Ivy is having the worst week of her life as The Beautiful Ashes opens. Her parents have died...moreThis review was originally published at Vampire Book Club.
Ivy is having the worst week of her life as The Beautiful Ashes opens. Her parents have died in a suspicious car accident, and her sister Jasmine has disappeared. She’s going from one tiny bed-and-breakfast to another trying to find Jaz. Her problems aren’t as simple as finding a sibling who doesn’t want to be found.
Her sister has been kidnapped by demons, and only Ivy can save her. And she has one hot, very off-limits guy to help her.
Jeaniene Frost employs some straightforward and engaging mythology. Ivy and Adrian, the hero, are mortals caught up in the battle between heaven and hell—or in this case Archons and demons. The two mortals are helping the angelic side (obviously), and have special gifts as being the last of their bloodlines. Each is descended from a key Biblical figure. The visuals in the book, especially when looking at demons or within demon realms, are the right balance of uncomfortable and familiar.
Supernatural fans will certainly find lots of love within the pages of The Beautiful Ashes. Battling demons, saving innocents, a bitchin’ car and often too-cryptic angels—for starters. The concept isn’t entirely new, and you’ll certainly spot some new adult tropes in action. However, Frost’s writing shines bright enough that it doesn’t matter.
Putting this book down once I began was near impossible. I was driven to get answers about Ivy and Adrian’s destiny. Their chemistry is palpable, and my chest tightened the first time they kissed. The pacing is spot on.
Only 10 pages into To Hell and Back I wondered how I had never read a Juliana Stone book. Her v...moreThis review was originally posted at Vampire Book Club.
Only 10 pages into To Hell and Back I wondered how I had never read a Juliana Stone book. Her voice and characters are the types I enjoy so much. (Wondering about that 3.5 up there? It’s probably more my fault for starting with a shorter novel that featured already-established characters.)
Logan, a hell hound, saved Kira from purgatory. (This is from previous books, I gather.) Now they’re on the run as underworld denizens are less than thrilled about him absconding her and, you know, falling in love. They’re fiercely protective of one another and it’s clear from the beginning these two have a strong connection. This isn’t a novella about characters falling in love. It’s a book about a couple fighting to stay together when everyone wants to pull them apart.
Logan is ripped away from his lady’s side. She’s forced to run without him. He’s tortured. They’re able to meet in a dream world where dirty, sexy things happen. If you want a taste of Stone’s ultra alpha characters—Logan does crazy things to get back to Kira—and her engaging writing, To Hell and Back is a quick way to do so. Though, I wish I had started with Wrong Side of Hell or, better yet, the first full-length in the League of Guardians series Wicked Road to Hell.
Fans of Pamela Palmer and Jeaniene Frost will find a kindred spirit in Stone’s writing. I plan to read more. Soon.
If you love an angst-y read, Blood Before Sunrise is for you.
Get wrapped up in yelling at the heroine making infuriating and dangerous decisions? You’ll love Blood Before Sunrise.
Enjoy seeing a heroine handing big tough men their asses in fights? Oh, you need Blood Before Sunrise.
In the Shaedes of Gray, heroine Darian discovered she wasn’t the only one of her kind. She started to learn not only who she is but also what she is. Just as she began to understand her new role as a Shaede — she can fade into shadow, nothingness in the dark — an ancient prophecy changed things.
Now Darian is something else, more. She can disappear in the light and the dark, feel the passage of time. And she’s powerful. She still trains with Raif, but he can’t keep up with her. She’s powerful and gets accustomed to the idea she’s the biggest, baddest thing on the block.
Not only does her ego put her in danger when trying to find Raif’s daughter and while she tries to determine what her new-found obsession with the passage of time means, but it wreaks havoc on her relationship with Tyler. He isn’t just her boyfriend, remember. Tyler is a jinn, and his job is to protect Darian. The only hitch is he has to obey her wishes. She’s worried about protecting him, and though she doesn’t recognize it, she behaves in a way that illustrates she doesn’t need his protection or want it. Expect big relationship drama on this front.
I love books that are an emotional challenge. Ones where by the end of the book the main character has truly grown. There’s no question we get that with Blood Before Sunrise. There are moments when you’ll grip your book and pretend to be shaking some sense into Darian. Don’t expect easy answers in this novel, but I can promise one hell of a journey with lush descriptions. Even when Darian is making poor decisions, I want to be her friend.
Readers of the Rhiannon’s Law series know J.A. Saare never pulls punches. Rhiannon makes massiv...moreThis review was originally posted at Vampire Book Club.
Readers of the Rhiannon’s Law series know J.A. Saare never pulls punches. Rhiannon makes massive mistakes, awful things happen to her, the world spins out of control, everyone makes poor choices and the characters just have to deal. It’s what I like so much about the series. Nothing is easy in these books, and you can never take a sweet moment between characters for granted, because it all could change in the next chapter.
We come into The Ripple Effect a few weeks after the horrible misunderstanding (a.k.a. The Awfulness) between Disco and Rhiannon from the end of The Renfield Syndrome. He wants to apologize, wants to make things right and our girl Rhiannon isn’t having it. Their mutual friends are trying to make them get past this. Again, Rhiannon isn’t ready to forgive him.(I wouldn’t be ready either.)
The Ripple Effect is a book about consequences. And that’s a good thing. Every action has meaning, and everyone must endure as the results trickle in. First, turns out our boy Disco was sheltering Rhiannon from the real vampire world. That means his master is coming to visit and expects to see things a bit more violent and the humans much more subjugated. Imagine Rhiannon’s reaction to this. We find a link between demons and vampires and have to spend quality time at their place, which results in scenes horror fans will love and others will cringe at — but you’ll know who the bad guys are immediately.
As a result of the master vampire visiting, Rhiannon has to play dutiful girlfriend while in private still giving Disco the cold shoulder. This forces them — and Paine — to work out their issues, and to accept one another’s faults as best they can in a stressful situation.
Unrelenting and honest. Dark, deep and a touch dirty. If you like your vampires sexy and scary, The Ripple Effect is a must. Since it’s a Saare book, expect big changes in love, death and a heavy dose of violence — the kind that will captivate you early on.
It’s rare that I fall for the heroine of a paranormal romance before the hero. But that’s exact...moreThis review was originally posted at Vampire Book Club.
It’s rare that I fall for the heroine of a paranormal romance before the hero. But that’s exactly what happened with Jessa Slade’s fourth Marked Souls novel Darkness Undone. From the very beginning I was fascinated by Alyce. The rogue talya didn’t understand she was possessed by a repentant demon like the others in this series have been. No, Alyce was sure the devil was inside her and that she may be crazy.
When Bookkeeper Sidney comes across her, he thinks he has quite a find. He records talya activity and bringing in a rogue — much less a female — would be quite the feather in his cap. He just doesn’t understand why he’s so drawn to her. Being so analytical, he’s been trained to turn off his emotions. He doesn’t want to love. And he certainly knows better than to get involved with a demon-possessed talya.
But this is what makes the book different than so many other paranormal romances. These two may fall into bed together fairly early — one of those primal instincts type things — but there are some heavy consequences and the scenes as their relationship develops are more mild than those before they understood or recognized their emotions. Alyce understands their bond intuitively, which isn’t a surprise as all her talya abilities have been innate. The man who examines talya life and records the warriors’ behavior has no clue.
He’s also kind of a dick for a third of the book. Really, for quite some time I only liked him while he was kissing Alyce. However — and it is a big however — he needs time to grow and change, and when he does you’ll be glad you stuck with Sid. He opens up and will make readers all sorts of gooey inside as he acknowledges his feelings for Alyce — then fights to prove it to her.
Darkness Undone has enough stop the bad guy action to keep crossover urban fantasy fans engaged and the kind of relationship development romance fans demand. Plus, Slade’s prose is straight-up cutting with wit. I’m a sucker for wry humor and the woman has it covered well.
I always enjoy a heroine who thinks for herself. That’s the case with Izzie. She’s a demon h...moreThis review was originally published at Vampire Book Club.
I always enjoy a heroine who thinks for herself. That’s the case with Izzie. She’s a demon hunter without a reason to kill vampires and the like. She does it because she’s good at it, because the man who saved her from the streets has a vendetta. She knows humans can be just as vicious and cruel, and she only attacks those who make a move on her. And that makes her incredibly interesting to Ryker.
Ryker’s an old vampire and, really, he just wants to be left to live his life. He’s not really the eat a bunny kind of vampire, but isn’t out hunting to kill either. Humans haven’t really interested him, but there’s something about a vampire slayer who doesn’t see every one of them as evil that catches his eye. And, well, he’s a good guy. When is past catches up with him, and pulls Izzie into a dark place with him, he’ll do whatever he can to change things. To save her.
Their romance blossoms under awful circumstances — lab rat style, folks — so they both have to question if their feelings are real, safe or even right. Rosalie Stanton manages to craft an intense relationship borne of a mix of lust, shared survival and a bit of fate for her hero and heroine. The journey is intense and complex, but also damn hot.
I can appreciate love coming from a dark place, and that’s what we have here. The journey isn’t simple. Points of the plot horrify the characters as well as the reader, but it’s done with purpose. Know Thine Enemy is dark, incredibly sexy and boasts a mile of twists.
Sexual content: Sex and sexual interactions under dubious situation(less)
I was nervous to read Shadow Heir. It’s true. If you read this blog regularly you know a few th...moreThis review was originally posted at Vampire Book Club.
I was nervous to read Shadow Heir. It’s true. If you read this blog regularly you know a few things about me. Namely, Richelle Mead is one of my favorite authors and I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with the emotional rollercoaster she likes to make me endure in her novels. Also, there was a bit of saying goodbye here as Shadow Heir is the final Dark Swan novel. (Mead closed out her other adult series earlier this year.)
The ending of the third book, Iron Crowned, left me agape. I wasn’t surprised about Eugenie being pregnant, but at Kiyo’s behavior following it and the potential for Dorian to really step up and return to Eugenie’s side. (Don’t worry, I’m not going to spoil anything in Shadow Heir.)
So, I let my copy of Shadow Heir stare me down for a bit. So anxious to read it, but worried my favorite of Mead’s adult series wouldn’t give me the closure I needed. When I finally started reading Shadow Heir, there was no stopping. The pacing is breakneck and the gut-wrenching choices pile up. As usual, Eugenie makes choices that infuriate me, but for the most part my fictional BFF Eugenie makes some of her best life decisions yet.
In addition to dealing with Kiyo and the Willow Queen’s determination to kill Eugenie’s unborn children – she’s having twins, remember? – and her in the process, our girl is having a high-risk pregnancy and dealing with some serious drama in the Otherworld. Dorian remains devoted to helping her children, and throughout the novel their interactions ring true for a couple and allies with so much history.
I promised not to spoil anything, but if you were unsure as to if you were ready for more Dark Swan drama, I can promise Shadow Heir wraps you up and never lets go. While I felt Iron Crowned had some obvious plot points, Mead has avoided those moves with Shadow Heir. Some great resolution would happen, and I’d realize I still had 200 more pages to read. Layer upon layer of excellent conflict – and some kickass magic battles – will sate you.
If I’m singing all this praise, why not a full 5-star rating? Well, one of Eugenie’s choices at the very end irked me. The choice is very Eugenie in that it’s not what I want her to do, but more so it left things a bit more open than I expected. When I finished Mead’s Succubus Revealed, the final Georgina Kincaid novel, in August, I felt done with the series. This time I feel a little less closure, but still finished the book a happy lady.
Sexual content: Non-graphic sex scene, kissing(less)
This review was originally published at Vampire Book Club, where it was given 2.5 stars.
Right now you’re looking at that star rating and thinking what...moreThis review was originally published at Vampire Book Club, where it was given 2.5 stars.
Right now you’re looking at that star rating and thinking what on earth happened. And that’s a fair question. I was over-the-moon excited for A Perfect Blood. The longer running the series, the more often we see waning character growth or tired plots, but I was sure The Hollows series was free of a shift into banality after reading Pale Demon. As a matter of fact, the last Hollows book was one of my favorites in the series and pivotal.
A Perfect Blood does not carry on the series growth in the way Pale Demon did. It misses the wry humor — though some of Jenks’ swearing is excellent this round — and Rachel has taken an emotional step back. Some of her inner turmoil is to be expected. She’s now a demon, and doing her damnedest to hide from the demon collective. By using charmed silver, she’s able to shut off her connection to their magic. Only that stunts her abilities, too.
Humans are being mutilated in ways that look to be demonic. Both Interlander and human agencies suspect Rachel, the only known demon on this side of the Ever After. They agree to let her, Ivy and Jenks in on the operations to catch the people behind it with the condition that if she doesn’t do so, they’ll just pin the whole thing on her.
The plot twists were clever enough. Quickly we learn a hate group is behind the acts, but that only further complicates things. Without the ability to use her magic to act, she’s getting beat up more and needing to rely on physical abilities much more. It’s nice to see Rachel kick some ass, but also painful to see her miss what a reader sees as obvious clues.
The book isn’t bad, but I more slogged through it than read it. Typically, Hollows books are a single-sitting read for me, but A Perfect Blood took a week. With identity issues and conflicted feelings about Trent (lots of thoughts about their one shared kiss juxtaposed to remembering Kisten) regresses much of Rachel’s recent emotional growth, especially in regards to Ivy.
I’m willing to call A Perfect Blood a breather book and keep my fingers crossed the next book will have her back on track, accepting her demon nature and maybe giving Trent a proper chance.
Sexual content: References to sex, lots of thinking about a past kiss
…and, no, I can’t believe I just had to give a The Hollows book less than three stars. (less)
I love when you finish a book craving the next in the series. That’s how things go with Jaye...moreThis review was originally published at Vampire Book Club.
I love when you finish a book craving the next in the series. That’s how things go with Jaye Wells’ Red-Headed Stepchild.
Wells weaves a tale of unending rejection, resolve in new friends and a chance for both redemption and revenge. (Go ahead, just order the book. It really is that good.)
Sabina Kane is the top assassin for the Dominae (a.k.a. the vampire council). Her grandmother is their leader, but Sabina never had a chance to be in service to the Dominae in any way other than assassin. Despite being devoted and always bringing her A game, Sabina is an outcast in the vampire community because of her lineage. Her mother may have been of noble blood, but her father was a mage. And, well, that’s just not OK. Nonetheless, she’s worked tirelessly and never questioned the edicts of her grandmother and the other leaders of the Dominae.
After what the Dominae determined a mistake on her part, they decide to put her on a secret mission. They’ll tell everyone she’s been sidelined for a month, but really she’s to infiltrate an enemy’s camp, get some info and then kill the opposing leader. She’s not much for the spy business, but following orders makes sense. She agrees.
What she learns about herself — both in terms of her lineage and who she can trust — changes everything. By way of accident, she finds herself with a demon-turned-cat as a sidekick. Banter between her and Giguhl, the ugliest cat you’ve ever seen, will have you laughing out loud. Add in a cult leader with the hots for her, loads of vampire secrets and one hottie of a mage who won’t let Sabina refuse his assistance, and you’ve got the makings of one hell of an urban fantasy novel.
Magic and murder often go hand-in-hand, but with Red-Headed Stepchild we get more than that. Self-discovery, new friendships and wry humor elevate the book from good to great.
I did not want Body of Sin to end. I was actually sad when I hit page 378, because I wanted...moreThis review was originally published at Vampire Book Club.
I did not want Body of Sin to end. I was actually sad when I hit page 378, because I wanted more — more Lokan, more Bryn, more of the Underworld. Body of Sin was just that good.
Our hero and heroine are forced to come clean about who they truly are, what they mean to one another as they journey through the Land of the Dead together. Lokan awakes in purgatory alone. He’s given a guide to help him navigate the 12 Gates, and it’s his daughter’s mother Brynja. The two had fallen into a casual comfort while raising their daughter Dana, but when the immortal Lokan was murdered (using the term loosely, go with it) both are shocked to realize how it’s not just Dana that brings them together, but one another. Unfortunately, the person who killed Lokan will go after his daughter. As he’s the only one who can protect her, Bryn entrusts Dana to her brothers and enters the Underworld to guide Lokan back to the Topworld.
They have to work together, to strip away the lies, to be tested repeatedly in order to get back and keep Dana safe.
It’s a harrowing journey of self-sacrifice, transformation and love set to the backdrop of Egyptian mythology. The plot is gripping, the characters are endearing and the writing offers powerful visuals. Those who have read the earlier Otherkin novels may think they’ve picked a favorite character. You’re wrong. It is impossible not to be drawn to Lokan. Even in his confusion about who and what he is, he always has his priorities straight with Dana and Bryn at the top.
Brilliant use of Egyptian mythology, soul-exposing honesty and love as only Eve Silver can do it. Also, expect sizzling and plot-driven sex scenes and (unrelated) a ridiculous amount of snakes.
You could read Body of Sin without having read the earlier Otherkin novels. It will work on its own. However, the book does tell you who “killed” Lokan and how he ended up in Purgatory. That was all revealed in Sins of the Flesh, the third Otherkin novel. Please know that going in. The other books are remarkable reads, as well, and I highly suggest reading them.
Remember how you fell in love with Brystion in A Brush of Darkness? I didn’t think anyone wo...moreThis review was originally published at Vampire Book Club.
Remember how you fell in love with Brystion in A Brush of Darkness? I didn’t think anyone would be more appealing to me in Abby’s world.
I. Was. Wrong.
So very wrong. We come back into Abby’s world eight months after the end of the first book. Brystion broke up with Abby because it “just wouldn’t work” with him being an immortal succubus and her being a human, albeit one with serious fae ties. Moira placed her brother Talivar as Abby’s bodyguard. And they fell into a complementary friendship — both caring for Moira’s son.
Talivar is emotionally wounded, an outcast and recognizes Abby’s strength. And, honestly, after spending more than 350 pages with him — I just want to climb the guy like a tree. I love the way he interacts with Abby and the obvious burdens that come with being the unwanted royal.
A Sliver of Shadow isn’t about Talivar, though. It’s about a struggle for power. (Isn’t it always with the fae?) Once again, Abby’s found herself mixed up in the Fairy Court’s troubles. In order to help, she has to challenge her past. She’s given access to missing memories and reconciling the truth and the implications on her life forces her into a more mature role.
All the characters are dealing with regret in A Sliver of Shadow. Many want to wish away past deals, others past hurts and most of all those past actions that read like betrayal in hindsight. There’s a beautiful story arc of Abby — and others — making the move to make peace with her life, without foregoing the snort-induing one-liners.
After you’ve finished, you’ll love Abby even more. You’ll care about Taliver and Ion. You’ll be enraptured in the drama of the Crossroads. And you may be tempted to immediately re-read.
Snarky, sexy and action-packed, A Sliver of Shadow is a must-read.
Sexual content: Sex and plenty of sexual references (Phineas is around, after all.)(less)
Kindling the Moon has quick writing, a heroine who can kick ass but is still learning about herself and a hero who sure tries to steal the show. It’s a great read from cover to cover.
Arcadia Bell is a magician on the run. She’s a little different than your normal human doing magic. Cady is able to see Earthbound demons for what they are. Most act like humans, so it’s not really an issue. But she can keep their powers in check by binding them and runs a bar that caters to them. Laying low and running her tiki lounge worked well until her parents showed up on TV. The world at large was sure she and they were dead. Seven years ago, they’d faked their deaths when another magical order framed them for murder — the kind that caught national media attention.
Now the other order is seeking them down. They’ve given Cady two weeks to help find them, or they’re taking her. And that means death of the most unpleasant sort. So Cady seeks out the truth about who really committed the murders. She needs the help of Earthbound demon Lon Butler in finding the mystery demon she’s sure was used for the killings.
It’s not that easy. The two battle against the clock, their pasts, demons and one very precocious 13-year-old to try and save Cady and her parents. Along the way there are scary demons, kidnappings, movie nights and — oh, yes — sexy times. On that last part, Lon Butler is a new favorite. The single father who is also a badass is going on the book boyfriend list. Yep. That good.
The plot is twisty enough to keep you turning the pages and the characters may become your new best friends. Urban fantasy readers who love a dash of romance will love Kindling the Moon. I promise.