that series. And we see quite a bit of Gen and Wolfe! I am dying for their book and hope upon hope it comes soon. To be teased about them in two series…not fair but very effective lol.
Overall, I did enjoy Searching for Perfect. I actually found this to be Jennifer’s strongest book (of the ones that I read) to date. As I said, I can’t put my finger on why but there is something about these books that keep me coming back for more…even though they almost all read the same. I really liked Ned and I found he and Kennedy together was fantastic. Great chemistry. I can’t find any info about book three but when I do, I will certainly add it to my to-read pile. This series is a good weekend/beach read. Something you don’t have to invest much time or effort in but that will leave you smiling in the end.
I have no idea what to rate this book. In order to decide, I am doing something I don’t think I’ve done before while rating a book from a long-running series: I am going to Goodreads and looking at how I rated past books. While looking at each book’s rating, I am asking myself “Did I like this one more or less than that one?” Hopefully with that, by the end of this review I will have a rating I feel comfortable sharing.
The King is the twelfth book in JR Ward’s hugely popular Black Dagger Brotherhood. This series has been called ‘crack’ because of it’s addictive qualities but I am left to wonder if many will ‘get clean’ after this book and settle on a non-BDB life. I am telling you now, I am not one of them. I will read the next book, but I may skip some scenes because there are a few characters that I really don’t care about. They are unlikable and flat in my opinion and I just…don’t care. This is also one of those series that people either love with a passion hotter than the summer sun or hate with the same passion. A good example of this: I once asked Jason to read the first book, Dark Lover, to review it for the blog. I thought it would be amazing to get his point of view on it. Well, he never made it past the first 6 pages! Couldn’t get into the slang and found it too violent. *snort* But I, after discovering this series shortly after the release of Lover Avenged (book 7), stocked up on boxed meals for my family the day a new BDB book came out so I could just read read read. The butterflies the morning of a new release were intense!
And because there is tons to talk about in this latest book, this review will be long. Just a heads up lol.
The tone of the book. Let’s start here. This is a very different book for this series. There is some fighting, yes, but it’s minimal and not extra exciting. That means the tone is not as ‘high-octane’ as most of the other books. I actually didn’t mind that. I was starting to feel like the fighting was getting the same from book to book.
“Advertising”/name-dropping. I am not very knowledgeable when it comes to fancy brand/designer name things so most of Ward’s ‘product placement’ went way over my head. But it was there and it was abundant. I know the reason is to make us see that a) these guys are wealthy and can get whatever they want and b) to make the World even more vivid and real. Easier to relate to and envision. But there is a limit and Ward pretty much reached it by the 50% mark of this book.
Plotlines. This time we have the Warth and Beth and the kingship thing, we have the Trez and Selena and the Shadow queen’s daughter thing, we have the Xcor and Layla thing, we have the glymera and Band of Bastards doing annoying things thing, we have the Assail and Sola and her kidnapping continuing from the last book thing, we have JM and the seizures thing, we have the Wrath’s parents thing and to top it off, we have a little bit of iAm and a little bit of Lassiter. *takes deep breath* So yeah…just a few things going on. (see 573 pages)
The slang. I didn’t find it as annoying this time which is a good thing. Except for ‘abso’. Do people actually say that instead of ‘absolutely’? I don’t think I’ve ever heard it. Maybe it’s a U.S. thing…
The prologue. I was quite confused at first but then the twist is revealed and bam! I found it quite smart.
Now, let’s get into characters. Let’s start with one that actually surprised me -
Wrath. I have always liked him but I can’t say I ever absolutely adored him. But after this book, he has grown on me a lot and the reason is that he has finally matured as a character and grown up. I loved watching him evolve. Were some of these scenes a bit boring? Yup. But the end result was great. I am actually looking forward to seeing if he sticks to this ‘new Wrath’ in the next book because this is a good guy and a great king.
Beth. She’s cool. I like her. She is a good match for Wrath – I have always found this.
JM. What. The. Heck? He is in quite a few scenes and something is happening to him but it is never revealed WHY! Why not? Why have him go through all this only to drop it completely by the end of the book. Didn’t get that. At all.
Saxton. I really like him. A lot. I wasn’t even a huge fan of his in past books (I was indifferent I suppose) and I even thought he was being mounded into a problem-guy but all thoughts along those lines are gone. I like him.
Layla. I like how she has grown balls but she still has a way to go for me. Not sure how I feel about her and Xcor (still) but by the end of this book, I like how he is with her. I’m curious to see if he will continue to soften and if she will continue to un-soften. Maybe then I’ll actually picture them as a match.
Xcor. He is actually the subject of my ‘giggle worthy quote’! Who would have thought?! Also, he makes a decision at the end of this book that I’m happy with because really, it was getting tired. Hopefully he will stick to his decision and that it won’t just become someone else’s thing. Someone such as…
Throe. *sigh* Not sure I’m liking where his character is going. This worries me.
s’Ex. Yup. She went there. He’s…nothing new for this series. All sex and evil but is he really…you know the drill. He is undoubtedly be in the next book and I can’t seem to care either way. But ‘s’Ex’. Really?!
Assail. I just don’t care about this guy. He interested me a bit in the last book but in this one, not at all. I don’t understand why people are so in awe of him. And I don’t understand why Ward has him snorting up the coke. It cheapens him as a characters, if that is even possible. I like that he goes all macho alpha when around Sola, that is one thing about this series that makes me giggle in a good way, but after two seconds I’m over it and I’m back to ‘I don’t care’.
Sola. Same really. I don’t dislike her but I don’t enjoy her either. Can’t seem to find the love here. All I am curious about here is how Ward will make her and Assail able to have a HEA. I don’t care how they will get there, just how she will become immortal seeing that she is human now. And I like her grandmother. She’s fun.
Trez. I do like that he is maturing by the end of the book but…*sigh* I have always liked him in past books but in this book I didn’t feel much for him. Maybe the next book will change my opinion seeing that it’s about him and his brother.
Selena. Very curious about this one. I was wondering how Ward would make her different from Layla and we see how in The King. I find it very interesting and I’m glad that in the next book we’ll see it all play out.
iAm. OMGILOVEDHIMINTHISBOOK!!! There wasn’t much of him but when he was on the page, I paid attention. I smiled more for him than I think any other character in this book. And his scenes with Beth, aww….
“Goddamn Cat”. LMAO! Love it!!!
Lassiter. As usual, his scenes are memorable and hilarious. I didn’t like him much originally when first meeting him in this series because I found him to be just another character who was too full of himself but he has grown on me.
The scene which involves Lassiter. I can’t say much else without giving anything away, but let me tell you, this is the scene that made me both remember why I used to love these books so much and why I don’t seem to be feeling them as much anymore. The answer for both is the same: the Brother’s camaraderie. The Brothers and how they interact with each other, their loyalty and respect for each other, is what made the first few books in this series go great. That chemistry is hard to beat. In this scene with Lassiter, you see that friendship and bond again and it totally made my day. But it also reminded me how we don’t really have that anymore in this series. In order for this series to grow and keep going, Ward had to, of course, introduce new characters. Some, such as Qhuinn and Blay, fit it perfectly where others, such as Assail and the Band of Bastards, not so much. And the reason in my opinion is that these new characters – and their sidekicks – don’t have the same chemistry as the Brothers do. So that magic is missing from the characters that are carrying this series forward and that means from the books themselves.
So there you have it. My looooong review of The King. I didn’t dislike the book. I was not as cranky as some after reading it – but I didn’t love it either. I had to put it down once in a while, you know to eat and sleep and such, and found it was quite easy to put down. I remember reading Lover Mine and refusing to stop reading for anything. And I remember going to see Jason after I was done with it sobbing because the book was so great and I just couldn’t get it out of my head. Not so much this time around.
I will read the next book, The Shadows, but I will be honest with you: if I read a scene or two with Assail and Sola and find them as meh as in this book, I am skimming their scenes. And when I skim a book, it’s an automatic ‘less than 3 star rating’ from me. And I really hope it does not come to that because it would make me sad and I would miss this series if it gets to the point of feeling like work to read it and I’d have to give it up.(less)
What an adorable story! Falling for Max is the ninth book in Shannon Stacey’s cute Kowalski Family series. These books are filled with a very strong family and friends unit. You feel welcome into their fold every time you crack open a book. We have followed each and every Kowalski fall in love and with the past few books we are witnessing close family friends doing the same. This time around we follow the mysterious Max as he meets his ultimate mate in Tori.
At this point in the series, the mystery of ‘who and what is Max’ is a little less of a mystery since we find out what he does for a living in a previous book. It’s not nearly as malevolent as people of Whitford imagined it to be. Up until that moment, the joke was he was a serial killer since he works in his basement which is equipped with a security system and mostly keeps to himself. But not all of the small town residence know his job by the beginning of this installment so the jokes and speculations are still flying when this books starts off. I loved how, even though he’s shy and awkward, Max is able to go with the flow and even show a strong sense of humor when it comes to the rumors about him and his life.
That is one thing that surprised me about Max – his humor! What a wonderful sense of humor he has. And when he gets together with Tori, their banter is awesome. Tori is funny in her own right so they really do match up well there.
The premise of this book is a simple one: Max is feeling lonely and decides he needs to find a wife. He tries his hardest but he really is a bit gauche. He is so cute! Tori notices Max’s failure at talking to the opposite sex one day while working at the diner. She offers to help Max to feel more at ease talking to women. I have to say, I love this type of story. I love the shy and awkward man seeking the help of a friend. I love when they grow closer and then even closer only to eventually find out that they are perfect for each other and not for anyone else. It’s not a new idea but it’s one I enjoy when done well. And Shannon does it well in this book.
Max and Tori really are well suited and the chemistry is instant. I love how Max was a bit of a geek but not a computer geek like we see more and more in books these days. He was lovable and kind and very smart. If not a little stupid when it came to women. And Tori, watching her ‘get’ Max completely. Loved that.
We see all of your usual suspects from past books in this latest installment which is always nice. The way Shannon writes all of the residents of this small town makes you hope you see them all in each and every book and when you do, it’s like icing on the cake.
This is a book nine but you could get away with jumping right in with this one. Of course you won’t feel any excitement over seeing past characters but the main story is strong enough to stand without the past books. But if you like sweet contemporary romance books with light humor and wonderful happy endings then be sure to read the entire series. Books three, six and nine are my favorites.
All in all, Falling for Max was exactly what I hope a book by Shannon Stacey will be: sweet, light and fun. I really enjoyed watching Max grow more comfortable in his own skin. Tori doesn’t change him but she makes that he feels good and that was a great point for me. No one should have to change too much of themselves in order to find love and that that was the moral-of-sorts of this story made it all the better for me. I will be re-reading this book in the near future, I’m sure as it put a big smile on my face over and over.
Foretold is the first book in Rinda Elliott’s new Sisters of Fate young adult series. I am quite the fan of Rinda’s Beri O’Dell urban fantasy series. I find that series to be gripping and unique. I also love the depth with which she writes her characters. When I found out she was writing a YA series I thought I should check into it even though young adult isn’t one of my go-to genres anymore. And once I read the blurb, I wanted to read it. I knew that if Rinda put just half of what she puts into her UF series into this new one, Sisters of Fate and Foretold would be good.
And it was.
The Sisters of Fate series follows triplets who were each born with the soul of a Norse goddess inside them. This has given them the ability to see into the past, present and future. Their biggest fear is that once the end of the world begins, the goddess will take over their bodies and free will and they will essentially cease to exist as themselves. If that’s not enough, there is a prophecy stating that one of the girls will be killed by a warrior during the end of the world. Fun all around. Well, Foretold begins when the end of the world does. In this series, Raven, Coral and Kat are not only attempting to not be taken over by crazy goddesses but they are also trying to figure out what is up with their mother, who has vanished, on top of trying to find this warrior who could be wanting to kill them. They have three suspects where the warrior is concerned so they branch off, each sister searching one boy out. The sisters feel that, as they were born with a goddess’ soul, these men may have been born with a god’s soul.
Foretold follows Raven as she tries to find her ‘possible warrior’ Vanir, a boy with two wolves. There is an instant connection between Raven and Vanir. Their chemistry is intense. There is no sex in this book (because it’s YA after all) but the level of chemistry rivals many adult books that I have read. It is incredibly well written.
I really enjoyed Raven. Yes, she is a ‘teenager’ but she’s smart and knows what needs doing. She does not whine or annoy, which I really appreciated. Not once did I want to smack her and that is important to me while reading a YA heroine.
Vanir was good to read too. Yummy (for a teenager) and, as with Raven, not over the top. I also loved the relationship he had with this brothers. And the wolves, too cute.
The story is non-stop! A truly exciting ride. Made me hope that if there ever truly was an ‘end of the world’ that it does not go as it does in this book. It is not fun, people. Not fun at all. And to see how Vanir, Raven and her sisters cope with it all is great. And even though this is only book one, there is one hell of a twist (or five) and there is a bit of closure at the end of this one. I liked that. A bit of a breather before continuing on with the madness in the next book.
As you can tell, I was quite impressed with this book as a whole but the part that excites me the most is how this entire series will come together. Each sister will have her own book and much of each book takes place during the same timeline. So some of the phone conversations we see in Foretold, we will also relive in Forecast (the next book due out August 2014) and pieces of the first two books will appear in Foresworn when it releases, but we’ll see them from different points of view. That, to me, is really cool. So for that, and because this book was really good, I will definitely be checking out the next installment.
Overall, I truly enjoyed Foretold. I had a feeling Rinda would give us wonderful and thorough characters along with unique and interesting storylines and I was right. That is exactly what she did. I am thoroughly intrigued by this series and I look forward to reading more.(less)
Just One Night is the third book in Lauren Layne’s Sex, Love & Stiletto series. When I requested this title from NetGalley, it did not state that this was a book three. When I started reading it, I immediately noticed that there was some backstory to a few couples and thought to myself “it seems like these guys have already had their stories told”. I went to Goodreads to check and yup, the friends who are said to be madly in love had already had their books published. But finding this out didn’t make me feel lost or upset, it made me curious about how these friends’ HEA happened because I was drawn to the secondary characters in this book. They seem genuinely friendly, sassy, loyal and happy. And other than the ‘happy’ part, I felt the same way about Sam and Riley, the hero and heroine of this latest book.
When I started reading, I instantly liked Lauren’s voice. It really suits the genre and it held the fun and light quality – without coming across as flighty or silly – that I enjoy in a contemporary romance. I also liked the idea of this book because who doesn’t like a friends-to-lovers romance story. I think we’ve all been there, either as teenagers or as adults. Close friends with a boy and daydreaming about him one day seeing you in a new light and wanting to profess his undying love for you right then and there because he’s not sure how he held off this long… *dreamy sigh* Er… *shakes head*
But back to the book.
Riley is a writer for Stiletto magazine. She is their sex columnist and is good at her job yet she feels a bit like a fraud. You see, she’s only had sex once in her life and it was years ago. Why has she not been going at it with tons of guys? She is smart and beautiful, so what is the issue? Well, the issue is Sam. Riley has had a crush on her brother’s best friend for over a decade and just can’t seem to want to be with anyone but him. The issue is Sam has yet to notice Riley in ‘that way’. Or has he?… Riley finds out she is to write a story about the ‘real’ her and it sort of freaks her out. She decides to go after what she wants and asks Sam to give her one night so she can write about something real and not about something she made up, which she does not want to do. Of course, Sam says no, then yes, then no, then yes, then… You get the idea.
The idea, even though it is not something new to this genre, is fun. And watching Sam torture himself over whether or not to take Riley up on her offer makes for entertaining reading. Their chemistry is hot and their smexy scenes are really well written. I liked this book very much but…certain plot points did start rubbing me the wrong way after a while.
There is one thing in any book that drives me bonkers is when someone is hiding something from the other person that really does not need to be hidden. And if said thing would not be hidden, if they would just fess up and get on with things, it would make everything better for everyone. Riley hides from Sam that she is practically a virgin and lets him believe that she is essentially a woman who sleeps around a lot. Why? Why why why? This assumption of his hurts her. I didn’t get the secrecy and, for me, it caused unnecessary stress and sadness for Riley.
Sam also has something that confused me a bit and it’s primarily because there wasn’t enough information about him for this to make sense. At least, that’s my thinking. He is starting is own brewery and is afraid of actually getting it off the ground. Why? He’s afraid of failure and his mother is horrible and makes him feel like a nothing but still, why? I feel I needed a bit more elaboration about his decisions for them to make sense to me. And he was doing the whole ‘I promised Riley’s brother, my BFF, that I wouldn’t touch his sister so I have to avoid my true feelings’ thing. A lot. Also frustrating.
Other than that, I did enjoy Just One Night. It was a quick and fun read even with the issues I had with the story. I am very picky when it comes to my contemporary romance books and the issues I had with this book are issues I would have if written by any author in any book. Not just this one. So if the issues I had with this latest installment are things that don’t usually bother you in a romance story, check this book out. The author’s voice makes it worth it.
Night Owls is the first book in a shiny new urban fantasy series by Lauren M. Roy. It can’t be easy writing a new urban fantasy series these days because really, most things have been done. Crazy blood sucking vampires – done. Werewolves who are…wolfish – done. Witches, hunters, fighter, protectors – done. So where authors can’t really find new stuff to include in their books anymore, they do have to find a way to present it in a new and interesting way. I feel Lauren did that in her debut. Nothing is so farfetched that you are left wondering why she went there but they are just unique enough to keep you captivated.
Night Owls is a college area bookstore owned by a vampire, Val. I actually really liked Val and I really enjoyed her Renfield (daytime human helper) Chaz. They have been friends for five years and have grown to depend on each other. There is nothing romantic there (‘yet’ I’m hoping) but their friendship-chemistry is really well written. Val has decided to redefine herself not long ago but what she is not wanting to face may be coming back to find her. She is a strong character, very loyal and with tons of integrity, as is Chaz, and I look forward to reading more about them in future installments.
Elly is the other main lady in this series. She is a Hunter of sorts and in possession of a book that the bad guys, the Creeps, really want. The Creeps are pretty much werewolves and they are not nice. At all. I did feel for Elly and her circumstance but I can’t say I felt much for her as a character. Not sure why, honestly. It’s not that we didn’t get enough back info about her and she wasn’t annoying or anything of the sort. I just didn’t click with her. But I am not against reading more of her so I guess that is a good sign.
Cavale was a very interesting character as well as Lia and Sunny. A warlock and two succubi. They are strong supporting characters that really bring something special to the story. Justin is another supporting character who goes through a whole lot in this book and who I found was well written. In fact, there is a pretty impressive twist or ten that involve him.
As for the story, it was very well paced and interesting. The book Elly has is finally given to the Creeps but there is one thing wrong – something is missing from it. So basically, where did it go and how to get to it once it’s found… You meet people here and there, bad guys and good guys, to keep things interesting as you are brought along from one twist to another. I liked the story, a lot. I thought I was well planned out and felt just different enough to keep me engrossed.
All in all, I was very pleased with Night Owls. An impressive debut that promises at more exciting things to come. The way it ended was not expected and left me even more curious about what will happen in the next book. Hoping it’s release date isn’t too far away.
Nightmare Ink is the first book in a new urban fantasy series by Marcella Burnard. I wish I could say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book but unfortunately, I didn’t. I enjoyed the idea of living tattoos but the execution of the story just made it hard for me to connect with the book or the characters.
Isa is a talented tattoo artist and is capable of inking living tattoos but chooses not too after an unfortunate incident that happened years ago. Isa has not had an easy life. At all. Add to that what happens to her in this book and whoa…she is strong of character because I don’t know of anyone who could survive it all. Isa doesn’t just survive it, she uses it to kick some ass in her own way. I did find I was rooting for her once in a while because of what she went through. But overall, I had trouble clicking with her, and I’ll get into ‘why’ in a moment.
Patty is an interesting character but again, I was not able to click with her. In fact, there isn’t really a single character in this book that I was able to connect with. The reason for that is the information we were given about the characters and their situations, as well as explanations of why they were doing what they were doing, came about just too slowly. I feel the author’s intention was to create some suspense and speculation about the characters but for me, that backfired. I felt more lost than anything when information was shared because only little tidbits were said at a time. Instead of making me want more it left me frustrated. For me all of that attempted suspense caused more of a block than anything and made it almost impossible for me to create a real bond with the characters.
Daniel is yet another character that I was confused about. He is a major character yet his motives were impossible to guess and when we know why he is doing what he is doing, it seemed to come out of nowhere and didn’t seem to mesh with the story. I felt he was flat and not really interesting, which is a quality I think a good villain needs.
In the book, Isa is kidnapped and tattooed with a living tattoo against her will. (That is not a spoiler by the way, it says so in the blurb ;)) How long she was kept and how she was treated was absolutely horrible. I would not wish that on anyone. But once she escapes, the focus was on her recovery and how she was dealing with what happened. As to be expected. But again, not enough was explained so I was left feeling sorry for her without even knowing the whole story. So my feeling sorry didn’t last very long as it was replaced with more frustration. It was past the 50% mark of the book that things started to pick up and the story started moving but by then, it was too late for me.
The living tattoo, Murmur, both interested me and drove me bonkers. Sometimes he was just a bit much. Too over the top. Then suddenly, he’s not. I did like how the tattoo becomes a part of the person on which he is drawn and that he is a living being himself. He also enhances part of the person’s character, for good or bad. Like a permanent drug. Pretty neat idea.
Overall, I wish I clicked with Nightmare Ink more but I just didn’t. There were too many things that I didn’t like, too many things that just didn’t quite fit and too much time between vital information being shared about the characters in this story. For me, characters are the most important thing in an urban fantasy series and since I didn’t grow to care enough for the people in this book, I will not be reading the next installment.
Before I even tell you why, go to the store (or a bookstore website) and pre-order this book. Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop. NOW. I’ll be here when you get back. If you have not read the first book, Written in Red, buy that one NOW then pre-order this second one. I will wait while you do that. Go. *hums Jeopardy anthem*
Okay. Let’s get to it then.
Anne Bishop is primarily known for her straight up fantasy. Fantasy writers, in order to be successful, need to be able to build a world that is just as captivating as their characters and their stories. Anne definitely accomplishes that in her The Others series. It’s based on how the Europeans came to North America and captured the Native’s land. But what if the Natives were shifters of the most terrifying sort and didn’t relinquish their lands and resources so easily? What if they controlled everything we needed to make what we need to survive? Some pretty interesting questions come up while you are reading these books. Many times I thank goodness that our reality isn’t the one in these stories. That is the impact this world has on its readers.
The stories are also quite gripping. In Written in Red, we meet Meg and all of the scary and intriguing members of the Courtyard, a place where Others (paranormal creatures) live and handle trades with humans. Meg is a blood prophet, which means she can see the future when she cuts herself. You just have to ask her a question before she does so and you’ll get an answer. A cryptic and weird answer but an answer none the less. We watched as the Others took Meg under their wing and started seeing her as one of their own.
In Murder of Crows, humans are starting to get gutsier, or stupider -however you decide to look at it, and are starting to attack Others. Why anyone would want to purposely incite a war with creatures that see you only as meat is beyond me. Others are vicious. They are animals. Animals who know they are the top of the food chain. There are also Elementals mixed in there. I love these characters. They control the wind, air, fog…name it. If it’s natural, weather related and outside, there is an Elemental that controls it. And don’t tick them off because they are unapologetic in their attacks. You get to see their sheer power in this book and it will for sure make you shudder. You also have sub-plots of how the ‘human pack’ is forming in the Courtyard, the Controller wants Meg back and someone is making drugs that can turn humans and Others alike into either blubbery balls of goo who don’t care what is happening to them or angry rage-filled beings. All of these make up the story in Murder of Crows and all of these plotlines will keep you interested while keeping you guessing until the very last moment.
There is one more little side story line of sorts in this book and it’s one we romance/chemistry lovers are excited about and that is Simon and Meg. I know, there isn’t really a ‘Simon and Meg’ but we ‘love-junkies’ are hoping there will be someday. And we are also hoping that it won’t cause too much trouble for them because they deserve happiness and each other.
Simon is one of the most feared Other. He is a wolf shifter and leader of this particular Courtyard and in the first book, it was very easy to see how people tended to pee themselves at the mere sight of him. He’s vicious and unrepentant. He is wolf, animal, and he has no desire to be anything else. We watch him transform a wee bit by being around Meg in the first book and his transformation continues a bit in this latest book. I love watching his growth. Anne writes it perfectly. He is nowhere near ‘human’ but there are moments here and there, endearing scenes with Meg, where you almost swear there is a little bit of ‘man’ in him. I love watching his struggles to understand human women, and Meg in particular. She has been locked up in an institution before her escape in book one so she is also just learning about herself. Watching the two of them trying to figure things out together really warms the heart.
We meet a new sort of human/Other in this book. Intuits are humans who have a ‘feeling’ when something is going to go wrong. Very interesting people and I like how Anne added them to her world. We also have Monty and the human police force. They play a very important role in this book. I liked how Anne managed to even add character growth to these side characters. There are many characters in this book and some of them seem to come out of nowhere then drop off for a while only to come back in later chapters bringing with them a pivotal line or scene that just brings everything together. Anne weaves such an intricate story it really is impossible to put the book down once you start it.
Meg has many opportunities to prophet in this book, and thank goodness she does as she manages to thwart many nasty things. Watching Meg and her friends trying to decipher and read a prophet was so interesting. This is just another example of how Anne writes her world with incredible detail.
The side characters, as I mentioned, are abundant but each memorable. Vlad, Henry, Sam…I can go on and on, but I won’t. I’m sure you all don’t want to read a 72 page review ;)
One BIG revelation occurs in this book: we finally learn what Tess is! All I’m going to say is *shudder*
Overall, I absolutely adored Murder of Crows. It is, in my opinion, a near perfect urban fantasy read. It is the perfect mix of endearing moments that make you smile and giggle and moments that scare the poop out of you on a psychological level. It has some of the best written characters I have ever found in Urban Fantasy and storylines that suck you in so completely you try to convince your bladder that no, it does not have to pee right at that moment. The pace is perfect and Anne’s voice is stunning.
Leave it to Sierra to leave me in a blubbery snotty mess…and nobody ‘special’ even died! *grabs Kleenex, wipes eyes, blows nose*
Where to start?!
Cold Hard Secret is the seventh book in Sierra Dean’s Secret McQueen series and the title suits is perfectly. Our Secret, our snarky sassy Secret, has changed. What happened to her in the last book has pretty much crushed her spirit and who can blame her? No one would be able to survive what she did and escape unscathed. Sierra did a fantastic job writing the ‘new’ Secret but I have to admit that she was very hard to read. I felt so bad for her and just wanted to give her a hug!
The book starts with Secret with Desmond in Paris. They are hunting one of the big-baddies from this series, Peyton. I knew from the blurb that this would be the book where Secret would have her showdown with Peyton but I never expected it to go quite the way it did. Or that it would not take up more of the book! But ultimately, it was done well with all the twists and wtf moments you expect. And that is just the beginning of those kids of moments in this installment.
Secret does not get any downtime after meeting Peyton in Paris. The story takes on directions I never expected! There is a lot of killing in this book. Now I don’t usually cheer when murder occurs – that just seems wrong – but I must say that the two main deaths in this book were freaking fantastic.
As I mentioned, Secret definitely has some stuff to work out and I don’t feel she’ll ever be fully healed from her ordeal. She’s harder and so is her wolf. But as the book progresses, I felt a little of the ‘old’ Secret peeks through which made me realize that no, she’s not the same and she is very damaged but yes, she will ultimately be okay.
One of the most gripping aspects about this series is the relationship between Secret and her men. Yes, men. As in plural. There was a love square for a while then a love triangle. I have said this before and I say it again: I’m not a fan of love triangles but the way Sierra writes it in these books is really good. You don’t find any whining or other petty and annoying romance-book-love-triangle clichés. We are dealing with adults here after all.
You may have heard rumors about Secret and how she says “yes” to one of her men. Well, it’s true. Secret turns her love triangle into a perfect circle. I can’t wait to see what you guys thing of her choice! I have been torn between Des and Holden for the last couple of books and I honestly can’t tell you what I think of her choice. I actually saw her with both men, each having something to offer Secret. So I was surprised when I was a little disappointed when she said ‘yes’. But really, I think that I would have been a little sad with a ‘yes’ to either one. That is just how well Sierra has written these characters. Speaking of the men, I love them both in this book. They both have moments where they shine but I think Holden wins in this book where that is concerned. He has a speech-moment and OMG! It will make you swoon! And ball. And think your man at home is inadequate. If you were not a Holden fan before, after his little speech, you will be. And that is all I’m going to say about that. But Desmond fans, do not fret. There is a lot of Desmond and Secret alone time in this book so you’ll be happy.
There is another man that is somewhat prominent in this series, but not in a romantic way and this man has one hell of a scene in this book. Yes ladies and gentlemen, I am talking about Sig. All there is to say really about him and this scene is ‘whoaaaaa’.
Sierra Dean should be obligated to stick around twitter and not go anywhere when people are reading her books. You can’t read and not want to either ream her out or ask her “why? Why? WHY?!”. She has the ability to get her readers emotionally involved in her books at a level that not many authors manage to achieve. I am not overly excited that the next book, A Secret to Die For, is the last in the series but I can’t wait to see what happens.
Cold Hard Secret was a great read. It continued the series perfectly and answered some questions with answers I did not expect. If you have not taken the time to read these books, I urge you to do so. It really is a fantastic series.
And now I’m off to read that Holden soliloquy again. *sigh*(less)
Anne: So usually Julie and I have similar views on books, but not always. I LOVED this one. I can’t give all concrete reasons why. Feelings aren’t exactly logical. But it was so good for me.
Julie: And unfortunately, it was not so good for me. We’ll get into the ‘whys’ in a bit but first, let me tell you about the book.
Ghost Seer is the first book in a new series by Robin D Owens. These books will tell the story of Clare Cermak and how she inherited the ability to see and help ghosts move on to where they are supposed to be. She is not a Reaper – her job is to help the ghosts she encounters settle their biggest regret. Some are easier than others and that is what makes the premise of this series and the story in this first installment very interesting.
There was quite a bit I enjoyed about the book. Unfortunately, more irked me than not. I’m going to start with Clare. I can completely understand where she comes from in the book. She is an accountant and therefore loves order and logic. Suddenly having a ghost dog follow you around and ‘talk’ to you defies all logic and therefore Clare comes to the only conclusion she can think of: she is going insane. She remembers her aunt trying to tell her about a ‘gift’ but assumed her aunt was nuts. So now that her aunt has passed away and suddenly Clare sees ghosts, it’s a stretch for her mind to accept that her aunt was actually sane and telling the truth all these years.
I can understand being reluctant at accepting her new reality, but by page 200 Clare was STILL wondering if she was truly seeing spirits or if she was perhaps nuts. Even after she accepted that she saw ghosts, she went back from time to time to question it. That drove me bonkers. Okay. 100 pages would be a decent time to accept things, especially with all she goes through in those first pages, but after a while, enough is enough. You can see ghosts. Deal with it.
Anne: Yes I can understand your irritation. I found it annoying as well. But Clare had more to deal with than just seeing a ghost dog and other ghosts. It isn’t just her education in accounting which gives her a love of logic and order. It’s her defense mechanism to the chaos her parents made her life. Children all love the comfort of a routine, knowing what to expect and she didn’t get that at all. Plus she has the aunt’s estate to settle, the change in her life without a job, and her guilt over not spending more time with Aunt Sandra. Plus the whole book takes place over a week or so, not really all that much time to adjust to many things.
I loved Clare’s analyzing of things, her integrity and caring for others, and her ability to make a plan and adapt to the changing circumstances. I loved her relationship with Zach, because I loved him, even though he hadn’t accepted his own reality months after the fact. But I didn’t like it when Clare expected Zach to accept hers all at once, just because she finally did.
Julie: You’re right. It’s not much time for her but it’s a lot of time for the reader lol. I did like Clare’s character. I loved how she left her job not only because she didn’t need to work anymore but also because she thought someone else who needs a job could get one now because of the vacancy she left. Little things like that made me like her. I just wish she would get out of the denial a bit sooner.
I liked how she was with Zach and I completely understand how she needed to feel a connection to someone after what she was going through. Zach needed that too. But unfortunately their ‘relationship’ is something else that irked me. To me, it didn’t feel natural. I wouldn’t quite say it was rushed but I definitely felt a little bit awkward. I did feel Zach was a good match for Clare and I found they made a great team when doing the ‘investigating’ thing but where the romantic stuff is involved, it was just off. But I am excited to see how their romance develops because I really do believe they make a great match.
Anne: I loved Zach because he is hot and such a guy. He doesn’t want to show any weakness. He is protective. He doesn’t want to open up about his seeing crows or even when he can see ghosts with Clare. He doesn’t want to commit to anything but he doesn’t want her with anyone else. Such a classic guy. Now for some reason, it’s a stereotype which makes me laugh instead of making me annoyed. And really, they have been together such a short time; he shouldn’t be moving in or asking her to marry him just yet anyway.
So, one of the things I love the most about this book is the fact there is a romance. A really hot, satisfying and developing romance. We don’t always get that or so quickly in an urban fantasy.
I can see how you might feel it was too fast. It was fast but they were both alone and it was so right. It felt realistic because of their flaws. Neither one of them was perfect; the situation wasn’t perfect. I think what you felt was off endeared them to me. Real life isn’t always on. I suppose the romance could have been slowed down with more sexual tension. But then would he have been with her when things happened or compelled to work with her as much?
I do love the way Clare and Zach work together. I always love the smart and these two are both very smart, capable and competent. And I enjoy the fact they both want to be useful in their lives even when they don’t need the money. But it’s especially great how they both want to be smart and logical and their world is not. They use the skills they have to do well, in spite of it not being believable to them and so many things not in their control. Their frustration with things out of their control might even have been a further push to get release through their chemistry. Both Clare and Zach and the reader needed it.
Julie: I just don’t see how two people who have been facing such crazy and difficult circumstances would even be open to that intense of a beginning-relationship. That is what felt off for me. It felt too “oh, we’re alone and we need each other so lets”. But what you liked about them I liked too. As I said, I am looking forward to watching their relationship progress. Maybe in the next book it will feel more real to me.
Anne: I think another reason the book appeals to me so much is because it is a mental powers sort of thing and that is my favorite thing in urban fantasy or supernatural world. They both have some, whether they want to admit it or not. The development of those powers and their relationship and the work they do together, with their integrity, makes me so excited for the next book! I don’t expect everything to be smooth or easy, or hearts and rainbows. That wouldn’t be realistic. I expect their struggles with it all to be fascinating, and an emotional ride for me.
Julie: I strongly feel that this is a ‘first book not too strong but the second book will be better’ series for me. I love the bones of the book and the bones of the characters. It’s all in the way it was all introduced to me that felt strange. I think after all of that is done, which it is after this book, the rest will be more solid. I absolutely love where I think this series is going. I agree Clare and Zach will most likely not have all rainbows in their future but I feel they can stand together and face anything.
How I envision this series going is like this: Clare encounters a ghost that needs help. Clare and Zach go about solving the riddles that solve what needs to be done. I really hope the series takes that turn because that is part of what happens in Ghost Seer and that was such fun to read.
Anne: Yes, I think the solving puzzles, with the interest of historical bits against the background of the warm security of a solid relationship will be great. I hope it will be a solid relationship with the gradual sharing of more of their personal issues with each other. Their acceptance and development of their abilities will be trying for them but fun – a great story – for us. And I want them to face it together.
Julie: Loved the historical bits! You can tell Robin knows her Wild West history. I was drawn to the idea that each Seer sees different ghosts, some from the 1900’s and others, like Clare, from the pioneer days and the Old West. I thought that was totally cool. The author’s notes in her acknowledgments were really interesting. Like a mini history lesson.
Anne: So I just loved this, the plot, the historical references, the characters (many we didn’t discuss), the romance against the disturbing changes in the main characters lives, and the promise of more growth in the characters, their capabilities and the relationship, and more historical tales. I look forward to the next book, Ghost Layer, coming out September 2nd this year.
This one is 5 stars for me.
Julie: Oh how I wish I could give it a strong rating too but because I just didn’t feel the same ‘click’ as you did with the characters or how their circumstances were presented, I am not. There were just too many things that made me cringe. Even how the chapters finish mid-thought threw me off. But I do believe I will read Ghost Layer because the bones of this first book were solid. As you said, Clare and Zach show promise for growth and the history and mysteries are great. Ghost Seer is an interesting start to a series with potential that has not quite been reached yet.
Banishing the Dark is the fourth book in Jenn Bennett’s absolutely amazing Arcadia Bell series. This is easily one of my favorite urban fantasy series. The storylines are so interesting and the characters are simply outstanding.
This installment follows Arcadia (Cady) and Lon, her boyfriend who happens to be quite a bit older than her, an Earthbound demon and sexy as hell, as they try to keep Cady’s mother in the Æther, where she belongs because, as we learned in the first book, she is a special kind of crazy. Yeah…imagine completely nuts and you have Enola, Cady’s mom. Cady battled an equally crazy man in the last book and this one starts off with Cady waking up from a long coma. She is dealing with some soreness and some fuzzy memories. Lon is by her side *dreamy sigh* and is helping her recover as quickly as possible. Because, you know, crazy mom wants to find her and take over her body. See?… batshit crazy.
Cady really comes into her own in this latest installment. She is continuing to learn about her abilities and is figuring out how to use them when she needs them. There are some pretty impressive examples of how far she’s come in this book. I have always liked Cady and seeing who she becomes by the end of this installment makes me very happy. It works perfectly with her character and makes me feel that she is going to be okay.
Jupe is Lon’s teenaged son. I can’t say this enough: I am not usually a fan of teenagers in books – I find they tend to either be whiny or annoying – but Jupe is written in a way where it is impossible not to find him completely delightful. He has such a big heart and the fact that he can’t seem to stop talking even when he knows he really should is both funny and endearing.
The book is told from Cady’s point of view but we get a few chapters that are told in the third person from Jupe’s point of view. Jupe is the type of boy who follows his heart now and thinks that maybe it wasn’t the best idea later. So every time a chapter would start and it was Jupe doing…something, I found myself saying “No Jupe. Oh no Jupe. Don’t do it!” even though it was not necessarily a bad thing that he was doing. I just tend to assume that where Jupe’s intentions are very honorable and everything he does is with a deep seated passion, most of the time they don’t quite turn out as he wished. Now, whether or not his actions helped in this book or hindered Lon and Cady’s quest is something you will have to read the book to find out.
And finally we have Lon. I think I’ve mentioned this in every review that I’ve written for this series but it’s true: he really is absolutely perfect for Cady. And there is just something about him that is beyond sexy! Maybe it’s that he’s mature or maybe it’s that he’s smart and totally captured by Cady. Maybe it’s that he’s normal and isn’t perfect, that he admits to having trouble being a single dad to his energetic teenaged son. Maybe it’s all of the above. Whatever it is, just seeing his name on the page makes me smile. And same as with Cady, he’s changed in the series but not so much that he’s unrecognizable. He’s still quiet and intense yet is now able to open up a bit to Cady, showing her how he really feels. Overall, he’s a wonderfully created character, as are all of the characters in this series.
At the end of the book, you will find Jenn’s Acknowledgements. I read these and boy, did I find a surprise in there. Jenn basically tells us that Banishing the Dark will be the last Arcadia Bell novel. Yes folks, for now and maybe even for always, this is the end of this brilliant series. When I read that I started crying. Yes, I may have been pms-ing but that is not the point. The point is that I have grown so attached to these characters over the last four books that the mere idea of not seeing them through new adventures brought such an overwhelming sadness, one I had much trouble understanding. I mean, it’s only been four books! But in these four books, Jenn manages to bring Cady, Lon, Jupe and the rest of the gang to life in such a way that you think of them as real. You know better, of course, and you can pick up an Arcadia Bell book at any time to re-read it but it’s just not quite the same. The last couple of lines in the acknowledgement passage is “It’s never easy to say goodbye, but Cady, Lon, Jupe and Tabby now belong to you. Please take good care of them.” and she’s right. They do belong to us, thanks to her. Seeing this line made me realize what power authors truly hold over their readers. Jenn created these fictional people in her head and wrote down stories about them. And we ate them up, welcoming these ideas into our lives. Kind of freaky when you think about it…
All in all, Banishing the Dark was the perfect continuation to the series and, essentially, ending to it as well. There is a wonderful epilogue that takes place three and a half years after the book ends and it really makes everything right in the world. I am so happy that I read these books and I urge you all to do the same. These are superb urban fantasy reads.
Primal Temptation is the fourth book in Sydney Somers Pendragon Gargoyles series. This is a solid series with good story telling mixed in with very interesting twists on mythology. It also has a very interesting mix of paranormal creatures – some you don’t tend to see in paranormal romance books.
This installment focuses on Briana and Lucan (Luke). Briana is a cat/gargoyle shifter and Luke is a wraith. Both have been cursed by Rhiannon after Arthur died. Yes, Arthur and the Knights of the round table…that Arthur. Like I said, the twist on mythology in this series is incredible. All the Knights have been cursed because they failed to protect Arthur. Others were also cursed pretty much for the same reason. And some characters who were cursed led some pretty interesting lives ‘before’…such as Merlin and Lancelot! But you don’t know who they were before until all is revealed! So cool! Sydney does a fantastic job with the world in these books.
To break the curse that has been set upon them, Pendragon’s must find their mate. Briana actually found her mate ages ago but didn’t want to share that information with her overly protective brothers (the heroes from the previous books) because of who her mate is. He is not well liked by pretty much everyone in this paranormal community and not because he isn’t a decent guy but because he can’t help the hunter he is cursed to be and he pretty much scared the bejeebus out of everyone. Except for Briana. Even Luke does not know he is her mate, and let me tell you, that scene is good. :)
Briana and Luke have a more complex history than I imagined and the way Sydney wrote their time together and blended it with flashback was great. It really shows you just how long Briana’s journey to ‘happiness’ has been and how right these two are for each other. Of course, Luke has been fighting his attraction to Briana for centuries and sometimes watching him struggle with his feelings was a bit frustrating (meaning you may find yourself yelling : “just take her already!”) but seeing what he is, it is all mostly understandable.
Briana has spunk and I like that and Luke is quite yummy and I like that too. *grin*
There is much more to the story than just Briana and Luke. War is coming and a tradition of sorts before war begins is that there is some version of immortal Games. These are called the Gauntlet. Well, Briana and Luke have been chosen to compete. The Games themselves were very interesting and I enjoyed reading the different tasks the players had to overcome. Sydney’s imagination really works here. The Games were fast paced and really fun to read. You will definitely sit a little bit on the edge of your seat while reading the Game scenes.
There are some side characters that were interesting and who have chemistry that rivaled Briana’s and Lucan’s. Nessa, Mac, Vaughn and Elena are all characters to watch in this book.
Overall, I was very happy with Primal Temptation. It was nice to finally get Briana and Luke’s story as well as catch up with heroes and heroines from the past installments. Sydney had created such an interesting world, it’s difficult not to be in awe as you read these books. I know that the ‘original’ siblings have all found their HEA but I’m hoping that the new and interesting characters will provide enough inspiration for Sydney to continue the series.(less)