Favorite Quote: “We’re going in hot…because I am pissed.”
Lt Eve Dallas is used to murder in the city she calls home but when she is called to the scene of a triple homicide in Central Park, she discovers a crime unlike anything she’s seen before. Three assignations from miles away. So precise and clean, it could only be committed by a professional-military and/or police trained. As the city goes on full alert, Eve calls in some favors only her husband Roarke can provide. Sorting through the mountains of clues, Eve is shocked to discover this isn’t one killer, but two. A mentor and a trainee. And Central Park is only the beginning.
Eve Dallas is back and facing one of her greatest challenge to date in the forty-third installment in J.D. Robb’s long-running futuristic mystery/thriller In Death series. Apprentice in Death opens the door to more action, mystery, and excitement as Eve and the NYSPD find themselves racing against time to stop a pair of deadly snipers whose still unknown agenda spells death for New York and its citizens. Eve finds herself thinking of her own childhood as she dives deep into the human psyche, struggling to understand and the dynamics of this team of assassins and the personal ties that bind them together. What exactly makes a killer? Genetics? Training? Tragedy? Or are some people just born evil? Eve most answer these questions and more as she hunts these killers down.
Even forty three books in, Robb continues to combine solid writing, intriguing subplots, and dynamic characterization to keep her world evolving but familiar and comforting. Strong police procedurals keeps readers firmly engaged while subtle bits humor and lighter moments helps to offset some of the darker moments of the storyline. Readers will soak up the moments of Eve’s personal life that Robb intertwines with her professional one. Humor and some lighthearted moments walk hand in hand with the more emotional scenes, giving readers the time to come to terms with the darker aspects of the story.
This installment reminded me a little of Devoted in Death as the staging and storyline reveal is similar. Here we are also made privy to the villains in the beginning though not their identity. Robb flashes between the police and the killers, allowing us to view Mackie and Willow as they set up for their next hit while Eve uses all her wits and talents to piece together the clues and evidence to form a picture that shocks even this hardened cop. Eve and her crack team of investigators learn they will have to look in their own house for answers and the emotional depth darkens as we learn that there is a personal connection not only between the killers but also between them and the police dept. One of the killers is one of theirs and that makes this a whole new ballgame.
Robb begins to cross the two storylines and merge them together towards a climactic finale. Though not as physically violent as some of Eve’s previous cases, there is a heightened sense of anticipation and fear due to the unpredictability of the suspects. Eve and her team must work fast in order to try and predict where they will strike next. As per Robb’s style, a majority of the book focuses on the investigation of the case with well laid immersions of Eve’s personal life into the storyline. Eve and Roarke’s continued evolution as a married couple is seen through small but poignant gestures that assure us they continue to grow as a couple. Interior decorating never seemed so important until you look at the new memories being built upon the ashes of the old.The chemistry between her and Roarke is still steamy hot and Robb doesn’t cheat readers out of their private times together. And it seems Roarke may have a bit of a fetish *fans myself*
Old familiar faces mesh perfectly with some new introductions, adding to the increasing cast of characters infiltrating Eve’s world. The family style atmosphere only serves to further enhance how much Eve has grown in the past two years. I love the strong contrast Robb uses between Eve the cop and Eve the person. Both she and Roarke’s childhood left dark marks on them but we see them learning to open up (especially Eve) together and accept they are worthy of the love and respect that they receive from friends.
Apprentice in Death is another intriguing addition to this series, giving readers an emotionally complex mystery to solve while enjoying the timeless couple whose love affair continues to capture our attention even forty three books later. Per usual, I love revisiting Robb’s version of the future and look forward to the next installment-Echoes In Death-set to release February 7, 2017.
Dane's newest PNR offers us a sexy second chance romance in a small town that is home to various shifters and witches. Solid world building and eng3.5
Dane's newest PNR offers us a sexy second chance romance in a small town that is home to various shifters and witches. Solid world building and engaging dialogue helps to integrate readers easily into the story. A mystery filled conflict runs along side the romance, Overall enjoyed though I found the protags overly chatty and there was a lot of rehashing of situations. The ending is very abrupt and that threw me a little. Looking forward to book 2. ...more
Kelley Armstrong’s best selling fantasy Otherworld series has kept me entertained since she first released Bitten in 2001. Intensely entertaining, Armstrong introduced us to a world that blended the supernatural and mundane perfectly; giving us strong heroines and heroes and action packed, suspenseful, multi-narrated storylines. Armstrong’s series ended the arc with the novel Thirteen though she continued to tidy up various plot lines (this world is rather huge and convoluted) with a series of novellas and short stories. The Otherworld Chills anthology is the last of those short stories. This collection is compiled of previously released material and a few new ones that give fans one last hurrah. There are seven stories total.
3) Chaotic – Hope/Karl novella from Dates from Hell, Hope’s 1st appearance in the series
4) Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word – Zoe short story from Expiration Date
5) Off-Duty Angel – Eve/Kristof story from The Hunter & The Hunted
6) The Puppy Plan – Logan Danvers novella from Gifted
7) Baby Boom – new Paige/Lucas novella
Brazen is aptly titled and takes place after Thirteen. Told from Nick’s POV, we learn how he met his girlfriend, Vanessa. The action packed, violence fueled conflict blends well with the look into the unique position Nick holds in the pack. While I enjoyed the narrative and conflict, I found the romance uninspiring. Vanessa’s insulting faux pas in the beginning and subsequent habit of not listening didn’t endear her to me at all.
Chaotic chronicles the first time Hope and Karl met. A museum jewel heist opens up a can of worms when Hope learns her new job is nothing more than one man’s need for revenge. While I loved the antagonism and verbal foreplay Hope and Karl engage in, the storyline itself moves is long, involved, and moves a slow pace. Armstrong divulges deeply into Hope and Karl’s backgrounds as they attempt to flush out the culprits while trying to stay alive.
Amityville Horrible is probably my favorite of this anthology. Any chance to spend time with Jamie and Jeremy is a guaranteed good time. Once again Jamie is reluctantly pushed into doing a reality show by her agent only to discover that things are not what they seem. When Jeremy joins her on the set, the hijinks begin. A fun character driven story inundated with humor, romance, and a hint of mystery.
Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word is a short story revolving around Zoe and Cassandra. In here we learn that even immortals have an expiration date and unresolved issues can affect even the hardest of hearts. An interesting story though it loses it’s steam towards the end.
Off-Duty Angel takes us back into the halls of heaven and bowels of hell in this delightful little romp when Kristoff gives his bored lover, Eve, a mystery to solve. Of course, nothing goes as planned but that is half the fun. Well plotted and filled with plenty of action, adventure, and humor, readers will enjoy seeing this happier more stable version of Eve then what we have seen in the series.
The Puppy Plan visits the Danvers Family at Christmas time. Told from Logan’s point of view, this sweet heartwarming story shines on the love and compassion that resides in the hearts of Clay and Elena’s twins.
Baby Boom wraps up the book and a long ongoing plot line concerning Paige and Lucas. I was rather taken by the sorrowful tone woven through here as this couple not only deals with an unwanted pregnancy but also the future of the Cortez Cabal.
Otherworld Chills offers readers a little of everything while wrapping up existing open story lines. Though some stories are stronger than others, the collection as a whole is an enjoyable reader sure to delight fans of this fantasy inspired world.
Struck is the first in her new PNR Phoebe Meadows series. A young woman finds out the hard way that she is the result of a liaison between Odin andDNF
Struck is the first in her new PNR Phoebe Meadows series. A young woman finds out the hard way that she is the result of a liaison between Odin and a shieldmaiden. Forced on the run, she finds herself struggling to accept her destiny while trying to stay alive. I am a fan of Amanda Carlson’s and Viking/Norse mythology so I was excited to be offered an arc. I really wanted to like this one but there was just no connection for me. I like the potential of what Phoebe and the arc could become but watching her and the arc set up was painful. Her inability to accept what was right in front of her left her and those helping her in hot water. I found her struggles to survive more irritating them adventurous.The narrative was odd. It felt forced at times; the humor an uncomfortable addition. The storyline also seemed to struggle to find balance between the seriousness and more comedic aspects, giving the story an unbalanced feel. While reading, I kept feeling as though I was missing some pivotal scene. Certain plotlines didn’t reveal well or skipped around so much I became lost. I did like the secondary characters-especially the witches who I thought were very well developed-but not enough to keep me engaged. I may try again in the future but for now I don’t feel this series is for me....more
When a good girl gives into her most sexually fueled fantasies, all sorts of deliciously dirty, and erotic experiences are waiting to be discovered. Don’t be fooled by the short length of this serial novella. Rai writes a full bodied story that opens up a tantalizing world of lush risqué domination and submission with an exploration of role playing and alter egos between two charismatic protagonists....more
Set in a post apocalypse style version of Las Vegas-called Illusion Town- Castle introduces a marriage of convenience between a research scientist and a finder of lost items. A date between Elias Coppersmith and Hannah West ends up with them waking up in a motel with no memory of their date beyond a certificate of an MC and the fuzzy feeling from being psi-burned. As their memories slowly come back, we learn Elias had met Hannah months earlier when she helped him locate an heirloom ring. Intrigued by her emails, Elias convinced Hannah to break her edict about not meeting clients in person and going out on a date with him. On the date, Elias learns some of his people have been trapped behind a psi gate and he had offered Hannah a job involving her talent as a Dreamlight but someone or somebodies went to a lot of effort to stop them from going to the site. Various plotlines slowly materialize, from Hannah’s ancestral claim of an ancient artifact of immense proportions to Elias’s latest archaeological find that gives the storyline the appearance of suspense and intrigue as Castle begins to leads us down a road of discovery.
I have always had an ambivalent relationship with Castle’s Harmony series. I either love the book to death or I’m completely disappointed with it. Illusion Town falls smack dab in the middle. The storyline and characters weren’t bad per say but very low key. Solid writing and a decently plotted storyline are evident though the energy, humor, and general pizzazz *insert jazz hands* I usually associate with this series was missing. The first 40% is nothing more than Hannah and Elias “talking” their way through their memory loss and piecing things back together. Castle drops clues to help illuminate the way but I found my attention wandering on multiple occasions. The job Elias needed Hannah for showed some promise of action but again, we are “talked” through it. It’s all very cut and dry. There seemed to be a checklist of things to be accomplished and you could see it being applied with each plotline.
There were also some logistics of the story that didn’t makes sense.
There was also a fair amount of redundancy. I can’t even count how many times Elias tells Hannah or someone who “Coppersmith security is the best.” Or Hannah refers to her “inability to handle intimacy.” Yes, yes. We know. We all know.
Character wise, I found Hannah and Elias interesting as individuals in regards to their talents and jobs, but lacking in a relatable warmth and chemistry. Perhaps this is because both are logical, rational, extremely emotionally guarded individuals. Hannah’s parents were murdered and she has never been able to locate any other family. Add in her talents as a rare and powerful dreamlight which automatically labels her as unstable and a risk in intimate relationships. Oh my god, now she has me repeating her. *sigh* Elias is an engineer/researcher. He comes from a passionate, close-knit family whose emotions and dramatic scenes are well known though he is pretty even keeled. Apparently, scientists can’t be emotional or dramatic. *shrugs*
As the story progresses, we are introduced to various friends and entrepreneurs of Illusion Town while Hannah and Elias work to discover who is out to get them. It’s all very family oriented and pushes the notion that while Hannah may be an orphan, she has a very strong familial base. Once we hit the last ¼ of the book, it’s here I begin to see what I was missing. We get intimate thoughts from Elias and Hannah concerning their relationship. I began to see some sparks of passion and emotion to back up their words. The action and suspense picks up along with the energy as we race towards the finish line.
Though Illusion Town had its moments and the last part, along with Virgil the dust bunny, saved it for me, it wasn’t my favorite in the series. I found it overall too linear and circumspect for me. Not to say I won’t read the next one, I just hope it takes us back to Rainshadow Island because that is really where my love for this world seems to lie.
Christina Henry takes us back down the rabbit hole in the much anticipated sequel to her delightfully wild and twisted- Alice. As smoothly as though yChristina Henry takes us back down the rabbit hole in the much anticipated sequel to her delightfully wild and twisted- Alice. As smoothly as though you never left, readers are drawn back into this clever little world with it’s dark humor, diabolical residents, and the bittersweet lessons of life. Though somewhat softer and more introspective in narrative than book one, Henry’s interpretation of Alice and her latest adventure perfectly showcases Alice’s struggles with her personal identity and the loss of her childhood as she stands poised on the brink of becoming an adult. Henry continues to shine as she expands upon the vision Louis Carroll first dreamed, adding her own voice and imagination to this timeless classic.
You can read the rest of my review in the July issue of Rt Book Reviews.
Genre: General Fiction, Dark Fantasy 4 Stars
Review to appear in July issue of RT Book Review Magazine....more
The Beast is a throw back to the earlier installments and reinforced why I love this series. Multiple subplots, character interactA soild B+ from me.
The Beast is a throw back to the earlier installments and reinforced why I love this series. Multiple subplots, character interactions, humor, love, angst, drama, and a sense of camaraderie kept this reader hooked firmly. Reading this felt like being wrapped in a warm blanket. After the last couple books I was so close to leaving the series, not liking the directions Ward seemed forcing us to go in. I'm really glad she took a step back and stopped trying to force growth where none was needed. It wasn't working and you could tell. I'm so glad we got to see Rhage and Mary get their hearts desire and Im looking forward to seeing where Ward decides to take us with all the hints she through out concerning some other characters. ...more
Charles offers two young men the adventure of a lifetime in the first installment of a spinoff of her popular Charm of Magpies series. A sensual romance and intriguing mystery blend to create a potent concoction in this action-packed romance. Compelling dialogue, detailed world building and a richly plotted storyline will leave readers wanting more as Charles leads her lovers down the path of no return.
Crispin Tredarloe needs to get his unstable powers under control after it is discovered that his mentor was a warlock in disguise. Forced to prove his good intentions to the Justiciars, Crispin is offered one last chance at redemption or his life may be forfeit. The only bright spot in his life is his secret lover, Ned Hall. Ned is a waste-man whose disdain for anything magic is beginning to place a strain on his and Crispin’s relationship. When Ned’s neighbor dies under mysterious circumstances, Ned and Crispin discover an ancient entity is being raised, one that could destroy London. With no help available, can the pair find and stop the person behind the deaths on their own? ...more
Favorite Quote: “Sorry, but I’ve never heard of any Circle. What kind of idiotic nickname is that anyway? Sounds like a yoga group.”
Unraveled picks up right where Bitter Bite left off. Gin and her friends have settled down to deal with the aftermath of Deirdre Shaw’s actions. Gin has been digging deeper into the mysterious shadow group, The Circle, trying to find the other members and discover what their connection is to her mother. She is also trying to help Finn deal with the guilt and depression he feels in the part he played in his mother’s betrayal and death.
Finn stared at the spot along the wall a second longer before turning away and screwing a smile on his face as though everything was normal, and he was still the carefree, happy go lucky guy he’d been before Deirdre has blown into town. Before she’d ripped his heart to shreds and betrayed him in the worst way possible.
When Finn receives notice he’s inherited a resort; he, Bria, Gin, and Owen all decide to take an impromptu road trip to visit the resort though Gin suspects the timing of the inheritance is directly related to the Circle. The Bullet Pointe is an upscale vacation resort/theme park, catering to all who enjoy the full “western” experience with sexy saloon girls, rough & tumble cowboys, and daily adventure shows. An ongoing contest to discover a hidden cache of jewels that belonged to the original owner only increases the insanity that surrounds this resort.
“Someone get me some crackers for all this cheese.”
Unraveled is the fifteenth installment in Jennifer Estep’s action loaded noir urban fantasy series that packs a generous punch of adventure, suspense, mystery, and humor. Heavily character driven, Estep continues to dig in deep and expand on her world and the players that inhabit it. Estep uses the latest arc to not only provide Gin and her friends another long reaching mystery to solve but also gives us more clues into Gin’s parents and their past-especially her mother. Normally centered on the small town of Ashland, Estep takes the conflict to a new location, giving readers some new characters to add to their growing collection.
Reading fast and furious as usual, Unraveled isn’t quite as explosive action wise as some of the other installments in the series. Instead, we see a stronger investigative base which helps to fortify the darkly humorous adventure Gin is forced into. I have enjoyed the more inclusion of humor into the series. Gin is lightening up and this is being seen more in her mannerisms, dialogue, and the choices she is making. Slowly evolving beyond her kill or be killed assassin persona, Gin is becoming more diplomatic and weighing all her options. Not to say she isn’t still a bad arse because she reigns supreme in her fight scenes but she seems more balanced lately.
Gin’s more frequent dreams of her mother are like puzzle pieces-each one bringing the big picture into clearer focus. Gin has long viewed her mother through rose colored glasses; her death the fire that forged the deadly woman Gin is today. It’s only since learning her mother may have been a member of The Circle do long-buried memories begin to surface, reminding Gin there was a side to her mother that was scary and dangerous. Gin is learning to share and delegate more though she still chooses to internalize some things in order to protect those she loves.
I was disappointed to see the main secondary characters regulated to such ineffective positions in here. Finn, Owen, and Bria are nothing more than comedic sidekicks and fodder as Estep uses them to showcase Gin’s impressive skills. A new character makes an appearance whose knowledge of the resort helps Gin to set her plans in motion and I hope we see more of them in the future. Hugh Tucker is back and a few new enemies whose elemental powers are mobilized in some interesting manners. The villains of the story are familiar in their characterization but again, there is a humorous bent to the whole situation that left me amused at some of their dialogue and actions.
“It’s the small things that make life truly worth living.”
The ending is a climactic finale filled with violence and deception as Gin uses ingenuity and a heavy dose of self-preservation to save herself and her friends from ending up the finale in this ultimate showdown. Though Gin in no closer to finding the head of the Circle then when she started, she is given a gift that helps to point her in the right direction.
Unraveled is a fun addition to the Elemental series. Fans will enjoy the story’s location and the new route Estep is taking Gin and her friends as they double down on their search for who could be Gin’s greatest adversary to date.
Favorite Quote: “A kraken? In a sinkhole in Nowhere, Texas? Really?
Camille (Cam) Ellis is a particular type of faeOriginally posted at SmexyBooks.com
Favorite Quote: “A kraken? In a sinkhole in Nowhere, Texas? Really?
Camille (Cam) Ellis is a particular type of fae species called a Gemini. Born with a twin, this pair has the ability to mimic others and their powers for a brief amount of time. Cam also has a special power all her own. She can tell a person’s species by a touch. No glamour can fool her. When Camille loses her twin in an accident, she drifts along in life until offered a job with the Earthen Conclave-a sort of supernatural FBI. Now an investigator, Cam uses her gifts to solve crimes committed by supernaturals. In the middle of a standard investigation, Cam is shocked when the sibling of one of the murder victims instigates himself into the investigation and her life, demanding answers.
Cord Graeson, Beta of the Georgia Warg Pack, wants justice for his sister and will do whatever it takes to get it…even if it means using Cam. When another victim is found, Cam knows she has a limited amount of time to act before they strike again. In order to get the answers she needs, she will be forced to used to use her gift in a way that will drag her back into the past and force her to confront some things better left forgotten.
Hailey Edwards once again takes us on a fantasy fueled adventure filled with magic and plenty of action packed suspense in her newest work-Dead in the Water. Book one in the Gemini series, fans of Edwards’s Black Dog series will recognize the world and some of the characters as these two series are related. I don’t feel you have to read the Black Dog series in order to read this one as they are not dependant on one another for growth and/or comprehension. But if you want to understand certain events and characters referenced in here, then that would be the place to visit after reading this book.
I’ve been a fan of Edwards’s work since her Araneae series. One aspect of her writing I enjoy is her ability to take the mundane and with a few changes, turn it into something unique and unexpected. She builds dynamic character bases, using common mythology but takes it one step further using previously unseen species or imbibing currently known species with skills and know how that offers readers something new in the paranormal world. They are filled with life, personality, and a sense of humanity; Camille is a perfect example of this. I’ve never heard of any fae referred to Gemini but Edwards’s characterization leaves no room for doubt of their possible existence through Cam’s well crafted though stingily given history. I love how her family is portrayed as being similar to the Irish Travellers; traveling in a caravan of RVs from spot to spot and never settling down in one particular place for too long. Additional interesting characters dominate this series and provide some needed humor from a sexy, bossy Warg to a deadly pack of fae hedgehogs.
I enjoyed meeting Cam though I would have liked a little more fleshing out of her character. We only get the basics and I felt there was a lot left unsaid. I’m looking forward to Edward’s stripping away the protective layers around Cam. Cam has been trying to atone for her sister’s death and this has led her into police work. She feels that by using her gifts to save others, she can keep families from suffering what she and her family went through. A loner by nature, she exists in her own bubble until this case offers her some much needed friendships that help to bring her out of her shell and navigate the outside world a little better. Though a little indecisive at times, she has a strong protective instinct and when push comes to shove, she’ll do whatever needs to be done. Even at the expense of her own sanity or life.
There is a small hint of possibility that develops between her and the warg-Cord Graeson. A confirmed alpha male, he is determined to find his sister’s killer and demands Cam help him. There is strong chemistry between them though some of Cord’s actions are suspect and we are left unsure if the reaction between them are real or manipulated by Cord’s revenge. I did enjoy their banter.
“You don’t play fair.”
“Fair doesn’t taste like bacon.”
I couldn’t argue with that logic.
Cam certainly holds her own against Cord’s more demanding personality. I will enjoy watching them come to some sort of understanding, especially in light of the stunt he pulled at the end. I admit I laughed.
The story begins with a bang and continues on in that fashion. The mystery is well plotted, brimming with suspense, intrigue, and horror. A supernatural serial killer is slaying their away across the country and the Conclave always seems to be one step behind them. The strong police procedural element blends well with the paranormal aspects. Thierry and Shaw (Black Dog series) make an appearance, leading me to believe the series will continue to overlap with one another. Even though this is a full length novel, it has a serial feel to it as some aspects are resolved while the main mystery is not and continues on into the next book. The next book releases in just a few months which intensifies the serial feel of it.
Dead in the Water is a great start to a new series and I’m looking forward to seeing what Edwards’s has in store for Cam next.
Kindred’s latest erotic endeavour is a concoction of paranormal fantasy, alternate world blending, mystery and suspense when a young man is freed from his involuntary imprisonment and decides to impersonate his dead twin sister in order to reclaim his heritage. Engaging dialogue, rich worldbuilding and well-developed main characters are a trademark of Kindred’s writing, but the romance and storylines didn’t quite develop on the same level. The premise promises a rich gender-fluid romance, but the uneven pacing and occasional rambling scenes leave the impression Kindred was at a loss on which direction to take at times. The multiple plotlines didn’t always work well together, causing some confusion, and the romance felt forced rather than a natural progression between the heroes.
Sebastian Swift was framed as a child for his twin sister’s murder and left to rot in a mental institution. When a freak storm frees him, he learns the truth is far worse than he ever suspected. His uncle has seized control of the estate, passing off his illegitimate son as Sebastian, and has been draining Sebastian of his powers through drugs. With the help of some friends, Sebastian poses as his twin sister August and arrives at the estate, determined to discover who murdered his sister and gain back control of his heritage. Macsen Finch refuses to let anyone interfere with his plans, even an attractive young woman who he is sure is nothing more than a gold-digging imposter. As Sebastian and Macsen grow closer and secrets are revealed, they find themselves firmly at the center of a conspiracy that could destroy them all. Sebastian knows he must gain control of his powers before it’s too late, but he fears the ones he loves the most are the ones who seek to stop him for good. ...more
I was very excited to see the Griffith’s had decided to revisit this fascinating world they built in their Vampire Empire Trilogy. This continuation picks up a year after the events in The Kingmakers; telling us what happened after the Empress Adele unleashed her geomancy power on England and it’s vampires. Do you have to read the trilogy first? No, this one does quite well on its own, but by starting here, you will miss the setup of the world and it’s unique characters. Also, you’ll miss the beginning of the main protagonists relationship and the evolution that led them from being enemies to lovers.
The Geomancer opens in Scotland. Empress Adele of Equatoria and her consort, the vampire prince Gareth, aka the Greyfriar, are currently residing at Gareth’s estate when rumors surface of vampires repopulating Britain. Though Adele effectively wiped out most of the vampire population in Britain, she did stop short of destroying them all. She also left herself vulnerable as she is unable to feel the ley lines anymore. Following the rumors, Gareth and Adele find themselves in Paris where they learn of the Witchfinder. This supposed geomancer has allied with some of the vampires and has created an amulet that protects vampires from Adele’s geomancy. He is also working on a way to give vampires the ability to kill humans on a wide scale level.
In order to stop the Witchfinder and the new vampire uprising, Adele and Gareth find new allies while reacquainting themselves with some very old and dangerous enemies. Action and suspense take the reins as Adele and Gareth are forced search out a deadly artifact that could help or hinder them. Journeying across the continent (Asia) Adele and Gareth have ample time to assess their relationship and the perceptions they each hold towards the future of their respective species and themselves.
The Griffith’s have done an excellent job of picking up where they left off with nary a stumble in the storyline. Quite a feat for a three year hiatus. This adventurous steampunk story is action packed with suspense, intrigue, romance, and a surprising amount of humor that works well with the serious subject matter. Its alternative historic view of vampires and humans continues to spellbound with smooth writing, exceptional world building, and the dynamic characters that inhabit it. Strong, well defined characters are the focal point of this series. Though the main trilogy consisted of three main characters (in a sense) the Griffith’s expand their base with new faces that look to have a fine future in the coming storylines. There is a slow start as we are acquainted with the world, it’s players, and introduced to the new storylines. Once all that is out of the way, the pace picks up considerably.
The narrative focuses heavily on rebuilding and re-educating the world. The vampires hold on Britain has been crushed but Adele and Gareth know that they have a long way to go if they are to see any cohabitation between the two species. Adele is far more ambitious in this way of thinking then Gareth. He has long subscribed to the notion that vampires will eventually destroy themselves and cease to exist. Though they know it will be a battle long and hard fought, they luckily have some very strong and courageous allies at their side.
The romance is a main contender in here, having already been fleshed out and established in the previous books. It co-exists comfortably with the main storyline rather than attempting to overshadow it. It is strong and comfortable with some lovely soft intimate scenes but there are still problems with Adele and Gareth being together. He has not been able to shed his alter ego as many in the empire would not understand or tolerate a vampire at their queen’s right hand or bed. Adele also fears her geomancy. It’s still relatively unknown and she almost lost Gareth to it once. They will need to work on their own issues if they are to survive this relationship intact.
The secondary characters are just as define and dynamic as our protagonists. Rather than simply pad the storyline, they are an essential part of it. Flay, General Anhalt, Queen Catatonia, and Simon all excel in their scenes and gift us with additional explanations and clues to the roles they are playing. The scenes from Catatonia’s point of view goes far in explaining the political upheaval in Paris and the ever changing alliances of those involved. I love that the Griffith’s kept previously introduced characters true to their original descriptions.
Multiple storylines and subplots run parallel and intertwine with some staggering revelations and outcomes. As always, everyone has their own agenda and I look forward to seeing how it all plays out in the end. As we jettison towards the end, we are given a shockingly climatic ending of the main conflict with just enough left open to transition us seamlessly into the next book.
Clay and Susan Griffith has managed to submerge me effortlessly back into the world of the Vampire Empire and I look forward to reading the next Adele and Gareth adventure.
Favorite Quote: “I know I’m crazy…It lets me get away with a lot of shit.”
Rae Lyall never expected to be chosen by the Goddess as the new Guardian for her Montana Shiftertown. As the first female Guardian ever, she catches quite a bit of backlash from her fellow shifters. Her foster father decides to send her away for training and Rae soon finds herself on a boat in the middle of nowhere with a crazy shifter who doesn’t want her or her sword anywhere around him.
Alexander Johansson Moncrieff (Zander) is a rare polar shifter who prefers quiet and solitude. Given the gift of healing by the Goddess as a young child, he knows what it’s like to be feared by his own people. Collarless and happy answering to no one, Zander is dismayed that Rae is slowly working her way past all his defenses. When a bounty hunter’s vendetta leads him to Rae’s home, Rae and Zander follow and discover a conspiracy brewing that could destroy them all.
Guardian’s Mate is the 9th book in Jennifer Ashley’s sexy, dark, and wickedly humorous PNR Shifter’s Unbound series. Fans have been waiting to learn more about the unpredictable Zander Moncrief since first meeting him in the novella, Wild Things. This installment is what I would call a bridge between the events in White Tiger and the next in the series. Ashley concocts a fun but relatively low conflict romance while building a new adventure filled story arc. She picks up a few loose story line threads from previous installments-starting all the way back to Mate Bond– and begins ties them all together, preparing us for the end of this series. Engaging narrative, new and old faces, and a multi-layered storyline will hook readers from page one.
Though Rae Lyall is a new character to the series, her family is not. She the foster daughter of the leader of the Montana Shiftertown. We met her father, Eoin, in Bad Wolf after their Guardian died under suspicious circumstances and Broderick (a wolf shifter from the Texas Shiftertown) returns the Guardian’s sword to them. Her town has been trying for months to get the Goddess to choose a new Guardian for them. It’s on their latest try that the Goddess finally comes through. Only she chooses Rae; making her the first female Guardian ever. This causes some serious strife in the town and among some of the surrounding shifters, many afraid of Rae and convinced her family have somehow rigged the ceremony. Rae’s father calls in a few favors and takes her to reclusive polar bear shifter so he can not only teach her how to defend herself but also keep her safe.
Raised in a household of male felines, Rae is strong, independent, witty, and quite alpha in her own right. She is understandably upset and a little afraid her father just drops her on some strange man in the middle of nowhere but she doesn’t submit nor put up with any of Zander’s outrageousness.
“Sweetheart, I promised I’d take care of you and get you home alright. I will do that. Do you trust me?” He had to raise his voice over the rush of the chaotic, crashing waves.
“No,” Rae yelled back.
“Hey, I will get you out of here whether you trust me or not. But it would be more fun if you did.” He grinned. “Would make me feel all warm and fuzzy.”“I’ll give you warm and fuzzy all right,” Rae said darkly.
Zander, Zander, Zander
We don’t know a lot about Zander beyond that he is a polar bear, a shifter healer, and he chooses to live isolated in Alaska. As Ashley reveals his backstory, we learn that he left his family years ago due to their issues with his gift. A closet sweetie who hides behind his size, sarcasem, and mysterious persona. He’s reclusive due to his empathic nature and the fact that his gift needs to be used only on those who truly need it. And those who need him, find him. Despite his whining for solitude, he has some close friends who have his back and a well-established network of “people he knows.”
“Where did you get a rocket launcher?”
“Wasn’t hard. I know a guy.”
Rae and Zander are perfect for one another. Both are orphans in a sense (Rae literally and Zander by choice) and unconsciously seek that one person who will love and accept them unconditionally. Zander respects Rae and the gift she has been given while Rae seems to instinctively understand the battle that rages inside Zander and provides a healing touch of her own. Their loneliness finds solace in one another and with the other loners they seem to pick up along the way, forming their own loosely defined clan. Playful banter and a slow burning romance flows under the main plotlines that are non stop in action, mystery, and adventure, leaving little time to fully explore this attraction they have for one another until things slow down.
Rae felt pliable and open. She wanted this man inside her with a mindlessness that would be alarming if she cared about such things right now. Rae closed her legs around Zander’s hips, urging him down. His sweatpants weren’t thick enough to hide how rigid his cock was, the beautiful length of it pressing hard on her between her legs. He wanted to be inside her as much as she needed him there.
Zander tore his mouth from hers again, his breath coming fast. “Goddess, Little Wolf, you’re gonna kill me.”
“Then we’ll die happy,” Rae said, smiling.
Zander growled, the note in it ferocious. “If I start with you, sweetheart, I won’t be able to stop myself. I’ll keep going no matter what. If the ship goes down, I’ll be too busy to care.”
“Me too.” Rae’s chest felt heavy, her nerves buzzing. “We almost died, Zander. We should celebrate.”
“No kidding. We will.” Zander’s eyes were alight with the same fire running through her. “We will, but later. ”
Ashley gives voice to a new story arc that builds off the original legend behind the creation of the shifters and fae. Bigotry, racism, and fear still play an integral role through the power of family, tolerance, and love help to offset it while Ashley uses all these to further power what’s to come. The addition of new information adds a sense of unpredictability while showing the inclusion of new characters is more than simply a means to extend the series. Everyone has a purpose though what exactly remains to be seen.
Tiger loosened his hold but spoke into Rae’s ear before he stood up. He might think he was whispering, but Zander heard every word.
“You must take care of Zander as well,” Tiger told her, then tried to drop his voice even lower. “He’s a little crazy.”
The ending resolves the main conflict in an explosive manner and more than solidifies the romance while leaving readers with questions and more then ready for book ten, Red Wolf, set to release May 2017. Fans of paranormal romance will enjoy Ashley’s latest installment that gives us an engaging hero and heroine whose gifts are the bridge that help form the connect to true love.
Fans of Ilona Andrews and their On The Edge series will be happy to see some familiar faces in the second book in their self published series that focuses on a young woman whose struggles to survive lead her into an epic adventures fraught with suspense, humor, danger, and a smattering of romance. The Innkeeper Chronicles were originally published as serials, free of charge, on the Andrews’ blog. Book one, Clean Sweep, is the set up book for this world. We are introduced to Dina DeMille and given her backstory. You don’t have to read Clean Sweep in order to enjoy Sweep In Peace but it would help you to fully understand the characters, the world, and certain scenes in this installment.
Dina’s parents were innkeepers until they and their inn abruptly disappeared one day. Dina and her brother searched all the galaxies for their parents with no results. Dina decided to open her own inn, the Gertrude Hunt, hoping that someday a guest will walk her halls, see a picture of her parents and recognise them. As an unestablished inn owner, she is the last on the list for guests to use. When an Arbitrator comes to her, asking to use her inn for a peace summit in order to negotiate peace between three warring factions (the Otrokars aka the Hope Crushing Horde, the Holy Cosmic Anocracy, and the Merchants), she seriously considers accepting the challenge, knowing this could be a huge win for her or a total loss.
“There was an attempt to broker peace between the Otrokars & the Holy Cosmic Anocracy during their ten year conflict.”
“Yes, I am familiar with it.”
“Then you also know how it ended.”
“I believe the patriarch of the House of Jero lunged at the Otrokar Khan, & the Khan beheaded him.”
“He ripped the patriarch’s head off with his bare hands and then proceeded to the beat the Marshal of the House of Jero to death with it.”
“Well, this venture could be viewed as risky…”
From this moment on you are swept away on a high octane adventure as the Andrews continue to expand and evolve this cleverly fluid new world; layering it with new storylines, conflicts, and faces. Fast pacing keeps you engaged as the story unfolds, maintaining a fine wire edged balance between the humor and sorrow that permeates the pages. We are shown the price war has on families and friends and how hard it is to step away from the battlefield when you have nothing left to defend but your memories. Dynamic well-developed characters are in abundance and offer readers a cornucopia from which to cheer and jeer. We met a battle-hardened general whose only thought is for her last living son. We meet a knight in shining armor who has learned that fairy tales don’t exist all he has left is his grief. We meet a man who will do the unthinkable to see his family survive. Each of these people want peace so desperately you can taste it but are unable to figure out a way to do so without condemning themselves and their people in the process. Lucky for them, they have Dina.
“I’ve found awe tends to cut down on revolts.”
Dina is a breath of fresh air in Urban Fantasy where too often the main protagonist’s own story is a weight that the reader bears while reading. While Dina has her own problems, she carries no real baggage that impedes her emotional or mental growth. Intelligent, witty, and fast on her feet, her no-nonsense attitude is the stabilizer on which the story is built. Not one to tolerate any misbehavior in her home, watching her handle her guests provided much laughter.
“I am glad the rooms were to your liking, Under-Khan. Unfortunately, I must ask you to depart, so the Marshal of House Krahr can inspect the quarters of his people.”
“And if I insisted on staying?”
“Then I’ll seal your body in wood, so all you can do is breathe, and use you as a lawn ornament.
What I adore about this heroine and the Andrews writing in general is they appear to have found the magic formula that enables them to balance the conflict with the emotion without succumbing to trite plotlines or made up controversy.
Getting to see Jack, George, and Lark (On the Edge series) again was a gift I didn’t expect but so happy to have received. The changes in them are rather complicated and I can only wish we had been able to experience them growing up in order to understand why they are like they are now. Especially George. Sean and Armand revisit, though if you’re hoping for a clear resolution to that situation, you’re out of luck. And of course my favorite guest of all-Her Grace, Caldenia ka ret Magren. A ruthless predator whose actions in the past have left her in need of the inn’s sanctuary. Her love for Mello Yello and Funyuns is at odds with her diabolical nature.
She liked him, so she was torturing him. Her Grace in a nutshell.
The end is a roller coaster ride of such dramatic twists and turns it would have left Machiavelli in awe. While the Andrews don’t make Dina’s journey easy at all, they do make it an exciting ride that further solidifies their reputation as fantastic storytellers who only seem to improve with each new adventure.
I am definitely looking forward to more Innkeeper Chronicles in the future.
“…I’m a girl and girls are made of…” “Sugar and spice,” he interjected, remembering the rhyme. “Wrong. Girls are made of vodka and ice. The two combined increase our tolerance for masculine nonsense.”
The Darkest Torment is the twelfth book in Gena Showalter’s popular long-running LOTU series. A fun, sexy, action-packed dark PNR that has kept us entertained through the years with her sexy dominant alphas and the insane women they choose to give their hearts to. Showalter keeps the pace frantic, the plotlines crazy, and the laughs coming in this release. I will admit I was a more than a little shocked when I first learned this would be Baden’s story. While Baden (The original holder of distrust) has been seen on and off throughout the series, we’ve never had any real interaction with him due to his actions bef The Darkest Night. But all that changes in here. Book e-The Darkest Touch-gave us some clues to what Baden has been up to and how he was going to become a more active player in the series but this wasn’t quite what I expected.
Showalter quickly brings us up to speed on Baden, the brewing war, and Hades involvement. We have learned that Baden has been released from Lucifer’s control and given corporal form by accepting Hades offer of freedom and agreeing to wear his bands. Bands that Keeley and William convinced him to take. Bands that essentially make Baden a slave to Hades. Needless to say, Baden is NOT happy about this development and begins to plot his freedom. As Baden comes to terms with the constraints on his new life, he learns that Pandora has also been released by Hades and he and she will be competing against one another with the winner taking all.
Insane pacing, strong writing, amusing narrative, and multiple storylines give us a well rounded look into everything that is going on in the Lord’s personal lives and their war against Lucifer. Even with the convoluted plotlines, Showalter keeps us firmly in hand and allows the story to unfold in an easy to understand manner of the issues at hand. She also spends a considerable amount of time developing Baden and beginning the seemingly daunting task of wrangling the overreaching arc into some semblance of order
The story starts out on a high note as William is trying to get Baden to have sex, explaining he is becoming increasingly unstable and needs some type of release before he goes DEFCON 20. Baden isn’t too keen on this as physical contact hurts him and the entity that has taken up residence in him really just hates everyone. Of course, once Baden gives in, the woman he picks is an agent for Lucifer and tries to kill him. Poor Baden. He just can’t win.
“I knew I should’ve just waited for you to weaken from orgasm.”
Baden seems to catch a break when Hades commands him to retrieve a gold coin from a human man. This doesn’t go well at all and Baden ends up kidnapping the man’s wife instead of the coin. Thus we meet Baden’s soul mate-Katarina Joelle.
Katarina Joelle is a renowned dog trainer whose biggest mistake was refusing to sell a man a pair of security dogs. Aleksander Ciernik, a vicious drug lord, bulks at being denied and forces her into a no win situation. In order to save the rest of her dogs, she must agree to marry him. At her wedding, Katarina is shocked when she gets her own version of a red wedding when Baden and his friends drop in and demand a gold coin. Alek refuses, causing not only the death of his entire wedding party but the kidnapping of Katarina.
“Taking a human is kind of a creeper move, you know that right?”
Similar in format to the prior romances, a healthy portion of the story is Baden and Katarina getting to know one another, learn each other’s backstories, and engage in a passive-aggressive style of foreplay. Katarina isn’t happy Baden kidnapped her and makes sure he knows it with repeated escape attempts and insults. Baden and his entity aren’t sure what to do with her though both of them are equally amused by her.
I loved Katarina. She fits in brilliantly with the rest of the gang. An amusing heroine who isn’t at all hampered by the fact she’s human. Intelligent, sneaky, smart-mouthed, and compassionate, Katarina has a will of steel only made stronger by a core of vulnerability that resides inside of her. Abandoned and/or betrayed by everyone she’s loved, she chooses to pour all her love into rescuing and rehabilitating dogs.
Baden is adorably grumpy in here and heaven at his worse, I couldn’t help but love him. He has some anger issues that need working out. He blames himself for what has happened to his friends once Pandora’s box was opened and has some serious guilt over his actions in the past. He doesn’t feel he is worthy of friendship or love and seeks to overcome his time spent with the demon distrust. Katarina is somewhat of an anomaly for him. She’s nothing like he thought and he truly fears for her life if she is dragged into the coming war.
The romance itself is very slow to develop; kidnapping and insults can put a damper on anyone love life and the animosity between them is strong. Katarina doesn’t just accept her circumstances but rather uses all her skills and knowledge to turn the tables on Baden and keep him on his toes. I find it hilarious she uses her dog training to try and bring him to heel.
Surviving a feral, rule one: Never show fear. Basically, fake it till you make it. Two: Use a soft but assertive tone. Anything else could rouse hostility. Three: Remember you get what you reinforce, not necessarily what you expect. In this case, she ignored rule number four: Place the dog’s needs first. And skipped to number five: Find out what will work best with each individual dog.
The chemistry is not to be denied and soon it sets this couple on a fiery course with some equally steamy and laugh out loud scenes as Baden struggles to override his bossy and overprotective side to treat Katarina as an equal. He is a dominant force to the core but he visibly struggles to tone it down for her and comes across as quite the romantic at times. What I truly enjoyed was no matter what Baden said to Katarina, she was able to hold her own with him and had no issues walking away when he went too far. It was also interesting how Baden’s entity comes to love Katarina as much as Baden does. She grounds them both, much to the surprise of the others.
“And Rina? You may be able to survive the world without me, but I can’t survive the world without you. We can’t. You keep us calm. You are our home.”
The LOTU craziness we all love is had here in spades. Willam almost steals the show with his advice and help. There are multiple storylines that ride parallel alongside one another and intersect at key times; bringing some needed updating to the ongoing arc and clueing us into future couples. I was happy we are given updates on the statuses of previous characters-revealing some good and not so good news. Showalter narrows her focus on Cameo’s search for Lazarus, alerting us that her book is next, while dropping a huge bomb on William and Gilly’s relationship. I imagined a million different scenarios over the years concerning them but I never saw this one. It will certainly be interesting to see how it plays out.
There were a few issues I had with this installment. Showalter seemed to really micromanage Baden and Katarina. At times, the sheer amount of small talk and play by play descriptions became redundant and slowed the story down. There is quite a bit of filler in here and the urge to start skimming through these areas was strong. I also wished Keeley’s actions concerning certain events had been explained a little better. She does a few things in here that make no sense. I’ll be honest, after reading this book, I can’t help but think The Red Queen aka Keeley increasingly reminds me of The White Queen aka Nix (Kresley Cole’s IAD series) with her cryptic prophecies, increasing forgetfulness, and offers of help that often make the situation ten times worse. As we all know, Showalter and Kresley often drop easter eggs in their books concerning each other’s characters so I wonder if this is an indication that these series will begin to interact in a more visible fashion as we near the end of both of them.
My issues aside, Showalter once again proves to readers that she has BIG plans for her LOTU and that we ain’t seen nothing yet. The Darkest Torment takes readers on a wild roller coaster ride that will leave you will begging to ride again and again.
Favorite Quote: “Monsters are your friends, never forget that.”
Lila Merriweather is now a full-fledged member of the Sinclair Family and has discovered her relationship to the Draconi’s. Determined to stop Victor Draconi from killing the Sinclairs and other families in order to take over as the ruling family of Cloudburst Falls, Lila, along with friends, has been slowly working behind the scenes to keep that from becoming a reality. When the scions of the various families are kidnapped and held for ransom, Lila will have to use everything in her arsenal to save the young man and the people she has come to love.
Bright Blaze of Magic is the third and final installment in Estep’s YA based urban fantasy trilogy. Our heroine, Lila Merriweather has gone from an orphaned loner to a girl with a family, a boyfriend, and a mission to avenge her parent’s death. Estep has done an admirable job of leading us to this point; setting up the plotlines, slowly allowing her heroine to grow, and making sure readers have all the information needed as she starts this book off with a bang and give us a respectable ending.
Steady pacing, engaging dialogue, and action-packed scenes kept this reader entertained as Estep revisits the most magical place on Earth for the final showdown. I enjoyed seeing Lila finally settle into her role and accept the bounty she originally rejected. The storyline is pretty straightforward without any real surprises or plot twists. The foreshadowing is laid on with a heavy hand. As I stated earlier, Estep pretty much tells us what is going to happen in book two and in here we see how it plays out. Punches aren’t pulled as Estep stays true to her heroine, allowing her to learn with each new hurdle she is forced to jump though there is no doubt at all Lila will prevail.
The cast of secondary characters continues to entertain and add to the anticipation of the story. Everyone puts aside their differences in a great show of solidarity for the common good. Lila gets help from the most unexpected places as she prepares for the coming battle through I was a little disappointed by everyone’s obvious regulation to minor supporting roles.These characters have lived and trained for the fighting and skirmishes between their families yet they all back down and place their future in the hands of a seventeen-year-old. I was expecting more from them. I was also disappointed with the development of Victor Draconi. He didn’t live up to his hype from the previous books. We are informed this is an evil black-hearted villain yet for all his posturing he was nothing more than a mashup of ridiculous threats and loosely plotted avenues of destruction.
Estep tightens up all the loose ends and wraps everything up in a fight to the death that resolves the main conflict but leaves some small openings that could spell more visits to CloudBurst in the future. Overall I did enjoy this series though it is definitely geared towards a younger reader. I recommend it for all readers who enjoys an adventurous YA Urban Fantasy with a lightweight world filled with magic, and a strong relatable female protagonist for readers to cheer for.
Favorite Quote: She crooned in his head, ‘Honey, I’m so proud of you for not killing anybody. ‘His gaze flashed to hers, and that flat, assessing expression vanished as he laughed. Squeezing her fingers, he told her, ‘Week’s not over yet.’
Dragos and Pia Cuelebre are on their way to Washington, DC to try and repair the damaged peace between mankind and the wyr demesne. Certain events already have Dragos riding the killing edge and Pia has to make sure no one taunts the deadly dragon. When an important politician’s husband is found murdered in their house and it looks like a Wyr is the culprit, Pia and Dragos will have to pull out all the stops to figure out who’s trying to frame them..and why.
I adore these novellas that Harrison writes about the Elder Races. They are perfect little peeks back into our favorite character’s lives and grace us with clues to new plotlines and story directions. Dragos Goes to Washington is part of a three novella series centering around Dragos, Pia, and their son Liam. They can each be read as a standalone but more fun when read in order. Short and sweet, Harrison delivers a full, rich, often steamy stories that engage you from page one.
Pia and Dragos are entering another chapter of their lives. Liam is growing up faster everyday and Pia finds herself experiencing some growing pains of her own. Though Liam was a surprise for them neither see any reason not to at least try again. *wink-wink* This of course engages the mating bond, putting an already volatile Dragos at defcon 12.
He was wearing his inscrutable expression, his gold gaze flat and unrevealing as he watched the protesters. It was one of his most dangerous expressions.
At the same time, Dragos and Pia are required to play nice for a Wyr/Human summit. Think UN summit but much, much deadlier. The supernatural events over the last year have caused great concern and damage to the already fragile peace and now there is a human supremacist group called A Right To Privacy that is doing everything possible to make sure the summit does not go well.
Harrison does a fabulous job of creating a tense volatile conflict while further exploring the dynamics of Dragos and Pia’s relationship. Even after a couple of years, there is still a sense of wonder and confusion on Pia’s part as to how she and Dragos managed to come together. He keeps his emotions locked down tight and sometimes Pia is unsure of how Dragos feels about her and their life together.
“How on earth did we find ourselves here, of all places?”
As king of the wyrs, Dragos must do some serious juggling to keep his people and his family safe. He can’t even afford to be seen as weak but in the privacy, he reassures us and Pia that he is one hundred percent committed to his family-especially Pia.
“As long as you’re okay, everything is okay even when it’s not. When you’re not okay, the world is hell.”
The mystery solves quickly, the events surrounding the case opening the door to a new storyline and arc that should prove to be a very interesting time for the all the wyrs. I loved getting to spend sometime with my favorite Elder Race characters and seeing what they are up to. I look forward to the next two novellas, Pia Goes to Hollywood (11/17), Liam Takes Manhattan (12/22), and the next full length novel-Shadow’s End ( 12/1).
Favorite Quote: “Fuck the guy, take the girl, save a soul”
Raze is a medic for Underworld General and a supernatural night club. He is also a seminus demon (sex demon) who has a bit of a problem. He’s gay. Unfortunately, he can only obtain the sexual release he needs to survive with females. 30 years ago he met a succubus, Fayle, who saved his life and now services him when he needs relief. Raze appreciates what Fayle does for him but neither are interested in each other and her possessiveness is beginning to wear on him. Raze has accepted his fate but when he meets a sexy man, he wonders if it’s possible for him to not only have what he needs…but who he wants.
Slake is an assassin for a demon run law firm. He escaped his violent homeland and made a deal with the devil (or someone pretty close to Satan) in order to survive but now finds himself on a deadline. He needs to retrieve a succubus and deliver her pronto or he forfeits his soul forever. The stunning medic he recently met has all his engines firing at full throttle but when he discovers his target, Fayle, is the only thing keeping the Raze alive, he finds himself caught in a trap of his own making.
As Raze and Slake look to find some middle ground, Fayle’s jealousy turns deadly, and suddenly Raze and Slake are fighting for more than their right to love. Now they’re fighting for their lives.
If you are anything like me, you glom Larissa Ione’s Demonica series with an unholy passion. I continue to wait breathlessly for each little niblet Ione releases in this world. When I heard she was writing an MM romance…my grabby hands went into hyper drive. As always, this wickedly dark and gritty paranormal world continues to thrive with it’s dynamic characters, devious plots lines, steamy sexually intense romances, and engaging often humorous dialogue.
Raze and Slake are a delightful addition to this world. Both are intelligent, gorgeous, honorable men who haven’t had the easiest of times. Ione weaves a sensual “lust at first sight” romance and divulges just enough into their backgrounds to help fan the flames of desire and attraction. Delicious love scenes and some unusual but well plotted twists helps these boys towards their happily ever after. Fans will delight in seeing cameos of various beloved characters who pop in and out to help Raze and Slake. My only qualm is the blurb claims Fayle and Raze are best friends but the storyline doesn’t support that. Their relationship is anything but friendly and decidedly one sided.
Once again Ione has given us a much desired and sexy glimpse back into her world and reaffirms that in the PNR genre, she is definitely royalty.
Favorite Quote: “If I start slapping people, I may not be able to stop.”
Pia Cuelebre, mate to the Lord of the Wyrs, is on her way to Hollywood to spend a week with Light Fae Queen, Tatiana, after a diplomatic pact is made between all the Elder Races. Though Dragos was not invited, nothing is going to stop him from tagging along to make sure his mate arrives and departs in perfect health.
When an enemy threatens not only the light fae but all the magically inclined, Dragos and Pia find themselves caught in the middle of a feud spanning centuries. As they struggle to defeat the threat looming over them, Dragos and Pia may be forced to reveal some secrets that could further endanger them.
Pia Does Hollywood is the second in a three part novella trilogy that centers around the Cuelebre family. Each novella is based on one person. They can each be read as standalones but are much more fun when read in order. Short and sweet, Harrison delivers full richly detailed stories all centered on a particular problem or issue this family has to deal with.
Once again, Harrison uses Dragos and Pia’s strong relationship and formidable personalities to help save the day when Dragos is injured by an old enemy of Tatiana’s who unleashes a deadly plague on the Light Fae. A plague that infects anyone with a hint of magic in them. Mystery and intrigue blend together with previous storylines as secrets concerning Dragos and Pia are threatened with exposure while new plotlines are introduced in order to prepare us for the next full length Elder Races novel. We learn more about Tatianna, her past, and how Dragos plays a part in it. A part he cannot remember.
The conflict resolves in a believable manner as a new character makes an appearance that has Dragos and all of the Light Fae wondering just how far this enemy will go to destroy Tatianna and her people. As always I love these intimate little glimpses into our favorite Elder race family & I am looking for ward to the third novella in the trilogy-Liam Takes Manhattan (12/22).
The Lost Soul of Lord Badewyn is the third installment of Harlow’s enchanting and intriguing paranormal historical romance series-The Order of M.U.S.E. As with each installment in this series, each book can be read as a standalone though there are continuing subplots that cross from book to book. Even more strongly character driven than the first two books, the romance maintains a tight grip on the novel with the conflict being more personal in nature and not requiring the official investigations of the Order. Marlow writes her story with a smooth hand; engaging us at a steady pace as she develops a romance that draws in your attention right from the start. This book seems to be softer- not as action packed as the last two installments- choosing to embrace the emotional aspects to focus on.
I have been interested in getting Meg Anthony’s story since first meeting her. A strong, loyal, street smart young woman, her life hasn’t been a bed of roses. Used by her relatives for criminal activities, Meg eventually runs away and finds protection with the Duke of Camden. Called a finder, she is able to locate anyone or anything. Issues concerning her gift revolves around the fact she has to spiritually leave her body in order for it to work. Basically, she dies & her soul leaves her body, only to return when she wills it to. This has caused the Duke to place an edict on her that she will not use her gift unless she is given permission. The only one of the order who is not of the upper class, Meg feels insecure about her place in the order and struggles to accept that she is just as important as any of them. She feels unworthy of their kindness and affection.
Samuel, Lord of Badewyn, seeks to remain closeted from society due to his celestial nature and his family. He knows what will happen if he ever falls in love and marries. Something that has happened to every one of his brothers before him. He believes himself without a soul or heart ; unworthy of anyone’s affection. He’s fiercely loyal, intelligent, and stubborn. Once he sets himself on a course, it is almost impossible to deviate him from it. Yet, once he meets Meg, he begins to see that maybe he has a chance at a normal life.
I found our hero and heroine to be sweet, honest characters whose peculiarities actually make them perfect matches. Both unsure of their place in society and life, choosing to hide away rather than bring their problems to anyone’s door. Their strengths are magnified by their perseverance and intelligence, and willingness to fight for what’s right. The journey they travel together is littered with pitfalls and secrets but Marlowe tempers the seriousness with witty antagonistic banter, light flirting, and some humorous internal dialogue. Both of them know that due to their circumstances, falling in love is not a luxury that either can afford. Regardless, the chemistry between them is hot and delicious, leading to some delightful love scenes that allow them to bare their hearts to one another.
Familiar secondary characters dot the landscape, adding to the tension and suspense while resolving their own issues. We meet a few very interesting new faces who I shall enjoy seeing more of in the future. The strong camaraderie continues to be felt and Marlowe further explores the intricate ties that bind them together. I look forward to reading their stories in the future. As with most of Marlow’s books, a single grand gesture of love pushes the story towards the end, granting you the answers you seek and the happy ending you desire.
Edwards continues to enchant readers with the fifth installment in her Araneae series. This well-plotted fantasy continues to engage the reader with iEdwards continues to enchant readers with the fifth installment in her Araneae series. This well-plotted fantasy continues to engage the reader with its intriguing characters, heart-pounding action, suspenseful intrigue and subtle romance. Dynamic worldbuilding continues to evolve while Edwards further develops the ongoing arc. Though each installment focuses on one hero and heroine, the arc is long-reaching and Edwards is not prone to recapping. -
Favorite Quote: “I would have stood for you, the law would have stood for you.”
A former senator goes missing, his cousin, Dr. Dennis Mira, is the only witness to the crime. Left with a concussion and a sense of forbidding, Dr. Mira calls his wife for help. Luckily for him, he is married to a renowned profiler for the NYSPD, Dr. Charlotte Mira, and good friends with Lieutenant Eve Dallas. When Eve and Charlotte arrive, Dennis tells them he saw his cousin beaten and sitting in a chair but was hit from behind and now his cousin is gone.
What starts out as a random abduction soon turns into something more insidious when the senator is found dead and tortured. As Eve begins to investigate the senator’s death, she discovers politics and power can make for strange bedfellows. Eve uses her badge and wealth to open closed doors, determined to shine a light on the private lives of the elite and powerful, only to discover a series of crimes so heinous that the lines between victim and killer blur.
Brotherhood in Death is the 42nd installment in J.D. Robb’s long-running futuristic In Death series. Set in the year 2061, a hard as nails lieutenant brings criminals to justice with some help from her billionaire husband and the NYSPD. Strong writing, well-plotted mysteries, intriguing subplots, and continuous characterization helps to keep the world fresh but comforting. Though there is a certain predictable quality to the story, the show us different angles used in police investigation. Robb continues to blend our heroine Eve’s personal life with her professional one, keeping the addictive action packed mystery perfectly in tune with the established romance and personal drama that constantly hums in the background. Humor and some lighthearted moments walk hand in hand with the more emotional scenes, giving readers the time to come to terms with the darker aspects of the story. Though riddled with police procedurals and investigative terms, Robb writes with an easy hand, allowing those unfamiliar with either of these aspects to follow along.
Eve is on her way home early for once when she receives a frantic call from her friend and department resident shrink, Dr. Charlotte Mira, begging her to come to an unknown address. Her husband, Dennis Mira, has been hurt and a family member is missing. Eve rushes over to learn that Mr. Mira was knocked unconscious and his cousin, the powerful ex-senator Edward Mira, has been abducted. Eve learns Dennis was at the family homestead to discuss Edward’s attempts to sell the family property out from under Dennis. With little to no evidence, Eve is starting out blind with only Dennis’s vague recollections and a politician’s legacy to help guide her.
I have noticed this series becoming progressively darker as Robb moves from futuristic based crimes into more personal timeless ones. I want to note that this particular storyline is sexually dark and may be a trigger for some. While Robb doesn’t write violence gratuitously, she also doesn’t whitewash. Per usual, the storyline revolves around watching how Eve and her team using their myriad of skills and know how to solve the case. I did feel this one started off a bit slow in the beginning. I felt more time was spent listening to Eve investigate then actually seeing her in action. There was also some oddness to the dialogue in the beginning. It seemed to struggle to find a comfortable flow. The pacing and dialogue both pick up just before the halfway point and Eve begins to make inroads into the investigation and the pieces start to form a picture. As the nature of the crime(s) speak personally to Eve, we see the connections made and the flashbacks that plague Eve as she struggles to remain objective. We also see her dismay that two people she whom she sees as friends and pseudo parent figures are hurt by this case. Dennis Mira has always been an important secondary character and I enjoyed Robb taking the time to peel back his layers to show us what lies behind his normally affordable personality. HIs and Eve’s scenes together are particularly poignant.
Familiar faces along with some new ones provide entertainment, outrage, and some sorrow tinged moments. Eve continues to loosen up in the workplace and love her ability to joke with her squad. They have her back and she finally believes it. Readers will love seeing Eve and Roarke as they continue to grow in their lives together. Steamy love scenes, romantic declarations of love, and just enough fire out of the bed (or the shower, the elevator, etc…) tells a beautiful tale of triumph over tragedy. One scene in particular sets the stage for some changes in their home, telling us that they are ready to move onto another chapter in their life together.
Brotherhood in Death is another welcomed addition to the series, giving readers an engagingly layered mystery to help solve and a dynamic couple whose love affair continues to capture our attention even 42 books in. As always, I love visiting Robb’s version of the future and look forward to the next installment.
I put off reading this for awhile even though I was told repeatedly I would enjoy it. Frankly, I thought it would be lowbrow cheesy soft porn masqueraI put off reading this for awhile even though I was told repeatedly I would enjoy it. Frankly, I thought it would be lowbrow cheesy soft porn masquerading as sci fi erotic romance. Imagine my surprise that it is a well written story with developed characters, viable plotlines, and some steamy hawt action. The hero is a sweetie and I loved the heroine with her snark and ability to adapt to any situation. ...more
Devoted in Death is the 41st installment in J.D. Robb’s thrilling futuristic mystery series. Taking place in the year 2061, the series revolves around a tough as nails police lieutenant, Eve Dallas, and her sexy billionaire husband, Roarke. I find it amazing that this series (story wise) has only advanced two years in time. The writing and character advancement are so strong and creatively revealed, you get the impression that years have gone by. Robb perfectly blends Eve’s personal life with her professional one, creating an addictive action packed police thriller with a lush established romance that constantly hums in the background. Though plumb with police procedurals and investigative terms, Robb writes with a liberal hand, making it easy for those unfamiliar with either of these aspects to follow along with nary a hiccup.
Eve has just returned from a much needed tropical vacation with her husband Roarke only to be called out on a homicide. A famous cello player has been tortured and murdered; his body dumped far from home. The only clues are the letters E & D surrounded by a heart carved into his skin. As Eve submerges herself into her investigation, she meets up with an out of town cop who claims he has knowledge of this case. Deputy William T. Banner from Arkansas has been investigating earlier murders whose MO bears a striking resemblance to Eve’s case. Unable to get his chief on board, Banner starts connecting the dots on his own time which leads him to NYC and Eve. Eve invites Banner to join her team as they slowly begin to piece the puzzle together and discover a way to capture this destructive duo.
This installment starts out a little different from previous installments as we are made privy to the villains in the beginning. The storyline revolves around watching how Eve puts it all together to solve the case. Robb flashes between the past and present, allowing us an intimate view of Ella-Loo and Darryl as they make their way towards NYC while Eve and her squad investigate their crimes in present day NYC. Robb gradually intersects the two storylines and merges them together towards the climactic finale. A majority of the book focuses mainly on the investigation of the case with snippets of Eve’s personal life dotting the storyline. Readers will appreciate the continued evolution of Eve as she continues to become more comfortable in her life with Roarke and in her own skin. Though she will never forget her childhood, she is gradually coming to terms with it and letting go of the guilt that has held her hostage for years.
The case itself is interesting in the way it’s presented. The readers are in the know before Eve and I found this caused me to be more heavily invested in watching her use her skills and gut feelings in solving the case. Some violence and sexual assault is alluded to so for some readers this may be a trigger.
Old familiar faces along with some new ones provide entertainment, sweet sigh invoking scenes, and the usual humor. Eve still continues to be confounded by the oft-repeated and taken for granted sayings we all sprout unconsciously. Fans will love the deepened friendship and camaraderie Eve has developed with her squad. The family style atmosphere only serves to further enhance how much Eve has grown in the past two years. The chemistry between her and Roarke is still steamy hot and Robb doesn’t cheat readers out of their private times together-assuring us the honeymoon phase is still going strong. *wink* I love there is a small scene where Roarke experiences some jealousy. It’s nice to see as he is usually in tight control of his emotions and seemingly maintains a level head at all times.
Fans of the series will find comfort in the familiar as Devoted in Death continues the In Death saga with a thrill based storyline, much beloved characters, and a timeless romance.