Favorite Quote: “Okay. Take a peek, but I swear if you try anything funny, I’ll beat your head in with my flashlight.”
Ms. Butcher once again delivers a dark, gritty, action packed story that held me spellbound. A smooth storyline and continuously evolving arc engages the reader and sets a fast pace. The premise revolves around Logan and Hope; two fantastic characters whose innate loyalties often overrides their wants and needs. This book is a mind blowing whirlwind to read as Ms. Butcher goes in-depth into multiple character storylines and POV’s which I loved. We don’t see a lot of our previous heroes and heroines, but we do get some staggering scenes with Sybil, Joseph, and meet some new characters that clues us into future storylines that promise this series will continue to blow us away.
Hope is strong, intelligent, and street savvy. Abandoned as a child, she grew up on the streets. She doesn’t trust many and Logan’s charm doesn’t make him an instant good guy with her. She has made a life for herself as an artist but never forgot where she came from and spends time helping in the shelter where she was raised. When she meets Logan, she sees something in him that calls to her on a visceral level but she doesn’t trust him.
Logan and his brother Tynan have spent hundreds of years, the bearers of an cruel curse, to bring together compatible mates that will ensure them a race of humans whose blood will keep them alive. When Logan chances upon Hope, he takes her blood and realizes that it is the ultimate essence and he will do anything to possess her for Project Lullaby. As he spends more time with her, he begins to want her for himself even though he knows he cannot. She must mate with a chosen. But Logan doesn’t take into account Hope’s wants and needs.
Hope is trying to find her friends that are missing from the homeless shelter. Logan makes a deal with her. He will help her find them if she agrees to testing and meeting potential mates. While Logan pushes Hope towards accepting his offer, Hope pushes back, letting Logan know that manipulation and coercion isn’t appreciated.
“Is that how you live your life? Counting the cost of your service to others so the debt can be repaid? “ “It only seems fair that if I help you, you would offer me something in return.” “Fair. I see. Thanks for your offer but no thanks…I’m not the kind of person who is willing to strike a deal with an asshole.”
As Hope and Logan spend more time together, Hope does everything she can to understand his life and the war he is involved in. She also makes it perfectly clear that while she can not be his peoples’ savior, she can be his.
This story is rich in action and suspense. The romance blends with well with the main conflict. Sensual emotional love scenes are more plentiful-which I greatly appreciated. We see more realism in Hope and Logan’s relationship. The Sanguiner seem more modern and less ‘desperate’ acting than the Sentinels. While it is in the Sanguiner’s best interest to find compatible mates, they use more Machiavellian methods in obtaining what they want. They don’t employ the same hunter/prey tactics as the Sentinels and the Slayers do. I enjoyed the easy going and humorous banter between Logan and Hope. He doesn’t scare or intimidate her.
“Are you saying he was trying to fix me up with another guy? After that chauvinistic asshole…I’m never trusting a Sanguiner’s opinion of men again.”
Ms Butcher continues to change up and expand on the arc to ensure no repetition or boredom. What I truly love about Ms. Butcher’s books, and hopes she never changes, is her concept of good and evil. She blurs the lines. The Sentinels and the Sanguiner use nefarious means to achieve their goals as much as the Synestryns. We see lines being crossed, misconceptions capitalized on, and actions being questioned. You never know till the end how it will all play out.
Her characters are rich in depth, development, and personality. Ms. Butcher imparts diversity and individualism into her character dialogue. You are able to connect to them rather them just reading about them. Each one is viable enough for their own book. Ms. Butcher’s style of writing intertwines new and old story lines in a way that doesn’t leave you over whelmed by the sheer amount of knowledge she imparts.
The ending is a mixture of explosive action, finger clenching tension, and a mind blowing conclusion. I honestly couldn’t see how it would end in the way I wanted but Ms. Butcher once again manages to achieve the impossible. The Sentinel Wars continues to be one of my favorite series and I look forward to the next, title and release date to be announced.
Favorite Quote: “I’m not going to apologize for actually thinking about what’s happening here, instead of just accepting what you and Daniel say. “
LilFavorite Quote: “I’m not going to apologize for actually thinking about what’s happening here, instead of just accepting what you and Daniel say. “
Lily Parker has learned to adapt well to being in a new school and learning about the strange and wonderful new world she has become part of since receiving her gift of Firespell. After completing a daring and dangerous mission to rescue her kidnapped BFF, Scout, Lily decides some down time is needed and volunteers to help work on the school’s annual dance, The Sneak. When she encounters a reaper siphoning a fellow student on school grounds, Lily knows that something is wrong . The reaper is too young and they aren’t usually this obvious about it. When Lily attempts to save the student, her powers are suddenly gone. She and Scout contact the other adepts and learn that everyone’s magic is gone. No one knows who or what is responsible, but Lily wants her magic back now. Even if it means consorting with the enemy.
Charmfall is the third installment in Chloe Neill’s teenage urban fantasy series-The Dark Elite. A character driven novel that follows Lily Parker and her best friend Scout around as they try to balance school work and boyfriends with fighting the darkness that threatens Chicago at night. Just as with her adult series, Chicagoland Vampires, this series is set up around close knit friends with plenty of snarky humor and sweet romantic interludes. Action, suspense, and personable characters makes this for an enjoyable comfortable read. The teen angst level is low and regulated to a minor status in here.
Being new to this sub world, Lily reveals a rather adult outlook towards the reapers and magic in general. She isn’t automatically prejudiced towards the reapers as the other adepts are; especially in light of what happened in Hexbound. Lily acknowledges the gray area in this war and handles a multitude of problems and prejudices with aplomb. Her independence, loyalty, and ability to think for herself are wonderful qualities and I look forward to watching her continue to grow. I admit to not liking how she and Jason ended things. She make a valid point to him and his answer was unsatisfactory considering his own issues. Her relationship with Scout is fab and I enjoy their snarky commentary though at times the teenage slang became tiresome.
The world building continues as Neill layers fantasy over reality in Lily’s Chicago home away from home. The story picks up almost right where the last book leaves off. Light and low key, there aren’t many edge of your seat moments but some mystery, action and mild arc advancement keeps your attention. I did feel that this installment didn’t have the same tension or suspense that was present in Hexbound and Firespell. It’s rather matter of fact in its telling.
The romance(s) are sweet though and some developments arise that promises Lily and her friends are in for some interesting times.
The Rift Walker (Vampire Empire #2) by Clay Griffith & Susan Griffith Urban Fantasy Paperback September 6, 2011 Prometheus BoOriginally posted at
The Rift Walker (Vampire Empire #2) by Clay Griffith & Susan Griffith Urban Fantasy Paperback September 6, 2011 Prometheus Books
Favorite Quote: “Fine, I was brooding. It’s not like you don’t.”
“Mine’s inherent in my romantic nature. Cloaks and castles.”
“That’s it. You are forbidden to look at anymore cheap books about yourself.”
Note:There are some mild spoilers from book one in here.
At the end of book one, The Greyfriar, Adele is back with her family in Equatoria, recovering from her experiences with Prince Cesare and being held captive at his vampire holding in London. Adele also learned the identity of the elusive Greyfriar and found herself rethinking many of her own personal prejudices. The Greyfriar has retreated to his own estate and they both are doing their best to forget each other. With an unavoidable war brewing between the vampires and the humans; they know there can never be anything between them.
At the beginning of The Rift Walker, Adele is trying her best to delay her wedding to the obnoxious American, Senator Miles Clark, who wants her crown and her country for himself. She has fallen for the mysterious Greyfriar despite learning who he really is and finds herself unable to forget about him. When Adele learns of a plan by her father and the Senator to use humans as fodder in their war against the vampires, Adele attempts to call off the wedding only to learn it is being held in two weeks regardless of her feelings. While Adele is trying to come to terms with her upcoming nuptials, Greyfriar learns her life is in danger and races to her rescue, effectively spiriting her away from her own wedding. As these two avoid her army and her “husband” they set in motion a chain of events that are staggering in the chaos they release.
The Rift Walker is an splendid continuation to the spellbinding magic of The Greyfriar. Filled with mind boggling political intrigue, betrayal, deception, magic and a healthy dose of romance-you will be once again swept away by this burgeoning epic saga. While The Greyfrair was a brilliant set up for this gothic, horrific, end of the world adventure in which vampires and humans work their way towards a war to end all wars; The Rift Walker expands this world while focusing on deeper development and commitment of the characters; especially our heroine Adele. Adele is a young woman who has matured in the past 3 months. Set to become the next Empress of Equatoia, she has grown into her expected role while settling comfortably into her own skin of expectations and values. If we we not sure before, we are sure now that Adele will be no one’s pawn again. Greyfriar is a solid commanding presence in the book though he takes a backseat to Adele in here. This is Adele’s story 100 percent. I love that while everyone in Adele’s life only sees parts of her (in relation to how they can benefit from her) Greyfriar sees the whole her; good and bad, and loves her regardless . Even knowing that there cannot be a happy ending for them. While the romance plays a heavier role in here then in book one, it continues to co exists comfortably with the main storyline rather then attempting to overshadow it.
The secondary characters are just as important and strongly defined as our protagonists. Rather then simply extending the storyline, they expand and lift it. Senator Clark, along with Flay, General Anhalt, and Mamoru all excel in their scenes and gift us with additional explanations and clues to the roles they are playing and will play in the third and final installment of this series. Additional characters are introduced that leave you shuddering at some introductions and laughing at others. Adele uses her intelligence and political savvy to garner herself additional allies to help her in her quest for her throne and to use as a shield against her husband’s and father’s political agendas.
“Let the senator come to me when we reach Bunia.”
Greyfriar started. “Are you sure?”
“I’m not afraid of him.”
“No, I shouldn’t think you would be,” Msiri laughed in complicity and clapped his hands together. He murmured to himself, “This will be an auspicious reunion. There may have to be cake.”
Multiple storylines and subplots run parallel and intertwine with some staggering revelations. Greyfriar is finding it harder and harder to maintain his anonymity while his brother Cesare has found humans who support his vampire agenda. Adele is learning who can and who can not be trusted as the net surrounding them all tightens. Everyone has their own agenda and I look forward to seeing how it all plays out in the end. Not that it is all doom and gloom though. There are quite a few humorous scenes and dialogue in here that engages the reader.
“You ate my food!” Jaga glared at Gareth. “And you try to kill me in front of my son! What sort of monster are you?”
Mr and Ms. Griffith have achieved a perfect balance of dark and light in this series. Enough angst and suspense to keep you glued to the pages while cleverly interjected humorous scenes keeps you from despairing that the outcomes will be anything but wanted.
As we race towards the end, we are once again given a clean viable ending to the main conflict with just enough left to chance to transition us seamlessly into the next book; title to be announced. Once again, Clay and Susan Griffith has managed to astound and captivate me with this series and I am both elated and saddened for the third and last book. The Vampire Empire series remains at the top of my must read list in Urban Fantasy.
Favorite Quote: “ You destroyed the cake? I loved that cake.”
After 11,000 years of living, Vampire and Nightwalker Guild mage Daniel is tired. He only wishes to leave this world and join his true love in the afterlife. He quits as Vampire Primator of North America and decides to end his life by watching the sun rise. As he watches the sun crest the earth and begin it’s ascent, he finds himself suddenly transported to Atlantis and sees the only woman he has ever loved-Serai.
Serai is an Atlantean princess who, with other maidens, was volunteered into statis when Atlantis was at war and vanished under the sea. She was promised she would only be confined until the danger had passed and when she awoke she would become His Highness Prince Conlan’s wife. 11,000 years later, the lost Emperor jewel (from Poseidon’s trident) is found by unscrupulous persons. Attempts to use it allows Serai to awaken and escape her ‘prison’.
Serai uses her magic to open a portal, which transports Daniel to Atlantis and to Serai. Daniel thinks he has gone to Heaven only to realize that Serai is alive and that he and she were lied to all those years ago. Daniel and Serai flee before the Atlantean’s can find and stop them. Now Daniel and Serai must find whoever is attempting to use the Emperor jewel and recover it before it kills her and her sisters.
Vampire In Atlantis gives us Daniel’s story. A story that I have waited a long time for. While I find all of Ms. Day’s books to be must reads, this one goes a step above. Love, redemption, betrayal, and plenty of suspense and action makes Vampires In Atlantis the best one to date.
Serai is my new heroine. While she is not your usual buff kick arse heroine, she has no qualms about using everything she can to fight for what she wants and lets no one stand in her way. A true princess in every way. The Emperor jewel managed to keep her abreast of world changes so she is quite modern in some areas yet delightful naive in others. Intelligent, courageous, and full of spirit- I found myself laughing and cheering her on as she lets everyone know what she thought about being kept in stasis and how she’s doing things her way now. She’s extremely angry over being kept ‘asleep’ for 11,000 years and what she feels is Prince Conlan’s and Atlantis’s betrayal. The best scene is when Prince Conlan meets and attempts to coerce her into returning to Atlantis and she lays into him.
“Lady Serai, I wish to formally welcome you to Atlantis and bid you to return.”
Ah. bad beginning. Bad, bad beginning.
“I have no need of your welcome to my home youngling.
I walked the fields of our lands when you were not in a wish in your great-great-grandmother’s heart, or a drop of seed in your great-great grandfather’s sac.”
“Lost? Lost? In an underwater city trapped under it’s own prison-an all encompassing dome? Where, pray tell me, O High Prince Conlan, where those scrolls have gone to? Did giant fish swim by and steal them? Did the people get tired of ordinary food and eat them? Did the children of Atlantis decide to use them to wipe their bottoms? Please, oh Conlan, O future king, tell me how your linage managed to lose the only means to release us?
What I really enjoyed is the fact that yes, she is angry but she isn’t bent on revenge. She knows what needs to be done but it will be done on her terms. Being Atlantean herself with some incredibly powerful magic-the alpha warrior men in here do not dictate to her more then once-and they learn to regret that.
“You don’t understand, the Emperor is operating incorrectly. You may be in danger.”
“Really? I might be in danger? You mean, apart from the bit where the fluctuation in the Emperor’s power nearly killed me in the statis pod so I had to escape? Or the part where someone is trying to weld the gem’s magic and sent me into seizures as I came through the portal? No wait-maybe the fact f I can’t find the Emperor and retrieve it before whoever tries it again, the power fluctuations that already almost killed me could kill us all?”
Plus, being in statis has not curbed her snarkiness. She has it in spades.
Daniel is so different here than the previous books. We have watched and wondered as he went from enemy to frenemy of the Atlanteans. He has sacrificed much in trying to stop the goddess of chaos. Hard decisions made towards those he had come to care about has left him cold and empty. In here, we learn his back story and see a different side to him. Playful, funny, and happy. Finding Serai alive has renewed his will to live.
“Look. It’s Draco, curled around the little dipper. Was that one of your names?”
“Honey, there is nothing little about my dipper.”
Watching Daniel and Serai rediscover themselves and their love is beautiful and romantic. What I loved is the misunderstandings are clarified quickly so we are able to spend the majority of the book watching their love rekindle and burn brightly. Separated for over 11,000 years, once they see each other again, it’s like they were never apart. While the love scenes aren’t explicit-the implications lead to playful and naughty thoughts. Daniel’s love helps Serai stand firm while Serai’s love for Daniel shows him and us there is more to him then what meets the eye.
An all star cast of characters shine in here as each plays an important part in the story. Old and new characters blend together as they race towards the Emperor jewel. We see more of Alaric and Quinn and get some advancement in their relationship. We meet some new characters who’s loyalties straddle the line but advance the arc in some interesting ways. I do hope to see them again in the future. The portal (or glorified elevator) comes out swinging in here and adds even more clues to the over all conclusion of the arc.
Fast pacing and an engaging storyline keeps the storyline flowing smoothly. Multiple story lines blend and enhance the main arc. The ending is an action filled race fraught with tension and suspense. I was sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for the final blow to fall.
Ms. Day proves once again that her Warriors of Poseidon is the ideal series for all paranormal romance fans looking for adventure, romance, and suspense. Atlantis is rising and I plan on being there every step of the way.
I found The Twisted Tale of Stormy Gale to be a delightful time travel story. Small in size, only about 25,000 words, Ms. Bell manages to produce a robust story filled with intrigue, suspense, humor, and romance. Ms. Bell writing is almost lyrical in it’s rhythmic ebb and flow. Fast paced with some truly laugh out loud scenes, I found myself unable to set it down.
“Dammit. I wasn’t even allowed to throw a decent hissy fit. With a sigh, I holstered my work pistols, packed away my puppy-kicking boots and pasted on a reassuring smile.”
Stormy Gale has to travel back to the 1800’s to steal back her brother Bacon’s TTM from an amateur scientist named The Loony Duke of Leister. She decides that disguising herself as a Romanian gypsy fortune teller and conning the Duke out of the TTM is the best plan of action. Unfortunately, the Duke speaks Romanian and she does not. After a humorous comedy of errors plays out, Stormy finds herself on the receiving end of her con game and chained to the Duke’s bed.
As Stormy and the Duke match wits we find out that his conning Bacon out of his TTM was not a trick of fate. The Duke knew who Bacon was and planned it all out. A curiously heart wrenching scene follows and we are torn, with Stormy, on which way to proceed.
The ending is sigh worthy and we are even granted a small epilogue so that we may see how our protagonists fared in the end.
My only fault with this book? I wished it had been longer so that we could have enjoyed the development of the secondary characters a bit more. Stormy, as the POV, fleshes out wonderfully but the Duke and Bacon seem a little “cardboard-ish” because the length just doesn’t allow for more in depth connection with them.
All in all a fun, fast read that delivers what it promises. I look forward to reading more from Ms. Bell and hope she decides to visit this topic again in future books.
Favorite Quote: “Do I look like a freaking fairy-tale princess to you?”
Reviewed by Tori
Sixteen year old Emma Conner hasn’t had an easy life. Her mother and twin brother dies, leaving her alone with her abusive stepfather. When he almost kills her in a car accident, Emma goes to stay with her aunt in New York. Soon Emma is enrolled in a prestigious private school and the center of unwanted attention. Pursued by an unstable boy and the object of a jealous girl’s anger; Emma soon wishes she was back at her old school. When she catches the attention of the school’s hottest boy, Brendon Salinger, Emma’s life changes drastically as an old curse comes back to life with a vengeance with promises of a centuries old love and horrible death.
Spellbound is a paranormal romance YA that is short on the paranormal but high on the romance. A light hearted, fast paced story that flirts with a Romeo and Juliet reincarnation theme in a modern day world. I liked the casual realism that Ms. Schultz injects into her characters emotions and relationships. These are high school students; resplendent in their bitchy, cliquey, instant gratification ways.
Emma is a comfortable heroine with her sarcasm and normality. I found myself laughing as we get her insights on the students of the school and her home life. She’s smart enough to know when things are not right and seeks answers instead of just accepting. She also has a strong loyal streak which becomes evident when defending her cousin’s virtue against a nasty boy’s lies.
Brendon is every high school girls fantasy. Handsome, rich, sexy, mysterious, and plays up the bad boy persona. He comes to Emma’s defense the first day and seems to pursue her but then blows her off to her dismay and confusion. As these two maneuver themselves around an obvious attraction, Emma comes into some knowledge that lets her know that she and Brendon have past history and that will keep repeating itself unless they can break the curse.
Ms. Schultz does a nice job of letting their romance develop slowly. Your really not sure until the paranormal aspects come into play if these two will actually become a couple or not. I found that once the romance becomes official that the emotional factor increases but not in an overblown offensive manner. I hesitate to say this, but they are cute together. They have a wonderful chemistry and a delightful banter between them that is appealing.
The secondary characters blend in to the story and our protagonists lives with no awkwardness. They add humor and continuity as they help keep the story’s main plotline fresh and flowing smoothly. We see a lot of them in the beginning but they fade away once the main conflict is introduced and the romance is solidified. I would have liked to see them more involved in the main conflict. Kristian is the perfect uber popular girl. Rich, gorgeous and nasty. I really wish we would have seen more of her POV at the end of the story. Emma’s outgoing cousin plays the perfect foil for Emma’s innate shyness and Emma’s Aunt Catherine is spot on as a ‘first time mother’ trying to raise a teenager. I love the fact she is addicted to COPS and every Saturday night makes a martini for her and her dead husband.
The main conflict is presented in an interesting, matter of fact manner and wraps up fairly quickly with plenty of action but thankfully no cliffhangers. I did feel it ended abruptly though. I would have liked an epilogue of sorts to answer a few lingering questions. I was also little disappointed with Emma towards the end. She really should have known better and though it advances us towards the ending, it felt contrived. I do hope this isn’t the end of the legend stories. I would like to see more brought forward and dealt with in the modern world.
Favorite Quote: “I’ve done everything I can possibly think of to help you in the last 3 years, so the least you can do is give me the god-damned time of day before you let them kill you.”
Beg For Mercy revolves around three people bound together by fate-Megan Flynn, Cole Williams and Sean Flynn. Social worker Megan Flynn thought she had met the man of her dreams-Detective Cole Williams. Handsome, sexy, and passionate about life, Cole was everything she wanted for the rest of her life until the night he arrested her brother for a brutal murder. Megan knows her brother Sean could never have done something so horrendous but when Megan’s pleas to Cole for help fall on deaf ears, she vows to prove her brother’s innocence without Cole’s help and walks away without a second glance.
Three years later, Sean is on death row and his appeals are done. He is going to die in five days unless Megan finds something, anything, to prove he did not commit the crime he is accused of. When a client of Megan’s walks in on a crime scene similar to what her brother was accused of, Megan is convinced that this may be the break she needs to prove Sean’s innocence. But when the lead detective arrives, Megan can’t believe her luck; or lack of it.
When Cole sees Megan again, it’s as if the last 3 years never happened. She is as beautiful as he remembers and all the feelings he thought he had buried rear to the surface. Cole walked away from Megan after that awful day because he thought it was for the best. Better she hate him now then later. But Cole didn’t take into consideration Megan’s tenacity or her conviction of her brother’s innocence. Megan believes that someone else is committing the murders and she’ll risk everything to free her brother; even her life.
Beg For Mercy is a shockingly seductive romantic thriller that hooked me from page one. Jami Alden has a wonderful writing style that draws you in to her character’s emotional pathways and lets you feel with them what they are experiencing. Romance and taut suspense go hand in hand as we follow a gritty and dark well plotted storyline down a twisting path of deception and betrayal.
If I were ever to get in trouble, I’d want a friend or sibling like Megan Flynn. Faced with insurmountable evidence pointing to her brother’s guilt, she never gives up. Intelligent and courageous, her vibrant personality shines as we watch her fight, bully, and coerce her way through extreme obstacles to get to the truth. Megan isn’t perfect and she doesn’t always make the best decisions but her heart is in the right place and her determination is commendable.
Cole Williams is a fantastic hero with his brooding good looks and cynical nature. Loyal, brave, and determination lead him as he follows this case. Though he didn’t want to hurt Megan, he had no choice. He had to follow the evidence and it pointed to her brother Sean. He doesn’t come out of it unscathed though. You feel the heavy pain and sadness in him as he remembers how he lost Megan and when he sees her again the joy he feels leaps off the pages. He knows he made a mistake by pushing Megan away before and vows that this time he will help her anyway he can.
The romance between Megan and Cole is unbelievably hot. The chemistry between them burns white hot as they struggle to get past the hurt and pain they left each other with. It’s a major part of the storyline and complements the main arc beautifully. Their physical scenes leave nothing to the imagination yet never cross the line of reality. It was very easy to get caught up in the emotional currents of these two star crossed lovers as try to reconnect for a second chance.
Our secondary characters are all bold, personable additions to the story as they add layers to the suspense and mystery. Each one is a piece in the puzzle; they make up a solid foundation for our storyline to build upon. Ms. Alden does a wonderful job of slowly drawing the answers out of them, giving us tantalizing clues to try and guess the ending. Though Megan’s brother Sean doesn’t receive a lot of face time in here, the entire story centers around him and the reasons for his incarceration. He hates Megan seeing him in prison and watching her waste her life (his words) to free him tears him part. He tries to do the right thing and push Megan away but she will not let it go. I look forward to seeing more of him.
As with any good thriller, there are multi sub plots running through the main storyline and each one is a key to the final outcome. Ms. Alden does a fabulous job of maintaining these separate entities without overburdening us with unnecessary information or complicated scenarios. When it all comes together in the end, we are treated to a astounding finale that ties it all together solid and tight with no questions left answered. Though I figured out rather early who the villain was, the journey into his mind was exciting as we are given an exclusive tour of a sociopath with a sadistic streak. Be forewarned, there are some graphic scenes in here that leave you feeling a little raw.
Beg For Mercy is a fantastic dark suspense thriller that will appeal to all lovers of this genre. I am looking forward to the second in the trilogy, Hide from Evil, which releases November 2011.
Favorite Quote: “He was the perfect companion. Noble, loyal, and I didn’t have to hide my secret from him. He already knew about the ghosts.”
My name is Amelia Gray. Often referred to as the Graveyard Queen, I restore old historical cemeteries. I also see ghosts. In order to protect myself from my “gift”, I’ve always held fast to the rules passed down from my father.
1. Never acknowledge the dead. 2. Never stray to far from hallowed ground. 3. Keep your distance from those that are haunted. 4. Never, ever tempt fate.
I broke every one of those rules when I met Detective John Devlin. A desperate man who’s deceased wife and child cling to him, slowly weakening his hold on this world. I knew I should have pushed him away but his allure outweighed my objections. I now know that our attraction has led to dire consequences; opening a door that puts us both in danger. When I was approached to restore an old cemetery out of town, I accepted, hoping to put some distance between me and John.
Asher Hills is a living ghost town, sentenced to a slow death by the greed of it’s founding family. My arrival here was no coincidence. I was brought to Asher Hills for a reason. A reason that will tear my world apart as I uncover the secrets this dying kingdom holds.
The isolated kingdom surrounded by water- looms heavy over the town that once blossom, now cloaked by darkness and evil. And there underneath the water lays stone angels and the graves of those of the unrest as they walk among the living looking for peace and justice.
Amanda Stevens’s The Kingdom is the second in her bone chilling Graveyard Queen series. Picking up a few months after The Restorer, Ms. Stevens’s once again submerges us into her world of gothic horror, infused with the slick heat and superstitions of the South. Dark poetic descriptions hold you hostage in it’s insidious embrace as we are gently guided through the story. Ms. Stevens strong voice wraps around you in each chilling scene. Amelia’s world is a frightening one and it translates well across paper. Blessed or cursed, depending on how you look at it, Amelia has the ability to see the dead. An ability that puts her in danger because the dead in here aren’t benevolent specters but vengeful parasites that absorb the energy of the living until they are nothing more then a walking shell.
When Amelia accepts a restoration job in Asher Falls, SC, the devastation of the town calls to her, as does the town’s two cemeteries. One of which was buried under water. Enclosed by mountains and lakes, the town has a presence of evil that seems to be waiting for something. An evil that calls to Amelia while repulsing her at the same time. She feels like she’s come home even though she has never been here before. As Amelia begins her restoration, she finds herself at the center of a mystery. A mystery that that addresses her past and leaves us and Amelia reeling as questions are answered.
Amelia continues to be an addicting protagonist as her fear of the dead is challenged by the need to solve the mysteries of Asher Falls. A naturally reserved young woman, her aloof attitude is beginning to fray, allowing in more then human contact. Intelligent, loyal, and tenacious; Amelia continues to push where she is not wanted even as she feels her life is slowly slipping out of control as outside factors batter at her self imposed isolation. Even though weakening can only hurt Amelia, I like seeing her walls starting to crumble, and finally giving her a chance at something close to a normal life. I did get somewhat annoyed by her inability to ask for help though I understood her reasons. Amelia’s curiosity places her in some truly dangerous situations but her natural reluctance to bring someone into her world left her unable to ask for the help she desperately needed.
We don’t see much of Devlin in here though he remains a strong presence through Amelia’s thoughts. A new love interest in revealed, Thane Asher. Thane Asher, the scion of the Asher family, is an enigma. Portrayed as a lazy, carefree young man, we soon learn that Thane has deeper connections to the land and his family then originally revealed. He pursues Amelia, finding a common thread between them that intrigues him. He knows there is another who occupies her heart, but takes a chance that he can be the one to capture and keep it.
“Life is to short to live in the past, Amelia. Let him have his ghosts.”
The romance between Thane and Amelia is more of an undercurrent through the main storyline rather then a dominant aspect. Yet it holds important clues to the overall main conflict. The delicious sexual tension between them serves a different purpose as these two strangers find themselves on the edge of a dark precipice. I admit to not being as vested in this one. My love for Devlin is great.
The secondary characters in here are a dynamic part of the story as each one has a secret waiting to be revealed, adding suspense and tension to the story. Deeply characterized, no one is as they seem and we find ourselves both clinging to and edging away from each of them. A complex plot line and multiple sub plots feed upon one another as each revelation brings us closer to the answers Amelia seeks. Deception and betrayal are the foundation that the town residents have built their life upon. A foundation that is rotten at it’s core.
The Kingdom is a fantastic follow up to The Restorer and a welcome addition to any paranormal horror lovers bookshelf. I look forward to The Prophet which releases 5/12/2012. Beware though. This series seems to being out the primordial fears that most of us don’t acknowledge and will have you checking over your shoulder frequently, fearful of what may be watching you.
Favorite Quote: “I closed my eyes….and imagined she was you.”
In Illusions, Laurel is back in high school, being a normal teen, with her human boyfriend David. She made a choice between David and Tamani and has every intention of sticking to it. That is until Tamani shows up at her school as a foreign exchange student. He is a sentry and he has sworn to protect Laurel for all time. The only way he can do that is to be with her. This causes confusion in Laurel as she is not as indifferent to Tamani as she’d like to think.
With Tamani comes another exchange student-Yuki. Yuki is an unknown player who has ties to Klea. No one is sure if she is friend or foe. When Tamani decides the best way to figure out Yuki’s intentions is by getting close to her, Laurel experiences extreme jealousy and once again questions who she should be with.
This is my first time reading Aprilynne Pike. Unfortunately I started reading Illusions not knowing it was the third book in an established series. My fault and I own up to that. Wings (the series name) is a YA that tells the story of Laurel, a teenager who discovers she is a fairy. The series follows her life as she discovers and deals with her fae heritage. Ms. Pike steps away from the usual Fae legends in here, creating subtle differences that make it all her own.
While Illusions is touted to be an enjoyable YA, suitable for the 12-15 year old crowd, I found the storyline to be lacking. Arc advancement is at a minimal as the majority of the story is centered around Laurel’s indecisiveness between her love interests -David and Tamani. The constant tug of war Laurel plays between David and Tamani annoys quickly. Personally, if I were David or Tamani I would have dumped Laurel and found someone less fickle. She is quick to accuse and judge-I found myself hard pressed to believe Laurel is seventeen years old. Her attitude and dialogue (in matters of the heart) is that of a younger person.
Tamani is an interesting personable character. His love for Laurel is a tangible presence in the book yet he also understands that as a sentry her protection is what comes first. He isn’t shy about his feelings and despite risking Laurel’s anger, he lets her know he will what he needs to do to be with her. I enjoyed reading from his POV. David, Laurel’s boyfriend, comes off a bit two dimensional. The chemistry and dialogue between he and Laurel shows clearly that he is merely the antagonist to build up the tension between Tamani and Laurel. Other characters round out the story and add a sense of realism.
Slow pacing, uninspiring dialogue, and multiple fillers leaves you feeling unsatisfied by the time you reach the last page. While there was some intriguing action scenes, they were too few and far in between. I would have loved to have spent more time in Avalon and the academy as that seems to be where the story was alive. The action leading up to the ending promises some redemption yet it stops abruptly, leaving you wondering what just happened. The cliffhanger ending left a lot to be desired and it felt like a cheap editing ploy. All in all, I found this to be a great disappointment.
Favorite Quote: “Girls who think boobs are their most distracting assets haven’t been watched by a vampire.”
Secret’s best friend, Mercedes, has the perfect man for her. Secret’s life doesn’t lend itself to many possible romantic interests so she decides to accept the latest blind date offering. When Secret meets her blind date, the luscious Detective Tyler Nowakowski, she decides that perhaps the Gods are finally smiling down on her. But Secret should know by now that her life is far from easy so when her handler, Holden, shows up with a job from the Tribunial, Secret does her best to keep her date and her life.
The Secret Guide To Dating Monsters is the prequel to Ms. Dean’s wonderful and already released novel-Something Secret This Way Comes. Set approximately 1 year prior, we get a taste of what life is like for Secret McQueen from a relationship stand point. We are shown what happens when you date monsters-from a ‘monster’s’ point of view. Humor and caricature blends perfectly with heavy action and some intriguing romantic interludes. A fast paced storyline engages you quickly as you watch Secret go into action securing her target and her date.
I found Secret to be as energetic and engaging in this novella as I did in Something Secret This Way Comes. She comes across as more mature and decisive here, which I enjoyed. She handles Holden and her date with plenty of snark and humor which leads to some pretty humorous scenes in the story. I look forward to seeing more of Holden and her date in the future.
The ending is right on target and I cannot wait to see what Ms. Dean has in store for us and Secret in her next book, A Bloody Good Secret, set to release September 2011.
DNF. Even though this is an adult paranormal, I found it read much more like a YA. What works well for a teenage character doesn't translate well forDNF. Even though this is an adult paranormal, I found it read much more like a YA. What works well for a teenage character doesn't translate well for an adult character. Though the storyline and situations are constructed for adults, I found the characters actions and dialogue to be juvenile at times. I just wasn't able to connect with the book. ...more
Favorite Quote: “Don’t let those wolves bowl you over, Secret. You’re the prize, not the property.”
A Bloody Good Secret picks up about 3 months after Something Secret This Way Comes. When Secret was given the name of her next “assignment” at the end of Something Secret This Way Comes, she decided the best way to handle it was not to and ran to her grandmother’s house. But Secret should have realized that she would not be able to hide for long so when she is kidnapped and forcibly returned she isn’t so much surprised by the act as she is by the participants. Lucas Rain, King of the Werewolves, and her vampire tribunal boss, Sig, apparently decided that it was time for her to come home and acted together. Secret is both fascinated and insulted by this.
“I’d like to go home. Your driver left and I’d like to go home.” “Secret…” “I did miss you. I really did. And I wanted to come home. But you should have let me do it my way. I needed time.” “I know. But Secret, we needed you here. We’re your friends.” “Yeah. With friends like you, who the hell needs enemies.”
As Secret investigates to try to clear Holden’s name, it becomes apparent, with the help from some unlikely allies, that Holden is bring framed and unless Secret finds the true traitor, she and Holden will both suffer the consequences.
I really enjoy the world that Ms. Dean has created in her Secret McQueen series. From the name, Secret McQueen, to Secret’s job and her intricate relationships we are given an energetic and feisty urban fantasy that engages and holds your attention to the end. A wonderful balance of humor and suspense; it’s the characters in here that make this story so superb.
Secret is a bounty hunter who is just trying to survive a dual nature. Half vampire and half werewolf; she feels like she truly doesn’t belong anywhere. Add in a love triangle that is slowly becoming a quad-angle and poor Secret has a lot on her plate. Armed with engaging snark, Secret charges head on into battle and woe to anyone who gets in her way. What really appeals to me about Secret is that she is not infallible. She isn’t a supernatural with unlimited powers. She makes some poor decisions and she gets her butt kicked occasionally. Yet there is no fatalism in her. No continuous emotional angst that has you wondering, “OMG… what now?”. Ms. Dean has created a character infused with enough realism and humanistic qualities that you can’t help but bond with her.
I love that Secret seems to have a better handle on those surrounding her. Especially her love interests-Lucas and Desmond. In the first book, Something Secret This Way Comes, the soul bond between them overwhelmed her and she seemed to be led by the hand, or by the lust, when it came to them. In here she is much more in charge of her feelings around them and lets each of them know that she is not their property nor will she be dictated too. Lucas, as always, over steps boundaries, but Desmond acts from his heart and his heart is Secret. We are clued in to a possible third romantic interest-I mean, her vamp side needs some cold blooded loving too, right? I am very interested in seeing how Ms. Dean manages to blend everyone together.
The council, the pack, and the rest of the gang are in here and up to their fangs and claws in Secret’s business. We are slowing getting to know the background of all the characters, enabling us to see how they feature in Secret’s life and why. We are also introduced to some new characters that prove to be just as interesting and secretive as everyone else.
The action is non stop and as inviting as the first book. Plenty of twists, turns, and misdirection keeps us and Secret on our toes as she races to find the the true traitor in their midst. The ending is a mixture of shock and awe as everything is dramatically revealed. Secret gets quite a surprise at the very end and I look forward to seeing how she deals with it in book 3, title & date to be announced. Ms. Dean does a Christmas novella coming out November 2011, title to be announced, where Secret and her human friend, Detective Mercedes, set out to solve a string of murders.
Note: Ms. Dean tweeted in July that she has done something in book 3 that may cause me to hurt her. I am hoping she reconsiders this because I like her and would hate to have to drive to Canada and straighten her out. :)
Juliet Ashland was forced at a young age into marriage with a much older man who was unable to fulfill his marriage bed obligations or much else. WhenJuliet Ashland was forced at a young age into marriage with a much older man who was unable to fulfill his marriage bed obligations or much else. When he passes away she is left holding the bag so to speak on lands and a home that need serious repair. Her father threatens to marry her off again but Juliet has decided this time it will be her choice. So she devises a scandalcious plan. She will advertise and interview applicants for a position to be her husband. Quite boldly she lists all the qualifications this future groom must hold. The most important being rich, educated, and attractive to behold. Juliet’s maid hold the interviews while Juliet hides behind a screen to watch and listen. When interview number 24 arrives, Juliet sees the answer to her prayers. Beautifully built and obviously educated, Juliet wants number 24 to be the one. Now, all she has to do is convince him to convince her that he is the one for her.
Zeus J. Tanner is a self made man who’s only interest is reclaiming his birthright. When he sees the Lady Scandal’s advertisement, he sees a way to get back what was denied to him years ago. After being forced to wait quite awhile to gain an audience with Lady Scandal, he is angered to find himself being forced to answer what he deems are silly and inappropriate questions to a screen. When the lady tells Zeus he needs to ‘disrobe” so that she may see his chest and other ‘manly parts’ he has had quite enough and tells her so. Unless….the lady is willing to engage in a trade of sorts. One article of clothing of his for one of hers.
Lady Scandal starts out as a lighthearted historical that shows one young woman’s interesting solution to an age old problem. Juliet wants to remarry but only on her terms. No unattractive, lazy, poor, or uneducated men. So she advertises for one. I enjoyed watching Juliet think and speak of things that was not previously expected or allowed from her. She and Zeus have an instant chemistry between them which is reflected in their spirited and witty dialogue. Rather like a comedy of errors as Juliet and Zeus begin the courting in most unusual manner.
The mannerisms and speech reflects the time period and left me giggling at times. Especially when Zeus gets frustrated with her names for certain parts of his anatomy.
“Good god will you stop? My male part. My manly projection. My masculine protrusion? So you want to see my cock? If you want to see it, you damn well better be able to say …”
But Juliet doesn’t let Zeus bowl over her. She rise swiftly to the challenge.
“Aye. Your cock. Your pr-prick! Your phallus. Your sword, bayonet, yard, bodkin, dagger, dirk. Your penis. If you want me to say more then I’m afraid I shall disappoint…but I do so still desire to see it.”
Unfortunately, it never goes beyond that. The characters never flesh out beyond superficial and the seduction scene begins to lose it’s wit and air of innocence as the book morphs into a regency version of porn. Even when Juliet and Zeus each reveal important secrets about their true selves, its too little too late. There is one scene where Zeus ‘erupts’ onto a plate of food. I will leave it to your imagination what Juliet does with the food. Needless to say I was slightly nauseated by that. That pretty much killed it for me.
The ending is predictable as Zeus and Juliet find true love amongst their strip tease.
Favorite Quote: “Know that I hate you for what you have done. Almost as much as I hate him.”
When I first heard of this book I immediately placed it onFavorite Quote: “Know that I hate you for what you have done. Almost as much as I hate him.”
When I first heard of this book I immediately placed it on my to-be-read list. I found the premise of a serial killer and the partnership between a warrior angel and a tough cop just the sort of story I love. Our story starts out with intrigue when Detective Alexandra Jarvis is called to a homicide scene that is similar to what she has been investigating. She realizes with this last murder that she has a serial killer in her city. A serial killer that leaves no clues and no hints to who he is. When she is informed she will be paired with a new partner, she is optimistic until she meets him.
Aramael is a Power. He is the angelic version of a bounty hunter. He is who they send when an angel has fallen. His last capture was his brother Caim, which almost destroyed him. When he is informed that Caim has escaped and he will once again have to hunt him, he is furious but resigned. It’s when he is told he will be acting as a Guardian to a human that he goes ballistic. He has never guarded the humans and has never wanted to. But this human is special and certain precautions must be taken to make sure Caim never gets his hands on her.
The sparks fly when Aramael and Alex meet. She sees glimpses of what he really is and that tells Aramael she is something more then he has been told. Alex swears she saw and heard wings when she was introduced to Aramael. She feels she is going insane as her “angelic visions” bring back childhood memories she prefers to keep buried deep inside her. Aramael is like no detective Alex has ever met. His ignorance of basic investigative skills and overly aggressive behavior bothers her to the point of requesting reassignment. When Aramel reports to heaven, searching for answers, he finds out that Alex is Nephilim. A descendant of the Gregori, fallen angels who were tasked with overseeing humans and choose instead to interact with them against the One’s orders. These souls are not ones to be reabsorbed into the One’s life force but would be taken into heaven itself before being discarded. Alex cannot NOT be allowed to die or the pact between heaven and hell is broken and it’s the beginning of the end of days. As Aramael and Alex spend more time together, the attraction between them grows as Alex inspires Aramael to experience emotions he has never had before. When Alex is put into danger, Aramael realizes that he will do whatever it takes to save her-even challenge Heaven and Hell.
Sins Of The Angels is the first in The Grigori Legacy by debut author Linda Poitevin. A dark and somber urban fantasy that brings the war between Heaven and Hell to the human streets. Malevolence foreshadows our protagonists as they each search for a killer for different reasons. Aramael and Alex are both strong, rigid loners whose jobs are their lives; existing behind walls of their own making to ensure no one can breach their defenses or secrets. All sharp corners and angles; you have to be careful around these two. The tension they generate from first meeting is like an electric current that keeps humming through out the story. So much anger and despair; it’s a physical presence that stays with you till the end.
Solid characters and a strong foundation cradles a tense storyline where the suspense and mystery grips you tight as you follow the twisting and turning path that Ms. Poitevin has laid out for us. We flash back and forth between Earth and Heaven as the subplots slowly reveals themselves and the ties that bind this woman and angel together. The romance in here is low key yet feels like a major part of the storyline. It is a viable presence that simmers just below the surface. I found myself uneasy about that. The chemistry and timing felt wrong and it took away from the main conflict. Alex and Aramael spend so much time being angry and on the defensive that it was hard to reconcile any romantic feelings between them. I would have been more comfortable with this couple had our author spent a couple books building and solidifying the arc before investing this heavily into the romance angle.
Numerous villains and heroes dot the landscape and nobody is what they seem. There are many players in this elaborate and complicated game and the lines between good and evil are rapidly blurring. The end comes hard, fast, and ugly; effectively closing the main conflict but leaving us with a titanic proportioned cliffhanger that shocks you into silence. I look forward to seeing what Ms. Poitevin brings with her second book, Sins Of The Sons, set to release March 2012.
Favorite Quote: “Ugh. When had she become that woman?”
Taking A Shot is the third book in Jaci Burton’s hot and oh so steamy Play By Play series that revolves around the Riley family. Before I start this review, let’s take a minute to genuflect at the cover shall we? *happy sigh* Seriously, have you ever seen anything so beautifully lickable in your life? .
Jenna Riley has grown up in a family dominated by sports. She has lived, breathed, and now works in the field, since a child. Since her father’s heart attack, she has taken over the reins to the family sport’s bar, Riley’s, giving up on her own dreams and ambitions. This has resulted in her one and only non breakable rule. She doesn’t date sports figures. Ever. This attitude both intrigues and challenges Tyler (Ty) Anderson. A star pro-hockey player, he has been attracted to Jenna since the first time they met. Unsure as to why she dislikes him so much, Ty keeps coming to the bar and trying to temptJenna into taking a chance with him.
Taking A Shot has all the trademarks of being a Jaci Burton book. Hot male lead, sassy intelligent female, a plausible plot, and some heavy, heavy smexying everywhere in between. I enjoyed the way this story reveals itself to you. It starts out slow as Ty bids his time trying to find away to break through Jenna’s shell. Ty spends plenty of time on the seduction of Jenna. The sexual heat and playfulness in this book make it a fun read.. Ms. Burton has a way of writing intense scenes that are both sensual and raw.
I loved seeing the other Riley’s. Their gregarious nature is offset by the love they feel for one another. They have no boundaries and will be up in your business in a heartbeat, offering advice, encouragement, and the proverbial slap up side the head when needed. Ty fits in so well with the family which only serves to scare Jenna more. She feels pushed and that is a sticking point for Jenna.
As their relationship progresses, Jenna starts to see Ty is more than the stereotypical sports figure and finds herself at odds with the feelings he invokes in her. She tries hard to keep their relationship strictly sexual but Ty has a way of getting under her skin and soon she finds herself wanting more but unable to admit that to herself. We get to know more about Ty and Jenna and the reasons for their attitudes and actions.
Here is where I have problems. Jenna’s attitude bothered me throughout the entire book. She treats Ty like crap and plays games, though unwittingly, with him. When he’s around, she wants him to leave but then gets all sad when he’s not there. I found her reasons for not wanting to date with a sports figure weak and it didn’t reflect well on her. The same for her reasons for not having the courage to go after her dreams. She blames everyone else for her fear of success. Ty comes off more grounded and I enjoyed his easy laid back attitude. He’s a planner and it shows. At times he pushed when maybe he shouldn’t have but you learn quickly that Jenna needs the coercion in order to justify what she feels in giving in. I had to laugh at some of the things he did to make himself look better in her eyes.
Her and Ty’s relationship has its ups and downs and a tension heats up as the story’s main conflict comes into play. With any relationship, we all have the ability to hurt the ones we love the most and Ms. Burton doesn’t sugar coast or pull any punches in here. As we head towards the end, we wait on pins and needles with the rest of the Riley’s to see if the home team will win or lose this most important game. I liked that Jenna FINALLY shows some gumption and and realizes that she can achieve her dreams if she is willing to take the chance but it was too little to late for me.
Though I felt Taking A Shot was the weaker of the three plot and development wise, it is has plenty of romance, sexy men, hot steamy loving, and humor. Unfortunately, Jenna’s attitude brought this book down. I look forward to the fourth in the series, Playing To Win, which features the very sexy Cole Riley. Playing To Win is set to release September 4th, 2012.
Favorite Quote: “I hardly qualify as every man’s dream Gavin. You said it yourself. I’m a pain in the ass.”
First off, let me say that Ms. Burton has some of the most delicious and lickable covers I have EVER seen. Changing The Game is the second book in Jaci Burton’s very hot and very sexy Play by Play series. Gavin Riley knows Elizabeth Darnell is a hard arse agent who went above and beyond her normal duties when she tried to interfere with his brother Mick’s relationship with his now wife and step son (The Perfect Play). Elizabeth paid the price for that one though. Mick fired her and she has lost other clients due to her unethical antics. Gavin knows she has been avoiding him because she is afraid he is going to fire her too. But Gavin has no urge to fire her. Gavin wants a more hands on relationship with his agent and he’s wondering just how far she will go to keep him as her client.
Elizabeth (Liz) has beat herself up over and over for the stupid stunt she pulled with one of her best clients, Mick Riley. She has apologized profusely and accepts the fact she lost him and some of his friends as her clients. When Gavin tells her they need to talk, she expects him to fire her to. Gavin has other plans though and encourages Liz into accepting a sexual relationship with him.
I admit I read this without reading The Perfect Play first and I’m glad I did. I didn’t have the preconceived ideas concerning Liz that a lot of other readers have and it allowed me to see them all with fresh eyes. I really enjoyed the way this story reveals itself to you. It starts out hot and heavy as Gavin and Liz begin their admittedly sexual relationship-each of them experiencing much more then they intended. Then slowly morphs into something deeper as Liz and Gavin connect on many different levels. The sexual heat and playfulness in this book is well worth the read Ms. Burton has a way of writing intense scenes that are both sensual and raw.
Meeting Gavin’s family and friends is a treat. I love how they all offer advice, encouragement, and the proverbial slap up side the head when needed. Gavin and Mick maybe stars on the field but they are just Gavin and Mick to family and friends. Watching Mick attack Liz repeatedly is sad and you can only watch as she once again apologizes and begs forgiveness. You really want to smack him hard. Repeatedly and violently. I like that Tara and Nathan are able to forgive and be happy for Gavin and Liz.
As the story progresses we really get to know Liz and her background reveals a lot about her attitude and actions. She didn’t have it easy growing up and it has made an indelible mark on her. Her and Gavin’s relationship has it’s ups and downs and delicious tension heats up as the story’s main conflict comes into play. With any relationship, we all have the ability to hurt the ones we love the most and Ms. Burton doesn’t sugar coast or pull any punches in here. As we head towards the end, we wait on pins and needles with the rest of the Riley’s to see if the home team will win or lose this most important game. One particular scene had me in tears as someone talks out of turn and says the worst thing they can to someone they love. Yet sometimes you have to lose it all in order to see what you really want out of life.
All in all a fantastic story with plenty of romance, sexy men, hot steamy loving, and humor to keep you glued till the last page. I look forward to the third in the series, Taking A Shot, which revolves around Jenna Riley and very HAWT pro hockey player Ty Anderson. Taking A Shot is set to release in 2012.
The Ideal Man by Julie Garwood Romantic Suspense Hardcover August 9, 2011 Dutton Adult
Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “The women he had taken to bed usually wanted pillow talk and sometimes praise after sex, or at the very least be held. Ellie, on the other hand, wanted to sleep.” (a woman after my own heart)
Dr. Ellie Sullivan is getting ready to head back to Winston Falls, SC to attend her sister’s wedding after a particularly grueling residency when she is suddenly thrust into a murder investigation. When FBI agent Max Daniels realizes that Ellie is the only one who saw the shooter’s face, he accompanies her, intent on keeping her safe. But Ellie has bigger problems than the shooter. As a victim of a vicious stalker, she soon finds out that he has been released and is now hiding somewhere in her hometown.
The sparks fly between Ellie and Max as they navigate the tricky waters of a jealous bride to be, a cheap father, and two men who will do anything to guarantee Ellie Sullivan doesn’t leave Winston Falls alive.
I have been a fan of Julie Garwood’s historical romance and romantic suspense novels for years. The Ideal Man is a good book. Not quite on the same level as her earlier suspense works, Mercy and Killjoy, but I still enjoyed meeting Max and Ellie and watching their romance unfold. Ellie is a adorable heroine who is genuinely nice without coming across as self righteous or coy. A gifted surgeon; her commitment to her job and her family is commendable. I found her intelligent, courageous, and very down to earth. I wish I could say the same for her family-her sister Ava is a piece of work. Ellie has suffered quite a bit for bring so young. Stalked and almost killed by a young man obsessed by her, her parents sent her away for her protection at age 11. While she has visited her family from time to time, she essentially has been on her own since then.
Max is quite the alpha male FBI agent. Commanding, sexy, and I suspect quite the player…seeing Ellie knocked him for a loop. Not his usual one night stand, he knows instantly that getting to know her will change his life forever and in ways he’s not sure he’s ready for. But fate maligns the best intentions and soon Max finds himself volunteering to watch over Ellie when she goes home for her sister’s wedding. Introduced as her “friend” Max finds himself sinking further and further under Ellie’s spell.
I enjoyed the interaction between Ellie and Max. Their attraction to one another is intense but they take it slow and easy as the situation they are in is dangerous and they need their wits about them.The banter between them is infectious and lively especially when Max’s ego shows on many occasions that he considers himself quite the ladies man and he feels it’s his duty to control their “relationship”.
“Ellie, it would be so easy for me to get you into bed.” Easy? She felt her spine stiffen. How egotistical! Her lips brushed his jaw when she said, “And I’d end up getting hurt?” “Yes.” His voice shook. Ellie pulled away. “You’re right,” she signed. “You need a more experienced woman, someone who knows what they she’s doing.”
She opened the door. “Have a nice flight home.”
The suspense and mystery started out with a bang as Ellie is immediately sweep into a murder investigation as an eye witness but slowly fizzled out when it morphs into a romantic contemporary revolving around her family matters. The drama in Ellie’s family over shadows the suspense of Ellie being hunted by not one but twokillers. I was disappointed to see Ellie treated like an inconvenience by her family; especially her sister Ava who is a nasty, spoiled woman who deserved to be smacked repeatedly and often. Nobody seemed to really take Ellie’s situation seriously and during one point Ava accuses her of almost getting killed as a attention garnering ploy.
Neither the villains nor their plots flesh out well. It was though they were added for shock value then forgot about. I would have liked to have heard more from the stalker’s and the killer’s point of view. Or at least to have seen what they were doing in the story rather then just popping in and out. We only hear stories of what happened and suspicions of where he may be but it’s very low key for the consequences his actions produced. The murder investigation storyline follows the same lack luster promotion and it is completely buried by Ellie’s family dramatics.
I was also confused by a smaller storyline involving Ellie’s sister Anne. I got the impression from an intense build up that her story would continue on into another book. Imagine my surprise when it clears itself up in a few pages at the end.
All in all Julie Garwood writes a romantic storyline with two endearing and likable protagonists. Just be forewarned that if your looking for the suspense to equal the romance-you may be disappointed.
Favorite Quote: “Who’d have thought a broody, angry man, a death goddess descendant with a badly damaged soul, could kiss like an erotic dream come trFavorite Quote: “Who’d have thought a broody, angry man, a death goddess descendant with a badly damaged soul, could kiss like an erotic dream come true? “
Nikki Glass went from an average everyday private investigator to an immortal descendant of Artemis in a matter of minutes. Now a member of the Liberi, a group of immortal descendants, Nikki is struggling to find a way to fit into a life she never imagined or wanted for herself. When the Olympians come to them for help against a insane god who is using dogs to commit vicious murders throughout the city, Nikki’s gift is the only one who that can lead them to the murderer. As Nikki and her friends struggle for a way to bring this mad man and his dogs “to heel”, they learn that the Olympians indirectly started this war. Conspiracies, deception, and betrayal are combine together for a climatic finale that leaves you reeling.
Deadly Descendant, the second book in Jenna Black’s Nikki Glass series, is an action packed urban fantasy based upon Greek mythology. Fast pacing, well plotted story lines, and engaging characters will hook you into this entertaining world that Ms. Black has written. The supernatural world that Ms. Black has created is simplistic in its construction yet each layer we uncover reveals a twisting mass of lies and half truths that it rest upon. The result is a fascinating and addictive world you can’t wait to further explore.
Heavily character driven, what I really enjoy about this story is the Machiavellian and unapologetic makeup of the cast. There are no clear cut good or bad guys in here. There are just degrees of separation. These are demi gods. Powerful and deadly, each has a story begging to be told. They may not want to kill you, but to protect their secrets, they will. Nikki is having a hard time fitting in with them because of all this. New to her immortality, her tight hold on her humanity separates her from the fold. She lives, eats, and sleeps with them but only to protect her family. She still doesn’t feel any tangible connection with this new family and the events in this book only serves to further alienate her. She is also having to deal with Anderson’s insane wife, Emma. Tortured and held captive by the Olympians for ten years, Nikki was the only one who was able to find and rescue Emma. Now, Emma’s need for revenge and her jealousy towards Nikki has her raining hell on the Liberi household.
As this is an urban fantasy, any romance is lightly touched upon, though we are given some insight to some possible romantic entanglements for the future. Jamaal and Nikki spend quite a lot of time together in here and the tension is nerve racking. Going from enemies to frenemies is a common enough trope but Ms. Black handles it well in allowing the relationship to move at its own pace. We are gifted with a few scenes that show that his feelings for Nikki are evolving romantically, but he has some serious issues to work through first. There are also some clues that point to feelings on Anderson’s part towards Nikki. Though he has a funny way of showing it.
“You’re alive because I care about you,” he continued. “I’m taking this massive risk because I like you to much to hurt you.” The light in his eyes grew a little brighter. “But I need you highly motivated to keep my secret and so my threat will always be there, and I may at times feel it necessary to remind you.”
I have to admit, Anderson is my favorite character in here. Caring one minute and death in motion the next, you’re never sure what side he stands on. You’re only sure, as is Nikki, that you never want to stand against him. Is it bad to hope Nikki ends up with him? *hangs head in shame*
The main conflict keeps you on your toes as you learn the reasons behind the madman’s need for revenge. Nikki’s humanity plays a large part in the decisions she makes in here, which causes some very tense moments for her and the Liberi. The conclusion is a mash up of tense action and heart stopping suspense. The ending leaves us with a new development that has me ready for book three right now.
I know many will be surprised I opted to read Wolfsbane after have such a disagreeable reaction to Nightshade. I have found that while I may dislike the first in a series, I sometimes like the rest of the series. This was not true of Wolfsbane unfortunately. After the first 50 pages I set it aside knowing that this was not going to read any better then Nightshade did.
Calla wakes up in the home of her enemies. When she is assured she will not be killed and Shay is fine she changes from wolf to human and prepares to listen to what the Searchers have to say. I put this book down and walked away when Calla runs into two Searchers (who in Nightshade attacked and shot her) and one of them rides her like a horse while she is in werewolf form. The fact that everyone laughs about it and Calla does not rear up and disembowel him showed me right there she was STILL not a take charge girl and I really couldn’t stomach another 400 pages of her being indecisive and weak.
Then she sees Shay and the next 20 pages is all, “I want him…no, no, no I want Ren. How dare that girl touch Shay. I wonder what Ren is doing? Did Shay just touch that girl BACK? How come Shay isn’t tossing me to the floor riding me like a horse? God Shay, quit making cow eyes at me can’t you see I’m being an emotional wreck? Oh Ren, I miss you so much. If that girl touches Shay again I’m going to look very mean at her and think bad thoughts about her.”
So I walked away from Wolfsbane and feel it’s better that way for us all.
Favorite Quote: “Baby, I will always come for you.“
Seth is one of the most fierce Guardians to the evil Noir. Sold into slavery as a child, Seth, an Egyptian demigod, has spent thousands of years guarding and being tortured by one of the most sadistic primal source gods in existence. When Seth is commanded to find the Key, an artifact that can destroy the Greek Pantheon, he kidnaps the dream god Solin and tortures him for its whereabouts. When a beautiful young woman appears and tries to rescue Solin, Seth is both angered and intrigued. What must it be like to be loved so much that a person would risk their own life to save yours? When Solin promises the key in exchange for sparing the woman’s life, Seth decides he must know who or what this woman is and gives Solin an ultimatum. Find the Key and return in three days or the woman dies.
Lydia doesn’t understand why Solin was kidnapped, only that her orders are to free him at all costs. When she is captured by Seth and her powers drained, she finds herself at the mercy of a most complex man. Deadly and fierce; Lydia expects to be slain at any moment but this man confuses her. The mixture of man and child calls to Lydia and she begins to chip away at his armor until she discovers the man underneath. His inability to understand or accept simple kindness breaks Lydia’s heart and she vows that no matter what; she will free Seth from Noir’s clutches.
Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dream-Hunter series is a spin-off of sorts (the worlds very much overlap) of her Dark-Hunter series, which is one of the best selling paranormal romance series to date and for good reason. Speaking to readers of all ages and genres, Ms. Kenyon’s unique twist on vampires, Greek mythology, and religion combines fantasy with paranormal romance to create a genre all it’s own. Ms. Kenyon has enthralled us since her first book, Fantasy Lover. Filled with intriguing suspense, non stop action, smoking hot romance, and biting humor; this intense character driven series continues to enchant this reader. Well written with a fast steady pace that keeps the story entertaining and quite informative. What captivated me with this release is that is reminiscent of her earlier novels where the main story line and conflict all revolved around the hero and heroine. Since Acheron, Ms. Kenyon has spent more time building up the back story and introducing new plots in order to tie her convoluted world together. The Guardian takes us back to the familiar and we are given a tortured hero and a fantastic heroine who’s story of love and sacrifice will hold you hostage till the end.
Seth became an instant favorite for me. He ranks with there with Ash, Zarek, and Jericho. Betrayed and used by everyone he has ever come into contact with, his ability to remain sane and actually develop feelings for Lydia is amazing. It’s telling that when we first meet him he is covered in black impenetrable armor and his face is painted into a scowling face of a demon. Seth keeps his real self hidden and safe against any and all.
Lydia, a dream hunter, has had her own share of pain and betrayal so she empathizes with Seth. She tries hard to hate him but his fragility speaks to her heart and she finds herself drawn to her enemy. Ms. Kenyon’s characterization of Lydia is perfect. Her gentle nature masks a core of unbreakable steel. When she finally understands the true extent of Seth’s past, her heart breaks but she stands strong and does anything and everything she can to protect him. Even at the threat of her own life. Kenyon does the perfect job of allowing his and Lydia’s relationship to move slowly as we become party to both his and her pasts. Going from enemies to lovers takes on a special meaning here as we watch Seth learn and experience the joy of having someone who loves him for him. I actually found myself tearing up at times when we are shown his intense joy to the simply things we take for granted-like seeing the sun. Or receiving a kiss that doesn’t cause pain.
There are some pretty humorous moments as Seth’s misunderstandings of the outside world land him in hot water with Lydia.
“Yea,” she snapped, jerking her head at him, “You heard me. Incest doesn’t run in my family, buddy. Just so you know.”
Okay, now he had the distinct impression that she was insulting him. “What are you insinuating?”
“You’re the one with the family tree that doesn’t branch.” She illustrated said tree with her fingers. “How many Egyptian gods slept with their brothers’ and sisters’ wifes’ mothers’ uncles’ dogs? Hmmm? I ask you?”
“…have you visited your pantheon lately?”
“We’re not talking about my pantheon, here. Are we? No. We’re insulting yours.”
The main plot and subsequent sub plots are pretty intense as we discover more about the traitor in the Greek Pantheon and what exactly Solin’s and Lydia’s connection is. I love that we see some old faces; Daphne, Zarek, Ma’at, Jaden, and others. We even visit the Sanctuary for a brief time. We are given a pretty nice clue to the Egyptian Parthenon and where that storyline may be headed. My advice? Pay close attention to Seth. We have not seen the last of him.
The ending felt a little rushed but undeniably heartbreaking and sweet. We are gifted with a few surprises and given a HEA that rivals her earlier novels. Seth and Lydia are one of my top couples in Ms. Kenyon’s series for me and I look forward to seeing more of them in the future.
Favorite Quote: “Do you think the powers that be would mind if I asked them to make sure the next apocalypse takes place later in the day? Maybe around teatime?.“
A brief recap of book one. May spoil if you haven’t read.
Brush Of Darkness, the first book in the Abby Sinclair series, completely captivated me with its mad cap Alice In Wonderland storyline and indelible characters. Deliciously dark and wickedly funny, we are introduced to Abby Sinclair, a mortal bound into service of the fae. Known as a Touchstone, her gift allows her to keep the fae she is contracted with in the mortal realm. When her employer goes missing, Abby risks her life to save her boss and friends and meets the delectable Brystion. Circumstances force Abby to make some difficult choices and results in a unbridgeable rift between her and Bryston.
A Sliver of Shadow picks up a few weeks after Brush Of Darkness ended. Abby’s employer, Moira, is at the Faery Court to give testimony against a fellow fae’s acts of treason. This leaves Abby in charge of the shop and Benjamin. Oh, how I love Benjamin. A woman arrives at the shop, claiming she is Abby’s new boss, and tries to be spell her with disastrous consequences. The Queen of the Fae, spiraling deeper into her insanity, feels the spell attempted against Abby, takes it as an act of war, and closes the door between the Fae and mortal realm. And refuses to reopen it. With the Fae, trapped in the mortal realm, and beginning to fade, Abby appeals to Brystion to help.
“So what do I do?” “I don’t know, but I owe nothing to the Faery Court regardless of their assumptions. And this mess is of their own making.” “Then it’s become my mess too.” I straightened up. “And if your not willing to help us, I have to go. I’ve got things to do. A world to save. You know-the usual.” “I am sorry Abby, but regardless of the situation, I will not get involved this time.” “You do what you think best Ion. So will I.”
Abby, Talivar, Melinda, and Phin travel to the crossroads to try and reverse the spell. This path eventually leads them to the Faery Court. As Abby fights her way towards the answers she needs to re open the door; she learns more about her family, her friends, the dreaming, and the destiny fate has in store for her. A fate that will demand the ultimate sacrifice from her.
Oh Abby, Abby, Abby. I have honestly never met a character who deserves so much and gets so little in return. If there was a character that I would totally kick arse for, it would be her. A strong, intelligent, independent woman who uses her impressive powers of snark for good and loves bacon and Tom Jones. I mean, how could you NOT love her? She invokes a protective feeling in me. Her loyalty and honor are above reproach. She lives, loves, and fights from the heart and when dealing with the Fae, that’s just asking for trouble. We are given a deeper understanding to her emotional state; from her hurt at Brystion’s leaving to the fears that inhabit her dreaming heart.
The world Ms. Pang has created is an intricate blending of reality and dreams that is built completely on deception, betrayal, and jealousy. Convoluted and ever expanding, Ms Pang continues to divulge deeper into Abby’s past, future and and present. A strong character driven fantasy, every action is suspect, each word a double edge sword, and everyone a study in Machiavellian practices. Witty and snarky dialogue will keep you in stitches though it is more serious this time around.
On sudden impulse, I reached out to stroke the perfect point of his ear. “You do realize that’s the elvish equivalent of cupping my balls, right?” I jerked my hand away. I hadn’t meant to be that forward. “Apparently my knowledge of basic elven anatomy is lacking. Sorry.” “Something we will have to remedy, no doubt.”
Ms. Pang’s wonderful voice resonates through here, breathing life into the story. She elevates a common theme of a human, with no super normal powers, fighting for a supernatural world. A brilliant mixture of unpredictability that keeps you riding the edge with each new development. The story reads fast and easy even as you fall head first down the rabbit hole. The plot and multiple sub plots build slowly through out, each adding intrigue and suspense as the tension spirals tighter and tighter only to explode in a climatic ending that leaves you speechless with shock.
To me, sacrifice is the underlying theme of this storyline. Friendship, love, honor, life. It asks the question over and over in many different ways; what would you do for the ones you love? We are gifted with an intimate view of what true sacrifice is in here and it leaves you both elated and saddened as one by one, each character answers that question.
The secondary characters are explosive with their richly developed personalities. New and old are here; from bodyguard angels, to WoW playing demons; each one plays an important part in the overall development of the story. Closely guarded secrets and agendas are beginning to unravel, leaving Abby to wonder who she can really trust. The smexy, brooding Brystion continues to tempt and taunt Abby while Talivar shows Abby a completely different side of himself and she begins to see a kindred soul in him. The sexual tension that runs between Abby, Talivar, and Brystion is delicious as the love triangle begins to make itself known.
Brystion snorted. “He’s only using you. The Fae are good at that, I’ve noticed.” “I was there the morning you let her go, “ Taliver retorted. “Why shouldn’t I retrieve what you so casually threw away?”
Phin delights us as he struts, flounces, and generally annoys everyone with his running commentary of his sexual exploits. We see a more serious side to him though when a few secrets he’s been keeping are revealed. Melanie has to be my favorite character as she is a true friend to Abby and tries to so hard to protect and help her navigate this dangerous world.
The Wild Music had been released. The daemons eyed her warily. Nobu grasped her arm, silencing the music. “You cannot break this Contract.” “You have no idea what I can do.”
The ending had me laughing, crying, and shaking my fist at Ms. Pang. She tosses us off into the abyss, leaving us to free fall until the release of book three. I will admit that the ending confused me. I re read it three times, discussed it with another blogger, then broke down and contacted Allison. It’s not I didn’t understand what happened but more that I didn’t understand why. Also, I’m having a little trouble with the love triangle aspect even with its wonderful sexual tension. I’m not a fan of love triangles in Urban Fantasy; especially when they look strong enough to become a long standing part of the arc. I am hoping I’m wrong because I would like the arc to continue to focus on Abby and her journeys in the OtherWorld and not fight against a continuing love triangle.
Regardless though, I cannot recommend this series enough to readers who are looking for an imaginative urban fantasy series that hits all the high notes and then some. Ms. Pang has delivered a worthy sequel to Brush Of Darkness and I for one cannot wait to see what she has in store for us in book three, a tentative release date is October 2012 with title to be announced. I don not recommend starting the series here. The arc is evolving and continues on with no re caps from the previous installment.
Favorite Quote: “My mother isn’t crazy. She simply has a harder time than most reconciling her reality with everyone else’s reality.”
Rachel has survived shunning, capture, and an elf curse. She gave her all in Pale Demon and now embraces her demon heritage. Somewhat. A Perfect Blood picks up right after Rachel is brought back from the ever after by Trent and now wears a bracelet made by him to effectively hide her from the demon collective. When she is called to view a murder scene by a master vampire, Rachel realizes that once again she is about to be blamed for crimes she didn’t commit if she doesn’t figure out who is killing these people. And why.
Pale Demon (book 9) was a climatic story that addressed and resolved many long standing issues. I expected A Perfect Blood to continue in that fashion. It didn’t.
Rachel takes a huge step back in here emotionally, mentally, and physically. She is scared and has every right to be. If the demon collective realizes she is alive, they will snatch her back to the ever after in a heartbeat. She is also facing prejudices from humans and fellow supernaturals. As the only “human” demon, everyone wants to know what she can do and Rachel is refusing to say. By wearing Trent’s bracelet, she loses all access to her power. This leaves her virtually unprotected. She knows she has to make a choice but her fear hampers her as much if not more then the bracelet. I found myself becoming bored and annoyed by Rachel’s attitude through out half the book. I wanted the old Rachel back. The impetuous, map cap, impulsive Rachel.
Relationships seem to the main theme of this installment. We see many different examples of them in here and how they relate back to Rachel. This is particularly telling as we all know that Rachel tends to shy away from relationships. Everyone seems to be moving forward while Rachel is stuck and it eats away at her. Once again, her fear hinders her.
The plot and secondary characters is where the book is saved for me. Humans are attempting to fight back against the supernatural community in a fashion that leaves you wondering who exactly the real monsters really are. I found myself mortified and disgusted by the villains in here and riveted as I watched Ms. Harrison slowly and masterly unveil the entire plot. Rachel, Ivy, and Jerks investigate and while they figure out the the who’s and what’s, Rachel’s lack of magic only continues to hinder herself and others. She finds herself having to rely more on her physical skills which leaves her battered continuously through out the book and somewhat oblivious to important clues.
Trent plays a much larger role in here and I love that we see a different side to him. His and Rachel’s relationship still remains largely undefined but the wind blows in a particular direction and we will just have to see if our protagonists choose to ride it out. Ivy and Jenks are their wonderful sarcastic selves and we even get some Al time. Al continues to hint at an end game that has me both intrigued and frightened.
I really felt this story was a bridge of sorts. A relaxed “week in the life of Rachel” that really doesn’t address much beyond Rachel’s emotional hang ups. It was slow and meandered along at a steady if uninspiring pace. Towards the end it picks up pace and we see sparks of the old Rachel. The plot wraps up in an explosive exciting manner that went a long way to me not tossing this book aside. I do hope the next installment brings back the old Rachel in full and allows for some growth that was sorely missing in this story.
Favorite Quote: “This town isn’t perfect, but it’s home. The people here love you, and they helped raise you, no matter what you think.”
Everyone has a “what if” guy in their past. The one person whose soul spoke to yours but fate plays with your destiny and you both go your separate ways. In Brooke Moss’s romantic contemporary, our heroine is given a chance to reconnect with her “what if” guy and have a second chance at love if she is willing to forgive and move forward from her past.
Autumn Cole left her tiny hometown of Fairfield, Washington in a cloud of dust after high school-determined to become the next Picasso. Now 13 years later, she comes back to Fairfield broke with a 12 year old son and an ailing alcoholic father. It’s easy, too easy in fact, to slip back into her role of the town drunk’s daughter. As Autumn tries to acclimate herself to to all the emotions she feels coming home, she runs into the one person she never thought she would ever see again. Henry Tobler. Her one and only love. She had her life all planned out with Henry but broke it off when she discovered she was pregnant by an ex boyfriend. She hasn’t seen him since that fateful day and seeing him now beings back all of her feelings for him that never seemed to fade.
Henry is Fairfield’s most eligible soon to be bachelor (he’s in the middle of a divorce) and is just as shocked as Autumn to see her there. Autumn broke Henry’s heart when she left him and while he is justifiably unsure of her now, he too senses they have unfinished business. As Autumn and Henry dance around their still burning attraction to each other, Autumn begins to reconnect with her ailing father and tries to show the town that she is not her father’s daughter.
Brooke Moss has written a delightfully heartwarming and romantic contemporary in The “What If” Guy. Filled with plenty of humor, snarkiness, and eccentric characters, we get a ring side seat as we watch Autumn try to deal with coming home after adamantly and loudly vowing never to return. Extremely character driven, it’s very easy to submerge yourself into the town’s residents lives and develop affection for them. Autumn is a wonderful single parent who has admirably dealt with the hand life gave her with humor, intelligence, and a lot of patience. Autumn’s inner monologues and clumsiness will have you laughing out loud. I enjoyed watching her with her son and her best friend Holly. She knows she has made mistakes and doesn’t attempt to gloss over them or wave them off. She owns up to them and attempts to make amends.
Henry is very swoon worthy in that he has waited 13 years (in his heart) for his true love to return. He did get married during their ‘separation’ but admits to Autumn and us that his wife was only a substitute for her and is in the middle of a divorce. I liked that Henry doesn’t immediately stalk Autumn and declare his undying love. He has some issues that need addressing and plus, he’s not sure about her. He needs time to trust her and himself again. Their romance progresses slowly through out the story. It’s not an over emotional tear jerking journey and it felt more real for that reason. Everyday romance doesn’t normally have a tragedy occurring every 10 minutes. They do hit some bumps in the road and there are trust issues to resolve but all in all it’s a happy time for them both. The only part I didn’t like was Henry has a problem of disappearing and not being upfront with Autumn and Autumn has a problem of not listening and assuming to much. That caused the most problems for them. They both tended to run when things became overwhelming to them. There were times when I wanted to step into the book and yell, “Shut up, stand still, and LISTEN!”
The supporting characters are portrayed brilliantly as nosy, concerned busybodies who all have advice to give, whether you want it or not. Ms. Moss reveals through out the book the deep affection they feel for Autumn and her son. She may have left them-but they never left her. Autumn’s relationship with her father is quite poignant and Ms. Moss does a fabulous job of allowing Autumn and her father work towards forgiveness at their own pace.
The ending is heartbreaking (get the Kleenex ready) yet gratifying as everything and everyone finds their place and settles in beautifully. It isn’t an easy ending but it’s a well won ending for out characters. I love the tiny epilogue added that is told from Henry’s POV. Wraps it all up nicely and left me a a smile.
Favorite Quote: “Down girl, he’s at least ten years younger than you. Even in the backwoods they have standards.”
Sabrina (Bree) has come to her friend’s secluded cabin to escape the pain and hurt caused by her cheating ex husband. When she decides that in order to move on she must burn away her pain, she builds a huge bonfire and ceremoniously burns her ex-husbands things.
Travis, an ex solder, was attacked and changed over in Afghanistan. He now lives in the area surrounding Bree’s cabin and when he catches a whiff of Bree, his cat decides that she is definitely worth playing with.
Snow’s Heat is a light-hearted sensual novella about an older woman and a younger man, who for different reasons, decide to take back their lives and find some fun with each other along the way. Bree is quite funny with her snappy comebacks and quips. I really like how Travis jumps right in and helps Bree out when her ex husband calls and comes looking for her, wanting to hurt her once again. There is immediately smoking hot chemistry between the two which blends well into the storyline.
My complaint? I would have liked to have seen the storyline focus less on her ex and more on Bree and Travis. There is a lot of goodness packed in this little niblet and it just seems we spend too much time hearing about her ex; who by the way is a total tool. I would have loved to see more of an emotional development beyond sex between Bree and Travis.
If you like snarky heroines and sexy shifters, then definitely give Snow’s Heat a try.
Favorite Quote: “Amelia’s game “ “Does she even get a vote?”
Kitty Norville is back and in more trouble than ever. Her recent run-in with werewolves traumatized by the horrors of war has made her start wondering how long the US government might have been covertly using werewolves in combat. Have any famous names in our own history might have actually been supernatural?
A call for help from a powerful vampire ally in San Francisco, suddenly puts Kitty and her friends on the supernatural chessboard, pieces in dangerously active play. And Kitty Norville is never content to be a pawn. . . .(Goodreads)
Kitty’s trouble finder is working great in here, much to her husband Ben’s despair. Kitty receives a call from San Fransisco vampire Anastasia asking for her help. Roman is still playing the long game and mobilizing an army while trying to locate a great object of power. Anastasia knows where the OOP is but needs Kitty’s help in retrieving it and keeping it safe. Kitty, Ben, and Cormac travel to San Fransisco and are soon embroiled in a supernatural war that has drawn the attention of the Gods.
Kitty’s Big Trouble is number nine in Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty Norville series. From a weak terrorized werewolf to becoming an alpha of her own pack and married-Kitty has come a long way in the last eight books. I really enjoyed the first books of the series. They maintained a serious undertone filled with action and suspense with well placed humorous snark. The last few books have, in my opinion, have stalled and become complacent. It’s like reading a Nancy Drew mystery. They find a mystery, solve it, then everyone goes home happy. I miss the edge of your seat tension where we weren’t sure what was going to happen to Kitty and her friends. We know Kitty and Ben are happily married and in love and Cormac will always have their back.
Kitty continues to try and learn more about the supernatural beings in her world; she has an interesting theory about General Sherman and Wyatt Erp, but her need for answers borders on rudeness. It’s as if her knowing is really all the matters and she can’t believe everyone isn’t lining up to spill it all to her. Grace says it best here:
“You expect me to be able to explain all the Chinese culture and mythology and folklore to you in a couple of hours? China isn’t a culture-it’s hundreds of cultures. I’m not the person who can explain all of this. I inherited some tricks and spells and a set of keys and a bunch of promises my ancestors made. I didn’t think I was ever going to have to use any of that, then it all shows up to bite me in the ass. What else do you want me to say?
Roman is back and his long game is still going strong. He is recruiting minions to help fight in his war he is bringing. I’m still not sure exactly what the long game is and I really wish we could get some POV from Roman. So far I find him one of the most interesting characters. This all takes place in about one day so the storyline plays out fast. Bringing in additional supernatural powers helps set up for future storylines but doesn’t do much for the main conflict at hand.
The romance between Ben and Kitty is safe. I get nothing from them because I felt they never really had to work for it. It just happened. Ben isn’t a memorable character anymore. He is and forever will now be Kitty’s husband. That’s too bad because he was more interesting in the beginning. Cormac, in my opinion, would have been perfect for Kitty. The Hunter and the hunted. There is still an underscore of tension between them but the storyline pretty much spells it out that they will never be anything but friends from here on it. Cormac is still possessed by an ancient sorceress and I hope that sometime down the line we get an in depth look into all that.
All in all an easy read with predictable storyline and ending. We also get a small glimpse into what trouble Kitty might find in the next book-Kitty Steals the Show (Kitty Norville #10)-set to release July 12, 2012. Kitty’s Big Trouble felt more like a filler. Low key suspense and action with almost no romance made the story ok but it just doesn’t seem to shine and wow like her earlier ones.
Favorite Quote: “You want justice. It’s a hard thing, though, to stay focused on justice and not seek revenge in it’s place.”
“There’s a difference?”
“Justice is about making them pay for Verity’s pain. Revenge is making them pay for yours.”
When Maura Fitzgerald wakes up in the hospital badly beaten and bruised all she can think is, “Where is Verity?” When she finds out her dreams were real and her best friend Verity was indeed attacked and killed; quiet, unassuming Maura (Mo or Mouse to her friends) screams a vow of vengeance that will take her into a dangerous world of magic and deception where she will have to take her own fate into her own hands if she wants to survive.
Torn is a perfect title because it sums up the storyline very well. Maura (Mo) is torn between her family, her friends, her life, and two men who want her for very different reasons.
Maura’s family has contacts with the mob. Her father is incarcerated for money laundering and her uncle who is like a surrogate father, is the go to guy for problems and results. Mo has spent her life hiding from these contacts and prefers the shadows rather than the limelight. When her best friend, Verity, is killed, Mo realizes that she will have step out of the shadows if she wants justice for her friend. While searching for clues, Mo meets with resistance from all fronts. Her uncle and mother want to keep her safe so they assign her a bodyguard-Colin. She also meets Luc, a friend of Verity’s, who tries to discourage Mo from tangling with things she can’t understand.
When it becomes apparent that Mo is able to harness power (like Verity), Luc brings her in to help stop the chaos that is set to be released by group bent on changing the balance of power now in place. Thus starts Mo’s journey into self discovery and change where she learns that the greatest magic of all is her ability to control her own fate.
I enjoyed Ms. O’Rourke’s debut novel Torn. Smooth writing, steady pacing, and engaging characters combine to make an interesting paranormal YA. It reads easy with a youthful tone. I think someone younger than me would find it a bit more intriguing and suspenseful, which is why I can’t quite give it a higher grade. The first half of the story was more contemporary than paranormal. Ms. O’Rourke spends a lot of time narrating. The second half of the book explodes once the paranormal and romantic aspects are introduced. We see Mo taking charge of her life and reacting with other characters in exciting and dangerous ways. Mo realistically starts off rather sublime then morphs into a force to be reckoned with. I like that she herself has no magic in here and a majority of her actions are the result of her intelligence, open mind, and sheer stubbornness.
I enjoyed the romantic love triangle though I felt that her attraction to Colin was based more on her trying to not be attracted to Luc. I knew it was coming but it still surprised me a little.The lack of teen angst in here was delightful. Ms. O’Rourke presents everything in a rather clear and concise way, choosing not to butter us up with flowery poise or emotional “woe is me” dialogue.
The ending wraps up the main conflict in a dramatic and satisfying way. I look forward to reading more about Mo’s adventures, her romantic entanglement, and the magical world that is just opening up to her. The next book in the series, Tangled, releases February 2012....more