Archangel's Enigma is everything I love about the Guild Hunter series: brilliant, unique, honorable characters who fight for what's right and the peopArchangel's Enigma is everything I love about the Guild Hunter series: brilliant, unique, honorable characters who fight for what's right and the people they love. Badass fights, wicked verbal showdowns, big threats and bigger gains, and a romance that melted my heart.
Day Shift, like so many engaging mysteries, picks up steam as you delve further into its stoThis review was originally published at Vampire Book Club.
Day Shift, like so many engaging mysteries, picks up steam as you delve further into its story. The novel begins at a meander—it took me three chapters before I was hooked back into the world set in Midnight Crossroad. The easy pace at the opening of the novel is a clever deception on Charlaine Harris’s part. She’s such a master of this. She skips from one eccentric Midnight resident to another touching on day-to-day minutiae that give the novel the feeling of a languid character study. Toward the end of the novel, though, you’ll be sprinting to solve mysteries.
The rich ensemble she’s crafted for this series is engaging and curious and Day Shift gives us more. We learn more about each of the characters, what makes so many of them more than human, but questions aren’t easily answered in Midnight. There are far too many secrets for that. And perhaps that’s why I was hooked the second we had chapters from Olivia’s point of view. While Manfred, the key protagonist of the first novel, is again front-and-center, Olivia is equally so this time. She’s engaging and fascinating and has the right amounts of ingenuity and darkness to make me crave every passage with her.
While Day Shift focuses on its characters, the deeper we get into the story, the more the plot winds. More secrets are revealed, and by the end I found myself rushing forward to get the answer of the whodunit instead of simply wanting more time in Olivia’s head.
Without giving any of the clever twists away, I was shocked to discover that the Midnight, Texas world coincides with that of the Sookie Stackhouse one. An ancillary character everyone will recognize makes an appearance in this book, and fit right in with the Midnight crew. It was curveball, and at first I balked a bit, but quickly everything fell in to place and I understood the decision. Plus, it’s like an Easter Egg for the Sookie fans.
Harris continues to be a master at the character-driven story. Day Shift has a cast worthy of your investment and intrigue piled upon intrigue. I’m eager to get back to Midnight, Texas just to unearth more of their secrets....more
Full review will be up at Heroes & Heartbreakers on Nov. 30.
The intensity of the scenes between Craeg and Paradise in Blood Kiss may be liable toFull review will be up at Heroes & Heartbreakers on Nov. 30.
The intensity of the scenes between Craeg and Paradise in Blood Kiss may be liable to melt ereader screens and singe paperback pages. J.R. Ward has again created a couple that craves one another and fights it because they’re stubborn. Only that inherent frustration only makes every interaction burn brighter. Sure, Paradise’s blindness to Craeg’s feelings can make you want to intervene like any good friend, but every moment between those two is palpable, purposeful, and will positively leave you needing more.
Just like Craeg and Paradise.
Blood Kiss will certainly sate fans of the early Black Dagger Brotherhood novels, but it also splits plot time with ongoing threads with Butch and Marissa and vampire societal issues that work whether you’re up-to-date on the series or not. ...more
Seriously. Hot. Damn. Killer worldbuilding, a heat level Demonica fans would appreciate, an alpha male who isn’t perfect, and a heroine with some steeSeriously. Hot. Damn. Killer worldbuilding, a heat level Demonica fans would appreciate, an alpha male who isn’t perfect, and a heroine with some steel to her spine. ...more
When I think about Archangel’s Shadows, I can’t help but let out a happy sigh. Janvier and AshwThis review was originally posted at Vampire Book Club.
When I think about Archangel’s Shadows, I can’t help but let out a happy sigh. Janvier and Ashwini’s story was just what I needed from these two. Insight into Ash’s hardened edge. The unyielding support of Janvier. A nice dose of Cajun romance amid the snowy landscape of New York.
One of the reasons I love Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter series so much is it brings together my favorite genre elements. I’m an urban fantasy girl. I like mystery and action and heroines taking charge. But, if you read this blog with any frequency, you know I also like a heavy dose of the sweet-and-sexy moments. The Guild Hunter series marries these two elements beautifully. We get to see Ash and Janvier on missions, saving lives, trying to track down a murderer, and when they’re in public they are fierce.
…but alone? It gets hot and steamy and Ash is kind of overwhelmed by it. Touch is such a tricky thing for her, but it’s a non-issue with Janvier. And does that man know how to touch. And bite. (Sexy vampire bite scene included in Archangel’s Shadows, you heard it here first!) Their romance is sweet and supportive and selfless. I really couldn’t get enough of them.
Personally, I like when Singh steps away from Elena and Raphael (as much as I love them) to give us new couples finding their mates—and getting better footing on who they are. It’s probably part of why I loved Archangel’s Blade, too. However, this story gives us more glimpses of the other couples. We get time with the other couples and plenty of teases about who might be next. I know you’re all shouting “Bluebell!” right now, but I found myself very curious about Naasir by the end of Archangel’s Shadows, which kind of shocked me. He says something about relationships and their secrets that is beautiful and intriguing and makes me wonder what’s in store for him a few books down the road.
In the meantime, Archangel’s Shadows delivers. High-stakes mystery, insight into both the Tower and Guild side of things, and make-you-weak-in-the-knees romance merge to make one indulgent read.
Silver Shadows is the darkest book in the Bloodlines series to date. It’s also the best. RichelThis review was originally posted at Vampire Book Club.
Silver Shadows is the darkest book in the Bloodlines series to date. It’s also the best. Richelle Mead has deftly woven painful, deep scenes with breaths of warmth, light and hope.
Longtime fans of Mead’s work will know she tends to go for the gut punch and the tears on the emotional roller coaster. I’ve never been one to really complain about that. However, the balance of light and dark in this novel is, simply, better. Part of that comes from the shift of this series to dual points of view. Adrian, who so long has been besieged by his own demons and the depression brought on by his spirit use, becomes a point of light this time. His chapters are the scenes that let us breathe in this book, and even when he makes mistakes he’s nothing short of a source of hope.
The ending of The Fiery Heart was wicked. If you thought we would escape seeing Sydney in re-education camp, you’d be wrong. She’s in solitary confinement when the novel begins, and her torture—both mental and physical—continues for chapters and chapters. It’s heavy, and painful, but her love for Adrian keeps her whole. She is strong and has become a character you can’t help but admire. She’s grown so much over the last five novels, and you’ll want to rally behind her as she does her best for others even in the midst of Hell.
Adrian has his own struggles, but his top goal is saving Sydney. I didn’t think I could be more in love with Adrian Ivashkov, but Silver Shadows did it. It doesn’t matter that this novel has scenes of torture; it’s a romance through and through. The power of love is a big deal here. It helps us grounded and centered and provides the hope that we can survive.
I “one more chapter”-ed the last 150 pages of this novel. You will, too.
Larissa Ione brings the slow burn in Chained by Night, and I loved it. While her Demonica boThis review was originally published at Vampire Book Club.
Larissa Ione brings the slow burn in Chained by Night, and I loved it. While her Demonica books often get dirty quickly, the MoonBound novels are definitely taking on a different romantic tone. And it works.
Much like the first book, we have some category tropes at play. In the case of Chained by Night, it’s a case of mistaken identity alongside an arranged marriage. If you read much historical romance, you may find some interesting choices here. Thanks to the contemporary setting and, you know, vampires, though we don’t have to deal with as much of the impropriety issues there.
Hunter is the leader of the MoonBound Clan of vampires. In order to save two of his own (in the previous novel), he’s agreed to marry the daughter of a rival clan’s leader. Rasha is far from his type. She’s cruel and has beliefs that are the complete opposite of his own. (She’s a big fan of subjugating the weak, for example.) Her twin sister Aylin, however, comes with her to the MoonBound Clan as a decoy against human attacks. She’s one of those her sister considers weak.
Aylin is smart and kind and determined. So, she’s a natural match for Hunter. Too bad marrying her isn’t an option. Rasha wants what’s hers and breaking that treaty will mean war. That doesn’t stop Hunter from spending more and more time with Aylin, and the two end up having to take a mission to save the lives of others. Expect some mega closeness. Sexy closeness.
The chemistry between Aylin and Hunter in Chained by Night was scorching the pages. They both have strong senses of duty and aren’t sure who they can trust. Watching them become closer and open to one another was a great journey. Enough to make me read this 400-page book in a single sitting.
Chained by Night better focuses on the vampires and their lore than the woes of the human side, which was more the focus of Bound by Night. There are still some interesting revelations there—mostly secrets revealed—but the novel is free of having to set the world building and only thrives in the openness to explore its characters.
Be prepared to stay up all night with Chained by Night. You’ll be ready to hear Hunter saying, “mine,” before you know it.
Every time I finish one of Richelle Mead’s Bloodlines novels, I clamor for the next one. The FieThis review was originally posted on Vampire Book Club
Every time I finish one of Richelle Mead’s Bloodlines novels, I clamor for the next one. The Fiery Heart isn’t an exception. No, for those who read the Vampire Academy series, I say: Remember when you finished Shadow Kiss and you needed Blood Promise in your hands with every fiber of your being? Yeah, that’s the end of The Fiery Heart.
The Fiery Heart indulges in the connection between in Adrian and Sydney. Hell, it relishes in it. As a reader, I found myself damn-near languid after their interactions and yearning for their stolen moments. They finally admitted their feelings for one another in The Indigo Spell. But with Sydney’s little sister moving in and bringing along piles of Sage and Alchemist baggage, it’s difficult for the two to enjoy their relationship. Their meetings are stolen moments. They text on special cell phones. And they are so in love it hurts.
Why am I harping on the romance angle? Other than the fact it’s smoking hot and just—gah—so good? Fine. This is the first time I’ve read a book by Mead (and I’ve read them all) that read like a romance novel. The main focus of The Fiery Heart is Adrian and Sydney’s relationship and the goal of them being together. To make this even clearer, we spend half the novel in Adrian’s head. His points of view were brilliant and insightful. He continue to struggle with the consequences his spirit use, but wants to be a better man for Sydney. Look, the short story here is you’re going to swoon. And maybe cry. Mostly swoon, though.
The book isn’t all steaminess between these two. We also have big progress on the magical front, on working to break the tattoos that force Alchemists to behave and even on the spirit use against Strigoi. Pretty big strides there, but I just can’t spoil that for you.
I would be remiss if I didn’t admit the ending is wicked. Good wicked. It’s what needs to happen for this journey to move forward correctly. There are so many possibilities as to what might happen next and I need answers. In the meantime, I’ll be happy I devoured The Fiery Heart. It was by far my favorite book in the Bloodlines series and Vampire Academy fans will probably put it in the same league as Shadow Kiss, which is definitely an epic compliment.
I am in perpetual awe of Julie Kagawa. Every book I’ve read of hers is better than the last andThis review was originally posted at Vampire Book Club.
I am in perpetual awe of Julie Kagawa. Every book I’ve read of hers is better than the last and The Eternity Cure is no exception. She takes heroine Allie to some dark places in this latest book, but anything else would have cheapened the experience.
Allie’s character arc continues to develop beautifully as she truly understands what it means for her to be a vampire and fights to balance that with maintaining her humanity. Zeke continues to be her source of good here, and it isn’t just that he’s human, but that he sees the good in her. There’s a great juxtaposition between the way Allie behaves in reaction to Stick and her emotions when Zeke is with her. I’m not just talking about romance here, but about the way another’s faith in you can make you into a better person.
Characters are in real peril in this one, and as a reader I was never certain anyone would make it. The plot twists were devious enough to catch me off guard and the staging done well enough to make think, “Oh, God, she’s actually going to do…”
I adored The Immortal Rules, but I promise you The Eternity Cure is even more brilliant. It gave me what I really needed in this journey: huge emotional development, answers about the world Allie grew up in, down-and-dirty fight scenes and some of the most gorgeous prose I’ve read in some time.
I’ve been stingy with the five-star ratings of late (picky, picky, I know), but The Eternity Cure deserves a perfect score from me. Expect this one on my Best of 2013 list....more