Chess needed to grow for the Downside Ghosts series to truly move forward, and Stacia Kane dThis review was originally published at Vampire Book Club.
Chess needed to grow for the Downside Ghosts series to truly move forward, and Stacia Kane didn’t disappoint. Sacrificial Magic pushes on Chess from all sides. She needs to evaluate her position at the Church of Real Truth and what the trust she’s earned there means. She fights her own nature to attempt a relationship with Terrible.
At the crux of Sacrificial Magic is Chess rebelling against her self-imposed isolation and self-hatred. She’s still the Chess who sees little value in herself, but she’s trying to reconcile that with the realization people might care for her as more than a means to an end.
As one of the Church’s debunkers, it’s not surprising when they ask Chess to take up a sensitive case. It’s not even all that surprising they’ve passed a case on to her that another debunker failed with – actually, he went missing after the case. But nothing is ever simple for her. Three books have proved that. The case has Chess spending a lot of time in Slobag’s territory among less-than-helpful witnesses who hate the Church for prohibiting their culture.
At the same time, Bump has his favorite Churchwitch looking into arson on his side of Downside – and it looks like ritual sacrifice is part of the problem. When more ritual murders pop up in Downside – on both sides of the drug territory – Chess has to solve things quickly. She doesn’t want Terrible thinking she’s spending time with Lex when she’s really working a case.
That’s just the tip of the Chess and Terrible drama. Kane gives us more insight into Chess’ trust issues and a much more expansive examples of her neuroses. Chess is someone who has never been truly loved. She’s never had a relationship where her partner wasn’t using her for something. Terrible caring for her simply for the strength of her being confounds Chess, and at the same time the possibility of losing it terrifies her. And, because she’s Chess, that means she does idiotic things to try and prove herself. This isn’t an easy relationship, but one that’s worth the trouble and necessary pain.
Chess will infuriate you. She will break your heart. She will surprise you. And by the end you’ll be both exhausted and sated. Sacrificial Magic is dark, and brings the requisite Downside craziness of sex, drugs and magic, but it’s also the most introspective of the novels to date. Clever plot twists, character surprises and brutally honest writing make Sacrificial Magic a must read.
And, because I know several of you want to know, “Chessiebomb” makes a return and Elder Griffin dispenses dating advice. No, really. It’s awesome.
Sexual content: Sex, sensual scenes and Chess contemplating the relationship of sex and trust....more
Chloe Neill said to trust her about the ending of Hard Bitten. Every fan was floored (and manyThis review was originally posted at Vampire Book Club.
Chloe Neill said to trust her about the ending of Hard Bitten. Every fan was floored (and many justly pissed off) when Ethan died. And she promised it would be OK. Within the first couple chapters of Drink Deep, Merit is having dreams with Ethan in them. They feel real. They also happen to be nightmares where he’s torn away from her in some cataclysmic event. This happens a few times in the book. Not often enough to ever feel like Ethan is actually present.
Merit feels plenty of guilt about his death and ruminates on that, particularly as she grows closer to Jonah. In lieu of a partner inside Cadogan House to solve supernatural crises with she turns to the Grey House guard captain and Red Guard member. And he totally wants her to be over Ethan so they can get their smoochies on. The idea damn near gives her stress hives. He’s a hot guy and smart blah blah blah, but he’s not Ethan. No one is Ethan. And this, my friends, frustrates me. I expected to get some Ethan-related satisfaction at least by halfway through the novel, based on Neill’s word, and that wasn’t the case.
The GP has essentially taken over Cadogan House. Their representative goes so far as to ration blood (to vampires, yeah, I know), limit gatherings and put its guards in impossible situations. It’s painful to see the House beat down. They’ve lost Ethan and now they’re losing their identity one rule at a time. Mayor Tate is locked up, but his replacement is very anti-vampire. She’s calling for a registration act (which totally made me think of the first X-Men movie). And when supernatural badness descends on the Windy City yet again, she tells the public it’s all the vampires’ fault.
There’s magic at play, but with more bad press and protesters on the way, Merit has to try and solve someone else’s problem again. She works with Jonah, and gets alternately blamed and praised for the magical goings on that she has no control over. Mallory refuses to help her at all. Catcher is irritated but gives answers. Mostly, her sorcerer resources are damn limited.
I flew through this book, dying for answers. It kept me gripped to the pages, and engaged with the characters. I waited for this big reveal. Things had to be messy right? There was no way this could tie up neatly. And a few hundred pages in and we’d only had a handful of Ethan dreams. Where is Mr. Green Eyes?
I’m doing my best not to give this away for you guys, but Neill employed a deus ex machina. Suddenly it came together, and we get answers, but they just feel sudden and too easy. The resolution wasn’t worthy of the build up. Usually Neill tortures us and Merit. The resolution this time didn’t leave me sated.
Was it worth my Sunday afternoon to read Drink Deep? Totally, but the book left me conflicted. It’s heavy on politics, and was more a foray outside the tone and format of earlier Chicagoland Vampires novels. Additionally, the book just didn’t meet my expectations in terms of the Ethan part of the equation. Merit’s emotions were dead-on throughout the novel, but plot-wise we were still missing some key steps.
Bloodlines may be a separate series from Richelle Mead’s remarkable Vampire Academy, but it’This review was originally published at Vampire Book Club.
Bloodlines may be a separate series from Richelle Mead’s remarkable Vampire Academy, but it’s set in the same world with some of the same characters. It also takes place following the end of Last Sacrifice, the final VA book. If you read Bloodlines before finishing Last Sacrifice you’ll know some big things — who Rose ends up with, Moroi political stuff, a big Dragomir family secret, etc. If you’ve never read Vampire Academy, you can still completely enjoy Bloodlines. All that said, if you don’t want Last Sacrifice spoiled for you, skip this review.
Having met Sydney Sage in the Vampire Academy series, I wasn’t too sure if I’d want to spend an entire book with her. As an alchemist, her job is to keep the vampire world from interfering on humans. They are big on science and rules and firmly believe all vampires — both Moroi (living, good) and Strigoi (dead, evil) — are unnatural and wrong. The fact they can do magic creeps Sydney out. But we’d always seen Sydney through others’ eyes in Vampire Academy, and I have to say I loved her in Bloodlines.
Sydney is in a precarious situation. She’s spent more time with the vampires than most of her kind, and she’s started to see they aren’t all bad. She kind of, sort of likes a few. She chose to help them in Vampire Academy, and now is living the fallout. No one trusts her. There’s talk of sending her to a “re-education” camp, which no one every comes back from. But as she’s the most familiar with their kind, she’s tasked with protecting Jill, Queen Lissa’s little sister. Everyone is out to kill Jill because if Lissa doesn’t have a sibling, she can’t be queen. (Politics at play.) So, they’ve decided to hide Jill out at a human boarding school in Palm Springs. Along with her come Eddie, her guardian, and Adrian. He has a protective, brotherly outlook on Jill, whom he still calls “jailbait.”
In Bloodlines, Sydney must play along with the vampires, pretend to be sisters with one and is still supposed to hate them. The more time she spends with Jill, Adrian and Eddie, the more she understands them and sees their humanity. And she has to make sure no one else recognizes that she’s starting to care for the vampires, because if anyone knows the punishment would be severe. The shock of realizing the truths you’ve been raised with aren’t fact is hard enough, but to have to adjust to that while fearing the realization could end your life? Terrifying.
Adrian plays a big role in the book, and it’s rather beautiful. Sydney is one of the few who really sees Adrian as more than a walking mess. He’s still in agony over Rose breaking his heart. Thoughts of her pain him, and he’s actually trying not to be self-destructive for Jill’s sake. We get much more insight on the Moroi party boy. I think everyone’s always known Adrian had depth, but this is a new level, and I have a lot of hope for him in the course of the series.
There are glimmers of hints at future romance in Bloodlines, but this is really a story about people trying to figure out who they are and questioning what they expect from others — humans and vampires alike.
In addition to the big-time character development, there’s a bit of a murder mystery and a very sketchy, jerk of an Alchemist watching over Sydney’s shoulder. Bloodlines offers a smart heroine, redemption for a beloved Vampire Academy character and the kind of twisty plot one expects from Richelle Mead. Fun and engaging, Bloodlines is certainly a Vampire Book Club recommended read.
On a side note: There’s some set-up to have Sydney deal with body image issues. It feels logical being around size 0 Moroi girls. But I hated hearing her lament being a size 2. Really wish Mead had upped that a smidgen. I’m sure once we delve into it deeper, it’ll make sense that she’s focused on size 0 being perfection, but still hard to read.
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.
Shadowfever is intense. It’s not just that the stakes are high in this final book in the FeverThis review was originally posted at Vampire Book Club.
Shadowfever is intense. It’s not just that the stakes are high in this final book in the Fever series — Mac’s trying to save the world. And it’s not just many of the character’s all-or-nothing outlook. Each chapter of Shadowfever ratchets up the stakes. Just when you think you have an answer and something starts to go our way, it gets worse. There is nary a moment when readers will not be gripping the book thinking either “no way,” “oh my God” or “what?!”
Basically, it’s nearly 600 pages of Karen Marie Moning mentally fucking with you. And, really, would you have it any other way? Barrons sure wouldn’t. He likes intensity, and when it comes to the man we met at Barrons Books & Baubles in Darkfever, he exudes intensity.
Alongside all that agonizing edge-of-your-seat stuff are answers piled on answers. Unfortunately, you also have to endure a lot of the wrong answers. Mac has to come to things in her own time, and some of the hard truths she learns will be unexpected.
The downside for me was the loose ends. I’m guessing — though I honestly haven’t read anything that says so — Moning is planning a spin-off that will take care of several gaps. The big picture is taken care of, but there were a couple things after the big emotional ride I took through the five Fever books that I wanted more finite closure on. On the upside: one of those things is NOT Barrons. You will get answers. Promise.
To avoid spoilers I’ll say you will get to learn who killed Alina, what is Barrons, Mac’s background, Darroc’s role and bunch more about the Fae. As to what those answers are, pick up the book....more
Powerful psychic Serra finds herself forced to work for a mysterious high-blood businessman. HeThis review was originally posted at Vampire Book Club.
Powerful psychic Serra finds herself forced to work for a mysterious high-blood businessman. He wants her to help find his missing daughter, but there is so much more going on than she expects. Fane can’t be away from Serra. When she disappears, he tracks her. The high-blood might not want his help, but he’s going to get it. Secrets of The Sentinels world are revealed and there are some surprises for Serra as the mystery unravels throughout Blood Assassin.
While the mystery plot is certainly worth your time, the real star of Blood Assassin is the electric energy between its hero and heroine.
The sexual tension between Fane and Serra pops. There’s no question these two have chemistry, and it’s the energy when they’re both on the page that kept me moving through Blood Assassin at a quick pace. I started the book at 2 a.m. one night and read the first 200 pages before my body cried for sleep. There is a hitch, though, to the energy between these two characters. They keep getting in their own way. As a romance readers, it’s something we’ve certainly encountered before, but it’s a big source of frustration. From the beginning of the novel, it’s clear that Fane wants Serra and Serra wants Fane, but they aren’t together. He says he can’t be with her because of obligations. When she finally accepts that, he realizes he can’t live without her. So now she’s keeping him at arm’s length.
Despite the hero and heroine delaying their fated togetherness, it was still super sexy. When they’re together—and not denying their feelings—I was wrapped up in the scene, in their romance, their love. Plus, I love Fane. Just. Gah. He’s a deliciously stubborn alpha who knows how to assess a situation and take control. He can, when required, even let others help. He was my favorite part of Blood Assassin, but I expect no one is surprised by that.
I did not read the first Sentinels book prior to reading Blood Assassin (I’m a rebel), and I never found myself lost or wading through a world I couldn’t comprehend. Alexandra Ivy does a nice job of quickly laying the groundwork and introducing her characters. Tonally, Blood Assassin may remind you of a Guild Hunter novel. Plenty of action and a nice dose of steamy romance. - See more at: http://vampirebookclub.net/?p=9871&am......more
Jocelyn Levi is a government agent visiting the Rocky Mountains investigating**spoiler alert** This review was originally posted on Vampire Book Club.
Jocelyn Levi is a government agent visiting the Rocky Mountains investigating cult activity. Instead she discovers vampires exist, and she’s destined to be the eternal mate to the one she met just hours ago.
Blood Destiny features two types of vampires, spawned from brothers. One line have souls, but still drink blood and work to balance light and dark. The other line are soulless and murder ruthlessly. Both sides are subject to a Blood Curse. As part of it, each “good” vampire is destined for one human woman in his lifetime. If she does not accept him, his life will be forfeit. This just happened to Nathaniel’s brother. They buried him the day he met Jocelyn, his destiny.
He needs to convince this woman, who he has just met, that they’re soulmates. And that she needs to accept him, love him (oh, and have his kids) in the next 30 days. For his part, Nathaniel seems to understand how insane it is to ask so much of Jocelyn. He wouldn’t force her, but he will do his damnedest to connect with her. The gods have destined them to be together, so he knows once she gives him a chance it’ll work.
Unfortunately, there are added complications with the soulless vampires killing his kind, werewolves arriving to hunt all vampires (and seek to claim Jocelyn, to boot) and the drama of a family of vampires. Nathaniel and Jocelyn’s relationship is reluctant, but definitely unique.
It took me a bit to decide which way to go on this review. Tessa Dawn can write. I like that she crafted a unique vampire mythology. And, I got wrapped up in the main plotline of the story. So, what is my problem? Well, I have two, actually.
First, I’m not one to place boundaries on where fiction can go. If a character’s history or development requires painful, traumatic experiences, I get that. Blood Destiny includes one fairly detailed rape scene and a second attempted rape featuring other characters. Neither are used for titillation, but I’m not sure one was necessary and both could have been done “off camera.” I don’t need the what-goes-where details, especially without the emotional ties that go with it.
My second beef is the big one, and it’s going to require some spoiler-action because it’s about an overall character development. The big part of the Blood Curse mythology that the novel is pegged surrounds the light or good vampires to bond, mate and have children with their destined human woman within 30 days following the blood moon. There is no question as to who their mate is — she’ll have their celestial sign marked on her wrist, etc. Provided all goes to plan, she’ll fall in love, agree to be the vampire’s one and only forever, be converted to a vampire, get pregnant and bear twins. One of those twins will be light (good) and the other dark (bad/soulless). Immediately thereafter, they are required to sacrifice the dark twin to appease the gods. He’ll just disappear, but they must hand the child off. When told this, no one in the story seems to think sacrificing a child is a big deal. Being destined and expected to be with this one guy bothers Jocelyn, but even when she’s pregnant and her twin boys are kicking in her womb she’s not freaking about the fact they’re going to essentially kill her child. I kept hoping that she’d be special and they’d let her keep both boys.
She does have the maternal “I need to keep him” moment right after his birth, but then the baby is passed off and she decides the innocent child must have messed with her mind. I don’t believe any woman could so readily accept the sacrifice of her child. You die for them. You put up a fight. And the fact that no one in the novel even really considers it as an odd or, you know, horrendous act killed the character development for me.
The overall concept of Blood Destiny is certainly intriguing and the prose well-crafted, the over-indulgence in sexual violence and oversight of character reaction to a major event took away from real enjoyment of the novel. This is one where if I were an editor, I would have cut back on a few scenes and had Dawn take a hard look at the characters’ reactions to all the Blood Curse mythology elements. With hard edits, the premise could have lead to something strong that wouldn’t leave readers feeling a bit itchy. As it is, I can’t suggest others pick it up....more
A Brush of Darkness is dark, funny, plenty sexy and a little heartbreaking and surprisingly heaThis review was originally posted at Vampire Book Club.
A Brush of Darkness is dark, funny, plenty sexy and a little heartbreaking and surprisingly heartwarming. In short, it’s an urban fantasy must-read.
When I first read the back cover copy for A Brush of Darkness, I stopped at the words “miniature unicorn.” Let’s just say I fall firmly on “Team Zombie.” That’s still true, but the perverted magical creature in this novel is a complete delight. He’s tiny but ballsy and can’t seem to keep from playing in Abby’s underwear drawer.
The fact is there are a lot of elements that could make A Brush of Darkness fluffy — faeries, elves, mini unicorn — but the way this urban fantasy is laid out, you’ll see these beings in a new light. Sometimes cheeky, but nearly always with depth.
Abby’s boss Moira left four months ago with a note telling her to cover things. But this isn’t your standard work relationship. Moira is the faery equivalent of a justice of the peace — helping resolve issues between the Light and Dark paths (think angels and demons) — and mortal Abby is her contracted connection to this world, called a TouchStone. Here’s the thing, though, Abby is brand new to this whole TouchStone thing, and with Moira missing she’s stuck winging it. She doesn’t know about her abilities, what she’s supposed to do and just why Moira would leave her without telling anyone else.
Then Brystion walks in the door. The incubus is in need of help. His sister has gone missing and with Moira gone, too, Abby is his only resource for finding out who has taken her. Abby doesn’t want to deal with the emotional drama of being turned on by the walking sex god, but he’s delicious. To the reader, it’s quickly apparent that he is falling for her and she’s the one making things difficult. And I loved that. Abby’s game for a metaphysical sexual throwdown, but it’s not like she wants to fall for an incubus.
Allison Pang strikes the perfect balance between a dark, edgy plot and laugh-out-loud moments. Readers will be shocked by a heavy emotional blow one moment and uplifted by snappy one-liners the next. It’s a hard thing to do well, and makes A Brush of Darkness a must for fans of Jeaniene Frost and Kim Harrison....more
Kendare Blake’s Anna Dressed in Blood was refreshing for me. It’s not light and it doesn’t sThis review was originally published at Vampire Book Club.
Kendare Blake’s Anna Dressed in Blood was refreshing for me. It’s not light and it doesn’t shy away from creeping you out a bit. It tackles the ghost story and urban legend tale from a different angle.
The wry wit of protagonist Cas prevades the novel, and even when he’s scared the snark level remains high. He knows he’s putting on a front of being calm, but his confidence keeps Anna from being scary and instead remains rooted in character development and progressing the mystery plot.
Cas is a ghost hunter. His dad was a ghost hunter. And the family tree continues on thusly. His mom is a witch and does her best to be supportive of Cas killing ghosts. She helps clean his athame — the same one his dad used — while generally coming off as a cool mom. Cas has come to Thunder Bay to kill Anna. The legend is huge, a young girl who dismembers those idiotic enough to come into her house. She’s always seen in a simple white dress dripping with blood. Only no one really knows her story. There are bits and pieces, but just who killed Anna and why remain elusive.
Anna has killed everyone who entered her home since her death, but she doesn’t kill Cas. She can’t explain it either. She’s more powerful than any ghost he’s met before, and she doesn’t want to kill. Their loneliness unites them and while both fear one another — the goals are on the table: killing one another is what’s supposed to happen — there’s a sense of security when near each other.
Anna Dressed in Blood is part ghost story with chill-inducing descriptions, two parts murder mystery (not just Anna’s) and a touch of romance. The wry tone will draw you in, you’ll stay for the clever Cas and the enigmatic Anna.
Any author who can weave wit, subversive undertones and clever world building into a novel getsThis review was originally posted at Vampire Book Club.
Any author who can weave wit, subversive undertones and clever world building into a novel gets my attention.
Cassie Alexander demanded my attention with Nightshifted. She took a scenario that could become very campy very quickly — namely a nurse working in the supernatural ward of a hospital — and molded it into a tale of self-strength, desperation and noble causes.
Edie works the crappy shift at the bottom-run hospital. She’s new to working on Y4, the secret ward for supernatural types. And she’s only doing to because the beings in charge agreed to keep her drug addict brother clean. Her work there finds her embroiled in vampire affairs, trying to save a child-like vampire girl.
But she’s not doing it because she wants to save the world. Just this one girl. Because something deserves to go right here. Atonement is Edie’s game.
Things on the romance front are awkward for her. She tends to be a one-night-stand type of woman, which is working just fine. Until it isn’t. And she meets a zombie — not the rotting kind, but a kind fireman. And he cares. And maybe she cares. And it’s complicated. And messy.
The merger of dark tone and wry humor make Nightshifted a must read for fans of Jaye Wells, Stacey Jay and Stacia Kane. I’m eager to read the next book, Moonshifted, to see how Edie progresses.
I'm a big fan of the enemies-to-lovers trope, and this one has it in spades. That said, their issues do repeatedly interrupt them right before sexy acI'm a big fan of the enemies-to-lovers trope, and this one has it in spades. That said, their issues do repeatedly interrupt them right before sexy action. It's purposeful frustration, but I did reach a point of saying "just do it already!" aloud.
That said: BOWEN. So alpha. So tortured. So delicious. ...more
Emma is half-vampire, half Valkyrie. Raised by the powerful warrior women, she was taught toThis review was originally published at Vampire Book Club.
Emma is half-vampire, half Valkyrie. Raised by the powerful warrior women, she was taught to hate vampires and only drink blood out of a glass. At 70, she’s very young for a vampire, and finally decides to search out her father. Her mother and father had lived in Paris, and so she starts there.
Lachlain has been imprisioned for 150 years. The vicious vampires captured him and have tortured him in the catacombs below Paris. Fire burns him alive, only for him to regenerate. Though he’d attempted before, escape appeared impossible. That was until he scented his mate — the one woman he is meant to live for, who could save him — walking the streets above. After searching for her for hundreds of years, he manages to break free to seek her out.
Unfortunately, the woman he finds is a vampire. Her people tortured him and drove him mad, but as she’s the one who is supposed to calm his beast, he needs her near. So, being of old tradition, the werewolf kidnaps Emma and coerces her into returning to his ancestral home in Scotland. Early on in the book Lachlain is purposefully cruel, and uses Emma’s fear to get her to agree to sexual situations. He does not rape her, but she’s scared he will, and the exchange of promised freedom/phone calls for indulging him make you want to break the guy’s jaw.
He’s not the only one looking for Emma, though. Her Valkyrie aunts want her back and demons are attacking all the strongholds. Over time Lachlain comes to accept that Emma is his true mate and wants nothing more than to make her happy, but his early action terrified her. As he gets his beast under control, he vows not to touch her without her permission again. He promises to protect her — and he does. But he also fears the damage may already be done and worries she may never love him back.
I loved the world Kresley Cole created in A Hunger Like No Other. The interplay between vampires and werewolves is often seen, but the added element of the Valkyries was brilliant. The structure of the supernatural society — with periodic Ascensions with war — is intriguing and reason enough to continue reading the series. Additionally, Emma makes some nice, albeit rapid growth and gets in touch with both her warrior and vampire sides.
The problem here, for me, is how conflicted I felt about wanting a happily ever after here. Cole makes you want Emma and Lachlain together. You like them both, understand what motivates their actions. But, you see, even knowing the reasoning behind Lachlain’s early behavior, the idea of wanting a HEA between a kidnapping and sexual assault victim and her attacker makes me a little queasy. (And, to be honest, I want to know why no one warned me about that.) We get insight into why Lachlain behaved the way he did, and Emma lets it go, but it still left a bad taste in my mouth.
That said, I’m game to read more Immortals After Dark books. Provided the next book doesn’t go the “rape her into loving him” vibe, I think I could really enjoy the series. The characters are intriguing, the world inviting and the romantic interplay steamy.
Sexual content: Graphic sexual scenes, some of which fall under “dubious consent”...more
Damn you, Karen Marie Moning. I know you like cliffhangers. I know you like to torture your chaThis review was originally posted at Vampire Book Club.
Damn you, Karen Marie Moning. I know you like cliffhangers. I know you like to torture your characters, but that ending? C’mon! (No, readers, I won’t spoil it for you. That would be mean. I’ll just say the ending reminded me of how everyone thought their DVR had cut off the finale of the Sopranos. It was that kind of ending.)
Frustration at the ending aside — and I am frustrated — I loved Dreamfever. If you haven’t read the earlier books, I’m going to reference events at the end of Faefever here in a second. You’ve been warned.
At the end of Faefever, Mac was attacked by Unseelie princes. Raped. And, as we all feared, she was turned Pri-ya. She was hollowed out and seeked only physical attention. She had been saved by Dani and the sidhe seers, but Rowena doesn’t trust her. Barrons saves her. Again.
Early on, things are a bit different because we have Dani narrating. MacKayla isn’t really up to it. I wasn’t much for it at first, but the kid grows on you. Eventually, Mac comes back stronger, but now the walls between the mortal world and Faery have come crashing down and we’re all left wondering if there is any way to save the world.
Expect unexpected alliances, breaking through wards, surprise trips to Faery realms without a fae in tow and evil at every turn. (We’re purposely avoiding details, because the plot is a constant surprise in Dreamfever and we’re not about to ruin it.)
Brutal, deep and leaving us with heaps and heaps of questions, Dreamfever is an undeniably great urban fantasy. Mac gets tiny answers, but gets even bigger questions in exchange. Is she destined to save the world or destroy it?
Now, we sit on the edge of our seat dying for answers to questions. The fifth and final Fever book, Shadowfever, comes out this January. We’re thinking pre-ordering it may be necessary....more
Remember how you fell in love with Brystion in A Brush of Darkness? I didn’t think anyone woThis 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.)...more
Tayla hunts demons. While out taking out some particular underworld nasties, she’s injured andThis 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.
I’m going to admit to setting crazy high expectations for The Indigo Spell,This review was originally posted at Vampire Book Club.
So. This is awkward.
I’m going to admit to setting crazy high expectations for The Indigo Spell, and then being a little disappointed it didn’t hit that mark. Yes, there’s that bold four-star rating just a few lines up. This book is definitely worthy of those stars. No question. It’s well written and the character arcs progress in ways that I think are smart.
Here’s the thing, though, I’m a bit of a Richelle Mead fangirl. I love her novels because they take big emotional risks. That’s the trademark of her third books. In each series the third novel is the one that gives great hope, then takes it away and then teases better things to come. Shadow Kiss from her Vampire Academy series has a jaw-dropping twist. Succubus Dreams from her Georgina Kincaid series made me want to throw the book because my emotions were so tangled in the plot. I may have contemplated ways to climb inside a novel just to beat up Kiyo after reading Iron Crowned, the third book in the Dark Swan series.
As such, I went into The Indigo Spell expecting a good, solid angry cry. Awful things had to happen, right? Only they didn’t.
I devoured this book. It was a delightful read. The banter between Syndey and Adrian sparks and is incredibly engaging. This book gave us all the things we wanted as readers including some Adrian/Sydney kisses and subsequent Sydney freak-outs. It was fun. It progressed the series, but there wasn’t the kind of obstacle in their path that I’ve come to expect from Mead.
Maybe she’s changing her M.O. The ending of The Indigo Spell—no, I won’t spoil it—is a game-changer. Perhaps book four, The Fiery Heart, will bring the emotional one-two punch we’ve come to expect in book three. Regardless, I continue to love her well-crafted characters and snappy dialogue.
And, really, despite my confusion over not crying while reading The Indigo Spell, I can’t wait for the next book. I’ll adjust my expectations, though, so I can glom all over it properly.
I was a long-time fan of the Sookie Stackhouse series. I stuck with it though all thirteen books. That’s a long series, and over the course of the series my engagement was driven by the love of the characters and the desire for plot resolution. Normal stuff.
This May, though, there wasn’t my usual Sookie release. Instead there was a new novel in a new series set in Texas, and I had to decide if I was ready to dive back in. Was I game to make the commitment? I’m so glad I decided to make the leap.
Midnight Crossroad reminded me why I fell in love with Charlaine Harris’s writing originally. As I read this novel, I felt the same connection I had when I read Dead Until Dark all those years ago.
Midnight Crossroad could probably be labeled magic realism, but for our purposes I’m going to call it paranormal mystery. Honestly, though? It’s a the story of a tiny Southern—in this case Texas—town, the people within it, and how they deal with secrets, loss, and friendship. The paranormal elements—yes, there’s a vampire—are considered matter of fact by the residents of Midnight, Texas. There’s a psychic and witch. Everyone has a reason for living in the remote, one-stop-sign town, and they all know better than to pry into others’ lives. However, when one of them is accused of murder, hard truths are exposed and the community has to become stronger because of it.
Harris has a skill for portraying the small-town dynamic in a real, honest, and engaging way. It almost made me homesick for the small town I grew up in. The characters are fleshed out, and by the end I found myself craving more of their stories. I want to unearth more of the secrets in Midnight, and you can bet I’ll be reading Midnight Crossroad‘s sequel next May.
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.
This review is also posted, along with other Downside Ghosts reviews, at Vampire Book Club.
After we finished Unholy Magic, the second Downside GhostsThis review is also posted, along with other Downside Ghosts reviews, at Vampire Book Club.
After we finished Unholy Magic, the second Downside Ghosts book, we said how it was even better than the series opener Unholy Ghosts (review). Stacia Kane has again taken her dark urban fantasy series to new depths with City of Ghosts.
Chess still has a crime to solve, this time working with the police wing of The Church of Truth, a team called The Black Squad. But City of Ghosts is more about our flawed heroine growing as a person, accepting that needing to connect and rely on another person isn’t inherently bad. She’s striving for that redemption. She wants to prove herself. She’s a talented witch and she sure as hell isn’t going to let some bitch from the Black Squad otherwise. More than that, though, she wants to prove herself trustworthy to Terrible.
Those who have caught Terrible Fever from the earlier Downside books know he feels betrayed by Chess. He isn’t going to make things easy for her. He’ll avoid her. Say hurtful things. She wallows in it. In fact, you don’t get much Chess-Terrible interaction for the first two-thirds of the novel. He’s there with her out of duty to Bump, but make no mistake he’s hurting. But when he becomes prominent in the book again, it’s worth the wait. (Really, really worth it.)
It’s Chess’ desire to fix things with him, to protect him, to keep Downside safe and the emotional growth she experiences through that process that truly elevates City of Ghosts.
We don’t want to give anything away, so, here are 3 reasons you must read this book as soon as you can get your hands on it:
You’ll get more than one intense, amazing Terrible fix. The ‘big bad’ Kane introduces this time out is complex and will keep you trying to piece things together until the end. You’ll see why Chess never works with other people. Entertaining. The emotional heavy that is City of Ghosts is worth experiencing. Kane can craft such heady situations, you’ll feel like you’re with Chess pleading with Terrible, trying to escape a burning building, being attacked by ghosts, etc.
We wouldn’t dare call Downside Ghosts an escapist series, but these books will bring you into Downside. We promise, you’ll spend the next several days thinking about scenes from the books, thinking about why something happened the way it did or just blushing remembering things that happen in the tunnels.
As a long-time fan of Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series, I can’t believe I’m about to sayThis review was originally posted at Vampire Book Club.
As a long-time fan of Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series, I can’t believe I’m about to say this. Vlad, the hero of Once Burned, gives Bones a run for his money.
Readers of the Night Huntress series (first book: Halfway to the Grave) have met Vlad — as in the basis for Dracula, but please don’t mention it to him. We’ve seen him flex his master vampire skills — pyrokinesis and mindreading. But he’d never been one to make my knees go all gooey. Apparently that was just because we hadn’t had any time alone together.
Vlad is ruthless and incredibly loyal. These traits assure safety to those under his protection, and that means Leila. She’s clever and engaging as a heroine. I quickly liked her, and liked even more that she pushes Vlad’s buttons. A childhood accident has left her with preternatural abilities. First, anyone who touches her gets shocked with electricity. (Vlad can’t burn, so she can touch him. And she does.) Second, if she touches that person with her right hand, she’ll get a glimpse of his or her past/present/future. She can force these premonitions by touching objects as well.
Vlad understands just how valuable Leila would be to the vampire community. He protects her and encourages her to help him find others hunting her. The plot is twisty enough to keep you curious with a nice mystery element, but the core of Once Burned is Vlad and Leila.
The chemistry between Vlad and Leila is overwhelming and heart-stopping and real. He’s an incredibly protective alpha type. She’s a strong woman used to being on the run. She forces him to listen. He makes her quit running. And there is plenty of “mine” and blood and sexytimes.
If you want a can’t-put-it-down-even-to-eat paranormal romance, pick up Once Burned. Even if you haven’t read the Night Huntress books — which, really, you should — you will get wrapped up in Vlad and Leila’s story. Promise.
Joanne is a woman on the run. Through circumstances beyond her control, she’s on the run witThis review was originally published at Vampire Book Club.
Joanne is a woman on the run. Through circumstances beyond her control, she’s on the run with a demon festering inside her. Rachel Caine makes us wait to find out just what happened to put her heroine on the road seeking the most powerful Warden (magic types who can control elements — earth, fire and weather), who just happens to be MIA.
Admittedly, it drove me crazy just how long I was left out on what happened in Florida to make our heroine flee, especially as everyone she encounters knows the end result (even if not the how or why). You’ll keep flying through the pages for some answers. And once you have them, you’ll understand just why Jo is willing to drive halfway across the country on the word of a rather rude djinn. In other words, stick with it.
The big stand-out for me with Ill Wind is the relationship between Jo and David. It develops organically. Both are so invested and so alike, it’s both heartening and frustrating. These two are both ready to jump on their own funeral pyre if it means saving the other. Two selfless hero types challenge one another and the chemistry burns.
The world-building is fascinating, if a bit heavy. (As is often the case with the opening novel in urban fantasy series.) Caine provides the science behind Jo’s manipulation of the weather — pulling in cold air here, hot air there, breaking molecules, etc. — which showcases the protagonist’s mastery of her powers. I found it a touch distracting during the big action sequences, but am fairly certain Caine did this purposefully as we’re inside Jo’s head during big showdowns.
I loved the characters and the plot twists in Ill Wind. It sets the stage beautifully for a series more focused on the fiery djinn, and I’m looking forward to more.
Short version: If you can accept sentient weather with seriousness, you’ll be able to fall for the full cast of characters in Caine’s Weather Warden series.
Readers of the Rhiannon’s Law series know J.A. Saare never pulls punches. Rhiannon makes massivThis 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.
Everyone in Dublin would like a piece of MacKayla Lane. Having accepted her gift as a sidhe seeThis review was originally posted at Vampire Book Club.
Everyone in Dublin would like a piece of MacKayla Lane. Having accepted her gift as a sidhe seer, or one who can see through fae glamour, she’s focused on getting answers about her sister’s murder and trying to fulfill her last request — to find and protect an ancient faery relic. She’s made an alliance with the strong, rough Jericho Barrons. He’s helped her this far, and that isn’t going to change.
In Bloodfever, Seelie Prince V’lane works to convince Mac to help him and his queen. (Barrons really hates this, though we don’t know the details why.) In addition, Mac seeks out other sidhe seers only to discover they will only accept her if she vows obediance to them and hands over the only tool Mac has to kill the dark fae.
And those are just the “good” ones. Add in a detective convinced Mac had a role in his brother-in-law’s death, the Lord Master is still on the loose and what sure looks like the Grim Reaper hanging out just past her window.
Mac has to sort out who she is now, her role in this war against the fae and who, if anyone, is safe to trust.
Karen Marie Moning picked up the pacing with Bloodfever, and it works. There’s this constant feeling that you need to hurry forward in the novel, because something dark is nipping at your heels. Barrons takes a stronger protector role, which Mac fights the entire time. Their chemistry is palpable and I am dying to see what happens when they really give in to it.
(We’re officially on board with the Fever series. As a matter of fact, we were happy to be reading the book on our Nook so we could download Faefever (Fever #3) the second after finishing Bloodfever.)...more
I have a strange relationship with the House of Night series. I like the plot, but I get very fThis review was originally posted to Vampire Book Club.
I have a strange relationship with the House of Night series. I like the plot, but I get very frustrated with the way it’s told. My problem is not enough happens in a single book. Many of the novels should be combined; the stories in books 6 and 7 should be a single novel. And that’s what irked me about Awakened.
The first half of the book we check in with the characters, and see the state of things. Stark and Zoey are recovering on the island at Skye, and Neferet has been forgiven by the Vampyre High Council. So, drama is brewing. Unfortunately, this means not a thing happens plot-wise until you’ve read more than 160 pages. Once things begin moving, it’s interesting, but I’m not much for “breather books.” And that’s what Awakened feels like, something to fill the space before more hell rains down up on our friends from Tulsa’s House of Night.
The writing in the eighth House of Night book matches P.C. Cast’s other work. Descriptive, but not overly so. (And readers who are bothered by Zoey’s refusal to use swear words will be happy her alternative curses are sparing.)
It was nice to reconnect with some of the characters. I’m most intrigued by Stevie Rae and Rephaim’s storyline and loved reading the inner turmoil when reading from the Raven Mocker’s point-of-view. There is limited time spent with most of the other characters — the twins, Aphrodite, Darius, Damien, etc. are mostly encountered peripherally. We do get way more Neferet, though.
Awakened is a book for setting up plot points. Lots of groundwork is laid that will change the course of things in the series. All of which was exciting and, one time, shocking. My problem was I didn’t get the payoff. Lots of allusions to things to come, but there are no resolutions — even minor ones.
Am I giving up on the series? No. I want to find out what happens as a result of events of Awakened. I just wish the Casts had elected to put a full story arc in a single title. My recommendation (as it’s been before) is to read Awakened right before the ninth book Destined comes out in Dec. 2011. This way you’ll get answers and not have to grumble about reading 250 pages of set-up....more
Angel Burn surprised me over and over. Admittedly, the first bit had me wondering what I’d gottThis review was originally posted at Vampire Book Club.
Angel Burn surprised me over and over. Admittedly, the first bit had me wondering what I’d gotten myself into, but L.A. Weatherly’s unique take on angels had me curious enough to keep going. And I’m thankful I did, because the concept is fascinating and once the two main characters connect the novel manages to become both more grounded and fantastical.
In Angel Burn, angels aren’t the good guys. These aren’t celestial beings in the traditional sense, but creatures from another dimension who can feed off humans. While in the act of feeding they reveal themselves, and to the human it feels like a heavenly experience. Left in a state of euphoria, the human now thinks the angel saved him. But soon he’ll start developing health issues and, more commonly, mental issues.
The angels have latched on to this, creating churches and compounds where humans can come to them to experience the angels.
Alex hunts them and has since he was a child. He’ll get a text with the location of an angel, and he’ll take them out. Only he was sent to Willow, and she’s something different. He would have sworn she was an angel, but she’s also human. He has to question where his orders are coming from and why they want this girl dead.
Willow has always been different. She can see others’ futures. And it doesn’t help that her fashion sense isn’t mainstream and her mom isn’t all there. But she’s always made the best of it. When she sees a vision of another girl’s life being ruined by an angel, she tries to step in. And that’s when everything changes.
Alex and Willow are forced together to save one another’s lives. Only he treats her like something that might need to be killed, and she blames him for the hell raining down on her life. Yet somehow these two can work together. The more Alex sees Willow’s kind nature, the more he realizes he may have been given false information.
This puts them both on the run, coming to terms with liking someone you’re supposed to hate and discovering the people you’ve always trusted may no longer be on your side.
Angel Burn is part fable on the perils of blind trust, part learning people don’t always fit into some box and part teen love story. Yes, Angel Burn is largely teen Bonnie and Clyde, couple on the run. And it works because the relationship between Willow and Alex progresses naturally and honestly. Their actions, insecurities and conversations are genuine and ring true for YA characters, but are done in a way an adult audience will equally appreciate.
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.
After reading Crusade, I was curious if we were going to get to know Skye better. She’s theThis review was originally published at Vampire Book Club.
After reading Crusade, I was curious if we were going to get to know Skye better. She’s the witch who fights alongside the hunters — the only witch willing to step across that line and officially align herself with the team who seeks out to destroy the Cursed Ones. She still keeps to the rule of doing no harm, as best she can. If humans are involved, then Skye is out. But we got a hint to a dark past for her in the first novel, and Damned delivers on revelations. Not only will readers find out who Skye is running from and why — she can’t run forever, as past and present collide — but also secrets of Holgar, Jamie, Eriko, Antonio and even Father Juan.
Jenn and Antonio are still the story’s main focus, and their love story gets more complicated in Damned. Really. But in Damned, the door is opened for insight into everyone else. The tale isn’t Jenn’s alone, and each of the hunters are pivotal. In time, we’ll see how much so.
One doesn’t become a hunter, doesn’t leave their family behind to take on a life of death and fear, without a tale of woe. The friction within the team gains clarity as we discover the root to Jamie’s fervent need to kill all vampires and werewolves. The emotional ties pulling the hunters closer and those barriers they refuse to cross begin to chafe. The unrequited love is bubbling over. With so much pain in their pasts, one can’t help but want to see these characters find solace in a bit of love. There are bright moments, but nothing is easy or direct while fighting a vampire war.
And in Damned the stakes have been raised. In addition to dealing with Aurora and her obsession with Antonio (the only vampire with a soul, the one who is a hunter), other vampire leaders are an issue. One has spent years trying to develop a hybrid, the ultimate vampire. He’s created variations, most merging human, vampire and werewolf DNA. Really, his main goal is to synthesize a way for vampires to walk in the sun. And his work is being shared.
With the humans losing the war with the vampires, the hunters have agreed to work with resistance fighters. One never knows if those they’re to work with are really on their side. Trust is no longer freely given, and more governments have appeased the Cursed Ones and blatantly ignore the cruelty and killings within their boundaries.
Fall into (Urban) Fantasy with VBC and MBWDamned conjures great plot twists, but takes a bit to get going. If you’ve completely forgotten the key points of the first novel, the opening of the book hammers it in. However, once you’re past the rehash, things pick up and we’re treated to some great flashbacks, huge emotional turns and lots of vampires you’d like to stake. I always enjoy Nancy Holder’s writing as her descriptions are simultaneously visceral and eloquent, and she and Debbie Viguié continue to impress me with their storytelling. Damned is no exception.
Also, you’ll get to learn a few foreign words in this one. The book is good about explaining what they are, but by the time you finish Damned, you’ll know how to say “cool” in Russian. Just in case....more
Burned, the seventh book in the House of Night series, lived up to expectations.
I always have this impression that House of Night books should be comBurned, the seventh book in the House of Night series, lived up to expectations.
I always have this impression that House of Night books should be combined (so instead of being on book seven, we’d be around book 4 now). The last book, Tempted, wasn’t complete enough of a story for me. I wanted Burned to give me closure and move things forward, and the book did those things.
The authors switched POV much more in this novel, which turned out to be refreshing. There is more tension in Burned than with Tempted’s “hurry up and wait” vibe.
Burned keeps your attention, like most House of Night books, and makes you care about the characters. I’m definitely awaiting book 8.
This review was originally posted as part of a review of the anthology Winter Wishes on Vampire Book Club.
Moira Rogers has a knack for putting togetheThis review was originally posted as part of a review of the anthology Winter Wishes on Vampire Book Club.
Moira Rogers has a knack for putting together characters who both challenge and bring out the best in one another. That’s the case in Freeze Line. Shane does his best to avoid his werewolf attributes. He lives far above the freeze line, where the earth is frozen and magic is weak. It can’t pull on his beast. He puts on a human front around the others in the nearby village, but for the most part lives a solitary life.
Then he finds Nadia on the side of the road. She’s not equipped for the frigid weather. He quickly learns she was kidnapped by humans wanting to torture and test on her because of her ability to use magic. The knowledge alone spurs his instinct to protect her. But the lack of magic in the earth is killing her. He agrees to take the woman south, to save her. The closer they get to the magic, the stronger she gets and the more wild he becomes.
He may be worried about his beast hurting her. His past tells him he can’t be trusted around others when his wolf takes over. Nadia is stronger than he knows, and the two can’t help but bond.
Freeze Line is a fun, quick romance read with the best paranormal elements of the three in the Winter Wishes anthology. Moira Rogers is able to focus on the ‘otherness’ is a complete way, even in the shorter form of novellas....more