Hedi wants to save her twin brother from a mage. He’s in Merenwyn (Fae land) and Hedi can’t get through a gate. On top of that the council is after he...moreHedi wants to save her twin brother from a mage. He’s in Merenwyn (Fae land) and Hedi can’t get through a gate. On top of that the council is after her, her mate, and her friends. Before she has time to think about anything she is thrust through one event after another. She is chased by bikers, other types of shifters. She even runs into a betrayal or two.
Things don’t let up for Hedi in book three. At the start of the story Hedi let’s readers know that her next objective is to get to Merenwyn with Trowbridge and save her brother. Unfortunately the story morphs into a tome like those great epic fantasies where a band of warriors has to go through trial after trial along the way. Only it lacks the depth of setting and isn’t slow enough for any of those great bonding moments between characters. It does try, especially towards the end, but the emotion was lost on this reader.
Like the books before it The Problem with Promises is told from Hedi’s POV. It took me a little while to get re-used to her voice and I don’t remember that being an issue in the previous books. I also remembered very little from the last book, The Thing about Weres. See, that was surprising, I remember enjoying the last book, but thinking Hedi spent way too long on the Mystwalking drama. For those who haven’t read the first two books, Hedi walks in a Fae spirit realm. That’s her super power.
The Problem with Promises starts right after book two. So I was all ready for Hedi to go fix her brother’s situation and get the Fae business over with. Unfortunately the wolf drama with the council strikes first, which is really a shame because I find the wolf drama more interesting. Another issue was the pacing of the novel. Hedi goes directly from fire to fire. There is no breathing time. This led to the novel reading as somewhat stressful, making it hard to get through in just a couple sittings.
Hedi is snarky and fun, but hard to slink back into. Her lover and friends are interesting, but not what hold the story together. What held it together, for me at least, was Hedi’s odd relationship with Trowbridge. He’s not perfect, nor is she, and I’ve always loved them together. Book three takes a step back even though they’re finally back together. He was gone for so long. Hedi just got him back and the threat of his life or kidnapping appears again and again. Hedi also has a very odd relationship with her niece. I’m just going to say: I don’t get it. She has all this emotional baggage connected to this poor girl, but no real reason for it, other than her being her brother’s child. I don’t feel the connection because I just doing see it as enough. On the grand scale of time Hedi’s known this girl for a week, maybe less.
Okay, so this review sounds bad, and I gave it three stars. It isn’t. There are twists I didn’t see coming, lots of fun action scenes, and a ton of fun snark. I don’t think it was the best installment in the series and it took me a while to finish it. Despite that I’m still looking forward to how the story evolves and what will happen in future pages. - Elizabeth(less)
Written in Red was Anne Bishop’s foray into urban fantasy last year, and it was an absolutely fabulous debut. Murder of Crows is the second book featu...moreWritten in Red was Anne Bishop’s foray into urban fantasy last year, and it was an absolutely fabulous debut. Murder of Crows is the second book featuring the Others, and while I’d say the first book was all about Meg Corbyn, this book is more about the politics of the Others as well as Simon Wolfgard. Overall, I thought the book was very good, but I thought it was more plot driven rather than character oriented.
While Meg Corbyn has proven herself a friend to the terra indigene, she’s still getting used to living among them within the Courtyard. The Courtyard is a tract of land that is home to the terra indigene and allows them to trade with humans. Relations between the humans and terra indigene are tense after the attack on Meg and things aren’t improving after Simon learns that the Others are being targeted with tainted meat that’s being left out.
Where the book really shines is the author’s meticulous world building when it comes to the Others. The terra indigene take many forms including shifters like Simon, a Wolf. Or the Sanguinati – vampires that can disappear in a puff of smoke, or kill their human victims by making the blood ooze out of their pores. The friendship between Simon and Meg continues to deepen, but at an ultra slow pace. Simon’s frustration with Meg is palpable, but Meg, for all her abilities as a blood prophet, comes across as very childlike. While she’s making headway learning about things that humans do and interacting with all the terra indigene, her growth is extremely slow, and the book’s focus was frankly not on Meg very much at all. They’re still not on equal footing yet, and until I see more growth on Meg’s part, I wouldn’t be in favor of a relationship between the two of them. That being said, the parts of I loved best were the interactions between Meg and Simon, or between Meg and any of the terra indigene.
Where I’ve always struggled with Bishop’s books is in her portrayals of villains. For the most part, compared to the other characters in her novels, they lack nuance and subtlety and they always come across as over the top, even borderline corny. The villain in Murder of Crows fits this description to a T. Called the Controller, he has access to the cassandra sangue, and makes use of the blood prophets for his own gain. There are mentions of a movement called Humans First and Last that aims to take the control away from the terra indigene and give it back to the humans. But these plot threads are less than engaging when it comes to the rest of the novel, and I got a sense that it was more of a build up for upcoming books rather than being the central focus.
For me, it wasn’t nearly as suspenseful as the Written in Red and I never felt that any of the main characters were in any sort of peril. That being said, I still look forward to the next novel of the Others and whatever else Anne Bishop may write. - Ronnie(less)
The first novel in the Tidewater series is a riveting psychic suspense.
Communicating with the dead has brought Jules Scott nothing but trouble, but de...moreThe first novel in the Tidewater series is a riveting psychic suspense.
Communicating with the dead has brought Jules Scott nothing but trouble, but despite her best efforts the needy spirits always find her and draw her into their otherworldly drama. Now, she may have to entrust her secret to the person least likely to believe her because one of the spirits has implicated her in series of deadly crimes. Working on a big case, Detective Seth English can’t get distracted not even by his alluring new neighbor. He doesn’t believe she has anything to with the case, but she keeps turning up in all the wrong places and his gut says she knows more that she’s letting on. To solve his case he may have to expose what she’s hiding no matter how impossible the truth may be.
This steady paced plot keeps the reader on the edge of their seat with lots of suspense, action and romance. The author describes the events and characters with vivid imagery and details that reach out grab the reader’s attention. The characters are strong, compelling and ensure the reader wants to know more and the suspense builds throughout the story and the spirits are life like and send shivers up the reader’s spine.
The attraction between Seth and Jules radiates heat from every page and the sex scenes sizzle with lots of steamy passion. Jules captures the heart of the readers with her strong but vulnerable personality and they can certainly understand her motivations regarding her ‘gift’ and her life. Seth is a likable character even though in a couple places he acts like a typical male, but then that’s what makes them so believable. The supporting characters are also very intriguing, capturing the reader’s interest and ensuring that they want to reader their stories as well.
I was totally caught up in this story from the very beginning and I really enjoyed how the author kept me guessing and surprising me with twists that I sure wasn’t expecting. I can’t wait to read the next Tidewater novel. - Eva(less)
The third book in the Accidentally Yours series is a thrilling paranormal romance.
Penelope Trudeau thought she had seen it all, but nothing like when...moreThe third book in the Accidentally Yours series is a thrilling paranormal romance.
Penelope Trudeau thought she had seen it all, but nothing like when she is accosted by an insane redhead who has an even crazier proposition – have a baby with the strange woman’s brother in exchange for a million dollars, well that one. While Penelope could use the money to help her mother, she insists that her womb and eggs are not for sale… until she meets her impressively built, gorgeous intended mate and oh let’s not forget to mention that he is an immortal Sun God. Kinich doesn’t believe in fraternizing with humans so procreation is a definite no- no. Until he spends one night with the beautiful Penelope and begins to think that he could be wrong, until he learns that the whole thing was set up by his crazy sister. But if he lets her go, she’ll be in danger from his enemies.
The fast paced plot keeps readers on their toes with lots of suspense, action and romance. The author paints the story with vivid images and details that make it seem as if the reader is part the story and the strong compelling characters reach out and grab the reader drawing them deeper into the story. The continuing battle between good and evil that is being fought is well written and believable and the gods that the author created for her paranormal world are intriguing and fun characters that gives a little something extra to the story.
The attraction between Pen and Nick radiates heat from every page and the sex scenes, even the ones in dreamland are hot and steamy, love the shower scene, that one is a category all its own. The romance between the two has a long way to go since there is one very sexy but stubborn Sun God and of course fate has a way of sticking her nose in things making things even more difficult.
I really enjoyed this book and the world of mythological gods that the author has created, it has its unique twists, lots of fun snarky dialogue and some surprises that the reader doesn’t see coming. - Eva(less)
Killer Frost is the last entry (for now at least) in Jennifer Estep’s Mythos Academy series. While I have enjoyed each installment, I’m glad that the...moreKiller Frost is the last entry (for now at least) in Jennifer Estep’s Mythos Academy series. While I have enjoyed each installment, I’m glad that the series is wrapping up for the time being. The author manages to end the series on a high note while possibly leaving the door open for a future spin-off perhaps? Gwen Frost and her abilities have always taken center stage within these books, and Killer Frost is no exception.
I’ll say one thing about this series. The way Gwen and her teenage friends are portrayed is pretty damn spot on. There is melodrama mixed with tinges of humor, gossip, and that gut wrenching feeling when you’re described as an “outcast”. Even being a hero several times over hasn’t stopped the kids of Mythos Academy from talking about Gwen. That being said, Gwen is frustrated and weary from the Reaper attacks. Logan is being distant towards her, and Gwen is asked for assistance is finding what artifact the Reapers are after. A rather half-baked plan (in Gwen’s opinion) is put into place to lull the Reapers in.
Things become more complicated and frightening for Gwen when the Reapers kidnap her grandmother and ransom her for the special artifact. Disheartened when she realizes that Linus and the Protectorate aren’t going to help rescue her grandmother, she decides to go it alone, as she most often has in the past. It’s a testament to Estep’s writing that the secondary characters are memorable and well-drawn. Especially Mythos’ own librarian, Nickamedes. While he’s in only a few scenes in each book, his character is slowly fleshed out throughout the series and he’s one of my favorite characters within this large cast. He believes in Gwen and comes to her aid when she makes it known she’ll rescue her grandmother no matter what.
I’ve only described what happens in approximately the first half of the book. If you’ve been following along with these books, you’ll know the instructions Nike has handed down to Gwen concerning Loki. I don’t want to give too much away, but the action sequences are memorable and every side character has a purpose for why they’re in the book at various scenes. I haven’t mentioned the romance between Gwen and Logan yet, and there’s a reason for that. While I’m not of the opinion that the romance has actually detracted from the series, I don’t think it’s added all that much either. The world that Gwen inhabits is huge and each side character is solid in their own right. I enjoyed Gwen and Logan, but I think I would’ve liked the series just as much even if she hadn’t had a love interest.
The door is left slightly open with Rory’s character making a much needed appearance, and I have to wonder if she’s ever going to get her own story. I would very much recommend Jennifer Estep’s Mythos Academy series if you enjoy solid worldbuilding with a great cast of characters. I haven’t had much luck with books that end a series, but this was a very good read. - Ronnie(less)
Devi Morris is still working on the Glorious Fool as head of security after her partner dies. The first order of business is to replace him....more3.5 stars
Devi Morris is still working on the Glorious Fool as head of security after her partner dies. The first order of business is to replace him. Once that is settled Devi starts to hallucinate and have instant nausea every time she looks at the cook. The fact she can’t conjure his name even after just hearing it starts to bother her. Events collide that she can no longer ignore until she is sure she’s going crazy, unfortunately before she gets help a voice speaks inside Devi’s head showing her things about the cook and her captain and asking to be set free. When these events build Devi discovers her missing pieces and finds out she might be the one to save the universe. Honor’s Knight is the second novel in the Paradox series. It’s told in Devi’s point of view. Despite its advertising as a space opera, and in some ways it is that, but the characters and the prose remind me of Urban Fantasy. This makes this a great book for those who want to branch out into Science Fiction. The novel has two strong focuses. The first is Devi, who is a very strong heroine. The second is fire power. There are a lot of battle scenes and Devi doesn’t back down from a fight. While both of these are done well there isn’t a lot going on in the scenery, which for a SF is disappointing for this reader.
Past this point there might be some heavy spoilers from the first book, Fortune’s Pawn, so here is a link to my review of it.
I should state first off that while the novel was disjointed for me it started off very strong. I had reservations about Devi’s erased memories. I even rolled my eyes at the overdone concept. That said it actually brought up the tension level at the start of the novel. Let’s stick to the erased memories, because while that should be an unforgivable thing for Rupert to do in the first place what he does in Honor’s Knight gives me a knee jerk reaction. The readers can’t peg it down as real, not until later. I applaud Devi for never falling back into this creepy mofo’s arms, but she gets close and I’m sure I’m supposed to have forgiven him by now, but I haven’t, I won’t. So basically, the romance which I was behind in the first book has turned into a viper for me, and I REALLY want to cut its head off.
That out of the way I can move on to two things. There was a lot of background/history for this story. Who is the Captain? What’s up with his daughter? What do The Eyes (I’m not fond of the name) fight? What’s the hallucinations? Thankfully Honor’s Knight answers those questions for me. All of a sudden knowing that there is plasmex (aka ‘the force’) isn’t as awesome sauce as I thought it was. This is also how we discover that Devi has been dumped into a ‘chosen one’ story. Caldswell puts it together quickly and is ready to hand Devi over to a secret-government(s) spanning-killing-crazy-little girl murders-society. Devi, with her memories, isn’t so keen on this plan and happens to run into Brenton again.
Brenton is a character I was super interested in. After all he is the rebel, and let’s face it, I have a soft spot of rebels. Unfortunately he’s more fanatical than I like. This is where the novel slowed to a near halt for me. The first half I finished in near one sitting, but once I got to the actual meat of the plot I was struggling to get through it. I’m not sure if this was caused by the Devi and Rupert disappointment or the story twists. The pace picked back up occasionally, but it didn’t feel as tight as the first novel.
In short Devi rocks as a main character. She likes her armor, weapons, and has a wicked temper. In fact when it comes to characterization, this novel shines. The other members of the Glorious Fool are well rounded and enjoyable. In many ways the Paradox series has been character driven from the start. As I said before, I believe this series is perfect for those who read Paranormal or UF and want give SF a try. It’s also a great series to pick up if you are looking for a strong heroine. I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone who wants a lot of sensory detail or wants science. The first half of the novel was stronger for me than the last and I was disappointed with the direction the romance took. That doesn’t take away from my enjoying of Devi who despite the slow spots is still fun to read. - Elizabeth(less)
The second novel in the Disenchanted & Co. series is intriguing and magical.
Kit agrees to interview a newly widowed potential client as a favor fo...moreThe second novel in the Disenchanted & Co. series is intriguing and magical.
Kit agrees to interview a newly widowed potential client as a favor for the deathmage Lucien Dredmore. Upon meeting however, she learns that the lady in question is someone who once led a vicious campaign to ruin Kit’s life and now ironically who fears for herself, for the press is about to unmask her husband as the savage “Wolfman” who died while terrorizing the city. Kit soon determines that there is more than one Wolfman and that they themselves may be victims of evil and follows a tangled path that leads to a vengeful native tribe and dangerous ancient magics.
This steady to fast paced plot keeps the reader on their toes with lots of suspense and action. The author describes this alternate reality fantasy with well written words and the events with vivid images that make it easy for the reader to get caught up in the story. The characters are strong and bewitching and have the reader wanting to know more.
The romance between Kit and Dredmore continues to be rocky and intriguing adding more spice to the story. Kit makes a great heroine she’s feisty, independent and is a strong woman in what is mostly a man’s world. The author certainly portrays the emotions and personalities of the characters with a vibrancy that makes them life like.
The world is fascinating and the book is an enjoyable read and I have decided that I like this novel better than I did the first one, but I still like the Darkyn series better. - Eva(less)
After finishing Blitzing Emily, I was very eager to read the author’s next novel, Rushing Amy. And while I wasn’t overwhelmed with the setup in the pr...moreAfter finishing Blitzing Emily, I was very eager to read the author’s next novel, Rushing Amy. And while I wasn’t overwhelmed with the setup in the previous book, this book features Emily’s younger sister, a hard working accountant turned florist named Amy.
Amy Hamilton meets Matt Stephens in bar after her sister Emily’s wedding is over. Amy is tired and wants to avoid men for the time being after her last relationship went south. Matt is an ex-NFL player turned analyst and is intrigued by Amy, who chooses to introduce herself as “Fifi”. Matt is persistent and keeps asking Amy out while having her deliver flowers to seemingly random women. While many readers won’t take issue with this aspect of the book, to me it smacks of game playing and it brought Matt down a little in my mind.
In the last couple of contemporaries I’ve read, the ex-wife isn’t shown as the villain of the piece, and I’m happy to report that this trend continues in Rushing Amy. Matt had a daughter when he was relatively young, but still maintains a good relationship with his ex as they raise their daughter ,Samantha. It’s rare that one character can make or break an entire book for me, but I adored Amy. She hasn’t had many successful relationships, she made a somewhat abrupt career change from accountant to florist, and she’s still very envious of her sister, Emily. You see her struggle to make ends meet to keep her business afloat, and she’s very resistant at receiving any help from her family or Matt. She wants to make it on her own.
Amy and Matt take their time getting to know one another before getting intimate and I really appreciated that particular aspect of the book, but I have to say I was equally annoyed by Matt’s refusal to take no for an answer when it came to Amy. This is brought up at times in the text, and plays a huge part at the end of the book, but it made me not care for Matt as much.
In this book vs. Blitzing Emily, I got more of a sense of who Amy and Matt were as people. As many scenes as they had together, they had an equal number apart. Matt with his daughter and ex-wife, Amy with her family, and her business. So while I can see some people being frustrated with the lack of action regarding their romance, their characters were more fully developed to me and more believable at that.
The pacing is decent, though I found myself getting a little impatient through the middle of the book. For people that are fans of sports romance, I wouldn’t necessarily suggest that this one is, despite its title. It wasn’t a particular disappointment to me, as I’m rather neutral when it comes to those types of books, but for fans that do enjoy them, it really doesn’t have any sort of focus in this novel. I enjoyed Rushing Amy quite a bit more than Blitzing Emily, and I’m looking forward to author’s forthcoming books. - Ronnie(less)
The second book in the Eternal Mates series is a thrilling action packed romance.
Demon King of the Third Realm, Thorne knew the moment he set eyes on...moreThe second book in the Eternal Mates series is a thrilling action packed romance.
Demon King of the Third Realm, Thorne knew the moment he set eyes on the huntress, Sable that she was his fated mate. When she arrives in his kingdom to help with the war, he vows nothing will stop him from claiming her, not the relentless assault from the Fifth Realm or the dark male elf determined to seduce her out of his grasp. Sable is intent on achieving the coveted position of commander at Archangel and her eagerness to lead the deadly mission has everything to do with winning the promotion and nothing to do with the lethally devastating demon king who has starred in her wicked dreams since they met. Can Sable place her duty before her heart or will she surrender to her deepest desires and be claimed by a demon king?
The fast paced and smooth flowing plot keeps the reader on the edge of their seat with lots of suspense, action and romance. The author brings every scene to vibrant life with well written words that make the reader feel as if they are part of the action. The battle scenes are well choreographed and believable and the tension builds throughout the story with some surprising twists that the reader doesn’t see coming. The characters are strong and captivating grabbing the reader’s attention and keeping it to the very end.
The attraction between Sable and Thorne burns up the pages with very heated passion and the sex scenes are scorching hot. The relationship has lots of obstacles that must be overcome, most especially from Sable as a relationship in hell just doesn’t figure into her plans. Also to spice things up even more Sable has some personal issues that surprise the reader as much as it does Sable. As for Thorne, well let’s just say that what red blooded female wouldn’t be charmed by the sexy demon that wants to protect his kingdom and accepts Sable for what she is.
I can’t wait to read the next one, I don’t want to give anything away the battle ended with a couple of events that definitely must be addressed and I can’t wait to see who’s book is next, there is quite a few delightful possibilities. - Eva(less)
The first book in the Eternal Mates series is a riveting paranormal read.
A scientist for the demon-hunting organization, Archangel, Olivia thinks it’s...moreThe first book in the Eternal Mates series is a riveting paranormal read.
A scientist for the demon-hunting organization, Archangel, Olivia thinks it’s her lucky night when a dangerously handsome unconscious fae ends up on her inspection table. But she gets more than she bargained for when Prince Loren awakes hazy from his injuries and is lured by her blood. One single bite reveals Olivia is his eternal mate, triggering a bond that until completed or broken will leave him weakened and pulls her into the middle of ancient feud. Loren will risk everything by helping Olivia at Archangel to protect his people and his mate from the machinations of a madman. Loren has waited millennia for his eternal mate. Will he be strong enough to give up the one thing he craves above all others and choose duty over desire?
This steady to fast paced plot keeps the reader on their toes with lots of action, suspense and romance. The story comes to life with vivid images and details that ensure the reader feel as if they are in the middle of the action. The bewitching characters catch the reader in their webs with strong and charismatic personalities making it impossible for the reader not to get ensnared in their stories.
The attraction between Olivia and Loren explodes from the pages and singe the reader with hot and steamy passion and scorching hot sex scenes. The relationship has a rocky start as they each have their interesting reasons for fighting their mating which adds lots of spice to the story. Olivia is a strong and curious female that’s past has made her vulnerable and the Prince captures the reader’s heart with dilemma.
The tension builds throughout the story with lots of suspense that keeps with some surprises that the reader doesn’t see coming. The supporting characters also captivate the reader with their interesting stories ensuring that the reader wants to know more. The final battle scene with the enemy was believable and while being very impressive and it was easily pictured because of the vivid and intense details.
I was totally caught up in the story from beginning to end and I found that there were some refreshing unique ideas that definitely attracted my attention and changed things up. I was also taken in by the characters and want follow up with their stories so this is one paranormal series that is definitely being added to my ‘to buy’ list. - Eva(less)
Quinn is back. She is now a were/vampire hybrid and ex-heroin junkie. She’s still working for B. He sends her off to help the Maidstone twins. Amity M...moreQuinn is back. She is now a were/vampire hybrid and ex-heroin junkie. She’s still working for B. He sends her off to help the Maidstone twins. Amity Maidstone, a necromancer, has gone missing. After visiting Amity’s sister Quinn isn’t quite convinced she is really missing. As she reminds us, she isn’t a detective. A bigger plot ends up encompassing the novel and Quinn gets pushed between two very nasty demons. How she is going to weave herself out of this one and stay alive is anyone’s guess.
Red Delicious is the second novel in Kathleen Tierney’s (Caitlín R. Kiernan) Siobhan Quinn series. The story is told in first person, written by Quinn. These books come with a warning label for those easily offended. Luckily I’m not one of those people. I enjoy a foul mouthed, pissed at the world, and murdering heroine-who isn’t exactly even a hero of any sort. This is pulp goodness with a middle finger salute to the overly dense characterization in many urban fantasy novels (That’s how I took it, as I cheered on the inside).
The story starts with Quinn getting attacked by a sort of ex-priest. She then checks on the missing necromancer. Except the story morphs into something else when a magic dildo (yep, magic dildo) becomes a major issue. There is an inclusion of The Maltese Unicorn, a short story, which explains the magic dildo. The short story is just plain awesome sauce and happened to make me giggle. In fact I spent a lot of time giggling throughout the novel, maybe more than the previous novel, Blood Oranges.
I’ve mentioned that the novel is pulp, and in that fashion it’s a quick read. Real life got in the way as I was reading the start, but the middle to the end I read in one sitting. Maybe I got up once for a drink or something of that nature.
Wow! For me this is a short review, but the novel is short. It’s no secret that I love Kiernan’s work, which is usually, well, very different than this. I also love her as Tierney. I thought about putting down quotes, but all of my favorites are laced with a loving F-bomb. Something about censoring that tears at my F-bomb loving heart. Now is when you should ask, why not the perfect score? Because I wanted more, because there was a few recurring things from Blood Oranges, and because the start of the novel was a little slow for me. I know, it might have just been that real life kicking me around, but those are my reasons.
If you’re eyes are here it’s because you’re unsure if you should pick up the series/read this installment or you’re another reviewer seeing what someone else thought. If you read the first book and didn’t enjoy it, and mostly that might be for the language, the grit, and the insulting narrator (all things I loved) then probably not. Red Delicious has much more of all that. If you haven’t started the series and are thinking about it based on what I’ve said about hybrids, F-bombs, magic dildos, and insulting narrators then yes. Yes, you should and you’ll love it. - Beth(less)
Ahh, New Adult. When you’re good, you’re really good, and when you’re bad, you’re downright awful. It can be hard to find an author that has...more3.5 Stars
Ahh, New Adult. When you’re good, you’re really good, and when you’re bad, you’re downright awful. It can be hard to find an author that has a distinctive voice within this crowded field, but I genuinely like Christina Lee’s books. So I made a request for her second book, Before You Break, and mostly enjoyed the novel overall.
You can run, but you can’t hide from the past. Both Ella Abrams and Daniel Quinn come with some heavy baggage and are trying their best to move on as best they can. One characteristic that I really liked about this book was that voices of the two protagonists seemed to reflect their age, as does the dialogue. Ella is a bright girl with a lousy frat guy boyfriend. Daniel Quinn is a member of her boyfriend’s frat and has noticed her for quite some time, but has kept a respectful distance from her.
He finds her nearly passed out in the bathroom and helps get her cleaned up and back safely into her useless boyfriend’s room. Score one for the considerate and respectful hero. But there’s also this overwhelming sense of guilt and despair that colors Quinn’s viewpoint. He tries to hide it from everyone, especially the parents of his friend who died, but he can’t help calling the suicide hotline frequently, and ends up speaking to Gabby, although they don’t know this until further along in the book. The lusting on his part gets a little old rather fast especially as he only knows surface things about Ella in the first part of book, but it’s not as bad as some books I’ve read.
I’m using two names but Ella’s name is Gabrielle – she uses that name for the suicide prevention line and she’s known as Ella by her friends. Her brother committed suicide some years back and she’s been devastated ever since. She wants to make a difference in other people’s lives. I found the sentiment admirable, but there wasn’t a lot of information that’s given to you throughout the book. Like how much training is required, and I do know some organizations require you to be over the age of 21 if you’re a volunteer. I would’ve liked a little more depth and explanation since you do know she volunteers for a prevention line right off the bat. Quinn’s past is revealed more slowly than Ella’s, but you learn that he was in an accident with his best friend, and his best friend’s girlfriend. Add into the fact that the girlfriend was coming onto him at the time of the accident, and as a result, Quinn is pretty much a guilt-laden mess.
I liked how the bad boyfriend angle wasn’t drawn out much, and the last two thirds of the book really focused on Quinn and Ella getting involved with each other. One of my least favorite aspects of the New Adult trend is that they typically give one or both main characters a horrific past. This book certainly follows that particular trend, and I tend to be highly leery of books that deal with any form of mental illness. That being said the romance manages to be both sweet and sexy with two intelligent and interesting main characters. - Ronnie(less)
Admittedly, while I wasn’t all that crazy for Always On My Mind, I can say without reservation that Once In a Lifetime is my favorite Shalvis...more4.5 Stars
Admittedly, while I wasn’t all that crazy for Always On My Mind, I can say without reservation that Once In a Lifetime is my favorite Shalvis book to date. The book features one of the best heroines I’ve read in a long while, Aubrey Wellington. I don’t necessarily consider myself a heroine centric reader, but I adored Aubrey and I know I’ll re-read the book just for her.
It’s tough living in a town like Lucky Harbor if you’re Aubrey Wellington. Especially when you have a good for nothing ex who’s planning to write a tell-all featuring you as the money-grubbing man-eater. And when you try to toss your drink on him, only to have it land on the sexy and aloof Ben McDaniel. Ben finds himself at loose ends in Lucky Harbor brought on by a tragedy at work. He’s hired by Aubrey’s uncle to do some work on the store that Aubrey is turning into a bookstore.
Through a misunderstanding of sorts, Aubrey is invited to a local AA meeting and finds herself drawn to the idea of making amends to those whom you’ve hurt. A self-described former “mean girl”, Aubrey was not the most pleasant teenager and did act selfishly and unkindly at times. She’s not prone to showing much emotion outwardly, yet can be awkward and reserved. Many people still attribute mean girl qualities to Aubrey and it broke my heart. I thought the execution of Aubrey’s reserve plus her desire to make things right with the local townsfolk was marvelous. She knows how she acted and she keeps a very hard façade to keep the hurt at bay and that’s something that I immediately connected with.
When Ben spots his name on the list that Aubrey made, he’s both mystified and curious. He never had much interaction with Aubrey as a teenager, but he’s certainly drawn to her now. My biggest gripe with this story is how much Ben romanticized his time with his first (dead) wife, Hannah. This often plays out when the hero or heroine has been married before and Once in a Lifetime was no exception in this regard. Ben often made unfavorable comparisons between Hannah and Aubrey, and it grated on me how much Aubrey got the short end of the stick. There is a particular reason why Ben’s name is on Aubrey’s list and it has something to do with his former wife. When this particular truth is revealed, it struck me as a stupid, childish thing to do – but very much in line with what a hurt teenager might do. Ben however, acted as if Aubrey had committed some great trespass. I wasn’t impressed with Ben’s reasoning, and honestly, his character is just all around “less” than Aubrey’s, but he wasn’t a bad hero, just a predictable one.
Her character development and attitude made this my favorite Shalvis book. The romance took a backseat, but overall it was a very engaging read. - Ronnie(less)
This is two books plus one novella which I think is great because one story flowed into the next and at about 275 pages, I breezed through it...more3.5 stars
This is two books plus one novella which I think is great because one story flowed into the next and at about 275 pages, I breezed through it.
The bundle starts with He Ain't Lion. In the town of Ridgeville, Alex O'Connell is prime of the were-lion pride. When a beautiful, curvy blonde walks into his club during the Gaian moon, semi-annual moon that kicks a shifter's libido into high gear, he knows he should send the unfamiliar human on her way but his lion has other plans. After a wild night with the the most delicious man she's ever met, Maya feels a little...off. She had no idea a night of passion would lead to her turning into a shifter and oh boy, is Alex going to answer for that. You're Lion is next and picks up with Maya getting used to what it means to be prima and setting a tiger shifter straight on who is and is not allowed to put their claws on her mate.
Alex and Maya hit the sheets nearly right out of the gate. Alex wants Maya, Maya wants Alex and gets a night full of sweaty fun and a bite that changes her life forever. There's little character development or plot to it but I'm ok with that. I was in the mood for something entertaining, a bit snarky, and hot and that's just what I got.
In the second book, Ball of Fury, Maya's rabbit shifting best friend Carly is up and she's found her mate in the Neal, a hunky Texan lion shifter that has his work cut out for him with Carly. She doesn't believe the big flirt is able to be a one woman man and he's determined to prove her wrong. Too bad his courting is interrupted by someone out to kill his mate.
There's a bit more to the story in this one. Carly wants her HEA and is heartbroken to find Neal, one of Maya's personal bodyguards and renown flirt, is who fate paired her up with. But Neal has a surprise for her. He hasn't touched another female since they first laid eyes on each other six months ago and he's out to change his shameless ways for her. This one is just has hot as the first book plus Neal is cute as he chases after his mate and that makes up for the lack of character development. Plus the assassination attempt opens up doors and widens the Ridgeville series world and the set up for book three has me excited to read more.
These are a great escape for the more emotionally heavy, complex stories I read. There's a lot of sexy entertainment wrapped up in this short collection and I had a lot of fun with it. - Stephanie(less)
The Dominion Series is an emotional and intellectual roller coaster that will have you hanging on to the edge of your seat.
First of all, this is NOT...moreThe Dominion Series is an emotional and intellectual roller coaster that will have you hanging on to the edge of your seat.
First of all, this is NOT a Twilight knock off in any way shape or form. Yes, there are two vampires vying for the affection of the heroine, but that is the only similarity; and that is just part of one of the plots of the series.
In book 1, Eve is a serious college student whose mother was murdered years earlier because of her role as a vampire-killing researcher and operative. Eve is reading her mother's documents and hopes to take up the fight where her mother left off. When she seeks a translator for a 13th century journal, she unwittingly meets with none other than the writer of the journal, the 800 year old vampire, Michel de Cernay. She subsequently becomes involved with Michel's twin, Julian de Cernay, a former knight and a warrior who fought in all of the major conflicts taking place during his 800-plus years of existence. Eve becomes a key player in events set forth before her birth and that rapidly accelerate because of her involvement.
What most humans do not know is, first, that vampires and ancients are real, and, second, that there is a political movement of some vampires for Dominion that would enslave all humans to the vampires and end human civilization as we know it. Both Julian and Michel are involved in fighting Dominion, but have very different ideas and agendas to accomplish that. With only partial knowledge and with Julian and Michel alternately manipulating her and protecting her, Eve knows that she is being used and lied to, but she is also helpless to resist her attraction to Michel (first) and later to Julian.
There are some very explicit and scorching erotic romance scenes, but there is much more story, and it is a very high quality story, which is the distinction I make between erotica and a tale that is "steamy" (steamy because it is more about the story). Part of the angst is Eve's disgust with herself over loving both of the brothers and how she comes to terms that. This is not a ménage romance (at least through the end of book 3, Retribution).
In books 2 and 3, more of the politics and battles of fighting Dominion unfold. The pro-Dominion and anti-Dominion forces have members who belong to both sides, and both sides know who the double agents are. There is a shocking reveal that occurs with clues throughout books 2 and 3 as to the origins of the villains and the antiheroes of the story. I can't say much more without spoilers, but as readers identify with Eve, they will experience repeatedly alternating states of bliss, agony, longing, guilt, and more bliss. There is no traditional happily-ever-after, at least not yet, as the story is very much in progress at the end of book 3.
This series is so much more than I anticipated, and I cannot wait for the release of book 4, which is scheduled for some time in 2014 per a note at the end of volume 3. - Delta (less)
On the mend after spending two years held captive and abused by the militant group called Freedom, Elise is ready to get out on her on and be...more3.5 stars
On the mend after spending two years held captive and abused by the militant group called Freedom, Elise is ready to get out on her on and begin the next stage of healing in Ridgeville. The town is full of…eccentric shifters but it’s the six foot plus wall of muscles Brute that catches her eye and makes her fox finally come out of hiding. Brute recognizes Elise as his mate yet tries not to overwhelm her after learning she’s the rescued Sensitive. He makes it a couple of weeks before his lion can no longer take the distance and when they learn an old enemy is out to get her, Brute is ready to tear the town apart to protect his mate.
This book is just as cute and outrageous as the previous installments but with Elise’s abuse, there’s a slightly more intense edge to it. Elise is doing her best to recover from her torture and Brute is doing his best to not jump her bones. She balances back and forth from being terrified, dishing out sass, and daydreaming out her hunky mate. He balances back and forth from being overcome by rage at what his poor mate had to endure and wanting to strip her naked and lay claim. It’s not always happy happy sexy times but that’s okay because it made it feel like there was more meat on the bone when it came to the story and since both characters were previously introduced, there was more depth to them and that’s what I liked most about this book.
At about 100 pages the romance happens quickly, though not as fast as past books, and I’m okay with that. It’s hot and serves as a way for Elise to make new, very happy memories with a man that obviously adores her. My only complaint, and it’s not a huge one, is how quickly she went from not ready to let’s get it on. Granted, a traumatic event does take place before that puts things into perspective but I still couldn’t help feel like my copy was missing a few pages.
Fierce in Fur has plenty of laughs, how could it not with it starting out with a Prima demanding marriage while in labor in the back of a car at a truck stop, and a sweet healing romance. There’s no headway made with finding and stopping Freedom but that just gives more time to spend with Elise and Brute and I was on board with that. I think anyone looking for a quick, fun paranormal romance should give this series a try. - Stephanie(less)
Cooper wakes up in the City Unspoken. It’s the city where the dead come to die—only no one is dying. This is why Asher and Sesstri picked Cooper up an...moreCooper wakes up in the City Unspoken. It’s the city where the dead come to die—only no one is dying. This is why Asher and Sesstri picked Cooper up and show him around. Asher believes he can save the city because he has shamanic properties. Sesstri declares this as false and they send him on his way. Only after this does she share the fact he has a belly button, something only first birth can produce. They go to rescue him, only to discover he is neck deep in plot. There is also the Dome, inside of it are the aristocrats of the City Unspoken, trapped in a dome with a weapon. Purity Kloo starts to put two and two together. She ends up figuring more out of the city than expected. There is also a faerie queen, strung out on body mods, and ready to take over the whole metaverse.
The Waking Engine is both sci-fi and fantasy, mixed together in an adult Alice in Wonderland type of world. It is David Edison’s debut, in which he shows a stunning range in prose style and imagination. There are worlds you are born on, but when you die, you travel to a different world keeping all of your memories. On and on this cycle goes until you reach the City Unspoken.
The story bounces from different characters as their plot lines start to tie into one another. Cooper is the main focus, the chosen one, and the novel really becomes stunning for me when he meets Cleopatra, who is a kind of psychedelic/poison/mind-reader dealer/prostitute. From there he is taken by a Death Boy, whose touch sends his body and mind into sexual compliance. The Death Boy takes him to the skies, and the writing in these scenes, hell all of it in this section blew me away. This is also where Cooper comes into his own, developing his senses and discovering the evil faerie Queen.
Lallowë is married to one of the only aristocrats not inside of the dome. She works for her mother, Cicatrix, who wants to throw the worlds into agony, but namely she wants the City Unspoken. Lallowë wants her mother’s throne, and spends her time leisurely torturing and killing her father every day, in other words she’s a nut case (in the best kind of way).
Purity Kloo sparked my imagination. Along with her aristocratic friends, she is stuck inside the dome. They are the councils demented daughters, who when we first meet them, leave to cut up a girl for not wearing the right thing. Purity isn’t an evil character, despite how it might seem. She’s rebellious. Because she is body bound and stuck in the dome. There is recklessness in her, but also she was by far my favorite character.
The Waking Engine isn’t going to be for everyone. It took me a long time to get through it, and I sometimes felt lost among the pages, but it was worth it. The world is stunning!! The prose is also just as stunning!! There is a quote I didn’t write down, and now I’m kicking myself for not- it was about the sky. In the City Unspoken the sky always looks different, sometimes red, blue, any and all colors as are the suns in hundreds of combinations. The quote was about the City Unspoken stealing the skies of other worlds, something about that resonated deep.
Why not a perfect score? Cooper was lacking for me, and while I did enjoy his journey, I wanted to feel closer to him. There were also a couple things I never fully grasped about being birthed, and how family worked out in the city. While this shouldn’t have thrown me I couldn’t get it out of my head. That doesn’t mean I don’t still love it! The actual little engines, the skies, the songs of death, all of it sparked my imagination and will stay with me for a very long time to come. - Beth(less)