**spoiler alert** Favorite Quote: "Princess, it has been an honer. Were things different, I would gladly serve you till the end of time."
Meghan Chase**spoiler alert** Favorite Quote: "Princess, it has been an honer. Were things different, I would gladly serve you till the end of time."
Meghan Chase has kept her promise and allowed herself to be taken to the Winter Court. Upon arrival she finds she is to be a guest for an indeterminable length of time. As Meghan attempts to find her way in the court it is evident that her life and/or death is of no consequence to Queen Mab. A single act causes unimaginable consequences; forcing Meghan to accept her role in Fairy and to fight for everyone and everything there.
Often sequels never live up to there predecessors. Thankfully this is not one of those times. The Iron Daughter continues with the same intensity and darkness as The Iron King. Ms Kagawa has built a lush multi layered fantasy that enchants and enslaves your imagination. In Ms Kagawa's thrilling continuation of her Iron Fey series, we find Meghan in the Winter Court under Queen Mab's rule who plays with her as a cat might a mouse. Frightened and overwhelmed, Meghan turns to Ash only to find she is once again his enemy. While Ash tried very hard to acquaint Meghan to life in the Winter Court before arrival; his animosity towards her is hard for her to bear on top of everything else. While dealing with the Winter Court, Megan still attempts to filter everything through her humanity. Only to finally realize that there is no humanity here. The Winter Court is a frozen wasteland teeming with cruelty and barely controlled civility. Meghan lives with her heart upon her sleeve but Ash must continue to reject her for her own good. It is so interesting to see all this from a 16 yr old's point of view. I think we all forget what a turbulent time first love can be for us.
Favorite Quote: “The world had turned its back on me. I should turn my back on it”
Rachel Morgan has been officially shunned and accused of black magic. She has three days to get to get to California in order to appear before the Witches Convention to clear her name. If she is found guilty she either has to go to the ever after for good or be put to death. As part of her shunning, she isn’t allow to fly. So when Trent Kalamack approaches Rachel asking for her help with a mission of his own in California; Rachel and the rest of the gang get ready for a road trip. But this trip isn’t going to be the piece of cake Rachel thought. From kidnapping pixies to soul devouring demons, Rachel will have to use everything she has to stay one step ahead in this game-even if it means dying.
** I make reference to the previous book Black Magic Sanction in here so there are some very minor spoilers**
Pale Demon, the 9th installment of Kim Harrison’s Hollow series is a crazy, action packed, convoluted ride that answers some pretty important questions but asks even more to assure us that this is not the last we will see of Rachel and the gang. For that I say YEA!!
We pick up right after Black Magic Sanction ends. At the end of Black Magic Sanction Rachel, with Trent’s help, makes a deal with the head of the Witches coven to allow her to present her case before the annual Witches Convention in San Francisco or she will go public with some VERY sensitive and world impacting information. Yet, for all the posturing Rachel did, all of us knew that the head of the coven wasn’t going to make this easy for Rachel. They don’t want her shunning revoked. To do so would admit they were wrong. Hence to “no fly” rule. This gives Rachel only 3 days to get cross country. When Trent approaches her for bodyguard protection, Rachel instantly thinks something is up. And she’s right. Quen can’t go with Trent on his mission. And Trent has to do this mission. The reasons and results are quite shocking.
After only a few hours in the car with Trent, Rachael realizes why Quen is always with Trent. He is a walking magnet for trouble. Most of it his own making. In fact, 98% of the trouble that Rachel deals with in this book is caused by Trent. As much as I love him, I’d have hog tied him and tossed him in the trunk till I hit Cali. But Rachel, with help from some unlikely allies, manages to hold her own as she runs the gauntlet on her way to California.
I love Rachel. She is the best of unlikely heroines. Just wanting to be left alone in her church, she inadvertently manages to involve herself in all sorts of trouble as she fights for the underdog. Gloriously flawed, at times I’m irritate with her, yet I can’t help but admire the way she sticks to her convictions. She may mess up a lot, but they are her own mistakes and she owns them. Her loyalties are unwavering and she would give her life for her friends. She believes in the best of herself and holds everyone else to those same high standards. Unfortunately, not everyone else lives by her moral code so she is unpleasantly surprised a lot by the betrayal she is constantly a victim of. Even at the end, she rises above her own anger and need for revenge to do what needs to be done.
We see many old faces in this installment. Trent, the “little cookie maker” that he is, is in here and is a devious and closed mouth as ever. We do see some interesting developments that bear watching in the future.
Al, Rachel's demon teacher, is here as well. He truly makes me laugh in his attempts to exploit yet care for Rachel. In his own way he loves her and I am very curious to see where he goes in future installments. Of course, Ivy and Jenks are along for the ride. They don’t get as much time with them as normal-most of the storyline focuses on Rachael-so they are indeed regulated to secondary characters this time around.
We meet some new faces and we get new and fabulous information to some characters that had been standing patiently in the background. BIZ!!!! That is all.
I know many, myself included, are interested in the romance angle. After Kristen died *SOB* we were all as lost in grief as Rachel. I’m not going to spoil here (did you really think I would TELL you?) but I will say that the doors opening for Rachel bear watching.
I have to say I like our antagonist. A villain that makes you laugh and cringe as you follow his reign of terror. A new face that had to show itself. Their appearance adds a new layer to the arc and ends up changing everyone’s lives.
Only two small problems I had. One is Rachel’s immaturity. Most of which is actually based on her moral code I spoke of earlier. I find that while I enjoy her innate goodness, I really feel she needs to grow up a little and take more control of her destiny. We do see a beginning to this in here and for one I am glad. I just wish it would have happened a little sooner in the series. Trent makes mention in Black Magic Sanction of some serious fall out that she had no idea of that he and David (her werewolf friend) has been handling. I felt in a way that she should know about this or at least have some sense that things don’t just “go away” after she’s done her part. But on the other hand, so many of her friends “protect her” that it’s a hinders her more then anything.
I also felt that the road trip, which last about half the book, slowed things down a little. Of course, once you reach the last half, you really don’t care. It’s just that good.
All in all Pale Demon BRINGS IT this time around with plenty of small and large sub plots that will have you thinking and ruminating for a long time. Action, suspense, tension, and some misdirection that will have you biting your nails and speed reading to see what happens next. Rachel experiences some major life altering changes and where this will go from here is anyone’s guess. But I can guarantee you won’t want to miss this ride for anything.
Pale Demon releases February 22 so mark the date and be there to pick up your copy.
This contains a few spoilers from The Iron Daughter so proceed at your own risk.
Favorite Quote: “Do what you must. I’ll be here whatever you decide. If it takes one year or a thousand, I will keep you safe.”
Fairy tales are often told of the beautiful and benevolent fae bestowing gifts of wonder and delight to unsuspecting humans. But Meghan Chase knows better. She sees the real fae and has lived in their cruel world. Being half human and half fae has brought her nothing but ridicule and pain as she tries to navigate her life-straddling the gray area between fact and fantasy.
At the end of The Iron Daughter, Meghan (a child of the Summer King) and Ash (a child of the Winter Queen) were banished forever from Nevernever for daring to love one another and are back in the human world for good. This appeals to Meghan as she sees it as a chance to leave everything fae behind and for her and Ash to be together. But nothing is ever concrete with the fae and a missive appears from Meghan’s father asking for her attendance. If Meghan can defeat the Iron King, her and Ash’s banishment will be “pardoned” without fear of reprisal.
Meagan knows that she must go back and defeat the (false) Iron King if she is ever to go forward with her life.
Ms Kagawa has created a stunningly imaginative and vivid ever changing world filled with fantastical creatures, emotional intensity and heart stopping action. One can almost reach out and touch the land of Nevernever and its inhabitants. I am in constant awe of Ms. Kagawa’s ability to submerge me into her reality and drive me to the brink of madness with want and need.
The Iron Queen deals primarily with Meghan and her emotional, mental, and physical growth. Meghan is going to war and you can physically see her change in attitude as she dons a metaphysical armor and prepares herself for the battle. We not only see changes in her, but changes in how she perceives other people in her life. I really liked how she never voices doubt in here. Failure is not an option with her.
Ash matures in here as well. We see him go from a cold and unsure romantic interest to accepting his love for Meghan and embracing it. There is a small romantic scene between them that tastefully embraces their physical love without over stepping any bounds. It gives a feeling acceptance and hope to Meghan’s and Ash’s relationship that boosts the storyline to new levels. We are reunited with Puck and he too changes. Even though he stayed in Nevernever after Ash and Meghan were banished, he returns to the “scene of the crime” and it further reinforces our knowledge of his feelings for Meghan . Though he loves her madly, we see that his feelings for her are strong enough to let her go romantically and still be her friend.
The battle scenes are epic and even when there is down time; the story continues to flow steady and we are carried right along with no awkward pauses. Multiple story lines are present that flow and ebb right along side our main story line. Towards the end, each one blends into the main with the brilliance of a falling star and offers the illumination we needed to see what was always in front of us.
The ending is Machiavellian in the twists and turns used to being us to the finale. I honestly thought my heart was going to break as I read the last remaining pages. While we are shown a conclusion of sorts to Meagan’s true destiny, we are also left standing on a cliff with no way up or down as Ms. Kawaga waves goodbye to us promising “rescue” with the release of her 4th installment-The Iron Knight.
With fast action pacing, a smooth constantly evolving storyline, and fresh non repetitive dialog, The Iron Fey series is definitely this readers choice as a top read. The Iron Knight, 4th and possibly finale in this series, is set to release this year.
Once upon a time there was a little girl named Jenny. She lived on an island with her grandparents. One day, when walking the beach, she came across a young boy who was injured. But this was no ordinary boy for he was silver. Jenny tried to help the boy but he was taken from her and she never saw him again. Except in her dreams.
Perrin, the boy whom Jenny befriended so long ago, is now full grown and has never forgotten Jenny either. When certain events point towards a world wide catastrophic event, fate re unites Perrin and Jenny in a race towards preventing the destruction of mankind.
The 10th Dirk & Steele Novel, In The Dark Of Dreams, is a thought provoking dark romantic fantasy that put me through the emotional ringer. Ms. Liu’s continued rich world building and dynamic characters explode to life as we are taken on a journey through a past and present filled with tragedy, remorse, and redemption. I have said it before and I’ll say it again. Marjorie M. Liu is the QUEEN of writing stories filled with tortured individuals who’s essence grab your heart and bruise your soul.
Jenny is at sea on a mission and comes across a woman who teases her memory. When they bring her aboard ship and investigate, Jenny realizes two things. The woman was murdered and someone on her ship did it. When the murderer commandeers the ship and Jenny, she escapes with the help of a mysterious and heart stopping man. As Jenny and her mysterious rescuer flee for their lives, Jenny soon discovers that it’s Perrin-the boy she found so long ago.
Perrin who is a Krackeni (merman), has a parentage that bestowed on him a special gift. But his dreams of a human were not tolerated and that caused him to be exiled from the sea. For the past 8 years Perrin has lived as a surface dweller on land-dying a little bit each day.
When Jenny and Perrin realize they have both shared the same dreams and their connection has a direct result on the the catastrophic horrors happening all over the world, they race against time to find the source of the disturbances and halt it’s deadly path.
Jenny and Perrin are to emotionally flawed characters who will capture your heart from page one. Both have suffered horribly at the hands of their families yet their inner strength and loyalties don’t allow them to wallow in self pity or give up. Even from the beginning you see their only shells-neither of them are whole. Both, unknowingly, waiting for the one person who completes them.
Jenny is a strong heroine who’s trials through life have forged her into a deceptively fragile pillar of steel. Yet buried beneath her strength is a vulnerability that speaks to you. Physically and emotionally drawn to Perrin, she shies away from what he silently offers due to fear. Because of her family’s work, she is extremely open minded to the wonders of the unknown. But she fears what she will lose when Perrin finds out exactly who she is.
Perrin is remarkably sane considering what his family had done to him-all because of Jenny. Banished from the ocean, he has suffered unimaginably for the crime of wanting someone he shouldn’t. He is filled with extreme pain, rage, and resentment towards his people yet when he knows he must return to the ocean at the risk of death, he courageously throws it all aside in attempts to save his world. His emotional bond to Jenny is so strong that it dictates the very air he breathes. But he too has secrets that he fears will drive Jenny from him.
Ms. Liu does a fantastic job of blending the suspense of the story with the emotional journey of Jenny and Perrin. Non stop action speeds the story along as you frantically absorb all the nuances and shifts. The plot was remarkable in it’s unique synopsis and I found myself riveted as it revealed itself. While there is a lot going on, Ms. Liu’s clear and concise writing style leaves little confusion. With each scene we watch Jenny and Perrin face their fears and over come obstacles while dealing with external factors that try to stop them. Nether plot nor romance is sacrificed. They balance and complement each other through the entire arc; merging together towards the end.
The romance evolves slowly as they rediscover each other on an adult level. Both have some extreme issues and Ms. Liu requires them to deal with those issues. The chemistry between Perrin and Jenny is electrifying and satisfying. Even though the physical aspects are very low key; the dialog and undercurrents are so emotionally charged you can feel it leaping off the pages.
The supporting cast is written strong and imposing. Complex and convoluted; the good and bad here are merely defined by degrees of separation and much plays out behind the scene. Everyone here has an agenda and does not always play by the rules. We see some old faces along with some new ones. I found each one to be a satisfying addition to the story. There are plenty here to cheer and hate with abundance.
As we headed towards the ending I found myself gripping the book with tension. Ms. Liu plays it close to the vest and I found myself praying the story would end the way I wanted. The ending IS phenomenal and leaves enough open end questions to assure us we haven’t seen the last of these players. Even though this could be read as a stand alone in the terms of the romance, you lose a lot in comprehension of character and arc development by not starting from the beginning of the series-Tiger Eyes.
Favorite Quote: “I guess true love does make you blind.” “No...true love doesn’t make you blind. It paralyzes you until you can’t breathe or run away from it.”
Ellie is your average teenager; hanging with her friends, despairing about school, and waiting for her 17th birthday to arrive. But when the monsters in Ellie’s nightmares become reality, she finds herself on the front line of a supernatural war between the Angels and the Fallen. Ellie is Preliator-an angel warrior who is charged with dispatching the Fallen back to Hell. Ellie has fought this war for thousands of years and is reincarnated each time she dies. Will, her protector, waits each time for her to be reborn and remember her life mission. This time though, something is wrong. She isn’t remembering as fast as she should and time is running out.
The beginning is promising. Ms. Moulton has created a wonderful world that seamlessly blends real and fantasy to give us a story that is easy to follow. The characters are well thought out and retained their flaws perfectly. Interesting snappy dialog creates a fast paced storyline that flows well. Ellie is a teenage girl with a snarky attitude and a strong sense of self. With her fast approaching 17th birthday she is more concerned with parties and her friends. When her nightmares increase in frequency an she is attacked one night a mysterious young man comes to her rescue.
Will, the love interest, is introduced in the beginning and his development seems to come in spurts. Yet as he becomes more involved with Ellie; light back story is given I found myself much vested in his story. As this is all from Ellie’s POV-we only get to know him on her time. I would have loved more time with him. I do like that the romance is not a major storyline but rather a pleasant under current that enhances but doesn’t try to compete.
The majority of the story focuses on Ellie but her character doesn't develop fast enough to hold my constant attention. Ellie’s everyday actions begins to slowly overwhelm the arc as we basically read about each minute of Ellie's life and those who interact with her. Information concerning who and what Ellie is, is given sparingly. Exciting fight based action but it begins to bog the story down with repetitive fight scenes and dialog. I felt as though I was reading the same scene over and over with minute changes.This story reminds me so much of the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie with Kristine Swanson. Action packed with a terrific premise yet a bit silly and chafing at times.
Our secondary characters don’t come into play as much I would have liked. Again, this completely follows Ellie so you only see, hear, and meet on her terms.The Reapers and Archangels have minimum roles and did not flesh out well as being terrifying entities. Ellie's friends provide comic relief and help cement Ellie's role as your average teenager; but some scenes are just too juvenile and seemed more filler then meat. Will’s answer for everything became a bit convenient. I found her parents to be a bit odd. I really wished to have gotten more background on her father. He stayed one dimensional, though I really felt he was suppose to play a huge part in Elle’s story. He never seems to complete the transition from minor to major.
Overall I would have liked more growth and less Buffy but still an interesting story filled with lots of action, some forbidden romance, and teenage growing pains. Those who love the premise of humans becoming involved in the ultimate Heaven /Hell battle will enjoy this new author’s debut in this genre.
Favorite Quote: ”Count to ten. Bite your tongue. Keep yourself together, Gilly. Don't lose it." "Don't lose it.”
Gilly Soloman is a stay at home mom of two small children who spends her days and nights catering to her family’s needs while ignoring her own. Gilly is headed for an overload and wishes for a small break from her life. When she is carjacked, Gilly gives into her wish. But rather then a day or two of peace, she is snowbound with her kidnapper for 3 months with no way out. As Gilly begins to bond with her kidnapper, she never lets herself forget that he is teetering on the edge and one wrong move could destroy them both.
Precious And Fragile Things is a different look for Ms. Hart. An accomplished erotica writer, I have enjoyed her books many many times but she does a 180 with this novel. No romance. No sex. Just two strangers who are thrown together by chance and now must try and survive. Even though it is completely different from her usual offerings, Ms. Hart’s signature style is stamped through out it.
This was difficult for me to read because it forces you to acknowledge not only the mental and physical pain of these characters but also the decisions they have made. It also asks you some difficult questions about yourself. It stayed with me long after I finished as I tried to sort out my feelings about it. Ms. Hart brings to the forefront two sensitive subjects. She doesn’t offer excuses nor sensationalize them. It is what it is. Strong characterization and smooth yet forceful writing captures your attention and holds you as much a hostage as our protagonists.
I’m not sure if I liked Gilly and Todd. These two flawed individuals don’t necessarily endear themselves to you. At times I felt like I was watching them through a window. A disconnected spectator held spell bound by the unfolding drama. Yet, it works because Ms. Hart doesn’t write about the dreamy larger than life hero or heroine. She doesn’t promise us a happy ending or even an acceptable one. She writes about ordinary people’s lives and fillets them open for us with the skill of a surgeon.
As you sit in that snowbound cabin with Todd and Gilly, you are on an emotional roller coaster as their lives are further exposed and you begin to see a faint connection being forged. Even though their current situations are quite different, there is a spark of similarity between them that is further empathized as the story progresses. I appreciated how neither character was sacrificed for the other. This wasn’t just Gilly’s story or Todd’s story. It’s their story.
The ending had me letting out my breath slowly as I read the last sentence and tried to absorb all that had happened. I will say I wish Ms. Hart would have left off the epilogue. It felt out of place and rather trite after the impacting finale.
All in all I found this book to be a gripping, suspenseful, and thought provoking novel that questions and examines the precious and fragile things in our lives....more
Favorite Quote: “Fool! It’s obvious they grow them stupid in America.”
Lady Angela has loved Camden (the stable hand) since she was a little girl; but when her grandfather finds them together he gives her an ultimatum. Either she marries Lord Dunstan or he will have Cam accused of theft and sent to prison for life. Lady Angela marries Lord Dunstan and suffers for her lost love. Cam upon finding out Angela married Dunstan flees to America and swears his revenge.
15 years later she is divorced and living in disgrace under her brothers care. When a secret investor buys up all the family business shares and threatens them with total ruin unless Lady Angela marries him, she is shocked to find it is her one and only love Cam. But Cam is not the same man she knew and she is undoubtedly not the same women he knew. For the sake of her family, she agrees to marry him. As they navigate through a rocky marriage shrouded in secret and anger; someone else wants Angela all to themselves and are willing to kill for her.
Impulse was originally published in 1997. I admit I had forgotten that I had read it but was pleasantly surprised when it all came back to me. I enjoyed this story then and now. A somewhat dark second chance romance with hints of suspense and intrigue.
Well plotted with rich character definition and a smooth flowing storyline. Ms. Camp has a wonderful way of drawing you into the trials and tribulations of her characters and making you a part of their lives.
The story is told from Angela’s point of view. You get a sense of strength and determination from her even though she is forced not once but twice to save her family. I admired her as she stands up to Cam and his unique way of setting people down is a treat.
Cam is an enigma. At first I was was hard pressed to like him. He comes off very cold and unfeeling towards Angela. As we divulge deeper into the story we see his reasons and it becomes clearer why he thinks the way he does. From the moment you see Angela and Cam you can feel the chemistry between them. Intense and sensual, these two are destined for each other. I felt my heart would break when they were forced apart. After they are reunited, the emotional tension is ripe as you watch Angela and Cam fight through the misconceptions and the secrets that are threatening to destroy their marriage before it even starts.
We are given clues throughout the book that hint at the terrible things Angela endured during her marriage to Lord Dunstan. When Angela finally breaks her silence to Cam the truth is devastating yet soul cleansing as now they are both free to accept the passion that has simmered below the surface. I liked that we aren’t made to suffer through a long emotional roller coaster of misconception. The love between them comes back fairly early in the book and we are then allowed to enjoy watching them being happy. I also enjoyed Cam’s inventive way of helping to free Angela from her physical inhibitions.
I will admit I was rather shocked at the details Ms. Camp imparted to us concerning Angela’s secret. I don’t remember it being that graphic in the original book.
The secondary characters are a treat. Kate, Angela’s maid and best friend is a joy as she maintains a steadfast loyalty to Angela and heaven help anyone who doesn’t agree with her. Cam’s secretary, Jason, is the male equivalent of Kate and he winds up becoming important to the story. Our villain is truly an evil, ugly person who I enjoyed hating.
There is wonderful suspense introduced as Cam and Angela not only try to discover who is trying to kill him but also who his father was. The ending is predictable but I enjoyed the events leading up to it. An enchanting Victorian historical romance that will delight readers who love mystery with their romance.
Dicey is a high school jock who gets partnered with the studious Jack Chen for a Home EC assignment. As they begin to spend more time together (he goeDicey is a high school jock who gets partnered with the studious Jack Chen for a Home EC assignment. As they begin to spend more time together (he goes to one of her games and she visits him at his house), he finally he asks her on a date. The date goes down hill quickly when a "zombie" fungus spreads into the city. Jack and Dicey race to stay one step ahead of the Zombies to get to safety.
I Love Him To Pieces is the first in a graphic novel series called-My Boyfriend is a Monster.I've never been a huge GN fan but this one certainly caught my eye. A cute and sweet zombie story filled with some quirky characters. Fact pacing and a decent storyline makes for enjoyable reading. I loved the illustrations. Well done and they captured Dicey and Jack perfectly. The story ends in a predictable cliffhanger-the way all good serials should.
Favorite Quote: “I spent my days cruising men for fun, for desire...not so much for love.”
Ace is ghost. He prefers to call himself aTourist. Ace likes to “visit” people; experiencing their emotions and sexual escapades for his own personal entertainment. He can’t make them do anything they don’t want to , but he can help them push their own personal boundaries. Ace is currently “visiting” Dan and reviling in the emotions this sexy and heartfelt man invokes. But when he visits not only Dan but Dan’s partner, Ryan, he finds himself experiencing some new emotions himself. When a very real and mortal danger stalks Ryan and Dan, Ace will push his own boundaries to save his men.
The Tourist is a wonderful steamy m/m novella with a kiss of paranormal as we follow the lives of our main protagonists Dan and Ryan’s relationship. Two different completely different men drawn together initially by attraction, they both fight insecurity and jealousy in the relationship. Dan, a rugged construction worker cannot see what Ryan sees in him while Ryan fights the phantom hold an abusive relationship still has on him. Ace, our ghost, provides us with an interesting and unique POV as he jumps into both men and we get to see what they are feeling and experiencing in a 3rd party aspect. As his bond with each of them strengthens, we see Ace experience some new emotions of his own.
For being so small-84 pages-we are given a full bodied story with a cast of characters who’s emotional journeys forge an instant connection with the reader. Suspense, romance, mystery all wrapped up in a sweet little romance.
The fast switching POVs can be a bit confusing, especially when you realize that not only are you getting what our smexy men are feeling but our ghost’s feelings are starting to intertwine with theirs and at times you get two POVs in one. The ending was spot on with resolution to the main conflict and a nice afterward that shows us how our men are doing.
I will definitely be on the look out for more of Clare London.
Favorite Quote:”Nifty gave me six fingers for skill. I gave him one in reply.”
Bonita (Bonnie) Torres was an unemployed collage student 8 months ago. Now she’s an investigator for PUPI (Private Unaffiliated Paranormal Investigations). When the team is given a case that pits humans against the fatae, Bonnie and the team will be tested on all levels as the world watches...waiting for them to fail.
Pack Of Lies is the 2nd installment of Laura Anne Gilman’s Paranormal Scene Investigations series. A unique police procedural Urban Fantasy that takes us back in the world of the fatae and all their secrets. Picking up where Hard Magic left off, Bonnie and the team is a little more experienced in the art of investigating and politics. When handed a case by the Cosa Nostradamus they proceed with caution as the Cosa never gives anything for free. The case turns out to be a rape of a young woman with mitigating circumstances. A rare and exulted fatae is also involved and not talking. As relations between the humans and fatae become violent, the team also have to deal with Ian’s crazy sister, a case that twists and misdirects at every turn, and the increased sexual attraction between Bonnie and Ben.
Pack Of Lies starts out slow for me as we are requited with Bonnie and the PUPI team. While the investigation of the case is interesting as we follow them step by step, I found the pacing almost at a stand still. Bonnie over analyzes everything and her dialogue reflects it in the beginning. It picks up for me about ½ way with the speed of a run away train and I was hooked till the end.
The main plot is an exciting and action packed mixture of magic and mystery. I found the police procedural aspect take this story beyond a simple Urban Fantasy for the better. Ms. Gilman hits her stride here and it shows.
Our characters are well developed and filled with high octane personality. Each of them able to hold their own in the story. I find Bonnie refreshing in her attitude and actions. Unashamedly bi sexual and free spirited about sex-Ms. Gilman chooses to portray her in a flattering light without any of the guilt or angst that heroines seem to suffer from these days if they like sex. We are given more insight into her fellow team mates. Nick, Nifty, Pietr and Sharon and they remain prominent characters in this arc. I really hope we see more of their back stories.
The sexual tension between Bonnie and her boss Ben rackets up to out of control in this installment. Something has “connected” them and the chemistry blazes hot and tense as they try to remain professional. I found myself caught between wanting delayed gratification and wanting some serious bed action. You’ll have to read to see what I got.
The ending is a fabulous solving of the mystery that left me elated and satisfied but a little sad. Ms. Gilman leaves enough open ended questions to led us into her next installment.
Favorite Quote: “You seem to have lost your panties again.”
“Oops. I bet that happens a lot around you.”
Rachel Gibson is an auto buy for me. From her smexy Chinooks to her crazy Writers Friends series, Ms. Gibson gives me everything I need in a contemporary. Romance, laughter, engaging characters, and a realistic life altering lesson. In her 6th Chinook Hockey book, Any Man Of Mine, we meet Autumn Havens and Sam LeClaire. Autumn and Sam meet in Las Vegas and proceeded to have a 5 day sex filled romance that ends when they get married and Sam disappears leaving Autumn alone and pregnant. She hears from him a few weeks later when his lawyer send her divorce papers.
Now 5 years later, Autumn has her life just the way she wants it. A beautiful son and a successful business. The thorn in her side? Her ex husband Sam La Claire. She has never forgiven him for Las Vegas and now he’s back in her and Connor’s lives trying to be a better father. But Autumn knows what Sam is. And she knows that sooner or later he will be bored and go back to being a carefree player with a girl on each arm and she will be left to pick up the shattered pieces of hers and Connor’s hearts.
Ms. Gibson’s Any Man Of Mine is a sweet, funny, romantic contemporary that deals with love, heartbreak, and second chances. Smooth pacing with a viable storyline that places you right back into the lives of the Chinooks. In here we watch two people who think their only connection is their child try to deal with the fact that their connection goes far deeper. The characters in here are all delightfully flawed and realistic. The story line is written in a smooth and enjoyable conversational style but with an under current of realism as her characters react and engage as you or I might.
Autumn Haven is a single mom whose life revolves around her son and her business. Intelligent and matter of fact, she has finally buried the anger and hurt at what transpired between her and her Sam and now only wants to him to be a better father to their son. When Sam begins to send more time with Conner and therefore Autumn, she denies her growing feelings. She may have come to terms with their Vegas adventure, but she has never forgave him.
Sam is a sexy, carefree hockey player that plays as hard off the ice and on. Marrying Autumn scared him to death so he did the only thing he could-he ran. He loves his son and takes good financial care of him but he is not the most attentive father. With an ego to match his huge build, in the beginning he can’t understand why Autumn is so mad at him all the time. He is concerned only with his life. As time goes on, Sam begins to see that there are more important things then poker, strip clubs, and super models.
He has never forgotten Autumn and when he runs into her again at a wedding he begins to wonder why he married her and why he left.
As Autumn and Sam begin to slowly reconnect, you know instantly that the chemistry still burns hot and bright-but there is a lot Autumn and Sam need to resolve and settle. I like that they do not even try to have a relationship in the beginning. They start out fighting as Autumn tries to get him to be more responsible towards Conner and Sam wants her to stop being so controlling.
“Well sweetheart, I never said I wasn’t irresponsible. But your too controlling.” “He’s my son.” “He’s my son, too.” “He’s your son when it’s convenient for you.” “Well, it was convenient today. Get over it.”
I really enjoyed how Ms. Gibson doesn’t give us an easy fix to their relationship. The characters have to work hard to repair the damage to their lives and hearts. You can feel the anger, resentment, confusion, and hurt rolling off of them. They both have a real problem coping. The emotional baggage that Autumn and Sam carry needs to be addressed and Ms. Gibson allows that to happen in a realistic manner. Ms. Gibson also brings up some very valid points concerning divorced parents sharing custody. It’s painful as you watch these two struggle to learn about each other for real this time and find a way to forgive each other and themselves.
I really liked Autumn and Sam. I completely understood Autumn’s anger towards Sam and her fears about letting him back into their lives. What he did in Vegas was unacceptable and she has a right to her feelings. Sam was just as enjoyable though very smack-able at times. His arrogance is outstanding but not a complete turn off. And while he isn’t hit with a sudden “OMG I’m a jerk” epiphany he does show he is able and willing to change.
We see many old friends from the Chinook team here. Autumn is not only planning Ty and Faith’s wedding but also the twins’ weddings- Small Boss and Mini Pit. It’s a little sad when everyone on the team runs into Autumn and Conner. Nobody knew Conner was Sam’s child or that he had been married. I was a little put out with him after that.
Vince, Autumn’s brother, plays a huge part in the story. He’s been there for her and Conner every step of the way and thoroughly hates Sam. Sam feels the same way about him. The insults they trade in the book are hilarious. Ms. Gibson alludes to a secret on him so I really hope we get a story for him.
Conner is an adorable 5 year old and Ms. Gibson portrays him perfectly.
The ending is wonderful and satisfying in that our couple comes to terms with the past and look towards the future. Any Man Of Mine is a delightful addition to the Chinooks Hockey series and I look forward to reading more.
Phantom Evil (Krewe of Hunters #1) by Heather Graham
Jackson Crow, part English, part Cheyenne, heads the group. Haunted by his experience with an ancePhantom Evil (Krewe of Hunters #1) by Heather Graham
Jackson Crow, part English, part Cheyenne, heads the group. Haunted by his experience with an ancestral ghost who saved his life as a child, and the recent murders of two previous teammates, Jackson can’t tell if Adam’s demoted him or given him an extraordinary opportunity. To counterbalance Jackson’s careful skepticism, Adam Harrison has paired him with Angela Hawkins, a young woman who learned the painful lesson of loss at an early age. A police officer utilizing her paranormal intuition in Virginia, she already has her hands full. But Adam’s call to New Orleans is strong. The case: In a historic mansion in New Orleans’ French Quarter, a senator’s wife falls to her death from a balcony. Most think she jumped, distraught over the loss of her young son. Some say she was pushed. And yet others believe she was beckoned by the ghostly spirits that inhabit the house — once the site of a serial killer’s grisly work. Whether supernatural or all too human, crimes of passion, greed and desire will cast the pair into danger of losing their lives... and their immortal souls. (Goodreads)
Heather Graham’s Phantom Evil takes us back into the supernatural world of Adam Harrison and his team of psychic detectives. Jackson Crow and 5 other “special” individuals are brought together at the request of an important senator to investigate the suicide of his wife and the mansion they were restoring. The mansion, set in New Orleans, has a sinister past having been home to the notorious serial killer, Madden C. Newton. Rumors have circled the home for years claiming it is haunted. The senator believes that ghosts were responsible for his wife’s death-not suicide as it was ruled. Jackson and his team are brought in to see if the rumors of haunting are true, and if so, was the senator's wife lured to her death by ghosts or did she indeed cast away her own life.
I have always enjoyed Ms. Graham’s supernatural stories. Though her work hasn’t been quite as superlative in the past few years, she seems to have over come her stalemate and is back to producing engaging stories filled with suspense, the paranormal, and romantic offerings. I was immediately taken in by our location. Nobody does haunted better then New Orleans. The lush descriptions of the city and it’s historical background enabled me to sink right into the storyline without a hitch.
Our characters are vibrant and well developed; each with an interesting background story that allows for an intimate relationship with each. I liked the natural pairing of each couple; ensuring us of additional books in this series. Our main protagonists, Jackson Crow and Angela Knight are a dynamic pair that clicked instantly for me. I really liked how secure and confidant Angela is with her gifts. No matter how often Jackson gently plays devil’s advocate with her, she doesn’t allow his skepticism to infect her. Jackson Crow isn’t comfortable with his gifts. He’s past clouds his judgement and it apparent that he will have to overcome this hurdle all on his own. The chemistry between them is strong from page one and develops in tandem with the main storyline; neither over shadowing nor falling victim to the main plot or sub stories.
The main conflict is intriguing though at times seemed to be overwhelmed by the subplots running among it. There are many suspects and Ms. Graham does a wonderful job of keeping you slightly off balance as you struggle to connect the dots along with out investigators. I was a little off kilter with the ending. I had to re read it a few times to understand exactly what happened on the mortal plain and how it related to the spiritual plane
In all, an enjoyable book that wasn’t quite as exciting as her previous Adam Harrison investigation books but shows promise of getting back to that level.
Favorite Quote: “The watcher wanted to punish me, and he had. Now it was my turn.”
Charlotte Silver has waited a long time to feel like a “normal” kid. After spending most of her life traveling with her family in their paranormal investigations, they have finally settled down in South Carolina and Charlotte has friends and a normal high schooler’s life. When a popular football player asks Charlotte out, she’s sure life can’t get much better or normal. But when Harris takes Charlotte to a party where an innocent game of One Hundred Candles is played, Charlotte can’t help but feel they are all messing with something better left alone.
When strange things begin to happen at her school, Charlotte realizes that the game opened a door between the mortal and spirit realm. Now Charlotte is battling for her and her family’s lives as someone or something begins hunting her -determined to make her pay for going where no mortal is allowed.
One Hundred Candles is the engaging second book in Mara Purnhagen’s Past Midnight series. Told in the first person, we continue to follow Charlotte Silver as she maneuvers her way through friends, family, and relationships in this supernatural thriller. A smooth even pacing and engaging dialogue allows for fast reading. The writing is clear and concise; you can hear and relate to Charlotte well. Thankfully no overblown emo prose or life shattering angst that seems to be coating the YA genre lately. Even though this can be read as a stand alone, I recommend reading the first in this series, Past Midnight, to garner insight into the over all arc and references you will see in this one.
I found Charlotte to be a wonderful heroine. Ms. Purnhagen has created an enjoyable pragmatic character that is steeped in realism. Charlotte has normal teenage insecurities; prom, boys, her parents. I found her exceedingly level headed and brave as she investigates the supposed supernatural activity around her school and at home. She admits her fears yet faces her adversaries one on one.
The secondary characters are well developed and excel in the way they revolve around and further define Charlotte. As each character is added into the mix, you begin to see the bonds that ties them all together. Each one a necessary strand that elevates and helps continue the story along. I like how Ms. Purnhagan plays her cards close to her vest, choosing to have us feel and experience things right along with Charlotte.
I didn’t find the plot particularly frightening; we see more of Charlotte’s everyday life then supernatural activity. I found the over all premise to be very interesting with it’s urban legend persona and the easy, casual way that it is presented and drawn out. Nothing is reality-challenged. You can relate to the story in a way that has you thinking, “this could have very well happened to someone- somewhere.”
The ending is solid and it effectively resolves the main conflict,. We are left with some open questions and a serious cliffhanger to usher in the third book in this series, Beyond The Grave, which releases September 2011.
Beyond The Grave by Mara Purnhagen YA Paranormal Romance E book August 30, 2011 Harlequin Teen
Being Charlotte Silver, the daughter of famous paranormal investigators, means my life isn’t like that of other teenage girls. Especially after what happened to my parents. Things changed. I missed prom and deferred my big college plans. But I still have my boyfriend, Noah. He’s everything I could want—if I can figure out what’s up with him. Suddenly Noah is secretive. I fear it has something to do with what happened to us three months ago. The bruise Noah suffered during a paranormal attack has never completely faded. Now I’ve learned Noah is researching demons. And when he disappears, it’s up to me to find him—before something else does. (Goodreads)
Charlotte is slowly trying to come to grips with what happened with her parents. She defeated the watcher (One Hundred Candles) but her mom suffered for it when she was attacked by the watcher and is now in a deep coma. Her father spends all his time with her mom, her older sister has gone back to collage, and Charlotte fears her boyfriend Noah is keeping secrets from her. When an unknown young man begins to spend time with Charlotte’s mom and following Charlotte around, Charlotte learns that the watcher has not been banished but trying to come back to finish what he started.
Beyond The Grave is the last book in the Past Midnight trilogy series. While I thoroughly enjoyed the first two in the trilogy, Past Midnight and One Hundred Candles, I found this one to be lacking in all aspects. Charlotte seems to do a complete 180 in here and ignores all she has learned about the supernatural and spirits. We don’t see the same strong, intelligent girl in here. Noah is acting strange, showing signs of possession, and Charlotte turns a blind eye to it. Almost as if she feels if she ignores it, it will go away. Tricia and Shane have a huge part in the storyline with planning their wedding which we receive detailed scene stealing information on. It completely overshadows the main conflict and plot. We see and hear more about them then we do Charlotte’s mom and Noah-two main characters and integral parts of the arc. The main characters of this series take a back seat to the sub characters and it leaves us with a underdeveloped poorly planned storyline. Bliss’s added storyline comes out of left field and did nothing but add more filler then substance. There wasn’t enough story to support the additional cast and all the available opportunities I saw for Ms. Purnhagen to take it a higher level were ignored.
The storyline is sporadic with random subplots added and characters that are suppose to build the suspense and set up the finale but come across uninspiring and boring. Slow arc and character advancement drags the story down so badly that it’s not until the last 30 or so pages that you get any idea of where Ms. Purnhagen wants to go with all this and we get a fast somewhat gory closure that is completely at odds with the rest of the story. Our villain is literally pulled out of thin air and we are not given much background to support any of it. The book read like a story that had to be written rather then one that wanted to be written. All in all a disappointing ending to an otherwise fabulous trilogy.
Favorite Quote:”Stop smiling. Every time you smile an angel dies.”
Harper James feels like her life has been turned upside down. Her boyfriend won’t get with the program and marry her, her stepmother is asking for sex advice, and her sister is marrying her ex husband’s brother. If life couldn’t get much more crazy, a mix up forces Harper to drive cross country with her ex husband, Nick. A lot of time has passed since Harper and Nick fell in and out of love; but sometimes life gives you a second chance if your willing to let go of your fears and leap.
Ms Higgins’s My One and Only is a romantic contemporary that digs deep in to your heart and doesn’t let go. A fast paced and humorous yet emotional story about two people who, through some crazy twist of fate, get a second chance to right a wrong. The characters are all delightfully flawed and realistic. The story line is written in an enjoyable conversational writing style but with an under current of realism as her characters react and engage as you or I might.
Harper James is a divorce attorney whose past (her mother abandoned her and her father rarely speaks to her) rules her life. Security and control are very important to her. Her thought is that everyone she loves will eventually leave her. When her stepsister Willa calls her to inform her that she is getting married for the third time, Harper immediately tries to talk Willa out of it. But Willa is determined that this is the one. When Harper finds out it is her ex husband’s brother she ramps up her efforts but there is no budging Willa. So Harper heads to Montana for the wedding nervous about facing the one person she never stopped loving-Nick.
Nick is a soulful gypsy eyed hottie architect. One of those men who just gets better with age. He has never stopped loving Harper and is at some what of a loss to why their marriage failed. He thinks she somewhat cheated on him but as we hear their thoughts and recollections, you realize that there was a lot of miscommunication and some taking for granted in their marriage.
As Harper and Nick reconnect again, you know instantly that the chemistry still burns hot and bright-but there is a lot Harper and Nick need to resolve and bring out into the open.
The secondary characters are just as important as the protagonists with much show time and personality. These are people who’s thoughts and actions reflect hugely on Harper and Nick’s life. I adored BeverLee with her bouffant hair and traveling can of hairspray. Even though Harper has kept her at arms length, Bev never gives up on her and loves her with the unconditional love that comes from a parent. I wanted to smack Harper’s dad for not being what she needed but I understood why he was the way he was. Dennis-duuuuude. That about says it all. Kim, Harper’s bff, is only seen a couple of times but anyone who threatens to put her kids in a dog cage gets major kudos from me.
I really enjoyed how Ms. Higgin’s doesn’t give us an easy fix to any of the relationships in here. The characters have to work hard to repair the damage to their lives and hearts. The emotional baggage that Harper carries with her needs to be addressed and Ms. Higgin’s allows that to happen in a realistic manner.
The ending is predictable and a bit high handed but very nice in how it plays out. My One In Only is a hilarious and engaging romantic contemporary that will have you howling with laughter and sobbing in your hankie as you watch Harper and Nick fight their way through the misconceptions and heartache to find their way back to each other.
Favorite Quote: “Yes Books, I know. I’m such a bad, bad agent. I should be put across your knee and spanked.”
BLURB: Evil is most assuredly afoot—and Britain’s fate rests in the hands of an alluring renegade and a librarian.
These are dark days indeed in Victoria’s England. Londoners are vanishing, then reappearing, washing up as corpses on the banks of the Thames, drained of blood and bone. Yet the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences—the Crown’s clandestine organization whose bailiwick is the strange and unsettling—will not allow its agents to investigate. Fearless and exceedingly lovely Eliza D. Braun, however, with her bulletproof corset and a disturbing fondness for dynamite, refuses to let the matter rest and she’s prepared to drag her timorous new partner, Wellington Books, along with her into the perilous fray.
For a malevolent brotherhood is operating in the deepening London shadows, intent upon the enslavement of all Britons. And Books and Braun—he with his encyclopedic brain and she with her remarkable devices—must get to the twisted roots of a most nefarious plot . . . or see England fall to the Phoenix! (Goodreads)
When Special Agent Eliza D. Braun rides in and single-handedly rescues Special Agent Wellington Books from certain torture and death at the hands of the House of User…you’d think she’d get a medal. But alas, Agent Braun once again used her magnificent and impressive array of firearms and dynamite to blow the building in which they were keeping Books and in doing so earned herself a dressing down and a reassignment. A reassignment to none other then Agent Books domain-the Achieves.
Agent Books views the archives as his domain. He fears for his precious books and devices when Agent Braun is sequestered with him for an indeterminable time frame. As Braun confuses, infuriates, and tantalizes Books, she comes across an old case involving her previous partner, Agent Harrison Throne. Eliza and Harrison investigated this strange and gruesome case but when told to leave off by their superiors, Harry disappeared only to be found alive and insane. He was committed to Bedlam and has never recovered. Eliza knows that this case is still on going and feels it is her job (and Books) to find out what drove harry insane and solve the case themselves.
As Braun and Books are drawn deeper into the case, they are find a conspiracy involving a very old and very nasty club called the Order of The Phoenix. Research shows Books and Braun that this order pre dates the Freemasons. When an opportunity arrives to infiltrate the order, Braun and Books jump into the mission with both feet. But soon the mission takes a turn for the worse and we are left wondering if Braun’s skill and Book’s brains are enough to save her Majesty’s agents.
Phoenix Rising is the first in a series-Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences. A steampunk fantasy, we are transported back into the Victorian era. I found the world building to be extremely engaging. Fabulous intricate mechanical gadgets and inventions rule along side old world speech and dress. The beginning starts out with a BANG as Eliza arrives, guns blazing, to rescue Books. The dialogue between Books and Eliza is fast paced and hilarious as these to are thrown into a partnership together. These two couldn’t be more different from each other. Eliza is an rambunctious, courageous, free spirited woman who lives for being a Special Agent. Born and raised in New Zealand, she is a “colonial” who has many different facets that become more apparent as we and Books get to know her better. Book is her exact opposite. Extremely intelligent, he is more at home among his papers and books. Raised as part of the upper class, he is quiet, proper, and cautious. Eliza mystifies and at times offends him. Especially when she nicknames him Welly. Yet, they complement each other wonderfully.
The hint of romance between Books and Braun is a mere wisp of an idea that flows under the main storyline. We get a feeling something may happen in the future but we aren’t given any concrete evidence.
Our secondary characters are well presented with in depth individual personalities. Even those we only see once or twice leave a mark in the story and they stick with you long after you leave the scene. Our villains are quite devious and evil. I like the fact that both Books and Braun realize that but for a difference of circumstances, they could have each been friends with the some of the villains. I’ll admit I didn’t expect the book to take the serious dark tone it did, but I found myself thoroughly engrossed as we race towards the end.
The ending is quite dramatic, filled with heart stopping action. I like that Books gets more billing here as it takes him out of Braun’s shadow and gives us a chance to really see him and learn what he is made of. I look forward to seeing more of what’s behind his carefully cultivated exterior.
The only problem I had with the book is the overwhelming amount of time is spent with these two in the archives getting to know one another. They paired off so well together in the beginning that I felt that part slowed the story down quite a bit. I found myself putting the book down and walking away on quite a few occasions. It took a lot for me not to skip ahead. I’m glad I didn’t but hopefully the next book with move quicker as we do not need as much set up.
All in all a wonderful beginning to what looks to be an exciting addition to the steampunk genre.
Favorite Quote: “You’re the one who took a bite of the apple Kate. Although with a serpent that handsome, I can’t say I blame you.”
I was very surprised and pleased by how much I enjoyed Die For Me by Amy Plum. A very romantic and intriguing YA that captures the youthful voice of her characters exceptionally well without miring it down with the often present emo angst and ‘woe is me’ that is sometimes present in a younger set romance. Smooth writing and a steady pace made this extremely easy to follow and relate to. I found myself at the end before I knew it.
Situated in Paris, Ms. Plum weaves her tale set among the grace and old world charm of one of the most romantic cities in the world. Strong world building gives us a glimpse into some new supernatural lore-Revenants. Revenants are select individuals who are pre disposed to give up their lives for others; only to come back again and again. Ms. Plum mixes select mythology to produce a story all her own.
Our heroine, Kate, moves to her grandparents home in Paris with her sister Georgia after their parents are killed in an accident. Kate has a very hard time dealing with her parents deaths and is lost in her grief. I found it especially poignant how the beauty of Paris is used to highlight the bleakness of Kate’s life.
At a cafe she frequents, she spots the most beautiful man she has ever laid eyes on. Vincent. As charming and attentive as Vincent appears, Kate still keeps herself locked within-not sure if she has the right to be happy in the face of her parents deaths. After a rocky start, she agrees to an outing with him. It’s on this outing that Kate begins to feel there is something not quite right with Vincent and his friends. When something major happens, Kate follows her gut instinct and tells Vincent to never contact her again. But Kate is curious and wants to see him again more then ever so she seeks him out and soon learns the secret that Vincent holds. A secret that will challenge Kate in ever way possible.
Kate is a wonderful protagonist. Strong, intelligent, and normal. Yes, I said normal. She is a normal seventeen year old not prone to overblown emo prose or dramatics. She is naturally cautious and doesn’t hesitate to question what she feels isn’t right or doesn’t understand. I really like seeing the interactions between her and her family. It feels natural and unaffected.
Vincent is an attractive,charming, and mysterious nineteen year old who projects a much older soul. His banter with Kate is casual at first-you can see the sparking interest. From the moment they meet you get the feeling of completeness. That these two were meant to be together. Ms. Plum does a wonderful job of pacing their relationship.
Kate and Vincent aren’t perfect together and you see that what he is affects her in more ways then one. The romance is inviting and well, romantic. They love play is suitable for a YA yet Ms. Plum doesn’t hold back on the underlying sexual banter. While Vincent does show some of the “obsessive tortured hero” traits, it’s refreshing that Kate calls him on them rather then simply accepting his attentions as normal.
Our secondary characters are as alive and personable as our protagonist. The dialogue between them all is humorous at times and offers a sense of realism. It draws you in and makes you a part of their lives. Georgia, Kate’s sister, both annoyed yet made me laugh as she flirts her way through the story. I loved meeting Vincent’s Revenant family; Charles, Charlotte, Jules, Ambrose.
We sense some competition from Jules for Kate’s affection and hints are made to other romantic entanglements in the future.
The main conflict is interesting though I really wish we could have gotten more in depth with the Revenants and the Numas. I would have liked to know where it all started and what determines which is which. Hopefully Ms. Plum will divulge more details as the series progresses.
All in all Die For Me is a luscious and fanciful romantic love story set within an intriguing and suspenseful paranormal world. I look forward to the second in the series, Until I Die, set to release in 2012.
Favorite Quote: “It’s time for me to draw my own damned line. I’m not running anymore. Not taking one step backward. Not giving one small inch. This time I’m doing the chasing.
And God help anyone who gets in my way.”
The Neon Graveyard is the 6th and final book in Ms. Pettersson’s Signs of the Zodiac series. An addicting noir Urban Fantasy blend of superhero/comic book mythos mixed with horror and hope. This series has led me on an intoxicating roller coaster ride of infinite proportions. Betrayal is the main theme in this series and Ms. Pettersson has wield her pen like a fine double edged sword. She cuts and slices her characters down to the bone; allowing no quarter. Yet, from the carnage she rebuilds them and us; allowing for truth and courage to shine through. This isn’t a happy series. Ms. Pettersson never promises you rainbows and roses. You will laugh, groan, shudder, cheer, and weep as you follow Joanna through her trials and tribulations. Yet for all the darkness, Ms. Pettersson never makes Joanna a martyr. She doesn’t minimize Joanna’s humanity. Joanna makes mistakes and bad decisions and she pays for those, but you never get the feeling of, “OMG not AGAIN!,” from here. The good and bad balances perfectly and it what made me a convert of this series.
From the beginning -The Scent of Shadows- we have followed Joanna Archer through hell and back as she learned, embraced, and then altered her destiny. A child born of a light and shadow agent-Joanna Archer has always straddled the line between good and evil and has paid over and over a horrendous price for her family ties. Betrayed by almost everyone she has trusted, Joanna has reached her limit. For now she has more to protect then just herself. Her unborn child and her captive lover need her and Joanna is not leaving this game till she saves them both.
Joanna Archer is now for all intents and purposes mortal. She has been stripped of everything; her power, her family, her fortune. But rather then lay down and die, she has allied herself with a group of rogue light and shadow agents. Men who have seen, like Joanna, that the game has changed and everything they were taught is now circumspect. Good and evil are nothing more then six degrees of separation, something that Joanna and her fellow Grays have learned the hard way.
Joanna knows Tulpa (her father) is attempting to enter Midheaven and will need Joanna alive in order to do so. Joanna is also set to enter Midheaven herself, defeat the goddess who rules there, save her unborn child’s father, Hunter, and defeat Tulpa. She has forgiven Hunter’s supposed betrayal, learning that the path to victory isn’t always righteous and it’s not as important as the final destination. I have never been a fan of the Midheaven storyline. It’s complexity is layered and didn’t translate well to paper for me. I felt it stalled the series for me. Not enough for me to stop reading; just a little hard to get on board with.
The world of this series is incredible. A comic book set in novel form. Truly a unique setting that grips you in it’s complexity. Smooth writing and fast pacing rides like a wave; cresting over and over till you crash onto the shore. Hard action, nerve racking suspense, and superb dialogue play a huge part in the over all enjoyment of the series.
I loved the dialogue and interactions between Joanna and the Gray troop. Some don’t trust her and some fear her, but they stand by her.
“I was wrong.” Fox said woodenly. I turned to find his eyes wide, gaze locked on my face. “You’re not just mortal. You’re crazy.” “It’s hereditary.” I said.
As we follow Joanna into her final battle, we watch as her layers are peeled back and the true Joanna Archer emerges. This is what has been led up to in the last 5 books. Joanna is finally free to be who she wants and do what she wants without any artifice. She is fighting for her own agenda; playing by her own rules. The action scenes are epic in that Joanna has to use her wits and skills against powerful forces. I liked that Joanna makes better choices in here and the end results more then satisfy this reader.
Part of me is sad this is the last book. I have found Joanna Archer’s world to be so different from what’s offered these days that that thought of not visiting again is a bit disheartening. Yet, Ms. Pettersson does a wonderful job is wrapping it up for us. Some what predictable; questions are answered, plots and subplots are wrapped up nice and tight, and we are left with an acceptable ending for Joanna and the series.
I would recommend this series to everyone who enjoys a darker Urban Fantasy that reviles in deception, betrayal, and hope. A word of advice though-if you have not read the first 5 of this series, then you will not understand this last one. This is a convoluted series that builds upon itself with each new book. The arc is long reaching and not self explanatory. Characters evolve and bleed over into to each story with no pause in between.
Favorite Quote: “Hellooo. I’m a Horseman of the Apocalypse, and I’m betrothed to the most infamous, most powerful demon in existence. I couldn’t draw more attention to myself if I wore Lady Gaga’s meat dress to a PETA convention. “
Limos has problems. One of the four Horseman of the Apocalypse, she was born and raised as a demon princess in hell. Her mother, Lilith, promised her to Satan as a bride when she was an infant. She eventually escaped Hell, reconnected with her brothers, and now is trying to do whatever she can to avoid her seal being broken; thus pushing the world one step closer to Armageddon. As a 5,000 year old virgin with a chastity belt that cuts off anything that comes near her, Limos spends the majority of her time alone.
When Arik, a member of a special military branch that has been fighting the supernaturals and the coming apocalypse, gives into to his urges and plants a big wet one on her, he goes to hell in a hand basket. Literally. Part of Satan’s claim on Limos is that if anyone kisses her and can be made to scream out her name in anguish, then she will willingly take her place at Satan’s side. For eternity.
Now Limos has to make some difficult choices to make that could spell disaster for her, Arik, and the world.
I am a HUGE fan of Larissa Ione and her Demonica series. A sensual action packed PNR series that will have you looking all over for a sexy demon to call your own. Lords Of Deliverance is a spin off of that series. Often when an author creates a spin off of a popular series, they have a 50/50 chance with the spin off. Either it will be loved or hated. This one, by all accounts, is much loved. I myself find it to be somewhat better then the Demonica series in that it is darker and not as predictable.
Immortal Rider has to be her best one to date. It slams you out of the gate and doesn’t slow down till you reach the last page. Incredible world building allows for easy comprehension even though it is rather convoluted. Filled with dark action and snark, you will find yourself devouring each page as new subplots yield bigger clues and dangerous situations, leading us towards our final outcome.
Limos and Arik are fabulous characters both together and separate. Limos is not an easy woman to like. Strong, fierce, and immortal… she carries a lot of guilt over past deeds and lies and it tends to give her a certain, laissez-faire attitude. Arik is the only man in centuries who has made her feel something and she works tirelessly to free him from Hell. Of course, it helps that Shade (hero from Desire Unchained) is his brother-in -law, and he is riding her to do something or else. Limos’s brother Pestilence, the only horseman whose seal has broken (Sin Undone) and is actively evil, blackmails her into helping him in exchange for freeing Arik from Hell. Limos soon learns that no good deed goes unpunished when she fully understands the chaos her helping Pestilence has unleashed.
Arik has some not so pretty secrets of his own that come to light after Pestilence sticks his hand in and stirs up the mixture. I loved the combination of strength and vulnerability that fills Arik. Coming from an abusive childhood, he has risen above it all and accepts both his good and bad side. He is unbelievably tortured in Hell yet not once does it even occur to him to say Limos’s name. He has a good heart and the gentleness and understanding he shows Limo makes him a winner in my book. Once he is rescued it’s heartbreaking to watch him try and understand that he is really free and it’s not just one more trick to make him suffer.
Though you don’t get as much smexy time in here as you did in Eternal Rider, the chemistry and sexual dialogue between Limos and Arik is off the charts. You never have a doubt they will come together and when they do-WATCH OUT. Arik spends his time telling Limos in great detail what and how he will make her his and it is unbearable hot. It’s hilarious watching Thanatos and Ares as they try and comes to terms that someone may be trying to have sex with their baby sister. They are both so freaked out by the whole situation you can’t help but laugh as they try so hard not to kill Arik and bury him in a deep, deep hole.
We see many old faces in here from this series and her Demonica series; adding depth and continence to the ever evolving arc. There are some fabulous side stories that will leave you panting for more as Ms. Ione teases you with hints of her plans for Reaver, Harvester, and Thanatos. In fact, Thanatos’s story left me feeling quite protective of him and, well, you’ll just have to read this to find out why.
The ending is an intense, emotional mash up of action, deception, and betrayal as Ms. Ione further sets the stage for what is sure to be a battle of a lifetime. Immortal Rider is perfect for all paranormal romance readers who love their heroes and heroines to be kick ass, sexy, funny, and always willing to cross the line.
Favorite Quote: “His voice was the kind that made you think of dark places. The kind that made the skin ripple along the backbone.”
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.
These are the rules that Amelia Gray has lived by all her life. Passed down to her by her father, they have assured Amelia of a lonely life shut off from people due to her amazing terrifying gift. All that changes when John Devlin enters her life. A police detective with the Charleston police force, Devlin contacts Amelia for her expertise when bodies are found in a cemetery she is restoring. Amelia sees that Devlin is one of the “haunted” that her father warned her about yet she cannot turn him away. A connection exists between them that strengthens with each encounter; even as the ghosts of his dead try to push Amelia away.
Amelia soon finds herself drawn deeper into the spiritual world she has tried so hard to avoid. As she and Devlin work hard to find the killer, the door between the living and the dead begins to open. Amelia knows should it ever open completely, her life will never be the same again.
The Restorer is a ghost story from days past; when a ghost story wasn’t about blood and gore but more insidious. A gothic mixture of hope and dread. A story where what you feel is far scarier then what you see. Ms. Stevens has a distinct poetic prose that brings her writing to life in sounds, smell, and emotions. The world building is dark and electrifying as we are introduced to Amelia’s world. Set in Charleston, South Carolina and the surrounding areas, I could feel the wet heat and raw tension that vibrates throughout. The spiritual entities portrayed in here are not benevolent spirits set on helping the living. These are parasites which attach to human warmth and “haunt” them-absorbing their energy until only a shell of the person remains. Smooth descriptions and fast pacing absorbed me into the story with no resistance.
Amelia and Devlin are addictive protagonists. Each with a heavy cross to bear, they gravitate towards each other with no thoughts as to how or why even though deep inside they know they are not good for one another. Amelia is a quiet self contained young woman who wears a shield around her persona. You instinctively know that no matter what she says or does…you only see what she wants you to see. I like that we read from Amelia’s POV. It created a more intimate connection with a character that doesn’t want intimacy with anyone. I find her gift to be both astonishing and creepy. To always have to be guarded less she gives herself away. Very nerve racking. We are given little bits of her background that only serves to wet our anticipation for the whole story as we go deeper into this series. There were a few things I would have loved clarified in the beginning but I understand it will all be revealed in later books.
John Devlin is the ultimate tortured hero. Heavy guilt over the death of his family combined with his attraction to Amelia and his family connections; his still waters run deep. He is delicious, dominant and dangerous with capital Ds. Ms. Stevens allows his character to straddle the line between good and bad, so like Amelia, we want him even if we aren’t sure where he stands.
The romance between them is more of an undercurrent through the main storyline rather then a dominant aspect.; yet the sexual tension between them will have you clenching your hands. The question of will they get together is unanswered and unneeded as we focus more on the mystery and conflict. At times the innuendos and games these two play became overwhelming only because I found myself becoming concerned for them. Ms. Stevens makes their connection and personalities too vivid and alive for it to stay in the background for long.
The secondary characters are as intense and secretive as our protagonists; adding even more suspense and tension to the story as each carries a small piece to the over all of the puzzle. Some we get answers to and some we don’t. The multiple sub plots allow for more deception. But the path to the answers is a twisted maze of complexity as Ms. Stevens shows us of the past, the present, and the ties that bind them all.
All in all a fantastic debut of a gothic paranormal suspense thriller. If your a fan of Peter Straub’s Lost Boy, Lost Girl or Ghost Story then you will feel right at home in Amanda Steven’s The Restorer.
Favorite Quote: “It was too late for happy endings. I was already dead.”
In The Goddess Test, Aimee Carter takes Greek Mythology and the story of Persephone and revamps them into a modern day tale appropriate for teens. In here, Hades (Henry) is an immortal teenager who did not steal or trick Persephone into staying with him. It was an arranged marriage. Unfortunately she was not happy so she fell in love with a mortal and asked to die with him. Thus leaving Hades (Henry) without a co-ruler. The underworld was not meant to be ruled single handedly so Henry and the council of Olympus Gods and Goddesses devise a series of tests for potential girls who want to become Henry’s wife and Queen. So far eleven girls have been murdered before they can pass the tests.
Girl number twelve is our protagonist, Katherine (Kate) Winters. She comes to Eden at the request of her dying mother. Kate has took care of her cancer ridden mother for 4 years and know her time is coming to an end. When she arrives in Eden she is immediately befriended by James-a geeky boy and Ava-a popular cheerleader. When Ava plays a prank on Kate that goes horribly wrong, Kate meets Henry. Henry offers her a choice. Her friends life in exchange for hers. He tells her to read the story of Persephone and he will come to her soon for her answer. After a few unfortunate events occur, Kate accepts Henry’s offer and goes with him to his home. There she finds out that she will have to pass 7 tests to become the new Queen. For if she fails, she will lose her mother, her memories, and Henry.
I found The Goddess Test to be an entertaining lightweight story that doesn’t focus so much on the correct mythology we all grew up with but more on the characters themselves. Kate is an intelligent, fair, and witty young lady who takes what is happening at first with a grain of salt. She questions everything that is happening and for that I’m grateful. I would have been put out if she instantly believed Henry. I found her inner monologue to be entertaining as she says one thing aloud but in the back of her mind is going, “what the heck?” As Kate gets to know the inhabitants of Henry’s home and Henry himself, she becomes more vested in her eventual outcome.
Henry was a bit of an enigma. Sexy, elusive, and a wee bit “angsty” Henry both enchanted and annoyed me. He really doesn’t tell Kate anything- giving her cryptic comments and telling her she’ll know everything soon. It’s somewhat forgivable when you realize what he has gone through to get to Kate but at times you want to slap some man into him. He takes every murder personally and should Kate fail…well, you’ll have to read it to find out.
Enjoyable secondary characters though I would have loved to see them flesh out a bit more. Everything centers around Kate; rather at the expense of the the other characters. We only see and interact with whom she does so not a lot of in depth revelations. The council is interesting in that they are not the jealous back stabbing god and goddesses of our storybooks. Rather here they are a conservative group. We don’t see much of them and I feel the story missed out on that.
The main conflict struggled a bit in the beginning as Ms. Carter sets up the premise and initiates the plot lines. Since we hear/see everything through Kate’s eyes, we are as in the dark as she is. I found the villain and their reasoning convenient and I could not get over the fact that this really could have been solved sooner if Henry wasn’t so “angsty” and, dare I say it, full of self pity. The ending is satisfying with a couple twists that made it more so.
All in all The Goddess Test is a very light weight modern Greek Mythology with a touch of romance, suspense, and humor. The second in this series, Goddess Interrupted, is set to release February 2012 by Harlequin Teen.
**spoiler alert** The Poisoned House by Michael Ford Paranormal YA Paperback August 2, 2010 Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Our story begins with 14 year old**spoiler alert** The Poisoned House by Michael Ford Paranormal YA Paperback August 2, 2010 Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Our story begins with 14 year old orphan Abigail Tamper running for her life-trying to escape the cruel housekeeper and de facto ruler of Greave hall. Mr. Ford admirably transcribes the harsh winter landscape of London and the impersonal way in which Abigail (Abi) is returned to the hall. Abi’s mother is dead and she has no known relatives. She is a servant at Greaves Hall and the housekeeper, Mrs. Cotton, informs Abi gleefully that she will never allow her to leave. With the master of the house sequestered away, slowly sinking into madness and the son of the manor away at war, Abi is at Mrs. Cotton’s mercy.
As the anniversary of Abi’s mother’s death approaches, unusual happenings begin to occur at Greaves Hall. Things are moved and destroyed. Hand prints appear and disappear on areas around the Hall. When a medium comes to Greaves Hall at the bequest of Mrs. Cotton, he suffers a minor seizure in which he calls Abi by her secret nickname-little snowdrop. A nickname only her mother called her. When Samuel, the master’s son, is brought home with a war injury, Abi is called to help nurse him. Abi and Samuel were the best of friends as children, raised as brother and sister. Abi hopes Samuel’s presence will cull Mrs. Cotton’s rein of terror. Yet all Samuel’s presence does is increase the spiritual happenings. Abi is at her wits end as she tries to decipher what the ghost is trying to tell her. As Abi tries to hang on to her world, it begins to spin out of control when revelations come light about Abi’s mother’s death and the deception of everyone involved.
The Poisoned House is a Victorian ghost story set in the 1800’s. Gothic elements permeate our senses as we live Abigail Tamper’s life through her eyes. Smooth writing and descriptive world building creates an exciting stage for ghosts, betrayal, and revenge.
Fans of Jane Eyre and Withering Heights will enjoy the similar ambiance shared here. Geared towards a younger reader, the plot itself is rather straight forward with a more modern dialogue. A forbidding house with a secretive staff, a mad owner, and a sinister ghost all serve to tempt and tease us into complicity.
I enjoyed the characters Mr. Ford has created. Somewhat clichéd, they add to the overall feeling of oppression and despair that the story revolves around. Abi is wonderful as our reluctant heroine. Shackled to circumstances out of her control, she is resigned to her situation yet not altogether accepting of it. She shows remarkable courage and intelligence as she investigates the mysterious happenings at Greaves Hall and how they relate to her mother’s death. I forgot at times she was only 14 years old. The fact she automatically accepts there is a ghost made the story much easier to engage with. Often we have to fight with the heroine for belief and the wait can become tedious. Our secondary cast of characters all play an integral part in Abi’s life. I found their personalities to be in keeping with servants during this era. Most of them have guessed at the circumstances surrounding Abi’s birth and her mother’s death but fear keeps the secrets locked up tight. As we watch Abi interact with them you find yourself wondering if they are friend or foe? Will they help or hinder her? Only with Mrs. Cotton are we secure in her absolute hatred of Abi.
The mystery and suspense are addictive as Abi becomes more daring in her quest for answers. Though I did guess what had happened early on, I found myself quite willing to let Mr. Ford lead me there himself. The main conflict is settled in a plausible if not a glorified gothic manner. I did feel Mrs. Cotton got off way too easy. I would have felt more satisfied with the ending had there been a bit more storyline added. It wraps up quickly with almost too satisfactory of an ending. I wanted to spend more time with the characters getting to know them. There is a nice epilogue that lets us know what happens to Abi later in life which is presented in an interesting format.
If mysterious, suspense filled, historical ghost stories are your preferred reading, then The Poisoned House should be right at home on your bookshelf.
Favorite Quote: ”Rest, my sweet. Save you dreams for me. For no one but me.”
Madeline MacFadden (Mad Mac to her fans) spent her summers growing up in Ticonderoga Falls. When her marriage falls apart she brings her son back to this idyllic village in hopes of recapturing the peace it once brought her. But Maddie doesn’t remember everything about Ticonderoga Falls. She doesn’t remember the darkness, the legends, or the mysterious caretaker, Ash, who once saved her life as a child.
As Maddie and her son get settled, Maddie’s childhood dreams begin anew and take a sinister turn. Monsters invade her dreams and soon the village for it is once again time for the Harvest and the time to feast. But magic runs high during the feast and even a spinner of tales can wield unimaginable power when those she loves are threatened.
Feast reminds me of a fairy tale by the Brothers’ Grimm. Dark and foreboding, it weaves its insidious spell around the reader and transports us to a time when humans were slaves to the monsters and magic that ruled the land. Ticonderoga Falls is a small jewel of a town. Nestled deep in a valley surrounded by mountains. Seemingly perfect, the town hides a dark secret. It is cursed. Half the residents are “bound” to Ash; a darkling (fae I believe-we aren’t really assured of that) who watches over the town and his residents in return for for the right to harvest (feed) their dreams. Ash saved Maddie as a child when she wandered too far into the forest and was almost taken by one of his wilder cousins. To mark one so young was considered bad form and Ash could not allow it as she was “his.” Now as an adult, Maddie is ripe for harvesting, but Ash senses something different about her and declares her off limits to his family during the harvest.
Right before the feast is about to start, Maddie finds a dead body which appears as though it has been sucked dry. Ash realizes then that his cousins (River and Thane) have started the harvest early; breaking the rules of the feast. He rescinds their invitation and commands them to leave, but Thane is tired of living off the scraps of others and covets Ash’s territory for himself.
Feast is a heartfelt blending of emotional prose. Vivid world building offers up a different look at the fae and humanity. The story is told from multiple POVs (human and darkling), which gives us insight to what has and is happening from many different sides. It also allows us to experience the gradual changes in feeling and loyalties in our characters as the story progresses. However,the POVs are presented rapidly and often not of the same scene which is confusing. It’s interesting in its presentation, as though we are given a peek into someone’s deepest thoughts but confusing because it’s hard to keep up when leaping around. I felt as though I missed things. I also wish we were given more in-depth background information in Ash’s curse, how the town became involved, what exactly the darklings are. Ms. Destefano barely scratches the surface and it left me with questions.
Our two protagonists are a study in betrayal. Maddie is betrayed first by her drunken inept parents and then by her ex husband when he cheats on her and marries her best friend. Ash betrays his people and his wife by mating with a human, producing a child, then taking the child from the human; causing her to commit suicide. His reasons for taking the child are valid, but his callus ways have caused him nothing but pain from then on.
Maddie is almost fae like in her make up. A fantasy writer, she sees her main characters as real beings in her mind. I like that Maddie isn’t presented like an enthralled human-doing what she is told. She has magnificently strong will and knows something is wrong with Ash and the town. She doesn’t hesitate to let him know either. Her child, Tucker, and their dog, Samwise, present a much needed sense of realism to the the book and offer up some humor to an otherwise serious story. I will say that Samwise is my favorite character in the book.
Ash is fascinated by Maddie. He too sees her characters surrounding her. At first she is nothing more then a means to an end for him, but soon his fascination with her becomes more emotional and he realizes that he is once again falling for a human. I like how the change in Ash’s feeling are so subtle you almost miss them. You think by his POVs that he is still the same unfeeling ‘beast” he has always been but soon you learn that he wants to release his town and residents from the curse as much as some of them want to be released.
The romance between Maddie and Ash is very low key. So low key, their coming together is almost a surprise. You know it’s going to happen because that is the way the storyline harkens towards it-but you really don’t see it happening. As I stated earlier, the POVs are rapid and not very clear at times. Its more of a behind the scenes implication. I wish their romance would have drawn out a little more.
Our secondary characters are as dominate as our protagonists. Sage, Ash’ s sister and Eve, Ash’s daughter, give us some insight into Ash and his curse. Thane and River, though presented as the villains, are not so much evil as they are merely acting on their instincts. They are like children in a candy store. They want it all with no concern of the consequences.
The ending is ripe with tension as we see more real time interaction between everyone. The finale is action packed and helps to bind everything together, yet also leaves enough open to continue with this storyline.
Burn the Night by Jocelynn Drake (Dark Days #6) Urban Fantasy June 28, 2011 Paperback HarperCollins
Reviewed by Tori
Burn The Night is the sixth and final book in Ms. Drake’s emotionally charged dark urban fantasy series that bled my soul and bruised my heart throughout. From my first meeting with Savannah vampire master Mira in book one-Nightwalker-I fell in love with this kick ass heroine whose long life has been filled with betrayal, deception, violence, and lies. She has been used by her enemies and her friends; always allowing it because of her innate sense of loyalty and love for those she protects. She has always maintained that her life isn’t worth the lives of those she protects. Burn The Night brings us full circle though; Mira starts out as a loner in Nightwalker and ends here with a chance at having a normal life with the one she loves.
We see two intense storylines that flirt with each other, twisting and turning to inflate the suspense and intrigue as we watch with anticipation as Mira, Darius, and the Naturi begin the count down to the fiercest battle the supernaturals have ever seen. The beginning of the Great Awakening. Nyx has broken with her sister and queen Aurora, finally seeing the insanity that has always lurked beneath the surface, and comes to her sister Cinna’s aid in her bid for the throne. With her she brings Rowe-Mira’s long time enemy. These two will have to forgive or at least put aside their animosity in order to secure their futures. All the while we also see that Mira is still dealing with issues from Wait For Dusk, her old mentor, her temperamental father, and trying to keep Darius safe and alive. As we switch between Mira’s and Nyx’s POV you get an interesting look at the similarities between two women from two races who have always been deadly enemies. Each having been used and tortured for their supposed differences; they both have rose above what they were labeled and have come out victorious. Non stop action and fast pacing keeps the dual story lines fresh and interesting. Continuous engaging dialogue and incredibly personable characters have made this series an unstoppable force in the urban fantasy genre. The dynamics between all those involved continued to surprise and delight till the very end.
The romance in here is finally complete as we see the results of Mira’s and Darius’s relationship from deadly enemies to having a love that is one of the best I’ve seen in urban fantasy. Ms. Drake did a fabulous job of allowing these characters to decide if they wanted to be together or not. The feelings between them develops slowly, deeply, and in a realistic manner. My heart broke repeatedly for these two during the series and I’m happy that we and they get closure. We also get some serious love scenes that had been a much anticipated factor in this series. Yea.
I am sad this is the last book. I have found the Dark Days world to be quite different from what’s offered these days and the thought of not visiting again is a bit disheartening. Yet, Ms. Drake does a wonderful job is closing it for us. Questions are answered and plots are wrapped up tight but Ms. Drake leaves the door opened just a crack to allow for a possible re visit in the future. We are left with an acceptable ending for Mira and the series.
I would recommend this series to everyone who enjoys a darker Urban Fantasy that reviles in deception, betrayal, and hope. A word of advice though-if you have not read the first 5 of this series, then you will not understand this last one. This is a convoluted series that builds upon itself with each new book. The arc is long reaching and not self explanatory. Characters evolve and bleed over into to each story with no pause in between.
Nalini Singh’s Angels’ Flight is a four story anthology featuring three previously published stories and one never published. Each of them tells of the delicious beginning for our heroes and heroines. Dark and erotic, this anthology will swept you up and hold you in its seductive embrace till you submit.
Angels’ Wolf was originally released in the anthology- Angels Of Darkness. After the vampire Noel recovers from his brutal beating and torture, Raphael sends him to the Archangel Nimra to serve in her court. Rumors have swirled around this particular angel for years-her cruelty and mercilessness made legend. Noel realizes that nothing about Nimra and her court is as it seems and soon finds himself deeply encased in deception and betrayal as he fights to protect what he is coming to love.
A perfect blending of emotional horror, turmoil and humor. I found myself falling in love with our broken hero and heroine. Each has suffered a terrific loss and it’s only through their own passion are they able to overcome the past and look towards the future.
Angels’ Judgment was originally published in Must Love Hellhounds. Set up as a prequel to Angels’ Blood, in here we learn how Sara Haziz became the head of the Guild Hunters and married to the uber sexy slayer- Deacon. The sparks ignite a blaze as Sara and Deacon fight side by side to hunt a rogue hunter and secure her position as the Guild’s new director.
Angels’ Judgement packs a powerful full bodied story in a small package. Meeting Sara and Deacon and reading their back story provides a nice base in which to start Nalini’s dark and seductive urban fantasy Guild Hunters series.
Angels’ Pawn was originally released as a stand alone in 2009. Published as a companion guide to Angels’ Blood, this novella gives you a tempting taste of the characters who inhibit this dark and unique world that Ms. Singh has created. Ashwini, a beautiful and crazy guild hunter, has been hired to capture a rogue vampire only to discover herself waist deep in a long standing angel/vampire feud. Knowing she’ll need a help, she contacts her frenemy, Cajun vamp Janvier, who offers his advice and services…for a boon. As this unlikely team ventures into a dangerous angel’s territory, they discover that nothing is as it seems and the hunters may very well become the hunted.
I really look forward to a full length novel starring these two. The humor and sexiness is off the charts as you watch these two fight and banter in a seductive prelude to what you know will be sheer fireworks should they ever get together. I admit to wanting to see more advancement in their relationship but both of them seem to enjoy the chase quite a bit.
Angels’ Dance is a never before published story that centers around Galen, a warrior in Raphael’s Seven and Jessamy, a confined angel. We first met these characters in Archangel’s Kiss. Opposites in all ways, Galen and Jessamy meet and slowly embark on a steamy hot affair that both elates and saddens as you watch them work on personal issues that more then once threaten to destroy their dance before it even starts.
A darkness permeates this story, almost creating a forlorn feeling that is both sensual and enlightening. I love that we are given hints to future story lines and some wonderful behind the scene looks at the refuge and it’s inhabitants.
Even though I read all of these before (except Angel’s Dance) in various anthologies, I love having them all together in one. A treat for all Guild Hunter and Nalini fans.