Gods, goddesses, pantheons, explosive magic, vengeful antagonists, and a world on the brink of destruction is just the beginning in Galenorn’s newest PNR series-Fury Unbound. This action-packed supernatural conflict is saturated with Galenorn’s trademark wicked humor, personable characters, and explicit attention to detail. Set in an alternative post-apocalyptic Seattle, the world has been changed drastically due to a temper tantrum thrown by the goddess, Gaia. One woman, Kaeleen Donovan aka Fury, a servant to Hecate, is charged with recovering an ancient artifact before it falls into the wrong hands. As with most fantasy-based stories, the world building, and character setup holds a large part of the storyline though I found the sheer amount of information pushed at us in the beginning daunting and somewhat confusing. The story soon settles and we are off as Galenorn takes readers on a wild untamed ride that will leave readers ready for the next installment. My only qualm, besides the information overload in the beginning, was the weak interaction with the main antagonist . I hope the following novels allows them more on-screen time. ...more
Fans of Jess Haines are sure to enjoy her newest UF series which exists in the same world as her popular H&W Investigations series. Smoke and Mirrors takes us back to Seattle and introduces us to Kimberly, an older than average high school illusionist who needs a familiar to graduate. With a little help from a professor, she is dragged into new and well-hidden world filled with shapeshifters and mages on her quest to convince the greatest predator of all to be her familiar-a dragon. The action, intrigue, and humor meshes well with the slow building romance. I did have some issues with the heroine in that she is written as almost too perfect an underdog. Poor, hungry, struggling, beautiful, nice, shy, bullied, misunderstood, etc… Readers might question the thin line between YA and HA that Haines balances the heroine on. She is 20 but in high school and her narrative sounds young at times. New and some old faces are seen in this ambitious cast of characters that help to round out the story. Haines uses their stories to push forward the arc and drop clues towards new adventures. I look forward to book two in this series.
Struck is the first in her new PNR Phoebe Meadows series. A young woman finds out the hard way that she is the result of a liaison between Odin andDNF
Struck is the first in her new PNR Phoebe Meadows series. A young woman finds out the hard way that she is the result of a liaison between Odin and a shieldmaiden. Forced on the run, she finds herself struggling to accept her destiny while trying to stay alive. I am a fan of Amanda Carlson’s and Viking/Norse mythology so I was excited to be offered an arc. I really wanted to like this one but there was just no connection for me. I like the potential of what Phoebe and the arc could become but watching her and the arc set up was painful. Her inability to accept what was right in front of her left her and those helping her in hot water. I found her struggles to survive more irritating them adventurous.The narrative was odd. It felt forced at times; the humor an uncomfortable addition. The storyline also seemed to struggle to find balance between the seriousness and more comedic aspects, giving the story an unbalanced feel. While reading, I kept feeling as though I was missing some pivotal scene. Certain plotlines didn’t reveal well or skipped around so much I became lost. I did like the secondary characters-especially the witches who I thought were very well developed-but not enough to keep me engaged. I may try again in the future but for now I don’t feel this series is for me....more
Favorite Quote: “I’m surrounded by the dead in the middle of the night hoping to pull a previously unknown power out of my ass. What could possibly go wrong?”
Private Investigator and immortal descendant of Artemis, Nikki Glass, learns a very valuable lesson in vengeance when a group of fertility goddesses decide to strike. The lives and loves of the gods and goddesses play out on an epic scale when Nikki’s boss, Anderson Kane, goes awol and his ex-wife goes ballistic and declares war on humanity in revenge. To add insult to injury, Cyrus, the new leader of the Olympians, has learned Anderson killed his father and he wants Anderson’s head on a pike.
Once again Nikki finds herself outmanned and outgunned but with the fate of mankind resting on her shoulders, Nikki will have to find a way to get this ex-couple into counseling quick before the world as we know it ends.
Divine Descendant, the fourth book in Jenna Black’s Nikki Glass series, has been a long time coming. Three years to be exact. However, Black shows no signs she has backed off this series and once again presents readers with an action-packed urban fantasy that uses Greek mythology to create an engaging world filled with dark humor, engaging characters, and intriguing convoluted plotlines. The world building remains simplistic in its construction yet each layer we uncover reveals a twisting mass of lies and half truths. The result is a fascinating world you can’t wait to further explore.
Heavily character driven, what I continue to enjoy about this series is the unapologetic makeup of the cast. There are no clear cut good or bad guys in here; there are just degrees of separation. These people are gods and demigods. Powerful and deadly, each has a tragic story begging to be told. And each will kill to protect it. Each installment has given readers more information on these men and women backgrounds, showing the suffering, pain, and difficult choices one must make when immortal. Nikki’s connections with her new family seem to be strengthening as she has begun to accept her destiny and getting to know them better. It’s very apparent in this installment when she is forced into a position where she has to weigh the consequences of saving the world against the damage her decisions may cause those she has grown to care for.
“It’s not like I’m going to hurt him.” I shuddered. “You might not hurt him, but you can destroy him.”
Black picks up right where book three left off. Anderson is missing and no one can find him. The whole team knows what Anderson truly is and that brings about some serious questions. Cyrus is calling, demanding answers to know what exactly happened to his father when Anderson rescued Nikki. When a young woman appears at the Liberi mansion and asks for her help, she tells Nikki and the group a horrific tale about Anderson’s dark past deeds that causes them to further question their leader. Black takes some liberties with Anderson’s past, using the legend of Niobe to weave a sorrowful tale of love, loss, betrayal, insanity, and vengeance.
“I will die happy knowing my suffering is finally over and yours just begun.”
As with book three, Rogue Descendant, the arc is pretty much at a standstill through most of the book. The conflict focuses on one character rather than the group as a whole but the action and suspense more than makes up for that. I love that Anderson is the focus of this installment and remains the enigma we met in book one. Black doesn’t alter or downplay his personality in order to create an easy resolution. Once again it’s Nikki, her close ties with to her humanity, and ability to see the whole picture that saves the day though there are some close calls that leave you wide-eyed at the events unfolding. Black does shockingly change the direction of the arc with this dark conflict and opens the door to a multitude of future storylines, one that puts Nikki firmly front and center.
On a more personal level, the slow burning romance between Jamaal and Nikki finally picks up the pace and the faint love triangle we were all seeing is no more. Nikki has made her choice and the advancements made between the two of them are phenomenal and quite sexy. A smaller secondary romance experiences some changes that leaves the reader unsure of its future. This particular love triangle seems to be destined for heartbreak no matter the choice made.
“I’ve done a lot of distasteful things in my life. This will be just one more.”
Divine Descendant was worth the wait and I’m looking forward to book five, title and release date to be announced. I am cross my fingers it won’t be another 3 year wait.
Flo Fitzpatrick’s Scarecrow’s Dreams is a paranormal who dun it with romantic and fantasy inspired elements. A young woman is given a second chance at life in order to solve her own death. Fitzpatrick’s background in theater comes through as she sets up the conflict, discussing the mechanics of writing and producing a play with a cast of dramatic characters whose roles may have unwittingly contributed to the heroine’s demise. Voiced through the heroine’s memories, Fitzpatrick indiscriminately flips between the past and the present, building a somewhat convoluted timeline that compares the turbulence of the 70s with the here and now. Very strong narrative carries the storyline though the author has a tendency to ramble and go off on tangents, disrupting the flow at times. The book starts out slow and frantic though gradually settles into a comfortable read. Sound bites of humor permeate the story, giving readers a chuckle as it unfolds.
When Holly Malone walks into the NY apartment she shares with her father, she is stunned to realize 40 years has passed and she’s a ghost. Her last tangible memory is being in an accident and flying off the back end of her boyfriend’s motorcycle into the icy depths of the Hudson river. Assuming her then boyfriend, Shane Halloran, died too, Holly is shocked to find out he’s not only alive, but living under an assumed name. With the help of her hippie aunt and Shane, Holly desperately searches her memories of the past to piece together the events of that night to led to her death. Was her death an accident or a response to the controversial play she helped write and her lover? As the trio get closer to the truth, Holly and Shane realize that finding the answers may send Holly away again. This time forever, unless Holly can use the powers that be to rewrite her past to save herself and those she loves....more
I unfortunately had to dnf this arc. The formatting is atrocious. While I expect a certain amt of editing and formatting issues with arcs, this particI unfortunately had to dnf this arc. The formatting is atrocious. While I expect a certain amt of editing and formatting issues with arcs, this particular draft is a mess. Random line breaks, random paragraph separations, words running together, no chapter identifiers, and the color pink used to denote number line breaks and bled over onto the text at times. It is unreadable without significant effort. ...more
Favorite Quote: “A kraken? In a sinkhole in Nowhere, Texas? Really?
Camille (Cam) Ellis is a particular type of faeOriginally posted at SmexyBooks.com
Favorite Quote: “A kraken? In a sinkhole in Nowhere, Texas? Really?
Camille (Cam) Ellis is a particular type of fae species called a Gemini. Born with a twin, this pair has the ability to mimic others and their powers for a brief amount of time. Cam also has a special power all her own. She can tell a person’s species by a touch. No glamour can fool her. When Camille loses her twin in an accident, she drifts along in life until offered a job with the Earthen Conclave-a sort of supernatural FBI. Now an investigator, Cam uses her gifts to solve crimes committed by supernaturals. In the middle of a standard investigation, Cam is shocked when the sibling of one of the murder victims instigates himself into the investigation and her life, demanding answers.
Cord Graeson, Beta of the Georgia Warg Pack, wants justice for his sister and will do whatever it takes to get it…even if it means using Cam. When another victim is found, Cam knows she has a limited amount of time to act before they strike again. In order to get the answers she needs, she will be forced to used to use her gift in a way that will drag her back into the past and force her to confront some things better left forgotten.
Hailey Edwards once again takes us on a fantasy fueled adventure filled with magic and plenty of action packed suspense in her newest work-Dead in the Water. Book one in the Gemini series, fans of Edwards’s Black Dog series will recognize the world and some of the characters as these two series are related. I don’t feel you have to read the Black Dog series in order to read this one as they are not dependant on one another for growth and/or comprehension. But if you want to understand certain events and characters referenced in here, then that would be the place to visit after reading this book.
I’ve been a fan of Edwards’s work since her Araneae series. One aspect of her writing I enjoy is her ability to take the mundane and with a few changes, turn it into something unique and unexpected. She builds dynamic character bases, using common mythology but takes it one step further using previously unseen species or imbibing currently known species with skills and know how that offers readers something new in the paranormal world. They are filled with life, personality, and a sense of humanity; Camille is a perfect example of this. I’ve never heard of any fae referred to Gemini but Edwards’s characterization leaves no room for doubt of their possible existence through Cam’s well crafted though stingily given history. I love how her family is portrayed as being similar to the Irish Travellers; traveling in a caravan of RVs from spot to spot and never settling down in one particular place for too long. Additional interesting characters dominate this series and provide some needed humor from a sexy, bossy Warg to a deadly pack of fae hedgehogs.
I enjoyed meeting Cam though I would have liked a little more fleshing out of her character. We only get the basics and I felt there was a lot left unsaid. I’m looking forward to Edward’s stripping away the protective layers around Cam. Cam has been trying to atone for her sister’s death and this has led her into police work. She feels that by using her gifts to save others, she can keep families from suffering what she and her family went through. A loner by nature, she exists in her own bubble until this case offers her some much needed friendships that help to bring her out of her shell and navigate the outside world a little better. Though a little indecisive at times, she has a strong protective instinct and when push comes to shove, she’ll do whatever needs to be done. Even at the expense of her own sanity or life.
There is a small hint of possibility that develops between her and the warg-Cord Graeson. A confirmed alpha male, he is determined to find his sister’s killer and demands Cam help him. There is strong chemistry between them though some of Cord’s actions are suspect and we are left unsure if the reaction between them are real or manipulated by Cord’s revenge. I did enjoy their banter.
“You don’t play fair.”
“Fair doesn’t taste like bacon.”
I couldn’t argue with that logic.
Cam certainly holds her own against Cord’s more demanding personality. I will enjoy watching them come to some sort of understanding, especially in light of the stunt he pulled at the end. I admit I laughed.
The story begins with a bang and continues on in that fashion. The mystery is well plotted, brimming with suspense, intrigue, and horror. A supernatural serial killer is slaying their away across the country and the Conclave always seems to be one step behind them. The strong police procedural element blends well with the paranormal aspects. Thierry and Shaw (Black Dog series) make an appearance, leading me to believe the series will continue to overlap with one another. Even though this is a full length novel, it has a serial feel to it as some aspects are resolved while the main mystery is not and continues on into the next book. The next book releases in just a few months which intensifies the serial feel of it.
Dead in the Water is a great start to a new series and I’m looking forward to seeing what Edwards’s has in store for Cam next.
I was very excited to see the Griffith’s had decided to revisit this fascinating world they built in their Vampire Empire Trilogy. This continuation picks up a year after the events in The Kingmakers; telling us what happened after the Empress Adele unleashed her geomancy power on England and it’s vampires. Do you have to read the trilogy first? No, this one does quite well on its own, but by starting here, you will miss the setup of the world and it’s unique characters. Also, you’ll miss the beginning of the main protagonists relationship and the evolution that led them from being enemies to lovers.
The Geomancer opens in Scotland. Empress Adele of Equatoria and her consort, the vampire prince Gareth, aka the Greyfriar, are currently residing at Gareth’s estate when rumors surface of vampires repopulating Britain. Though Adele effectively wiped out most of the vampire population in Britain, she did stop short of destroying them all. She also left herself vulnerable as she is unable to feel the ley lines anymore. Following the rumors, Gareth and Adele find themselves in Paris where they learn of the Witchfinder. This supposed geomancer has allied with some of the vampires and has created an amulet that protects vampires from Adele’s geomancy. He is also working on a way to give vampires the ability to kill humans on a wide scale level.
In order to stop the Witchfinder and the new vampire uprising, Adele and Gareth find new allies while reacquainting themselves with some very old and dangerous enemies. Action and suspense take the reins as Adele and Gareth are forced search out a deadly artifact that could help or hinder them. Journeying across the continent (Asia) Adele and Gareth have ample time to assess their relationship and the perceptions they each hold towards the future of their respective species and themselves.
The Griffith’s have done an excellent job of picking up where they left off with nary a stumble in the storyline. Quite a feat for a three year hiatus. This adventurous steampunk story is action packed with suspense, intrigue, romance, and a surprising amount of humor that works well with the serious subject matter. Its alternative historic view of vampires and humans continues to spellbound with smooth writing, exceptional world building, and the dynamic characters that inhabit it. Strong, well defined characters are the focal point of this series. Though the main trilogy consisted of three main characters (in a sense) the Griffith’s expand their base with new faces that look to have a fine future in the coming storylines. There is a slow start as we are acquainted with the world, it’s players, and introduced to the new storylines. Once all that is out of the way, the pace picks up considerably.
The narrative focuses heavily on rebuilding and re-educating the world. The vampires hold on Britain has been crushed but Adele and Gareth know that they have a long way to go if they are to see any cohabitation between the two species. Adele is far more ambitious in this way of thinking then Gareth. He has long subscribed to the notion that vampires will eventually destroy themselves and cease to exist. Though they know it will be a battle long and hard fought, they luckily have some very strong and courageous allies at their side.
The romance is a main contender in here, having already been fleshed out and established in the previous books. It co-exists comfortably with the main storyline rather than attempting to overshadow it. It is strong and comfortable with some lovely soft intimate scenes but there are still problems with Adele and Gareth being together. He has not been able to shed his alter ego as many in the empire would not understand or tolerate a vampire at their queen’s right hand or bed. Adele also fears her geomancy. It’s still relatively unknown and she almost lost Gareth to it once. They will need to work on their own issues if they are to survive this relationship intact.
The secondary characters are just as define and dynamic as our protagonists. Rather than simply pad the storyline, they are an essential part of it. Flay, General Anhalt, Queen Catatonia, and Simon all excel in their scenes and gift us with additional explanations and clues to the roles they are playing. The scenes from Catatonia’s point of view goes far in explaining the political upheaval in Paris and the ever changing alliances of those involved. I love that the Griffith’s kept previously introduced characters true to their original descriptions.
Multiple storylines and subplots run parallel and intertwine with some staggering revelations and outcomes. As always, everyone has their own agenda and I look forward to seeing how it all plays out in the end. As we jettison towards the end, we are given a shockingly climatic ending of the main conflict with just enough left open to transition us seamlessly into the next book.
Clay and Susan Griffith has managed to submerge me effortlessly back into the world of the Vampire Empire and I look forward to reading the next Adele and Gareth adventure.
Fans of Ilona Andrews and their On The Edge series will be happy to see some familiar faces in the second book in their self published series that focuses on a young woman whose struggles to survive lead her into an epic adventures fraught with suspense, humor, danger, and a smattering of romance. The Innkeeper Chronicles were originally published as serials, free of charge, on the Andrews’ blog. Book one, Clean Sweep, is the set up book for this world. We are introduced to Dina DeMille and given her backstory. You don’t have to read Clean Sweep in order to enjoy Sweep In Peace but it would help you to fully understand the characters, the world, and certain scenes in this installment.
Dina’s parents were innkeepers until they and their inn abruptly disappeared one day. Dina and her brother searched all the galaxies for their parents with no results. Dina decided to open her own inn, the Gertrude Hunt, hoping that someday a guest will walk her halls, see a picture of her parents and recognise them. As an unestablished inn owner, she is the last on the list for guests to use. When an Arbitrator comes to her, asking to use her inn for a peace summit in order to negotiate peace between three warring factions (the Otrokars aka the Hope Crushing Horde, the Holy Cosmic Anocracy, and the Merchants), she seriously considers accepting the challenge, knowing this could be a huge win for her or a total loss.
“There was an attempt to broker peace between the Otrokars & the Holy Cosmic Anocracy during their ten year conflict.”
“Yes, I am familiar with it.”
“Then you also know how it ended.”
“I believe the patriarch of the House of Jero lunged at the Otrokar Khan, & the Khan beheaded him.”
“He ripped the patriarch’s head off with his bare hands and then proceeded to the beat the Marshal of the House of Jero to death with it.”
“Well, this venture could be viewed as risky…”
From this moment on you are swept away on a high octane adventure as the Andrews continue to expand and evolve this cleverly fluid new world; layering it with new storylines, conflicts, and faces. Fast pacing keeps you engaged as the story unfolds, maintaining a fine wire edged balance between the humor and sorrow that permeates the pages. We are shown the price war has on families and friends and how hard it is to step away from the battlefield when you have nothing left to defend but your memories. Dynamic well-developed characters are in abundance and offer readers a cornucopia from which to cheer and jeer. We met a battle-hardened general whose only thought is for her last living son. We meet a knight in shining armor who has learned that fairy tales don’t exist all he has left is his grief. We meet a man who will do the unthinkable to see his family survive. Each of these people want peace so desperately you can taste it but are unable to figure out a way to do so without condemning themselves and their people in the process. Lucky for them, they have Dina.
“I’ve found awe tends to cut down on revolts.”
Dina is a breath of fresh air in Urban Fantasy where too often the main protagonist’s own story is a weight that the reader bears while reading. While Dina has her own problems, she carries no real baggage that impedes her emotional or mental growth. Intelligent, witty, and fast on her feet, her no-nonsense attitude is the stabilizer on which the story is built. Not one to tolerate any misbehavior in her home, watching her handle her guests provided much laughter.
“I am glad the rooms were to your liking, Under-Khan. Unfortunately, I must ask you to depart, so the Marshal of House Krahr can inspect the quarters of his people.”
“And if I insisted on staying?”
“Then I’ll seal your body in wood, so all you can do is breathe, and use you as a lawn ornament.
What I adore about this heroine and the Andrews writing in general is they appear to have found the magic formula that enables them to balance the conflict with the emotion without succumbing to trite plotlines or made up controversy.
Getting to see Jack, George, and Lark (On the Edge series) again was a gift I didn’t expect but so happy to have received. The changes in them are rather complicated and I can only wish we had been able to experience them growing up in order to understand why they are like they are now. Especially George. Sean and Armand revisit, though if you’re hoping for a clear resolution to that situation, you’re out of luck. And of course my favorite guest of all-Her Grace, Caldenia ka ret Magren. A ruthless predator whose actions in the past have left her in need of the inn’s sanctuary. Her love for Mello Yello and Funyuns is at odds with her diabolical nature.
She liked him, so she was torturing him. Her Grace in a nutshell.
The end is a roller coaster ride of such dramatic twists and turns it would have left Machiavelli in awe. While the Andrews don’t make Dina’s journey easy at all, they do make it an exciting ride that further solidifies their reputation as fantastic storytellers who only seem to improve with each new adventure.
I am definitely looking forward to more Innkeeper Chronicles in the future.
Fans of Ilona Andrews have begged and pleaded for Derek to get his own story since he was first introduced in Magic Bites. Originally ordered to shadow and protect Kate Daniels due to her impetuous actions upon meeting the Beast Lord; Kate gained her very own teenage werewolf sidekick and a very good friend in Derek Gaunt. From that moment on he has made us laugh, swoon, and even shed a few tears as we have watched him change from an attractive outgoing teenager to a hardened loner who has seen and done things that left him damaged on the inside and out.
Novellas are fabulous ways to divulge deeper into a particular story line or character. And it’s always a bonus when a series revolving around one couple offers readers a chance to see the world through the eyes of another character. Especially one as complex as Derek. His unique voice, heard only in the distance before, comes through crystal clear with a fatalistic tone. We can hear how rough the past year has been; completely changing him not only physically but mentally and emotionally. He is conflicted, stressed, and it shows.
While Kate is the main voice of the series, hearing from Derek gifts us with insight into things Kate doesn’t know about. And ho boy are there things going on that she knows nothing about. Things about Julie. Things about Derek. Things that are coming for them and Atlanta.
Adventure, danger, and violence all blend together to create a fast-paced action powered story that advances the arc, further builds on this incredible world, but most importantly gives us hints as to what’s to come. One deadly artifact, magic that predates time, and a man who is teetering on the edge. A man who becomes noticeably sharper and more possessive when a certain young lady comes into play. A young lady whose own secrets are more than enough scare even the hardest of warriors.
Magic Stars is an exhilarating AND informative read that only further fuels my need for the next book in the series-Magic Binds-set to release in 2016.
Favorite Quote: “Monsters are your friends, never forget that.”
Lila Merriweather is now a full-fledged member of the Sinclair Family and has discovered her relationship to the Draconi’s. Determined to stop Victor Draconi from killing the Sinclairs and other families in order to take over as the ruling family of Cloudburst Falls, Lila, along with friends, has been slowly working behind the scenes to keep that from becoming a reality. When the scions of the various families are kidnapped and held for ransom, Lila will have to use everything in her arsenal to save the young man and the people she has come to love.
Bright Blaze of Magic is the third and final installment in Estep’s YA based urban fantasy trilogy. Our heroine, Lila Merriweather has gone from an orphaned loner to a girl with a family, a boyfriend, and a mission to avenge her parent’s death. Estep has done an admirable job of leading us to this point; setting up the plotlines, slowly allowing her heroine to grow, and making sure readers have all the information needed as she starts this book off with a bang and give us a respectable ending.
Steady pacing, engaging dialogue, and action-packed scenes kept this reader entertained as Estep revisits the most magical place on Earth for the final showdown. I enjoyed seeing Lila finally settle into her role and accept the bounty she originally rejected. The storyline is pretty straightforward without any real surprises or plot twists. The foreshadowing is laid on with a heavy hand. As I stated earlier, Estep pretty much tells us what is going to happen in book two and in here we see how it plays out. Punches aren’t pulled as Estep stays true to her heroine, allowing her to learn with each new hurdle she is forced to jump though there is no doubt at all Lila will prevail.
The cast of secondary characters continues to entertain and add to the anticipation of the story. Everyone puts aside their differences in a great show of solidarity for the common good. Lila gets help from the most unexpected places as she prepares for the coming battle through I was a little disappointed by everyone’s obvious regulation to minor supporting roles.These characters have lived and trained for the fighting and skirmishes between their families yet they all back down and place their future in the hands of a seventeen-year-old. I was expecting more from them. I was also disappointed with the development of Victor Draconi. He didn’t live up to his hype from the previous books. We are informed this is an evil black-hearted villain yet for all his posturing he was nothing more than a mashup of ridiculous threats and loosely plotted avenues of destruction.
Estep tightens up all the loose ends and wraps everything up in a fight to the death that resolves the main conflict but leaves some small openings that could spell more visits to CloudBurst in the future. Overall I did enjoy this series though it is definitely geared towards a younger reader. I recommend it for all readers who enjoys an adventurous YA Urban Fantasy with a lightweight world filled with magic, and a strong relatable female protagonist for readers to cheer for.
Favorite Quote: “He’d waited centuries for her. Was it too much that she wait a few months for him to be worthy of her?”
Cormack has spent centuries trapped in his wolf form, unable to shift. Shunned by humans and shifters alike, his only salvation was with a young woman named Elen. Elen, also shunned because of her unusual magic, welcomes Cormack into her life and the two build a bond nothing can shatter.
When Elen is able to heal Cormack of his inability to shift, Cormack experiences true freedom for the first time in forever. Having always admired and respected Elen, Cormack now realises that his feelings for her are much much deeper and he wants to have it all with her.
But someone else wants Elen to. Someone who will do anything, hurt anyone, to take control of her and her gifts. Cormack must use every skill at his disposal if he is going to save his woman from a fate worse than death.
I first discovered Ms. DeLima’s Celtic Wolves series while at Coastal Magic Con 2014. I bought books one and two and devoured both quickly. A dark passionate paranormal series with romance, suspense, and some delicious action packed scenes all overlaid with a strong dose of celtic/welsh mythology. Though each story is dedicated to one hero and heroine with a romance and resolvable conflict; the arc is strong, multi plotted, and overflows from story to story. I do not recommend reading these out of order.
The Celtic Moon series is a paranormal series that revolves around tribes of wolf shifters and Guardians. The Guardians, the rulers of the shifters, have subverted their power over the centuries, using unmated females as breeding stock and killing off the weaker shifters who are unable to shift. Now the shifter tribes are revolting, wanting to live their lives in peace and freedom. This book picks up right after book two, Summer Moon, ends. The shifters barely won the battle between them and the Guardians and now the shifters are gearing up for the full-out war that is coming.
During the battle of Avon, Elen, sister to Dylan, the alpha of her village, uses her magic to save her nephew’s life by stripping a Guardian of his magic. She in turn gives the magic to Cormack, lifting the curse that has plagued him. In doing this, she opens up a door to something thought lost long ago. This draws the attention of Pendaran, the vile leader of the Guardians. He begins to court her, wanting the power she has for his own use. When Cormack learns of this, he realises that the time has come for him to make his feelings for her known but first he must soothe Elen’s hurt feelings. Cormack has been staying with Dylan since he regained his powers, wanting to relearn his humanity out from under Elen’s watchful eye. He knows her need to help him would only interfere with his need to do it on his own. But before he can tell her how he feels, Elen is betrayed and given over to the Guardians.
I love we finally get Elen and Cormack’s story. They have played a central role in the ongoing arc since book one. Though they are at this center of this story, the conflict is a bit stronger and divulges deeper than the romance. Cormack’s and Elen’s bond is strong. Built on friendship and affection, their ‘romance’ has essentially been developing for centuries. When Cormack is healed, they are finally given the chance to be together as they were always meant to be. Mild misunderstandings occur but DeLima doesn’t waste time and allows them to be easily cleared up. The love scenes were minimal but their time together is a lovely mixture of innocence and enthusiasm that stays true to their personalities.
The well plotted storyline intertwines with the romance, using multiple subplots and an expansion of the world and subsequent arc to help strengthen what is already in play. DeLima uses some devious twists and turns, to force the story down it’s intended path. Further development on the legends portion only adds to the suspense and anticipation of what’s coming.
The main conflict continues to address the long standing racism and antagonism that exists between the shifters and Guardians, drawing in and expanding the story in fascinating directions. New enemies and allies emerge, each holding an important puzzle piece to towards the big picture while we see plenty of old faces and learn more about their roles in the storm that’s coming.
The ending is an intense, violent, action packed roller coaster ride of deception, betrayal, and reward as Cormack and Elen fight to protect their love and their family. DeLima continues to improve this series with each new installment and I am excited to see where she takes us next.
Liam Cuelebre is experiencing some growing pains. The events of the past few weeks has taken a toll on him and he finds himself drifting along aimlessly as he struggles to understand exactly what happened and his place in the world.
Pia and Dragos are at a loss on how to cheer up their son so they decide on a gift that Liam has wanted forever. His response is worthy of the prince he is and it leads him to make a choice on that will change his life forever.
This is the third novella in a trilogy that focused on the Cuelebre family; each book from one family member’s point of view. I admit to waiting impatiently to finally hear from Liam. This sweet not so little boy anymore stole fans hearts from the moment we learned of his impending birth. Due to his unique genetics and some liberties taken by Harrison, his growth and maturity is fast-tracked by days rather than years as with human children. A condition he battles with his dragon on a daily basis. He feels as though life is passing him by with each minute that passes.
"He was growing tired of this constant battle with himself."
Not as action-packed as the first two, also, no smexy times. This is one of the tamest story in this world, more of a reflective coming of age than Harrison’s normal offerings.
The events in Shadow’s Fall affected Liam in multiple ways. His strong narrative explains his discontent and sorrow; and his choice to finally put forth some of his own concerns to his parents. Being the Wyr Prince isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. He is feeling smothered and wants to be able to make some of his own choices in his life. Hard to do when he is the first of his kind and his parents are extremely protective of their only child.
"I didn’t know you were having problems with being my son…"
Harrison does a fantastic job of showing the emotional upheaval Liam is experiencing. His hormones are all over the place and his is testing the boundaries with Dragos provides some chuckles. Dragos, who tolerates no dissension, is suddenly faced with a changeling teenager and must learn to balance his role as the Lord of the Wyrs with being a father. Thankfully they have Pia to smooth the way.
"I am not a child anymore. I won’t do everything you tell me to do just because you tell me to do it."
Harrison addresses the clues she left in the first two books in here, expanding on them and further ratcheting up the speculation of the next full-length novel. I also saw a certain tweet that Harrison is considering releasing a trilogy all from Liam’s point of view. I would love to see that. Especially if it relates to the new adventure he is embarking on.
As always, Harrison delivers the goods with her dynamic characters and well-plotted stories. Fans will delight to share in the more private moments on the Cuelebre family as well as seeing possible future storylines.
Jane Yellowrock and her security team is busy preparing for a Witches Conclave being held in New Orleans when she is attacked in her home by a pair of unknown witches. The investigation into the attack results in the solving of a decades-old mystery. A long thought dead master vampire is found chained to the bottom of a pit; insane and starving. Jane is tasked by her boss, Leo Pellissier, with discovering who did this and why. Accusations are flying all around and if Jane doesn’t discover the culprits soon, it could be the beginning of a supernatural war the world has never seen the likes of.
Shadow Rites is the tenth book in Faith Hunter’s epic Urban Fantasy Jane Yellowrock series. Based on Jane Yellowrock, a female dual natured skinwalker, we follow her journey as she continues to discover more about her heritage, her magic, and her destiny as she plays enforcer for Leo Pellister-the Blood Master of New Orleans. Impressively action packed with a steady influx of magic and mayhem-Jane finds herself once again forced to cleaning up a supernatural mess. The steady pace and extremely plotted storylines harmonizes well with the dry humor and dynamic characters. Hunter continuously adds to her character base, introducing new faces while expanding the background on the older more established ones.
While still preparing for the European Mithran Vampire delegate that is coming to New Orleans, Jane Yellowrock and her security team are also handling the security for the Witch Conclave that is coming to broker peace with the vampires. Jane has come along way since the beginning. No longer a solitary figure who walked alone with her guilt and insecurity; she now has friends, family, a home, job security, a better relationship with Beast, and a promising romance. Though she will never probably never exercise all her guilt nor her ingrained need to protect those she loves, she has begun to accept that some of her actions in the past and that her family and friends are more than able to protect themselves. Her biggest accomplishment to date is the total acceptance of Beast. She and Beast are no longer two separate entities who co-exist. They have become one and in doing so has opened up a whole new world of power and magic for Jane.
Beast is a wise ambush hunter. Yes, you are. We are. We are Beast.
The main long reaching arc is still at a standstill as we await the arrival of the European Vampire Council (three books now). Unlike the last two books, the main conflict in here is not a result of the European’s visit but blowback from past choices made by Leo and the Witch Conclave. Hunter has spent a considerable amount of time and skill creating an elaborate and complicated web of lies, betrayal, deception, and death that is slowly coming to light as Jane and her security team find themselves on the receiving end of a nasty revenge plot. Using this plot line, Hunter gives us updates on previous storylines-closing some threads off for good and commenting on others to assure us they haven’t been forgotten. The reasons for the attacks become clear as the multiple plot lines intertwine, giving us a clear view of the complicated politics of the supernatural world and the repercussions of those who try to change it. Jane is forced to defend at great risk to her own life though she is sure to give a strong piece of her mind to all those involved. The investigative angle still remains strong and keeps the world modernized while reminding us of Jane’s ability to look at the world through dual natured eyes and find the truth that has been buried.
“You really need to keep it in your pants.”
“Keep it in my pants…”
“Yeah. Your need to tap everything that moves causes nothing but problems.”
“I have taken you recommendations under advisement.”
Romance wise, this series has been frustratingly slow though we finally see some major advancement. After the events in Black Arts, most fans knew the moment of truth had arrived. Jane could no longer make any excuses for her lover’s behavior. He made his choice, now he must live with it. I love who is in her life now. I’ve always been #TeamBruiser. George Dumas (Bruiser) has taken his time to get to know Jane and is finally in the position to make his intentions known. I love that he has never made her feel inferior or lacking. She matters to him and he accepts her for who and what she is. There is definitely some swoony worthy and majorly hot scenes that gave this reader hope that Jane and George’s relationship will continue to grow.
“He will smell me on you.”
“Good…Old guys sometimes need reminders about who belong to who. Whom. Whatever.
“And do we belong to each other?”
“We’re still finding out.”
Fans will love seeing how strong a role family plays in this installment and the continued message Hunter sends that family is often made by choice, not blood. Eli and Alex continue to hold a large part of Jane’s heart as do the Everhart-Truebloods. Molly is her best friend and the events that fractured their friendship have been addressed. So much humor surrounds this storyline as Jane’s home further expands with blessings in the form of some new roommates. A very interesting subplot is built around Angie-baby that has me excited about the future implications.
“To many people in our den, Beast thought, panting hard. Shift into big-cat and run. We find new den. Alone.”
The ending is a climactic and spectacular explosion; wrapping up the main storyline with cheers, jeers, and outright shock. Once again Hunter brings her A game to the table and more than delivers the goods. Shadow Rites is the turning of the tide in the series and left me more than ready for book eleven-Cold Reign-release date to be announced.
Favorite Quote: “Look at the situation we’re in! She has a clipboard!”
Tori: Jace Berisha’s life wasn’t all that grand, being the wife of a sociopathic religious cult leader, but she never expected him to kill her. When she is granted near immortality by the goddess Freya, she grabs hold with both hands. Of course, being able to exact revenge on her murderous husband is a bonus. Working with the Crows to prevent the coming of Ragnarok, Jace finally has the life she always wanted and an outlet for her anger issues.
But something wicked is coming.
An ancient goddess, bent on vengeance, is cutting a bloody swipe through humanity and her goal is the Crows. In order to save the world and themselves, the Crows will have to join forces with their greatest enemies, the Protectors, a clan built for the sole purpose of killing Crows. Luckily for all of them, Protector Danski Eriksen is a lover, not a fighter. And the woman he wants to love up on? The one and only Jace.
Crazy clans? Check!
Unstoppable gods? Check!
Annoying pets? Check!
Let the games begin.
Anything Shelly Laurenston writes is pure, unadulterated fun. The queen of humorous paranormal romances continues to keep her title with her latest series-Call of the Crows. The Undoing is the second installment in this action packed, laugh out loud, sexy as sin series based on Norse mythology. Set in the present, Laurenston creates a world brimming with supernaturally enhanced warriors who have been enlisted in the fight to save the world from complete annihilation. Each one is offered near immortality at their death with the condition they must serve the god or goddess who gave them their second life until their final death. Some are chosen due to their heritage while others are chosen for their skills. What you end up with is a melting pot of obnoxious, arrogant, loud, petty, narcissistic, trouble making death bringers who can’t stand one another and will leave you gasping for air as they wack, stab, and beat their way to victory.
“Is there something psychologically wrong with you?”
The Undoing starts off with a BANG. We learn exactly how Jace Berisha became a Crow which is foreshadow for what’s to come. Now a full-fledged member of the Crows, the introverted Jace spends her days hiding from the more obnoxious clan members who want her to “socialize” and playing with her puppy, Lev. Her nights are spent drenched in blood and kicking arse as she and her fellow Crows carry out their missions. When one mission to recover their Goddess’s bracelet goes horribly wrong, Jace finds herself being saved by a very sexy Protector.
Danski (Ski) Ericson and his fellow Protectors were sent to retrieve some priceless books by their God but they never expected to walk into a murder of crows. With bodies and parts flying, he is more than a little pleased he finally gets to spend some time with the lovely and reserved Jace. When he learns the books are in a language none of his brethren can read, he hurries over to the Crow mansion and offers Jace a job as one of her talents is knowing multiple languages. After being told no numerous times, Jace finally accepts the job to get away from the Crows and a love affair is born
No, it’s not but soon will be.
I loved this installment. Filled with Laurenston’s trademark humor and snark, we get a ringside seat to the romance of two warring clan members while the tsunami of a storyline expands the world and the arc while building an intriguing conflict. New and old faces offer more background towards the coming war while the interfering clans keep you in tears.
“Get Brodie to drop that squirrel!”
“Oh my God. It’s got the plague or something, right?”
“It’s…it’s not just a squirrel.”
So Sheena, what did you think of The Undoing?
Sheena: Tori, I love this series and Laurenston’s hilarious writing style so much, that any and all romance is just icing on the cake. I get so engrossed in the zany Crow bickering and larger than life personalities that this world of Gods and warrior clans fighting to prepare for- and stave off Ragnarok, is more than enough to captivate. That being said, I was supremely satisfied with the hot Viking sex.
Jace is a berserker with a cause. Her character sang to me because for the love of the gods, she is not overly shy, she just wants to be left the eff alone and avoid small talk. I have far less traumatic reasons for hating small talk in comparison to Jace, however, I found myself fighting giggles whenever her introvert-ness was confronted. Ski was handsome enough. Present enough, kind enough and pretty much served his purpose. For all intents and purposes, this was all about the Crows. Ski was more of a prop. Never really got to know him. Even so, his lack of development did not really bother me. So many rich characters vied for my attention that Ski’s “meh” ness did not really register. When he wasn’t slowly finessing his way into Jace’s favor, he was engaging in a series of standoffs with book one’s hero, Vig, that nearly busted my gut. Besides Jace, the Crows and the most outrageous house party I’ve ever seen, highlights of the story included a Protector called Bear and his tenuously brokered affinity for Jace’s dog, Lev. I loved Bear. He is a brutal, alpha warrior with a sweetly crass streak that made his character really pop! The Protector’s are seriously studious, owl-like warriors who fancy themselves above the fray- until they are knee deep in it, of course. Heh!
Tori: Sheena, I’m pretty sure Jace is my fictional sister from another mother. I too despise small talk and have some, err, anger issues, am shy, and prefer books to people. While I have never gone as far as hiding in a cupboard (or biting off someone’s nose), I have walked away while someone was in mid-sentence, peeked around doorways to avoid talking to anyone, and pretended I didn’t hear someone calling my name as I ran away. Jace’s awkwardness resonated in me and I adored her. I found her backstory fascinating. OMG her grandmother. (I died). Jace had good reasons for her actions and I can’t help but hope we met more of her relatives in future installments. I have to agree with you about Ski. I liked him because he was the one for Jace. Laurenston created him as a foil, a grounding agent for Jace and we never learn his backstory or gain any real feeling for him as an individual. Not like we got for Vig in book one. But he gets the job done between, over, under, beside the sheets so yeah… VIKING SEX FOR THE WIN!!
Shenna: I did not think it possible, yet I very much so enjoyed The Undoing even more than it’s predecessor, The Unleashing. I could not get enough of the snarknado tendencies of these Crows! Amsel, Chloe, Kera, and the whole gang come together as often as they clash and fight- always proving that Crows stick together, no matter what against any enemy or threat of any kind. It was heartwarming and emotional to see how they looked after Jace, the obligatory sisterly warnings they gave to Ski when he expressed his interest in her, and the downright deadly defense when it came to protecting her from her own blood. No matter the threat, these girls stick together!
Tori: The Undoing was phenom. While I enjoyed The Unleashing, The Undoing went into expands on the world with stronger details, with more humor, stronger elements, and a better balance between the arc and the subplots. The teasing, pranks, and snippets of violence between the clans and each other as is the almost homicidal need to protect one of their own is part of what makes Laurenston’s books so funny. They are predestined to mess with each other and Lord is it hilarious. Their motto is literally ‘love hurts.’ The Crows are the ultimate girl gang gone wild. I was almost hysterical watching the the party unfold and & Cleo’s ex husband…my stomach hurt from laughing by the time I was done reading.
“Since this is my party, shouldn’t I have a say in who gets to come?”
“It’s a party in your honor. No one said it was your party.”
The whole character base is a is the literary equivalent of taking LSD. Bear and his OCD tendencies was a story all on it’s own. In fact, each of the Protectors all had this calm, cool, anti-social vibe going on that when they did associate with the Crows and other clans, you were shocked by how devious they were. So much goodness in here.
“What did you do?”
“Just smiled pleasantly.”
“Always instigating. You’re almost as bad as Erin.”
Shenna: The Undoing boasts vibrantly colorful supporting characters and hysterical interpersonal struggles within the clan factions. These clan run-ins occur in conjunction with Jace’s personal journey which all ties into a race to stop a demon from prematurely setting off events to bring the great battle before its time. Ultimately, The Undoing had me utterly ugly laughing, akin to the “ugly cry” but far more embarrassing and less voluntary.
The broader story arc got a little too fantasy-crazy for me but, hey, I never let a little envelope pushing get in between me and a good story, so I am in it for the long haul for The Call of Crows series. I am already eager to get my hands on information for book three. More Bear…and Viking sex please. Said everyone- ever! Ca-cawww!!!!
Tori: Indeed. There wasn’t one single character who didn’t make a lasting impression on me and leave me wanting more. I myself enjoyed the arc and main conflict. It was ‘out there’ but all her plot lines are and I couldn’t imagine them any other way. I think Laureston does an excellent job of expanding upon it from book one and giving it just enough zaniness to keep me wide-eyed without leaving me eye rolling and wondering about the logistics.
The Call of the Crows series is a definite must read for fans of humorous, outrageous, over the top PNR that overflows with colorful storylines, insane characters who refuse to act normal, and sexy adult romances that aren’t hampered by emo drama or baggage.
Shadowed Blade ups the ante and blows you away with the action, suspense, and new storylines. More secrets are revealed and characters introd4.5 stars
Shadowed Blade ups the ante and blows you away with the action, suspense, and new storylines. More secrets are revealed and characters introduced as Kit learns just how far some will go for power. ...more
LOVED!!! Daniels adds a new dimension to her Kit Colbana series with the introduction of a new and VERY interesting couple whose addition to this w4.5
LOVED!!! Daniels adds a new dimension to her Kit Colbana series with the introduction of a new and VERY interesting couple whose addition to this world could spell relief or disaster for all those involved. I can't wait to see where Daniels goes from here. ...more
Favorite Quote: I’d never exactly wanted a reputation-I’d spent most of my life trying to fade into the background of almost every situation I as in-but apparently, despite my best efforts, secured one for myself. Fortitude Scott-Holy Shit, We’re Glad You’re Not Your Sister.
Humor and horror go hand in hand as our favorite slacker, vegan, socially conscious, almost vampire is back and once again challenging the status quo in between keeping his girlfriend from stealing his car and stopping his psychotic sister from engaging in a murderous free for all. Add in his impending transition and a group of supernaturals who are all looking to him for help as his mother’s health begins to fail and Fort will find that sometimes letting go of the past can bring the future into much sharper focus.
I am a huge fan of Brennan’s noir comedic Generation V series; mostly due to the protagonist-Fortitude Scott. From our introduction to Fort in book one, Generation V, Brennan has allowed her baby vamp to grow at a realistic and comfortable rate as he attempts to maintain his humanity in the face of his transition to full fledged vampire. The youngest of three, Fort is the most modern of his siblings. Socially conscientious, Fort makes a stand anyway he can from his eating habits to his stubbornness in joining the family business. Having learned the hard way that his transition is going forward regardless of what he wants, Fort has made some changes in the way he handles things. Though his innocence is being slowly taken from him; his sincerity and desire to help people is still a driving need in him.
“We live in America, and it’s time for a motherfucking democracy.”
Dark Ascension is a turning point for not only the series but for Fort himself. The Scott family still remains a strong central focus but instead of the usual action fueled main conflict that normally absorbs a large part of the storyline, there are a multitude of smaller more subdued subplots that all serve as foreshadow for the major changes occurring to Fort and his family. Brennan uses this book to address the political aspects of story and transition us into the new arc. Fort has inadvertently become the “go to guy” for those in the Scott territory in need of help. Madeline has let some things slide and the consequences are just becoming known. Fort not only surprises his siblings with his insistence in fixing these issues to benefit everyone, but also those whom have become his allies and friends.
The Scott household is in disarray as Madeline Scott has taken a turn for the worse, prempting the need for some serious changes. The first being to name her successor. Only Madeline refuses to do so and asks instead that all three of the Scott siblings rule together.
“Only with this is there a chance you will all stay together, to gain strength through each other, to advise and guide.”
Chivalry, Prudence, and Fort make a valiant effort to try to work together addressing the various issues that have come to a head concerning events in their territory, but the extreme age and personality differences only do more to highlight the schism that exists between them all. Humor reigns supreme as they discuss the territory and the various requests that are being made-especially concerning a group of succubuses who have moved illegally in the Scott territory for protection. Fort is determined to drag his family into the 21st century while Prudence considers murder an acceptable answer to any problem and Chivalry is still basking in the honeymoon glow of his recent marriage. Their love for one another is evident…it’s just buried under many, many layers of sarcasm, disgust, and disinterest.
“Are we going to be able to take bathroom breaks?”
His relationship with his kitsune girlfriend, Suzume, also weathers some changes when Fort challenges the parameters set and makes some demands of his own. When she does something causes him to question their relationship, he’s quick to confront her and we see the true depth of their feelings for one another. No longer content to be led around by the nose anymore, he wants a commitment from Suzume that goes beyond her “bodyguard” services. This attitude is a far cry from when we first met him. Suzume rises to the challenge and confirms her feelings for Fort, expressing her concern for the chances he’s taking and the path he’s currently going down. She has lived in this world for far longer and knows if Fort doesn’t toughen up and accept who and what he is, he’s only going to get himself hurt.
“I don’t want you to change, Fort, I’m not trying to nag you into not caring…I just don’t want you to end up like a marshmallow Peep in the microwave of the world.”
Per usual, the ending comes at us fast in a shocking domino effect as all the subplots come together to force the Scott family into a position that could bode ill for Fort and his allies in the future. I like the direction Brennan has taken; once again refusing to bend to the norms of this particular genre. My only qualms were I would have enjoyed more time spent on Fort’s transition as it is an important aspect of the series and there was a fair bit of repetition in this installment that was absent from the others. Regardless, Generation V continues to entertain and this reviewer is more than anxious to see where Fort will go from here.
When the pack is called on to help dispatch a troll attacking a bridge, Mercy is shocked to see Zee and Tad show up to help. With them is a young man with a powerful and unstable magic whom Zee asks sanctuary for.
Aiden, a human kidnapped as a child and held in the Underhill for centuries, has escaped and the fae want him back at all costs. In a desperate measure to ensure Aiden safety, Mercy grants him sanctuary and defies the fae and the Marrock by claiming the city to be under the protection of her pack. With the gauntlet thrown down, the pack, along with some very unlikely allies, will have to work together to keep Aiden safe. But who’s going to keep them safe from Aiden?
Patricia Briggs takes readers back on a magically propelled adventure in her ninth installment when Mercy and the pack are forced to face off with the fae when they meet and are obligated to protect a young man with an amazing and dangerous power. Brimming with intrigue, action, suspense, romance, and just the right amount of humor, Briggs’s focuses heavily on adding to the already multi-layered world and over extended arc while divulging deeper into the characters who all inhabit this world- introducing new ones and giving us further insight into older ones. We see more inclusion of another series that runs tandem with this one, Alpha & Omega, as Briggs’s uses this installment as a bridge to the next A&O and Mercy Thomson book to help set up and lead us towards the large scale supernatural war that awaits on the horizon.
Fire Touched picks up not long after Night Broken; choosing to reveal in a different fashion as the conflict takes center stage over Mercy and is not dependant on her to develop. This new approach doesn’t detract from the installment, if anything it capitalizes on Briggs’s talents; showcasing her flexibility and skills as a writer. Though not quite as intense as some of the prior installments, there are quite a few game changers in here that will have fans cheering and speculating towards the future.
“Let the Gray Lords in their halls know that the Columbia Basin Pack holds these lands and grants sanctuary to whomever we choose.”
Mercy has since recovered from her injuries in Night Broken. Her near death experience affected Adam far deeper than anyone suspected, causing him to FINALLY take action with his pack and issue them a much-needed ultimatum. With her health and well-being back to normal, Mercy jumps back into the fray and trouble finds her soon enough. With her need to champion the underdog, she unintentionally forces the pack into a possible war with the fae and announces to the rest of the world they aren’t backing down for no one. This action has far greater implications than expected. The Columbia Basin Pack is already not universally loved by other packs due to their modern views and penchant for trouble. This new development with the fae causes Bran to make a difficult but necessary choice regarding their pack. One that is politically necessary but causes Mercy some heartache and a greater understanding of her position in the hierarchy. But don’t get too cranky, folks. When has Bran not had a few tricks up his sleeve when it comes to his Mercy?
“He had to do that,” Adam said. He waited, then said in a soft voice, “Mercy, he had to do this.” “Of course he did,” I said, still frozen on Adam’s lap.
Mercy remains a strong solid character in this series. Briggs’s has kept her true to herself even as we have watched her grow from a solitary figure minding her own business into a warrior with a husband, a family, and a cast of very interesting friends and allies. Having been raised by the Marrok himself, there is an interesting line drawn between her and humanity. She relates easier to them than most supernaturals but still struggles with some of the finer nuances. Her compassion, intelligence, loyalty, and sense of justice often leads her into danger yet it’s those attributes that make her the warrior she is.
“You bore me.” “I need the boy.” “And your offer?” “The note told you we are willing to allow you your territory.” “No one allows me anything…”
Her relationship with Adam has grown in leaps and bounds. Though married and completely in love, she has had a hard time letting go of her feelings of abandonment. There was always a small part of her that expected Adam to grow sick of her and her issues and leave her-like everyone else has in her life. She seems to be finally settling on and realizing that he choose her and loves her for who she is no matter what the others say. There is a new easiness to them that wasn’t always apparent before.
“So,” he said, shaking his head. “I’m too much for you. You should have said something. We might be married, Mercy, but no still means no.” I widened my eyes at him. “I just haven’t wanted to hurt your feelings.” “When I give you that little nudge, hmm?” His voice took on a considering air. “Come to think of it, I’m feeling a little nudge coming on right now.” “Now?” I whispered in horrified tones. I looked up toward Jesse’s room. “Think of the children.”
Though she often tries not to not make any waves in the pack, I liked that Adam finally stepped up to the plate and did what was necessary. She needed to see him make this stand even if she was a little grumpy about it. This emotional subplot has been free floating through the series for a long time and it’s ready to be put to bed. I especially enjoyed that Mercy and Adam were able to stay together in this installment. To often Adam is incapacitated or forced to deal with the same events from a different location, leaving Mercy alone in her battles.
The storyline moves steadily, giving us different POVs from various characters involved and goes far in explaining the events of previous books and highlighting the consequences of the decisions that were made. The main conflict is dealt with is an acceptable intriguing manner with more than it’s fair share of humor. New characters are introduced and old characters make appearances; each one with an agenda that may or may not align with Mercy’s but they offer their support for now. I loved the inclusion of some unique creatures whose likes aren’t often seen in urban fantasy. It not only creates a bigger pool from which Briggs’s to play in but also gives the series a fresh feel that isn’t easy when you are so far in it. Briggs’s also continues to address the issues that have plagued the series since the beginning-prejudice, bigotry, and abuse. An alternate world view doesn’t automatically mean a better world and Briggs’s makes sure we understand this.
“We are all monsters here, “ he said. “It’s too late for any of us to be anything else.” “That depends, “ I said. He looked at me with mild inquiry. “On your definition of monster, “ said Tad, “who do you allow to tell you what you are? Monster or angel, it’s in the eye of the beholder, surely.”
Fire Touched is the installment that lays the foundation for what’s to come in a manner that is both exciting and informative. Her unvoiced inclusion of the Alpha & Omega series only adds to the thrill of anticipation. I am more than ready for the next book in both of these series and am looking forward to see what adventures Briggs’s has in store for us....more
Molly Harper is back in Half Moon Hollow and bringing plenty of laughs, romance, and snark when a mother makes the ultimate sacrifice for her child. Well written with a fast moving storyline, lovably eccentric characters, and a heroine you can’t help but want as your new bff. When Libby Stratton finds out she is dying, she chooses to go the way of the vampire in order to stay with her young son. Using Craigslist (OMG-CRAIGSLIST) she finds a donor and wakes up in the middle of a little league field with a raging hunger and the overwhelming feeling that maybe she didn’t think this one through enough. Add in a rude janitor/mechanic/single father, a pair of anti vampire in-laws, and the dreaded PTA and you will be laughing your way to the end as Libby struggles to blend her new life with her old in order to hold on to the one person who means the world to her-her son....more
Favorite Quote: “There are monsters in both worlds…and friends of neither.”
Seven years ago, the Veil that separates humanity from what lies bRATING C+
Favorite Quote: “There are monsters in both worlds…and friends of neither.”
Seven years ago, the Veil that separates humanity from what lies beyond was torn apart, and New Orleans was engulfed in a supernatural war. Now, those with paranormal powers have been confined in a walled community that humans call the District. Those who live there call it Devil’s Isle.
Claire Donnelly has a secret. In a world where magic is forbidden and those caught using it are punished by incarceration in a prison called the Devil’s Isle; Claire is known as a sensitive. One in a few who developed magic after the Veil between humanity and the fae opened; spilling war, death, destruction into the world. As store owner in the recovering war torn New Orleans, Claire keeps her head down and hopes no one ever suspects what she is. When she is forced to use her magic to defend a young woman and herself from an attack, Claire is caught by a young man and forced to confide in him or face arrest.
Liam Quinn is a bounty hunter who hunts sensitives and other supernatural beings and takes them to Devil’s Isle. Having lost most of his family during the war and its consequences afterwards, he has good reasons for having issues with sensitives. He knows what Claire is and worst, what she can become if she doesn’t learn to control her powers. He offers to help her find a teacher to train her, though he warns her the minute she becomes dangerous, he will not hesitate to take her in.
When it becomes clear that the Veil is attempting to reopen, Clare and Liam will have to learn to trust one another if they want to keep New Orleans from being destroyed altogether.
Though Chloe Neill is best known for her best-selling PNR Chicagoland Vampire series, I see potential for this newest UF endeavor. Set in modern day New Orleans, Neill starts this series off by building a strong foundation, mixing fact and fiction to create a new world to explore and an engaging character ensemble. Steady pacing engages the reader through the beginning is a little slow moving as Neill gives us the necessary facts needed to understand the past in order to go forward in the story. Bigotry, deception, fear, and betrayal play a large part in helping to amp up the action as it increases and the story picks up speed, racing to the finale. Even with the multiple story lines; you never feel overwhelmed or confusion.
Claire is a likable mixture of vulnerability, loyalty, and bravery. Scared of what she is and could eventually become, she doesn’t hide herself away. Raised by her father, she continues to run their family store after his death during the war. Her love for New Orleans and it’s inhabitants remains steadfast as even she struggles to find her place in a world that doesn’t want her kind. She goes into enemy territory multiple times, knowing if caught it could mean the end of her freedom, to try to save lives and discover the truth about what is happening. She is the perfect affordable UF heroine-one you know will continue to evolve and grow as time goes by.
Liam is one of my favorite types of heroes. Gorgeous and built, this alpha/beta mix has a sweet and considerate nature that mixes well with the reluctant heroic vibe that generates from him. Some low key angst and internal baggage explains his general weariness towards Claire without making him come off as a jerk. Not one to keep things hidden, he is as honest as he can be with Claire from the start, wanting to gain her trust without promising her all will be fine because he knows he may eventually fail in that promise.
Chemistry wise, Liam and Claire click almost instantaneously. Neill chooses to build a friendship between them with a ‘possibility’ but no assurances as neither is in any position to pursue anything remotely romantic at this time.The storyline and subplots take up the majority, leaving the potential for romance a nice side dish to complement the story.
Heavy characterization is what gives this story the push it needs to keep from becoming run of the mill. A multitude of personable characters add depth, cohesiveness, and some light moments to the story; allowing readers to view what has happened from different viewpoints. I enjoyed meeting the various paranormals; learning that brought them through the Veil and why. Neill makes a heavy point in that there is a gray area to the war and subsequent imprisonment and these people hold the answers. There is a youthful feel to the characters and their actions. For most of them, the war started when they were in their late teens and their dialogue and attitudes in the face of opposition reflects that.
Overall I enjoyed Neill’s newest release overall though I wasn’t blown away by it. There was a curious lack of excitement, anticipation, and tension. Our hero and heroine are perfect…almost too perfect. Liam is nice. Claire is nice. Almost everyone we meet is in essence…nice. There isn’t much antagonism between anyone and any that appears is quickly dealt with. Same with the conflicts. There was never any doubt in my mind that Claire could and would handle anything thrown her way because the story foreshadows that using Claire’s personality and willingness to help and learn. I think I would have enjoyed more if we had seen any of the characters face true adversity with the possibility of losing.
Regardless of my issues, I will read book two as I am curious to learn more about Claire, Liam, and this new brave world....more