I admit - it took me awhile to catch on to the Fallen World. There is a Glossary and Family Tree at the end of the book; which should be read BEFORE starting to read this book. Even so, I still struggled with their vernacular and hierarchy until I was about half-way through with reading the book. The Kindred are a very interesting world of three distinctive sects/houses of the Fallen. All of whom have an interest in Serenity and some of their intentions are not very honorable.
Serenity is Kindred - even though she was raised by humans. Serenity’s relationship with her fiancé, Evan, is a comfortable one (read here: BORING). He has been her only family for umpteen years. When Serenity meets Cyrus and their energy streams (anima) intertwine, she is confused by her instant attraction to the stranger. I know the Kindred’s life force and kabashem (soul mate) are the central themes, but for some reason it didn’t sit well with me. Maybe it was too much energy sharing and not enough hot monkey sex.
I did like Ms. Rushdan’s use of the Egyptian mythos. I was very surprised by one development in the story - didn’t see that coming! (Nope, no spoilers from me.) I hope Abbadon will get his own story; as I’m a sucker for second chance at love tropes.
Ms. Rushdan has taken her vision of mythology and angels to a diverse level of paranormal. The premise is a very solid one, but I feel the book could have been shorter without losing any significance. I found the writing to be easy to read, but there were times when it was choppy and static, turning into more of a “telling” mode. The sex scenes aren’t as hot or frequent as you would expect for today’s PNR – the language bordering on quaint. Everything taken into consideration, I see The Kindred Chronicles series greatly improving as future books are penned.(less)
I didn’t think it would be possible, but, yes, Lucas Donlon, Vampire Lord of the Plains Territory has unseated Raphael, Vampire Lord of the Western Territory, as the most bad-ass alpha in the Vampires of America Series. His love for Kathryn, the compassion he has for his people along with the need for vengeance against his enemies make for one powerful complete package. And I just love Kathryn! She is so independent and loves her baby brother fiercely – would do anything for him! There were times while reading LUCAS that I laughed out loud or found myself teary-eyed because of something she said or did.
Yes, there is a vamp war going on. It’s not glossed over either. Ms. Reynolds writes great battle scenes where the vamps are actually dusted! Her depiction of Lucas’s power is illustrated beautifully:
He was power incarnate, but he rarely bared his true face to the world. Tonight was one of those times, and he reveled in the beauty of it, as his power streamed out, surrounding him waiting to be tapped, waiting for the taste of an enemy’s blood. The darkness around Lucas lit with golden fire as his eyes reflected the rise of his power.
Yes, Kathryn’s brother has disappeared and she has to find him. Unfortunately, she didn’t count on a hunk-o-burnin’- love vampire to have to deal with. These two are in a love/hate relationship and it is S-W-E-E-T watching it develop. This is just a small snippet of a wonderful scene:
“What happened, Kathryn?” he asked quietly.
She gave him a quick glance. “I don’t know what you mean,” she lied.
“Let me refresh your memory, then. You fucked my brains out night before last—“
“I told you I had things to do. I drove all day yesterday to get here –“
“—and apparently you couldn’t wait to get out of town. I talked to the motel manager. You must have gone directly there from my bed, then packed up and left with the sun barely above the horizon.”
“And what do you mean I fucked your brains out?” she snapped, seizing on the one thing she could dispute, since everything else he’d said was pretty damn accurate. “I wasn’t the only one in that bed, Lucas. Brains were fucked and fun was had by all.”
Ah, yes, LUCAS is one hot, steamy read. You will not be disappointed.
Of all the Vampires in America Series (VIA) books, I like LUCAS the best. It doesn’t lean heavily on characters from the other books, but it does mention a few of them. Kathryn and Lucas are written completely different than any of the other H/h of Ms. Reynolds VIA novels. I can’t quite put my finger on it: more touchable, fallible, human? Whatever it is, I like it!
I look forward to the next VIA. The brief glimpse of Aden was a tantalizing tease! (less)
IMMORTAL SURRENDER opens with a prologue that gives you a glimpse of the evil incarnate that is Azazel; along with the suffering the Knights Templar experience in search of their Seraph. The prologue is a tease from Ms. Ashgrove of a scrumptious tale yet to come.
Ms. Ashgrove uses the tropes of miscommunication, misunderstandings, and the attraction of complete opposites and carries these throughout the story with good use. Farran, our hero, just wants to do his duty: Battle Azazel and his minions, find Seraphs for the other knights, and when his time comes, let his soul go where it may. Noelle, our atheist scientist, has no use for religion or theology and puts her trust in proven science. The two are paired when the ever conniving Gabriel assigns Farran as a bodyguard for Noelle and the Sudarium. There is one thing that I didn’t agree with. Noelle does something, which as a scientist in her field would never do. But I guess desperate times call for desperate measures and after all this is fiction – so I give it a pass.
It doesn’t take long for our H/h to grate/grow on each other as the action starts. Throw in a heap ‘o baggage that both of them have been carrying around for far too long and well, here is a great example:
Farran set his chin and looked beyond Mikhail, to the wall once more. “I care not. I will do what is asked of me otherwise. I will lend my strengthened sword. I will work at her side. But I shall not swear loyalty to her. My vows are to my brethren.” The soothing tone of Mikhail’s voice cracked as he exclaimed, “ ’Tis unacceptable!” “Mayhap.” Farran punctuated his response with a curt nod. “Which do you desire more, Mikhail? The reinforcement of our Order or a petty vow that, should you force my hand, I shall not uphold?” Long seconds passed as the two men stared each other down. Noelle pursed her lips so tight they began to tingle. How dare him. Wasn’t it bad enough he made his dislike of her known in private? Did he really have to go and shame her in front of someone else? She might not be anywhere near as beautiful as Anne, or likely the other women he associated with, but she wasn’t chopped liver either. She had good qualities. A brain for starters. And once upon a time, a guy had said her ass wasn’t half bad. Damn him. He could add insensitive jerk to his ever-growing list of faults. Asshole too, if she cared to be blunt. She willed her emotions under control and forbade the rush of tears to stop before they trickled down her cheeks. She didn’t care what he thought of her. It didn’t matter. He was nuts, and she was going home. One way or the other.
The battle of wills and sexual tension between these two leap off of the pages. It’s delish!
As if there weren’t enough problems with the uber-evil trying to gain control, Ms. Ashgrove sweetens the pot with malcontents among the Knights. And they are brewing up trouble - B.I.G. time.
IMMORTAL SURRENDER is the second in The Curse of the Templars series, I feel it can be read as a stand- alone. Ms. Ashgrove provides enough details in this harsh and captivating world without being overwhelming. Several characters that were introduced in IMMORTAL HOPE make a reappearance, and the continuing arc of finding Anne’s missing sister has a brief mention. This is one series that I have really enjoyed reading.
Ms. Ashgrove has another champion with IMMORTAL SURRENDER and her brand of romance, honor and bravery of the Knights Templar.(less)
Before I get started, some of you may be wondering why Ms. Reynolds would revisit characters she already wrote about. She explains that very eloquently in her Dedication in BETRAYED:
This one’s for all of my readers who asked for more of Raphael and Cyn.
And, if you have read, RAPHAEL (Vampires in America, #1) you know exactly what she is talking about. If not, what are you waiting for? But wait…..BETRAYED is more than just a hot, sexy romp in the hay to keep us occupied between one novel and the next – oh, no no no! It’s a devious plot to introduce us to not one, but two – TWO – powerful vampires all rolled into an assassination attempt and a turf war.
BETRAYED starts with a bang when a sniper decides to take a few shots at Raphael and misses. *shakinghead-stupidhuman* And the fun has just begun! Cyn immediately goes into her over-protective mode and doesn’t trust the new vamp that has arrived on scene; no matter that he is one of Raphael’s sired children. She’ll make her own judgment calls.
Intro #1: Jared Lincoln will be Raphael’s new Lieutenant. And from his description, I envision a blending of Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson and Denzel Washington. ….yummy…
The maneuvering really gets underway as Raphael, Cyn and the rest of his group discuss what steps to take next to find the sniper, who hired him/her, and how it relates to Lucas’s war. Speaking of the Irish Devil…..
Intro #2: Lucas, Vampire Lord of the Plains, who looks enough like Raphael that to “the casual observer might easily think they were brothers.” Powerful and playful, mischievous and deadly.
The way he said her name reminded her of Raphael when they’d first met. He pronounced it with exactly the same sensuous shading, as if they spoke of sin rather than simply saying her nickname. And the sin he had in mind wasn’t exactly missing church on Sunday, either.
BETRAYED works on all levels. It’s a good ‘ole fashioned, turf war with a bit of romance (and hot sex) story that has strong characters and, naturally, betrayals. It just so happens that the main players are vampires. My kind of vampires: Strong, skilled, honorable, faithful, predators. BETRAYED shows that Ms. Reynolds continues to raise the bar in her Vampires in America series. I can’t wait to read LUCAS. I want to see how he deals with a pesky FBI Agent; well, among other things…...(less)
When Laurie approached me about reading this one, I was a bit hesitant, because, well you know "once bitten, twice shy." But I thought, WTH. And I'm glad that I did.
KEEPER OF SECRETS is a short story, less than 50 pages, and Ms. Thomas puts her own spin on the vampire genre. Not all of the myths about her vamps are answered (I didn't expect them to be), but it doesn't distract from the storytelling.
This is your basic trope of good guys vs. the bad guys with a lady caught in the middle needing protection. Both Hayden and Amelia try to deny their mutual attraction, but Hayden is Amelia's personal Guardian and is therefore forbidden from developing any kind of "personal" relationship with her. I did like that there were three type of vamps: Guardians, Defenders, and Warriors. The story does end with a HEA and not all ends were wrapped up. A series may be in the making.
I'm not sure, but I think KEEPER OF SECRETS may have seen a rewrite since I received the review copy. I enjoyed visiting in Ms. Thomas' world and hope that she continues to write. I want to know more about the Warriors.(less)
I’m on the fence with this one. It’s one of those stores that were lukewarm. None of the characters ever ignited the pages for me, even though they we...moreI’m on the fence with this one. It’s one of those stores that were lukewarm. None of the characters ever ignited the pages for me, even though they were likeable enough. However, the heroine got on my last never and just about made the TSTL List even though she was a brilliant scientist!
Honestly, I wasn’t quite sure what this Cloak Warrior and Demon of Fear world/feud consisted of until halfway through the book and everything finally clicked into place. It grew to be quite aggravating.
I’m not giving up on this new series yet – if for one reason alone. Zoltan. I love that name!(less)
WOW - For a debut novel, I am impressed! Ms. Staab manages to lay the groundwork of her world without it getting shoved down your throat or put in you...moreWOW - For a debut novel, I am impressed! Ms. Staab manages to lay the groundwork of her world without it getting shoved down your throat or put in your face. She weaves it into her story in such a way that before you know it - SHAZAM!! - everything just falls into place.
I couldn't help but chuckle over the chosen name of Thad Morgan for the hero/king of the story. That sounds more like a college prep boy than a Vampire King. But Ms. Staab makes it work. Thad turns out to be the rare alpha/beta hero that is so hard to find these days.
As with any new series, we're introduced to a handful of main characters that play central roles in the continuing story line; along with a plethora of minor ones who become just as important. Oh my, my, my. . . Siddoh and Lee *sigh* Even the maybe (?) evil wizard Anton holds secrets.
There are a few loose ends in KING OF DARKNESS, which I am assuming Ms. Staab will address in Book #2. Question is - WHEN? How long do we wait until we find out about Lee, Tyra, Alexia, and Anton?(less)
A paranormal romance that comes up a bit short on the story but serves up several hot helpings of sexual bliss. Although, I couldn't help but like the...moreA paranormal romance that comes up a bit short on the story but serves up several hot helpings of sexual bliss. Although, I couldn't help but like the hero - with the name of Luke Spencer (GH anyone?) - who knows how to pleasure his woman. This isn't one to be read when you're alone; unless you'll be having a visit with "Bob".(less)
A free read of less than 20 pages that got me hooked! The intro to THE GOBLIN KING tells of the initial meeting between Roan and Eliza. It sets the to...moreA free read of less than 20 pages that got me hooked! The intro to THE GOBLIN KING tells of the initial meeting between Roan and Eliza. It sets the tone of what is to come.(less)
An anthology of four stories loosely based on a Valentine theme.
CUPID ONLY RINGS TWICE by Sam Cheever Review: 4 – A Pack Howl Sexual 2 – Steamy Rori overhears the “office jerk” make a bet with his posse that he can make her cry when she reads a note that he has written. This is a delightful and sexy story of competition not only in the office, but between a cupid and a demon. Those of us “young” enough to remember the good ole’ days of the drive-ins will chuckle when reading. . .
REUNITED by Helen Hardt Review: 3 – One Good Howl Sexual: 1 – Flirty Brett and Kathryn were the polar opposites in high school but he needed a tutor and well, she was the one appointed. Circumstances forced them apart. Years later, they are united, divorced, single parents and find their way back to one another. I like the way Ms. Hardt uses flashback in the story to show the history between Brett and Kathryn in high school. A heartwarming story of getting a second chance at love.
IT’S SWEETEST FORM by Xakara DNF – I really did try with this one. Tessa is an author who uses Eaton (vampire) and Brahm (shifter) to block her scenes in the erotic novels she writes. There is also a ghost named Agnes involved somehow. I stuck with all of the non-sex – ménage blocking until Brahm has an out-of-body experience as Agnes. Not for me.
MASQUERADE by Sloane Taylor Review: 4 – A Pack Howl Sexual: 2 – Steamy Clancy is on the vacation of her dreams in Venice when a handsome stranger sweeps her off of her feet and makes all of her wishes for the perfect vacation come true. An enchanting tale that takes you on a mini-tour of Venice via the romance of Clancy and her dashing Vittore.(less)