Sydney Kildare is a vampire courier in Alaska, and it’s not a job for the faint of heart. Navigating the powerful world of vamp politics and wheeling and dealing, while keeping not only her wits about her, but her blood in her body, isn’t easy, and she’s one of the best in the biz. However, the stress is taking its toll, and she’s ready to pack it in and retire to a beach house on the shores of Oahu. Then she meets Malcolm Kelly. Mal is a vamp very good at passing for human, so when she finds out his true nature, she’s surprised, to say the least. She’s also surprised at the instant sparks between them. However, Sydney isn’t one to let romantic complications get in the way of her plans. After getting caught in the crossfire of vamp politics, she’s nearly a casualty, and that’s when she decides it’s time to cut her losses. But the vamps have other ideas…
Sydney is exactly my kind of heroine; tough, smart, resourceful, but not without her Achilles’ heels and vulnerabilities. She’s built some walls, but Mal just may be the one guy that can tear them down. Don’t Bite the Messenger is a lightning fast urban fantasy/romance, and Sydney’s voice grabbed me from page one. Regan Summers’ writing is taut, electric and crackles with tension. There’s nothing sappy here, and I really enjoyed the whipsmart (and admittedly hawt) love story. Mal is certainly equal to the task of winning Sydney over, but theirs is not a fairy tale love affair. There are car chases, shootouts, and of course, some good ol’ butt kickin’. The only thing I DIDN’T like is that Don’t Bite the Messenger wasn’t longer. Seriously, loved this one, and can’t wait for Regan Summers’ next story!(less)
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started Acquainted With the Night. Piper Maitland is a new author for me,and I’m certainly always up for discovering new authors,plus,it’s blurbed by Diana Gabaldon,which is a win. I had a feeling I’d like it,but had no idea I’d enjoy it quite as much as I did. I’ll be honest,I have a ton of books on the TBR pile,so I readily admit to checking a books length,and if it exceeds the 300 page mark,you might see me wince a little bit. Acquainted weighs in at a healthy and robust 500+ pages,but I swear,they go by fast! Caroline Clifford (Caro),is a former doctorate candidate turned London tour guide. Not really her dream job,but it’s a living,and she has a roommate she gets along with,so things aren’t too bad. When she gets word that her Uncle was killed in a horrible way while on a Bulgarian archeological dig,it’s a tragic blow for Caro,and it’s at that point that things begin moving very fast for our heroine.
When handsome Jude Barrett comes into her life,claiming to have a connection to her uncle,Caro doesn’t know what to think,but clues left behind with her uncle’s things will set them on a globe hopping adventure to find what may be the key to immortality. See,Jude is a biochemist,and had been researching vampiric properties in mice when things took a bad turn for him he had to run for his life. Turns out Caro’s uncle may have known a little something about the existence of vampires,and it could also have a connection to Caro’s parents and her past. What follows for Caro and Jude is an adventure filled with mysterious monks,religious idols,illuminated texts (one book in particular will prove very important),and the phrase “trust no one” will certainly prove true. Expect some sizzling hot romance with Caro and Jude,and while the twists are fairly easy to predict,I didn’t mind,because the ride was so much fun. A fascinating,historical story,some truly evil vamps (and a nasty human villain),brisk pacing and tight prose make Acquainted With the Night a worthwhile,rollicking read! The author certainly left things open for further novels with Jude and Caro,so I’ll definitely be on the lookout!(less)
Mariah Lyander, who’s family was slaughtered ,has come to live in the New Badlands with her Intel Dog (smarter than the average bear, er, dog), Chaplin, in an underground bunker. When a stranger, a man named Gabriel, is wounded and begs for her help, she lets him in, against her own better judgement. Gabriel is searching for Abby, the woman he loves, who left suddenly, and without explanation. Mariah has been alone for a while, and Gabriel awakens feelings in her that she thought were gone for good. Water is a precious commodity, and Mariah has done her best to make this underground dwelling safe for her and the rest of its inhabitants. When they are threatened by a man named Stamp and his vicious crew, Mariah may have to look to Gabriel for help, even though she suspects him of being a monster just like the one that’s been roaming the night aboveground, slaughtering humans. With the New Badlands, Christine Cody creates a world that’s a cross between Mad Max, Firefly, and the Wild West. Gabriel is a vampire searching for redemption, and determined to hide his true nature. Mariah is tough and damaged, but her feelings for Gabriel are undeniable. There’s sufficient sexual tension throughout the story, and Gabriel has a White Knight streak a mile long. Stamp is a former Shredder, tasked with eliminating preternaturals and is determined to wipe them from this world, with impunity, and without mercy. I enjoyed the tense relationship between Gabriel and Mariah, but I wanted to read more about the New Badlands and the events that led up to such cataclysmic changes for humanity, so I’m hopeful we’ll get more in the next couple of books. Lots of character set up is done in this one, but be patient, it's worth the payoff! There’s also a really nice twist that I’ll admit I didn’t see coming, and the promise of an awesome (trust me on this one) final showdown will keep you turning the pages. Bloodlands is a fun start to a promising new series!(less)
After her last adventure,our favorite OCD cat burglar and vamp,Raylene Pendle,is settling into domestic bliss (yeah right),with Ian Stott,the blind vampire that she’d like to be more than friends with,and her two pet humans,Domino and Pepper,street kids,and brother and sister that she’s taken under her wing. Raylene’s longtime contact,Horace Bishop,has a job for her,and just when she thinks she’s gotten away from the “weird jobs”,Horace wants her to steal a collection of,er,penis bones (aka Bakula) from various supes,like weres,gryphons,and unicorns,from the owner who was not willing part with them. Evidently these relics are used in all kinds of spells and rituals,and Horace is desperate to get his hands on them. When Raylene discovers that a brilliant,schizophrenic ex-NASA scientist is using them for her own mysterious reasons,Raylene begins to identify with her,and the more she learns,the more she wants to help her,in spite of her constant resistance to human attachment. Add that to her attempts to untangle Ian from the politics of his House,her growing feelings for him,and desperation to keep him by her side,and you’ve certainly got a recipe for fun,er,disaster! Hellbent is certainly not short of adventure,and when Raylene asks Adrian,ex-Navy SEAL and fabulous drag queen extraordinaire,to accompany her to Atlanta,to act as her ghoul and confront Barrington House (one of the most dangerous Houses in existence),things really get tense.
One of my favorite things about Raylene is that her tough as nails exterior hides her inner vulnerability. She’s very OCD,so she’s drawn to weaknesses in others,and it definitely brings out a “mommy” quality in her,no matter how much she tries to protest that this is the case. I just get more and more attached to Adrian,and Ian is like a gorgeous piece of art that I’d like to admire from afar (not Raylene,though,she wants to admire him way up close,but I digress…). There are a ton of upheavals in Raylene’s life in Hellbent,and she certainly deals with everything in her own unique,anal way,but that’s one of the things I love most about her. She’s a tough nut,yes,but there is a gooey center in there,it just takes certain things to get through to it. In Raylene,Ms. Priest has created a very complex character that’s at once tough and vulnerable,and sweet and salty,then surrounded her with a fascinating cast of characters that leave plenty of possibilities open for future story lines. It’s rare for a vampire character to leave me with the warm and fuzzies,but Raylene manages it,and the conclusion to Hellbent will leave you grinning from ear to ear. I can’t wait to read the next book in this series!(less)
My partner in crime, Chelsea, from Vampire Book Club raved about Blood Rights, and I was lucky enough to meet the lovely Kristen Painter at the Readers n’ Ritas recently, so I was anxious to dive right in¸ and I’m so glad I did! First off, the cover is just lovely, and really does a good job of giving a spot on visual of Chrysabelle’s markings and her otherworldly beauty, and sets up the mood for the book perfectly. Chrysabelle is a comarre to a noble vampire. In other words, a certain vampire is her patron, and he (or she) owns her blood rights exclusively. When her patron is murdered, Chrysabelle is assumed to be his killer, and she goes on the run, hoping to escape over a hundred years of servitude. She immediately seeks out her “aunt”, a former comarre who won her freedom long ago, and who may be able to help Chrysabelle clear her name. Chrysabelle is no weeping violet, in spite of her career choice. She’s spent her life training in the killing arts, and does a fine job of defending herself at every turn, making pretty short work of anyone that chooses to threaten her or those she cares about. The author did a really nice job of balancing her physical strength along with the vulnerability that comes with over 100 years of pampered existence. She eventually meets up with Mal, an anathema vampire with a curse who has a shapeshifter and a ghost for sidekicks. Sparks inevitably fly¸ but probably not how you think.
From page one of Blood Rights, the author sets up the settings, in Romania and Paradise City in New Florida, to be characters in and of themselves. Keep in mind, this is the future (2067), and there’s a blending of old and new that really serves the story to great effect, but is very subtle and never heavy handed. Little details are sprinkled throughout that really enhance the story’s effectiveness. The push and pull of Mal and Chrysabelle is exquisite from the get go, and Ms. Painter gives us a villain, in the awful Tatiana, to rival the worst of them. Mal is the epitomy of “tortured soul”, and getting through his many layers was a big lure of this story, not to mention the delicious (and dangerous) tension between him and Chrysabelle. Tatiana is determined to become an Elder, now that Chrysabelle’s patron is dead, and she’s willing to go about it any way she can. Greedy and power hungry, Tatiana is a force to be reckoned with, ad you’ll love to hate her. Twists and turns abound, and there were a couple I saw coming, but also quite a few that I didn’t! The author has created an unusual and fascinating “othernatural” mythology that was refreshing, especially since the vampire genre is anything but fresh. Even if you feel “vamped-out” lately, I urge you to give this highly imaginative series a try! You won’t be disappointed!(less)
Graf the vampire is driving to a sure-to-be hot 4th of July party in D.C. when he finds himself in teeny Penance, Ohio, protecting a woman, Jessa, that is hiding out in an abandoned gas station. After saving her from an unknown creature, he realizes that he'd better find shelter soon or he will be trapped outside at sunup. Graf realizes he has made a wrong turn, to say the least, when Jessa explains that no one has been able to enter or leave Penance for the last 5 years and during that time, the town has constantly been terrorized by a monster they simply call "It".
This is my first novel by Jennifer Armintrout, and for me, it was just mildly enjoyable. Graf, frankly, was an obnoxious, rude, heel for most of the story, lording his vampirism (aka superiority) over Jessa nearly the whole tine. Jessa, in spite of the strength that a resentful town has given her by labeling her the town whore, wore a little thin with her constant "I do what I have to in order to survive" lectures. The monster, for me, just wasn't scary enough, however, I enjoyed the exploration of small town mindset and how a society can implode on itself if given a situation in which people feel like they have no hope. I also enjoyed the romance between Jessa and Graf. This book is probably what I would call a "snack". Not great, certainly not bad, just ok: an enjoyable diversion between more meaty subject matter.(less)