It’s 2023 and the world has been devastated (and reduced to mostly islands) by killer tsunamis. 24 year old Kathryn O’Malley (aka Tsunami Blue), lives by herself with her dog Max and takes to the airwave where she uses her gift to warn whoever is listening, when a tsunami is on its way. You see, the ocean speaks, and Blue can hear it. Her hopes of saving as many lives as possible keep her going in a world that’s seemingly gone to hell. Constantly on the lookout for pirates (aka Runners) who would capture Blue and use her for her gift (to pillage and plunder), Blue is always on alert, and knows how to protect herself, so when a handsome stranger washes up on her shores, all her barriers come crashing down. Gabriel Black looks like an angel, albeit a dark one, and at first, Blue takes him for dead. She manages to get him back to her cabin and eventually nurses him out of hypothermia, only to find out he’s a dreaded Runner. Or is he?
I was so surprised at how much I enjoyed this little gem! I kinda fell in love with Blue, in spite of myself. She’s stubborn, untrusting (for good reason), and often bites off a little more than she can chew. But! She’s also refreshingly innocent (having been by herself for so long), is killer with a knife, and has a heart as big as the tsunamis that she predicts. A big part of the appeal of Tsunami Blue is the playout between Blue and Gabriel. In spite of his seemingly sinister background with the dreaded Runners, he’s determined to protect Blue at all costs, and seems to already harbor a serious crush on her. Blue, in spite of the undeniable attraction, is just determined to steal his boat and escape. Gabriel, excruciatingly so, manages to hold on to his mysterious origins, and the reasons for kidnapping Blue, for almost the whole book. So frustrating!! Yes, but it’s totally worth the payoff. Trust me on this one!
Tsunami Blue’s world is a cross between Mad Max and Waterworld (yes, I liked that movie, feel free to comment on that below), and I thoroughly enjoyed the engaging, fascinating characters that the author populated it with. The Runners are absolutely terrifying, and Blue is not afraid to get her hands dirty when engaging with them. She fights for her life right along with the best of them, and is a force to be reckoned with. The sweet romance with Gabe makes a nice counterpoint to the relatively dark world and that our hero and heroine are living in. However, Tsunami Blue is no frou frou romance. The worldbuilding is great, the fighting is fierce, and the perils are terrifying. You’ll zip through it wanting to know what happens next right now, not to mention wanting Gabe and Blue to get together already! Loved this one, and hope you will too!...more
I have to admit, I loved this one, even though my annoyance level was high through most of the book. But that wasn’t Jane’s fault! Please allow me to explain… When book 2 ended, we found our intrepid vampire heroine, Jane, being offered a romantic overseas getaway with her vampire beloved, Gabriel. However, as we start book 3, we soon realize that the trip is going terribly, especially since Gabriel seems to be dashing off to constant meetings, frequently leaving Jane to her own devices, and we know that can get scary…but I digress. Gabriel is also receiving what seem to be love letters, yet he absolutely refuses to explain to Jane what’s going on. So, Jane does the only thing she can think of to do. She goes back home. Without Gabriel. At least her friends Andrea, Dick, Zeb, and Jolene are waiting for her back in Half-Moon Hollow, but if Jane thinks things will be calmer at home, she’s got quite another thing coming!
I suppose I should explain my irritation. Not at Jane, at Gabriel!! I wanted to smack him for about three quarters of this book! I was just as frustrated as Jane that anytime she would confront him about the suspicious notes, he usually ran away. Literally, ran away. Poor Gabriel. So smooth, so handsome, so clueless when it comes to women! No worries, though. Gabriel’s behavior makes sense when you get the whole story, but up until then, be prepared to want a scene where Dick and Jolene hold him down while Jane kicks him. Seriously. But, I love Gabriel and Jane as a couple, and of course would follow them anywhere, plus they can get past a bit of drama, right? Well, at least until said drama starts threatening Jane’s life. Other fun for Jane includes Mr. Wainwright’s simpering nephew Emery, returned to claim some of his uncle’s things, but generally getting underfoot as they try to renovate the bookstore and prepare for the grand re-opening, and more drama (of the good kind) with Zeb and Jolene. Also, Jane joins the Chamber of Commerce, not realizing it’s like a cult of robo-blondes time warped from high school, bent on causing Jane as much misery as possible. Jane comes into her own quite a lot in this one, however, and I also loved how the author really explored the relationships between Jane and her friends, and also her family, which sets up Book 4 rather nicely. I’ll hang with Jane and the gang in Half-Moon Hollow, and hope to be able to visit time and time again! Love this series!...more
Nice Girls Don’t Date Dead Men is the 2nd installment of Molly Harper’s wonderful Jane Jameson series, and I enjoyed it just as much as the first! Jane is a relatively new vampire, turned when she was on her way home from Shenanigans after getting fired from her librarian job. Her car broke down, she stumbled into a ditch, and was mistaken for a deer by a passing drunk hunter, and shot. Good thing sexy vamp Gabriel Nightengale followed her home, huh? It’s not the best start to vampirism, but what are you gonna do? In Book 2, she’s getting used to her life as a vamp, working at the rare bookstore with the elderly, eccentric Mr. Wainwright, dating Gabriel, and dealing with her uber irritating family (as usual.)
Things seem to be looking up for our Jane, yes? Wellll, not so much. Her best friend, Zeb, is marrying a werewolf named Jolene. Yay for Zeb! I mean, Jolene is gorgeous and extremely sweet, but human/werewolf unions aren’t very popular, and her (very large and fiercely protective) family is giving poor Zeb a run for his money. Then there’s Zeb’s mom, who always hoped for a Jane/Zeb union. Also, Gabriel is constantly out of town, and being very mysterious about the whole thing, which, for Jane, is tough, since she’s not used to attention from someone like Gabriel, and is still a bit insecure in the relationship. And that’s not all! Jane’s Grandma Ruthie (aka The Black Widow) has met someone new, who may not be what he seems. Will Jane have to wear a horrid taffeta monstrosity to Jolene and Zeb’s wedding? Will Zeb survive his own wedding? Just what is Grandma Ruthie’s new love? And what exactly is Gabriel up to on these numerous business trips? Don’t worry, Ms. Harper will answer most of these questions (gotta leave some for the next book:-D ), and then some! The author’s trademark wit is in full force here, and while you don’t have the same kind of conflict as in the first novel, following Jane and her exploits, alongside her Half-Moon Hollow residents is always great fun! If you love Stephanie Plum, you’ll love this series. I zipped through it in one day and am on to the next! This series just sparkles with charm and will make you laugh out loud. Highly recommended....more
Tynan MacGillivray, vampire and Cait Sidhe (he shifts into a large cat), is on the hunt for a Seer at the behest of vamp queen Arsinoe. Just when he thinks he’ll have to go back empty handed, he meets the lovely and compelling Lily Quinn. There’s definitely something different about Ms. Quinn, and he thinks he might have found the Seer he’s looking for. A Mulo (gypsy curse) has been set lose upon Arsinoe’s people, causing them to die in terrible ways, and she needs a Seer to determine who’s laid the curse. Arsinoe lays the blame firmly at the feet of one of the other vampire dynasties, but it’s never that easy, and finding the culprit may be a tougher bet than she counted on. Little does Arsinoe know, Ty and Lily create quite the combo, and things are about to get wild in the world of the dynasties.
Dark Awakening is just a wonderful start to this series. Lily goes from unassuming teacher to possible revolutionary, and at her side is the brooding, mildly insecure, handsome Ty. Granted, Lily has had some serious nightmares just about all her life hinting that she might be a little more than meets the eye, and she’s got plenty of raw power, then there’s that mark she has… I loved the author’s unique world of mythology, shape shifting vamps, court intrigue, assassins, and dark romance, and Lily and Ty’s relationship feels very real and passionate, never forced. We also get to meet one of the characters in her second novel, Midnight Reckoning, Jaden, and trust me, you’ll want to get to know him better. In my opinion, in spite of the paranormal romance label, Dark Awakening should be quite at home in any urban fantasy collection. Kendra Leigh Castle is a talent to watch, and she’s certainly on my autobuy. Highly recommended....more
Kris Davenport is having an interesting night. First she’s awakened by a woman that claims to be her from the future, then her double takes her to the mountains, explaining on the way that she’s got to get things right this time with ConRad, then tells her to get out of the car and take a run, that there’s not much time before Armegeddon. A bit jarring, yes? Well, Kris better get used to jarring, because Dark Future is one long, dark ride for our heroine. Kris jumps forward in time to Dark Planet, after humans have nearly been wiped out by an alien race. Dark Planet is her new reality, and ConRad thinks she’s a spy, no matter that he’s inexplicably drawn to her, and her to him. As scared as she is, she feels like she’s seen him before and felt his touch, but how could that be? Strap in for an exciting ride, because after this, it’s nonstop.
Dark Future is an appropriate name, because it’s most definitely dark. By the end of this book, poor Kris has gone from relatively carefree surgical intern to possibly being the key to the salvation of the human race. Once ConRad finally accepts that Kris is not a spy, their journey takes a dramatic turn. Women are at a premium at this point, and ConRad must “claim” Kris as his own to keep her safe. Obviously this doesn’t go over well with Kris, but this is a new order, and she’ll have to give a little to survive. When she makes the choice to save a life, the Elders take Kris and her entire world shatters around her. The author really puts our poor heroine through the ringer in this one, emotionally and physically. If you find yourself making comparisons to Sarah Connor from Terminator, you wouldn’t be far off, because they’re most certainly there, with Kris going from self-professed coward to possible savior of mankind. It’s a long, hard, tortuous journey, and Ms. Klein manages to weave a heart wrenching love story among the sci fi action. Told in Kris’ voice, you won’t be able to help falling in love with her, and wincing every time she has to make a heartbreaking choice (of which she has to make a few). If you enjoy cinematic sci-fi action with your romance, Dark Future is a journey well worth taking!...more
If you’re not new to the Dark Mission series, you may remember that Caleb Leigh was the bad guy in the first book, Blood of the Wicked. We’re talkin’ brutal, ritualistic murder, betrayal, all kinds of icky. So, when I saw that he was the hero of the newest book, I was skeptical. Not to worry, though, Karina Cooper won’t let you down. All Things Wicked opens with Juliet Carpenter, sister of a woman that Caleb supposedly killed, getting the drop on Caleb and attempting a little murder herself. Juliet’s heart isn’t quite in it though, and Caleb manages to get the upper hand and save his own skin. Unfortunately, Juliet calls down the forces of the Coven of the Unbinding and realizes that she may have bit off way more than she can chew. Caleb and Juliet find themselves on the run; not only for their lives, but from a dark secret that threatens them both.
Karina Cooper has a gift for gritty, dark worldbuilding; something she’s proven time and again during the course of the Dark Mission series, and All Things Wicked is no exception. When Caleb and Juliet go on the run in the New Seattle underground, the descriptives are so good you may find yourself longing for sunshine before they emerge. Another hallmark of this series is the brutal passion between the couples. Juliet is a little different from previous heroines, in that she’s a little bit softer, a little less tough, but that’s just a few of the reasons why Caleb is so drawn to her, and their longing and attraction is sexy and intense, but somehow, Juliet manages to maintain her innate sweetness, which one would think would be near impossible to do in their dark world. We finally find out the why of Caleb’s previous actions, and even though the why is easy to forgive, they’re still shocking in their brutality, but that’s what gives Caleb his edge, and makes him such a flawed, yet sympathetic, hero. There’s a reappearance of Silas and Jessie from Blood of the Wicked, as well as Naomi West from Lure of the Wicked (and others), and a plot involving a rather nasty conspiracy involving DNA manipulation rounds out this top shelf paranormal romance. The author seamlessly weaves multiple plotlines together, while managing to bring the heat between Juliet and Caleb, and maintaining the uber dark, urban atmosphere with taut prose and a breakneck pace. All Things Wicked is not to be missed by paranormal romance and urban fantasy fans alike!...more
I should totally be ashamed. I read Midnight Reckoning before reading Dark Awakening, the first book in the series, but it turns out that’s ok! There are characters in Midnight that are from Dark Awakening, but the book certainly stands on its own, so no worries. The stars of Midnight Reckoning are Jaden Harrison and Lyra Black. Jaden is a Cait Sidh and a vampire, so yes, that makes him a shape shifting vamp who spends a bit of time as a rather large cat. Purrrrr. Lyra, on the other hand, is a werewolf. So, both are shapeshifters, but that’s where the similarities end. When Lyra is attacked by an overly amorous were with a mean streak, Jaden happens to be on hand for a rescue, but Lyra is less than thrilled. See, it’s time for Lyra to be matched to her mate (weres bond for life), and her dad, the Thorn Pack’s Alpha, is determined to find her the perfect strong match, but Lyra has other ideas. Lyra is determined to compete in the Proving, which could give Lyra a chance at Alpha. However, were packs aren’t so forward conscious in their thinking where women are concerned, and the chances of this happening are slim to none. Lyra is stubborn though, so her father hires Jaden to teach her his fighting moves, in order to give her a better chance of survival. I think we both know where this is going, don’t we?
I loved this book. Flat out loved it. I couldn’t stop thinking “Romeo and Juliet” while reading it, and I fell in love with both Jaden and Lyra’s characters almost immediately. Jaden is a 200 year old vampire that cooks, and there’s a vulnerability about him that is just heartwrenching, especially since he’s spent quite a bit of time as a slave in the hands of the Ptolemy. Speaking of which… There are hierarchies of vamps, with each being able to change into different animals (cat, bat, etc), and the leader of the Ptolemy, Arsinoe, is one mean mamma, and she’s a little ticked that a bunch of her cats have run off with a new leader (Book 1 covers this, I promise). She’s not above sending assassins out for any wayward kitties that she may want back, and this provides a nice subplot (not to mention some pretty nifty fighting scenes.) Lyra is stubborn, smart-mouthed, and strong of will, but there’s something about Jaden that she just can’t resist (this won’t be hard for you to believe, trust me), but it’s kind of like that line in Ghostbusters, remember? Something about dogs and cats living together? In the world of the weres, it’s Just. Not. Done. Vampires aren’t so picky about it, but if Jaden and Lyra’s relationship is revealed, she pretty much might as well sign her own banishment papers. Kendra Leigh Castle creates a fascinating world populated by some of the coolest cats (literally), the toughest weres, and the wiliest vamps that I’ve read about in a long time. She keeps the pace up, and you’ll keep wanting to read “one more chapter.” I mean, come on…shape shifting vamps? Yes, please!! Like I said, I started with this one first, and the author does a great job of bringing you up to speed on the events so far, but it never hurts to start with Dark Awakening. I finished this one, and immediately reached for it-that’s how much I wanted to dive back into Kendra Leigh Castle’s awesome world. Paranormal romance fans will love this, but urban fantasy fans will like it too, I think, since it has enormous crossover appeal (in my opinion). Snag a copy as soon as you can, seriously, and grab Dark Awakening while you’re at it!...more
When I saw the cover of Firelight, I thought “Ohhh, that’s one I’m going to read.” It’s gorgeous, seriously. Granted, the word “romance” is on the spine, and I’m not a huge reader of romance, but, especially in the spirit of the new year, and trying new things in my reading, I was certainly game to give it a try. I do love historical novels, and Firelight also has paranormal elements, so that was a definite plus for me. I need not have had reservations, though, because Firelight had me hooked from the start. The novel opens when Miranda Ellis is only 19 and is cornered by thugs in a dark alley near her father’s house. Luckily, Lord Benjamin Archer comes to her rescue, although you’ll see later that Miranda is more than capable of taking care of herself. Lord Archer is there to kill Miranda’s father, yet after meeting this tough, beautiful girl, he decides to spare his life. Fast forward 3 years, and Miranda’s father, after marrying off her two older sisters, promises Miranda to Lord Archer. There’s no love lost between Miranda and her father, and even though Miranda is terrified, she’s determined to do her duty and marry the fearsome Lord Archer.
When Miranda marries Archer, that’s when the real fun of Firelight starts. Archer wears a mask on his face, supposedly to cover a hideous deformity. Miranda can’t say too much about that, though, since she’s got quite a secret of her own that she’s hiding. See, Miranda can set things on fire with a thought, so yeah, not a small secret by any means. Archer does not feel himself worthy of the beautiful Miranda, and consistently pulls away from her, even as she senses the kind soul behind the disguise. Hmmmm, sensing some parallels here? We’ve got a bit of Phantom of the Opera, and a bit of Beauty and the Beast as well (my absolute fave), but don’t get me wrong, Firelight is a story all its own. The few similarities just added to the charm of this book for me. So, there’s this delicious push and pull going on between Archer and Miranda, but when men start dying in gruesome ways, and Archer is suspected, Miranda vows to get to the bottom of the mystery, if it means saving the man she’s falling in love with. Throw in a rich London setting circa 1880, an ancient curse, a mysterious woman in disguise, and of course, plenty of romance and adventure, and you‘ve got a historical romance/fantasy that will keep you turning the pages. You can bet I’ll be looking forward to Moonglow this summer!...more