In high school Marshall wanted Niquette (Nicky) Delongpre for himself. The obstacles in his way were her boyfriend Anthem and best friend Ben. That’s...moreIn high school Marshall wanted Niquette (Nicky) Delongpre for himself. The obstacles in his way were her boyfriend Anthem and best friend Ben. That’s until Anthem is no longer an obstacle. Once they become friends, Nicky takes him to Elysium, a spot of land that her father named and built on for her mother, Millie. There Marshall ends up knocking them into the pool, and when they come out of the water, nothing is ever the same.
The Heavens Rise is my first novel by Christopher Rice. It’s mainly a horror novel, but skirts the bridge of SF. The story bounces between time, but stays mainly on Ben and Marshall. It skips between teen years and present day.
Shortly after Nicky and Marshall’s dip in the pool, Nicky and the rest of her family go missing on a trip to Elysium. After that we discover some of what happened to Marshall after his dip in the crazy pool. Beyond that I will say no more, in fear of spoiling anything. The first half of the book pulls readers forward with the mystery of what happened to Nicky and her family and how Marshall may be involved, until midway when the story turns towards the horror aspects.
The Heavens Rise was compelling. While it isn’t strong in character, it’s strong in placement. Taking place in part in New Orleans, Atlanta, and Cumberland Island it was clear the settings were very real. As it happens I’ve been to two of the three settings, one I live very close to and was pleasantly surprised to nod along with the scenery. The setting and the mystery behind what happened to the Delongpres coupled with what’s going on with Marshall make the story compelling and fast moving.
The characters didn’t work for me. The strongest characters are Ben, who plays a kind of protagonist, and his boss who isn’t a main character, but is one of the most interesting characters of the novel. I would name Marshall, but he fits too many antagonist stereotypes and didn’t have a valid reason to be a bad guy, unless you count being a stereotypical High School bully and maybe skirts being a sociopath. Nicky has almost no voice although she does play a rather large role in the novel as a whole. Since she’s been missing its ruined boyfriend, Anthem’s life—in fact Nicky’s actions affect almost everyone in the novel one way or another, yet she is like the event herself. Readers are kept from a distance from her.
The Heavens Rise is a creepy novel. It’s rare that these kinds of novels scare me, but I’m hard to frighten—unless you are a giant spider who happened to appear on my shoulder, arm, or on me in general without my knowledge. I do enjoy horror, but that’s because they’re filled with crazy ideas that somehow fit in these worlds, and I do thrill along with the characters. This has a crazy awesome idea, that would scare plenty, but the characters were lacking in thrills for me. Despite my reservations it was still a compelling read that didn’t take me long to read through. - Beth(less)
A trip to an auto junkyard takes a dangerous turn when Chess and Terrible come across an elderly woman who wants to be reunited with her dead husband...moreA trip to an auto junkyard takes a dangerous turn when Chess and Terrible come across an elderly woman who wants to be reunited with her dead husband in time for Christmas and she's not going to let anyone stop her.
This is a very quick (35 pages) holiday themed story and I enjoyed every bit of it. Things seem to be going good in Chess and Terrible's relationship and here they're kicking ghost butt together. This isn't a story that has time to dive into details about what's going on in Downside or anything else. It's a separate short that should be enjoyed like an appetizer. It's not the main dish but still part of the eating experience that hits the spot until dinner is served. - Stephanie(less)
Boy, the son of the monster Victor Frankenstein created and the Bride, is now a teenager. He grew up at The Show in New York City, but he’s never actu...moreBoy, the son of the monster Victor Frankenstein created and the Bride, is now a teenager. He grew up at The Show in New York City, but he’s never actually left the building. Other monsters live at The Show, but most of them take Boy’s family for granted. They’re too close to science for other monster’s comfort. Boy longs for the world outside, and has made a name for himself in the hacker online community. Boy doesn’t want to follow in his father’s footsteps. His father shares his plans for his son, prompting Boy to run away from home. Thinking he knows enough about computers to make it in the human world, Boy sets out on his journey, creating something he never intended to let loose.
Man Made Boy is a YA novel with a clear message—Take responsibility for your actions. The story is told in Boy’s POV. We travel with him across country and meet tons of mythological and literary monsters along his path to discovering what he needs to do.
The first part of the book sets the stage of a literal stage—The Show. The Show headed by a vampire, who gives refuge to monsters and in return they put on acts for the public. Boy doesn’t like his father’s job and doesn’t want to become his father. He also has a crush on a troll girl. When he runs away he finishes work on his big tech project which involves some kind of code/program, but he doesn’t yet know what it does. All he does know is that it’s awesome. Right after he finishes it disappears, all of it, or so he thinks. Around this time the troll girl he likes comes around and the two end up living together. Things turn dangerous when Boy gets a dangerous stalker.
Although I won’t say anything more about the stalker, I will say that it’s the reason Boy high-tails it out of town. Through a series of events Boy ends up with the granddaughters of Jekyll and Hyde, heading across the country.
Man Made Boy sounds at first like a fun romp, but Boy isn’t as fun as he first appears. He suffers from being a little too dense for my taste. We’re told that he’s a smart guy, but there are plot hints that he doesn’t seem to catch. Other than his cluelessness he can be smart, sweet and sometimes a little too mature. His level of maturity changed with what he dealt with along the story. There is a side romantic plot line. It’s without much angst and sweet, but doesn’t pack any surprises.
On a whole the story stood out when it came to exposing so many neat ideas. The Show and the other paranormal critters were awesome. Unfortunately the story and Boy wasn’t for me. I didn’t like the outcome, and the story’s tension was lost on me. As a whole I understood that the story packed a message, but perhaps it was a little too point blank for my taste. - Beth(less)
Cold Blooded is the third book in Amanda Carlson’s stellar Jessica McClain series. I once thought myself bored and pretty much done with shifter books...moreCold Blooded is the third book in Amanda Carlson’s stellar Jessica McClain series. I once thought myself bored and pretty much done with shifter books and the like, but having read these books, I find myself engaged and rooting for a fantastic heroine.
Picking up right where Hot Blooded ends, Cold Blooded wastes no time and delves straight into action. Jessica discovers that her secretary, Marcy Talbot, has been kidnapped by a group of sorcerers, and her father’s second in command, James, has gone after Marcy. Jessica, along with Rourke and Nick, heads out to the witches compound to get some much needed information, only to find themselves under attack, again.
The pacing is brisk, and the action sequences are pretty phenomenal. However, I would not recommend that you start in the middle of the series. There are many characters that interact with Jessica and you’d lack the knowledge or emotional connection that makes these books worth reading. When I reviewed Hot Blooded earlier this year, I spoke about the connection between Rourke and Jessica and how it failed to capture me. Cold Blooded takes major steps in regards to the relationship between Jessica and Rourke. Not only do they consummate the relationship, but they stay together (as in, not separated) for the majority of the book. This solidifies the bond between the two of them, and this went a long way in making me believe in the two of them as a mated couple.
One of the characters that I’m most interested in, former cop Raymond Hart, gets a bigger role in this book. Turned into a vampire from the previous story, he demonstrates atypical vampire traits stemming from the blood he took from Jessica. From a character that started out wanting to put Jessica in jail, he’s made a believable transition from enemy to ally.
Still on the run from the sorcerers, Jessica makes a deal with the Vampire Queen, Eudoxia. Jessica must uncover the traitor that resides in Eudoxia’s house and if she is unsuccessful, she will remain a prisoner for three days. Jessica, of course, does not disappoint, but there are complications that arise when she proves successful.
Cold Blooded has a vast array of mythological creatures. Werewolves, vampires, witches, oracles, sorcerers, demons and more. I usually find myself getting impatient with such a large cast, but the author does an excellent job with creating tension between the different factions, and I’m eager to learn more about each character that is introduced. I find myself more and more excited to read about Jessica McClain and the people that inhabit her world. - Ronnie(less)
Karen Chance’s Cassie Palmer series has been one of my favorite UF series for a long time, though truth be told, I’m not sure how much longer that wil...moreKaren Chance’s Cassie Palmer series has been one of my favorite UF series for a long time, though truth be told, I’m not sure how much longer that will hold to be true. For readers that are fans of Mircea – I have to warn you, he’s barely in this book. BARELY. I’m not distressed by this as I happen to be a fan of the notoriously bad tempered war mage, John Pritkin, but the ending to Tempt The Stars had me seeing red.
To recap briefly from the end of Hunt The Moon, Cassie decides to ride to Pritkin’s rescue after he risks his freedom by saving her life. He’s taken back to Hell and his demonlord father, Rosier. She comes up with a kind of half ass plan to go back in time to get information from her mother on how to retrieve Pritkin from his powerful father, but as usual in Cassie’s world, things don’t exactly go as planned.
As usual in a Karen Chance novel, the pace is fast and the action non-stop. I’m getting a little frustrated with this series because Cassie’s growth as Pythia is slow going at best. She’s still kept in the dark about her powers from the people that surround her and she has the tendency to charge pell mell towards a solution when she doesn’t necessarily have all the facts at her disposal. Where the books have managed to captivate me however, is the relationship that’s developed between Cassie and Pritkin.
He sees Cassie at her worst, and rarely at her best. Whether she’s under attack, in training for some sort of magical battle, or near death, he’s just there for her. He tries to guide her, teach her and is somehow always completely surprised and frustrated when she fails to follow his orders. He knows she’s not a pet to be kept, and you ‘ve seen him struggle with how he feels about her in previous books. In Tempt The Stars, you get to see Cassie struggle with her feelings and her failure to verbalize how she feels about him in three little words. It was both frustrating and poignant at the same time.
The situation becomes pretty hairy when Cassie braves Satan’s doorstep (her words not mine) to rescue Pritkin, armed only with Pritkin’s fellow mage, Caleb, vampire Casanova and their guide, Rian. The constant non-stop action of the story tends to make me a little tired while reading through it, but the author sprinkles much needed bits of humor throughout the dialogue and descriptions. Cassie does, indeed, rescue the war-mage Pritkin, only to have him yanked away again.
It ENDS on yet another cliffhanger, so reader, be ye warned – While I very much enjoy the Cassie Palmer series, the cliffhanger endings are becoming somewhat aggravating, at least, for this particular reader. - Ronnie(less)
The mage world is divided, but both sides will have to rally if they want to stop the plague that kills indescribably. Cari Dolan becomes the leader o...moreThe mage world is divided, but both sides will have to rally if they want to stop the plague that kills indescribably. Cari Dolan becomes the leader of house Dolan when her father is struck down by the plague. She survives the sickness, and is asked to discover who is infecting the mages. The catch is that she must work with Mason Stray. Mason hasn’t been touched by the plague, but is deeply worried his son might get it. He is desperate to enter a mage house where there is protection for his child. Bran house sets up a deal for his son to foster at Webb house if he teams up with Cari to put a stop to the sickness.
Soul Kissed is book two in the Shadow Kissed series. It’s a novel that can be read alone, although characters from Fire Kissed, the first book, do make an appearance. Both books are set in the same world as Kellison’s Shadow trilogy. Each book has so far featured a different couple. The events of the Shadow Kissed series take place after the events of the Shadow series. Mages no longer hide from the public, and the clash between their great houses takes center stage in this series.
The novel starts in a prologue from Mason when the plague makes its first appearance. It’s easy to feel for Mason. While other mages can hide from the sickness in great houses, warded by family stones, Mason is a Stray, belonging to no house. That leaves him and his boy, Fletcher, open to the plague. He ends up leaving Fletcher at Webb house, not knowing when the next time he’ll see the boy will be. Heart bleeding over his own loss, he teams up with Cari, who is still grieving over her father’s death. He liked her before, when they were just teens, but as time goes on and they help one another a true bond forms.
The plague isn’t Cari’s only problem. When she goes to the scene of her father’s death, she starts to hear a fae in her head. The fae tells her that she is Meave, and that she created the Dolan family line. Meave grants her more shadow power than she’s ever had before. Along with her working with Mason, and trusting him more and more, she has to discover whatever she can about Meave. More importantly, who is using who? There is a lot about this situation that I’m not going into, in fear of spoilers.
Kellison uses a lot of fairy tale type situations in her stories. Soul Kissed has some Cinderella qualities in that Cari has a step-mother and two step sisters. Though they are far from evil, but then again, they weren’t very essential to the story. None of the trio felt very developed. If anyone were a Cinderella it would be Mason who fights tooth and nail forever inch, until Cari (in a way) saves him. He saves her as well. There are some things in the novel, like the step-family, that had little weight into the plot, and some simple miscommunication that seemed to drag the plot forward.
On a whole Soul Kissed was an enjoyable read. I liked the story more than I liked the last one, but I still want more out of this series. Kellison’s Shadowman is still my favorite of her novels, and I’m hoping the next one will blow it away. - Beth(less)
Midnight Lies is the second novel in Ella Grace’s Wildefire series and features Samantha Wilde, former homecoming queen turned cop. I general...more2.5 stars
Midnight Lies is the second novel in Ella Grace’s Wildefire series and features Samantha Wilde, former homecoming queen turned cop. I generally don’t read too much romantic suspense, but I found that I enjoyed her first book in the series, Midnight Secrets, and made the request for her second book.
Confident and capable detective Samantha Wilde is thrown for a loop when her lover, Dr. Quinn Braddock is accused of murdering his ex-wife. Sam takes time off from her job to investigate on Quinn’s behalf, only to have him accuse of her not believing in him and ending the relationship. Devastated, she heads back to Midnight, Alabama and goes to work with her sisters at the newly formed security agency.
The bond that exists between the sisters is one of my favorite parts of this series. They don’t lie to one another, they know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and they’re wholly supportive of one another even if they’re picking at each other. While the beginning of the book sets up Sam and Quinn’s relationship, in many ways the beginning felt extraneous and cumbersome. The beginning is relevant to what happens at the end of the book, but it could’ve been pared down quite a bit to help with pacing issues.
When Quinn discovers that Sam went to bat for him, he heads straight to Midnight to beg forgiveness from Sam as well as another chance. I have to say, I really didn’t care much for Quinn as a hero. He’s an unbelievable jerk to her in the beginning of the book, and his actions with his ex-wife don’t quite match how his character is constructed. He’s set up as a very controlled and proud man, yet he still answers calls from his ex who jerked him around and cheated on him. When Sam turns him down, he decides to stick around in Midnight and ends up buying a house there in town. As much as Sam is reluctant to give Quinn another chance, they do end up trying to work on things between the two of them.
There are a couple of subplots woven throughout the book that involve a mysterious good looking stranger that gives Sam odd vibes and Quinn is once again a suspect when a woman is found murdered, but these developments are inserted slowly throughout the pages, and are not very suspenseful to boot. When Midnight Lies focuses on the sisters, I found myself more easily engaged with the text as opposed to the mysteries that lie around who murdered Quinn’s ex. In any case, it was a pleasant enough read, but not very memorable or exciting. - Ronnie(less)
Suckered into weeks of babysitting her spoiled teenage nephews…
Lola Cook is a busy professional whose sister pressured her into watching Lola’s twin...moreSuckered into weeks of babysitting her spoiled teenage nephews…
Lola Cook is a busy professional whose sister pressured her into watching Lola’s twin nephews during the summer while their parents traveled across Europe. Lola enrolls the boys in a summer football program so that she can have some much needed time for herself.
When the boys’ misbehavior almost gets them kicked out of the summer footballprogram…
Lola cannot help but notice that Coach Gray Barnett is very nice looking, and he has an authoritative demeanor that brooks no nonsense. Lola gets called in to discuss her nephews’ complaining and misbehavior. It seems they may get kicked out of the program, which would be mighty inconvenient for Lola.
…their hot football coach offers Lola a solution.
Coach Barnett is divorced and has a son on the team. When he meets Lola, he finds her very attractive and would like to get to know her more. He proposes to Lola that she should take the punishment for her nephew’s naughtiness. Lola finds herself surprisingly aroused and curious to know what that would entail. She would also like to see more of Coach Barnett. Things get very interesting.
Lola would take the punishment for their naughtiness…
The Naughty Corner is a thoroughly entertaining book—especially if you enjoy some spanking in your erotic romance stories. The characters of Lola and Coach Barnett were well developed, and the plot included some nice family drama regarding relationships with the teen boys. There is even a little bit of mystery and suspense when Lola receives some anonymous threats and must determine the source. All in all, The Naughty Corner will have you pulling for the boys to misbehave more as you enjoy this engaging, light read. - Delta(less)
Last year I read and enjoyed Jacqueline Carey’s foray into Urban Fantasy with Dark Currents and Autumn Bones is the second book in the Agent of Hel se...moreLast year I read and enjoyed Jacqueline Carey’s foray into Urban Fantasy with Dark Currents and Autumn Bones is the second book in the Agent of Hel series. The series /characters have a vaguely Sookie Stackhouse type of vibe, including the small town setting of Pemkowetand various monsters ranging from Daisy’s crush, werewolf Police Officer Cody Fairfax to the ghoul that shares a bond with her, Stefan Ludovic. It has more of a light hearted feel to it than a lot of the current UF that’s on the market these days, and that’s actually pretty refreshing.
The protagonist of this series is Daisy Johanssen, a half-demon spawn tasked with the responsibility as acting as Hel’s liaison between the human and eldritch (supernatural) communities. Daisy acts under the direction of Hel, the Norse Goddess of the dead, whom rules over the underworld beneath the town of Pemkowet, a premier resort destination located in Michigan. While Daisy is finding her feet over the responsibilities that come with being Hel’s liaison, she also has a troubled love life.
Daisy has been dating a human by the name of Sinclair Palmer only to discover that he’s descended from obeah sorcerers and when his sister comes to town to take Sinclair back home, she ends up threatening Daisy and promises to wreak havoc if Sinclair doesn’t come back. As much as Daisy likes Sinclair, they both agree to stop dating and just be friends. Daisy still harbors a crush on her werewolf police officer partner, Cody Fairfax, even as he’s made it clear he needs to mate with a fellow wolf and not Daisy. Meanwhile, Daisy asks and receives help from Stefan, a ghoul whom she has assisted in the past.
This has never been one of my favorite tropes within the UF genre, and while I’m not overjoyed with this aspect of the plot, I find myself intrigued with one of her possible choices, namely the ghoul named Stefan Ludovic. As opposed to Officer Cody Fairfax and Sinclair, Stefan is written as a darker and more mysterious character. He has more of an edge to him, and this makes him the more interesting choice, at least for me. The author also doles out the information very sparingly, so it just makes me all the more curious and I look forward to their scenes together.
The pace meanders something fierce in the middle of the novel, but even as I say that, I enjoyed the way it was written. It was an enjoyable detour if you will. There are a lot of details featuring side characters, and the town of Pemkowet, enough to feel overwhelmed if you haven’t read the first book, Dark Currents.
That being said, if you like light hearted urban fantasy peppered with great creatures, intriguing love interest(s), with an easy to read style, then I’d definitely recommend that you check out Jacqueline Carey’s Agent of Hel series. - Ronnie(less)
I should have listened to my fellow reviewers a long time ago. I thought I had it pegged since it's an erotic but it's more than sex. Hot, HOT sex. Li...moreI should have listened to my fellow reviewers a long time ago. I thought I had it pegged since it's an erotic but it's more than sex. Hot, HOT sex. Like, don't read it while others are in the room smutty goodness....anyways, awesome book with great word building and a motley cast of characters that surprised me with their complexity. I definitely plan to continue on! (less)