I have a love hate relationship with Cole's IAD series. Some I love and some I want to chuck aside and forget I read...moreMacRieve by Kresley Cole Ughhhhhh
I have a love hate relationship with Cole's IAD series. Some I love and some I want to chuck aside and forget I read them. MacRieve is one I want to forget. Unlikable characters, a dismal storyline, lackluster no series advancement, and a weak romance that left me feeling ambivalent and in need of a shower.
MacRieve is an arse. Plain and simple. And not even an entertaining arse like Lothaire. He's just woman hating abusive arse. Cole tries to explain away his actions but even that's not enough to explain his attitude and actions towards his supposed mate. He treats Chloe like a piece of crap stuck to his shoe. He's ugly, mean, rude, obnoxious, and abusive. He takes everything from her and expects her to understand and accept his torment. 0_o Chloe's own self esteem issues do not help the relationship. Between the two of them suddenly we are stuck with two whiny people who you want to slap repeatedly. The main plot of the story is rough 'I don't want to want you' sex. It reads like case study in domestic violence and Stockholm Syndrome.
Things that struck me as strange aka annoying.
Claire- She abandons her Olympic soccer aspirations with nary a backward glance. The soccer analogies. I enjoy soccer like everyone else-played for years- and I don't think I have EVER used one to describe a issue in my personal life.Her secret power is called "Strewing" That sounds like a lower intestinal issue. She seems to have no problem with the actions of her father. Her self esteem is so low, MacRieve can pretty much do anything and treat her anyway and she won't say a word because he goes at in bed like a rockstar. 0_o
MacRieve- He sees nothing wrong with holding Chloe liable for events that happened to him years ago. His accent goes in and out like bad TV reception. He uses the word cunny. I can accept that in historicals only.
The storyline needed to be stronger, developed better, and more exterior character interaction. Lothaire's story was similar but with the multiple subplots and additional cast interaction, we are buffered somewhat against L's nastiness. Humor was a huge plus and it helped the heroine was so freaking awesome and as strong as Lothaire. You couldn't help but cheer for their HEA. In here, MacRieve and Chloe are both victims and their isolation only makes it more painfully obvious of the story's weakness. They don't really do much to alleviate their circumstances and we are dragged into their pool of self pity.
The ending was a mash up of cheap plot device as Cole rushes to 'cure' MacRieve and make us like him before the last page. Which didn't happen for me.
I can only hope this is a fluke in the series and not an indication of what to expect as we head towards the end.
I liked the story but the "hearth", Dylan, annoyed the crap out of me. It's one thing to get to know someone (actually spending time with them) and ev...moreI liked the story but the "hearth", Dylan, annoyed the crap out of me. It's one thing to get to know someone (actually spending time with them) and eventually wanting to go to bed with them. It's another thing to stalk them, whining the entire time about needing them to take you to bed. Ugh. In the book, someone says that Dylan isn't right in the head-and I'm inclined to agree with them. (less)
Favorite Quote: ”If you come into these mountains with open hands, I will welcome you. If you come holding a sword, you will die by it.”
Pirates, and sea monsters, and princesses…oh my!
Kate Daniels and her mate, the Beast Lord, find themselves once again putting their life on the line to save an innocent. When two pack teenagers start to go loup, Kate and Curran have to negotiate with the European packs for access to the herbal medicine that can save the teenagers from certain death. The Europeans agree to a trade which requires Kate, Curran, and some of the pack to travel to Europe. The Europeans want Curran and the pack to protect an important pregnant shifter until she gives birth. Then and only then will they release the formula for the medicine. Soon Kate and Curran realize there is much more at stake than simple bodyguard duties. Someone wants Kate and Curran separated permanently and are willing to destroy whoever and whatever gets in their way.
Ilona Andrew’s Kate Daniels series remains one of my top urban fantasy series picks to date and I frequently recommend to anyone who'll stop and listen to my fangirling. Often rereading this series multiple times per year, I find comfort in this dynamic duo’s writing. While the familiar draws me in, it’s the ever changing world and vibrant characters that keeps me returning. I find their style of writing addictive and I await their new releases with barely concealed impatience. This series is the perfect urban fantasy with its balance of power and vulnerability. We are not overburdened with emotional angst or ridiculous unbelievable feats. Plot action and ripe tension is tempered with snarky humor and everyday life.
A strongly character driven series, we share an intimate connection with our protagonist, Kate Daniels. Her pain, sorrow, triumphs, and defeats are also ours. It has been a thrilling ride as we have watched her grow from a solitary lonely figure hiding herself and her power to having friends, family, and a lover who is more than able to handle Kate and all her idiosyncrasies. Her growth shines through more and more with each book. She is still scared but she is learning how to trust in herself and others. The world building stays fresh and exciting with constant evolution as we travel throughout an alternative magical version of our world.
Magic Rises is an emotionally dark and weighted story that opens up new doorways for both the arc and the romance. Centering almost exclusively around our protagonists, the storyline(s) explode in multiple directions, using our lovers as the catalyst.
Kate and Curran are one of my favorite urban fantasy couples. Enemies to lovers has always been a favorite trope of mine and these two have led us all on a merry chase. Starting from book one, they have slowly and somewhat antagonistically carved out a relationship, obliterating anyone and anything that dared to stand in their way. Secure now as Liege and Consort of the Southwestern Pack, Kate and Curran are beginning the delicate process of trying to sustain their love. Jealousy, anger, and sorrow fill this installment as Curran’s over protectiveness and Kate’s insecurities rear their ugly heads.
“I’m so used to watching people for swords, I never saw the knife. You were too close.”
Kate and Curran’s relationship has provided plenty of entertainment throughout the series. It’s not the main focus, but it is a large part of it. Especially as the series has progressed. The plot and romance blend so effortlessly now, it has become a major component of the series without corrupting the genre. I enjoy the dynamics of their relationship and the challenges that they face. Curran admits he is more dominant than most; but he tries so hard to achieve a balance of give and take. Kate is still unsure of how to proceed in this relationship (or any relationship) but she makes remarkable advancements. She still doesn’t understand (or refuses to believe) why Curran loves her. She constantly builds walls to keep him away only to tear them down in her rush to get back into his arms. Curran’s ability to effortlessly and unwittingly hurt Kate, often in his need to protect her, still catches her off guard. That’s not to say Kate is a pushover in her love for Curran. She carries a big sword and fought over twenty two shapeshifters for her right to stand by his side. She gives as good as she gets and is one of the few people who can make Curran second guess some of the decisions he has made concerning her. Curran’s biggest fear is losing her yet by his own actions he pushes them straight towards that conclusion.
“You still don’t get it [...] I trusted you and you used it against me [...] We are not okay.”
Our cast of supporting characters are still a vivid and dynamic group. I’m amazed by Ilona Andrew’s skill at characterization. Each one has a distinctly separate personality that continues to evolve and grow with each new installment. Andrea, Kate’s very first and bestest friend, has always had Kate’s back. Even when Kate pushed her away. She has proven time and time again her loyalty to Kate and their friendship. She and Kate work well together on paper and I always find myself laughing out loud at their playful banters. Andrea is the type of friend who would help you bury a body-no questions asked.
“I hate her already,” said Andrea. “George hates her too, don’t you, George?” “I think she’s adorable,” George volunteered. “We should give her cookies and milk and if she promises to keep quiet, she can sit at the big peoples’ table.”
Kate’s entourage, Barabas and Jezebel, started out as her advisers but are now willing to challenge anyone in their quest to keep her safe and happy. And I do mean anyone. A firm solidarity is presented by the pack towards Kate, which was delightful to see. They can insult and be rude to Kate but anyone else who does it gets their arses kicked. New characters are introduced without any confusion. They fit in as if they were always present. We get plenty of scene time with various other favorites who keep the dialogue hilarious and the story flowing smoothly. There is a scene that may shock readers. Not the event itself as much as the character it concerns. *sad moment*
The main conflict of the story is a whirlwind of intrigue, tension, and heart stopping action as Kate finds herself in the middle of a political catastrophe where being the Beast Lord’s consort works against her. Multiple sub stories race though the book, twisting and turning to close previous open storylines while giving us hints to new ones. Kate learns more about Roland’s end game while being introduced to possible allies who, like her, are not impressed with daddy dearest. Villains galore run rampant through this installment; from hilariously vapid to down right scary. There is one scene that had me giggling like a fiend as they all play “who’s the biggest monster here.”
“You are trapped with us. Give money!” “You have it wrong, dear. We are not trapped with you. You’re trapped with us.”
A series of diabolical events set in motion by the villains ends in a climactic finale that guarantees the final coming battle against Roland and his army will be brutal and deadly.
Magic Rises more then rises to the occasion in this delightfully funny, dark, high octane action packed installment that addresses love, loss, and choices. This series just keeps getting better and better. I honestly can’t think of one single problem I had about this book. The storylines and direction they take are top-notch. The way it ends opens up a new future, and I am sure a new set of troubles for Kate to drag Curran and the pack into. Sure to appeal to all fans of urban fantasy and the mythological world and characters Ilona Andrews has created in their bestselling Kate Daniels series. I do not recommend starting the series here. The arc is long reaching and the characters and storylines bleed over without much recap.
Favorite Quote: “No one ever leaves the Nevernever completely sane.
In the original Iron Fey series, we read the extraordinary story of Meghan Chase, the half breed Summer Princess, and her journey into Nevernever to save her kidnapped brother and secure her place as the Iron Queen. Her brother, Ethan, has suffered for his time spent in Nevernever. He hates the fey with a passion and his sister’s adoption of this world only seeks to further alienate him. His ability to see the fey has made him an outcast as he does everything humanly possible to keep the fey from noticing him. He accidently befriends a half breed whose sudden disappearance coincides with multiple half breed disappearances. Still not wanting to get involved with fey matters, he has no choice when he is attacked by a group of vapor like entities who warn him to stay out of fey business at the risk of his family’s and friends lives. He finds himself having to do the one thing he vowed he would never do. He travels to Nevernever to see his sister, the Iron Queen, and inform her of what is happening to the half breeds and exiled fey. Suddenly, Ethan is forced back into the world he despises, only this time, he has to save his family and the love of a girl he never expected to have.
The Lost Prince is a spin off of Julie Kagawa’s best selling Iron Fey series. Told from Meghan Chase’s sixteen year old brother’s point of view, Ethan Chase, we learn how his life has been since being kidnapped as a child by the fey. Ethan’s life has never been the same since that day. His struggles are heartbreaking as you realize that he feels abandoned by all he thought loved him. His parents have no idea how to help him and the one person who could, Meghan, no longer comes to visit him as it is not safe for him or their family. His ability to see the fey has hurt people he cares for and caused him to have to transfer schools at an alarming rate. Once a happy sociable boy, time and events have left Ethan angry, bitter, and cynical. Regardless of his choice to stay uninvolved, his innate loyalty and sense of right and wrong push him into situations that often leave him battered and further isolated. It is at his new school he meets a half breed named Todd and nosy school reporter named Kenzie. When Todd goes missing, Ethan and Kenzie are forced into Nevernever to ask for help and find Todd.
First off, I would recommend reading the novella, Iron’s Prophecy, before this as it forms a loose bridge between the two series and offers insight into certain scenes, characters, and attitudes we see in here. I’m often skeptical about spin offs. While I do want to read more of my favorite characters, sometimes spin offs run into the problem of merely regurgitating the original series. Similar story and plot lines are presented with minor changes. I enjoyed the Iron Prince in that I loved seeing old friends, meeting new friends, and submerging myself back into Kagawa’s dark and machiavellian world. I did note though that it follows a similar storyline in that our main protagonist enters a somewhat unfamiliar world, suffers and sacrifices for their loved ones and friends, and will ultimately have to choose their side in what seems to be a never ending battle. I am on the fence but very interested in seeing if this series can find its own path.
Once again Kagawa entertains us with her strong personable characters and the astounding dark and hauntingly sublime world that is an interesting mix of new, old and futuristic themes. Kagawa continues to evolve her characters and world in which they live. These dark uninhibited beings have lived thousands of years and any resemblance to humanity is merely wishful thinking on your part. Yet, the main conflict allows for a certain affection and tolerance to break through between Ethan and the fey. He is there to help and not all fey view humans as food or fodder. The dialog flows smoothly and enchants the reader while humorous and emotional scenes keep you emerged in the story.
“It…the branch…it tried to trip me, didn’t it?” she said, sounding incredulous and indignant all at once. “Geez, not even the plant life is friendly. What did I ever do to it?”
Kenzie annoyed me at first. She’s very persistent to the point of you wanting to gag her, tie her up, and toss her in a dumpster. But as time went on, I saw that she had to be this way in order to break through the thick shell that surrounds Ethan. She also has her own reasons for wanting to join Ethan on his quest. Reasons that leave us wondering at the direction her destiny will take in the future. I love seeing Puck and Grimalkin again, and of course, Ash and Meghan. We don’t see much of them, but then, their story has been told and the torch passed. We also meet and get to know a very important character to this new series-Keirran. If you’ve read the Iron Knight and/or the Iron Prophesy, then you’ll be very excited to finally make his acquaintance. Leanansidhe, the dark muse, continues to be one of my favorite characters. The Queen of the Exiles, she provides a safe place for the exiles and cast offs of the other fey courts. Temperamental yet whimsical…I predict she’ll have a strong presence in this series.
“This is my house….Don’t make me turn you into a whiny guitar.”
The main conflict and multiple subplots is where the story begins to stand on its own. Something is stealing the half breeds and soon we learn that what is forgotten is not necessary gone. A new player has entered the arena and has chosen to through down the gauntlet. An action packed ending leaves us both stunned and mystified as you’re not sure if our protagonists actually won or if there was anything to actually win. Deception and betrayal come back to haunt us of the feys duplicity and we are subtly reminded of open storylines from previous books.
While I wasn’t blown away by this new installment, the similarities are just too strong for me to ignore, I found myself intrigued enough to look forward to the next one in this series, The Traitor Son, to be released September 2013. I’m very curious to see Ms. Kagawa will take Ethan, Kenzie, and the inhabitants of Nevernever.
KMM's Iced is considered one of the book of the year to read and I was NOT disappointed. Dani comes through different in here. Maybe because the fo...more4.5
KMM's Iced is considered one of the book of the year to read and I was NOT disappointed. Dani comes through different in here. Maybe because the focus is on her as a person rather than Mac’s sidekick. Also enjoyed the dynamics between her and Ryodan. I like that while the book is dark and sensual, we aren't made to view or deal with any romantic entanglements concerning Dani. Christian rocks batshit crazy like no one I know, I enjoyed getting to know Ry's men, Kat's predicament is interesting, and I enjoyed the seeing bits of Barrons, and other players from the Fever series. I’m looking forward to book two, like, NOW! My only qualm? I see Jo in the same light as Layla from Ward's BDB series? Go away Jo!! :)(less)
LOVED!! Daemon and Katy are back and snarking more then ever. Katy and Daemon now have a connection due to his healing of her. A connection that c...more4.5
LOVED!! Daemon and Katy are back and snarking more then ever. Katy and Daemon now have a connection due to his healing of her. A connection that confuses Katy since she thinks Deamon only wants to be with her because of it, rather then because he has developed feelings for her. But daemon wants Katy, wants her more then anything. And when push comes to shove, he proves it. Plenty of mystery, suspense, and high octane action complement our MCs relationship and I cannot WAIT for the next in the series, Opal, which releases Dec. 11, 2012. (less)
Favorite Quote: “ Let me in…let me in…LET ME IN… “
*A tiny recap from Dark Frost, so be warned, this could...more4.5 Stars Originally posted at Smexybook.com
Favorite Quote: “ Let me in…let me in…LET ME IN… “
*A tiny recap from Dark Frost, so be warned, this could spoil if you have not read the series*
Once again, I have entered the hallowed halls of Jennifer Estep’s Mythos Academy in her latest release, Crimson Frost, and found myself living every single moment as though I was a part of the storyline itself. By the end of book three, Dark Frost, Gwen’s relationship with Logan had grown in leaps and bounds, she discovered a new and scary aspect of her powers, but she inadvertently aided the reapers in releasing Loki. Crimson Frost starts out with the usual BANG when Gwen is arrested by the Protectorate for her role in helping to release Loki and is accused of being a reaper. The head of the Protectorate is none other than Linus Quinn, Logan’s father, which puts Gwen and Logan in an awkward position.
"Shocked gasps rippled through the coffee shop, and everyone looked at me. After a few seconds, the surprised stares shifted to horrified looks that quickly melted into harsh, accusing, angry glares."
I am a HUGE fan of Estep’s works. She is one of the few authors I have read who was able to cross from adult fiction to YA with no missteps or awkwardness in the transition. She has a wonderful, powerful voice that resonates through her characters. I absolutely adore this series. It continues to balance the normal everyday life of teenagers with fascinating evolving mythological world building. Steady pacing firmly engages you into the storyline while witty, snarky dialogue keeps you entertained. This is a wickedly fun series. We aren’t overwhelmed with intricate plots or long drawn out angst. Multiple subplots intertwine throughout but never confuse or isolate you from the main storyline. Heavily character driven, I find myself able to sink right back into Gwen’s world as though I never left with each new installment.
If Dark Frost was the game changer, then Crimson Frost is the large ante that is being placed upon Gwen to win this game. Her role as Nike’s champion has been solidified and she knows her mission is a heavy load bearing one that could eventually destroy her. She has to prove her innocence to not only the Protectorate but also the student body at Mythos Academy. Friendship continues to be a large aspect that the story is built upon. I loved the fact that her unusual group of friends continue to stick by her side, even at risk to themselves. We continue to see an emotional, mental, and metaphysical growth in Gwen that serves to heighten the anticipation of Gwen’s destiny. She has come along way from the social loner whom we met in book one, Touch Of Frost. She has instigated herself firmly into Mythos Academy with not only her improving warrior skills but also through some important friendships. Gwen is tested in ways that will leave in an emotional tornado and make it almost impossible to touch upon without spoiling. Lets just say that fans will NOT be disappointed.
"Every angry shout, every enraged scream, every bitter word twisted the invisible blade in that much deeper, making me want to vomit from the phantom pain."
The secondary characters remain a delightful addition to the story; continuing to elevate and evolve within it. Gwen’s Valkyrie bff, Daphne, has Gwen’s back through thick or thin. She has remained a constant in Gwen’s life. We are introduced to some new characters who situate themselves firmly into the arc and are used to address and resolve some past issues and bridge us towards the conclusion. We meet Logan’s father, Linus, and we learn some more of the story behind his and Logan’s separation. We also meet the young man whom Oliver met during the winter holiday. Estep not only introduces a new and exciting character for us to cheer for, but also paves the way for a secondary romance that I am thrilled with. Ms. Estep not only captures the unique individuality of each character but also forms a distinct place and position/action for them throughout the story. Though existing in a fantasy world, the realism of their actions and emotions only adds to the overall enjoyment. Gwen’s and Logan’s romance seems to finally be on track but circumstances will have you face palming and wondering why Estep hates us. Or maybe that was just me. Hmmm. Either way, it will leave you NEEDING the next book… NOW!
The main conflict is quite a Machiavellian journey of misdirection and deviousness as we follow Gwen and the clues to the end. High octane action, suspense, and intrigue will keep you glued to the pages as you watch Gwen fight for her friends, the academy, and her life. I was shocked by some directions the story took and found myself scrambling for purchase at the climactic finale. Ms. Estep leaves us to ponder what is on the horizon next for Gwen, Logan, and the rest of Mythos Academy as we wait impatiently for the fifth installment of this series-Midnight Frost-which is set to release in 2013. Crimson Frost has laid down the gauntlet and I am on pins and needles to see how Gwen and the students of Mythos Academy will keep Loki and the reapers from taking over the world. Estep’s Mythos Academy series is a must have for all YA fans who enjoys a rich blending of snark and serious in an incredible mythological world. I can’t wait for my next visit to Mythos Academy.
Favorite Quote: “It’s a familiar feeling, being pushed to the side like this.“
Sandy Williams once again takes us on a dark, twisted journey with the second installment of her dynamic urban fantasy McKenzie Lewis series, The Shattered Dark. Our heroine McKenzie Lewis isn’t your average urban fantasy heroine. She has a unique gift, the ability to read and locate Elves through the trace of magic they leave when transporting, but no special powers or skills. In The Shadow Reader, she proves that her true strength lies in her loyalty, intelligence, and stubbornness; allowing her to more than hold her own. Ms. Williams continues to evolve and develop McKenzie, both personally and in a professional sense, which I appreciated. In The Shadow Reader, she was a balanced protagonist but somewhat bland in her dialogue and thoughts. We got the basics of her personality though I felt she could have flashed out better. McKenzie seems more three dimensional in this installment. The world building is complex with it’s continued political manipulations and geography make up. Though we still only get small snippets of the fae world and politic, there is a healthy balance achieved between the storyline and the world in which it is built.
McKenzie has made her choice in the battle for the fae throne and has thrown her lot in with the rebels. Along with Kyol and Aren, she does her part to help secure Lena’s place on the throne. When her friend Paige comes up missing, McKenzie makes a deal with fae entrepreneur, Lorn, to learn her location. McKenzie soon learns that Paige hasn’t been kidnapped but has joined the remnants in their battle to defeat the rebels and secure the throne for themselves. While Mackenzie struggles to find and understand why Paige has done this, she is also dealing with her feelings for Aren & Kyol, and her life in general. McKenzie wants some semblance of a normal life but fate seems to have other plans for her.
There are multiple story lines that run simultaneously and dependent upon one another. Heavily character driven, this installment allows us multiple views from both the rebels and the remnants. What I enjoy about this series is the degrees of separation. There are really no good or bad players in this conflict. Everyone has done what they felt was best at the time. Things have been done that cannot be undone and all are paying some sort of price for that. No one is left unscathed by the events that come to light.
While I enjoyed the tentative romantic exploration of feelings between Mackenzie and Aren, there isn’t much to be done during a war. Plus, we have to remember they have only known each other for little over a month and the majority of it was spent with McKenzie as Aren’s prisoner. They are unable to spend much time together and for the most part, McKenzie spends an inordinate amount of time needing to be saved. I do wish the love triangle would have remained in the background. Unresolved feelings between McKenzie and Kyol rears its ugly head and we are left in a state of shock as to the outcome of those feelings. I couldn’t help but feel that the climatic ending was used as bait for book three rather than a normal course for the story to follow.
The main conflict is a treacherous path filled with deception, misdirection, and betrayal. You never know who is telling the truth and just when you think you've figured it out, Ms. Williams changes direction and you are once again frantically trying to keep up. The ending hurt my heart and leaves us balancing on the edge of rocky precipice. Once again, Mckenzie’s choices have been taken from her and she is the beneficiary of a decision she never wanted. This book will keep your emotions running high till the end. Unfortunately, there isn’t much resolution to the multiple storylines in here. Rather, this installment exists as a bridge between book one and book three. It gives us clues from behind the scenes as to what brought us to this point and where we are going; but nothing is set in concrete.
Regardless, it remains an intriguing series that is sure to appeal to urban fantasy lovers of the noir. I look forward to reading more about Ms. Williams world.
LOVE this series. Charlie continues to kick arse and make me snort like a pig with laughter. We see a little advancement in the romance department wit...more LOVE this series. Charlie continues to kick arse and make me snort like a pig with laughter. We see a little advancement in the romance department with the deep, dark Reyes (nom nom). Cookie, Ubie, and the rest of Charlie's family and friends provide support, shoulders to cry on, and the occasional intervention. An action packed ride with plenty of laughter and suspense to keep you riding the edge to the end. I can't wait for book five. (less)
Poppy Lane thought she was doing the right thing when she kept the secrets her mother forced upon her growing...moreFavorite Quote: “My life began with you.“
Poppy Lane thought she was doing the right thing when she kept the secrets her mother forced upon her growing up. When her husband is brutally attacked, she is forced to reveal her secrets and the consequences may be more than she can bear.
Winston Lane has loved Poppy from the first moment he saw her striding through the train station. Fourteen years of marriage has only deepened his love for her, but when he discovers that his wife has been living a secret life apart from him, he’s devastated at her betrayal and leaves her in anger.
After three months of separation, Poppy receives a note from an old enemy that hints at retribution through Winston. She swallows her pride and goes to him, intent on keeping him safe and attempting a reconciliation. But Winston isn’t ready to forgive Poppy. And when more secrets come to light, Poppy isn’t altogether sure he should.
Winterblaze is the third installment in Callihan’s Darkest London series. A dark, sensuous, paranormal romance whose world is built upon the past, set in Victorian England. Heavily character driven, it’s the sensuous evolution of our protagonists and the plot lines that make this series such a fascinating journey. Smooth writing and sharp descriptive detailing drew me in as Callihan further explores and reveals the supernatural wonders of her world. I continue to be impressed by the time and effort Callihan takes in developing her characters and their connections to the world and each other. Each new book offers more evidence of the ties that bind them all together. I don’t recommend reading this as a stand alone. Though each book revolves around a main hero and heroine and has a resolvable conflict, the longstanding arc continues to develop in each new story and the characters bleed over.
We’ve received glimpses of Poppy and Winston Lane throughout the series. They are portrayed as much older and staid compared to Miranda and Dolly. Solid and dependable, their story never seemed all that interesting. Boy, was I wrong. Callihan tells their story in the present with fascinating glimpses into the past, starting with the day they met. Winston was overwhelmed by his love and desire for Poppy then and it only deepens as time goes on.
He fell against the brick wall of the overpass as he cupped her cheeks with his hands and devoured her mouth, needing to touch her, taste her, more than he needed to breathe. This is what he had been missing. This was what made him feel whole.
It’s not often we get an established couple in romance and I found myself enchanted by them. The dichotomy of their relationship is carefully examined by Ms. Callihan’s method of telling the story in the present with glimpses into their past, starting with their first meeting. Passions ignite and personalities clash as they both try to fight their way through the anger and resentment that caused their separation. Poppy and Winston find themselves forced to reveal parts of themselves to one another that highlights their hidden vulnerabilities. Neither like to appear weak, so this is an enlightening and scary experience for both of them. Your heart will ache once you understand the full scope of what exactly led them to the point they are at now. Their dialogue is seductive and humorous. They are equally matched in temperament and the battles they wage are merely foreplay for them.
Secondary characters, both old and new, are revealed in ways that further develop the storyline and long standing arc, expanding its boundaries, and allowing Callihan to continue to develop this world and its players. Jack Talent, valet to Lord Ian, joins Winston on his journey and plays a large part in the story. Mary, the GIM we met in Moonglow, is also present, having been promised a job in the SOS. Alliances are made and betrayals revealed, along with revelations that affect all three of the Ellis sisters.
The story maintains a steady but fast pace with intriguing suspense, engaging tragedy laced romance, and tense action packed scenes. Callihan maintains the perfect balance between the romance and the conflict; allowing each to unfold in their own way, traveling side by side and intersecting when needed. The ending comes at you hard and fast, leaving you reeling and grasping for book four. Callihan continues to engage and tempt us with a strong paranormal romance with a delicious historical base that is sure to appeal to all those who love strong dynamic characters, intriguing storylines, and romantic journeys that speak to the heart.
Blurb: The Edge lies between worlds, on the border between the Broken, where people shop at Wal-Mart and m...moreJOINT REVIEW: Reviewed by Tori, May and Mandi
Blurb: The Edge lies between worlds, on the border between the Broken, where people shop at Wal-Mart and magic is a fairy tale—and the Weird, where blueblood aristocrats rule, changelings roam, and the strength of your magic can change your destiny…
Charlotte de Ney is as noble as they come, a blueblood straight out of the Weird. But even though she possesses rare magical healing abilities, her life has brought her nothing but pain. After her marriage crumbles, she flees to the Edge to build a new home for herself. Until Richard Mar is brought to her for treatment, and Charlotte’s life is turned upside down once again.
Richard is a swordsman without peer, future head of his large and rambunctious Edger clan—and he’s on a clandestine quest to wipe out slavers trafficking humans in the Weird. So when his presence leads his very dangerous enemies to Charlotte, she vows to help Richard destroy them. The slavers’ operation, however, goes deeper than Richard knows, and even working together, Charlotte and Richard may not survive…
Tori: I’m all about Charlotte. Man, she freaking ROCKED!! I also loved seeing a more of George and Jack. They have always been a huge draw for me to this series. The slaver plot was original and facilitated the romance well. What was up with the ending though? Andrews said this was it. They said they would revisit for the kids but it this was the end. The ending left a bit too much open for my liking. Will they revisit Sophie also?
May: I want to first say, I thought this book was a great way to wrap-up the threads that they had going while leaving things wide open to come back and visit Jack, George, and Sophie/Lark in the future in their own unique way. I really truly hope that they will come back to that when inspired.
For me, this book felt less romance and more Urban Fantasy which I really dug. It was like being in the middle of such an intense situation and world – and there happened to be a budding romance to be found as well. The entire book I’d say was intense, and I felt like they really went for it with this one – nothing held back.
Mandi: My initial thoughts on the books are: #1 – The team of Ilona Andrews are amazing storytellers. While this didn’t have the same romantic impact as previous books in this series, it didn’t bother me. Their storytelling ability is so engrossing, I could not get enough of these characters. #2 – The ‘kids’ (they are growing up so fast *sniffle) Jack and George steal every single book. And I’m totally okay with that. I expect them to. They are absolutely amazing characters. #3 – Ilona Andrews doesn’t write safe. Meaning – they don’t hold back. People die violent deaths. Crap happens. I love it. It’s so realistic for the world their characters live in.
Tori: Steel’s Edge reminded me of the first book in the series and was definitely more Urban Fantasy than PNR . We were immediately embroiled into the lives of two extremely charismatic protagonists with a perfect blending of action and background. The slaver storyline helped to wrap up all the loose ends and bridge the gap between the Edge with the Weird-joining everyone together. I literally could not put it down.
Charlotte was amazing. I loved everything about her. Strong, loyal, intelligent, and in absolute control of her life. I liked that she wasn’t made a victim to be pitied or to be saved by Richard. Her magic and the spin they put on it was fantastic and played out without a hitch. Richard was the perfect match for her. He also has had grief, pain, and betrayal in his life so he could understand where she was coming from and understood her emotional and mental state. He accepted her for what she was and expected nothing from her except for her to be herself. . I also enjoyed that she called him out when he was being a moron. lolol
Mandi: I really enjoyed these two characters. Together they were ok (I wasn’t super convinced of their love, but like I said, this book definitely had a UF feel, so I can kind of forgive an unconvincing romance). Charlotte was a great character. Fighting the darkness within her, but at the same time, using it to get revenge. Richard too – a fighter. Never gives up. Lonely, but finding companionship in Charlotte. If Ilona Andrews ever decides to write a book for them, I will weep with joy. I’m not kidding.
May: I really enjoyed this couple both individually and together. I liked how they saw the potential for a really great match in one another, and approached the relationship at a time and pace I found fitting with the story as well. While burned, I felt like they were not without a small spark of hope. They’ve each been so busy with their work that all hope for a romance in future was not extinguished, while hardened on the outside both are still such tender people that want true love and happiness – I really got invested in their story.
While we don’t have to talk specifics (don’t wanna spoil things) – can we just talk about the plot twists in this book? For me, they start from the very beginning and carry on all the way through the end and I loved it! Oh, the twists were sometimes painful or ugly, and one made me cry a bit, but I really was impressed with how this story was crafted. It really brought together this world of the Weird and the Edge (as you mentioned before, Tori), and I was completely on the edge of my seat- they made it pretty clear that nothing was safe and anything could happen!
Tori: I have always admired the fact that the Ilona and Gordon don’t shy away from the brutal but also don’t use it for mere shock value. I loved the new characters we met ( J and Miko). I wish we had seen them from the beginning. They were such viable characters, I would have loved to watched them throughout the entire series. I found it very interesting how close the villains and the heroes were in here. It reminded me of the saying-A Gentleman’s War-when enemies would fight each other during the day but sit and sup together in the evening. I was amazed at some of the paths the plot lines went down.(some tears were shed). They managed to pull together an arc that had 18 different substories going on, resolve them, and make it all make sense. I’m sad this series is ending here, I really think it finally clicked in this installment. The action, suspense, romance…it all balanced perfectly. I give this a B+
May: I couldn’t agree more Tori! This was definitely an A read for me.
Mandi: They did a great job with the plot twists in this one. It’s gritty and non-stop action. With the various things going on in this book, it could have all gotten tangled and confusing but instead we get a lush, rich world with action and characters that are developed so well. I give it a B+. Highly recommend this entire series.(less)
Velveteen (Velvet) Monroe was killed in her teenage prime by a serial killer. Trapped in Purgatory, a never ending sea of gray grimy ash, Velvet’s anger demands revenge on her killer and soon she finds a way to cross the mortal plains to haunt him. Velvet’s need for justice though is causing problems for Purgatory. Her constant crossings between the land of the living and dead is creating cracks in the foundation and jeopardizing everyone’s souls; especially her own. Velvet doesn’t care about the consequences, until a hot new resident appears on her radar and she finds herself not so eager to leave Purgatory anymore.
Daniel Marks Velveteen drew me with the premise of a young ghost, hell bent on destroying everyone in her quest for revenge against her killer. Unfortunately, what we get is a story that never leaves the world building in order to tell the actual story. The classic bait and switch. A majority of the story, Velvet is in Purgatory, working as a salvager. Built in a Tim Burton-esque fashion, we are subjected to slightly humorous dialogue and situations, wrapped in a shroud of darkness and gloom. Marks builds us a seemingly familiar version of Purgatory. Dark and gloomy, covered in gray ash where ghosts are put into teams, doing certain jobs. There are salvagers, collectors, station attendants, house mothers, ect…each an important cog in the wheel that runs Purgatory.
Heavily character driven, I felt as though the story fought with the characters, struggling to assert itself and effectively cancelling each other out. Though well written, the sedate storyline, beyond the few brief periods we see Velvet interact with her killer, makes for a long, drawn out read. It’s not the story is bad, it’s just boring. Affected prose, choppy scenes, and never ending descriptions of banal everyday life left me feeling numb as I struggled to connect to the story. I wasn’t really sure where this story was going because it was all over the place.
The characters were a bit of sunshine that broke through the gloom. Velvet, our heroine, is a normal smart mouth teenager who’s realistic dialogue and actions made for entertaining reading. Though, I really wish we could have gotten more about how long she had been in Purgatory. She is a salvager and quite good at her job, giving you the impression that she’s been there for a really long time. Yet, at the same time, with her interactions with her killer, you know it can’t be all that long. Her crew provides some laughs as they all do their job in Purgatory while struggling with problems they suffered with in the mortal realm. We have requisite “mean” girls who get on everyone’s nerves but are more an annoyance than a problem.
Nick, our romantic lead, was an enigma. He is presented like a physical ray of sunshine as Velvet comments often on his glowing sexy physique, tousled blond hair, and overall good nature. I found him likeable but so different from the rest of the cast. He is…normal for lack of a better word. Happy and well adjusted-he felt like an anomaly in the story.
Both the romance and Velvet’s revenge storyline take a backseat as we watch Purgatory struggle against revolutionists-revolting spirits- who are attempting to deport to the mortal world and “live” again. It’s only in the last 20% of the story do we actually get action, suspense, and a clearer picture to the overall arc. The last chapter is the highlight of the story and I only wish the rest of the book could have repeated that. While I appreciated the time and consideration that Marks brings to this story and his characters, this YA completely fails in it’s efforts to engage and keep my attention.
Favorite Quote: “I had a price to pay for my choices.“
In Low Town, where elves, fairies, trolls, werewolves, and vampires are happily walking among humanity, everything has its price. Gage just wants to run his tattoo parlor and live a quiet fuss free life, but this former warlock is finding out that what he wants and what he’ll get are two very different things. Leaving the Ivory Tower, where the warlocks and witches of the world rule with an iron fist, has left Gage with a huge target on his back as no one EVER leaves the Ivory Tower alive. Gage was allowed to leave only if he never uses his magic for anything but self defense, however, circumstances cause Gage to break this rule on many different occasions. When Gage finds himself hunted by his former mentor, the grim reaper, a mob boss, and a werewolf, Gage hopes that with a little help from his friends, he may just live to see tomorrow.
Angel’s Ink is the first installment in a new urban fantasy series by bestselling author Jocelyn Drake. I adored Ms. Drakes Nightwalker series and was excited to see her penning a new and obviously different type of series. Angel’s Ink has an interesting premise and introduces us to a supernatural world where everything and everyone lives together; though not necessarily in harmony. As this is heavily character driven, I found the world building suffers as it tries to complete against the overwhelming and convoluted amount of subplots presented. I would have enjoyed learning more about the world presented, the war that brought this world to where it’s at now, and more about the various groups of supernaturals that we are introduced to.
Told in the first person, our main protagonist, Gage, the sole proprietor of the Asylum Tattoo Parlor, has a huge secret. A former apprentice warlock who didn’t agree with the cruel indicts of the warlock/witch community, he left that world only to find himself under a death sentence. His life is contingent upon his promise to never use his magic in any shape or form except for self defense. As Gage struggles to remain under the Ivory Tower’s radar, his altruistic nature places him on the path of no return when he fulfills a young girl’s dying wish with a tattoo. Gage inks the tattoo with a special ink mixture that he hopes will make her last few days comfortable. Only, the ingredients he uses have a catastrophic effect and suddenly Gage has to find this girl before he finds himself on the chopping block.
Gage is an interesting protagonist. His backstory and characterization reminds me of calmer, younger, Harry Dresden. Gage is a loner. His history requires him to not form lasting attachments to anyone yet he is fiercely loyal to his friends, regardless of the outcome. A former warlock who is at the mercy of a council deadset on erasing him, he has a natural altruistic nature that constantly pits him against various opposing factions. He only wants to be left alone, but Gage’s inability to say no to anyone, conflicts with his own agenda. While it goes a long way to building Gage’s character, it is also a cause for concern concerning the storyline. We are given multiple conflicts that sends us into various directions as Gage’s decisions set off chain reactions, causing him even further problems. I did have some problems connecting to him. While I enjoyed his thoughts and actions, there was a small part of me that felt like he was ambiguous. I did enjoy that in dealing with a male protagonist, we aren’t made to suffer through overly emotional angst or breakdowns. Gage deals with things in a forthright manner and that is blessing these days when emotional bloodletting and closed off protagonists are the main ingredient of most genres.
There is the beginning of a romance between Gage and Trixie that progresses slowly throughout the storyline. Enjoyable in that I like seeing Gage with someone, but in some ways it feels forced. I would have liked to have waited longer in the series to build up the tension for the readers. You may get the feeling that you’re missing something but there is a novella before this installment that actually sets this storyline up.
A strong personable secondary cast adds depth and understanding to the plotlines and Gage’s life. Trixie, an elf, and Bronx, a troll, are both employees of Gage’s and fast becoming his best friends. Both Bronx and Trixie have what I suspect are complicated back stories, though only Trixie’s is revealed in depth. Gideon, Gage’s handler from the Ivory Tower, is an enigma. His constant threats and bullying Gage over using magic outside of self defense are in line with his job but we are given hints that lead us to believe there is more to all of this than we or Gage think.
Plenty of dry humor and wit is sprinkled throughout the book as we learn more about vampire OCD, and a certain werewolf conflict presents itself in a unique and funny manner. As stated earlier, there is a plethora of subplots in here that cascades over you as you try and sort out exactly what the main conflict is. I enjoyed the various subplots though we aren’t allowed to spend much time with any of them as Drake keeps Gage jumping, trying to stay alive and one step ahead of everyone. Various one scene characters are introduced that clue us into future storylines, which only adds to the confusion in my opinion. Some conflict(s) which intertwine and play off each other towards the end, are somewhat resolved, all in predictable manners. I really can’t say more without spoiling but needless to say, this book is a set up book all the way, though more in characterization and storylines rather than the usual world building aspect.
Regardless of my feelings of misgiving, I did find the overall presentation and introduction interesting and engaging enough to warrant a continuation when book two releases. There are two novellas that predate this release and a third novella that happens after this book. The first two novellas introduce us to Trixie and Bronx and tell us how they came to work for Gage. In the anthology, Blood By Moonlight (releases Oct 23, 2012), we get a small but action packed story after Angel’s Ink.
Helyce: “Their bond had defied death, and he had never felt so humbled by anything before in all his days. He loved this woman–his woman, his eternal mate. He needed her more than air, more than anything else this life could give him. His heart swelled with love for her, reborn and renewed, beating as hard and strong as a drum.”
Tori: “If you don’t love me, “ she said, “if you truly want me gone…then let go.”
Edge Of Dawn picks up twenty some years after Darker Than Midnight. This is the new generation, folks. *cue the Star Trek music* While we do see the original cast, this story centers around Mira. We learn she and the others; Nathan, Kellan, ect…are all grown up and now the warriors that try to keep the peace between the humans and the Order. Mira is slowly unraveling though as she has never gotten over the death of her only love, fellow Breed warrior, Kellen Archer. Mira finally takes one to many risks and her punishment is demotion and being placed on bodyguard duty to a young, genius, germophobe scientist. Her job is to accompany him to the GNC summit being held to try and hammer out peace between the humans and the Order. When she arrives at his home during a kidnapping attempt, she is taken hostage along with the scientist, and comes face to face with the one man she never thought to see alive again.
Kellan Archer was supposed to be dead; killed in an explosion. We soon learn that Kellan was NOT killed in that explosion but actually orchestrated his own death, abandoned the Order, and now leader of a vigilante group of humans. Kellen never thought he would see Mira again, though he has purposely stayed around Boston to keep an eye on her. Seeing Mira has brought back all the intense feelings he never lost for her, but he knows that Mira will never forgive him for his betrayal of the Order or her.
When a member of Kellan’s group goes rogue and kidnaps the scientist right from under their noses, He & Mira are forced to work together to figure out who wants to destroy the summit, the Order, and keep Kellan from being branded a traitor and killed.
Tori: I’ve been a HUGE fan of Lara Adrian’s Midnight Breed series since the release of her first book-Crimson Kiss. I love her tales of dominant seductive vampires, struggling to control their baser needs, and the strong woman who lead them to salvation. Chocked full of action, suspense, and romance, Adrian’s Midnight Breed series is a winner across the board for me. I’ve been waiting impatiently for Mira’s story and I’m so glad Adrian has decided to continue the series using the younger generation and children of the original Breed warriors. I can’t believe that Lucan and Gabrielle’s little boy, Darion, is all grown up. In fact, all the original Breed warriors have grown children who have joined the fight in one aspect or another. I enjoyed getting to meet each of them and learn what they have been up to all these years.
Mira…Mira…Mira. Who doesn’t’ remember the sad little girl who was used as a pawn for her extraordinary gifts? Who didn’t emit a happy little sigh when it’s her who brings the tortured Hunter into the Order’s fold? She has certainly earned her bad arse street cred since those days. All grown up, she is now a Captain and leads her own group of warriors. Which is pretty extraordinary considering she is human. I love that we are given the chance to see the strong adult that was forged from a turbulent childhood.
While I enjoyed revisiting old friends and meeting new ones, I couldn’t shake the feeling we are merely recycling the last arc; only with a new enemy. I really would like to see some game changers in here. Perhaps in book 12. This book I would consider a set up story. It is introducing us to the new players and setting up the next arc. Once again the Order is fighting for their lives against a supernatural force-this time the Atlanteans. The Atlanteans were alluded to in Darker Than Midnight and this storyline sets up this latest battle. I do enjoy that we may finally get to the meat of Jenna’s role in this war and answers to that which we have been circling around since she was first introduced. Regardless, the action is intense and fast moving with plenty to keep you occupied and the romance is steamy and hot. Kellan and Mira’s chemistry singes the pages. My only qualms with the romance is I didn’t really understand Kellan’s reasons for what he did. I don’t want to spoil but he leaves Mira and the Order because of a “what may happen” and Mira forgives him way too quick in my opinion. Dude needed to do some SERIOUS, SERIOUS groveling for that stunt.
What did you think Helyce?
Helyce: I am also a HUGE fan of this series, Tori. When I found it, the first three books had already been released and I power-read them over a couple of days only to realize I had months before the next release was due. I loved everything about it from the gorgeous alpha Breed warriors to the special Breedmate women born just for them. Around about the release of Taken by Midnight, Brock and Jenna’s book, I began to wonder where Ms. Adrian was going. I should have had more trust! Huge light-bulb moment for me in this book!
I feel like we’ve now come full circle in Edge of Dawn. I loved seeing the children of the original Breed warriors all grown up and continuing the fight of good vs. evil. Now out in the open, they are still dealing with prejudice and doubt by the humans. I don’t see that changing anytime soon, especially with what is revealed in this book.
I loved that Mira, who is not Breed, has been made a captain with her own team. It was great to see her in this strong role, considering she is just a girl. It was a strong point to show how much has changed over the course of 20 years. The fact that she was given such respect by even the young male Breed warriors was awesome in my book.
As for Kellan, I agree with your point regarding his choice to leave Mira and the Breeds and go out on his own. What did he hope to gain or change by doing that? Regardless of the fact that Mira’s visions usually came to pass, why wouldn’t you stay with people who cared about you? On the flip side, I don’t think it was made clear enough that though he went off on his own, he was still a “good guy”, still fighting on the right side.
I am thrilled with the direction this series is moving in. The hinted at Atlanteans exist, have existed and are living among us. But why have they waited so long to show themselves? I look forward to learning more about them and I feel that Darion, Lucan’s son, will play a key role here as he continues to try and crack that numerical code in Jenna’s journals. There are hints toward future relationships for our next generation and they promise to be challenging for sure.
Tori: I agree. I am looking forward to seeing more about the Atlanteans and what their agenda is towards the Order and the world. I can only hope that we see some differences in the arc and not a replay of the last 10 books. I think we both agree that Rune, the cage match Breed fighter is muy sexy and we really need HIS story asap. RAWR.
All in all, Edge Of Dawn continues the Midnight Breed series with it’s patent edgy characters, action packed storylines, and smoking hot romances. Fans of the series will not be disappointed.
Helyce: I am so with you there, Tori! These Atlanteans are just too powerful and I can’t wait to see what they bring to this series! There’s has to be some sort of shift in the story arc with their introduction as I think their original queen is somehow connected to the creation of the Breed Mates. I can’t wait to see this connection explained. And yes, Rune…I swoon! There is something hinky about this character. He’s got some major secrets I think and oh boy are sparks gonna fly when Spencer gets wind of him. Yes, we need his story next, Ms. Adrian, pretty please?
I agree with your summation Tori. I am more than ready to see what happens next!
3.5 An interesting concept of genetic dna species manipulation combined with a kickass heroine and a rousing cast of secondary characters. Our heroine...more3.5 An interesting concept of genetic dna species manipulation combined with a kickass heroine and a rousing cast of secondary characters. Our heroine is human every other day. On the days she's not human, she's a hunter. she has a unique ability to scent dangerous creatures and they do her. She has no idea what she is or why, but when she attempts to sacrifice herself to save a fellow student, she puts herself closer to finding answers.
Jennifer Barnes is an auto buy for me in YA. I enjoy her strong female leads and interesting story lines. She has a wonderful ability to pull you into her story and make it yours. My only complaint? I would have liked more interaction with the villains and more world interaction.(less)
The Last Victim by Karen Robards Romantic Suspense/PNR August 7, 2012 Random House
Dr. Charlotte (Charlie) Stone is an expert in criminal psychology. She also sees dead people. She regularly faces down some of the most vicious and sadistic serial killers that prison has to offer. As the surviving victim of a serial killer herself, Charlotte needs to know what fuels the madness in these monsters.
FBI agent Tony Bartoli knows who Charlotte is. He knows what she went through and he knows what she can do. He needs her help because a teenager is missing and it looks like after fifteen years, the serial killer she faced, is back. Charlotte doesn’t want to take this case but knows she may be the only one who can stop this monster. Soon, Charlotte is locked in a cunning game of lies and secrets as she uses all her gifts to hunt down a madman who is bent on making Charlotte his last victim.
Karen Robards The Last Victim is a psychological paranormal romance suspense. The story begins with a look at Charlie’s past; retracing each step through her ordeal with a serial killer. When Charlie was sixteen, her best friend and family were slaughtered by a serial killer and her best friend’s body was left on the boardwalk. Charlie’s identification to the police sent the Boardwalk Killer into hiding. We then flash to the present and our story begins fifteen years later. While the premise promises an exciting PNR thriller, the actual story and characters failed to engage me. It’s not that the overall story was bad; I just felt that the romance and main conflict fight so hard for dominance we end up cheated out of both. The story starts out energetic. We are immediately clued into the main conflict and an equally important sub plot. There is not much suspense and anticipation as we are led through the investigation. Since this is told from Charlie’s POV, we fail to see the grit of the investigation, only the profiling that Charlie handles. The plot and sub plots are laid out in dull and uninspiring fashion.
The primary romance is strange and a bit uncomfortable. Charlie has been meeting with convicted serial killer Michael Garland as part of her research. When he is stabbed, Charlotte is the last person to be with him when he dies and this causes a tether between Michael and Charlotte. Michael comes off offensive and creepy, using extreme sexual language and gestures to intimidate Charlotte. Once he passes into the afterlife, he and Charlotte begin to flirt and the sexual tension between them becomes intense. The chemistry is hot, but there is a lot of emotional pontification in here that drags the story down. I felt like Ms. Robards was trying too hard to convince me they were made for one another, regardless of their past. Their dialogue, especially Charlie’s, is almost bi polar in its revelations. She’s attracted to him and extols his manly attributes, while at the same time berating herself for falling for a serial killer. Plus, it’s hard to separate yourself from the fact that Michael is a convicted serial killer. There is nothing revealed to Charlie or us to disabuse us of this though the storyline hints at future revelations.
The secondary characters were uninspiring also. Again, we deal with them in the present and only on the job. You never get to know them as individuals. There are two dimensional figures used to round out what is essentially Charlie’s and Michael’s story. There is a light flirtation between Charlie and FBI agent Tony but it also feels forced and there wasn’t a hint of chemistry there. I was also disappointed in the villain’s characterization. I really would have loved to spend sometime in the their head, if only to get a clue to their motivation. He is only alluded to and never seen till the very end. The ending comes hard and fast, leaving me feeling like I missed part of the story.
While I was fan of Ms. Robards earlier work, I’m afraid that this particular installment wasn’t what I have come to expect from her.
Favorite quote: “There is much to fear in the dark. There are monsters under the bed and in the closet, and now they walk aboard at will.“
Wind witch and owl shifter, Cicely Waters, rescued her lover, Fae Prince Grieve from the Indigo Court, but not before Myst, the Queen Of Winter, turned him. The rescue destroyed Cicely’s alliance with Lainule, the Queen of Summer and destroyed any hope of cooperation from the vampires. Cicely, in desperation, appeals to the Consortium for help.
When the Queen Of Summer begins to fade, Cicely offers to find and bring back Summer’s heartstone. Cicely also has to find a way to change Grieve back and keep Lannan at arms length. As friends turn enemy and enemies become allies, Cicely will find herself standing on the edge of the precipice, her destiny unfolding before her as she fights for all she loves and believes in.
Night Seeker, the third installment of Yasmine Galenorn’s dark and sensual fae fantasy, picks up right where Night Veil left off and blows it all out of the water. Well-plotted and cast with characters that are strong and personable, Night Seeker is filled with taut suspense, delicious betrayal, and dangerous antagonists. I consider Night Seeker the turning point in this series. It’s an emotionally captivating story that throws open the doors of previously unknown and tightly guarded secrets. It doesn’t promise us that everything will be fine but it does give us hope towards the future. A strong storyline with fascinating intertwining subplots drives this story opposed to the last two installments which spent more time laying the foundation of the arc and its key players.
Ms. Galenorn’s exceptional insight into supernatural mythology is readily apparent and her added mixture of new lore produces a stunning urban fantasy world that first starts in Night Veil and continues it’s dark and dangerous journey in here. Instead of being overburdened by over detailed interpretation and world building at the sacrifice of story, or being heavy on story but leaving the world largely undefined, Night Seeker continues the arc’s perfect balance and hits all the right notes. The world building is a perfect blending of carnal passions, electrifying action, realistic characters, and stark betrayal. Well plotted and fast paced, it creates a satisfying development for the main characters and culminates in two very different sort of conflicts – one that threatens the lives of Cicely and Grieve and one that threatens their hearts.
I have loved Cicely Waters since I first met her. Loyal, intelligent, and strong willed- she has made choices that many would balk at making yet she made them without batting an eye. She has a strong moral code that shines against the manipulations of those around her. Born to a drug user with no knowledge of her father, her survival on the streets made her into the warrior we see before us. She has matured so much as a character.. We share an intimate connection with Cicely as her pain, her sorrow, and her triumphs become our own. It has been an exciting ride as we have watched her grow from a solitary figure to having friends, family, and a lover. Her personality develops more and more with each book. She is still scared but she is learning how to trust in herself and others. Though still learning of her gifts and background, she now better understands from where she has come from and what is expected from her. Finally reunited with the love of her life but bound to a man who holds her life in his hands, Cicely again finds herself crippled by past decisions.
Grieve and Lannan are the two men who are integral parts of Cicely’s life. Grieve, Fae Prince of Summer, has been a part of Cicely’s life since she was a little girl. Past installments show us that they are actually old souls who cheated death and found a way to reunite. Grieve’s love for Cicely is a physical entity. Their chemistry burns the pages with each small moment they are able to steal. With every word Grieve speaks, with every gesture he makes, you know he will do anything to be with her. Lannan, on the other hand is a distasteful, yet fascinating mixture of anger and cruelty. A sado masochist, he was able to trick Cicely into signing a contract with the Crimson Court and in doing so, now essentially owns her. He is seductively cruel in his demands of Cicely, celebrating the pain and humiliation he brings to her. His feelings for her have grown from tolerance to obsession and he is dangerously close to destroying them both. What I truly enjoyed in here was the solid support Cicely has at her back in regards to Lannan. When she first signed the contract, she was pretty much on her own. Now with her father, Grieve, and the other renegades in the war against Myst standing with her, Lannan soon learns that he may hold her contract, but there are bigger, badder entities than him who claim Cicely as their own and won’t hesitate to remove him permanently from the equation if need be.
The cast of supporting characters are a vivid and dynamic group. Each one fully capable of holding their own story. I like that each have distinct, separate personalities and substories; ensuring they are never overwhelmed by our protagonists. The main conflict of the story is a whirlwind of intrigue, tension, and action as Cicely struggles to save Summer and find away to defeat Myst.
If you enjoy noir urban fantasy that stretches all your boundaries, then Yasmine Galenorn is the author to buy and her Indigo Court is the series to read. I don’t recommend starting the series here. It has a long reaching arc and each new installment picks up at the end of the last one.
Poison Princess is Kresley Cole’s debut into Young Adult. An interesting premise of a world pushed into an apocalypse (referred to as the Flash) and a young girl’s realization that her “hallucinations” are actually visions of the future and she is part of prophecy dating back to the beginning of time. Very Hunger Games oriented, the first chapter opens to a scene playing out in the present. From there, we start at the very beginning, before the Flash, and work our way to that scene. The first 100 plus pages spend an inordinate amount of time introducing us to the characters and their roles in this story. Martial law, press gangs, cannibals, few women, lack of basic amenities. Our hero and heroine strike out on a journey to locate the heroine’s grandmother and hopefully find out what the heroine’s role in the coming war is. The depths Ms. Cole goes to in order to form a solid base for this series is admirable but unfortunately, her characters are unappealing, and it affects the storyline.
Evie Greene, our heroine, is a sixteen year old rich high school student. Her mother sent her to a “hospital” for “treatment” for her visions. Brainwashed and drugged, Evie is allowed to come home and buries her visions deep, in order to stay home. While I anticipated meeting Evie at first, there is nothing special about Evie beyond her visions. I found myself reading her scenes and not feeling anything for her. She has no heroic qualities in the beginning, which is fine, but her character doesn’t grow much throughout the entire story. Jackson Deveroux, our hero, is an anti-hero. A poor bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks whose greatest thrills in life seem to be drinking, fighting, and notching his bedpost. Again, not a problem in the beginning, but no character growth from him either was disappointing. He’s personality abrasive with his alpha tendencies bordering on abusive. Ms. Cole does not attempt to redeem him. I expected something more from both of them, as extreme circumstances will usually either bring out the worst or best in people but in here, it didn’t seem phase them. Perhaps with the second installment Evie and Jackson will grow and we will see what Ms. Cole does.
The romance is disheartening. I’m not a fan of alpha men or boys who batter a heroine (metaphorically) with their wants and needs until they eventually give in because they’re tired of fighting. Evie resists Jackson’s romantic (I use that term lightly) attempts admirably but in the end, still falls in love with him, making excuses for his behavior. Again, if he had began to redeem himself, I’d understand, but he doesn’t. His behavior stays par for course the entire story.
Interesting secondary characters are defined, adding to the overall horror and intricacies of the story and world building. I liked seeing the exquisiteness of Evie’s visions and the truth behind them. The world before and after the apocalypse is rich in definition and color. The major plot that the story’s premise is built upon is unique, though convoluted. Ms. Cole explains the minute aspects of it all but it was confusing at times. I’m not saying much more on this part because I feel that would be a spoiler for those who haven’t read.
The ending picks up where the first chapter left off and we learn more in this last chapter then anywhere else. Evie discovers who and what she is and we leave off with a major cliffhanger as she fears that Jackson may not be able to accept what she has become.
I’m sure many will find this new YA series to be just what they are looking for in terms of post apocalyptic adventure, but for me, the story can’t overcome my apathy for the main characters.
Favorite Quote: “The next person who tells me to hurry up before I finish my cup of coffee gets a bullet in the ass.”
Police officer Jenna O’Connor has spent her whole life hiding from what her mother called the Others – supernatural beings. Repeatedly told they would kill her because of her hybrid status, she has spent her life staying under the radar, letting no one but her family into her life. No more though. In an attempt to live her own life, she moves to Wilmington, NC and lands her dream job on the SWAT team. She never expects her cover to be blown the first day when she meets Adam McPhee. She instantly knows he’s not human, like her, but figures she can handle anything he throws her way.
Adam McPhee, the smoking hot Alpha of the NC pack, is more wolf than human and now has his sights set on the sexy little SWAT agent who stepped between him and his prey. He knows Jenna isn’t human but can’t figure out exactly what she is and his curiosity to find out more about her, could get them both killed if he isn’t careful.
When a group of violent shifters who are part of an elitist pact that views humans as cattle, storm the town, threatening humans and Others alike, Jenna finds herself knee deep in a world her mama told her to always avoid. As Jenna tries to find her footing, learning new and unbelievable things about herself and the Others, she begins to wonder if her mama wasn’t right.
Fans of Shelly Laurenston’s Pride series will enjoy this. Similar in makeup, Lane has created a world where supes are a normal part of society and plenty of humor, snark, and action play alongside crazy, engaging characters. Heavily character driven, the story is told mainly from our heroine’s POV, Jenna O’Connor, though we have enough dialogue from other characters to get a healthy mixture of multiple POVs. I enjoyed the crisp, fast paced writing style that flows smoothly through the story. Within the pages, humor, action, suspense, and romance all mix together for a laugh out loud story that keeps you hooked to the very end. It’s not completely lighthearted though. Some intriguing subplots balance well against the humorous situations to reveal a serious side to the story.
Lane’s world building is a solid though we only learn what directly affects Jenna. I do love Lane’s unique view on how shifters came to be in existence. Magic aside, she digs deep into the evolutionary chain and gives us a fantastical but almost believable tale that starts with the dinosaurs. *g* T Rex shifters. RAWR!!!!
Jenna is a refreshing protagonist. She is a kick ass heroine with a smart mouth and the skills to back it up. Not to say she comes across as butch or bitchy, she is as girly as the rest of us, but she is an engaging and funny blend of femininity and “take no crap” warrior.
Alex answered her. “You do know that it’s disturbing that you know all that, right? We thought you were some go hard, take no prisoners, don’t-look-at-me-or-I’ll-bust-a-cap-in-your-ass warrior.”
She balled her hands up by her hips and barked in annoyance. “Well, I wasn’t raised on G.I. Joes you know! Mama raised me on princesses and fairy tales, and I just happened to like the swords more than the shoes in the stories. Okay?”
Though kept in the dark for most of her life about her past, the Others and their politics, she jumps head first when a plot is revealed that affects shifters and humans alike. She makes plenty of mistakes and wrong decisions yet doesn’t get emotionally mired down by them. She learns from them and moves on. When pressed to make a very, very important decision affecting her future, I liked that she stood her ground even when battered and insulted on all sides. She wouldn’t let her mind be swayed just because of the good of the pack. She’s loyal and dedicated but not a martyr.
Adam. Nom Nom Adam. An alpha of the first degree. He’s large, in charge, and takes protectiveness to a whole new level. When he meets Jenna, his wolf batters at the tenuous hold Adam has on it, desperate to get to her. To claim her. To make her his in all ways possible. This causes problems for Adam and between Adam and Jenna. Even while being over bearing as only a true alpha can be, he does his best to keep his courtship easy and safe for Jenna. He wants to court his way into her life and bed and I have to admire the restraint he places on his nature in order to achieve that.
Due to this, the romance progresses a slow steady pace. The chemistry between them is apparent from their first meeting, but chemistry isn’t enough for Jenna to throw away all her past lessons for a quick roll in the hay. Especially since everything indicates this will be anything but a one night or even two night stand. The banter between them is hilarious and I like that they both take the time to get to know one another; even if Adam does constantly push the envelope. I do like humorous romances between two strong protagonists. One thing I didn’t like is everyone knows she was raised ignorant of the Others ways, yet they treated her as if she should know everything being thrown at her. They get mad at her for not knowing things but don’t always offer up information until past the time she needed to know.
The secondary characters are just as vivacious and compelling as our protagonists. Adding depth and dimension to the storyline, each holds enough personality for them to have their own stories. Jenna’s uncle provides her with a much needed male father figure while her mother takes mama bear syndrome to a whole new level. We meet two tigers whose slutty antics and snobby attitudes will have you howling. And we can’t forget their grandmother…You will all die when you meet their grandmother. Her new best friend Kent has some secrets hiding behind his cavalier attitude and I look forward to learning his back story.
The conflict is an interesting premise but unfortunately stays deep in the background, overshadowed by Jenna’s introduction to the Other way of life and her romance with Adam. We only get glimpses of what the villains are up to and no resolution. I can only hope that since this was essentially a ‘meet and greet’ set up book, the next one will focus equally on the H/H and the continuing conflict. All in all, Big Bad Bite is steady and action packed with plenty of twists and turns that delighted me. I enjoyed the light and dark aspect that is brought into play-they blend well together. I enjoyed Big Bad Bite and look forward to reading the next installment-Walk On The Striped Side-which releases in 2014. Jessie Lane is definitely an author to watch for those who love zany, adventures, romantic PNR.