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....more
Daring is the second book in Elliott James’ Pax Arcana series. Even with a 4star review, I placed Charmed, the first book of the series, on my favorite reads of 2013 list. I LOVED John’s voice and how he completely drew me into his world and his storytelling. I’m giving Daring 4stars as well even though I can’t say I feel as excited about this book as I did the first. This book is SO different from the first book, it really is hard to compare.
How is Daring completely different from Charming? In the first book we learn about the Knights (those who are responsible for maintaining the Pax Arcana, the spell that makes humans not notice the paranormal around them) and we see how John goes on to trust a small group of people, after not trusting anyone for ages, and help out one of the very causes he’s been hiding from for years. In Daring, we barely see the people from the first book – good or bad, I’ll get back to this in a minute. What we do see is a whole lot of John and a whole lot of werewolves.
John was born a werewolf and a Knight. He’s the only one of his kind. Growing up, he was raised by the Knights and learned to hate and ignore his werewolf side. In Daring, he is forced to learn to live with it while he learns about his werewolf ‘heritage’.
But let me break for a moment.
This book is actually multiple stories in one. It’s even separated into parts! The beginning is how John was forced into ‘being a werewolf more than a Knight’, next is how he embraces it and finally what it all means. That last part was left quite open so you know it will be touched on in the next book, Fearless, when it comes out August 2015. (Yes August. Of next year. *sigh*)
I loved John in the first book and still enjoy him in this latest book. He’s very smart, clever and sarcastic and those qualities work well in the world Elliott created. It’s no secret that I didn’t much like Sig, John’s love interest, in the first book. I didn’t ‘get’ why he was so into her. Well, Sig fans, rejoice…sort of. Sig is barely in this book! But I feel she will be in the next book but that’s okay. Everyone deserves a second chance and that will be her second chance for showing me she really does belong with my dear John.
If another beef you had with book one was the level of description and world building, you will like this one as it does not have nearly as much. There is no need really as the base world was established in the previous book.
I liked how we learned a lot more about John and his not-so-happy childhood. I was surprised by how ‘heavy’ this book felt as opposed to the first book. But really, it matched the tone. Believe me, after you read it and see the messed up things and creatures John and his friends meet you’ll realize that humor does not fit so well. That’s not to say the book is humorless – there are some pretty good funny moments – just not as many as in the first installment.
I quite enjoyed the ‘new’ crew John hung out with this time around. Jelly, Mayte, Chad, Chai…all brought something to the table and all managed to surprise me at least once. I’m curious to see if any will appear in the next book as the ‘crew’ John played with in the first book was barely at all in this latest one. Seems Elliott is all about keeping us on our toes.
The story this time around is rather complicated so I won’t go into it but it involves monsters then witches mixed with a bit of folklore and fighting and gore. So basically things you expect from an urban fantasy read. It was well done.
Seeing how different Daring read from Charming, I am very curious to see how the next installment will feel and how it will fit into the series. I think if you liked the first book, you should definitely read this one. And I think if you ‘sort-of’ liked the first book you should give this one a try. It does fill in a few holes and you get to know John a whole lot better. And seeing how John was my favorite part of the first book, Daring really worked for me.
One Night More is the first book in a new contemporary romantic suspense series by Mandy Baxter. The name may not be familiar but if you are a fan of urban fantasy, you’ve probably read her books before. Writing kick ass UF chicks, she uses the name Amanda Bonilla. But for writing kick ass contemporary chicks who are smart, sassy and go-getters, she uses the name Mandy Baxter.
One Night More is book one in Mandy’s US Marshals series. Now I’m not American so I can’t tell you really what a US Marshal does but from this book I gather he is a person trained to guard and protect. And poor Harper, after being in the wrong/scary place at the wrong/scary time, needs to be guarded and protected.
Galen and Mandy had one crazy hot night right before he leaves for a one year assignment in Paris. Thanks to a couple of misunderstandings, the night ended uncomfortably for both. But neither stopped thinking about the other. Mandy did a great job with Harper and Galen’s chemistry. You felt it immediately and you could tell how much they pined for each other even though both thought they really shouldn’t. I loved the scenes where they just sat and talked. Or even when they argued and quipped. The conversation was very easy and natural and for me, that is something I enjoy a lot in a contemporary romance story.
Harper is a reporter and that means, of course, that she will do what she can to get the truth for a story. She has a feeling that a certain politician that everyone trusts is hiding something and is determined to out him. She confronts him…and he gets shot while she is talking to him. Harper is now in danger and that’s where Galen comes back into the picture. I like reporters in books on a whole but I find there is always one or two times in a story where I shake my head because they jump into a stupid situation just to help themselves along. Harper does have a small moment or two in this book where I thought “should you really be doing that?” but they weren’t so annoying and I never wanted to smack her. I was glad for that because I did like her quite a bit.
I also liked Galen. The little misunderstanding that drove Galen to be a pissered at Harper for a year and making him leave her bed sooner than he had originally hoped was a little odd for me – I assume that a man like him would confront someone rather than escape due to assumptions – but it did make their reunion a little more exciting so I just went with it. Also, Galen is a man so his ego came into play, I’m sure. But overall, I liked him. Galen was not too macho and he worked well with Harper.
The story was quite entertaining. Lots of good questions come up, as it should be in a romantic suspense story, and answers slowly trickle in. Some answers add new questions while some reveal some important details. This was romantic suspense done right. It’s a politically based mystery/who done it and I was both surprised and not surprised by who the ultimate villain was. It fit the story.
We were quickly introduced to the hero of the next book in the series, One Kiss More (releasing March 2015). Landon seems like the type of hero I really like in my contemporary romance books: yummy and smart with a great sense of humor. I can’t wait to read his book.
While reading this book, I kept thinking to myself “this feels like a Julie James book” and that is a huge compliment. I love Julie’s voice and style and Mandy’s style is very similar. The flow is excellent, the story is well put together and the characters are very well developed. If this first installment is any indication, One Night More is the start of a fantastic contemporary romance series. Mandy Baxter is an author to watch....more
Burn for Me is amazing. Simply amazing. OMG it was so SO good!!!
*whispers to self* Julie, breath. Just breath…
Burn for Me is the first book in a shiny new series by my favorite writing duo, Ilona Andrews. The Hidden Legacy series is described as a paranormal romance series but it’s not really. Well, maybe sort of. It’s paranormal romance à la Cat and Bones, meaning it’s more urban fantasy with a romance at the center. But the romance is not a wham bam thank you ma’am, so you don’t have to worry about that. But as if Ilona Andrews would ever make such a writing faux pas.
Ok. Focus. (thisbookwasjustsoawesomeitshardtofocus!!!)
Burn for Me tells the story of Nevada, a private investigator, and her latest case. It’s a case she is pretty much forced to take but if she had a choice, she would not accept it because it is way out of her league. She is asked to apprehend Adam Pierce, a man who happens to be able to set things on fire with a thought. And this man, well he’s a little crazy and full of himself which makes him all the more dangerous.
Connor ‘Mad’ Rogan is after the same guy but for slightly different reasons. After meeting Nevada and finding out that they have the same agenda, he decides he should use her to find Adam. At least, that’s how it starts out. Mad is just as, if not more, powerful as Adam. He too can destroy things with a thought, only he won’t set it on fire, he’ll flatten it. So, as you can imagine, Nevada would like to avoid Mad Rogan at all costs.
Nevada is awesome. She is smart and strong, incredibly loyal to her family (who are all a hoot to read, each and every one of them) and to her morals.
Mad is also awesome. He is so powerful, it’s like he’s lost a bit of his humanity. He’s used to people being intimidated by him, even scared of him. Watching him try to ineract with Nevada and her family are some of my favorite scenes in the book. Nevada has a strong head on her shoulders and won’t just jump into a situation ‘just because’ and this too throws Mad off a bit. I loved watching them interact. I loved their dialogue. I just loved them.
The world is a world based on magic but it is nowhere near the same type as you find in Ilona’s Kate Daniels books. I feel this is important to say: this is not a ‘new spin’ on Kate Daniels. Just as their The Edge books are nowhere like the Kate books, the Hidden Legacy books aren’t either. Yes, there is magic, but Ilona and Gordon manage to put yet another imaginative and unique spin on it. The magic bearers are the powers in this world. The stronger your magic and more influence you have. But also, stronger your magic the more dangerous and unpredictable you are. Mad Rogan is a powerful powerful man, but signs show so is Nevada.
I LOVED how Nevada’s powers are presented in this book. We know she can sense when someone is lying, but other than that, not much. But it is heavily hinted that there is more to her ability and that she is in fact much stronger than she realizes. You do see signs of this as the book progresses but not all is revealed. This is something else I am looking forward to discovering as they series continues.
One of my favorite things about the characters Ilona and Gordon write is how they don’t ever put them in a gender or social class mould. In this story, Nevada’s mother is ex-military and grandma is a mechanic…for tanks! How cool is that?! I have always appreciated that about this team’s writing and we see it once again in this latest book. I find it gives the characters yet another layer and makes them even more fascinating.
As I hinted at before, this book is not a straight up romance but it is definitely building to one. And the romance it’s building to promises to be phenomenal. There is already incredible chemistry between Mad and Nevada and I can’t wait to watch their relationship progress throughout this series.
I want to say that yes, this is my favorite author and yes, I love all that they write. But it’s not because I am hypnotized by my adoration for them. It’s because they are kick ass authors who write phenomenal stories, incredible worlds and highly memorable characters. So my love of Burn for Me is not blind – it’s legit. It exists because this book is outstanding and worth reading.
Burn for Me is out today. Go buy it. NOW. You will not regret it....more
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.
Forecast is the second book in Rinda Elliott’s Sisters of Fate series. This is a series that follows three sisters, each ‘gifted’ with a Norse goddess’ soul. It is not a happy relationship, the sisters not wanting anything to do with these souls trapped inside them. But these souls are there for a reason: to take over the sisters’ bodies and minds and fulfill their destinies when the end of the world arrives.
Or is that really the case?…
Well, the end of the world is here…and it’s brutal. Rinda does not hold back here folks. If this is really how the end of the world is going to be, I want no part. But it does make for one hell of a ride! I found this book to be less action-driven than the last book but that does not mean it was quiet. There were still obstacles to overcome while running away from giant waves and crazy snow storms. In Florida.
On top of that, each sister has the ability to see the past, present or future in visions they can’t control. Very cool…but difficult to explain. The whole idea of the triplets and their abilities and connection to Norse mythology is all very fascinating. Rinda does a good job there.
Other than dealing with the end of the world, going into time-freezing trances in order to predict a time and the goddess trapped in their psyche, the sisters must each find a boy who has a god’s soul living inside them. You see, mom has gone a little crazy and thanks to a prophesy, thinks one of her daughters will get killed by one of these boys and has disappeared in order to find them…and kill them before they get to the girls. *insert dooms day music here*
Will the girls find the right boys? Are the boys murderous crazy-guys? Is the mom going to get to them before the girls? Will the end of the world keep happening putting the entire world in trouble? Will one of the sisters indeed get murdered? So many questions and getting the answers is proving to be ton of fun.
Where Fortold, book one, tells the story of Raven finding Vanir, Forecast follows Coral as she tracks down Taran. Taran holds the soul of Tor. Very interesting to see how the personalities mesh – the god and the boy. I love how the god or goddess’ personalities shine through the personalities of the person who is holding it. That’s a neat detail I appreciate. And I like how the god’s companions are there but underwent new twists. All very interesting details Rinda included in this series that I look forward to discovering.
Coral was a very good character. She inherited her mother’s witch powers and is learning how to use them. I liked seeing her grow more confident as the story progressed. The romance between Coral and Taran is very sweet and I find they balance each other very well.
In book one, Raven calls Coral and Kat (sister number three). We get glimpses of what is going on with Coral and Kat during those phone calls. It was neat to get the whole story behind the calls to Coral while reading this book and it will be equally neat to read exactly what is going on with Kat during the calls to her when Forsworn releases December 2nd 2014. I like that all three books take place at the same time and that the sisters will come together in the next book for the final battle. At least that’s what I’m expecting…
I love how different this series is. I really enjoy Rinda’s voice and her pacing is excellent. These are very quick moving stories and even with a little bit resolved at the end of each book so far, there is much left to discover and learn.
Forecast is an excellent continuation of the series and I am counting down the days until the third and final book comes out....more
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....more
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.
Black Widow is the twelfth book in Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassin series. Yes, we are already at twelve books! What is really great is that even after that many installments, this series has not gone flat. Gin is still as awesome as ever, her friends are still characters you wish existed in real life and hung out with and her adventures are still entertaining and exciting.
I have to admit that I was a tad worried at the end of the last book that this book would be a repeat of what happened in the fifth book. But it wasn’t at all. In fact, it was pretty darn great.
Gin…I usually don’t have a beef with her but this time, I sort of did. But it’s not with her exactly, it’s more that her reactions to things that usually wouldn’t shake her surprised me. She usually prides herself on her patience and her ability to wait something out until it’s the perfect time to act. Well, in this latest book, she has trouble doing that. And that worried me. I mean, what happened to the Gin we knew?! Thank goodness that doesn’t last too long though and, as expected, Gin goes back to being fully awesome.
The villain this time around, the elusive MMM, is cunning and wicked and nuts. She messed with all of Gin’s friends and that really bothered me. I have come to care quite a bit for these characters and seeing them have to deal with bullshit REALLY bothered me. I mean, I had to put the book down for a while to calm myself because I was finding myself really getting worked up over what was happening! No surprise I was Gin’s cheerleader when she went after the b*tch. *grin*
Speaking of Gin’s friends, I am always so happy when I see them on the page. They truly are great to read. And her circle of friends continues to grow with each addition adding so much to the dynamic. Each and every character has grown throughout this series – not just Gin – and that is quite remarkable.
Oh, and there is one HUGE jaw dropping surprise that pops up near the end. Will it play a role in the next book? I suppose we’ll just have to wait until Spider’s Trap comes out July 28th 2015. I know! July 2015! I don’t think we’ve ever had to wait so long for a Gin book!
Black Widow is proof positive that Jennifer is a truly talented writer. Even after twelve books, she still delivers interesting stories, fascinating villains and absolutely lovable characters. It’s always a treat to see what she has in store for Gin, even though it’s not always pretty. But one thing you know when you pick up an Elemental Assassin book, you will without a doubt, enjoy the ride.
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....more
Ever After is the fourth book in the absolutely awesome Transplanted Tales series by Kate SeRine. I have never read anything like this series. Fairy Tale and literary characters come to life and live among us, blending in the best they can and taking on career paths you would not expect. At all. So fresh and entertaining, these books never cease to both surprise and amaze me.
Ever After follows an intriguing character we’ve met previously but don’t know much about. We know him as Gideon, aid/guard/muscle to the Seelie fairy king, but who he ‘really’ is surprised me greatly. It’s so fun and completely unexpected! I won’t tell you specifics but I will tell you that it has to do with Robin Hood. That is his HEA after all.
Robin Hood, in Kate’s world, is Arabella (Bella) Locksley. As in Miss Arabella. As in, a woman. And her story is way more intricate than you would imagine. She was well written and you feel her and Gideon’s chemistry right away. She and Gideon made a good match.
Gideon is, as always, awesome. Kate did a good job writing how torn he is between doing what part of his heart is telling him and what the other part of this heart is telling him. I felt he and Bella made a good match and I liked how his story, while sad, wasn’t too over-the-top. Well, I suppose if it were real like it would be considered insane but where book heroes are concerned, it wasn’t too extreme.
I loved the twists the fairy court presented and I adored the Merlin and Arthur aspects to the story. Yup, Merlin and Arthur! Merlin was such a fun character! (Yes, we meet him and you can’t not smile when he’s on the page)
The fairy king surprised me in this book. In a good way. And man I hate the queen! Also, not at the very end but close enough, there is one scene…yeah… Just when you think you know how everything is going to go down, shock. Not world-changing but my jaw hit the floor nonetheless.
Kate is now working on two, yes two, new series. That means that this is the last book in the Transplanted Tales series…for now. And you can tell while reading it. It’s written somewhat like a final book, featuring heroes and heroines from past books in some pretty fun and impressive scenes. Like a reunion of sorts, wetting our need to know how these characters are doing and giving us a bit of closure at the same time.
I love how this series takes me by surprise. How Kate imagines her characters, their path from their ‘stories’ to their new realities, is always fun and unexpected. Her imagination never ceases to blow me away. The fact that the stories are well written, well paced as well as entertaining makes the Transplanted Tales a must read series.
Ever After leaves the series is a very nice spot, ready to pick up again or not. I am definitely on the ‘please write more of these books someday’ team. Ever After reminded me how well these books are done and I don’t want to see it come to an end quite yet....more
Red Blooded is the fourth book in Amanda Carlson’s Jessica McClain series. If one of your favorite parts of this series is that you are dumped right in the middle of the action the moment you crack open the book and it doesn’t let you down until the very end then you will not be disappointed in this one. There is no settling into these books, let me tell you. And there is nothing wrong with that.
I can’t say that I noticed much growth in Jessica this time around but we do see her powers grow and change. That is one of my favorite parts of reading this character – where Amanda is leading her is fun to guess and discover. All of the characters that we have come to like make appearances in this book. Roarke, of course, and Jessica’s brother are focuses. The book is about how Jessica is preparing to go into the Underworld to rescue her brother so it’s no surprise that he plays a big role in this book. What did surprise me was how much of the story took place with just Jessica on the page.
Ray, not usually one of my favorite characters, was actually decent in this installment. Selene (yes, she makes an appearance again) took his place as the character that drove me nuts this time. She committed some pretty insane crimes in the last book and she is being punished for them…but she’s acting like the victim and that was the part that made me shake my head. SHE is the one who sold her soul and now she’s complaining that she doesn’t belong there and blah blah blah. Puh-lease and cry me a river. But there is a new character that made up for my frustration towards Selene. She keeps you guessing and I feel you will all like her.
I really liked Amanda’s take on the Underworld. The creatures are creepy and the different areas are well thought out and very cool…in a yuck sort of way. We are talking about Hell after all. I also liked how the Prince of Darkness is well groomed and pristine and demands his demons be that way as well. Another little twist that made Amanda’s Hell stand out to me.
With barely a moment to breathe, Red Blooded keeps you entertained by keeping you on the edge of your seat from the very beginning to the very end. My only wish is that maybe the action chill out a little bit for the next installment so we can focus more on Roarke and Jessica’s relationship. They have great chemistry and you can tell they care for each other but there really hasn’t been much page time with just the two of them in any of the books of this series and I feel it would be nice to get more of that. If the ending to this book is any indication (yes, this book ends with a moment that leaves you demanding the next book now), Pure Blooded should be another fun and high octane read when it releases in 2015....more
Julie: He’s so fine is the eleventh book in Jill Shalvis’ Lucky Harbor series. If you follow this blog, you know that Anne and I love this series and this author.
Anne: Anything by Jill Shalvis and I’ll be reading it. Her characters always make me feel and laugh and worry. There is a warmth and real feel to them, and humour that I love. And we’ve mentioned before how the town itself is a character as well. There is the excitement of seeing old favorites. And the relationships between the gal pals and the bromances are what we wish we all had.
Julie: Love the gal pals and love the bromances!
This time around we read about Cole and Olivia. Olivia is a former child-star who is trying to live a normal life – something she’s always wanted. I found her a little hard to relate to because of her background. I can’t say I have experienced anything that she has in her life. Good for me, not so good for Olivia.
Anne: Olivia’s past and family are over the top. But I guess this is FICTION. I get Olivia, although her past is not such a realistic thing to happen to most people. But I can relate to her feelings. Her reactions to her past life are realistic. I like her and the life she is making for herself.
Julie: I agree. I think she is doing very well for herself seeing where she once was. I get that her privacy is extra important because she is trying this new life of hers in secrecy, but I didn’t love the lies and cover stories. Sort of understand where they came from but still didn’t like them. She is not a bad character – the opposite really – I just didn’t click with her like I do most of the other heroines in this series.
Anne: We know a bit of Cole from the previous book, as well as his family. He has some awesome people in his life; it’s fun to see more of them in this book. His angst is sad, based on some misconceptions and ego and a few truths. He has a code of integrity and it helps him get closer to Olivia.
I LOVE Cole. He’s HOT and loyal and a handyman and funny. O_ooo! Guys who are smart enough to figure out how things work are awesome and he’s amazing with his sisters’ children, too. Melt me.
Julie: I really enjoyed Cole too and I’m with you about a guy who is smart and good with his hands. He was well written and I adored the scenes with his family. Loved his sense of humor and found it added a lot to this book.
Anne: The humor here is great! The teasing in the family situations and the bromance just makes some really funny parts. I can just see Cole with a scowl on his face, saying shit, when he realizes some things. That made me laugh too.
Julie: Yes! That’s how well the banter and humor was written. I can totally see Cole’s face in those moments clearly.
Anne: I do wish the town wasn’t quite as involved at the end. I grew up in a very small town, so everyone does know too much about everyone else’s business. But I wish Cole and Olivia had some of their declarations in private. That felt a little too much.
Julie: That felt a bit much for me as well. I would have liked to see that done a tad differently too.
Anne: The personal struggles Olivia and Cole had to face dragged my heart around. I guess all those feelings make me more connected to their story. Is there only one more Lucky Harbor story to come? One in a Million is out Oct 14th. Say it isn’t the end!.
4.5 stars from me.
Julie: It’s hard to think that the series’ end is just around the corner. But what a ride it has been. He’s So Fine was a good addition to the series even though not my favorite. Olivia and Cole do make a good match and I can’t wait to see them in the next book.
Archangel’s Shadows is the seventh book in Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter series. This series is a paranormal romance series with a twist. The first three books focus on the Archangel Raphael and Elena so in that respect, the beginning of the series is almost urban fantasy. The fourth book is Dmitri’s story, the vampire who is Raphael’s right hand man. Then we read about Jason only to go back to Raphael and Elena in the sixth book. But to be fair, the sixth book was really more of a ‘let’s get you up to date on all the non-couple things the books have been focusing on’ sort of book. Finally, we have this, book seven. This one mostly focuses on Janvier, a vampire, and Ashwini, a Hunter, but there is also some side-story stuff that is taken care of.
This isn’t the first time Janvier and Ash are together in on the page. We first see them together in the short story Angel’s Pawn, which can be found alone in eBook form or in Nalini’s Guild Hunter antology, Angel’s Flight. I don’t think it’s necessary to read this story before diving into Archangel’s Shadows but if you have a chance, do it. You see this couple’s very beginnings and even then, upon their first meeting, their chemistry was explosive.
Holy cow…the chemistry! It’s palpable and some of the strongest I have read. Ash is a Hunter (she goes after rogue vampires who are trying to skip out of their century long contract after they are Made and other such things) so she’s tough and snarky. Then enter a smooth-mouthed Cajun vampire who is as tough as her but with a velvet tongue to boot and you can imagine how the sparks fly. I have loved Janvier and Ash together since I read their novella and even mentioned in my review that I would love to see their story told further. I was over the moon when I heard that this book would be theirs.
I absolutely love how Janvier treasures Ash. Yes, he’s a relentless flirt and when you first meet him in the short story you wonder if he is ever sincere but there is no questioning that anymore when you see him with Ash in this book. He is lethal and smart, loyal and amazing. I really love Janvier’s character.
Ashwini is the type of kick ass heroine I love to read. Like Janvier, she’s smart and loyal and snarky but she’s also soft and vulnerable when she feels she can be. In the blurb, ‘Ash’s secret’ is mentioned and let me tell you, her secret is heart wrenching! I have to admit that I did cry a little bit at one scene in particular. It’s a very sad scene but so touching. And how Janvier was with Ash after this scene made me love him even more.
The women in this series are in no way weak – I like that about the series – but Nalini is not afraid to show them as utterly human. The characters are certainly one of the best parts of this series.
The world is pretty phenomenal too. How archangels rule and vampires are actually created by these angels. Very unique and still, after seven books, manages to impress me.
While reading, I was surprised to find myself thinking ‘JR Ward’ from time to time and what I mean by that is just when things were getting good with the main couple, bam the next chapter was about someone or something else. At first that sort of bugged me but then I noticed that these chapters did in fact benefit the story and they also brought some of our favorite characters to light or some newer ones to focus on. Once I noticed that, I quickly forgave the writing.
One such ‘new-ish’ character is Naasir. OMG I LOVE him! He’s like a child and a cat and a predator all rolled into one. A vampire but not like any of the others. Such an interesting character. I’m looking forward to learning more about him because there are MANY questions when it comes to him. I wonder if the next book will be his because there was a lot of focus on him in this latest book.
Some new questions came to mind about Illium too. He’s a favorite character who is yet to have his full story told. I know that when it’s his turn for his story to be shared that it will be heart-wrenching and awesome all at once. There is a new sadness to Illium in this book that makes me sad. He’s usually such a happy-go-lucky angel! But much has happened and it’s weighing on him. I do hope we either continue to see him in each future book or that his book comes very soon because I want his story.
I enjoyed the mystery aspect of this book. Ash and Janvier are looking into a series of gruesome murders that point to vampires yet not. The ‘whodunit’ is very well done. You think you figured it out then you find out you did not but then you question that too… Very interesting.
Overall, I really enjoyed Archangel’s Shadows. It is actually my favorite installment in some time. It tells the story of Ash and Janvier well and keeps us up to date to various smaller storylines and to characters from past books. No title yet for book eight but we know there that it’s slated for a September 2015 release. So that, for now, is enough to keep me happy.
Seventh Grave and No Body is the, you guessed it, seventh book in Darynda Jones’ Charley Davidson series. This series is sold under the ‘mystery’ heading at my local bookstores but it could also easily to called an urban fantasy series as it is set in modern day with a twist and there are strong paranormal aspects to the books. For example, Charley is the grim reaper and her man Reyes is the son of Satan. So yeah…paranormal elements. This is definitely a series you need to read in order of release.
This series is among my mostest favorite series EVER. It is simply outstanding. Charley / Darynda’s voice is so strong, the humor is perfect and the characters are unforgettable. This is the seventh book and in no way is this series on its way to becoming stale. Each book follows one or two new mysteries yet there is a continuing storyline that is just as gripping. The endings of the books are always ‘Wow, I need the next book NOW’ worthy too.
Charley is one of my favorite female characters. I love her snark, her loyalty and her heart. Reyes is also amazing, his loyalty to Charley and his drive for contentment are remarkable. I love them separately and I love them together. They are a perfect match.
As usual, the plethora of side characters impresses almost as much as the main two. Cookie and Ubie are so cute! Osh is a new-ish character and I really like him. I can’t wait to see what his role really is in the continuing story because you just know he’s meant for more. Garrett, Angel, Mr. Wong…everyone! There is not one character I dislike in this book. They all serve a purpose and add to the many layers that is this series.
One of my most favorite parts of this series, and you see it very well in this book, is the dialogue. It’s so natural and flows perfectly. Darynda has a real talent for writing it.
The mystery this time around focuses on missing people and odd suicide notes. I have to say that I did manage to figure out who was behind it early on in the story but I had no idea why so I did still enjoy reading it. (The why was messed up, by the way, and I think you will all enjoy it) On top of that first mystery, there is the ‘why are there bodies missing from the graveyard’ plotline. Didn’t really get the point of that one honestly but still, interesting enough.
There are a few new discoveries that definitely make you wonder WTF in the very best of ways. First, there is Charley’s father’s ‘activities’ and the ‘why’ behind them. ‘Whoa’ and ‘Ew’ are perfect words to describe that one. And then there are still the hellhounds that have been summoned by who knows who and the prophecies going round and round hinting at more fun to come. And we can’t forget the whole ‘Swopes and the kid’ thing. And we really can’t forget Charley’s abilities that are continuing to grow and get more and more interesting. They get crazy interesting in this book and I can’t wait to see what she ultimately becomes. I’m also curious to see if Reyes’ fear of losing her once she gains all of her powers is true. I’m guessing not and thinking ‘better not’.
Overall, I truly enjoyed Seventh Grave and No Body. I can’t get enough of these books. I own them in print and in audiobook formats, they are that good. This series is one of my favorites for a reason – the books and the author are brilliant. I am already counting down to May 19th 2015, when Eighth Grave After Dark is due to hit shelves....more
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.
Wickedly Dangerous is the first book in a new paranormal romance series by Deborah Blake. The Baba Yaga series puts a new spin on the Russian tales about the witch who stalks children and has an interesting choice of transportation.
I feel the best way to write this review is to separate is into what I liked and what I didn’t so much like. So here goes.
What I enjoyed -
I liked Barbara (Baba). She is a strong character and I enjoyed watching her grow through the book. She’s all tough on the outside but seeing glimpses of her inner mushy side made me smile.
I loved the new twist on the classic Baba Yaga folklore. How there are many witches taking on the title and each help where they are called is very well done. The next book, Wickedly Wonderful, will focus on a different North American Baba Yaga witch and show us how she finds her HEA.
I found the mystery, which is the base of this story, to be well written. And once you find out who is responsible for the things that are going bump in the night, there is still more to learn. Well done.
I liked Baba’s dog/dragon and I liked the dragon/bikers. They were fun to read.
There is quite a depth to the characters and was impressed with how much we learn and feel for them by the end of the book.
What I didn’t enjoy. (“Didn’t enjoy” is not really the right way of putting this, I suppose. ” My biggest and really only beef” might be better. And it’s not even a ‘beef’. It’s a ‘well, that’s too bad’. So let’s call this the “Well, it really is too bad felt this way” portion of this review -
*sigh* I felt absolutely no chemistry between Liam and Baba. None. I know I’m like the only person out there feeling this way but there it is. For me, there was no spark. And every time I read a scene with the two of them, I felt sad that I didn’t feel something. And my not feeling anything put a real damper on my level of enjoyment for this book. Liam is a good character and his story is awful. He and Baba are good together. But for me, I felt they made good friends or cousins but not necessarily good life partners.
So there you have it. Sucks for me to feel this way when the book has so many great things going for it. Wickedly Dangerous is getting some very strong reviews so if you like the idea of folkloric tales being re-invented, give this one a try. I’m weary about continuing with the series because of how I felt towards the whole romance in this book but who knows, maybe someone’s review somewhere will convince me to give it a try. The bones are there, it’s just missing the spark.
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.