When we last left my favorite skinwalker in Mercy Blade, there were definitely some strings that needed tyin’ up, so I was eager to dive back into Jane’s world in Raven Cursed. In the 4th book of the series, Jane heads out of New Orleans and back to Asheville, North Carolina to provide security for a parley between the MOC of New Orleans and a master vamp that wants to establish his own territory. Unfortunately, Jane gets way (way) more than she bargains for in Asheville. Rogue weres are killing tourists in horrible ways, and Jane is tasked with taking them out. Easier said than done, especially when Jane feels that she’s responsible for the weres’ rampage.
Strangely enough, this is one of the things that I love most about Jane. Her guilt. Yeah, I know that sounds weird, but she’s such a tough girl; so capable and strong, especially with Beast, that her enduring habit of taking nearly everything upon herself gives her a vulnerability that I can’t help but love. Seriously, sometimes I want to smack her (purely out of love), and say “It’s not your fault!!! You can’t control everything!!”, but I digress… So, there’s the were issue, which really gets bad when she finds out they might be after her best friend (and witch) Molly, and her family. Molly’s hubs isn’t all that fond of Jane for various reasons, so convincing Molly that things aren’t as they seem may prove to be a hard bargain. It really complicates things when Jane finds out that Molly’s sister Evangeline may be dabbling in the dark arts. I really wanted to throttle Evil Evie in Mercy Blade, and it only gets worse in Raven Cursed.
You think there’s a lot on Jane’s plate? There is! But wait, there’s more! Ricky-Bo is in town and is freaking out (understandably) at the possibility of going furry. Doesn’t help that his “mentor” , head of the African were cats, wants to kill him. I’ve always been hopeful for Rick and Jane, and their relationship just gets more complex, and more tender in a lot of ways, as the series goes on. I will admit that Jane and Bruiser’s , ahem, “almost” scene in Mercy Blade was the awesome, (‘cause Bruiser is a hottie, after all), but Rick is where it’s at, and I have no doubt that their relationship will just get more and more interesting as the series progresses. So, there you have it. Rampaging weres, twisty-turny vamp politics, hot shifters (and vamps), some seriously nasty (and witchy) black magic (we’re talkin’ demons here), and Ms. Hunter’s trademark, awesome fight scenes make for a book worth relishing. The Jane Yellowrock series is superb, and they just keep getting better. If you haven’t discovered it yet, I envy you, because you can start with Skinwalker and race right through. If you have discovered it, you’ll love Raven Cursed! This series is a must for any urban fantasy lover!(less)
When Linnet Ellery begins working at the White-Fang (yep, vampires) law firm of Ishmael, McGillary, and Gold, she realizes rather quickly that her professional life may be a bit boring for a while. Taken under the wing of lawyer Chip Westin, she’s recruited to help out on a case that’s been in litigation for many years. Stagnation seems inevitable, until a werewolf invades the law firm one evening, brutally murdering Chip, and nearly killing Linnet. Who would have wanted to kill the gentle,kindly Chip? And why?
I really enjoyed this fun, unusual urban fantasy! The alternate world the author created is just to the left of ours, and vampires, werewolves, and the fae (the Alfar) have revealed themselves and are collectively thought of as the Powers. It’s a boy’s club, however, at least when it comes to vamps and werewolves. You see, they’re not allowed to turn women, under any circumstance, under the penalty of death. Linnet was, in fact, fostered by a vampire liege from the age of eight, with whom she’s still very close to, so she’s sensitive to the discrimination that they sometimes face. Working at a White-Fang law firm doesn’t intimidate her, but knowing that she, and the rest of the women in the office, will never make partner, can be bothersome. As she follows the clues to find out who killed Chip, with the help of handsome PI (and Alfar) John O’Shea, she finds herself in danger more than a few times over, but she’s determined to get to the bottom of it. A shadowy firm called Securitech and its head werewolf, Deegan, seem to have something to do with his death, but she’s not quite sure what. She does know that Deegan is perfectly capable of tearing her limb from limb.
This book is described as Anita Blake meets The Firm, but I’d describe it more like Stephanie Plum meets The Firm. Linnet has the charm of Plum, but is plenty capable in her job, and I loved how the author actually gives her a life in between the werewolf attacks and law office politics (of which there are plenty). Linnet is an accomplished horsewoman, and I loved the passages that involved the ins and outs of competitive riding. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the action, but woven in with traditional urban fantasy themes are explorations of gender equality, and a rather sweet romance. It also wouldn’t surprise me to learn that the author is very fond of New York City, since it’s almost a character unto itself. I highly enjoyed This Case is Gonna Kill Me and I’ll be crossing my fingers for more adventures with Linnet!(less)
Ashley Parker is attending college in the small town of Redwood Grove and dating a pleasant enough guy. Life isn’t too bad, so when she and her boyfriend are attacked by shambling, rotting corpses one night while on a date, and said boyfriend runs away and leaves her for dead, things suddenly take a turn for the worse. That’s an understatement. Ashley is bitten, but instead of turning into one of the zombie horde, she fights off the virus, and comes out of it stronger, faster, and…immune. After being nursed back to health by a super-secret military organization, they ask her to join an elite group of fighters called the Wild Cards, which are made up of civilians that are immune to the virus, just like Ashley. She knows something has to be done to save as many survivors as necessary, so agrees to join the group. Little does she know how terrifying things are about to become…
Author Dana Fredsti has a background that folks like me will totally geek out about. We’re talking stuff like sword-fighting on the set of Army of Darkness, guys, and it shows in Plague Town. The lady knows her weapons (especially those of the bladed variety), and isn’t afraid to take Ashley to new heights of ass-kicking. Plus, she gave her heroine a name that can be shortened to Ash…yeah, you know you like it. Ashley Parker is a pretty normal chick with a smart mouth that just won’t quit. She’s a lot smarter than your average girl, though, and the pop culture references come hard and fast. More geeking out, of the awesome kind. The author does a wonderful job of balancing the serious, the funny, and the downright grotesque, creating a zom novel that will please fans of Jonathan Maberry’s Dead of Night, etc.
Ashley takes on her new role with chutzpah and more than an ounce of bravery and her attraction to her handsome and enigmatic instructor Gabriel isn’t without drama, and adds a nice little dash of romance to the story. Ms. Fredsti also manages to throw in some interesting twists to the zombie virus that will have those little hairs on the back of your neck standing on end. I chuckled, I cringed, and I cheered (quietly, so as not to disturb the rest of the house), as Ashley and her rather ragtag (and somewhat charming) band of zombie warriors fight the hordes and rescued survivors. If you love zombies, strong, sarcastic heroines with heart, and fight scenes that will knock your socks off, you’ll devour Plague Town!(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)
Dead Mann Walking is zombies,but with a twist. These zombies aren’t mindless shamblers,instead they are sentient beings. They’re also not the risen dead come to life as a result of some sort of virus or spell. Using good ol’ American ingenuity,a solution to the rapid rise of innocent death penalty victims was born,and upon exoneration,were brought back from the dead. The process soon became somewhat of a fad,with families bringing back loved ones left and right. However,folks soon realized that what came back wasn’t quite the same. We’re not talking Pet Cemetery creeping evil here,but some people,upon coming back,did seem to lose some of their higher thinking ability,and the possibility of going feral always lingers. The undead now gather in enclaves,trying to keep to themselves and also staying hidden from the hakkers,groups that take pleasure in torturing and killing the chak (zombies.)
Hessius Mann,PI and ex-cop,is one such individual,having been exonerated after being convicted and put to death for the murder of his wife. Unfortunately,his memory isn’t what it used to be,and he relies on an LB (liveblood) assistant,Misty,to keep his daily affairs in order. The constant threat of rot and the near constant worry of going feral don’t make life easy,but when a client shows up and offers a wad of cash to find a missing person,Mann just can’t say no. Mann and his client travels into the Bedlands,an old mattress factory which now houses a large group of chaks. The man the client is looking for is rumored to be there,but finding the missing man is just one tiny part of this story. A serial killer is at work,decapitating chaks and keeping the heads as trophies,and the killer may have more to do with the case then Mann ever could have suspected. When a possible connection to his wife’s murder comes to light,Mann will have to dig very deep to find the truth,and what he finds may destroy everything he holds dear.
I loved this take on the zombie genre! The author has created a cast of characters that was great fun to get to know,and Hessius Mann is up there in my top ten list of favorite PIs,zombie or not. In Dead Mann Walking,you’ll explore a world where humans and chaks live very uneasily together,and chaks are treated like second class citizens. There’s definitely some commentary here on how we treat certain groups,using zombies as a metaphor,but nothing heavy handed,and it adds a humanity to the genre that is sometimes hard to find. Urban fantasy,horror,and noir fans will find a lot to love about Dead Mann Walking,and Mann’s vulnerability and his desire to find out the truth,drives this unusual and fascinating novel. This is the first book that I’ve read by Stefan Petrucha,and I love his writing style,his wit,and his uncanny ability for clever word play. Don’t miss Dead Mann Walking,a wonderful start to a series that will certainly be on my auto buy!(less)
Maddy is an Agent of Death, who’s job it is to lead souls away from the earthly plane immediately afte...moreYou may read my review here: Black Wings Review
Maddy is an Agent of Death, who’s job it is to lead souls away from the earthly plane immediately after death. Where they actually go, she’s not sure (the powers-that-be don’t share that with the agents). Evidently it’s on a need-to-know basis. All Maddy knows is that she’s got rent due and an infuriatingly cranky boss to deal with. Things are about to get a lot more interesting for Maddy, though, when a handsome tenant, Gabriel, moves into the building she owns. Before she knows it, she’s got demon problems and has powers that are becoming increasingly harder to control. Soon, she’ll discover a whole new world out there, one of angels and demons, and nephilim, the offspring of the fallen and humans. She’ll also discover an explosive secret about herself that will change her life forever!
Maddy is a charming heroine, and I found myself rooting for her, as she found herself thrown into situations beyond her control. Strong and smart, but also vulnerable, I enjoyed following Maddy as she discovered her newfound power, and discovered the secrets of her past and her family. I really liked Christina Henry’s take on angel and demon lore, and Maddy’s friend and protector, the gargoyle Beezle, who steals quite a few scenes. Ms. Henry also has lots of fun with Death as a bureaucracy, complete with pencil pushing and tons of paperwork. Black Wings was a very enjoyable urban fantasy, and I look forward to the next in the series, Black Night, due in July!(less)
Seattle Detective Nigel Ferris is attempting to bring down a human trafficking/prostitution ring and the Russian mobster in charge of it, Mikoyan. He never thought he'd be so attracted to Ekatarina Zhuvova. During a visit to a brothel run by Mikoyan, Nigel is paired with the lovely Ekatarina (Katya)and expects to have to suffer through sex with her just to get out alive. What he doesn’t expect is his immediate attraction to Katya. See, Katya has a secret. She paid a visit the police that same morning, hoping to get help to save her and the other girls, but there are bigger fish in play, and the police are reluctant to bring down the hired help and risk missing out on nabbing Mikoyan. Katya has also been having visions of fire and apocolypse, and when earthquakes and destruction finally do hit the Seattle area, Nigel and Katya find themselves on the run for their lives, and the lives of everyone they love.
Before the Witches is a novella that takes place before the events in Blood of the Wicked, and the upcoming Lure of the Wicked. I could not put this book down. It’s short enough to finish in one sitting, and it had me glued to the pages. Karina Cooper writes like an old pro. Her pacing is flawless and the action never lets up. I’m a relatively new reader of paranormal romance (thank my partner in crime for that), and usually skip over most of the sexy bits in novels, not because I’m a prude, but I usually just want to get back to the story. There is one, count it, ONE, sex scene in this novella and it neither overwhelmes or disrupts the story. It’s pretty steamy, and it cements the relationship between Nigel and Katya. Trust me, you’ll see why. The world is coming down around them, and love can be a powerful bond, and a powerful tool in times of chaos. Before the witches ended way too quickly for me, and I’m really anxious to see where the story leads in Blood of the Wicked and Lure of the Wicked! Also, keep in mind this is a glowing review from a “reluctant” paranormal romance reader, so snap this one up! (less)
While I was sad that Angel Town was the last book of one of my favorite series¸ Jill Kismet was certainly ushered out in style. Not that I expected anything less. As soon as I finished Heaven’s Spite, I immediately started Angel Town because, well, at the end of Heaven’s Spite, Jill dies. I mean, Ms. Saintcrow really didn’t leave me a choice. I’m not giving anything away since it says right in the cover copy that she’s back from the dead in Angel Town, but I’m really glad I waited until it was out to read Heaven’s. So, Angel Town begins with Jill literally clawing herself out of her grave, and it is a visceral, gritty, violent scene which sets up the rest of the book perfectly, as well as providing Jill with a rebirth of sorts. She doesn’t immediately remember who she is, but a certain blue-eyed man will help her with that (as well as return her gun to her). I’ll admit, I got a kick out of Jill’s trip to WalMart for some jeans and sneakers. Seriously, Jill without her leather coat, boots, silver hair charms, and whip is like a bird without wings, but she manages to make those flimsy sneakers work for a bit, even as she has to kick some hellbreed ass. Poor Jill jumps out of the frying pan and right back into the fire, especially when she finds out her old nemesis Perry may be much more than he seems, and he’s got a diabolical plan in the works, one that could result in the destruction of the world as we know it.
Many times, this series has chewed on my heart and spit it out¸ and Jill did it again in this one. Jill seems to think there is something missing inside of her, but as she fights for the lives of all she holds dear, it’s never so obvious that Jill is the kind of person, the kind of fighter , we should all aspire to be, even if for most of us that doesn’t include a gun and a whip. Her love for Saul, the gentle werecat that won’t leave her side, is heartbreaking in its intensity, and one of my favorite urban fantasy love stories. Angel Town is pretty much non-stop on the action, and the author’s usual talent for building stomach churning menace is on full display. Jill will stop at nothing to stop Perry and she’ll see help from some expected and unexpected places. Angel Town was an amazing finale to one of the best series in urban fantasy!(less)
This is the first book I’ve read by Jessa Slade (I know, shame on me), and all I can say is…wow! Sidney Westerbrook, fresh from London, a bit stiff in his tweeds, is attacked by lesser demons in a rather dark Chicago alley. Along comes the lovely Alyce Carver, feral, wild, and unearthly, and rescues him from almost certain death. All I could think of during her fight with the demons was the fight between River and the Reavers in Serenity (if you haven’t seen that movie, download it, buy it, whatever you need to do), but I digress. I couldn’t help comparing Alyce with River during the entire novel, and it really endeared her to me. She very old, yet she was never properly bonded with her demon, resulting in certain…oddities. Lots of divergent traits, our Alyce has. These oddities are something that Sid is happy to research, since he is to be the Chicago League’s temporary Bookkeeper. What is a Bookkeeper in this case, you might ask? Well, each member of the League is possessed by a repentant demon, or teshuva. They’ve taken on the responsibility to protect their respective areas from lesser demons. The problem is that Sid is inexplicably drawn to Alyce, but he’s determined to maintain his distance. After all, his job is to catalog the history and traits of the talyan and their mates, from a distance. You can bet that’s not gonna happen, but it’s not for his lack of trying…
Darkness Undone knocked my socks off. Yes, it’s the 4th in the Marked Souls series, and since it’s the first one I read, I had a bit of catching up to do, but that’s ok. It was very easy to get attached to each member of the League and especially our main couple, Alyce and Sidney. Well, it was easy to love Alyce. Sid took a bit longer:-D Ahh, Sid. It’s fairly likely you’ll want to slap him more than a few times as you read Darkness Undone. His resistance to love is eye-rolling at times, but he has his reasons. You’ll still want to shake him though, hard. Jessa Slade has created a rich, dark, complex world and populated it with equally complex characters. Luckily, she included a handy glossary in the back. Don’t let that scare you. It’s a pretty short list, and if this is your first read from her, you’ll only have to consult it once or twice. Seriously, her world of possessed humans is all her own. The light of the talyan is counteracted by the darkness of the djinn-men, or humans possessed by not-so-nice angels, and she introduces a villain, Thorne, that you find is not all black and white. He’s pretty firmly in the grey zone, and I found myself sympathizing with him at different points. Don’t worry though, he commits plenty of nasty.
The romance between Sid and Alyce is everything I like in my love stories: lots of push and pull, frustration, cold shoulders, resistance, desire, and plenty of heat. Kick ass fight scenes punctuate this wonderful book, and did I mention the writing is top notch? I didn’t? Well, it is, and Alyce has a dry wit that will delight you, and frankly, make you want to give her a hug. Exploring her mysterious past and mining her relationship with Sid and the League was a delight, and I can’t wait to return to this wonderful world. This series will appeal to Urban Fantasy and Paranormal fans alike, and it’s a must for your bookshelf. I’ll be devouring books 1 through 3, like, now, and will count the days until the next one!(less)
Jeremiah Hunt is a bit different from you and I. He’s blind,yet can see. However,the things he sees are probably things we’d prefer to leave to our imaginations. Ghosts and other supernatural beings are an everyday sight for Hunt,and he makes a tentative living as an exorcist of sorts. This is how we meet him at the beginning of Eyes to See,on his way to a job to get rid of an angry ghost visiting vengeance on the group of people that watched from their windows as she was raped,beaten,and left for dead,and did nothing to help. The author really gives the reader a good feel of what Hunt can do right off the bat and as the story unfolds,we begin to realize that Hunt’s “sight” is way more extensive than hinted at in the beginning. When Hunt is called to the scene of a murder by Detective Stanton,a cop with motives that are as shadowy as the creatures Hunt sees on a daily basis. This isn’t your everyday murder though and eventually Hunt will discover he may be more intimately connected to these victims,a revelation that will turn his world upside down.
Hunt is a tortured soul,still reeling from the disappearance of his daughter five years ago,under his care,and the subsequent disintegration of his marriage as a result of his all-consuming obsession to find Elizabeth. Out of desperation,Hunt turns to the occult,using a spell from a book left by a mysterious “preacher”,giving him the ability to see things that are “unseen”. It was way more than he bargained for,but he’s determined to make the best of his ability and continue the search for his daughter. With the help of hedge witch Denise and barkeep (and so much more) Dmitri,his search will lead him through the dark heart of a killer,to a former insane asylum where secrets and pain are almost living,breathing things. Eyes to See is a quick read,not because it’s short,but because it’s so engaging. His ghostly aids,a giant of a man he’s dubbed Scream,and a young girl he calls Whisper (and who’s sight he can borrow),add a wonderfully human aspect to the story in the lengths they’ll go to in order to aid Hunt. The novel goes back and forth between the present and the time right after Elizabeth’s disappearance,and we get a heartbreaking glimpse of a father that’s lost everything,and the journey that he’s taken to find his way back to the light. Hunt’s story will touch you,especially if you’re a parent,and the mystery of who is committing these murders is tied to Hunt and Elizabeth in a most diabolical way. Great characters,a world populated by creatures that go bump,and a new hero in Jeremiah Hunt,make this a strong start to a new series. Fans of a little police procedural served up with their urban fantasy should love this one!(less)
Spell Bound starts off pretty much immediately where Waking the Witch left off. Savannah realizes that the wish she made to trade her powers for a little girl’s wellbeing actually came true,and is horrified to find that her magic is gone. Soon,Savannah and Adam realize that a group desperate for the secret to immortality is after supernaturals,and will stop at nothing to use them for their own means. People from their inner circle are disappearing,and they will have to get close enough to this group to stop them before more of their own are killed or sacrificed.
Yes,Spell Bound has all the action you’ve come to expect from the Otherworld series,but it’s really about Savannah coming to terms with herself without her powers. She manages to alienate Adam,who she’s secretly (or not so secretly) in love with,and is sometimes downright childish. She does a lot of growing in this book,and really does come into her own,not only as a sorcerer,but as a mature woman. I was delighted that Cassandra DuCharme,vamp queen extraordinaire,got lots of page time in this one,and the author also amps up the tension between Adam and Savannah. The stars come out in Spell Bound,and Ms. Armstrong has set the stage for the final book in the series,with the promise of some major smackdown to come! Can’t wait!(less)
Shaedes of Gray was such a pleasant surprise! Everything about this book looked great, but you never know what to expect when trying out a new author. Turns out I had nothing to fear. Darian is a Shaede, able to shift into shadow and has spent her life working as an assassin, until her maker, Azriel, leaves her with no hint at whether he is dead or alive. She has continued her work as an assassin (it’s all she knows), and when she is hired by the King of the Shaede Nation (who she’s first hired to assassinate), Alexander, to take out an unknown victim, the you-know-what really hits the fan. Darian didn’t even know there was a King of Shaedes, much less anyone else like her, so the forthcoming events prove to be extremely eye opening for our heroine.
Speaking of our heroine, Darian isn’t your typical kick-ass, leather clad¸ urban fantasy star. Yes, she does kick-ass, but only up to a point. Her only training is as an assassin, and what does an assassin do? Preferably, they sneak up on their mark and kill them quietly, without ever engaging them in battle. Until about halfway through the book, Darian really isn’t up to any serious fighting, but that’s ok, because training from Raif (a fellow Shaede) takes care of that neatly. She begins to learn that not only is she not the only Shaede in existence, but there are all kinds of “others” running around, and her employer, Tyler, who she’s known for 5 years and wants her as more than a friend, may also be more than he seems. The sparks are undeniable between Darian and Tyler, but she’s very reluctant to draw anyone close that can be hurt because of her. It doesn’t help that Alexander is sniffing around too. Shaedes of Gray is told from Darian’s point of view, and I had great fun following her as she discovers her origins and as a whole new world opens in front of her. There’s also a diabolical evil at work that thinks Darian might be even more than she thinks she is, and is willing to do anything for that power. There’s lots of twists and turns in this one and while there is much emotional push and pull between Darian and Tyler, it’s not too heavy on the romance. For me, it was just right. Darian’s story is fascinating and I like her matter-of-fact attitude, although she does eventually soften just a smidge. But just. My only complaint (and it’s not really a complaint), is that I would have loved to explore Darian’s past just a bit more (she’s over 100 years old, after all), but a little birdy told me there’s a novella coming up that will do just that, so I’m looking forward to it. Shaedes of Gray is chock full of supernatural goodness and I love the unique world the author has created! Urban fantasy fans will love this one, and I’ll be anxiously awaiting the next book in the series!(less)
I’m a huge fan of this series (see my Ascension review),and the upcoming 2nd novel,Bedeviled,is just as good (review to come),so when I got a chance to review the newest novella,I was eager to dive back into the world of the Dark Breed and the Order. It’s less than 6 hours until the gates of Hell open up,unleashing all matter of beasties and supernatural nastiness on to an unsuspecting public. Zach,who left the Order of Ancients 10 years ago after a Lychen injury almost killed him,is called back to action,but he doesn’t plan on getting anywhere without the woman he loves,Key West cop Shanna. They broke up a while back after Zach confided in her what he used to do for the Order,and her disbelief and refusal to trust him broke his heart. He refuses to leave her to a fate worse than death,and has to kidnap her and show her what lurks beneath to convince him that they must run for their lives. During their journey to St. Augustine,and the relative safety of the Order,Zach realizes that he’s still very much in love with Shanna,and she realizes that her love for Zach never really died either. She proves to be a strong ally and when the gates begin to open,they’ll have to battle some baddies before they can fall safely in one another’s arms.
Before the Fall is a short,quick read at about 100 pages,and you certainly won’t regret your time spent with it. As usual,the authors create a fun world filled with diabolical creatures,and the pacing is lightening fast as our heroes race against time. If you haven’t discovered the Dark Breed series yet,this is a great primer,and will certainly whet your appetite for the awesome world that Sable Grace has created!(less)
The Mortal Path series is one of the most fun urban fantasy series out there, so I was more than ready to dive into Deliverance. Maliha’s story is a heartbreaking one, and there were quite a lot of changes in her life in book 2, so I was eager to see how book 3 explores these new paths. For one, Maliha is no longer Ageless. However, in order to break free from the demon that has enslaved her for so long, she must balance the scales and save the lives of innocents in order to make up for the many that she has killed as an assassin. Of course, her demon is convinced she can’t do this, but Maliha is determined to be free. She’s also ready for some normalcy in her life, and eager to explore a possible future with the man she loves, Jake. Jake has a secret, though, and that’s just one of the complications Maliha will have to deal with. A dear friend has been kidnapped, and a woman older and more dangerous than Maliha could ever imagine will have to be dealt with, even if it means Maliha’s life.
Maliha is a favorite character of mine, and she’s never hesitated to kick some serious butt. Deliverance is no exception, and the fight scenes are fast paced and brutal. Let’s just say that Maliha is very talented with a sword, and doesn’t hesitate to use it. When a member of her team gets kidnapped, all of her talents will come into play, and she’ll have to balance whether or not the rest of her team is in too much danger. Maliha’s got some guilt in this one, more so than in the first two books. No doubt this is because she’s now on the Mortal Path, and killing indiscriminately is no longer in her playbook, so a lot more thought has to be put into her methods. There’s also some serious tension between Maliha and her lover Jake, especially when a trusted friend tells her that there may be more to Jake than she thinks. Ms. Banks brings it with the villain in this one, and a lot of readers will recognize her as a very real figure from history, one that will certainly make you cringe. A big part of the fun of these novels are Maliha’s toys (cars, swanky condos, etc), and they’re at her disposal, as usual. I appreciate a girl who likes a nice sports car, but I digress… Fans of urban fantasy involving fun gadgets, fast cars, and internationat destinations will enjoy these always entertaining adventures, alongside a heroine that never ceases to be fascinating. Lots of revelations in this one will keep you glued to the pages and eager for the next book!(less)
I picked up Darkfever at the urging of my partner in crime, Chelsea, of Vampire Book Club, and I’m really glad I did! I loved how the author took a rather annoying, somewhat spoiled Georgia peach and threw her into a situation that forced her to put on her big girl panties really, really quickly. Jericho Barrons’ Dublin is not the charmed southern life MacKayla “Mac” Lane is used to at all, and she’s forced to make some pretty nasty discoveries fairly soon after arriving to investigate the brutal death of her older sister. I’ll be honest, Mac kinda got on my nerves in the beginning. She talks about how pretty and well put together she is…a lot, and I wanted to give her a firm smack and maybe give that blond ponytail a good, hard yank, but I digress. That’s who she is at the start of the story; coddled, every need met by her parents, and not a care in the world. When she finds out about the death of her sister, however, that safe, soft world is shattered, and she’ll do anything to get to the bottom of things.
Going all the way to Dublin, without the blessing of her parents, who are shattered, is pretty brave for someone like Mac. When she meets Jericho Barrons, and discovers exactly what lurks in the shadows, she has to reach deep inside herself to discover hidden strength that she never knew she had. The world of the fae is opened to her, and it’s most definitely NOT the stuff of fairytales. There are shades that linger in the shadows, waiting to devour hapless victims, creatures that feed off of human beauty, and fae that can even kill by sexing you up to much. Yep, death by sex. It’s enough to drive any self respecting southern girl insane. But Mac isn’t just any southern girl. She can see through fae glamour, and it’s an asset that some will kill to possess. She’s sensitive to a book that Barrons will do anything to get his hands on, and if he has to use her a little bit to get to it, then so be it. Arrogant, painfully handsome, and for Mac, incessantly annoying, she finds herself an unwitting pawn in a game she’s only beginning to understand. Darkfever was a really good start to what I know is going to be quite a ride. Bring on the Darkness.(less)
I love this series. I mean, I really, really love it. Killing Rites is the fourth book in the Black Sun’s Daughter series by M.L.N. Hanover, and if you haven’t read the first three, you may find yourself a bit lost with this one, only because quite a few of the demon terms will not be familiar, and Jayne’s journey up to this point is very important to the events of this book. After the events in Vicious Grace left one of her team injured and Jayne’s heart broken, she sets of with Ex (ex-priest and all kinds of sexy), to hopefully get rid of the little something extra she seems to be carrying with her. This extra would be a “rider” or demon. Usually riders are not something you want, but Jayne’s seems to be a bit unique in that it has saved her life on numerous occasions (which makes sense, since it’s a parasite, and a parasite wouldn’t want to kill its host), it seems to have been with her a LONG time, and eventually, it saves the life of another. Nice side effects of the rider are super human strength and agility, but is it worth the trade-off of possibly losing herself? Ex takes her to his former mentor, in the mountains of Taos, where they hope to get a handle on Jayne’s demon and possibly rid her of it for good. Only, what they discover in the group of priests could change the game permanently.
The Black Sun’s Daughter series is one of the best UF series out there right now, and it’s unfortunate that it hasn’t gotten more attention. M.L.N. Hanover is a pro (he also writes under other names), and he never has a problem taking the books to the next level. Killing Rites focuses on Jayne learning more about her rider, and herself. Make no mistake, though, there’s plenty of action, and there are some particularly awesome scenes involving a demon possessed eight year old girl (she’s got a rider called a Filth Licker, which is exactly what it sounds like *shudder*) who eventually becomes a key part of their mission. There’s also tons of unresolved sexual tension between Ex and Jayne. It’s no secret Ex has a thing for her, and Jayne seems to be coming around to him as well (fingers crossed), especially since she broke up with wet noodle Aubrey in the previous novel. I’m sorry, Aubrey was a nice guy, but he was no Ex. We also get some time with Midian, vampire and one of my favorite characters, and his dog Ozzie, who tends to sort of steal the scene a bit. Killing Rites is told from Jayne’s unique viewpoint, and I felt myself sympathizing with her rider, who rises to the occasion more than once. It also doesn’t hurt that Jayne has her dead Uncle Eric’s vast fortune at her fingertips, especially when she has to go on the run from Ex and the priests and prove that a more malevolent presence than her rider is at work. I read this one in one sitting, seriously, I couldn’t put it down, and if you haven’t discovered it yet, run to your bookstore or download for instant gratification and read them all the way through. You won’t regret it!(less)
Celia and her 3 sisters find themselves in vampire court and Celia is terrified at what might happen. Misha Aleksandr has requested the presence of the Wird sisters after charging them with the murder of one of his family members. Today is their lucky day however, since evidence proves the dead vamp in question had a virus that caused uncontrollable bloodlust, and it seems to be spreading. People are dying at an alarming rate as the vampire virus spreads and infected vamps go on the rampage. In desperation, Misha Aleksandr appeals to the sisters to help him fight whoever is spreading the infection and weakening his power. Taran, Emme, and Shayna are horrified at the deaths, but they also don’t want to get involved. Celia sees it a bit differently and decides they should help the Master vamp fight the rival master that is causing the carnage. Not only does Misha want the sisters’ help, but he seems to have a bit of a thing for Celia, much to her chagrin, since she has her eye on a werewolf hottie, Aric, who also gets involved in the fight. So much for the Wird sisters laying low in lovely Lake Tahoe, huh?
The Wird sisters aren’t your usual supes. As the result of a childhood curse, they each have very unique powers, but consider themselves very much outside the supernatural community. All they want to do is carry out their day jobs as nurses and live in peace in gorgeous Lake Tahoe. However, Misha and the rampaging vampires don’t plan to let the sisters off so easy, and Celia’s interest in the gorgeous Aric definitely throws a huge wrench into things.
Sealed With a Curse has just about everything I want in a really good urban fantasy. Strong lead characters? Check. A sexy romance brewing on the side? Check. Vamps, weres, witches, and more? Check!! The story is told in Celia’s voice, and what I simultaneously love and hate about her is her vulnerability. Most men are very intimidated by her tigress (yep, Celia can change into a tigress, among other things), so she’s closed herself off to men, and yet she’s so very lonely and insecure. She berates herself more than once, and if you’ve ever wanted to hug a character from a book, you’ll want to hug Celia and shake her until she stops doubting herself. It’s also important to point out that while the romance element is strong in this book (lots of hotties running around, trust me), I swear there are kick ass fights every 3 or 4 pages. The author just doesn’t let up, and if you think you’ll be reading about the same old supernaturals, think again. The baddies are really, really bad, and the author never shies away from the ick factor. Cecy Robson has a very, very fertile imagination when it comes to the scaries, and she’s not afraid to use it. Celia and her sisters are a great fighting team and if you like books with plenty of girl power, you’ll love this one. I also really enjoyed Celia’s sense of humor and the “triangle” between her, Aric, and Misha. I swear this book has some of the funniest one-liners in urban fantasy. These nurses are good at their jobs, but don’t mess with them. Seriously. If you mess with one, you mess with all four, and the person/creature doing the messing is probably going to get the bad end of the stick (or blade, or claw…you get the picture.)
So, can the girls track down the source of the vampire infection and take care of business? Will Celia find the love she deserves? Will these poor girls ever get some much deserved peace? Probably not, well, at least the peace part. But that’s good for us, because that means there will be plenty of adventures with the Wird girls to come. I really enjoyed the prequel novella and was hoping Sealed With a Curse would live up to my expectations. It did. This is an exciting and refreshing debut and I can’t wait to see what’s next for this series!(less)
Shadow Heir picks up soon after Iron Crowned left off, with Eugenie pregnant with twins and doing her best to keep away from Kiyo and Maiwenn’s assassins, who are convinced her son will fulfill a dark prophecy of his grandfather, the Storm King. She’s still smarting from Dorian’s betrayal with the Iron Crown, and in spite of his insistence that he’s there for her, it’s hard for her to trust him again. When her twins finally come, she’s forced to make a hard decision that will keep them safe. When she discovers a blight has been magically cast on many of the lands in the Otherworld, including her own, she knows she must do something to help, or risk possibly losing everything dear to her.
Shadow Heir is the final book in the Dark Swan series. The tension that made Eugenie and Dorian’s relationship so much fun is still there (he really is trying to win back her trust), and Ms. Read’s writing is top notch, as usual. Court intrigue and action abound, and I always love Eugenie’s voice. However, some of Eugenie’s decision making in this one stumped me, and there were a few things that I saw coming (and a couple that I didn’t). But, I suppose that’s one thing readers (including me) love most about Eugenie. She’s very much her own woman and strong willed enough to handle just about anything that comes her way. Aside from all that, there’s no doubt I enjoyed Shadow Heir, and while the conclusion is a little more “open” than I’d like, well, life is like that, right? Sometimes it’s fun to daydream about what’s next for our heroine, and of course, wish her and all of our other fave characters a happily ever after. I’ll miss Eugenie, but I’ll definitely look forward to what Richelle Mead has in store for us next.(less)
Nurse Edie Spence is having a bad day. She’s assigned to unit Y4 at county hospital, and manages to obliterate a vampire servant (daytimer) by accident, getting bit in the hand in the process. He whispers the name Anna before he expires, and with the name, and his watch in hand, she’s off to find the mysterious Anna. What Edie finds is horrifying, evidence of a slavery ring involving vampires, torture, and worse. When she does finally manage to find and free Anna, she realizes she may be in over her head. Anna is not only a vampire, she’s much more. Just how much more Edie doesn’t know, but she’ll lead her down a dangerous path, and there’s no turning back. Edie needs Anna to testify on her behalf at a vampire tribunal for any chance of survival, but keeping track of the little vampire is a monumental task all its own.
I loved this book. What a breath of fresh air! You may think from the cover that it might be a semi-light urban romance. Not so. In fact, in many ways it’s darker then a lot of UF out there right now. Edie isn’t a happy go lucky girl. In fact, she’s got a brother who’s a junkie, and the Shadows (the denizens that keep Y4 in check) have her over a barrel. She works on Y4 and in return, they keep her brother clean. She’s afraid of making any real connections with anyone and unwinds by going to clubs to dance and bring home one-night stands. And Edie is very, very lonely. I think the diminutive Anna (she appears to be a nine year old girl), brings out a protective side in Edie, and her determination to protect her was endearing, especially since Anna isn’t exactly what you’d call “cuddly”. She’s very much “other”, as are all vampires in Cassie Alexander’s world. Nightshifted is a unique, fascinating trip into Edie’s world. Not only is the worldbuilding different, but I really enjoyed the nursing aspects as well (Cassie Alexander is a nurse, so she knows her stuff.) The book is filled with fascinating characters, including an enigmatic zombie firefighter (no rotting shambler here), which Edie finds herself increasingly drawn to, weres, shapeshifters, and of course, vampires. A memorable scene with a STD afflicted dragon (yup) had me on the edge of my seat, the budding romance with Ti (zombie firefighter!) is sweet and tender, and I just plain loved hanging out with Edie. Nightshifted is a very strong start to what promises to be a wonderful new series!(less)
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)
When we first meet Sam Thornton, he’s in the midst of being assigned his next job, one that will prove a little more than the status quo. Sam is a soul collector, which means he collects the souls of the wicked and sends them off to whatever hell they’ve been assigned to. This new job sounds pretty cut and dry. A young girl, Kate, was caught in the midst of slaughtering her entire family. I mean, she was caught red-handed, so there really can’t be any question of her guilt, right? However, after Sam makes the jump into a newly deceased body, and attempts the collection, he knows right away that Kate can’t be guilty. When Sam decides to spare Kate, he irritates some pretty powerful folk. We’re talking angels and demons here, but Sam is determined to protect her, at all costs, even if, for him, it means eternal torment…
Dead Harvest was just a pleasure to read, through and through. Yes, our hero collects souls, but you’ll see, through interludes that detail how Sam came to be a collector, just how he got where he’s at, and trust me, you probably would have done the same thing. He’s a very sympathetic character, and just plain likable. Told in Sam’s voice, Dead Harvest reads like a smooth shot of bourbon, and you’ll find yourself happy to go along with the ride as he and Kate battle demons and angels alike. Is Kate really innocent (you’ll want her to be, for sure)? Could there be a war brewing between the angels and the demons? All of these questions get answered, but I also liked how nothing was really black and white, which kept me on my toes. In fact, Sam finds allies where he least expects it, and the addition of a fellow collector, Bishop, out to complete the job that Sam wouldn’t, makes for some truly creepy moments. Bishop is damaged, any humanity he once had completely gone, and the ability they have to jump from one body to another makes him all the more terrifying. Dead Harvest is a relatively uncomplicated story (not too many extraneous storylines to worry about, which is kind of refreshing), and that’s certainly not a bad thing. Chris Holm’s smooth writing style and rather charming characters (yes, Sam is charming, so there), made Dead Harvest a pleasure for me. I’m anxious to see what comes next for Sam, and I think Urban Fantasy fans will enjoy this start to what looks to be a wonderfully entertaining series! (less)
In Eat Slay Love we rejoin my favorite post zombie apocalypse married couple, Sarah and David, as they attempt to get to the rumored “Wall” in the east, hoping to find safety from the society that’s let them down. I mean, zombies are the ultimate letdown, right? Of course, with these two, you know it’s not gonna be smooth sailing, and the seas get pretty rough during this outing. See, there was an incident in the last novel that might have changed David a bit, and Sarah is noticing more and more, well, odd things about him. Sarah is also hoping she’ll be reunited with her mom and dad, even though the chances of that are slim. All that aside, they’ve got some precious cargo with them that could change the face of the world forever. Add to the mix a stalkerazzi journalist that may have her own secret agenda, an aging rockstar that seems to have lost his band, and his wits, to the zombies, a camp full of people that aren’t about to let strangers into the mix (think Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome here), and of course all the zombie killin’ action you can handle, and you’ve got a read that you won’t want to put down! I adore this series, and it just keeps getting better and better. Sarah narrates with her trademark snark, and even though you’ll giggle, you’ll cringe too, because Ms. Petersen lets the dark humor fly, and the story is tempered with moments of levity that will definitely bring you down to earth. This kind of writing is hard to do, weaving humor into admittedly horrid situations, but the author manages with a sure hand and never lets the pacing falter. There are a few twists in this one that left me smiling and the ending leaves off with plenty of material for lots more fun with this kick-ass couple. Do they find the “wall”? Does Sarah reunite with her family? And just what is wrong with David? You’ll get your questions answered in this one, I promise, and trust me, you won’t want to put it down!(less)
Diana Rowland is awesome. She managed to take an emotionally damaged, drug addicted,slacker, down on her luck, high school dropout bum, and make me love her. Angel Crawford is the product of a mentally ill mother who committed suicide when she was young, and an alcoholic father that blames Angel for her mother’s loss. They live in a ramshackle house in the Louisiana swamp, where hopelessness prevails and a miasma of despair creeps like fog into every corner of their lives. When the book opens, Angel is awakening in the hospital with visions of twisted metal and blood filling her memory. The only thing is, she doesn’t have a mark on her, and when she’s told that she was found naked on the side of the road, she can only imagine that an accidental overdose was to blame. A note from a stranger informs her that she has a job waiting for her driving the coroner’s van, and she must hold the job for a month. Angel figures she’s been given a second chance by a Good Samaritan, and decides to just ride it out. What she didn’t count on is the sudden, all consuming craving for human brains…
This book is so much fun, and it’s so much more than what it seems to be on the surface. Angel is such a broken girl, and dealing with her alcoholic father and her stagnating life has resulted in nearly non-existent self esteem. The job with the coroner, which at first seems like a means to an end, becomes a lifeline for Angel, in more ways than one. First is the obvious: Angel needs human brains to survive or she will begin rotting away (seriously, pieces will start falling off). What’s most surprising to Angel is the camaraderie with her coworkers and the self worth that begins rebuilding piece by piece. The stress keeps piling on though, because someone is cutting a swath through her town, lopping off heads and taking names. Is it a serial killer, or something else? The mystery rounds out what is essentially Angel’s story, and I had a really hard time putting this one down. You’ve got to have a bit of a strong stomach for this one though, because, well, Angel assists with autopsies and eats brains, and the author gets rather descriptive. I had to really twist my way of thinking, because Angel is pretty much like a vampire, except if she eats your brain, you’re not gonna be alive to get all romantic about it. Being a zombie ain’t pretty, but Angel handles a pretty extreme circumstance with her singular grace and a heart of gold, and we get to watch her change from a girl on the skids, to a capable, strong, well…zombie. This was one of the most unusual books I’ve read, and I can’t wait to get to know Angel even more!(less)
James R. Tuck’s Blood and Bullets is coming out on Feb. 7th, but you can meet his hero, Deacon Chalke, before then in this down and dirty novella. Deacon is a supernatural bounty hunter with a grudge, and he’s been called to the Atlanta zoo to hunt down a rather nasty creature that’s been preying on zoo employees and animals alike. With the help of a zookeeper (who proudly sports a mullet), Deacon takes on a hungry and vicious evil, and it loves the taste of humans. You’ll zip through this one lightning fast, and Tuck doesn’t waste time on flowery prose. Deacon is a man’s man, but he’s got plenty of personal pain to contend with, and it more than fuels his prowess as a bounty hunter. That Thing at the Zoo is a great intro to Tuck’s new series, and will have you adding Blood and Bullets to your pre-order list pronto!(less)
Whew! Lemme tell ya, if you’re in the mood for some down and dirty noir action with your supernatural fun, City of the Lost is where it’s at! Joe Sunday is your all around tough-as-nails L. A. enforcer who knocks heads and makes a pretty good living at it. All of this comes to a rather abrupt hault when his main employer hires him to knock off someone that is way off the normal meter. When he witnesses his best friend and co-worker kill himself (in a rather spectacular way), he knows things are a bit…off kilter. Sure enough, his newest mark is out for blood, and takes Joe out. But wait, Joe’s not dead. Now, Joe is a zombie; not the rambling, rotting type, but if he doesn’t do certain, er, things, the rotting definitely will commence, unless he gets his hands on a stone that may hold the key to immortality.
Told in Joe’s wry voice, City of the Lost grabs you hard on page one and keeps you rapt until the last page. Backed by a supporting cast including a young bruja that counts a bar tending demon as a friend, and a cop with is own agenda, Joe must fine the stone and figure out how to fix his little problem, before it fixes him. On his tail is an ancient man that’s been chasing the stone’s secret for hundreds of years, a beautiful woman that he may or may not be able to trust, a Nazi doctor that wants the stone for his own, and his henchmen, a skull cracker that has a sharp-toothed midget (we’re not talking human here) on a leash. Stephen Blackmoore writes like an old pro, and doesn’t flinch from some of the more violent characteristics of his anti-hero. He’s really, really good at writing gray characters, and yet manages to infuse his creations with humanity, even if they aren’t themselves human, which is a neat trick. City of the Lost is fast paced, funny, scary, at times, charming, and I couldn’t put it down. If you love the novels of Richard Kadray (Sandman Slim), Hank Schwaeble (Jake Hatcher series), and Steve Niles’ Cal McDonald series, then you’ll LOVE City of the Lost. What a way to start out the new year! This is a 2012 debut you won’t want to miss!(less)
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!(less)
Life is hard as the Beast Lord’s mate. Yeah, no sarcasm there (so jealous!). Actually, life is proving rather difficult for Kate Daniels. Yes, she and Curran are mated, and in that, she couldn’t be happier (and neither could I!!!). However, her professional life is in shambles, after the Knights of the Order did their best to ruin her reputation. She’s started her own PI business, but clients aren’t biting, and she’d rather fall on her own sword then ask the Pack for more financial help. When Ghastek, a powerful Master of the Dead, calls Kate to warn her that an out of control vamp is headed her way, all hell breaks loose, in more ways than one! Kate’s first client wants her to track down an inventor that was kidnapped under her watch, along with the mysterious device he was creating. When she visits the scene and realizes that some seriously powerful magic has been used, she’ll have to gather all of her resources to find this inventor and the device, which is more powerful than anyone could have imagined, and could destroy everything Kate loves the most!
I’m always happy to return to this alternate Atlanta and ride along with Kate and Co. on their adventures, and Magic Slays is one of the best of the series so far! Poor Kate really can’t catch a break in this one. Along with the kidnap victim she’s hired to find, she also discovers her teenage ward, Julie, has run away from boarding school, for what seems like the millionth time, and is heading her way. Her best friend (and shifter), Andrea is back after a self- imposed exile with vengeance on her mind (with vomiting, smelly, monster dog Grendel in tow), and Kate discovers some secrets about her family that will make her question Curran’s love, and his motives for making her his mate. Then there’s that mystery device…
If you’re already a fan of this series, this one will knock you over, and if you haven’t discovered it yet, run, don’t walk, to the bookstore or download Book 1 (Magic Bites) ASAP! The authors ratchet up the intensity and the emotion in Magic Slays and I think readers will be very satisfied with how things tie up with plenty of new material for future novels. Highly recommended! (less)
A very long time ago,the sun god Belan created the Eternals to be partners for the witches created by his lover,Danu. Eventually,consumed by power,the most powerful witches performed a ceremony using an Artifact that nearly unleashed a demon horde upon the earth. After the witches were nearly destroyed by their greed and lust for power,they shattered the Artifact,then they each took a piece and hid it somewhere in the world. They then sentenced themselves to 800 years of atonement,after which there would be an Awakening of power in each of the witches,and also joining with their Eternals to find their piece of the Artifact and put right what went so wrong.
The Awakenings began with Shea in Visions of Magic and I really fell in love with the lore of the witches and their Eternals. Visions of Skyfire is Teresa Santiago’s story,and she’s a bit different from Shea. She’s always known she has power,having been taught by her abuela from an early age. She also knows about her Eternal,so when Rune shows up to save her from the Magic Police,she’s not so much surprised as relieved. About the Magic Police:they’re pretty nasty,rounding up witches and putting them in prison camps. One of their foot soldiers with a personal vendetta played a role in Visions of Magic and also shows up again here,determined to kill any witch he can get his hands on. I had a great time following Rune and Teresa through Mexico as he teaches her to fight using her hands and her magic. Then there’s the Mating (it’s exactly what it sounds like) to bring both of them fully into their powers,and also bind them for eternity. Rune’s having some trust issues however,since in each of Teresa’s incarnations (in the past 800 years),she’s been less than forthcoming with him and a little more power hungry than she should be. Visions of Skyfire has plenty of passion (strictly adult here,folks),magic,and action,and will not only appeal to Paranormal Romance fans but also to Urban Fantasy fans. Teresa is a pragmatic and tough witch,and it’s her strength that really carries the novel. I also really love the idea of having an Eternal (yep,it’s the romantic in me coming out-don’t tell anyone.) The Awakening series is magical,fun and passionate,and not to be missed!(less)
Knight’s Curse begins when Chalice is just a young girl, living with Maronite monks in a Lebanese villages. Orphaned, this is the only family Chalice has ever really known, and not only have they raised her, but they’ve also taught her some rather unusual skills. When a man thought to be her father comes to claim her, Chalice knows something is wrong, but is forced to go along with this menacing stranger. She is taken to live with the Vyantara, a group of magic users who use Chalice, and others, to steal cursed and magical objects for their own nefarious means. Chalice has become a skilled thief, but she’s got a secret that tethers her to her kidnapper, Heinrich, and the Vyantara, and she’s desperate to be free.
Knight’s Curse was not what I expected! I expected pretty run of the mill urban fantasy, but the characters and world that Ms. Duvall has created really are rather unique and refreshing. The curse in the title refers to Chalice’s binding to a gargoyle (foisted upon her by Heinrich, to keep her under control). They must maintain close contact or Chalice will actually turn into a gargoyle herself. It’s not a pleasant situation, especially since her particular gargoyle was once a human, who also happened to be a psychopath. Aydin, the handsome sorcerer that is also a member of the Vyantara (but on her side), is also bound to a gargoyle, but theirs is a very different relationship. Knight’s Curse is told from Chalice’s point of view and is very much a tale not only of magic, but of self-discovery. She discovers that she is descended from an ancient order of female Knights (the Hatchet Knights), and may be destined for greater things. First she has to escape her curse and her evil captor. This was such a fun book, and Chalice and Aydin’s love story added a certain sweetness. Loved the magic and otherworldly creatures in this one and can’t wait to explore Chalice and Aydin’s romance and adventures further in the next book, Darkest Knight!(less)
I really enjoyed Blood of the Wicked (Dark Mission #1) so I couldn’t wait to dive into Lure of the Wicked. Lure of the Wicked is Naomi West’s story and follows her as she takes an assignment in an exclusive spa in New Seattle called Timeless. Strange things have been happening at Timeless, people are dying, and Naomi must track down a rogue agent with blood on his hands. When Naomi meets the owner, Phin Clarke, she realizes that he may be a distraction, which is the last thing she needs. She’s determined to conclude this mission, and get the hell out of Timeless. Little does Naomi know, there’s a power contained within the walls of Timeless that people are willing to kill, and die, for. Lure of the Wicked isn’t just paranormal romance or action, it’s a fish out of water story. Naomi West is supposed to be tough, stoic, and without feeling, right? She’s a missionary for the Holy Order, and takes her job very seriously. The problem is, the reason for Timeless’ existence is so people have a place to go to relax and let things go, and it’s precisely the reason it gets right under Naomi’s skin. Yes, there’s a killer on the loose, and ass-kicking aplenty, but the real story lies with Naomi and her resistance to letting go, not only of her control, but to the pain of her past, and to possible love. When the mother that abandoned her when she was five shows up at the spa, her emotional walls crumble even more. She may even be falling for Phin, but he’s hiding a secret that could drive a permanent wedge between them. The mystery of the rogue agent provides a nice backdrop for Phin and Naomi’s (super hot) romance, and Karina Cooper’s writing crackles with tension. Lure of the Wicked isn’t as dark as Blood of the Wicked, but there’s plenty of action to satisfy this thriller fan. Are there sex scenes? You bet! They’re so well crafted and intrinsic to the story, so I’m all for that. There’s also a fun scene that brings to mind Pretty Woman , and a there’s nice twist at the end that I didn’t see coming! I can’t wait for the next book in this series!(less)