Eve Silver doesn’t just paint a pretty picture with her prose. Her descriptions will bring you...moreThis review was originally posted on Vampire Book Club.
Eve Silver doesn’t just paint a pretty picture with her prose. Her descriptions will bring you in to the Otherkin world, will evoke strong emotions. Her words can cut, can overwhelm and can bring butterflies to your stomach. In other words, I love reading her books because during the time from cover-to-cover I feel like I’m in another world. An impressive skill, and a damn good reason for readers to pick up her novels.
In Sins of the Soul we find demigod Alastor Krayl dealing with the fact his father is the Underworld god of chaos and accepting his role as a soul reaper. Bonding with his brothers made it all possible, but now someone as murdered one of them. If he can find his brother’s darksoul and reunite it with his body, he could bring him back. Only the darksoul is missing and time is running out. On his hunt for the killer, he meets Naphré Kurata.He’s not sure if she’s the killer or a witness, but he can’t keep himself from wanting to save her.
Naphré has her own troubles. She’s forsaken her birthright in a sacred order to become an Underworld enforcer. Not her ideal plan, but slightly better. When she meets Alastor, she’s not sure what to think. She’s torn by duty and an inherent distrust of soul reapers and her growing need to know him, even love him.
Both try to keep secrets from one another, and watching their information tug-o-war unravel is gripping. Really, the only downside to Sins of the Soul is the rather abrupt ending. Things tie up quickly in the last few pages, but still leaving a ton of new questions. Perhaps this is why we’re so lucky the third novel in the trilogy, Sins of the Flesh, comes out October 1. We want answers.
Even though this is the second in a rapid-release trilogy, you could pick it up without reading the others and not feel left behind. Surprising, but true. And we really do suggest you pick up Sins of the Soul.(less)
Nothing like a Greek love slave to keep you up all night. Well, it didn’t go exactly like that,...moreThis review was originally posted at Vampire Book Club.
Nothing like a Greek love slave to keep you up all night. Well, it didn’t go exactly like that, but I did read the entirety of Fantasy Lover in a single sitting in the wee hours of the night. So, we can pretend, yes?
While Fantasy Lover is, technically, the first book in the Dark-Hunter series, readers consider it a prequel. Now I understand why. The story focuses on Grace and Julian. Grace is a sex therapist who hasn’t been laid in four years. (Let’s pause a moment and take that in. Poor woman.) Her best friend, a tarot card reader in the French Quarter of New Orleans, decides getting her friend to summon a “Greek love slave” is the best idea. Like the infinitely more sexy version of Beetlejuice, she calls out his name three times (at a full moon) and he manifests with the purpose to please her sexually for a month.
That’s great, if you don’t mind using people. Grace has a big problem with using people. Her past has her being used—thus the celibacy—and she sees this godlike man as more than just someone sent for her amusement. And this, readers, baffles Julian. In 2,000 years, no woman has denied him. Grace flat out says no. He has been cursed into this life of sating others’ lust, but never having his own sated. He was to be punished and never loved.
The dichotomy of self-discovery and finding love make this novel engaging. Julian has spent so much time learning not to feel that he isn’t quite sure what’s happening as he falls for Grace, and once he does he is sure he doesn’t deserve her affection. Grace, on the other hand, can’t imagine this guy would really want her. Even when she falls for him, she is confident he doesn’t truly reciprocate. Really, the only hitch here is a sex therapist should know communication is key and choosing to not talk about our feelings makes things frustrating. Luckily, that also makes for good reading.
Despite Grace’s refusal to have sex with Julian, there are oodles of near-sex scenes. Let’s just say I now get what you guys have been talking about with Sherrilyn Kenyon’s romantic scenes. Damn.
Romance was high in Fantasy Lover and it made me wonder why I delayed reading this series for so long.
I can’t help but wonder if Melinda Metz or Laura J. Burns was ever the ‘Sick Girl’ in school, b...moreThis review was originally posted at Vampire Book Club.
I can’t help but wonder if Melinda Metz or Laura J. Burns was ever the ‘Sick Girl’ in school, because they hit that one right on the head with their lead character in Crave. I’ve been trying to decide if I loved this book because it’s a fantastic novel or because I connected so solidly with the protagonist Shay. It’s both.
I didn’t spend my whole life as the Sick Girl, like Shay, but there was a full year of high school like that for me. (I’m better now. No worries.) But the shift in the way others think of you when you have a major illness is stark. In the novel Shay complains that she’s never the smart girl, the insightful girl or even the bitchy girl, she’s just always the sick girl. People hang out with her because it makes them look good. They can’t be mean to her, because it’s wrong to be mean to the sick girl. Shay, of course, hates it. She craves to be normal (everyone wants that in high school).
Her stepfather is also her doctor, and is trying to find a cure for her rare blood disease. She starts new blood transfusions and everything changes. Each time the blood courses through her veins she enters a dream state, seeing someone else’s memories. Gabriel’s memories. Only, she’s him in these visions. Each time she learns more about him, and the time skips centuries. After the new transfusions, Shay is strong. She tries things for the first time — running, kissing a boy, etc. It’s fantastic, but she needs more. She begins to wonder if Gabriel is real. From her visions she knows he’s a vampire, but vampires aren’t real. Right?
Crave flips the vampire scenario around. The human is the one taking blood. The heroine is weak, kind and literally dying to feel alive. We fall in love with Gabriel through his memories. We want to meet him, be with him. Metz and Burns let us see the vulnerable side of an alpha male before we see the strength. It works.
The only hitch is the pacing is a bit off. The plot rushes to completion at the end and makes us suffer with a colossal cliffhanger. The end worked in making us itch to read the next book and find out what will happen, but it still felt incredibly abrupt.
In the long-run, though, it doesn’t matter. I had a visceral reaction to Crave. I read it in a single day (almost a single sitting). I love Shay. And Gabriel. And the honest reactions of those surrounding them. Bonus points for a YA novel giving teens a look at what it’s like for the sick kids.(less)
Tayla hunts demons. While out taking out some particular underworld nasties, she’s injured and...moreThis review was originally posted at Vampire Book Club.
Tayla hunts demons. While out taking out some particular underworld nasties, she’s injured and knocked unconscious. She’s taken to the Underworld General Hospital, where all things underworld are taken to get patched up. She awakens in enemy territory with a super hot doctor taking care of her. She’s all about it until she realizes those taking care of her are the demons, vampires and shifters she kills on sight.
Eidolon built UGH from the ground up, including putting in policies that say no one comes to harm within its walls. And when a slayer comes in, well, that doesn’t make him the most popular guy. A type of incubus, he’s been searching for a mate, because in the near future he’ll come into a new stage of maturity. The new stage will have him trying to procreate constantly, unless he finds someone to bind with for life. And, so far, that hasn’t been going well. He really doesn’t need the drama of saving a slayer and being incredibly attracted to the lethal woman.
Tayla has a false view of demons. Blinded by hatred it’s so hard for her to accept that Eidolon might be doing something for altruistic reasons. As she catches him in moments of care and sincerity, her faith in her demon slaying Order is shaken. She had a dark past that bolster her outlook that all demons are evil. The undeniable sexual chemistry between the two continually brings them back together to help open Tayla’s eyes. I do wish we saw more growth and challenged ideals for Eidolon, but Tayla had enough on her plate to make the Pleasure Unbound a robust tale.
While these two do immediately fall into bed together, there’s still a strong relationship story arc that shows the two slowly — almost begrudgingly on Tayla’s side — learning to trust one another. It’s hard not to enjoy a novel that provides hot bedroom scenes, characters you can care about and relationship growth.
Larissa Ione’s Pleasure Unbound will give you goosebumps and keep you turning pages for more. As we’ve said before, the Demonica series is perfect for fans of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series.
In Magic Bites‘ Atlanta magic is everywhere. And so are the shifters and the vampires. The Orde...moreThis review was originally posted at Vampire Book Club.
In Magic Bites‘ Atlanta magic is everywhere. And so are the shifters and the vampires. The Order keeps the peace on the magic end, but Kate Daniels would rather not deal with them. Despite her formidable magic abilities, Kate works as a mercenary instead. Doing jobs for money instead of being a part of the all-or-nothing Order. But when her mentor and key member of the Order is murdered, she finds herself investigating his death on their behalf.
He was found slain alongside a vampire, but both showed signs pointing to just about everyone. The shifters and the vampires now want in on the investigation because they’re sure the other is out to frame them. And the killer now has sights on Kate. She’ll be forced to pick sides, work with the powerful Lord of the shifters Curran, fight bloody battles and consider just who is she really.
Curran reminds me of Barrons from Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series. Not in actual behavior, but in that he’s one of those heroes you’ll see readers swooning over. Magic Bites doesn’t have a romance angle. (Though, it lays groundwork.) Yet, there is this undeniable magnetism that cloaks Curran through the novel. He’s powerful, loyal and a fierce warrior.
And Kate can stand up to him. The girl walks in to meet the Beast Lord of the city — the shifter so strong no one can beat him — and calls out “here kitty, kitty.” Inside she’s scared, but Kate knows how to put on a show of strength and always backs it up. She’s the kind of woman you’re proud to know, even when you’re shaking your head at her occasional misstep.
Magic Bites is a great start to a new series. While it doesn’t reinvent the wheel, it sets the stage for something great by setting up this world that could run parallel to our own and by allowing us time to get to know a full cast of characters. By the end of the novel all I could think about was the way Kate and Curran play off one another. I want to see that progress (and we all know it does). Kate will be formidable, and Ilona Andrews put us in place to see the beginning of the fireworks.
David Bridger reminds us of the redeeming power of love in his paranormal romance novella Beaut...moreThis review was originally posted at Vampire Book Club.
David Bridger reminds us of the redeeming power of love in his paranormal romance novella Beauty and the Bastard.
Rebecca is less than pleased about being sent to work for her uncle. Not because she hates the job or her uncle, in fact he’s her favorite. The problem is the demon heiress’ life was threatened by some desert demons after they were run out of Las Vegas by her dad. She thinks she can handle herself and doesn’t see the need for the temporary relocation. When her uncle hires Saul the Bastard as her bodyguard, Rebecca is incensed.
Saul the Bastard is a fallen angel. He takes each day in penance, hoping the next will be the day he’s allowed to return to heaven. To survive he works as a bounty hunter, and while he isn’t much for working with demons or for bodyguard duty, he trusts Rebecca’s uncle and agrees to take the job.
Saul’s so wounded yet full of hope that it is hard for the reader not to feel for him, and it doesn’t take that long until Rebecca feels strongly for the handsome angel. The more time Saul stays protecting her, he finds himself focused on more than just returning to heaven.
Bringing the two together ignites surprising feelings for both sides and reminds us of what it’s like when you find the one.
I have to confess a love/hate relationship with novellas. I love the intensity and the option to read it all in a single sitting without foregoing a night’s sleep. But often I find the book is either all plot with no characterization or so heavy on the character development that an energizing storyline is missing.
Maybe this is why I was so stunned when I finished Beauty and the Bastard. I felt satisfied (and the ending left me happy). A complete tale — with two characters I both connected with and cared about and a strong plot with enough suspense to keep me flipping the pages — was encapsulated in those 59 pages.
Bridger writes love scenes that will warm your heart, and the connection made between Rebecca and Saul feels honest and genuine. It’s hard to ask for more from a romance. (less)
Mockingjay, even more so than the previous Hunger Games novels, was remarkable in its realism. The actions and resulting consequences -- while not alw...moreMockingjay, even more so than the previous Hunger Games novels, was remarkable in its realism. The actions and resulting consequences -- while not always what we want to happen -- feel true, feel how things actually work.
If you are wondering why I didn't mark Mockingjay as five stars if I found it so great, well, the ending left me unfulfilled. Not a bad ending, totally works, I just expected more. Maybe that's due to hype.
I'll refrain from saying more, because I do believe this a novel that needs to be experienced without any spoilers. There are so many surprising turns, it would be cruel to ruin any one of them.(less)
In Meagan Hatfield’s paranormal romance Shadow of the Vampire, Alexia is on the cusp of taking over...moreYou can also find this review at Vampire Book Club
In Meagan Hatfield’s paranormal romance Shadow of the Vampire, Alexia is on the cusp of taking over the vampire horde from her mother. She’s powerful, but her mother’s adviser and fiance is far from excited about Alexia taking over. He leads the search for a crystal that will give the vampires total power.
The vampire’s enemies are the dragons who live high in the mountains. When dragon lord Declan is captured, Alexia is ordered to torture him for information on the crystal. Instead she falls in love. Something about him draws her to him over and over. He can’t resist her either, even though he came to vampires to take revenge for his parents’ deaths.
Hatfield writes vivid love scenes that keep readers rapt. Her attention to detail for all senses is notable and helps immerse the reader in the world she’s created.
The strong cultures of both the vampires and dragons help paint an intriguing world for the characters of Shadow of the Vampire. One that, despite the book’s flaws, I would be interested in seeing more of, with or without the same characters.
There were two things that held me back from truly enjoying Shadow of the Vampire. The first relates to characterization. We’re given good background on the characters in the novel. This, of course, is a big plus. The problem comes in when some of their reactions don’t ring true given said background. My real problem is that Alexia has been a victim of rape, yet early on reacts positively to the idea of being helpless during sex. Declan is sensitive to the idea and he’s mindful of not being overbearing in that way, which fits with his character (and what readers want from him), but Alexia’s reactions just don’t fit. Later, sure, but from the get-go? No, I felt like Hatfield was just placating readers’ enjoyment, mine included, of that type of interaction. The scene I’m referring to would have been great if I didn’t already have this knowledge about our heroine’s past.
Secondly, the book drags on a bit. Certain chapters, particularly toward the end of the novel, have prompt pacing but you had to work to get to them.
Shadow of the Vampire shows promise, strong characterization and Hatfield has the command of prose that can really grab readers, if you can get past the pacing issues. (less)
Donna was attacked as a child by a fire-breathing beast. Alchemists replaced her scortched arms...moreThis review was originally posted at Vampire Book Club.
Donna was attacked as a child by a fire-breathing beast. Alchemists replaced her scortched arms with iron, flesh and magic. She’s stronger, colder and from time to time the iron tattoos on her forearms move with life. The Order of the Dragon, the alchemist secret society her parents had belonged to, took care of her. They made sure she was protected and home schooled her at the Order’s HQ. She’s expected to learn the magic, the science and join the Order and the war with the fae.
Donna has the weight of her parents’ legacies and the expectations of the Order that she be the next big thing pressing down on her. She doesn’t even know if she wants to be an alchemist. No one has asked her. But they do expect her to hide her enhanced abilities stemming from her iron-laced arms. The duality of being expected to act based upon DNA, but hide other parts of the self is a nice allegory for teenage life in general. And Karen Mahoney manages to do it while keeping The Iron Witch light in tone.
As if her life wasn’t complicated enough, she finally meets a hot guy who’s interested in her and that’s when dark elves begin attacking her and her friends. Next thing she knows, she’s falling for Xan, her best friend is kidnapped and she has some new and serious concerns about the guys leading the Order.
Karen Mahoney brings together two people working against what others expect from them with Donna and Xan. We won’t spoil Xan’s surprise, but his heritage comes with gifts and prejudices equally. Adding in some less than involved adopted parents and Xan comes with his own baggage in accepting who he is and what that means for his future.
In other words, these two are right together. (Also, if Xan wants to take his shirt off more, we’d let him.) Their quick attraction feels legit and not just in a hot boy meets hot girl kind of way.
The Iron Witch gives tastes of alchemy, action and a sweet, blossoming romance. Mostly, though, the book is a great character study. Spending the few days spanned in The Iron Witch with Donna (and melting for Xan) was a delight. She may not kick as much physical ass as other YA heroines, but we expect someone will teach her to fight soon enough. She’s got iron arms, and we’re looking forward to seeing her step up and use them in the forthcoming sequel.(less)