Full review to come, but stellar work from Jeaniene Frost. I liked this one even better than THE BEAUTIFUL ASHES, and found the chemistry between IvyFull review to come, but stellar work from Jeaniene Frost. I liked this one even better than THE BEAUTIFUL ASHES, and found the chemistry between Ivy and Adrian to be electric. The internal conflicts were standout for me as was the romance.
Archangel's Enigma is everything I love about the Guild Hunter series: brilliant, unique, honorable characters who fight for what's right and the peopArchangel's Enigma is everything I love about the Guild Hunter series: brilliant, unique, honorable characters who fight for what's right and the people they love. Badass fights, wicked verbal showdowns, big threats and bigger gains, and a romance that melted my heart.
Day Shift, like so many engaging mysteries, picks up steam as you delve further into its stoThis review was originally published at Vampire Book Club.
Day Shift, like so many engaging mysteries, picks up steam as you delve further into its story. The novel begins at a meander—it took me three chapters before I was hooked back into the world set in Midnight Crossroad. The easy pace at the opening of the novel is a clever deception on Charlaine Harris’s part. She’s such a master of this. She skips from one eccentric Midnight resident to another touching on day-to-day minutiae that give the novel the feeling of a languid character study. Toward the end of the novel, though, you’ll be sprinting to solve mysteries.
The rich ensemble she’s crafted for this series is engaging and curious and Day Shift gives us more. We learn more about each of the characters, what makes so many of them more than human, but questions aren’t easily answered in Midnight. There are far too many secrets for that. And perhaps that’s why I was hooked the second we had chapters from Olivia’s point of view. While Manfred, the key protagonist of the first novel, is again front-and-center, Olivia is equally so this time. She’s engaging and fascinating and has the right amounts of ingenuity and darkness to make me crave every passage with her.
While Day Shift focuses on its characters, the deeper we get into the story, the more the plot winds. More secrets are revealed, and by the end I found myself rushing forward to get the answer of the whodunit instead of simply wanting more time in Olivia’s head.
Without giving any of the clever twists away, I was shocked to discover that the Midnight, Texas world coincides with that of the Sookie Stackhouse one. An ancillary character everyone will recognize makes an appearance in this book, and fit right in with the Midnight crew. It was curveball, and at first I balked a bit, but quickly everything fell in to place and I understood the decision. Plus, it’s like an Easter Egg for the Sookie fans.
Harris continues to be a master at the character-driven story. Day Shift has a cast worthy of your investment and intrigue piled upon intrigue. I’m eager to get back to Midnight, Texas just to unearth more of their secrets....more
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
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.
Lately I’ve been trying to make time for the highly recommended books on my to-read shelf. TheThis review was originally posted at Vampire Book Club.
Lately I’ve been trying to make time for the highly recommended books on my to-read shelf. The ones I bought on a friend’s recommendation and then got so busy with new review books that I didn’t sit down and, you know, read them.
The list of people who recommended Dragon Bound to me is long. I first purchased it after Kelly from Reading the Paranormal gave it her “you must, you must” push to me. Then associate VBC reviewer Candace said the most recent book had the hottest sex scene she’d ever read. I moved it to the front of the line. Really. My mom devoured the series and looked aghast when I told her I still had then on my Kindle waiting to be read.
Shame. On. Me.
Y’all were right. This is the kind of book I love and I’m not sure anyone can stop me from reading the whole series in rapid succession. I sure as hell loaded up the Kindle with the remaining books when I finished Dragon Bound.
The writing is spry and witty. Even when characters are in peril, there’s the equivalent of a wry smile in the prose. It’s enchanting. The characters are well-developed and refuse to fall into obvious romance tropes. This may be what impressed me most about Dragon Bound.
Here you have characters in the more common problem of we need to stay together to stay safe and the hero is the most alpha of alphas. Drogos only gives orders. Pia knows how to make him say please. His sentinels are floored. However, every time the plot starts to take a traditional course, Thea Harrison lets us get far enough to think she’d actually have her characters do the obvious then flips it on it’s head. Pia is smarter than your average paranormal romance heroine. Drogos is more adaptable than most alpha males, while maintaining the strength and masculinity that attracts us to him.
With such strong main characters it’s not really surprising the sex in Dragon Bound is epic. And plentiful. While it never it used just for sex’s sake, the romantic interludes draw these two closer and force them to drop barriers—magical and otherwise.
Paranormal romance that turns tropes on their heads? Hell yes. Sign me up for more.
With its gothic tone and lush feel, Ironskin had me wrapped up in the story by the 50-page markThis review was originally posted at Vampire Book Club.
With its gothic tone and lush feel, Ironskin had me wrapped up in the story by the 50-page mark.
The novel merges and reworks two classics: Jane Eyre and Beauty and the Beast. There’s no question the base of the story is inspired by the Bronte work. In Tina Connolly’s version, Jane is scarred from the fae war. While her sister is able to seek a husband to care for her, Jane must work. She takes on a governess role under the employment of a reclusive and charming man. His daughter Dorie has fae skills—the kind that have scared off many of the staff—and he needs Jane to help the girl learn to do things the human way.
In the Beauty and the Beast element of the novel, both Jane and her Mr. Rochart are cursed, though in different ways. Not only is Jane’s face marked in a way that would scare of suitors, but within the injured flesh lies a fae curse. Rochart’s limitations are slowly revealed and part of the real enjoyment of this book comes in the last third when Jane begins to know him better and things switch from longing for an ideal into something tangible.
One of the quotes on the dustjacket suggests Ironskin is a steampunk tale. I don’t buy that. While heroine Jane uses bits of iron to block her fae curse from affecting those around her, it’s not exactly a cogs-and-steam element. Not to say those are the only defining traits of steampunk, but more that avid steampunk fans will not find it on a grand scale here.
That said, who wouldn’t want to read Jane Eyre meets Beauty and the Beast with wicked fae?
If you love an angst-y read, Blood Before Sunrise is for you.
Get wrapped up in yelling at the hThis review was originally posted at Vampire Book Club.
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.
I have to give it up to Michelle Rowen; she can make waiting for a single kiss the hottest thinThis review was originally posted at Vampire Book Club.
I have to give it up to Michelle Rowen; she can make waiting for a single kiss the hottest thing ever.
The majority of the novel has protagonist Samantha doing everything she can to keep from kissing people. It is the desire and the danger that lies with a potential kiss that will keep you turning the pages of Dark Kiss.
Samantha has been turned into a gray. She has no idea what this means, because the boy she’s crushed on forever didn’t explain a thing before he gave her the hottest kiss of her life and took her soul at the same time. Now she has an unyielding hunger to kiss others, and it just doesn’t make sense. Other grays may be giving in, but somehow she can resist it.
When she meets Bishop, she just thinks he’s a slightly crazy hottie. He knows more about her than she does, and the angel’s mission on earth means he might be her enemy.
Rowen’s characters are well developed, and I truly liked Samantha. She makes a handful of not-so-smart decisions, but they feel right for her. Bishop is delicious and tortured and complicated and … well… there is no way you will not want to kiss Bishop. Really.
Some of the elements of this one — angels, demons, souls on the line — reminded me of Lisa Desrocher’s Personal Demons, but better done. If you enjoyed that book, you will love this one.
If you like the long tease and heroines fighting against what they may become, Dark Kiss will be a win for you. I liked it and will be game to read book two.
Vampire trouble. Werewolf problems. Fairy plotting. Relationship woes. A murder. It must be MayThis review was originally posted at Vampire Book Club.
Vampire trouble. Werewolf problems. Fairy plotting. Relationship woes. A murder. It must be May, because we only get that mix when it’s time for a new Sookie Stackhouse book.
And, yes, the waitress from Bon Temps is caught in the thick of it again.
The main plot in Deadlocked focused on someone making trouble for Eric and Sookie — not in a romantic way. The vampire King of Nevada comes to chat with them about Victor’s death (the epic part of Dead Reckoning), and that means party at Eric’s house with humans for snacking. Through a few mixed signals, Sookie arrives late to find Eric indulging in a snack. A two-ey laced with fairy blood. Meaning she’s got a drunk boyfriend to deal with in addition to the emotional slap. But it all gets put on hold when the girl he drank from is found dead in the front lawn. Someone’s determined to make trouble for him on all fronts and make things more complicated for Sookie.
Charlaine Harris did the mystery in Deadlocked justice. I never would have guessed who was orchestrating the drama here or that person’s reasons. The murder mystery plot was twist-y and roped in more players than I expected. I’d been let down in the last couple novels on the main plot elements, especially the whodunit, and this time she delivered.
On the downside, it took a bit before the book kicked into gear. The first half is more a meandering through Bon Temps. The book checks in with just about everyone you know from the series — including phone call from Quinn, email from Amelia and even quality time with Jane Bodehouse. I love being in Sookie’s world, but it was a bit tedious at times. I kept thinking, aren’t we ever going to talk about that stupid Queen of Louisiana and her silly claim on our Viking, Sookie? Finally, a little over halfway through, that plot thread is picked up. I won’t say it was satisfying, but it moved forward.
If you’re into Sookie for the romance, you’ll be disappointed. Eric is rarely on the page, and when he is Sookie is being too stubborn to talk to him. She’s choosing not to tell him information out of spite. She hates him keeping secrets, but refuses to share her own. She recognizes the backwards nature there, but it’s hard to see Sookie so closed off. She used to be much more direct. Mostly her love life end of things frustrated me.
That said, the ending brought the “no way!” surprise and I finished Deadlocked with a smile. Is it as good as Dead to the World? No. Is it better than the last two books? Yes. If you’ve stuck with Sookie this long, keep with it.
Stacey Jay gives us a stronger, more determined Annabelle Lee in her stellar followup to Dead oThis review was originally posted at Vampire Book Club.
Stacey Jay gives us a stronger, more determined Annabelle Lee in her stellar followup to Dead on the Delta. She’s still deeply flawed, but she’s trying to make changes.
She wants to drink less and care more — only working with her ex Hitch on an off-the-books FBI case, avoiding relationship talk with her on-hold boyfriend Cane and having more questions than answers about her new abilities and ties with the mafia-like invisible people makes that very difficult.
Annabelle is fighting to accept that she can do some very badass magic, but she can’t share it with anyone. She leaks the secret, the Big Man will kill her. So, when new abilities emerge she has to wonder if she’s crazy. And if she’s not, everyone would still think she is.
Relationship complications are piled on top of each other in Blood on the Bayou, but it’s not chaotic. It’s just real. Painful. Sexy. Brutal. Complicated. Real relationship drama.
The core of Blood on the Bayou is about trust. What we can expect from our lovers, from our family (surrogate or otherwise) and from our friends. What we’re willing to give to gain trust. Annabelle loses faith in others while they gain implicit trust in her. And then she has to reconcile it. Jay’s precise execution of Annabelle’s trust issues makes Blood on the Bayou a brilliant read. Plus, there are sexy Southern men without their shirts on and high-speed chases, possible drug-running and faerie craziness.
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
If you liked Karen Mahoney’s The Iron Witch, be prepared to love The Wood Queen. While the fThis review was originally published at Vampire Book Club.
If you liked Karen Mahoney’s The Iron Witch, be prepared to love The Wood Queen. While the first novel introduced us to Donna’s world, the latest entry into the world of alchemy, fae and magic brings in heavier complications, more answers (leading to more questions) about the alchemy Orders and a better connection with Donna.
Oh, and Xan is shirtless in most of his scenes. You may not be happy with his behavior — even while shirtless — but like Donna, you won’t be able to avoid appreciating the view.
Much of The Wood Queen focuses on the fallout of Donna’s actions from the first book. Navin isn’t talking to her. She’s been on house arrest, so no Xan either. And the four alchemy Orders have convened for a hearing (and to dole out punishment) for her destruction of the last bits of the elixir of life. The authority figures in her life aren’t the only ones reacting to the change. The Wood Queen, who Donna foiled in the destruction of said potion, now wants a sitdown. She’s ready to leverage Donna’s loved ones to get the meeting — and that’s just the beginning.
Donna is in a difficult situation. Her options are limited, each offering only less favorable outcomes. Sometimes it’s better to work within the system to tear it down. Donna will learn that someday. Until then, enjoy the journey of self-discovery and the lengths one goes to for friendship.
Sexual content: Make-out scene, references to sex...more
I was nervous to read Shadow Heir. It’s true. If you read this blog regularly you know a few thThis 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...more