Raintree: Inferno is the first in the Raintree series by 3 different authors. I purchased this book as a 3 in 1 novel and was glad I did, as the endin...moreRaintree: Inferno is the first in the Raintree series by 3 different authors. I purchased this book as a 3 in 1 novel and was glad I did, as the ending was a cliff-hanger and I was eager to read more. I was surprised at first to learn that these trilogies were written by different authors and was a little put off by that. However, now having read all three, I can understand how each author created their own character but also stayed true to the plot.
The modern Raintree people are descendants of wizards and possess magical abilities. According to legend, their arch-rivals are another clan of dark wizards called the Ansara. The Raintree and Ansara went to war over 200 years ago. The Raintree clan almost annihilated the Ansara people and left what remained of their desecrated clan in the middle of a deserted Caribbean island. Now, the Ansara clan have rebuilt their numbers and are seeking revenge on the Raintree descendants. This book begins with Dante Raintree, the Dranir (leader) of the Raintree clan who possesses the power to control fire. Dante owns a casino called Inferno, and when he discovers a women stealing from him, he confronts her and discovers a lot more than a simple theft. Lorna Clay is an untrained magic user and unwittingly becomes a part of the Raintree/Ansara war.
I had reservations about these books but ended up really liking them. Dante seemed a somewhat arrogant and overbearing male lead but possessed some redeeming characteristics in the end (kindness and understanding). Lora was a strong character who I was conflicted about at times. Lorna was held against her will by Dante who was quite callous towards her at the beginning. However, she seemed to forget all about that treatment pretty quickly and jump into bed with him. However, despite that, Lorna had some good one-liners and the background and time the author took to explore the Raintree history and Lorna’s past really endeared me to this book.(less)
Darkfest by Amanda Ashley This book is about an immortal wizard named Darkfest who has untold power...moreThis anthology is created by 4 well-known authors
Darkfest by Amanda Ashley This book is about an immortal wizard named Darkfest who has untold power and lives alone in a mansion. Channa, a blind girl who lives in the village below his castle, sparks his interest. He has a chance to claim her when he heals her dying Mother and asks in return that she spend a year at his castle. Not my favourite story of the anthology. It was a little too tacky, I didn’t warm to the male lead, and it seemed to be set in a time long past but I never really got the sense of what that time was like. Overall the romance seemed forced and not the best story from Ashley. ** (2 Stars)
Phantom Lover by Sherrilyn Kenyon Erin McDaniels is afraid to sleep-until, plagued by recurring nightmares where she is confronted by of terrifying beasts. One night her dream is different when a handsome warrior arrives to save her. Erin becomes increasingly fascinated with her dream lover who hides his own dark secret which may separate them forever. I wasn't too impressed with this story either. It was a bit too sappy for me and the plot mediocre at best. I found the world of the gods fascinating and if the author had explored that area more I would have found the book a lot more interesting. ** (2 Stars)
Under Her Spell by Maggie Shayne Melissa St. Cloud begins her dream job, a consultant for a TV series about a white witch. Melissa has plans to enhance the authenticity of the show but is confused by the strong attraction she feels towards her new boss Alex. Melissa must educate Alex about the ways of witchcraft before he is pulled towards a dark magic that may destroy him. An intriguing idea for a book but the plot really lacked authenticity. I didn’t believe the romance between the 2 characters and was put off by the seemingly endless way Melissa educated everyone about “Wicca”. ** (2 Stars)
A Wulf's Curse by Ronda Thompson Elise steals aboard a wagon after running away from an arranged marriage. Unbeknownst to Elise she is finds herself in a travelling circus and in the bed of the Beast Master, Sterling Wulf. Elise begins to suspect there is more than meets the eye when it comes to Sterling, and despite denying her desire for him she is pulled into his world and his danger. Overall, this was the best short story out of all. I liked the concept of Thompson’s werewolves and I also liked the strong female lead Elise. I liked the author's writing style and the storyline outside of the romance with the travelling road show. *** ½ (3 ½ Stars) (less)
Blood Brothers is the first book in the Sign of Seven Trilogy. Three boys who share the same birthday, Caleb, Fox, and Gage, decide to celebrate their...moreBlood Brothers is the first book in the Sign of Seven Trilogy. Three boys who share the same birthday, Caleb, Fox, and Gage, decide to celebrate their tenth birthday together by camping out at the Pagan Stone, a strange altar-like stone in the middle of the woods surrounding their Hawkins Hollow town. The boys unwittingly unleash an ancient evil when a simple vow to always be friends is sealed with their blood. Now, every seven years, for seven days in the seventh month, Hawkins Hollow descends into madness; strange accidents happen, teachers light fires, husband’s murder wives, and neighbours turn against each other. When the Seven days are over, no one remembers anything, except the three blood brothers.
Now, twenty-one years later, the three boys have grown into men, Fox an attorney, Caleb now co-owner of the local bowling alley and Gage a world-wide traveller relying on poker to supplement his income. The first story focuses on Caleb Hawkins, the descendant of the founders of the village. He feels responsible for what is happening, because he was the one who suggested the blood bond between friends. He also has a mystical connection to the man who trapped the entity under the Pagan Stone. Caleb then meets with Quinn Black, a writer specialising in paranormal phenomena. Caleb feels a strange connection to Quinn and both bond and unite against the evil as the Seven is looming closer.
I liked the idea of this book and the plot was intriguing enough, but the romance left a little to be desired. It was a little too unbelievable and coincidental to be taken seriously. However, the descriptions of the manifestations are chilling and creeping and kept me wondering about the history and reasons for its existence. The interactions between the leads are funny, fast-paced and with the appropriate hint of humour. I was a little disappointed that nothing seemed to be uncovered or resolved towards the end. I know it’s a trilogy but I expected a cliff-hanger ending to get me wanting to read the next book. (less)
The Eternal Kiss is a total of 13 short stories by well known authors including Cassandra Clare, Holly Black and Rachel Caine. Edited by Trish Telep t...moreThe Eternal Kiss is a total of 13 short stories by well known authors including Cassandra Clare, Holly Black and Rachel Caine. Edited by Trish Telep this book is a range of short stories designed to give the reader a taste of different authors’ style of writing
"Falling to Ash" by Karen Mahoney Moth is a new vampire returning home for the first time in a few months. Her sire demands she reclaiming the ashes of a dead vampire master from a vampire killer. This story had a lot of potential, I really liked the main character, however, the ending seemed rushed and you’re not really given a lot of depth to understand the reason why Moth was supposed to complete this task. I gave it ** (2 stars) "Shelter Island" by Melissa de la Cruz Hannah meets a former resident of her house, a vampire boy she befriends. This story was extremely short and seemed to have no plot or compelling dialogue with a very unsatisfying ending. I gave it * (1 star) "Sword Point" by Maria V. Snyder Ava is training at the Italian fencing academy under master fencer Bossemi at his illustrious school. Ava is thrust into the world of vampires by Jarett a martial arts instructor. You get more of a sense of Ava as a character from this story and there was some intrigue. I gave it *** (3 stars) "The Coldest Girl in Coldtown" by Holly Black Matilda was bitten and made a “Cold” one. As she fights to keep her humanity by saying continuously drunk, the friends she left behind now need her help. A different outtake on vampires; if you could prevent yourself from drinking human blood for 88 days, you could be human again. The idea that a town existed where the vampires lived and where humans could go and party by bartering their blood for life, was also an appealing concept. I gave it *** (3 stars) "Undead is Very Hot Right Now" by Sarah Rees Brennan Christian is a rock star- but he is also of the undead variety. Being the only vampire in the band means he is exploited unmercifully by his manager. This is an amusing and pensive tale of a guy who wishes for rockstardom but ends up being the misunderstood dead guy. A funny read. I gave it ** ½ (2 and a ½ stars) "Kat" by Kelley Armstrong Kat and her vampire friend Marguerite have been on the run from the vampire hunters for two years, but recently Kat has begun to wonder whether they actually after Marguerite or her. I liked the action in this story unlike the other stories which are more mundane. I gave it *** (3 stars) "The Thirteenth Step" by Libba Bray Lauren takes on an assistant's job at The Angelus House, a Drug Rehab centre that has amazing results every time. Lauren begins to wonder why those who have recovered never go out into the sunlight or need to eat. I wasn't sure what to think of this story at first, and was quite intrigued by the whole process. I gave it *** ½ (3 and a ½ stars) "All Hallows" by Rachel Caine Set in Cain’s Morganville world 1 Year after the horrific Dead Girl's party another Halloween dance is being held. Eve is the main character in this book, who is forced to rescue her vampire boyfriend Michael from a bunch of drunk frat boys. I really liked this story and the sassy single liners. I gave it **** (4 stars) "Wet Teeth" by Cecil Castellucci Miles has been a vampire for 60 years, and hasn’t felt human for a single moment since then. When meets Penny he thinks that she can be his saviour. I hoped this story wouldn’t end tragically, as Miles seemed such a sad type. The story didn’t have much of a plot but was heart rendering nonetheless. I gave it ** (2 stars) "Other Boys" by Cassandra Clare Jennifer wasn't allowed to date, but when the new student Colin appears, proclaiming to be a vampire, Jennifer is intrigued and sets up a secret date with dire consequences. This was a mediocre story, and I wasn't surprised by the ending. I did like the unpredictability of Jennifer’s reaction at the end. I gave it ** ½ (2 and a ½ stars) "Passing" by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie A young vampire hunter's graduation begins, and she and her teammates embark on a last vampire hunt which will mean the death of some of her friends. This story surprised me, as the author doe a great job of misleading the reader and having many unknown factors introduced at the end. A great story which was surprisingly unpredictable. I gave it **** (4 stars) "Ambition" by Lili St. Crow A poor girl at a rich all-girls' Catholic school has a supposed rich best friend who plays a nasty trick on her which sends her on a path towards a dark and mysterious young man. The story was a little confusing, and it was uncertain whether Johnny was a vampire or not. Didn’t pull me in and left me unsatisfied with the ending. I gave it ** (2 stars) "All Wounds" by Dina James Becky meets the local “bad boy” in detention and afterward gets a late night visitor from a classmate in need while learning that some interesting things about herself and her Alzheimer suffering grandmother. An enjoyable story and I’m interested to see more of a development with the story. I gave it *** ½ (3 and a ½ stars)
This book contains 4 novellas by 4 fantastic authors. The first story is by MaryJanice Davidson titled “The Majicka”. This book is about Ireland a sel...moreThis book contains 4 novellas by 4 fantastic authors. The first story is by MaryJanice Davidson titled “The Majicka”. This book is about Ireland a self-proclaimed do-gooder who has accumulated a number of supernatural roommates: a fairy, a werewolf, a vampire, and a mage spelled into a car and now a zombie, or what Ireland thinks of as a zombie. Unbeknownst to Ireland, she is also a Magicka, an unknowing guardian of Magick. Introduce Micah, a tutor for the new Majicka, a spattering of rogue werewolves and the unlikely outcome of saving a Dryad from being killed and you have an entertaining short story. This is a very funny novella, I liked the banter between characters and think it was the ingenuity of her 'version' of some old and overdone ideas that I liked most. As with most short stories it leaves a lot of information out, like what is a Majicka, what does Micah do exactly? I loved the funny side of this story but found the ending irritatingly unfulfilling.
The next story is by Lori Handeland entitled “Voodoo Moon”. This book is centred on FBI Agent Dana Duran, who is sent to Devil's Fork to investigate a number of unexplainable murders. Dana soon discovers there is more to the crimes than she anticipated, and is pulled into the world of voodoo by voodoo-shop owner Julian Portier. He is originally Dan’s main subject but as she is pulled further into the investigation, she finds she must trust him to save her life. In this story Handeland delivered an original and well-rounded plot with believable characters, and a sensual romance. I found that the use of voodoo was fascinating and despite it being a short story I wasn’t left with the feeling I was missing vital information that I sometimes have when reading anthology.
The next novella was by Cheyenne McCray called “Breath of Magic” This story revolves around Sydney Aline, a of the gray witches of the San Francisco D'Anu Coven, and Conlan a D'Danann warrior from another dimension, who teams up with the witches to help find and destroy the warlock Darkwolf and his Fomorii companion Junga. After Sydney and Conlan find Darkwolf, both are trapped in a room where they are free to explore their passion for one another. The coven must stop Darkwolf before he opens a dimension which will bring chaos and destruction to their world. I had read a previous book by McCray and wasn’t thrilled by it. I think there was something lacking for me in this story. I didn’t quite believe in the passion between the main characters. This may be attributed to the need to have a limited number of pages, but I still found that the whole story was a little too forced. I’m not a big reader of purely witch or magical stories so maybe this also marred by overall opinion
The next story was by Christine Warren entitled “Any Witch Way She Can” Miranda Berry “Randy” is the central character in this book which is set in a world of “The Others”. Randy belongs to a family of others but is the only member to not have magical powers. Randy, in an attempt to bring her the man of her dreams, uses some misguided spell that promptly dumps her in her grandmother’s house in front of witch Michael Devon. Randy must help Michael and her grandmother, who she has a neurotic relationship with, to uncover a plot to unseat her from the Council of Others. This, in my opinion, was the best out of all the short stories. I wasn't familiar with Christine Warren's writing but was pleasantly surprised by the outcome. Overall it was a well-written, enjoyable story with witty characters, a sensual romance and a snarky heroine who I quite liked. The plot involving Randy's grandmother, the introduction of sophisticated witch Michael, and the growing attraction between the characters gave the story a well-rounded edge with lots of witty banter. I will make sure to read more Christine Warren's books (less)
This collection of stories entitled “On The Prowl” has 4 different authors writing 4 very different tales.
The first story is called “Alpha and Omega”...moreThis collection of stories entitled “On The Prowl” has 4 different authors writing 4 very different tales.
The first story is called “Alpha and Omega” by Patricia Briggs. This is by far the best story out of all four stories. This was the prequel for the Alpha & Omega series that focuses on the relationship between Charles and Anna. Anna is an omega wolf who was turned into a werewolf without her permission and was then brutalized by the Chicago pack. Anna reported the pack’s indiscrepancies to the Marduk of all American werewolves. Charles, the Marduk's son was sent to investigate the issues and encounters Anna, who he believes is his destined mate. This story is full of intensity, and I found that Charles and Anna are two characters who I would like to learn more about. I could feel their chemistry and was very impressed with the way Briggs managed to convey such an intriguing plot in such a short amount of pages. (****) I gave it 4 stars
The next story is entitled “Inhuman” by Eileen Wilks, and tells the story of an attack on a “gifted”, Kai, a telepath who has been framed for a murder she didn't commit. Nathan, Kai’s neighbour, lets people believe he is a witch, but is actually another being from the world of the fae. Nathan rescues Kai and both need to work together to find the real murderer. I liked the world that Wilks built in this story; it is teeming with magical creatures, in world full of prejudice against those with magical abilities. Nathan is a character that I found myself liking very much. He seemed a character with a lot of secrecy but also integrity and I liked the interactions between the characters, especially Kai’s attempts to pull Nathan out of his shell. Overall, it left me wanting to read more of Wilk’s novels. (***) I gave it 4 stars
“Buying Trouble” by Karen Chance was the next novel and centres around Claire, an active null who can steal magic. A misleading invite to an auction finds her as the last item on the auction list. When the auction is disrupted, she escapes through a portal to the dimension of the Fae. Claire must run for her life while also finding time to include romance in that chase. Chance’s story is certainly action-packed, and she dedicates a measured amount of time to build her intricate world. Her characters are appealing and likeable and although I she could have used a little dialogue between characters I found the story appealing, funny and wanting to read more of Chance’s novels. (***) I gave it 4 stars
Sunny's story "Mona Lisa Betwining" introduces readers to the new Queen, Mona Lisa. Lisa must answer questions in regards to the death of her predecessor, in which she must tread carefully as there are those who don’t like Mona Lisa in power. I really wasn’t a fan of this short story. I felt lost and a bit confused at times because of the way the author assumed the reader knew about her previous novels. I couldn't seem to garner any kind of feeling between any the main characters and the sex scenes were tacky and did not endure me to the characters. (**) I gave it 2 stars (less)
This story revolves around Natalie Severin and set in New Orleans where she is a reporter for NONE (New Orleans News Eyes). This news agency specialis...moreThis story revolves around Natalie Severin and set in New Orleans where she is a reporter for NONE (New Orleans News Eyes). This news agency specialises in the stories about the occult and the supernatural. Natalie is out one night investigating a story when she stumbles across veterinarian Ram Montgomery. Natalie knows that Ram is more than just a veterinarian, and soon both are forced to collaborate to stop criminals smuggling exotic animals into the country. Natalie’s brother disappeared under strange circumstances involving black magic and since that time Natalie has a deep mistrust of all things magical. Ram is a mage and aware of Natalie’s strong feelings both for him and also against magic Ram is torn by his secrets.
Set in the underbelly of New Orleans I found this book to be an appealing read. I found that both Ram and Natalie were unique characters, but at times the writing let the story down. I was intrigued about the world of magic Kathleen had created but knew that they would fight, make up and be together, so in that sense was a little predictable. However, Kathleen has written an interesting story that has captured the atmosphere of the gritty New Orleans underbelly I imagined and combined it with magical aspects. (less)