Favorite Quote: “Please. The devil wished he had half my style and a fourth of my schemes.”
Cal and Nikos Leandros are back and this time they face their greatest enemy…themselves. Cal’s monstrous heritage is slowly gaining a foothold, trying to obliterate Cal’s humanity. On top of that, Cal is being pursued by a murderous doppelganger, a psychotic ex, and a band of covert warriors who feel it’s time for Cal to be put to rest…permanently. As the clock ticks down, sending Cal and Niko’s closer to their deaths, it may be Cal’s murderous other half that saves them in the end.
Rob Thurman brings her A game to the table in her ninth installment of her Cal Leandros series. Secrets are revealed and we learn once and for all exactly why Robin Goodfellow has been such a primary figure in the Leandros brothers lives. The story is a bit more chatty than normal but the storyline is possibly one of her best. Presented in duel POVs, you get an in depth look at Cal and Niko’s past through the eyes of an immortal. And their past is far longer and more convoluted than anyone ever imagined. Thurman’s continued use of mythology and religion, twisting and manipulating to her whims, further expands and evolves her world, keeping the series fresh and inventive.
I am a huge fan of this series. Similar to the WB show, Supernatural, the premise is built upon two brothers whose love and loyalty to one another defines their very existence. Heavy on sibling love and the concept that not all family is tied by blood. Each episode in self contained with a long running arc. Well-plotted and cast with characters with dynamic personalities, this series is filled with suspense, betrayal, sarcasm, humor, and some very dangerous antagonists. A fascinating series that continues to captivate and enchant. Thurman does a fabulous job of exploring and evolving the relationship between brothers Cal and Nikos as they fight to protect each other and the clueless humans in the city.
Downfall opens with Cal noticing that he is beginning to manifest some physical traits of his auphe heritage. He fears that the more he starts to look like the auphe, the more he will start to act like one. Cal also has a influx of enemies gunning for him. He is been targeted for death by the Vigil, an organization that works to keep humans unaware of the supernaturals around them. Though he has always been on their radar, his actions in Slashback (book 8) placed him on their hit list. Cal’s ex girlfriend, Delilah, is now head Alpha of the Kin and has decided to clean house…beginning with Cal. Grimm is also back and is going to make Cal play the game of world domination with him regardless if Cal want to play or not.
Similar to Slashback, Thurman tells this story in the present and past but this time uses Robin Goodfellow’s memory to fill in most of the remaining blanks that have existed throughout the series. Robin has been a large part of the series but purposely hid his importance from us. In here we learn the full extent of his loyalty to Cal and Nikos and his intensive and sometimes intrusive manipulations behind the scenes. Reincarnation is the theme and Thurman works it into the ongoing storyline beautifully. We are gifted with a dual narration-Cal and Robin-as they each remember the past. It gives the story a sense of intimacy and depth to hear Robin bear his innermost feelings and actions concerning Cal and Nikos. We feel his pain, sadness, and weariness as we learn he has spent centuries trying to keep Cal and Nikos alive while they charged fearlessly into danger with each new life. It has become an endless cycle that Robin is determined to break.
The conflict is an explosion of violence, sacrifice, and brings about a shocking conclusion that wraps up a open storyline but leaves us with some interesting clues towards the future of Cal and his “family”. Robin definitely rules this installment and shows everyone that he is indeed the ultimate trickster. This series continues to walk on the dark side of urban fantasy as it repeatedly shows us that monsters do exist in the world and sometimes the difference between them and us is nothing more than a degree of separation. Even with each book having a resolvable conflict, I don’t view them as stand alones. The arc is long standing and convoluted as is the evolution of the main characters. I recommend starting from the beginning with Nightlife.
Moon Kissed is a reissue from Aline Hunter. A paranormal romance novella that has all the right elements but failed to engage me story or romance w...more2.5
Moon Kissed is a reissue from Aline Hunter. A paranormal romance novella that has all the right elements but failed to engage me story or romance wise. I’m not a fan of “mate bonding” to begin with and I felt the connection the couple had was magically manufactured and not due to actual attraction. An interesting main conflict falls short as the pseudo romance takes up a considerable amount of space and the length of the story offers no real chance for it to develop and expand. A quick hot read that unfortunately doesn’t offer much beyond grunts of MINE and sex.(less)
Favorite Quote: This is your life. This is your destiny. You must wrap you your feelings and fears and tuck them away in a box.
Night’s End is the last book in Yasmine Galenorn’s wonderfully dark and decadent urban fantasy series-The Indigo Court. *SOB* Fans of the series have watched in awe as Galenorn twists and manipulates supernatural legend and lore into a well crafted story of love, loss, betrayal, redemption, and destiny. Heavily character driven, strong and dynamic characterization have uplifted this series from a run of the mill urban fantasy into something unique and wonderfully entertaining. Smooth writing combined with dark world building immediately engrossed me into the storyline and the characters that inhabit it. The world that Galenorn originally introduced to us has evolved in leaps and bounds; extraordinary in it’s simplistic yet complex layout.
Night’s End picks up where Night Seeker leaves off. Cicely and Rhiannon each wear the crown to their respective kingdoms-Rhiannon holds the reign of Summer while Cicely holds firm to Winter. Myst has recovered from her last defeat and is rising swifty, destroying everyone and everything in her path. Queen Cicely and her allies know that this is their last chance to destroy the Indigo Court and it’s Vampiric Queen for good.
As the Queen of Snow and Ice, Cicely has grown remarkably in the series. A child forced to survive on the streets, caring for her drug addicted mother has become a woman more than worthy to wear the crown. Galenorn has chronicled Cicely’s journey in a remarkable manner, allowing her to make mistakes and and gain knowledge (sometimes at a harsh price) on the path to her destiny. I adored Ciecly. She is the perfect balance of strength, intelligence, and wit with a strong vein of vulnerability within her. She is trying so hard to be the strength her court needs and demands while controlling her own fears. Her tightly wound control is almost broken in here when Ciecly gets her first test as monarch when a traitor is discovered in their mists and Cicely must make some harsh decisions in uncovering them. Decisions involving her friends that shows Cicely how much her life and the choices she makes are no longer her own.
The romance, while always a low key but important aspect of the storyline, unravels itself out with her marriage to Grieve. I loved the reincarnation storyline used to explain their unbreakable bonds. Grieve is perfect for Cicely. His quiet strength, inherent goodness, and warrior status makes for a wonderful grounding agent against Cicely’s more interchangeable nature. Cicely needs someone as strong as she is to stand beside her but also someone who loves her all her sides.
“You’re my shooting star…my my dark queen in the middle of the night sky.”
Lannan Altos, Regent of the Crimson Court, has also played an important part in Cicely’s life and in here we understand exactly how and why. Though their relationship has been a long road filled with pain and humiliation, there is an aspect of his personality that allows Cicely to show her darker nature without any recriminations. Lannon understands her need for pain as it mirrors his need to inflict it. Lannon has also been experiencing some growing pains of his own that in sense, mirroring the changes Cicely is experiencing.
“Lannan fed the darker side of me, the side I didn’t want Grieve to go near. If Grieve stepped into those shadows, then my rock would vanish and I would be fully swallowed up by the abyss.”
The secondary characters are dynamic building blocks in this unfolding saga as each one has had a secret destiny waiting to be revealed, adding suspense and tension to the story. An engaging plot line and multiple sub plots feed upon one another as each revelation brings us closer to the end. Galenorn digs deeper beneath the surface, answering questions from the beginning and placing Ciecly exactly where she needs to be, despite her doubts.
Night’s End and the series as a wholeis a captivating urban fantasy that will appeal to both readers who love a strong female protagonist, non stop action, tense plotlines, and a bittersweet romance that leaves you astounded with each delicious installment. An altogether satisfying read that reaffirms Galenorn is a multi-talented author. Though sad this series had to end, I am left secure in the knowledge that there will be more fantastic adventures from Galenorn to come.
As one of the beta readers for this book, all I can say it that Haines takes it to the limit in here and sets up a chilling tale of betrayal, deceptio...moreAs one of the beta readers for this book, all I can say it that Haines takes it to the limit in here and sets up a chilling tale of betrayal, deception, revenge, pain, and remarkably... hope. (less)
Every fan of Harrison’s Elder Races series has fallen head over heels for Dragos’ and Pia’s baby boy Liam aka Peanut. A hybrid Wyn with some impressiv...moreEvery fan of Harrison’s Elder Races series has fallen head over heels for Dragos’ and Pia’s baby boy Liam aka Peanut. A hybrid Wyn with some impressive powers, Liam is ready to go to Kindergarten even though he is only 6 months old. If you read Pia Saves The Day, the novella before this one, you know that Pia’s words to Liam to be a big boy precipitated his rather shocking growth spurt. This short novella picks up from there and presents beautifully a child’s first day of school; showing us the fear and uneasiness one feels when entering a new chapter of their life. Plenty of laughs and some angst made this journey a grand adventure and offers readers some hints into what Liam is slowly becoming.(less)
Banishing the Dark, fourth and final book in Jenn Bennett’s Arcadia Bell series, is the showdown we have all been waiting for. Arcadia (Cady) Bell, renegade mage and bar owner, is the Moonchild and has been in hiding ever since her parents tried to sacrifice her. At the end of book three, Binding the Shadows, readers were left with Cady almost fatally beaten and in a coma. Banishing the Dark picks up a few weeks later with Cady waking up from her coma and having a limited memory of what happened to her.
Cady has absolutely no downtime in here. Cady’s mother has found a way to cross the barriers of her magical prison and is now attempting to take over Cady’s body and soul. Cady learns she has to find the original ritual her mother and father used to conceive her and reverse it if she has any hope of defeating her mother. As Cady and Lon follow a twisted path filled with lies, deception, and betrayal, it will take everything Cady has if she is to survive the night.
Bennett’s Arcadia Bell series has been a whirlwind adventure that offers readers high octane action and magical suspense with some sweet romance and dry cutting humor from the very beginning. A perfect balance of power and vulnerability. We are not overburdened with emotional angst or ridiculous unbelievable feats. Multiple plotlines and ripe tension is tempered with everyday life events. It has been a thrilling ride as we have watched Cady grow from a solitary lonely figure to having friends, family, and a lover. Her personality has grown with each book. The world building has stayed fresh and exciting with constant evolution as we travel through an alternative magical version California.
Though romance isn’t usually a high priority in urban fantasy, Bennett uses a deft hand to build a believable romance for Cady with her lover Lon. Lon, a demon and member of the Hellfire Club has always had her back 100 percent though he does struggle with some residual guilt in here as her injuries were a direct result of a Hellfire Club member. A club he introduced her too. Their romance remains strong and for reasons I can’t divulge, let’s just say that while Cady is ready and willing, Lon is not and it makes for some very funny scenes. One particular scene has Cady texting Lon when he is about 2 feet away from her and she’s trying to tempt him into bed with her.
Sent 11:30 a.m.: What you doing over there?
MSG from Lon, 11:30 a.m.: Researching.
Me: You could do that over here.
Lon: You need to sleep.
Me: Don’t worry. I’m too tired to jump you.
Lon: A shame. But I don’t trust myself.
Me: Come to think of it, I don’t trust myself, either. Let’s not trust ourselves together. P.S. You smell really good. I mean that in a creepy way. Come over here and let me sniff your skin like some crazy stalker.
Lon: Are you feeling okay?
Me: Be feeling better if you’d just come over here.
Lon: Don’t make me call management to restrain you.
Me: I’d much rather you do it yourself.
Lon: Go. To. Sleep.
Various characters (new and old) come into play as their recollections are needed to help put the puzzle together. Jupe has to be my favorite character in the series. Though always a strong player, I did like that he was given a more active role in helping Cady overcome her greatest foe-her own mother. Having his POV provides some definite entertainment.
The beginning started out slow and tends to stay at that pace as Lon and Cady work to discover who told Dare about Cady’s true identity. About 90% of the book is Lon and Cady following a trail of clues to find the Moonchild ritual. Cady learns more about what happened during her childhood years and discovers her repertoire of demon knacks has increased. Jupe’s storyline intertwines and bringsmuch humor to the book. Bennett expands her occult mythology to help further explain Cady’s supposed destiny and bring it all home. There is a lot going on in here but Bennett’s clear and concise writing makes it easy for readers to follow along.
I did have issues with the conflict resolution. It resolves rather quickly with little fanfare. I expected more violence and combat since this is what the series has been leading us to since the beginning. On the whole, it was a little disappointing. As this is the end of the series, we are in luck that Bennett includes an epilogue that lets us know how Lon, Cady, and Jupe are faring in the future.
While I am sad this is the last we shall see of Arcadia Bell’s world, I do believe fans of the series will be pleased with the care and consideration Bennett used in her goodbye.
**Giveaway on the blog** Comment to enter to win one copy of Banishing the Dark. US residents only. You must comment on Smexybooks.com to be eligible. (less)
What a mind f*uck. A dark erotic PNR that pushes boundaries and blurs the lines between good and evil. No one is who they say, nothing is what it seem...moreWhat a mind f*uck. A dark erotic PNR that pushes boundaries and blurs the lines between good and evil. No one is who they say, nothing is what it seems, and everyone has an agenda.(less)
In Crave The Darkness (book three) Darian pays a harsh price for her actions in Blood Before Sunrise (book 2) when her Jinn lover and boss, Tyler, walks away from their relationship after repeated warnings he cannot take her lack of self-preservation anymore. The blows keep coming as Darian has to deal with the legal ramifications of her actions and her job of keeping a fellow Shaede and her unborn child alive puts her own life in danger and the results are tragic.
Against the Dawn picks up where Crave the Darkness left off and once again submerges us into the dark and dangerous world that Darian lives in. Seattle is a seething pit of powerful supernaturals and heading towards a war that may destroy them all. Action packed with intrigue, suspense, and a healthy dose of love, anguish, and betrayal, Bonilla answers some much need questions while setting up the storyline to take a turn that will leave readers stunned by her audacity. *smile*
Darian suffered unimaginable horrors at the hands of Kade and left to spend some time healing with Rafe’s daughter in O Anel. After three weeks (six months human time) passed, she came back to Seattle only to find Xander’s kingdom in shambles and him fighting for his crown. Xander still wants Darian as his queen but Darian is in a place right now where her vulnerability is at it’s highest and she is only hanging on by a thin fragile thread. Darian decides work is her best bet for not dealing with her issues and contacts Tyler for an assignment. This brings Darian face to face with someone who by all accounts should be dead. As Darian works her assignment, she learns that once again she is only a small part of a larger picture, an expendable part, and destiny has an interesting way of reasserting itself when you least expect it.
Bonilla has accomplished so much in this noir world she has built. Ever changing and expanding, we have seen our heroine grow right along with this world, though her own past and stubbornness has caused her much grief during this learning process. The appeal for me of this series is the flawed characters Bonilla has created. We aren’t inundated with perfect men and women who swoop in and save the day. These are people with problems. They make the wrong choices and pay a heavy price for them. They are at times selfish, blind, and often hurt those they love the most. Darian is probably the most complex of them all. Her past has left her heavily scarred with severe trust issues. She wants what every person wants deep inside the place where no one can see-she wants to be loved. Yet at the same time, the thought of being loved scares her to death. She struggles with the thought of having that much responsibility/power and her previous actions cement that. She is the perfect UF heroine in my eyes-a will of steel with a deep vein of vulnerability. She doesn’t have unbeatable powers and will fail on occasion only to rise and fight again. She strives to do the right thing concerning everyone but has learned the hard way that sometimes losing is the only way you can win.
The love triangle is still in play but each installment seems to be edging us closer to a choice. I hate love triangles, especially long-term ones, but this one bothers less than most as I don’t feel that Darian is leading them on. She loves Tyler and has only recently understood just how much. Xander is more of an irritant. I honestly feel Darian made her choice but the decisions made at the end may change that. The sexual tension between Darian and Tyler is still VERY hot and sensual and now that she has acknowledged what is in her heart, it becomes even more appealing. Bonilla does a fabulous job of blending the romance without making the story dependant on it. After this book, I still find myself rooting for Tyler, even after his less than stellar decisions in Crave The Darkness.
Xander, the king of the Shaede nation is STILL a pain in Darian’s arse and she doesn’t hesitate to let him know that repeatedly. Though we know Darian cares for Xander, she is not in love with him and I don’t feel he is in love with her. I think his attraction is more based in the challenge. She does not bow willingly to his authority. She is a strong opinionated female that excites his more base natures. He wants to own her. Possess her. Bend her to his will. Xander per usual uses his power to try to force Darian’s hand but his actions towards the end has me wondering what exactly that man has up his sleeve.
A complicated secondary cast only heightens the excitement of this story. Raif remains a favorite character of mine. He is an important part of Darian’s life and I like that she has someone in her corner that wants nothing from her but her friendship and for her to be safe. I enjoyed Asher’s development and look forward to seeing more of him. Darian can’t have too many true friends in my book. Anya annoys me. That is all. We meet some new characters and learn some information about old ones in here who further expand on the complicated world Darian lives in. I am very interested Kaii and seeing what Bonilla has in store. Tyler, of course, is my guy and I feel for him so much. Poor guy can never seem to catch a break.
This entire book is a speeding out of control roller coaster filled with twists and turns that will keep you clinging to your seat. The ending is a shocking cliffhanger that left me blinking in surprise as Lorick’s actions are fully exposed. The main conflict is resolved, but once again, Bonilla uses that to open another doorway, leaving us with unanswered questions and concerns. I look forward to the fifth book in this series-title and release date to be announced.
I’m a fan of Hamilton’s Merry Gentry series and was thrilled to be offered this for review. This book was a long time co...moreDNF-I do not rate books I DNF.
I’m a fan of Hamilton’s Merry Gentry series and was thrilled to be offered this for review. This book was a long time coming but the sparks that made it so beguiling in the beginning were almost non-existent. The world building continues to evolve and enchant but it couldn’t overcome the repetitive boring sexual dialogue & scenes, the PSAs about poly-amorous relationships, and the constant rambling off topic.(less)
Favorite Quote: “I just want to get through every fucking day, as well as I can, until I finally die like everyone I care about did.”
Eve Blackthorn’s world has always been filled with vampires. Saved by a vampire as a teenager, Eve had no way of knowing the impact he would have on her future. She eventually falls in love with him and they marry, much to the dismay of some. Days after their wedding, her entire family is massacred and her husband, Robert, is convicted and executed for the crime. Now Eve works in a brothel, servicing the men who took her husband from her. She has reached a point where she no longer cares what happens to her. She is disconnected and broken. Everyone she has ever loved is gone; ripped brutally away from her without a single chance of saying goodbye. Left to her own devices in a world that wants her dead, she knows the vampire government had something to do with her family’s murder and her husband’s death but she has no way to prove it.
Eve pulls herself out of her downward spiral with the help of some unusual allies. As the truth begins to reveal itself, the secrets the vampire government are hiding points directly towards Eve. She learns that she has been merely made a pawn in a plot that threatens everyone. A plot that forces her to ally with the very monsters who ripped her world out from under her. As the clock ticks down, Eve will use whoever and whatever she can to avenge her husband, her family, and take back her life.
Absolution, book one in McGurk’s Vampire Alliance, is a noir urban fantasy with nail biting suspense, delicious betrayal, dangerous antagonists, and an underlying theme of heartbreak and sorrow. McGurk gives us a new look at vampires that is both appealing and appalling. Lush world building combined with highly complex and multi layered characters tells a dark story driven by the emotions of those who live it. The first half is slow to develop as the narratives alternate between Eve’s present and her husband’s past. Though it was a little rough acclimating between the two voices and seemingly unrelated storylines, as we continue reading, the two stories merge and you begin to see the big picture. From there, the story races to unfold along an illuminated path-only showing so much as you walk a twisted path with our protagonist. The smooth writing and descriptive detailing drew me in and I found myself becoming heavily vested in the characters outcomes. Ms. McGurk takes her time in developing her characters and their connections to the world and one another.
No person in here is exempt from judgement and everyone has an end game. Good and evil are merely words. The degrees of separation are fine threads whose ties become more visible as the story progresses. The past controls the future and this is amply displayed as we are given an intimate view of vampire politics and how the decisions Eve’s husband made in the past affected his future.
Visions of David and Goliath come to mind as we watch Eve face adversaries galore in her quest to discover who set in motion the events that sent her down a path of no redemption. Misdirection is your best friend as McGurk unveils a Machiavellian plotline that leaves readers and Eve reeling from the possible implications.
The romance of the story reveals slowly like a faint ray of hope. Lightweight and still developing, it packs very emotional punch. We see many different emotional entanglements- family, friendship, and love. Eve’s trust has been completely shattered and she struggles to kept everyone at bay. They all run parallel to the main storyline and are used to reinforce the main conflict.
As I raced towards the ending, I felt like I was on a roller coaster, my stomach pitching and rolling as each new clue and dramatic scene unfolded. I like how everything isn’t explained away and some decisions made, though I didn’t agree with them all, were the only choices that could be made. The ending is a climactic finale that satisfies the immediate storyline but leaves a cliffhanger that guarantees you need to pick up book two, Allegiance, which is available now.
If you looking for a unique character driven Urban Fantasy that delivers a fresh outlook on vampires, then I recommend getting Angela Louise McGurk’s Absolution.
It took me three days to read this book. It wasn't that it was bad-though there were some editing errors that surprised me-it was the the mildness of...moreIt took me three days to read this book. It wasn't that it was bad-though there were some editing errors that surprised me-it was the the mildness of the overall plot. It took forever to work it out and we spent more time listening to Eve ruminate about it all then actual investigating. Suspects were cleared faster then normal and the ending comes at you in an anti climate manner. All in all, it was all rather boring.
Roarke & Eve were great as usual. I enjoy seeing both of them more comfortable in their marriage. I wish we could have had more interaction with the rest of the gang, though. There was no real excitement or anticipation that I have come to expect in this series. Eve is calm, nice, and seems to have lost that edginess that made her such an engaging protagonist. (less)
The Magpie Lord is a dark and humorous M/M PNR that pits a male witch and a newly inherited Earl against a malevolent force that has targeted the Earl...moreThe Magpie Lord is a dark and humorous M/M PNR that pits a male witch and a newly inherited Earl against a malevolent force that has targeted the Earl. The romance is hinted at-both parties are attracted to one another but the mystery is the prevalent force that drives this story. Light sarcastic humor and witty banter balances well against the conflict. Strong protags and secondary characters help o push the story along at an engaging pace.
I know, I know, some of you are thinking...WTH Tori? Hey, don't hate on the time travel caveman romance reader, okay? :)
This was a cheesy, sweet, heartfelt, funny, and yes, romantic story. I adored Ehd. Told entirely from his POV which is hard to portray when said hero is essentially mute and the from a completely different time era then the heroine. I'm talking millenniums here people. He's cro magnum and she's a 21st century gal.
I found the hero's lack of pretentiousness utterly refreshing in a time when alpha hole heros, bi polar heroines, and overly emo story lines seem to be the headliners these days. I died laughing as he spends a majority of his time trying to get in her pants- proving that guys are the same across the board yet it was never creepy or offensive.
My only point of contentions and the reason I didn't give 4 stars is the ending comes at you very quick. And heroine did cry an awful lot. Not saying I wouldn't had I woke up in a hole that far in the past but it frustrated me at times.
Regardless, a cute story that offers something different in the world of romance. (less)
Favorite Quote: “Congratulations, you’ve been granted the title of trusted singular. I suggest you refrain from wearing hats.”
For the past three months, Rachel has been providing security for Trent Kalamack while Quen is across the country, regulating Ellasbeth’s visit with the girls. When Rachel’s spells begin to misfire, Rachel thinks it’s a reaction to her deepening feelings for Trent. Soon, spells begin to misfire all over the city, creating chaos and weakening the already tremulous truce that exists between the humans and the supernaturals. As Rachel and her friends dig deeper, they discover a plan that will destroy the master vampires and throw the city into an all out super natural war. One thing will stop the catastrophe coming their way; invoking the wild elven magic. Only, that may do more harm than good where Rachel is concerned.
Kim Harrison’s The Hollows series (also known as the Rachel Morgan series) is one of the top selling urban fantasies series to date and with good cause. Appealing to readers of all ages and genres, Ms. Harrison’s unique blend of sharp wit and whimsical imagination (tomatoes, anyone) has created an alternative world that is filled with never ending magic and mayhem. Ms. Harrison has kept us laughing and weeping since her first book, Dead Witch Walking, released in 2004. Filled with intriguing suspense, non stop action, tense romance, biting humor, and some truly heartbreaking scenes; this intense character driven series continues to enchant readers.
The Undead Pool is the twelfth book and the second to the last book in this series. I am sad to see this series ending. Good urban fantasy is hard enough to find but good urban fantasy with a compelling female lead is even harder to find. And Rachel Morgan, for all her flaws and less than stellar decisions, is a fantastically dynamic and complicated heroine. Perhaps it’s because of those flaws that readers gravitate to the series. It isn’t often we get a lead character who, even gifted supernaturally, doesn’t always win. Rachel has suffered so much throughout this series. She has lost friends, family, lovers, and even her powers for a bit. She fails as much as she conquers and that makes it easy to like her and her band of equally dynamic sidekicks.
Those who have kept up with the series will be surprised and happy by the turn of events that occurred off scene between books 11 and 12. This installment finally addresses the underlying sexual and emotional tension that has existed between Rachel Morgan and Trent Kalamack since their first meeting. From the very beginning, Trent and Rachel have been at odds as they each strived to do what they thought was best for the city of Cincinnati and in Trent’s case, himself. Trent, the perfect anti hero, has used his money and power to thwart Rachel at every turn while Rachel has always managed to turn the tides and hold him off at the last moment.
“You’d better learn your history before you become part of it.”
Rachel and Trent have a long history together that goes back to their childhood. A history that is steeped in deception, betrayal, and violence that left them often on opposite sides of the battle field. We have watched their slow evolution from antagonists to actual friends and perhaps something more. Both Trent and Rachel have grown considerably throughout the series. Starting out as a untried and untrusted slightly flaky witch, Rachel has grown into a mature powerhouse who can more than hold her own against the larger than life players who populate her world. Her friend base has grown and she has finally begun to comfortably accept their help.
“You have amazing friends.” “I need them to stay alive through my amazing life.”
Trent, a rich elven CEO with a finger in every dark and shady pot the country has to offer, has gradually changed from an emotional void, hellbent on conquering the world through what ever means necessary to actually caring about people and how his actions affect them. Through his relationship with Rachel and others, he has finally learned the meaning of sacrifice and why some will give their all with no thoughts to their own mortality.
Though their animosity has gradually lessened and they are now at a turning point in their lives, Rachel doesn’t trust her feelings for Trent. She fears anything deeper between them will only lead to his downfall. And he has a lot to lose. Trent has some hard decisions to make in this book. Decisions that not only affect him, but also others who depend on him in so many different ways.
“You’re halfway to ruining him already.”
Sacrifice and friendship is the base on which this series is built and this particular installment pushes the envelope, acknowledging that Rachel doesn’t always have to be the one who has to sacrifice for those she loves. For the first time in a long time, Rachel decides to take a leap of faith and go with her heart and leave everything to chance.
“Most warriors think with their hearts,” I said, [...] “It’s what keeps them alive through the crap they have to deal with to keep the rest of you safe."
Through it all, Rachel has always had Ivy and Jenks at her back. They too have grown and evolved so much throughout the series; becoming much more than mere secondary characters. Rachel and Ivy have always had a deep loving relationship with hints of a romantic attraction; especially on Ivy’s part. I love how Harrison has never maligned or made this portion of the storyline seem like a dirty little secret. It’s an important aspect in their relationship as Ivy has always felt that Rachel saved her life when no one else cared.
“I almost quit a hundred times,” she said as she smiled at me, eyes beautiful and black. “But you thought I had it in me and I wanted to prove I was as good as you thought I was…”
Jenks. What can you say about Jenks but that he is one of the true highlights in this series. If Ivy is Rachel’s best friend, then Jenks in her soul mate in almost every way possible. They have loved, loss, laughed, cried, fought, and consoled one another. Only death will part these two. His sardonic humor and never ending protectiveness towards Rachel only serves to further entertain as he tells it like it is.
“Watch out, cookie maker, or I’m going to own you.”
Though we don’t get as much interaction with Al or the Ever After this time around, it’s what we do see that is very important and goes far in preparing us for the final book. Newt makes an appearance and as usual, gives us some needed clues in a mash up of gibberish conversation.
The conflict is an interesting action packed juxtaposition as we learn more about the wild magic and the effects it has on the city and it’s supernatural inhabitants. Desperate times calls for desperate measures as Rachel finds herself having to deal with the unfamiliar magic and the results of its unleashing. This has been a long time coming and Harrison lets loose as she strives to make us understand the path on which she has placed Rachel, Trent, and the Hollows. The Hollows are beginning to unravel, as is the Ever After, and soon both worlds will be forced to deal with one another…again.
The Undead Pool is an eclectic mixture of everything I have come to love about this series and Urban Fantasy. Action, suspense, emotional revelations, romance, humor, and heartbreak. I can easily see it becoming a much beloved re read in the future. Fans will rejoice in it’s reveals and revelations. My only qualm is now I have to wait a year for the last book. *shakes fist at the injustice of waiting*
The Devil's Flower is an interesting premise that fails to execute. A confusing loosely developed storyline filled with assumptions and fade to black...moreThe Devil's Flower is an interesting premise that fails to execute. A confusing loosely developed storyline filled with assumptions and fade to black scenes left me feeling as though I had missed a chapter or a previous book. No indepth background or set up is made in order to facilitate a better understanding for the reader. Certain aspects are revealed to bring our heroine and hero together but those aspects are given a sense of importance to the storyline but never bears fruit. Multiple themes battle one another for dominance which results in a lack of development in all of them. The MC theme is regulated to the background and not much is learned about the club or the players involved. The angel/demon theme is a bit stronger but as everything stays in the present, again, not much is learned. The PNR theme also fails as there isn't much PN and the R is PG rated with any sexual scenes off scene.
The characters are built with a strong YA/NA feel to them-prone to over the top drama and emotional angst. Our hero is a broody alpha who spends most of the book sending the heroine mixed signals, minimal explanations, and keeping his MC from killing her. The heroine spends most of her time not listening to her instincts and getting herself into situations that require her needing to be saved. In the first chapter she has her car stolen, is chased by a bear, and needs medical attention twice.
I felt less themes and more development all the way around would have greatly benefited this book.
Up From The Grave is the 7th and final book in Jeaniene Frost's much beloved Night Huntress aka Cat & Bones series. Frost wraps up the ongoing...more3.5
Up From The Grave is the 7th and final book in Jeaniene Frost's much beloved Night Huntress aka Cat & Bones series. Frost wraps up the ongoing story lines while introducing a few more in order to tie it all together. Plenty of Cat & Bones time as our heroic kinky lovers find out Cat's old CIA team is missing and her uncle lied to her yet again. The truth is far more insidious then thought and this time, there will be no walking away to fight another day.
I liked this one but didn't love it. The tone didn't seem to match the story unfolding. I saw some recycled plot lines and Cat/Bones seemed subdued this time around. I did enjoy seeing brought into the frey for one last hurrah and even with this being the end. Frost does leave it open in away for her to visit again if she so chooses. (less)