It's one of Seanan McGuire's free short stories (PDF, MOBI, and ePUB) — 3.2 in the InCryptid urban fantasy series with the focus on Antimony Price. SeIt's one of Seanan McGuire's free short stories (PDF, MOBI, and ePUB) — 3.2 in the InCryptid urban fantasy series with the focus on Antimony Price. See the chronological listing of the InCryptid books on my website for the complete list.
My Take A sad tale and it's a shortie. A very short, shortie that ends much too soon. It does provide a ray of hope, however.
The Story Artie is freaking out over Sarah's injuries and not being able to see her, speak to her. Great-Aunt Angela holds all the cards and is keeping Sarah close. And warning Artie that it may never get any better than this.
The Characters Arthur "Artie" Harrington is an empath who is half incubus, half human with his dad's magic — "everybody wants to explore the wonderland in my pants", and in love with Sarah. It's a big reason why he prefers to hunker down in the basement and do his socializing on the Internet. His empathic sister is Elsinore "Elsie", who is friends with Antimony Price. Jane Price-Harrington is one of those Healy-Prices and his mother. His dad, an incubus, was his mom's senior project. Artie reckons this makes him his mother's graduate thesis.
Sarah Zellaby, a telepathic mathematician true to her cuckoo heritage with an obsession for numbers, is an adopted Price who is recovering in Columbus with Great-Aunt Angela Baker, another cuckoo.
The Cover and Title The cover is perfect. A brick wall in a basement with a computer monitor and keyboard off-angle to the left and part of a phone on the right. The table it's all on is round and wooden. It's a set-up that is both fancier, cleaner, and less than I would have expected Artie to have.
The title is what exhilarates Artie, an "IM"....more
It's one of Seanan McGuire's free short stories (PDF, MOBI, and ePUB) — 3.1 in the InCryptid urban fantasy series with the focus on Antimony Price. SeIt's one of Seanan McGuire's free short stories (PDF, MOBI, and ePUB) — 3.1 in the InCryptid urban fantasy series with the focus on Antimony Price. See the chronological listing of the InCryptid books on my website for the complete list.
My Take Verity is taking Dominic the long way home to get him adjusted to the strangeness of her family. In New Orleans, she'll be introducing him to the raw Aunt Rose from Sparrow Hill Road, Ghost Stories #1 (this short takes place after Sparrow Hill Road). And it's due to Rose that a ghost asks for help with the vandalism being suffered by the ghost krewes. Interesting bit of selfish and N'awlins culture.
"'He means he defected,' I said. 'I didn't defect. I was born defective.'"
I had hoped for more on the Aeslin mice in this, well, besides how much Verity enjoyed the wording on that holy ritual for "Look It's Another Goddamn Cattle Ranch".
The Story A quick stop in New Orleans allows Verity to introduce Dominic to Aunt Rose and solve a ghostly and ghastly problem with her help.
The Characters Verity Price, aka Valerie Pryor the ballroom dancer. The Aeslin mice are along.
Dominic de Luca has left the Covenant and is traveling with Verity.
Aunt Rose Marshall is a road ghost from Buckley Township in Michigan and the protagonist in Sparrow Hill Road, Ghost Stories #1. Aunt Mary Dunlavy is another part of the ghost family. She's not really family, but got adopted in when she died. She used to babysit Alice ("Bury Me in Satin", 0.11).
Jermaine Favre is one of the oldest ghosts in New Orleans.
Lady Amelia is a coachman who'll get them where they're going. She adores tacky romance novels.
The ghost krewes were krewe members when they were alive. Now dead, they believe that the Carnival festivities keep New Orleans standing.
An old man, Benjamin Georges, has refused to leave his house when it was condemned after Katrina.
A coachman is the coachman, the horses, and the coach — they'll be riding in her belly. She drives straight and true and always gets her passengers where they're going.
The Cover and Title The cover is spooky with its condemned house in need of paint and a fence in need of repair. That yellow "Do Not Cross" tape doesn't help. The white font with its red outline on the title has a rather ghostly feel to it.
The title is more than true, as Verity and Dominic encounter "The Ghosts of Bourbon Street" as they amble along with Aunt Rose....more
This is a free short story from Nalini Singh's newsletter that occurs during chapter nine in Kiss of Snow, 10, in the Psy-Changeling paranormal romaThis is a free short story from Nalini Singh's newsletter that occurs during chapter nine in Kiss of Snow, 10, in the Psy-Changeling paranormal romance series that usually revolves around the allied wolf- and leopard-shifters and their very uneasy alliance with the Psy. In "Wild Night", the couple focus is on Tai and Evie, a pair of young wolfshifters.
Singh places "Wild Night" at 10.25 in the chronological list. If you're interested, there is a chronological listing of the Psy-Changeling books on my website.
My Take "Wild Night" presents Tai's point-of-view after Hawk has intervened in the bar fight in chapter nine. It's definitely an oops moment for these young wolfshifters and provides us a peek into Tai's concerns about his dominant wolf overwhelming the submissive Evie. He wants her to make her own choices.
One of the things I love about Singh's Psy-Changeling series is the depth and caring of the characters and the layers and layers of plots in the series. There is the primary theme running through the series of the battle of emotion against pure logic. Sub themes provide interest in the interaction between the different shifter groups as they protect their own interests while looking for help against their shared mortal enemy. The battles amongst the Psy are just as fascinating with the mental powers they have and the conflicting interests each of the Psy council members intrigue and fight over. Then there's the destruction of a core Psy belief and its fallout. Whew…never a dull story.
Providing the individual story plotlines is the focus on a particular relationship which develops into a happily-ever-after by the end of that book. Meanwhile, Singh is building future possibilities for books on down the line, which provides more depth. Yet more depth comes with the shifters' interaction within their own pack, with others, and with individual Psy.
The warmth and compassion in the stories will grab you and pull you in. Then Singh throws in those moral values of responsibility, loyalty, and friendship, and it's an eagerly read storyline that promotes those values and leaves you feeling all warm and fuzzy at the end.
"Wild Night" is a beautiful lesson in responsibility and caring for someone you love. Recognizing their and one's own weaknesses and wanting to do the right thing.
The Story Hawke got wind of Sienna's activities at the bar and the brewing fight that could spin out of control. It's an unpleasant end to a wild night, and it gives Tai a chance to think over the relationship he wants with Evie.
The Characters Tai is one of the SnowDancer soldiers and in love with Evie, trying very hard to fight his dominant nature and give her enough space to be sure she's making her own choices.
Evie may be a submissive wolf, but she has Tai wrapped around her little finger. Indigo is her older sister and one of Hawke's lieutenants.
Sienna and Cadence and Amos are Evie's and Tai's friends.
Hawke is the wolf alpha and fighting his attraction to Sienna. Riley and Riaz are more of Hawke's lieutenants.
The Title The title is a peek at the aftermath of a "Wild Night"....more
An anthology of 29(!) short stories revolving around love and murder in a mix of romantic suspense and thrillers with a few paranormal tales.
I primariAn anthology of 29(!) short stories revolving around love and murder in a mix of romantic suspense and thrillers with a few paranormal tales.
I primarily picked Love is Murder up because several authors whose work I follow are in it. It’s an uneven mix of good authors and bad ones. It starts with the really bad stories and gets unevenly better.
The Stories Roxanne St. Claire’s "Diamond Drop" is a potentially cute story of a diamond courier escaping thieves. The end has a wee twist. Predictable and jerky in the writing. The last scene was, pardon the pun, thrust in at the last minute. The story reads more like she suddenly remembered she needed to get it in for its deadline.
Carla Neggers’ "Cold Moonlight" is a sweet romance, although I have no idea where "cold moonlight" comes in as it’s daytime when the action occurs. This story was one of the worst. I liked the characters, and I think it has potential, but…
I’m guessing that Charlie got lost? Is that why Grit got pulled in and is so readily available? What is Elijah’s purpose here? They’re not Secret Service. Yes, I know that Neggers tells us that Grit has an easier time finding Charlie, but why is he trusted to do this? What has Charlie done? The romance that flares up between Grit and Marissa? Oh, gag. Neggers, please spend some time developing romances in the future. Don’t give us this melodramatic claptrap that sounds like a wooden soap opera!
Beverly Barton’s "Poisoned" is another lame story. I’m sorry, but I’ve had food poisoning before and it’s never affected me like this. This was just stupid. Barton compounds it with that insta-HEA.bMy really big question is: if Olivia is so weak, throwing up, terrible stomach cramps, and Jed has caught up to her, close enough to touch her. How is it that she’s able to run away from him and hide? Dumb, dumb, dumb. It’s at this point that I seriously considered giving this up. Then I went and looked at the list of authors still to come.
Robert Browne’s "Speechless" will appeal to adults whose mothers "always know best". It’s clever, although I was also annoyed that "I" never spoke to David but cut him completely out. Browne does provide a nasty twist at the end.
Andrea Kane’s "Lockdown" is an improvement on the earlier stories in this hostage situation during a wedding. Thank god. It’s mostly tell, but Kane at least provides a smooth, flowing story with enough background that it feels complete.
William Simon’s "Spider’s Tango" is a cute blend of two stories. An ex-husband encounters his ex-wife during an FBI operation in which they’re desperately trying to find the kidnapped president’s daughter before the really bad guys get her.
Laura Griffin’s "Night Heat" is heated on at least two levels. One being the hot, humid night and the other being the nighttime rescue operation, for the ambassador’s party has been crashed by terrorists. And Mike Dietz is enthralled by the bravery of one of the party guests.
Sherrilyn Kenyon’s "B.A.D. Mission" finds Sam Garrett coming out of retirement to arrest an old girlfriend. It’s okay. Nothing special. It doesn’t feel like a B.A.D. story, though.
Dianna Love’s "Deadly Fixation" is a paranormal fantasy about a minor character, Devon Fortier, in a race with a bounty hunter to capture a troll with a major spell that could start a war. Interesting conflict even though it drove me nuts with the conflict between Devon and Joleen.
I shouldn’t think Joleen wants to get on VIPER’s bad side…
Patricia Rosemoor’s "Hot Note" is cute enough. A quick peek at a case Shelley must solve that involves suicides by drowning in this paranormal tale.
Jon Land & Jeff Ayer’s "Last Shot" is one for our economic times as a family is being forced into foreclosure. It’ll get your heart racing and the end will have you looking for your own copy machine! Very clever, with me on the edge of my seat, hoping and praying for Molly.
Heather Graham’s "Grave Danger" is too true and the title is a double pun. Graham does a great job of creating a whole story that flows well, even if the love story is a bit quick. She does at least provide some good reason for it. There’s plenty of action in here with movie props, zombies, and an on-the-loose serial killer. And a helping hand from the great beyond!
Mariah Stewart’s "Without Mercy" finds Mallory Russo investigating a cold case when new information comes to light (parents, this provides an excellent reason to know who your child’s friends are!!). Gruesome and heartstopping as the truth comes out.
D.P. Lyle’s "Even Steven" starts with a clear-up as Martha and Tim are planning their move. It’s heartbreaking to read as they look over all that they must leave behind. Their son’s murderer is being released from jail, and they can’t bear to live in the town that will let him out so soon. Lyle keeps you wondering throughout the story until the very end. And justice is served.
Cindy Gerard’s "Dying to Score" is a quickie mission that goes sour for the BOIs when Reed gets hit and is bleeding out. It’s only Tink’s determination that has, so far, kept the bad guys back. It’s a pip, and I always enjoy a visit with Gerard’s BOIs.
J.T. Ellison’s "The Number of Man" is a frustrating blend of annoying, confusing, and scary. I wish he’d done a better job of telling us that Michael is the stalker and his thoughts about dating Caitlyn are his fantasies. Not reality. It would have been better if he’d played up Michael’s mental issues rather than this confusing blend of Michael telling us he’s dating Caitlyn and then distancing Michael from the stalker calls Caitlyn is getting.
Bill Floyd’s "Hard Drive" is a conflict of interest for Howie when his ex-girlfriend is arrested for murder…and he stays mum. It’s an old trope that Floyd does well, even though I didn’t like Howie for his philandering.
William Bernhardt’s "After Hours" is a sexual mix-up with she/hes and he/shes who haven’t a clue. The two primary detectives in this alternate between warm and bigoted with casual exchanges between them. It’s a clever solution to the truth in this case. Nicely done.
Brenda Novak’s "Blood In, Blood Out" was a pip. Two guys who met in prison and befriended each other ended up in WITSEC together. And they’ve been on the run, dodging The Crew ever since. There’s a side story going on with Rex’s relationship with Virgil’s sister, Laurel. It’s a love-hate thing, and Rex is giving up. Very nicely done.
Vicki Hinze’s "Wed to Death" will have you worried and then crying as the wedding keeps getting postponed. It did tick me off that Matthew would be sacrificed if the op goes wrong when he was against it from the very start! All I can say is, emotionally, I’m so glad this was a short story. I’m not sure my heart would have survived if I’d had to read pages and pages!
Julie Kenner’s "The Honeymoon" will blow your mind with the betrayal and stupidity. It’s a sad tale, and yet, most of the ending you’ll feel quite righteous about.
James Macomber’s "Execution Dock" is a wide-ranging adventure with child custody issues setting off this male chauvinist pig who refuses to listen to the truth. And he’ll stoop to kidnapping and murder to salve his pride. Very good. Macomber is going on my TBR.
Alexandra Sokoloff’s "In Atlantis" starts as a typical chick lit that hits on Melissa’s curatorial interests as she shadows a potential art thief. It’s the ending that provides a surprising twist — and had me re-reading it several times because I couldn’t believe it.
Pamela Callow’s "Break Even" finds Eddie Bent, a lawyer whose caseload took a dive, anxious to take on this new case that could bring him back to the top. He’s also too soft for his own good as he too quickly learns. A lot of story for this short story. Nicely done. It sure took me in. Callow does leave us hanging at the end. Well, I think I want to be hanging. I don’t think I like the direction Callow appears to be pointing us.
Debra Webb’s "Dirty Low Down" finds a cocky private eye agreeing to be bait for a serial killer — and all the ways it goes wrong. You’ll laugh, you’ll panic, you’ll breathe a sigh of relief.
Toni McGee Causey’s "Broken Hallelujah" is about vengeance and vigilantes in New Orleans as two "opposing" forces take down the bad guy. Causey does get a lot in this story, and I have to agree with Brown, I want more, even if I am confused about that ending.
Lori Armstrong’s "Holding Mercy" is cute as Mercy Gunderson, FBI agent, tries to meet her boyfriend for a romantic date only to have her law enforcement training kick in. Poor baby. She does get, ahem, satisfied at the end.
Allison Brennan’s "Vacation Interrupted" means law enforcement is never truly on vacation. It’s a good story with a scary stalker who has the law on her side. Fortunately, Lucy and Sean are more interested in the truth.
Lee Child’s "I Heard a Romantic Story" is so incredibly sad. It’s all in a day’s work for our "protagonist" as he waits for his moment and has to sit through hours of the chief’s stream of consciousness prattling, trying to reassure himself about the undercover job his girlfriend is doing. I gotta wonder if the girlfriend knew what the plans were for that day.
The Cover and Title The cover has a white background with the author/editor’s name at the top and a few of the contributors’ names at the bottom. In between is the title writ large and the letters functioning as a window to a red background with a woman in a very low-backed little black dress stepping forward, a gun in one raised hand.
The title is the theme, for Love is Murder is all its possible forms....more
This free short story from Nalini Singh's newsletter falls in at 6.5 in the Guild Hunter paranormal romance series and revolving around angels, hunterThis free short story from Nalini Singh's newsletter falls in at 6.5 in the Guild Hunter paranormal romance series and revolving around angels, hunters, and vampires. The focus is on Sara, Deacon, and their daughter, Zoë. (Their story is in "Angel's Judgment", 0.5.)
Singh states that these free shorts are a peek into the everyday lives of her characters. Some of her shorts are available on her website while others are only available in her newsletter. I suggest signing up! And if you're interested, there is a chronological listing of the Guild Hunter books on my website.
My Take It's not a bad idea to explore your characters, flesh them out in a short story, and intrigue your readers with these "behind-the-scenes" tales.
This is so sweet with a contented family, enjoying their daughter, worrying over what Zoë will want to do with her life. I love that Deacon is so patient with his daughter's wanting to emulate her daddy. I love even more that both her parents praise her battered piece of wood, lol.
I do adore Deacon. He's such a hunk! And Zoë is such a sweetheart. I love her precociousness and that last scene with Slayer, lol, too sweet for words.
The Story A peaceful morning off from the Guild as Sara enjoys the antics of her husband and daughter.
The Characters Sara is the Guild Hunter director. Deacon is her husband and a much-in-demand weapons craftsman. Zoë Elena is their daughter (she's in nursery school). Slayer is their dog.Abel is Sara's deputy.
The Title The title is the reason for the story, our visit to "Zoë's Workshop". ...more
My Take On reading "Weapons Training" and putting together this review, I got to thinking how very smart Singh is in creating these short peeks into the lives of her characters. It's a great way to flesh them out. Make them come alive for her readers. And why waste the effort? Posting them as a free story simply makes sense.
In this one, Jessamy challenges her lover on his disgruntled comment, and it's their back-and-forth that reveals the truth of his anger.
Singh does a lovely tiny story in this, revealing so much about Jessamy and Galen as a couple as they argue, reminisce, and love.
The Story A spat, a difference of opinion about weaknesses and potential as Elena leaves the training grounds.
The Characters Galen is Raphael's weaponsmaster while Jessamy is the librarian, historian, and teacher of their young. Both live at the Refuge, a retreat and the home of angelkind.Elena is consort to Raphael, the archangel of New York City who rules a good chunk of North America. Illium is one of his angels.
The Title The title is the prelude to the dispute as Galen wonders if her "Weapons Training" will be enough....more
Seventh in the Guild Hunter paranormal romance series and revolving around the concept that angels rule the world and areFirst read November 28, 2014.
Seventh in the Guild Hunter paranormal romance series and revolving around the concept that angels rule the world and are the creators of vampires. The couple focus is on Ashwini and Janvier whom we first encountered in "Angel's Pawn", 0.6. If you're interested, I put together a chronological listing of the Guild Hunter books on my website.
This story takes up during the battle in Archangel's Legion, 6, with a special focus on Ashwini, Janvier, and Naasir's activities.
My Take Whoa, reading of the precarious battle Ashwini is fighting inside that skyscraper and her resolve to not be imprisoned again…dang, Singh has definitely caught my attention with that statement. Who imprisoned her before? Why? What scarred Ashwini? What broke her?
Then there's that terrifying rescue and you'll be panting as your heart races. Whew. I need a nap.
In spite of Singh's intriguing me with all these comments about imprisoned, that Ashwini can never be with anyone, etc., she makes me nuts. I always hate it when characters are in that whole denial thing, where they expect to never be happy, etc. Oy.
Singh is setting Illium, Naasir, and Aodhan up for their stories. I suspect Naasir will be the next one up and falling for a hunter or a vampire.
It's so sweet. Here is the Legion, definitely a force to consider, and I love that Elena wants to humanize them. To introduce them to joy. Singh makes me want to cry when Elena works with them in her greenhouse.
Oh, crack me up! That Titus sounds a treat, and I can't wait to meet him. Singh sings his praises so well, lol.
"Mostly they just sigh at the sound of his name and lose their train of thought."
I do like Janvier's remembrance of what one very old vampire friend said about keeping cattle, that "he was tired of the constant round of meaningless seduction, wanted only the intimacy and comfort of family around him." Now that's a reason that makes sense.
It could be the Cajun side of Janvier that makes me see him as romantic, but I suspect it's how he plans his seduction of Ash that sets this idea in place. It's a sad conflict with Janvier wanting Raphael to Make Ash that she might live forever while Ash sees vampirism as a horror, and Singh isn't giving anything away!
When Janvier talks of his family… I wanna eat gumbo and listen to zydeco and enjoy being around family. This joy Janvier takes in his family may not last, for he has no intention of living one minute longer than Ash.
I think this is one of the reasons I love Singh's writing. The characters may be deadly, terrifying supernatural creatures, but there's a hominess about them. A caring for others that touches your heart.
For writers having a hard time with info dumps, read Archangel's Shadow. Singh does a nice job of informing without it feeling like an aside, an oh, yeah, here's some information you should read.
Oh, this is so sweet and so perfect. It's been another build-up, this one of humor as the angels and vampires of the Seven talk up Naasir's idea of a host gift. It seems innocuous until it snaps at Elena and Naasir. And it is perfect. Perfect for Elena's interests and in line with what we've been led to expect from Naasir, lol.
Wow. Ash has her own way of holding a vampire prisoner. Ouch, ouch, ouch.
Even more wows…Janvier has figured out how to talk Ash into what he desires. The Story It's a three-man team whose mission is to piss the enemy off and distract them. It works, even when one of the enemy slices Ashwini wide open. Worse, it makes Janvier tender, soft…kind.
Now, not only must Ash investigate a mummified dog, humans, cattle, are complaining about ill-treatment by their vampire. And now there's a question about Lijuan. Is she dead or is she the creature who is sucking animals into a dry husk?
And Raphael's wings now flame with white.
The Characters Ashwini "Ashblade" Taj is a dyslexic Guild Hunter with a psychometric gift. Honor is her best friend. Dr. Arvan "Arvi" Taj, a neurosurgeon, is Ashwini's brother. Nineteen years older than her and has acted as her father since their parents died when she was nine. Tanushree "Tanu" was/is Arvi's twin sister, but she too is lost. Her father had been a professor literature; her mother was a professor of literature with an emphasis on South Asian texts. The whole family is of a professional bent.
Janvier is a 200 and forty-five-plus-year-old Cajun vampire who now works for the Tower using his ability to charm enemies and make friends wherever he goes on its behalf. The twin kukris he carries were made by Rhys, Neha's trusted general. His mother adored him, and he had two baby sisters: Amelie and Jöelle. Shamiya is the vampire who seduced him.
Raphael is the archangel who rules North America from New York City. He's mated to Elena "Ellie", a Guild Hunter who became an angel (see Angels' Blood, 1). Eve is Elena's younger sister. Caliane is Raphael's mother who only woke recently. She holds Amanat, a lost city that rose to the surface after an eon, and doesn't care for Elena (see Archangel's Consort, 3). At the Angel Enclave where Raphael and Elena have their home, Montgomery, with his larcenous soul, is Raphael and Elena's vampire butler. Sivya is the cook.
The Seven are… …a group of vampires and angels who are Raphael's trusted men. Dimitri is the most powerful vampire in the world and Raphael's second. Honor St. Nicholas, an expert in ancient languages and history, is his wife whom Raphael turned into a vampire for her safety and Dimitri's love (see Archangel's Blade, 4). Dimitri remembers his first wife, Ingrede, and their children, Misha and Catherina. Illium, a.k.a., Bluebell, is one of the most beautiful angels and renowned for his blue wings. Aodhan, a.k.a., Sparkle, is struggling with darkness. Jason is the spymaster; Mahiya is his mate (Archangel's Storm, 5). Keir is an angelic healer. Made by Neha, Venom is the youngest of the seven. Izak is one of the wounded angels. Once he heals he will be in Elena's Guard.
Naasir was the third man, er, vampire in the shadow team in Archangel's Legion. He's one of the Seven and their best scout. I don't recall anything being said about Naasir's mindset before Archangel's Shadow, and it's scarily interesting as well as heartbreaking.Trace is one of the young ones with an interest in poetry and art. Emaya is a combat-trained vampire out clubbing with Mateo.
Sorrow is a woman changed by a mad archangel.
The Guild Hunters are… …bounty hunters. They track the vampires who think they can skip out on their contracts. They also police the vampires…and sometimes the angels themselves. Sara is the Guild Director, and Deacon is her husband and a renowned weapon master (see "Angel's Judgment", 0.5). Saki recommended an oil to help Ashwini with her deep-tissue healing. Other hunters, friends, include Honor; Ransom, a former street kid whose librarian, Nyree, just said yes; Demarco; and, Elena. Vivek runs the computers for the Guild, and he's recovering from being Made by Aodhan. It should give him back use of his paralyzed body. Bracken is the Guild trainer. Hilda is another Hunter.
The Archangels are… …the Cadre. Terrifying creatures of tremendous power who rule huge areas of the world and take almost no notice of the lowly humans.
Titus is a powerful African archangel and an ally; he shares a border with Charisemnon. Galen's mother, Tanae, is part of Titus' army. Elijah and Hannah are a couple and friends of Elena and Raphael's. Favashi is the Archangel of Persia with the heart of a cobra. Neha is the Queen of Poisons and Snakes and rules in India. Janvier was at her court for most of his 100 years. Michaela is a treacherous bitch of an angel who is already clamoring for some of Lijuan's lands. She's sleeping with Astaad's second, Dahariel.
Lijuan is the oldest of the Cadre and rules China; she is the enemy who came against Raphael in Archangel's Legion. She'll drain her people into husks. Her generals include Xi, Alistair, Philomena, and Cornelius. Charisemnon is one of Lijuan's buddies with a new ability to create disease.
The Refuge is… … a neutral retreat for angels to heal, teach, work as well as their home and a sanctuary for their young. Galen is the weaponsmaster ensconced at the Refuge. Jessamy is a handicapped angel who teaches the children at the Refuge and is both the angels' historian and librarian (read their story in Angels' Flight: "Angels' Dance", 0.4). She's also been giving Elena lessons in protocol.
The Legion is… …a repository of power that woke during the battle in Archangel's Legion. They are powerful with wings like bats. They are led by the Primary.
Giorgio and his cattle Giorgio was once a renowned physician. Brooke is the one who complained. Leisel, Marie May knows "Janni", Penelope, and Laura are the rest of Giorgio's stock.
Dr. Shamar is the vet performing the necropsy. Tony Rocco runs an Italian restaurant. Coby is his son. Nic is the doorman at Ash's apartment building. Carl is a nurse at Banli House, a medical and psychiatric facility. Bill Smith is a vampire under contract who thinks he found a loophole. Maeve is the vampire architect tasked with converting the building into a home for the Legion. Silvan is a vampire who dwells in the bayou in Nimra's territory.
The vampire leaders in New York Anais and Severin are the worst offenders.
Cattle are humans who choose to be "kept" by vampires. Vampires are made by the archangels after undergoing lots of testing. Part of the deal is a one hundred-year contract of servitude. Umber is a new drug hitting the streets. Gilded lilies are vampires who are old, wealthy, and bored, so bored that they seek out new sins.
Wildfire, born of the Cascade, is a new angelic gift Raphael now has that he can use with his angelfire. Club Masque is an exclusive and dangerous nightclub for the vampire upper class. Rupert and Lacey are a sweet couple. Flynn and Benita Ko, a nasty sadist, are a couple and work at Club Masque. Adele, who owns the club, is pushing her luck. Louis is a bouncer at Hinge. Khalil is a very dark vampire. Blood-for-Less is the blood café where Ellie has an interest.
Felicity Johnson is a woman with many friends, including Aaliyah, Carys, and Sina. Marta and Bridget are more friends. Taffy is Felicity's cat. Seth is a student and works as the building super. Lilly Ying doesn't want her parents to suffer.
The Cover and Title The cover is a determined Ashwini in her black leathers and a tight black T, one hand fisted on her hip and the other holding a gun pointed at the ground. It's the city at night, fat flakes of snow falling, steam rising from a grate, and Janvier in his leather jacket and jeans, holding a helmet as he half sits on his red motorcycle, waiting for Ash. The rest of the background is a streetlight shining behind Ash, bridge supports behind Janvier, and a windowed building at the very back.
The title is about Ashwini, Janvier — and Naasir, for they are the Archangel's Shadows. ...more
Fourth in the Alpha & Omega paranormal romance series and revolving around Charles and Anna and Charles' father, the Marrok. Wolfshifters all andFourth in the Alpha & Omega paranormal romance series and revolving around Charles and Anna and Charles' father, the Marrok. Wolfshifters all and based in Montana. The couple focus is on Charles and Anna as he fulfills his own wish for Anna with a trip to Arizona. If you're interested, there is a chronological listing of the Alpha & Omega books on my website.
My Take I suspect Briggs is building the base for the next set of dramas for the Alpha & Omega and Mercy Thompson series. The fae lord mentioned in the prologue — I suspect his, um, actions are merely a precursor for what is to come — and that's terrifying. More terrifying is realizing what the favorite prey is of the fae.Then the attack on Chelsea and all the spillage of past cases involving children. And wondering what this escalation from the fae is about after Bran has spent months hammering out a treaty with the Gray Lords. I do wonder if the Gray Lords know about this Doll Collector unleashed on the human world.(I'd sure love to know why he chose his current habitation if that "evil queen" is right about it being his choice.)
Getting into Dead Heat, Briggs builds that tension well as Chelsea's headache worsens. Briggs has quickly painted enough of Chelsea's character that the thoughts she's having don't seem like her at all, and it adds to that tension, the fear building.
"Good-bye tears your heart out and leaves it a feast for carrion birds who happen by."
We learn Anna's strengths in this. It's a quiet learning for us as the dramas unfold. Maggie is a former lover, and she isn't shy about giving Anna a bad time out of her own jealousy. Anna also has to worry about Hosteen who hates Chelsea so much that Anna worries he'll do something to her. And, oh man, it is so much fun to read how frustrated Anna makes Hosteen feel, lol. Omegas are so rare, and Hosteen has no idea.
Briggs is giving the wolves some allies. Agent Fisher is one they bonded with in Fair Game, and for once, the Cantrip agents aren't jerks!
It's actually a lovely story as we enjoy the bond that Charles and Anna share. The inner Charles that Anna helps us to understand — a very clever gambit by Briggs that reveals background information without being an info dump!
"He was her warm safe place in the storm of the world, and she…she thought that she was his home."
We learn from Charles as well as he muses on loss. The loss of friends and the passage of time for him versus those who are humans. If it's worth befriending humans when it only leads to grief. It's a meditation and a case that helps Charles and Anna come to know each other even better.
The Story It's a delicate topic. Children. Female werewolves can't carry a baby to term if they shift at the full moon. Yet Anna wants to try. An attempt that Charles refuses for he lost his mother when he was born. Anna means too much to Charles for him to chance losing her.
It's another type of loss that pulls at Charles to head to Arizona where he encounters yet more losses.
And an insidious fae attack that leaves a family grieving.
The Characters The nearly 200-year-old Charles Cornick is the younger son of the Marrok, his Enforcer, and the investment manager for the pack. Brother Wolf is his other side. Anna is his beloved mate, an omega wolf (see On the Prowl: "Alpha & Omega", Alpha & Omega, 0.5 & Mercy Thompson, 2.5). Anna's father is a lawyer. Jinx is her current horse, the one Charles thinks needs to be upgraded.
Samuel is his child-obsessed brother and a medical doctor. Ariana, a fae, is the mate he lost so long ago (Shifting Shadows: "Silver") and found again. The Marrok is Bran Cornick, the ruler of all the werewolves in North America.
Arizona The eighty-two-year-old Joseph Sani was once Charles' best friend in the world. And still the best horseman Charles has ever seen. Maggie is the woman Joseph married, and she is still in love with Charles. Ernestine and Libby are Maggie's great-nieces. Chelsea Sani is married to Joseph and Maggie's son, Hashké Gaajii Sani, a.k.a., Kage, and they have two children together: Michael and Mackie. Max is Chelsea's son from a previous marriage, and Kage treats him as his own. I do adore Max. He's so levelheaded! Kage works with the family's breeding farm while Chelsea is part-owner of a company that trains people. Ánáli Hastiin is Hosteen, the children's Navajo great-grandfather, Joseph's father, Alpha of the Salt River Pack, and a breeder of fine Arabian horses. He has some strong feelings about witches and hates Chelsea with a passion.
The horses Hephzibah is a witch who only looks like a horse. Portabella and Merrylegs are some of the horses Anna tries. Morales is a stable hand, Mateo is a senior trainer, and Teri is an apprentice.
Wade Koch is Hosteen's second in the pack.
Sunshine Fun Day Care is… …attended by Mackie and Michael. Miss Baird is Mackie's teacher. Ms. Newman is Michael's teacher this year, a very regimented teacher who has got the hots for Charles. Mrs. Glover had been Mackie's teacher until she killed herself. Farrah Edison is the principal. Amethyst Miller is one of Mackie's classmates. Sara and Brent Miller are in the middle of a nasty divorce. Sean McDermit is a janitor at the day care.
Special Agent Leslie Fisher is with the FBI Violent Crimes Unit and worked with Charles and Anna in Fair Game. Jude is her huge linebacker of a husband who now teaches elementary school. Hemmings.
Cantrip is… …a mixed bag. Supposedly, it's a government agency to aid the supernatural. In truth, it's run by men bigoted against the supernatural. Agents Jim Marsden and Hollister Leeds, a geek boy and a changeling, show up at the day care.
Possible fae victims Professor Alexander Vaughn teaches higher mathematics at Arizona State. He's one of the children who escaped some years ago. Officer Darin "Dare" Richards of the Phoenix PD is Alex's partner. Mary Lu Vaughn is Alex's mother, and she believed every word of Alex's story. Sid was Alex's father and his great-grandfather, Archie, was a werewolf who lived with the Vaughns as the family dog.
Judy White is a foster mother to Blair. A young girl Brother Wolf believes has a part to play. Helen's parents and counselor believe she is possessed. Iris is five and her father, Trent Carter, is overwhelmed. Kathryn Jamison is divorced again, and looking. She's also a sidhe-seer with a wearden, a tree-folk fae, living in her garden.
Senator Beauclaire was a Prince of the Gray Lords whose actions in Fair Game caused the fae to retreat to their reservations and cut themselves off from the rest of the world. The Doll Collector is the fae sent out into the human world to wreak havoc.
A fetch is a changeling that isn't a living thing. Ooh, seems that the rest of the world has caught onto the truth that those "jails" the fae were behind are actually their fortresses.
The Cover and Title The cover is a soft surprise with the so-very young-looking Charles, his black tank-top-clad back up against the black bustier-clad Anna. Her red hair is pulled back to reveal the black collar around her neck, her long chandelier-style earrings dangling. Charles' wolf gleams from his eyes, his hair in multiple braids, a leather armband around his bicep. The background is hazy, a starry Texas night of cacti, mesas, and a howling wolf.
The title plays off the horses and racing, for it's a Dead Heat in this race to save the children....more
I hardly know where to start as to the series that Son of No One is in. It is a paranormal romance in her Dark-Hunterverse — #29, and the couple focusI hardly know where to start as to the series that Son of No One is in. It is a paranormal romance in her Dark-Hunterverse — #29, and the couple focus is on Jo Landry and Cadegan.
After that, it's also: #13 in Dark-Hunter #6 in Hellchaser #3 in Lords of Avalon #8 in Were-Hunter My Take The best I can say of Son of No One is that it is a part of a lot of different series, and it has a great cover. Other than that, it's a mess of tiny episodes that were strung together in comic opera fashion with a very young adult tone.
The story begins centuries ago in 1045 England and continues in the fall of 2014 and starts well enough. There's that slightly off-beat, fun mood that always makes me think "Kenyon" that starts with Jo ragging with Selena and continues with Jo's fall into the mirror world. I did like Jo's attitude, lol. It seems that Cadegan liked it as well. Yeah, there's some insta-love here, but at least Cadegan has a good reason. It's not even really love at first, but more of a thank-god-for-some-rational-and-mmmm-soft-skinned-company.
I am confused about Cadegan. He's a nice guy with every right to be angry, but amazingly clueless. He doesn't know much about the creatures in the land he's been trapped in for 1,000 years. Hullo. How can you possibly go for this long and not learn more? Gwyn talks about Cadegan being so cagey and skilled. Maybe when it comes to flailing a sword around.
As for Leucious, the least he could have done was hear his brother out.
Jo is amazingly clueless as well about the dangers of mirror world, even when she's exposed to it. I do love that she is so artless, but it does go too far.
This whole bargain business with Gwyn put me off. Sure, it's a great way to let us know how untrustworthy Gwyn is, but it goes against all the "legends" I've read about the fae. Isn't there some kind of penalty if you break the bargain? Wouldn't constantly changing the terms of the bargain be a breaking?? I always thought the fey were supposed to adhere to a bargain. I suppose it does help reinforce Gwyn's character. But wouldn't Cadegan have a good idea on how to bargain with the Fae by now? He's as clueless as a newborn babe. Hmmm, Gwyn will cede the bullocks of any offender to Cadegan. D'ya suppose Kenyon meant buttocks or ballocks?
I think it's at this point that it started to feel like a comic opera. As if Kenyon were sitting around the kitchen table and friends were chiming in with another awful clause for the bargain. It only gets worse when we go through the mutual I love him routine that the other refuses to believe. Yawn. Then there's the body-swapping. WTF? What? Why? Then there's Illarion. I like Illarion, but it was way too easy for that little adventure. Talfryn and Ioan add their clownish antics which simply contributes to the effect. Was Kenyon trying to hit all the lame tropes? To include every possible pantheon in the story?
That "illumination" about the dragons and their virgins is an interesting interpretation while the therapy horror was too funny.
In spite of the comic opera qualities of Son of No One, you can't help but want to cry for Cadegan. He's been hard done by his entire life. Not as badly as Ash or Styxx, but bad enough. The way Æthla used and destroyed him will break your heart, especially when Cadegan has done so much for her. Then Leucious' betrayal. Jesus. He'll listen to that little breeder but not his brother.
"No pressure there, right, buddy? Wow, Ash. I know why you don't have your own self-help show…Lifestyles of the Morbid and Terrifying. Stay tuned, folks. This week we learn how to end the world with a flourish and get rid of those pesky dog flea problems, all in ten minutes."
Okay. How would attacking a creature encourage that creature to help them? Another contradiction is that comment about "You protect each other, without a single word. Does this mean you don't care for one another?" Huh??
Ooh, I want an Electra!
Interesting side bit on why Savitar has isolated himself.
And it ends with lots of portents of doom, thus guaranteeing the ongoing misery of all the friends within the Dark-Hunterverse.
The Story It just doesn't pay to be responsible. Not for Jo. She's about to lose her home, and she's already lost her jobs. Nothing else would make her desperate enough to accept this job with Selena's friends! Even if it is to film the stories about paranormal possession.
The Characters Josette "Jo" (& Jo-Jo) Landry has always toed the line and look where that's gotten her! Henri, Belle, and Maisel are her babies. Dogs that have to suffer her baby talk. Gag. Barry Riggio is Jo's ex, the jerk.
Selena Laurens is Jo's cousin; Bill is her corporate lawyer husband. Tabitha and Karma Devereaux are two of Selena's eight sisters; Ian is Karma's son whom she's nicknamed "E.T." Rug is Ian's hamster. Karma's job is warehousing and cleaning scary relics and paranormal items; she's inherited custody of Valac from her sister, the now-deceased Tiyana. Aunt Rocky is Selena's mother. Aunt Xilla is another of the nutjobs in the family. Aunt Kalila helped run the family Voodoo store, Erzulie's, which Tabitha now owns. Tabitha is married to Valerius, a Roman general. Aunt Ana and Tiyana made soaps and oils for Erzulie's. Aunt Paulina will never let Jo work behind her counters again. Aunt Marie lives for genealogy. Cousin Amanda is Tabitha's twin, and Amanda is married to Kyrian, an ancient Greek general. Cousin Essie was the midwife for the birth.
Mama Lisa is the leader of the group putting together a new cable television channel. She's an exorcist and hosts the Voices Carry Internet radio show. The rest of Mama Lisa's posse includes Sister Jordan, her sister Sarah, Mistress Mercy, and Selena.
Cadegan Maboddimun is half-demon and half-fae/goddess-born, a waremerlin who guards the Shield of Dagda and has been imprisoned for over 1,000 years. His mother is Brigid, the daughter of the Dagda and the Mórrígan, which means Cadegan is their grandson, is a fey goddess whom Morgen turned to stone and now adorns Morgen's garden.
Leucious is his brother, a.k.a., Thorn, a.k.a., Forneus, whom we've met in other stories. Misery is one of Leucious' breeders (whatever that is). Josiah was Thorn's driver. Paimon is the demon overlord Cadegan believes is his father.
Dr. Troy Parthenopacus is married to Acheron (Ash); she and Dr. Julian Alexander are also specialists in Babylonian artifacts. Simi is Ash's Charonte demon who lives on his skin like a live tattoo. Kat is Ash's daughter.
The rescue posse includes: Fang who works as a Hellchaser for Thorn and is married to Aimee, a werebear; Cael; Amaranda; Zeke Jacobson, a Necrodemian, who does Pest Control; Ravenna; Tristan; and, anyone else skilled with swords and Dark Age tactics with the powers of demon, Daimon, or fey. Talon is an ancient Celt of the Morrigantes married to Sunshine, who is herself a granddaughter of the Dagda and the Mórrígan. Her mother is Starla, a member of the Tuath Dé, which makes Cadegan family. Styxx is Ash's brother and married to Bethany, the Atlantean goddess of woe. Urian is Styxx's oldest son; Ari seems to be his youngest. Dr. Grace Alexander will be Cadegan's therapist; she's married to Julian.
Mirror world is… …Glastonbury Tor, Terre Derrière le Voile, an alternate plane of existence whose grayness is said to be due to Merlin's magick being pulled in; it's a land where demons can be imprisoned and the fey rule. MODs are Minions of Death who would give anything to bite down on a human. Cadegan's Uncle Bracken is one of them. Brenin Gwn ap Nudd is the very untrustworthy shadow king, a sharoc. Talfryn and Ioan, alias Frick and Frack, are Adar Llwch Gwin, shapeshifting gryphons who will fly riders to their destination. Illarion is the last real dragon, a Katagari Drakos. Edilyn was his human wife. Maxis is Illarion's brother. Morgen Le Fey is a queen here. Queen Cordelia needs to make her appearance. Seems she's Gwyn's wife some parts of the year and belongs to Gwythyr ap Greidawl the other parts. Ademar was one of the knights of Camelot who refused Cadegan aid. Emrys Penmerlin is Camelot's ruler and the warlock we know as Merlin.
Cymara Clas, the monastery in A.D. 720 Brother Eurig was Cadegan's mentor in many things including honor and keeping one's word. Brother Owain had a gambling problem he was too comfortable in lying about. If the monastery was cloistered, how did Owain have the opportunity to gamble?Father Bryce was the abbot. King Elisedd ap Gwylog was the Powys king who dragged Cadegan from the monastery. Æthelbald was the Mercian king battling Elisedd.
Æthla was the woman Cadegan saved along with her family. How did her brothers not know what their father was demanding? What she had been doing with Cadegan all this time?
Graylings are fey creatures who ran afoul of Morgen and were cursed into these twisted forms. Sharoc are shadow fey. Dragon. Mandrakes are fey-born shapeshifters who can take the form of a man or a dragon. The addanc is a demonkyn's true form, a soulless, bloodthirsty beast. Katateros is a realm where Kat, Ash, Styxx and Bethany, and now Cadegan and Jo will live.
Kessar is a Sumerian gallu demon to whom the Smaragdine Tablet is precious. The Scythian Guard is a race of Drakaina, female dragons, a sister tribe to the Amazons. Echidna is their queen, the mother of all monsters, the fiercest of the Titans.
Valac is one of the oldest, deadliest beings in the universe and should never be loose. He was supposed to be in Karma's custody. Jared is the Sephiroth.
Cal is the owner of the haunted Gardette-lePretre Mansion on Dauphine.
Artemis is the Greek goddess of the moon and the hunt. And she's not the Artemis Kenyon has taught us to know.
The Cover and Title The cover has a deep, dark chocolate background and all the gold on it is raised from the author's name to the title to the raging dragon to the outline of the hexagon that the dragon is imposed upon. Emerging from the shape are orange flames.
The title is all about Cadegan, for he is the Son of No One....more
This free short story fits in just before Shield of Winter, 13, at 12.9 in the Psy-Changeling paranormal romance series. The couple focus is actuallThis free short story fits in just before Shield of Winter, 13, at 12.9 in the Psy-Changeling paranormal romance series. The couple focus is actually on a threesome: Riordan and Noelle and they don't exclude Noelle's twin, Lissa.
My Take This was sweet with Riordan, Noelle, and Lissa determined to help bring the two packs together in emotional friendship and not just tolerant of the other. It's so great to see young people take responsibility and look to the future.
"because she was it for him. His port in any storm, his playmate, his laughter."
The Story It's New Year's Eve and Riordan, Noelle, and Lissa want this new year to start off right, and what could be better than a party!
The Characters Riley is SnowDancer and his mate, Mercy, is DarkRiver.
The rest are the younger adults (novice soldiers, university students, apprentices etc) in both the DarkRiver leopard pack and the SnowDancer wolf pack.
Noelle and Lissa are twins, and Noelle is in love with Riordan.
Grey is Mercy's youngest brother. Corey is the first to show offense, and the first to cross that line. Lucas is the alpha.
Riordan is in love with Noelle and has always been able to tell the twins apart. He cares enough about Noelle to always include Lissa.
Sienna (yep, she's the one mated to the SnowDancer alpha, Hawke) understands the importance of this party. Cadence.
Other partiers include:
Kit, Nico, Tai, Amos, and Jason ends up snuggled with Nicki.
The Title The title is a metaphor for what Mercy and Riley and Riordan and Noelle are hoping for, peace and friendship between DarkRiver and SnowDancer clans with "New Year's Kisses"....more
Another of the reviews I lost back in July. I do remember crying hard throughout this one. It's a critical read for those of you following Galenorn'sAnother of the reviews I lost back in July. I do remember crying hard throughout this one. It's a critical read for those of you following Galenorn's series....more
Second in The Sentinels paranormal romance series and revolving around an outcast group of powerful people. The couple focus is on Serra and Fane.
ThisSecond in The Sentinels paranormal romance series and revolving around an outcast group of powerful people. The couple focus is on Serra and Fane.
This ARC was provided by NetGalley and Zebra in exchange for an honest review.
My Take There is a lot I like about this story. The characters are interesting even if I find some of the parameters and restrictions spurious. The cleverness of the plot is excellent. I liked how Ivy made this enthrallment on Serra so believable. I wanted to pick nits in it but Ivy left me no holes. Very impressive. The complex, Fane's deductive abilities, and the method of coercion are also impressive. Some of the language though seemed off for such a "superior" group of people.
I can understand the reasoning behind the Mave's demand that high-bloods not sell their services, but everyone needs to earn a living, and I don't see why they shouldn't be able to earn one through their skills. Yes, there will always be some who slide to the criminal side. And they're already doing that in spite of the law. Regulate it instead.
Then again, Mave does talk about the first Mave, the original, and her powers of persuasion. Still this Mave had those powers and those desires anyway. If a system had been in place to regulate that, maybe it wouldn't have created such problems. Oh, boy. And then this Mave goes on to reveal the methods the original Mave used to gain acceptance by the norms of Valhalla. Brutal. Horrifying. And yet expedient. It's an interesting proof of the group versus the individual. As a group, norms could destroy the high-bloods simply through sheer numbers. As an individual, the high-blood can destroy a norm so easily. An example provided by Fane time after time as he and Serra continue to hunt for the little girl.
As for Bas' belief that Serra wouldn't have willingly helped, why were we told at the start that Serra has used her skills to find missing children? Why would Bas' child be any different? I also found it difficult to understand Serra's refusal to find the child. Sure, I can see her being angry with Bas, but that she would still refuse point-blank? No. And I kept expecting Serra to counter his demands. I simply could not see Serra refusing to having anything to do with finding her.
"True power comes from protecting the weak."
I'm with Serra. I hate it when people decide what's good for me. What about asking ME what I want? Letting me make the decision. Part of what ticks me off with this story is Fane's lame excuse for avoiding Serra. One of those tropes that I hate: the worried little woman. I think Serra makes an excellent point when she turns the tables on him about this fear. There's also the I-won't-fall-in-love-I'll-just-use-him trope. *Eye roll*.
Fane talks of how stressed Serra must feel, and it's just talk. There's no emotional pull here. No sense of time running short. It's just a story that doesn't ratchet up my heart rate.
The clichés do get a twist, but they still irritate me. Has Bas been so isolated by his power that he has forgotten normal reactions? Why would he imagine that Serra would want to work with him ever? There's an arrogance to Bas that really pushes my buttons. I am so with Fane in wanting to strangle the bugger, even as part of me is laughing at the banter that also seems so hypocritical. Both sides trade barbs and innuendos, and both sides are irritated that the other is so flippant. Heck, Bas is downright childish. Now, the sexual banter between Fane and Serra is a lot more fun.
I did enjoy that paragraph in which Fane demonstrates the difference between nuzzling and nibbling. Actions which progress to demonstrate fondling, lol. Regrettably, it's also where the execution of the story falls apart for me. It's a good story, but Fane's sudden capitulation — and, yes, it does feel sudden. Fane has been battling his attraction for years. I'd've expected to hear more of Fane battling the need to touch her, to hold her, to comfort her when she is so desperately in need of it. But he just plops on into it. All. The. Way. It's later on that we get a look at his inner thoughts, but it's too late. For me, anyway.
If Serra is so valuable to him, why does Bas send her into a dangerous situation without warning her? Why does Ivy claim the Brotherhood is so inept and yet state that it's highly organized?
Oh, brother. We finally get to the justification for Molly's kidnapping. Made me feel like I was in the presence of a James Bond villain.
Then that last bit in the epilogue when Bas suddenly realizes how often Molly says she has spoken to her mother. A mother who has told Molly she's coming…now.
Yep, it's an interesting story with an intriguing plotline that is ambushed by the contradictions.
The Story Serra has been in love with Fane for years, and she's finally giving up. Fane's decision to become a trainer in a Tibetan monastery has ended all her hopes. It's a sadness that will leave her vulnerable, making it easier for the gift to be accepted.
One that will lure Serra into her own special prison. The key of which is her aid in finding a precious treasure.
It's the reason for the loss of that treasure that stuns Bas into a shocking realization about the philosophy that has driven most of his life's work.
The Characters Serra Vetrov's beauty causes grown men to weep, to lose all track of where they are. She's also a rare telepath able to connect with a person's mind by handling an object of theirs as well as being a strong psychic. She has lived at Valhalla since she was five, training to use her abilities.
Fane is a shaven-headed guardian warrior with a reputation for being aloof, unreachable but with a passion for creating his art, the wooden figurines he carves as gifts. He is no longer the guardian to Callie Brown (see Born in Blood, 1, and is no longer at loose ends having reached his decision.
The Sentinels Wolfe, a hunter, is the current Tagos, the leader of all the Sentinels, and he's in love with an unattainable woman. Arel is a young hunter who has dated Serra and in whom Wolfe sees much promise. Niko has returned with a wife who may be a powerful healer (see "Out of Control", 0.5). Marco is standing by. Gideon is the third of his most trusted Sentinels.
All-powerful and a witch, the Mave, the former Lana Mayfield, knew Bas before she became their leader. She is also supposed to be fair and impartial which means no relationships.
The psychics Callie Brown O'Conner was a diviner, a necromancer, who fell in love with Sergeant Duncan O'Conner who has become her husband, protector, and a Sentinel. And she's best friends with Serra. Inhera is the leader of the psychics.
The monastery in Oklahoma Father Michal Valdez is the abbot and an old friend of Lana's. Landon is the novice.
The very morally flexible Bas Cavrilo is the CEO of Cavrilo International, a born witch with a strong ability in illusion, an assassin trained by the monks, and a former Sentinel leading a group of renegade high-bloods who use their abilities to earn a living. One of his aliases is Sir John Baxter. Molly is his normal, four-year-old, kidnapped daughter. Daisy is her battered, stuffed hippo. Kaede is Bas' administrative assistant to the public eye, in truth, he's Bas' enforcer, a.k.a., Bas' Blade. Samuel is his most trusted reader. Vicky is his resident high-blood healer. Myst, a clairvoyant with minor abilities is Molly's mother. Aldo and Damis are two of his Sentinels.
Anna is a high-blood with a rare power: the ability to interfere with electrical currents. Safe enough to isolate her when civilization and electricity are in isolated areas; she is Armageddon in our day and age. Stella is one of the witches maintaining the stasis spell.
The clients, colleagues, and companies Madame Wagner runs a brothel, the Lewis and Clark B&B. Lily is her receptionist. Hull & Sons Insurance Company is a shell. The Century Lab is a research facility. Stephan Reyes, a Sentinel, had been Bas' right-hand man. Russell Harvey was a healer caught experimenting on norms. Lee Sandoval, psychic and computer geek, had been Jael's lover. Jael herself died in Thailand at the hands of the Brotherhood. The Emerald Lounge is a sex club.
Once worshipped as gods, high-bloods are powerful and some can be monsters as can be found in any group of people. One of their laws is that high-bloods not sell their services for personal or financial gain to norms, humans. Sentinels are high-bloods who can be divided into two groups: guardians and hunters. The guardians have magic and are heavily tattooed to protect themselves from magical attacks or mind control. They act as bodyguards to high-bloods. Hunter sentinels have no magic but are just as lethal and enforce the laws of Valhalla. Having no tattoos, they can easily pass for human. Valhalla, a home for many high-bloods, is in the Midwest and is but one of various high-blood compounds situated around the world including the monasteries where the Sentinels are trained.
The Brotherhood is a secret society of humans who hate "mutants" like the Sentinels. They are very organized and able to sense high-bloods. Jacques Girard leads the group and Marco finds a curious company in his search: Girard Import and Export.
The Dark Side is a fight club that changes location constantly .
The Cover and Title The cover is not what I would expect. No offense to the model, but he's not livin' up to what I envisioned for an almost-mythical warrior. He does have the muscle and some interesting tats as he poses in his black leather jeans. It's Serra standing behind him in her short black leather bustier and hiphugger pants, her long curly hair cascading down her back and over her shoulder. The background is a misty swirl of purples.
I'm guessing that the title refers to Bas, for he's a Blood Assassin setting Serra up....more
Seventh in the Elder Races paranormal romance (sometimes urban fantasy) series and revolving around supernatural groups. The couple focus is on Tess GSeventh in the Elder Races paranormal romance (sometimes urban fantasy) series and revolving around supernatural groups. The couple focus is on Tess Graham and Xavier del Torro.
My Take It's a standard plot: girl desperate for help appeals to feared predator. And then Harrison twists it with the gentle "monster" and the rude Tess, who is both terrified and yet courageous in standing up for what she believes.
There's just enough touching on Vampyres and their issues in this story to tie it into the Elder Races series; mostly, it's about Tess facing up to her fears about Vampyres and the truth of her situation.
Harrison could have done better to build more believability in Tess' and Xavier's reactions to each other, but she did make a good start at it. I liked the courteous, gentle, compassionate Vampyre who could turn fearsome in less than a heartbeat versus the desperate human girl who slowly comes to realize what she's done. She also realizes her conceptions need re-working. This is all nicely done, and it's at this point where Harrison hurries things too much. Well, she did have only so many pages left for the story, so I guess that makes up for it…*eye roll*…
Tess may have the IQ, but she's definitely lacking an EQ. She wants her cake, but doesn't want to have to eat it. She wants that protection from Xavier, but she's barely willing to appreciate the safety for which she struggled. She's rude, reluctant, and belligerent while using everyone on the del Torro estate, although to be fair, she does acknowledge when she realizes she's in the wrong.There were some other revelations in here that gave Tess that ah-hah moment about her fellow attendants: the meal after she surprises Raoul and the breakfast after the alley are the ones that stand out. Xavier, of course, has been surprising her from the start.
I love this description! "If Xavier was a painting by Monet, nuanced and elegant, then she was a picture drawn in crayon by an angry kindergartner."
Events crop up throughout Night's Honor that remind us that there are always two sides to any tale. I was with Tess in her horror of how the candidates were treated on the stage, and Xavier's response to Tess was brilliant. And very true. Something we need to keep in mind in our own real-world lives. That first introduction to Xavier's estate and Raoul.…well, it's interesting to see that scene from both sides, lol. And both have good points.
It's Haley's strut that makes Xavier's comment later about the blood offering losing its meaning as a ritual so much more intense.
Nah, that scene with the too-hot bedroom and the window was stupid, but I did like Xavier's reaction to it! VERY unexpected. Another stupid scene was the betrayal. Okay, I can understand the frustration about the character's situation, but I cannot believe this character could have been around Vampyres this long and not realize what that money really meant. Duh.
Nice way to introduce Vampyre etiquette without turning it into an info dump! Nice creative thinking. Of course, that's my perspective on it. Harrison probably had her own reasons for it, yet it does make a good lesson for other writers. Gave me the chills when Harrison paralleled the Christian belief in the body of life with Xavier's appreciation of blood as life.
I love it! Harrison describes the current mode of dancing as being "like watching a school of fish smacking their fins in shallow water", and she's so right, lol. I much prefer ballroom dancing with a partner! Then there's the positive image Tess finally gains…lol…oh, yes! It's a good 'un and easily remembered.
A little awkward in places, a little naive in others, and events resolve much too easily, and yet a nice bit of psychological insight with a lovely scene of love poetry that really fit well. It's a love story that focuses on the inner person, and not how they look.
"I think, therefore I am." "I love, therefore I truly live."
The Story Desperate to live, Tess has only one option: submit herself into a Vampyre's protection.
The Characters The talented and intelligent Tess Graham is terrified and fearsome in herself with a strong sense of what's right.
Xavier del Torro has a well-earned reputation for ferocity and skill in battle and as a hunter. He's also Julian's right hand man. Felipe was his older brother and the heir; his 13-year-old sister, Aeliana, became his mother. She married Inigo, a gentle Vampyre.
Del Torro's attendants
In his Marin County home, Jordan is the cook; Angelica is the housekeeper (she and Jordan have their own assistants, Enrique and Peter); Raoul is in charge of security and training; Diego assists with security, takes care of the vehicles, and maintains the pool; and, his pool of attendants include Marc, Scott, Brian, Jeremy, and Aaron.
In his San Francisco townhouse, Russell is his property manager, Eduardo is the cook, Foster is his secretary, Sergio, Jaime, Sidney, Ciaran, and Mika are more attendants.
Julian Regillus is the Nightkind king and Xavier's sire; he had been a general under Emperor Hadrian. He's based in a massive Norman-style castle, Evenfall, in Marin in California. Carling was his sire, but he exiled her in Serpent's Kiss, 3. Gavin, a.k.a., Opie, is the head of Julian's IT. Of the Nightkind council, Marged and Dominic are the most compliant, and Darius (turned during the decline of the Roman Empire) and Justine (she was turned in the "violent, shadowy beginnings of Britannia") are the most ambitious. Yolanthe is one of the guards.
Light Fae Tatiana is their queen; she's also the head of a major motion picture studio, Northern Lights Studios. Melisande Aindris is her eldest daughter and acts in her movies; she had had a fling in the 1990s with Julian. Bailey is Melly's sister.
The Djinn Malphas, a pariah exiled by the Djinn, runs a gambling operation in Las Vegas and employed Tess. Soren is the head of the Elder tribunal. Both are first-generation Djinn and too powerful to take on.
Eathan Jackson was the spoiled son of Senator Paul (or Ryan??) Jackson. Dragos gets a mention.
The Vampyre's Ball is an annual event in San Francisco where potential candidates can "audition" as attendants for Vampyres. Haley seemed rather desperate to be chosen, while Roberto Sanchez has better reason for his desperation. The Elder Races are Elves, Vampyres, shapeshifters, and Djinn. Brodifacoum is an anticoagulant.
The Cover and Title The cover is purples of a night sky with Xavier posed, his lilac shirt open to the waist baring some impressive pecs, his beautiful face with the short hair, in front of an arched window with a view looking across silent water to low, lit buildings. There's a medieval Italian air to it. The author's name is large and in white at the top of the cover; the book's title is in yellow and at the base of the cover.
The title is a metaphor for describing Xavier's moral code, a Night's Honor....more
A very short story available on Nalini Singh’s site and accessible by subscribing to her newsletter, “Home” is 9.7 in the chronology in the Psy-ChangeA very short story available on Nalini Singh’s site and accessible by subscribing to her newsletter, “Home” is 9.7 in the chronology in the Psy-Changeling paranormal romance series. The family focus is on Clay, Tally, Jon, and Noor.
My Take It’s a sweet story — Singh easily played on my compassion for an abused child and my appreciation for a loving couple wanting to make the children welcome and feel a part of the family.
I do wish I knew if Jon was their natural-born son or an acquired one. It’s frustratingly brief in this. We only know that Clay and Tally are DarkRiver leopards. We don’t know what they do or much about their home other than it’s being up in a tree.
The Story A quick peek into Clay and Tally adapting to their foster children as they build onto their home to welcome the children and provide all with some privacy.
The Characters Clay and Talin "Tally" are a DarkRiver leopard couple who have taken in the very young Noor as well as the very patient teenaged Jon.
More DarkRiver leopards include… …Sascha Duncan, a Cardinal E Psy, mated to the DarkRiver alpha. Dorian is a gifted sniper in the DarkRiver pack. Vaughn is a DarkRiver leopard mated to Faith NightStar, a Psy.
The one SnowDancer wolf is Tamsyn Ryder, the SnowDancer healer.
The Title Once you’ve read the story, the title becomes so much deeper and important, for Clay and Tally are creating a “Home” for their family....more
An anthology of 15 short stories revolving around the theme of games — and there’s some mighty fine stretching in here! There are also some mighty finAn anthology of 15 short stories revolving around the theme of games — and there’s some mighty fine stretching in here! There are also some mighty fine authors who are new to me in here as well. That TBR of my looks to be fallin’ over…aiyeeee…
Series: Charlaine Harris - "In the Blue Hereafter" (Sookie Stackhouse, 13.xx and Harper Connelly, xx.5) Mercedes Lackey - "False Knight on the Road" (SERRAted Edge, xx.5) Seanan McGuire - "Jammed" (Incryptid, 2.3) Toni L.P. Kelner - "Bell, Book, and Candlepin" (Allaway Kith, 2)
The Stories Charlaine Harris’ "In the Blue Hereafter" finds a confused Manfredo Bernardo set a task by his dead psychic grandmother to go to Bon Temps for a softball game. She never has told him outright what he’s expected to accomplish, so it’s a game of guess as Manfred tries to figure it out. A game that’s helped when he meets the enigmatic Sookie Stackhouse.
William Kent Krueger’s "Hide and Seek" was nasty…just nasty as he leads you up the garden path with subtle hints about the truth behind the game of hide-and-seek. It’s a truth you don’t want to acknowledge with an ending that will horrify you.
Krueger left me in a bit of a limbo with that comment Cameron makes that’s almost as horrifying as the buyers at the end.
Jan Burke’s "Stepping into the Dead Zone" is a tale about military kids and bullies and the rules of fitting into a new school. It’s practical advice mixed up with a confusing tale of changelings and children who go missing.
Joe R. Lansdale’s "Dead on the Bones" is a sad Southern tale of betrayal and using the dead for amusement.
Caitlin Kittredge’s "The Devil Went Down to Boston" makes me think of Dennis Lehane with his working class neighborhoods and tough-talkin’ characters. She starts with making me hate one character and then leaves me wondering if I should before she progresses on to the real baddie. For a short story, Kittredge packs a punch with an entire story. It’s got the feel of a start for a series, one I want to read, even if Kittredge does have a backward way of writing. I do feel as though there’s a loose thread in here what with Doyle’s hope and Ellie’s avoidance. And I do have to wonder what’s keeping Ellie in Boston.
Brendan DuBois’ "On the Playing Fields of Blood" is a grim bargain the town of New Salem has made with a group of Native Americans. It’s a horror story of vengeance and should make you run any time you see a mist rise up and stretch its fingers out for you.
Dana Cameron’s "The God’s Games" was an unexpected trip back in history to the Greek Olympics with a different take on werewolves, oracles, and gods. Cameron has some interesting limitations on her characters in this and a very contemporary feel for the action in this. I felt as though the events were real.
Scott Sigler’s "The Case of the Haunted Safeway" will crack you up with its trashy family and its downhome philosophy as it confronts unexpected bigotry in this ghostly exorcism. I have got to put Sigler on my TBR! And hope he turns the Hunterson family into a series.
Ellen Kushner’s "Prise de Fer" was most unexpected with this bout of fencing in a private school in France. I enjoyed all but the end, which was most unsatisfactory. Nothing was resolved. The entire short was nothing but a blip in Isabelle Blumberg’s life. I do, however, want to read more Kushner.
Brandon Sanderson’s "Dreamer" will take you by the throat and make your heart hammer as the tension mounts and your fear almost takes over. It’s the ending that will kill ya. It made me so mad, I wanted to leap in and strangle someone. Sanderson was brilliant in this.
Mercedes Lackey’s "False Knight on the Road" was a pip. A spine-chilling tale of temptation and back road racing as Billy Ray Johnson finally figures out what he’s done and the trouble he’s in. That ending was a pip and left me both relieved…and annoyed, although not at Lackey, lol.
Seanan McGuire’s "Jammed" got my hopes raised as I finally got to read about the nasty, vicious Antimony Price. She’s not as bad as Verity or Alex made her out to be, although I did crack up at Antimony’s comment about roller derby jammin’ calming her down! This short is more about Antimony and her teammates working together to take down a supernatural murderer.
Adam-Troy Castro’s "Hide and Shriek" is definitely the weirdest story. It’s the extremely bored Elder Gods with the most gawdawful names, habits, and appearances, and the extremes to which they’ll go that Castro delivers in a deadpan, offhand manner. The best of this story was the quirky professor at the end and his extremely practical responses to the pneumatic women’s attempts to entice him.
Laura Lippman’s "Ice" is a sad tale of sibling abuse, lies, and drowning on Martin Luther King Day. It’s a folk tale that has made the rounds for years, and Mickey is about to discover how true it is.
Toni L.P. Kelner’s "Bell, Book, and Candlepin" is another that I’m hoping is part of a series — or will be *hope, hope, hope??* It features a still-learning witch in college with her dead-end job that provides her own calm…hmmm, reminds me of Antimony and her roller derby…with a wall of sound. A fun read that’s reminded me that I’ve enjoyed past Kelner short stories, and it’s about time I started in on her full-length novels, dagnabbit!
The Cover The cover smacks you over the head with its bright greens in the sky, lightning zapping out to tap that dart tip the skeleton hand is holding in a battle between a hairy-clawed paw wielding a lacrosse stick versus a tentacle wrapped around a baseball bat, all sprouting up from a red and black checkerboard encasing the earth. The title is in a bright yellow between the arms above and a pair of dice below. Do ye fancy your luck in these games?
The title is a good one, for these are the Games Creatures Play — and I ain’t excludin’ the human creatures!...more
This is one of the prelude short stories, 0.6 in the chronology, in the Guild Hunters paranormal romance series and revolving around one of the HunterThis is one of the prelude short stories, 0.6 in the chronology, in the Guild Hunters paranormal romance series and revolving around one of the Hunters, Ashwini, and her sometimes-prey, Janvier. Based in Louisiana.
My Take "Angels' Pawn" is fun, adventurous, and full of action with quite the twist in how Singh portrays vampires and how she provides insight into the rules that govern Guild Hunter and angel interaction. While the Guild was created to retrieve runaway vampires for the angels, they do retain a neutral autonomy. It's a subtle political maneuvering that finds the Guild trapped into doing Nazarach's dirty work. And provides Nazarach with the opportunity to add to his, um, "collection".
There's a lovely heat between Ashwini and Janvier with lots of promise for future installments.
The Story It's usually Ashwini hunting Janvier. This time, they'll be partnered up on a most unusual hunt, for Monique Beaumont has been kidnapped.
It's a tricky hunt with its twists and turns…and revved up with Janvier's romantic pursuit of his usual pursuer.
It's worse when Ashwini learns Nazarach has more than a passing interest in her.
The Characters Ashwini, a.k.a., Ashblade, is a Guild Hunter and a born tracker. She also has a type of psychometry and a nightmare of a past. Ransom is another Hunter, also with the New York Guild. Sara is the current Guild Director (see Sara's last hunt before accepting this appointment in "Angel's Judgment", 0.5). Kenji and Baden are also Guild Hunters, and Sara has put them on standby.
Janvier, a Cajun, has been a vampire for two hundred and forty-five years with the annoying habit of annoying the angels. Shamiya Made him. Atlanta Nazarach is the mid-level angel with no humanity who holds sway here. Audrina was the offering Nazarach provided Janvier.
The Beaumont vampire family runs Atlanta — under Nazarach. They've been a lucky family over the generations. This generation that luck resulted in Monique and Frédéric, a sister and brother, being Made. Antoine is the vampire head of the family. Jean is his sister. Simone Deschanel is the new woman in Antoine's life, one with her own ambitions.
The ambitious Callan Fox has set up his own kiss. Perida is his enforcer.
Ashwini's past memories Dr. Taj is a well-regarded physician. And I think he's Ashwini's brother. Egan is the angel Ashwini pinned to a wall a year ago.
The Cadre of Ten There are ten archangels who rule the world, including Favashi, the archangel who rules Persia. Over a thousand years old, and she still has her heart. Neha is the Queen of Poisons who rules in India. Raphael is the archangel who rules North America from New York.
The Cover and Title The cover is Singh's publicity photo off the the left, her name in red above it, and the title to the right of the picture with its subtitle reminding us that it's an e-short companion to Angels' Blood, 1.
The title refers to humans, and I suspect Ashwini in particular, for she feels very much like the "Angels' Pawn". ...more
Fourth in the Dirk & Steele paranormal romance series revolving around a detective agency of supernatural beings. The couple focus in "A Dream ofFourth in the Dirk & Steele paranormal romance series revolving around a detective agency of supernatural beings. The couple focus in "A Dream of Stone & Shadow" is on Aggie Durand and Charlie.
My Take Geez, it starts out so exciting with lots of action, ramming cars, shooting out tires, and then we learn why Aggie and Quinn are after these people. That's one thing. Then to see Rujul and what he's been freed from…
Our introduction to Charlie is less action-oriented and not quite as gruesome, as long as you don't mind a touch of the Hannibal Lecter and his food choices.
Interesting angle on the purpose of gargoyles, and so sad about their reasons for stopping. I guess you can only take so many centuries of ingratitude and being hunted down before you withdraw.
"I can't believe this. I just had a public orgy with a disembodied gargoyle."
Damn, the witch catches Charlie, but she does raise an interesting idea. One I don't like, but it does make sense of why some people are so incredibly, horribly cruel and vicious.
"My father once said that it's our inability to change the past that helps us make better futures."
It's not one of Liu's best, but it does make my heart go pitter-pat with its big-hearted people and their determination. It's almost cozy in spite of what Aggie and Quinn are hunting, and it's that stony gargoyle who makes it so cozy.
"Hearts go blind. … it takes courage to help others."
The Story Dirk & Steele are focusing on child porn rings, and Agatha and Quinn have been on a stake-out for an expected meeting. The aftermath has Roland demanding that they take a break. Have sex with each other. Quinn reckons he’s cool with that…
But Aggie’s passion finds a different outlet, pulling Charlie to her — she’s what he needs to free Emma.
The Characters Aggie Durand is a pre-cog and can see the future, and it's not always pretty. Her parents live in a small town in Idaho where Dad is a lawyer.
Quinn Dougal is telekinetic and a crack shot. He's also Aggie's partner at Dirk & Steele.
Dirk & Steele is… …a private detective agency of supernatural people whose focus is on doing good. Roland Dirk is the boss, a clairvoyant with the ability to read your mind over the phone. Dean; Koni; Amiri, a shapeshifting cheetah from Kenya; and, Rik are more of them.
Charlie and his three brothers are gargoyles imprisoned by a witch. Gargoyles were created to be demon hunters back at the dawn of humans.
Emma is the ten-year-old the Kreers are currently abusing. Rujul is the twelve-year-old they rescue.
Special Agent Warwick was in on the Yarns bust, and he shows up later as well.
David Yarns is an international child smuggler and films pornographic video with children.
Mrs. Kreer and her son, Andrew, are pillars of the community. They also kill mothers and kidnap their children to use them in child pornography. Sarah??
The Cover The cover is shades of blue as a dream-like landscape of a stone domed folly reached via a flight of stone stairs flanked by a stone balustrade and urns as newel posts reach up to another urn on a plinth. Fog shrouds the ground and rises up to reach the full moon, a raven waiting, perched on a stone railing that surrounds the folly. Pink pushes the title and author's name to the fore.
The title is what Charlie is, "A Dream of Stone & Shadow"....more
First in the PSI-Ops paranormal romance suspense series, a spin-off series to Roth's Immortal Ops World. This one is revolving around the PSI-Ops teamFirst in the PSI-Ops paranormal romance suspense series, a spin-off series to Roth's Immortal Ops World. This one is revolving around the PSI-Ops teammates with the couple focus on Mercy Deluca and Duke Marlow.
My Take This was cute, caught my attention right away. Well, I am a sucker for the suspense and black ops…*eye roll*…
Omigod, Mercy is too clueless to be believed. And I mean that in a good way, lol. It takes forever for her to notice that Duke has a gun. Men have crashed through her door, gunshots everywhere, and she’s seen Duke kill several men. She’s already terrified that the Corporation is going to kill her, and what does she do? What does she obsess over? Can Duke change into a werewolf. It’s so scientist-y, so I’m-totally-clueless-about-real-life, lol.
Lordy, ya gotta laugh at this approach to solving a blocked-car problem… "’We should take it in the café and ask whose it is,’ said Striker, making their captain laugh more. ‘Then teach ‘em how to actually park.’”
I dunno, can she be any more clueless? She knows she has an anomaly in her DNA. James has told her she smells different, that he thinks she may have some fae in her, and she’s not picking up on it. Not pulling it all together. Granted, she has had her apartment door bashed in and the building almost blown up.
They need Mercy to help bypass the biometric security, but the ops team has been doing pretty good penetrating the Corporation, so why Mercy can’t wait that few minutes to get to Jimmy, I’ll never understand.
There are some weird sentences in here along with misspellings, misused words, missing pronouns and such, but on the whole Roth brought me into the story with lots of laughs.
The Story PSI and I-Op had been separate, then a few months ago, they merged. A much more pleasant activity than what Dr. Mercy Deluca is dealing with in Paris. Caught in their web before she understood what they were doing, Mercy is terrified that she won’t be able to save Test Subject 87P.
It’s James’ ops team that’s on its way to rescue him.
The Characters Dr. Mercy Deluca works at Donavon Dynamics Corporation in Paris as a biomedical engineer. She's beyond genius, thinks outside the box, and has zero social skills. She also knows quite a bit about their security.
Duke Marlow is a full-blooded born werewolf who likes PSI-Ops because it lets him hang with others of his kind. Friends he can keep through the decades, well, he is 250 years old.
Paranormal Security and Intelligence Operatives (PSI-Op) Dougal "Striker" McCracken is a giant of a man and a werewolf as well. Captain Corbin Jones, a lion shifter, heads up this team. Miles "Boomer" Walsh, a panther shifter with a penchant for explosives, is the current winner of the Asshole of the Week Award. Eadan Daly is one Duke's friends, Fae, and mated to Inara Nash, a girl James thinks of as a daughter. Malik, a.k.a., King Tut, is part of the team but on leave. James Hagen, a doctor for most of his lives, is another missing part of the team. He's been missing for years now.
General Jack C. Newman is the director of PSI-Ops. Dr. Thaddeus Green is their tech think-tank. Colonel Ulric Lovett is from London Division Headquarters. Lukian Vlakhusha is the Immortal Ops Team Leader in the U.S.
Donavon Dynamics Corporation is… …evil. They intend "to create a master race of super humans". Gaspard is one of the nicest of the guards, though that isn't saying anything. Dr. Bertrand is a German scientist. Dr. Gisbert Krauss had been a hero in Mercy's mind, until she learned more.
Test Subject 87P, Brad, and Vic are just some of the prisoners being tortured.
Jinx is a madam who heads up underground paranormal brothels in Seattle. Mrs. Faure is Mercy's building superintendent in Paris.
The Cover The cover has a blurry background. I can't tell if it's a full moon back there or the skull and bones of past victims. It's okay, though, there's some lovely man candy baring his six-pack under that brown leather jacket.
The title is most definitely an Act of Mercy as it’s thanks to Dr. Deluca that the PSI-Ops knows where James is....more
Third in the Sisters of the Heart follow-on series and tenth in the overall Sea Haven (Drake Sisters) paranormal romance series revolving around troubThird in the Sisters of the Heart follow-on series and tenth in the overall Sea Haven (Drake Sisters) paranormal romance series revolving around troubled but gifted women who have banded together to support each other.
The couple focus is on Airi and Maxim, and it’s insta-love, awww.
My Take If you must read this, get it from the library. Air Bound is inconsistent. It swings from too simplistic to slightly more realistic. The insta-love is too lame for words; there is nothing believable in their romance, and it's way too convenient.
There are a few good bits in here: a sensible trope that introduces more drama. No, I'm serious. This is a good thing, lol. Airi doesn't want Maxim coming home with her, based on how it will affect the kids. She'd rather not tear at them again and again. Then there's Jonas' stance which is quite commendable, even if he is trying to cause other problems. The air power thing each has is rather fun, and quite useful, and Feehan is quite inventive in the different ways air can be twisted, woven, and blown. I am surprised they don't use it as part of their underwater adventures.
Feehan does a nice job of informing us of Airi's past and her mother with this session between the girls. Maxim's memories of when the Paretskii family was destroyed and the boys taken is also done well. No info dumps here!
The negatives outweigh these positives. Feehan leaps in with no preparation. One minute Lissa is consoling Airi about a nightmare, and the next minute, they're discussing the terrifying possibilities of another Prakenskii brother showing up to marry one of them. Oooh, foretelling, anyone?? A little obvious, perhaps?? Info dumpy as well. And I'm not getting the impression from what they chat about minutes later that they consider the Prakenskiis all that terrifying. Good cook? Great at teaching self-defense? Yep, scary, all right *eye roll*.
WTF? They just get finished talking about the odds of the six of them getting together in one place, and shock!, all of them having an elemental magic! Oh, wow. The next paragraph, Airi is worried that if she were to call Lissa back and tell her about the patterns she sees, that Lissa will think she's nuts. Airi moans on and on wondering if she's going crazy because she sees these patterns. WTF. Again. This is the woman who is supposed to be so frickin' brilliant? She does remember that conversation about elemental gifts, right? The counselor she and the other girls have seen before knows about this. Talk to her. Stop pissing and moaning in my ear! I'm tired of it, and I'm only 31 pages in. Sigh, she is, at least, a fighter. Arghhh! How lame is this! And it's like this throughout the entire story.
It's too easy in some scenes and fraught with danger in others. Maxim is determined not to put his mark on her, so of course he slams it right down. He's denying it right up to the point he marks her, and he keeps denying it. So why mark her? Give me something to believe in here.
Okay, on the one hand, Shackler-Gastros doesn't care what condition she's in as long as she's alive swings over to she is to be in excellent health leave me confused and wondering what else doesn't make any sense. Fortunately, hmmm, or is that unfortunately?, Feehan keeps me confused all the way through. Do they really have worldwide motorcycle gangs? Seems kinda lame that Damon is a neighbor, married to a Drake, in the same field (working on Airi's project!), and yet he's never really spoken to her.
Oh, please. Jonas recognizes Maxim as a Prakenskii and must realize how lethal his brothers are.
Aww, the kids are still so freaked and they come in Maxim and Airi's bedroom. Every night. You can imagine how Maxim is starting to feel.
On the plus side, I can tick off having read this installment. Um, I'm trying to think of more pluses…
Psst, Feehan, you might want to change that Harrison back to Harrington before Jonas finds out.
The Story Airi thinks she’s been going mad for a while now. She sees patterns everywhere, and she can’t stop devouring any book in her path. Hmmm, I can understand that one.
Luckily??, she won't have long to worry as she's been targeted by some very powerful people. The project she worked on as a child has stymied some of the world's greatest minds, and Airi could well be the answer to their problems.
The Characters Airiana "Airi" Riddell was a mathematical child prodigy who was taken in by the government to a special school when she was seven, and today she has nightmares of that day she got home from school. Marina is Airi's brilliant mom struggling to cope with her "gift" with alcohol and loud music. It rarely works. Her true name is Marinochka Venediktov, and she was a student at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. Theodotus Solovyov is her father, a great and brilliant physicist in his native Russia. His legal wife, Elena, is a vicious, social-climbing bitch.
Maxim Prakenskii is an arms dealer. He's also Max Walberg. Gavriil Prakenskii is his brother, and he's asked Maxim to help Theodotus. Viktor is their oldest brother.
The farm is… …the girls' refuge. Lissa Pinar is their warrior woman and has tried to teach the girls self-defense moves. Thomas Vincent, a.k.a., Stefan Prakenskii, is an art dealer and married to Judith Henderson (her element is spirit) who has a gallery in town. Levi Hammond is really Lev Prakensii, and he's married to the autistic Rikki, who has power over water. Lexi Thompson, the youngest, has an earth gift and works their greenhouse and manages the farm. Blythe is the oldest of them with a gift for unifying the elements of the others; she's also a Drake cousin.
The Drake sisters are… …the most powerful magical family in Sea Haven and includes Joely Drake is married to Ilya Prakenskii; Sarah Drake is married to Damon Wilder, who works for the Defense Department; Elle Drake is married to Jackson; Sheriff Jonas Harrington is married to Hannah Drake who's in labor; and, Libby Drake and Tyson.
Lucia, Benito, Nicia and Sofia are twins, and Siena are Italian children who were "kidnapped". Shackler-Gratsos' clients will enjoy them very much.
Jorge Estrada is the owner of the resort.
Cyreck is a Greek who works for Evan Shackler-Gratsos, and he wants a piece of Airi. Leone Marciante, a bully and a brutal killer, and Ricco D'Amato were neighbors as children; now they kill together. They're guarding Galati who likes his boys young. Cahill and Lance work the engine room.
On board the slave ship, Prince Saeed is one of the worst perverts. He likes 'em young. His bodyguards include Conley and Shamar Dover, Yosuf and Jamel, and Sasha. On board the submarine, we meet Valentin Blatov, a "friend" of Maxim's. On board the boat, we encounter Feliks and Akim, two of the guards; Gorya is the steward; and, Boris is the first mate.
Uri Sorbacov wants his father's, Kostya's, crimes swept under the table and that includes what was done to the Prakensiis. The disappeared Dennet Laurent is suggested as a possible enemy.
Sea Haven is a small harbor town in California where the Drake sisters and the girls live. Frank Warner is Inez's fiancé.
Debra Jems is the counselor who brought these six gifted and traumatized women together in group therapy. Wanda Payne only moved into the Riddells' neighborhood a few years ago. Westwood was a contact at Airi's boarding school.
The Cover The cover is a blue-green with creams of air currents swirling and whirling with a three-quarter profile of Airi in the upper left corner.
The title is what Airi’s and Maxim's power is and where her heart lies, Air Bound....more
The Hawley Book of the Dead is a paranormal thriller and revolves around a family being hunted from Massachusetts to Las Vegas and back again.
This ARCThe Hawley Book of the Dead is a paranormal thriller and revolves around a family being hunted from Massachusetts to Las Vegas and back again.
This ARC was provided by NetGalley and publisher in exchange for an honest review.
My Take Excellent read! A very different take on witches, the fae, and magic that brings in an evil pursuit. I find myself hoping that Szarlan will make this into a series, although I'm not sure how she'd manage it.
Szarlan yanked me into the story right off the bat. That first sentence was a pip! I mean, how can you ignore such a start?! It's a beginning that ends life as Reve knows it, but jerks us back to the beginning. It's like a yo-yo, bouncing back and forth, preparing us, hoping that it's a trick. And ended in my crying so much when I read this. And I'm crying again as I write this review and remembering what happened. It's so senseless, so unfair.
Keeping in mind that this is an ARC and that the text may change between when I read it and when the book is released to the public, I absolutely love what Reve has to say about writing being magic. It's a beautiful paragraph, and you may want to write it up for an inspirational thought to keep your spirits up.
It's horrible as Reve remembers back into her past. That jolt of memory that explains who her Fetch is. The what-ifs this inspires in me. I'm so angry.
It's memories of Reve's own past — of family tales and friendship with Jolon, of Dyer women's history, of recent family history. It's life, family life with all the trials and tribulations of raising intelligent girls — two of 'em teens! — and a beloved yet dead father. It's the fear of the Fetch and that delicate balance a mother will strive for in protecting her children but not frightening them. It's that battle with an older generation who believes that ignorance is safety… It's also Voss' story and his downward spiral.
Part of Reve's past is Maggie. One of a group of students concerned about how scientists and the government are using the space around campus. It's her request of Reve that sets things off. It's also a repeat of history with the twins disappearing and a Fetch after the family. Man, Szarlan knows how to tug at the heartstrings, how to whip up emotions, how to show us Reve's fears.
Interesting and VERY believable twist on the truth about the Tuatha de Danann and what underground truly meant. Gramps' theory about Hawley Five Corners.
The niggles… Why, oh why, does Reve question Falcon Eddy when it was her Nan who sent him? That's like questioning Nan. Why doesn't she remember the story Nan told her? The whole ignorance trope irritates the hell out of me. And now, suddenly, in a couple paragraphs, Reve knows all *eye roll*. It's not so much that all of a sudden Nan is spilling the beans or that Reve figures things out, but the way in which Szarlan suddenly lets it all out. There's no finesse. It just spills like an overeager writer can't wait to tell us all. Why doesn't she tell us why the Reverend is so dangerous? So she's keeping him in check…from what?
How sick is that? Blaming his choices on someone else. Setting up the destruction of his own world and then destroying others. That's so wrong.
It's a fabulous story in which Szarlan keeps us wondering. Yes, there are some rough edges, but they're minor. I wish she had been a touch more explicit when she finally gets around to the reveals, but I suspect it's simply my wanting every i dotted and every t crossed. I don't want to use my imagination — what if I'm wrong?! That and I want more. I want to know more about what happens with the twins, with Callie. What's going on with Nan and her "roommate"? What does the future hold for Jolon? Will Reve ever see Jeremy again? And, damn it, I'm crying again.
"…there are more things in heaven and under earth than are dreamt of…
The Story Tragedy strikes this loving family when Jeremy is killed. Onstage. By his wife. And the cops wonder how she’s involved, for Jeremy came from money.
Then the photographs begin to appear. Pictures of the daughters at various tasks. The pictures singed and smelling of sulfur. And the police can find no answers.
It’s a move that Reve has put off, but with her family in danger, she takes them home. Home to Hawley Five Corners where they’ll become the Dyers. Again. It’s a village filled with history and a ghost of a mystery, one that haunts the surrounding towns.
The Characters Jeremy and Revelation "Reve" Maskelyne are a double act in Las Vegas, "The Great Revelation and the Maskelyne Mind", making a good living with their story of a magic show at the small theater they lease, the Bijoux. Jeremy comes from a family of magicians while Revelation comes from a family of magic, and her Gift is one of invisibility. Grace and Fai are their twin, fifteen-year-old daughters; Caleigh is their ten-year-old with a thing for cheese. Her magic has made itself known in her string. Marisol is their housekeeper. Nathan Landry is Jeremy's cousin, gay and disowned by his Republican Catholic parents, and now he lives with the Maskelynes, tutoring the girls. He has a love of fencing, history — he got a first from Oxford in Renaissance Studies, and learning the family trade. Henry is Reve's agent who suggests a new way for Reve to make a living.
They came for the funeral… Aunts Viv (can tell you how to travel to anyplace at all) and Gwen (can find any lost thing) came from California. Reve's parents, Grand and Gramps, Morgan (her gift is healing) and her dad (his field is comparative literature), came from Massachusetts. Bertie Maskelyne was the only relative who flew in from England.
Hawley Five Corners, Massachusetts, is… …a deserted village founded by Reve's great-greats and still owned by Nan. And she's the last of the Revelations, a name bestowed on the daughter who will inherit the mantle. Each one's gift is different, but each Dyer is born with magic. Nan is Reve's maternal grandmother. Ninety-seven years old and still working her mastery with her birds, a master falconer. Falcon Eddy is a friend of Nan's. Sent to help keep her safe. The Reverend John Steel is a Baptist minister, odd, creepy. Willy is Nan's housekeeper. Vienna Warriner was Nan's best friend back in 1923.
Miss May is the family, er, horses' goat. The horses are Zar, Reve's chestnut, Rikka is Fai's gray, and Brio is Grace's black.
Carl Streeter lives in Hawley Village and preps a house for the remaining Maskelynes to come home to. He's married to Brenda, a Hawley girl. Peri manages the Creamery, a landmark diner for the community. Bridget Granger Sears and Tilda Delaney are two young ladies of Lithia town. Paula is a waitress at Pizza by Earl. Mrs. Jerusha Pike is their dour housekeeper; Remy Pike is her husband and the leader of the men — including Mike and Len — following Reve around, keeping her safe, and who don't want Reve to know about the disappearances of those girls in 1923. Hank, though, he doesn't want anything to happen to Reve's girls. Hannah Sears is the only one who came back. It began with Lucy Bell, Aggie Green, Liza Sears, Maria Hall, then Anna Sewall… Hannah was the sixth. But she came back. From the forest. Sam, Scott, Gina, and Ray are all concerned about today's disappearances.
Police Chief Jolon Adair was Reve's best friend as a child until he was forced to move away. Now he's back as the chief of police in Hawley. His father was the groundskeeper on the college grounds, and his mother stayed at home in their house on the edge of Hawley Forest. The Jesuit Brothers took Jolon in, and Brother Thomas taught him to track. But why didn't he come back when his mother abandoned him?Officer Bob is a guard in the house.
In 1775, Urbane Sears and his wife, Bethia Dyer Sears, added a large extension to the house that Reve, the girls, and Nathan have moved into. He was the first merchant of Hawley and the progenitor of the Sears clan. In 1883, Edith Miniter and Evanore Beebe were chased down the lane.
The Fetch, a stealer of souls, is a family legend from 1832 and its effect on Lucius Gowdy. Abel Carmichael is a retired roofer up hunting. Simon Magus the web weaver.
Maggie Hamilton is another part of Reve's past. A friend, a college classmate who disappeared forever, a dissident angry over government experimentation. Leon and Eli were fellow dissident students. In the tunnels, Lupo and Andy are FBI guards. Dr. Harmon has a close encounter after observing a man being tortured.
Rigel Voss was a star throughout his student years and at the start of his FBI career. Then a college operation where he was in charge proved his downfall. It didn't help with his beloved wife, Alice. Emily was Alice's sister. Assistant Director Hunter wants Voss to retract. Cinda was Hunter's secretary and no longer flirtatious around him. Rivera and Lindley are old friends come to take him in.
Las Vegas Wesley Knowles, formerly one of the Five Chinese Brothers, is now a watchman at the Bijoux. Dan Liston is the prop master and general technician. Nico is the Maskelyne lawyer. Setekh the Magnificent was known by Caleigh's parents.
The Perpetual Tag Sale is quite here-and-therian with lots of treasures.
The Cover The cover scares me. It makes me think of old, old things and blood. A photo album bound in cords with its recessed rectangle for a photograph of a little girl heading down the lane where an unknown figure awaits as violets snake their way onto the front.
The title is a myth, a dangerous relic, a missing treasure. It all depends on who you are and what you know of The Hawley Book of the Dead. ...more
Second in the Roaring Twenties historical paranormal romance series set in San Francisco in 1928 and revolving around the Magnusson family. The coupleSecond in the Roaring Twenties historical paranormal romance series set in San Francisco in 1928 and revolving around the Magnusson family. The couple focus is on Lowe Magnusson and Hadley Bacall.
My Take This was another fun one. Different from Bitter Spirits, 1, but just as full of action and character, and a fun tour of San Francisco twelve years after the quake as Hadley and Lowe race about, exploring, investigating, lying.
On the whole I like Hadley, but she does annoy me with her insistence that she be treated as though she were a man, and then she gets annoyed when he does. She's such a prickly, overly sensitive thing.
"If people like me didn't dig, what would you study?"
Lowe can spin a story like nobody's business, and he's tricky with his psychological siege of Hadley. He pays attention and uses what he learns to "assault" her tower. It's part of what makes him so very interesting to an unwilling but intrigued Hadley. There's also that family of his. Warm, laughing, hugs. Nothing she's familiar with.
That's not the only way in which her father is a jerk. I give him kudos for "allowing" his daughter to get an education and work with him at the museum. But everything is per his own secret agenda. Bacall says many of the right things, but he's such a hypocrite and a liar! Nor does he seem to care about his daughter at all! He gives gifts of what he loves to others whether they'd like it or not. He collects books but not to read…quelle horreur…although, it turns out that Hadley is a book snob. Lowe does sum it up well towards the end.
That Oliver doesn't impress me too much either. Putting on his coat while Hadley stands there shivering. Another jerk! And what's with that "hysterical" comment! Why is it that men always put women down with words like that or "is it that time of the month"? Arghhh! As for Hadley's mother…what a bitch.
Oliver does serve well as a foil for Lowe. Lowe may be a thief and a liar, but he is considerate, interesting, and quite flirtatious with it. Mmm…bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do… He also understands why Hadley feels so betrayed. And…sigh…he does have his priorities straight.
Winter's few appearances in this are only to scold Lowe. And he has good reason.
Bennett cracked me up with Lowe's obsession over Hadley's backside. It's such a contrast between what he wants from her father…and what he wants from her besides it being such a contrast for Hadley, lol. She's wanting and not wanting all at the same time — and so confused with it!
Bennett also comes in with the hook at just the right time. Hmmm, she must know Lowe pretty well, *more laughter*. It intrigued me as well, and then it had the potential to get better for those who enjoy a good puzzle. Except Bennett doesn't provide enough information to let us work at it. Not that it's that big of a negative. Most authors don't provide all the clues, dang it.
Why does Lowe have to ruin the books? Couldn't he have just slid his knife along an edge?
Lowe's past comes back to throw a wrench in everything from Hadley's love to Lowe's own chances for survival. Hadley's association with him could ruin her reputation — god knows, it's already screwed Lowe's chances. And Hadley is so furious that she seeks out the one source who can tell her the truth, little realizing what it could mean for him.
Um, in what world does Hadley believe they have time to sit down and suss things out?
Due to all the lies, there are mysteries within mysteries. And Bennett keeps it that way even as she reveals bits and pieces — that contradict what's been said — along the way.
You'll adore the end…Lowe is still concocting elaborate stories, lol.
The Story It begins with a battle, a chase, and a running leap for a train leaving the station. The perfect situation for these cohorts in escape to show their true colors. For the thugs are after a mythical artifact Lowe found in Egypt. One purported to open the door to the land of the dead: the Backbone of Osiris, the djed.
The Characters Lowe Magnusson has been having a ball, sort of. Roaming the world, looting, er, releasing antiquities from the ground in which they've been buried for millennia. He's the most charming born liar and would rather make an illegal dollar than any other. His brother, Winter, is one of the top bootleggers in San Francisco (see Bitter Spirits). Aida is Winter's very pregnant wife. She's also a spirit medium who can speak with the dead. Sam is Aida's brindled mastiff. Astrid is his young sister, and she appears to be caught up in Bo Yeung, a Chinese orphan Winter caught picking his pocket some years back. Now he's Winter's righthand man and Astrid's bodyguard. Greta is the family housekeeper. Lulu is the red Indian motorcycle Lowe prefers. Jonte is the chauffeur.
Dr. Hadley Bacall is Dr. Archibald Bacall's assistant and daughter — he is the curator for the Egyptian Antiquities wing of the de Young Museum in San Francisco. Hadley specializes in funerary archeology and has a touch phobia. Mori are the Death specters, the Sheut, the shadows, Hadley inherited from her mother, the deceased Vera. Mrs. Wentworth is her latest maid. Number Four is the cat she doesn't want. You'll love how the cat got its name, lol.Noel Irving was Archie's excavating partner and best friend…and more. Charlotte is Bacall's housekeeper.
Adam Goldberg has been Lowe's best friend forever; he's also a watchmaker. A very talented man with small details. Stella Goldberg is his four-year-old deaf daughter. Miriam is his dead wife, flu. Mrs. Berkovich owns the deli. Velma Toussaint owns the Gris-Gris Club and practices hoodoo. Daniels manages the club. Mrs. Geller will become Stella's nanny.
The de Young Museum George Houston is what Hadley calls "her biggest mistake", and she's got that right. Miss Tilly is Dr. A. Bacall's secretary. Stan is Bacall's assistant and helps guide the blind doctor around. Mr. Hill is a night guard. Director Amir is with the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
Oliver Ginn, a.k.a., Moneypants, is a patron of the arts.
Monk Morales is a thug in San Francisco. And he is excessively annoyed with Lowe.
Mr. Walter is the elevator operator in Hadley's building. Rose and Nunzio Alioto make the best chowder on the wharf. Madame Dubois makes custom lingerie and loves Hadley's designs. Ruby is an old girlfriend, Lowe claims, who he'll use as a fallback. Detective Cohen investigates Adam's murder. The Ackermans own the hardware store next to Adam's place.
Mrs. Rosewood was a shipping heiress. Mr. Farnsworth is the realtor showing houses. He's supposed to be showing this one to the Davidsons. Henrietta Trotter was one of Hugo Trotter's sisters. Hugo Junior now operates a funeral home in Lawndale (today's Colma). Mrs. Price had a cousin, a very bad cousin. Samuel Levin is having a party. And he's Monk's silent buyer.
The Cover The cover is heated with its oranges, blues and the half-dressed Lowe holding Hadley in her sheer dress as her Mori writhe around her against a collage of a cable car, desert, and what appears to be a flat-topped hill with ruins.
No kidding, the title is Grim Shadows, only I’m not sure which merits the title more: Hadley’s Mori or the evil that waits in the shadows....more
Eleventh in the GhostWalker military paranormal romance series and revolving around psychically and physically enhanced men, women, and babies. The coEleventh in the GhostWalker military paranormal romance series and revolving around psychically and physically enhanced men, women, and babies. The couple focus is on Wyatt Fontenot and Pepper.
My Take When I heard there was a new GhostWalker installment, well, I was so excited I started counting down the days. When I got it, I hovered between gotta read it right now and trying to hold off to make it last longer. Feehan managed to make it last longer all by herself. It was endless, and I was so incredibly disappointed.
I don't know what's going on in Feehan's life or if she's getting confused with all the series she has going on, but this reads more like a story from her Leopard People series — overly melodramatic. She must be feeling desperate for drama as well, so she brought babies into this mix.
The page count is pumped up by all the repetition. Jesus. I liked that Wyatt insists that he and Pepper talk out their issues before they make stupid moves, so naturally an additional trope has to include Pepper getting ready to run every other minute. Without talking to Wyatt. Because she's so flawed. He can't possibly love her. She's dangerous to him, to his Nonny. Oh, woe, she must flee. Without talking to Wyatt. Even though he's so dominating and strong. So protective. Gag.
Yeah, it does go on and on like this. No, I lie. It's worse. Wait'll you get to the end of the big battle scene after Pepper has killed a man using her wiles. Oh, no! She killed someone to protect the babies and the team. Oh, she must be so flawed. Wyatt will hate her forever. More gagging.
Feehan repeats this crap over and over. God forbid you should forget how much Pepper hates and fears men. How much she loves the babies. How possessive Wyatt is about Pepper, but he hates women. I got to wondering, as Pepper yammers on about how unworthy she is, why doesn't Wyatt tell her about Flame?
There's the descent into the insta-attraction melodramatic trope. Pepper feels the attraction to Wyatt's confidence, his ability to dominate, command a room, the sheer sexual pull. Naturally, Wyatt's heart did a curious somersault and his cock stirred … she was built for long, lazy nights on the bayou…. Of course, neither likes the other sex. They've sworn off men/women. So we spend the entire story fighting and fucking. Ya know, I do enjoy sex scenes, lovemaking, whatever you want to call it… and I found myself skipping a lot of it. Partly because Wyatt is so clumsily dominant and irrationally jealous.
Feehan is also clumsy in portraying the initial team — Wyatt, Malichai, and Ezekiel — as having cat genes. Oh, she tells us every some clutch of pages, but if it weren't for the tell, I'd never know it. She talks about the men having a need to hunt, to rage because of the cat within them. We never do actually go hunting, unless it's to go to the evil compound. I suppose you could say their defense against the attack at the house involved hunting. Technically.
While I like that Wyatt is trying to communicate, that he comes to see Pepper's perspective on his actions, I don't understand why he's so quick to be mad angry-possessive. Yeah, yeah, I know all about the cat genes making him territorial, but it's out of all proportion.
"I'm the boss, not bossy, there's a difference."
Feehan sets up the possibility for tension in the team over Pepper — and not just the sexual attraction aspect — and whether she's part of a trap. But it doesn't go anywhere. It gets a few mentions, and that's it. I guess it was easier just to cut-and-paste the I want you / I don't want you along with all the sex onto the pages (over and over and over) rather than use her brain to develop this.
There are some funny bits in here. Wyatt's "teaching" the granny-bashing guard some manners, Draden's reminders to Trap to be nice, the encounter with Harley and the snotty Lucia, Nonny's stories about how she raised the boys. It sounds beautiful and so very cozy and homey.
Um, if you're planning to include French in a story, know that the language has the formal vous and the familiar tu. I don't think lovers are using vous between themselves.
Feehan says "the Fontenot home is old, even for the bayou", and then she goes on to repeat how the boys Nonny raised built the house for her. Huh, I thought those boys were only in their 30s, and I gotta confess, I don't think a less than 30-year-old house is that old.
Oh, gimme a break. Wyatt's complaining that Pepper didn't tell them how many guards would be on the roof, and a few paragraphs later, he's stating that they "reconned multiple times". And Pepper's so brilliant, she doesn't think to warn the boys about the enhanced soldiers Braden has?
If you have time to waste reading, go ahead BUT get it from the library.
The Story There are strangers in the bayou and a terrified woman with a baby on the run. She's desperate. Desperate to return and rescue the two babies who were caught when she and Ginger escaped.
Now Wyatt and his friends have come home in answer to Nonny's request, and they won't be putting up with such behavior. Nor allowing anyone to hurt a child.
The Characters Pepper is a GhostWalker who believes she's flawed. She's been trained to be a seductress who can kill with a bite, and her body has been manipulated to put her into an ever-increasing heat if she goes too long with sex. She and the viperous, 17-month-old babies who run like the wind, communicate with ASL, and are obviously very intelligent — Ginger, Cannelle, and Thym — are scheduled for termination.
Dr. Wyatt Fontenot grew up in the bayou with the ability to hear others in his mind and do psychic healing. He left in a temper, making a poor decision. Grand-mere, Grace Fontenot, is Nonny, their 80-plus-year-old beloved, respected, very intelligent, plant-gathering grandmother who raised her grandsons and lives in the bayou. Raoul, a.k.a., Gator, is one of his three brothers, and he's married to Flame (see Night Game, 3).
Wyatt's team of GhostWalkers have been… …psychically and physically enhanced and cat genes added to their DNA. Their day jobs are in the Pararescue Jumpers, an Air Force Special Forces team. Malichai and Ezekiel (can manipulate snakes, frogs, and insects) Fortunes are two of the three brothers who raised themselves on the street (Modichai will show up later) with Mal and Zeke part of Wyatt's initial team. Draden Freeman, a.k.a., Sandman, was a model before he went for the enhancements, and he's an amazing medic.
Trap Dawkins is a billionaire who retains everything he's ever read and decided to go for the enhancements *eye roll* (he can get through any building and is a straight-up assassin) — they call him the iceman. He has no clue how to behave in society and doesn't care enough to be nice, although Wyatt says that Trap feels compassion. There's an interesting insight much later in the book from Trap and why he befriended Wyatt. And he's being set up for his own story.Daryl Monroe is Trap's assistant.
Lily Whitney Miller is Whitney's daughter, and she hates everything her father stood for. She's married to Captain Ryland Miller, the leader of the GhostWalkers (see Shadow Game, 1).
Wilson Plastics is… …run by Dr. Braden. The boys believe the compound is a blind for human experimentation. The guards include Blake, Larry, Jim, and Pierre is one of the enhanced ones.
Cayenne is a new reject brought to Wilson Plastics.
Dr. Peter Whitney is the evil mad scientist all the GhostWalkers have been chasing since Shadow Game and his ugly head is raised up in this one as well. Violet Freeman is officially a widow and a traitorous GhostWalker; she's hooked up with Whitney.
Delmar Thiboudeaux owns the Huracan Club and saw the Rougarou that haunts the swamps. A traiteur is the local healer whom Nonny supplies with plants. Joy Chassion is the popular girl whom Wyatt had thought he loved. Mrs. Marsh owns the clothing store and is the biggest gossip in the area. Harley Jetter is an old friend from high school who chose to stay on the river. Lucia is with Harley, but angling for Wyatt's attention. Alain Daughtry works as a shoe salesman now and has always thought he has a right to any woman he wants.
Sergeant Major Theodore Griffen ran one of the GhostWalker teams.
The Cover and Title The cover is well done. Pepper is gorgeous with her bedroom eyes and the pink scales beneath them, the pouty lips, the black hair twisted into a loose braid with a very snake-like roundness, a pattern of scales embedded into her hair. The background is deep in the bayou, overgrown with trees and plants. Look carefully and you'll see the green snake slithering down along the right side of Pepper's head.
The title is too accurate, for this deadly maneuver is a Viper Game....more
First in the Ghost Stories urban fantasy series about a ghost … who once lived in Buckley Township in Michigan.
My Take Man, even thinking about this stFirst in the Ghost Stories urban fantasy series about a ghost … who once lived in Buckley Township in Michigan.
My Take Man, even thinking about this story again makes me cry, for the loss and for the stupid horror of the accident that changed Rose’s life. Then what Gary does? What can I say, keep those tissues handy. Keep ‘em handy for the night Rose gets pushed into telling her story. I don’t care who you are, you will weep.
It reads like a series of short stories woven into a single story, a truly fabulous story — even with all the tears — as McGuire creates a whole new culture about ghosts with hierarchies and specialties. And McGuire teases, tantalizes, and leads you on, giving out hints and tastes that lead to the whole story. What I enjoyed was how well she teased, lol.
Makes sense that carnie workers know a ghost and their cultures; they’re a very generous group.
Do pay attention to the dates as McGuire has you hopping back and forth from today to 1952.
The Story Rose Marshall came from the wrong side of the tracks but it didn’t keep Gary from loving her. He knew how much he adored his Rose, if only Rose had kept the faith that night.
Angry, miserable, Rose ignores all around her until the white-haired trucker who bought her a cheese sandwich.
After that, it’s the smells that warn Rose how badly her help is needed: ashes and honeysuckle is negotiable, of the road; ashes and lilies is a foregone conclusion;
The Characters Rose Marshall is a hitcher who travels the roads doing good deeds as a psychopomp. The urban "myths" call her anything from the ghost of Sparrow Hill Road, the woman at the diner, Phantom Prom Date, Girl in the Diner, and the Lady in Green. Arthur and Morty are her older brothers. Gary Daniels is the boy from the right side of the tracks, the boy she loved. Bethany is a routewitch and Rose's grandniece, and she oughta know better. Mary Dunlavy also died in Buckley, now she's a crossroads ghost.
The Last Dance Diner is run by Emma, a beán sidhe, an Irish death omen and collector of the unquiet dead. The Last Dance is a safe diner for ghosts until it becomes the Last Chance. Amy O'Malley is a three-fer. Will is the boy she loves. The last of her family, she's looked after by Emma. The Valhalla Valkyries give Rose their blessing. The Kindly Ones watch for oathbreakers.
Larry Vibber is a truck driver; Tommy wanted to win that race to marry his girl; Mckenzie is a cheerleader; Dinah and Josie are waitresses; Michael and Anthony, the college boy, are caught in the crossfire; Chris is a sweetheart who doesn't deserve it; and, Dennis was a hitchhiker caught up in more than anyone could believe. Patrick Swenson and Josh are alive because they listened.
Apple is the Queen of the Routewitches, not someone you want to cross, and holds "court on the old Atlantic Highway". The Ocean Lady is the ghost version of this highway. Eloise is a routewitch who gave Rose the information. The last ruler was the King who took on the punishment for what he did. Mikey does the tattoo. Carl is the routewitch who helps Gary with his last request.
The evil Bobby Cross is wormwood and ashes; he's made a deal with the crossroads, and it's not one that favors anyone else. Dmitri doesn't know what he is. Professor Laura Moorhead is a survivor, and she's furious about her boyfriend's death. Jamie, Marla, Angela, Tom, and Katherine shouldn't have listened to Laura.
Hitchers know their roads whether they're ghost roads or the real thing. Homecomers forget everything but wanting to get home. Not much is known about the trainspotters except that sometimes they can see the future. Strigoi are trapped by wanting to finish something. Routewitches hunt down the stories of the roads, make bargains with it, use its power. Phantom riders bring their cars with them, home, and are tied to the stretch of road where they died. Crossroads ghosts oversee the bargains. A haunt lost love at some point and their kiss can kill or cure. "The twilight is another country", a place where you adapt or die. A Maggy Dhu is a Black Hound of the Dead whose bite kills.
The Cover and Title The cover is perfect with a slightly transparent Rose and a letter jacket resting on a vintage car beside a cornfield. She may not be in her green prom dress, but she’s still dressed for her time period in a pair of rolled-up jeans and a form-fitting, satin shirt with a sad look on her face.
The title is where Rose was killed, on Sparrow Hill Road. ...more
A paranormal thriller set in Los Angeles that will keep you glued to your seat.
This ARC was provided by NetGalley and Alibi in exchange for an honestA paranormal thriller set in Los Angeles that will keep you glued to your seat.
This ARC was provided by NetGalley and Alibi in exchange for an honest review.
My Take This was brilliant and awful, absolutely heartbreaking. Yes, I had niggles, and I'm probably somewhat prejudiced towards this story simply because one of the characters is an artist who had the same dream I had.
Emley dragged me in immediately with Junior's annoyed questions. Ones that had me wondering what was going on. She further pulls me in with Danny and his predicaments. Yes, more than one. He's sick. He's obsessing about Junior. And he has something awful planned. Something from which he doesn't intend to return. It's Danny who first tells us how the blackness all panned out. And Emley quickly reduces me to tears. Over and over.
And yet, if Rory knew that Junior was not responsible, why has she never visited him? Why did she let the investigation die? Why did she go along with the party line? The reveal at the end suggests that Anya was protecting different people at different times in her work. If this is true, why was Anya pursuing Junior as she was? Why was she working so hard to create problems between her sister and Junior?
Emley is good at leaving me guessing about Tom and Evelyn. I can't figure Tom out. Emley goes back and forth with him, questioning what's happening with Rory, how he feels about it. Will he be supportive? Is he out for what he can get? Is he kissing up to his future mother-in-law? Does he love Rory enough? With Rory slipping away, her contradictory comments, the jabs she's delivering to Tom, there's really only the one scene where he lays his concerns out to Evelyn, but it's all tell.
Rory has her comments about her mother, and at first Evelyn seems a concerned mother, but Emley slips in those subtle moments when you start to wonder about her. It's at the end that all the truths come out. Horrible. Disgusting accommodations, anything for money.
I do like the twist in how Emley achieves justice. I am in tears for Danny, Junior, and his family. As for Rory, well, I feel bad for Rory, but I don't like her. She has no loyalty.
It's so heartbreaking to read of Junior's current health. All that promise…
There's so much potential for some truly great drama here, but Emley merely dips under the surface. Still, it's a surface with waves that will shove you from side to side, into brightness, and down into darkness.
The Story Opposites — Rory and Daniel — are getting ill. Bothered by visions of doves flying. For Rory, this night, the La Vie en Rose ball, is important to her as it benefits the charity she began, TOV, which makes her the co-hostess. For Daniel, this night is important as he intends to find justice for a beloved brother.
But that night is just the start of Rory’s nightmare, for something or someone is invading her mind, affecting her body.
The Characters Guillermo "Junior" Lara is an incredible painter who keeps doves on the roof of the Killingsworth, the building he bought to fulfill his dreams, dreams to help other artists, to marry the woman he loves. Daniel Lara is Junior's baby brother, seventeen when it happened. The promising young athlete who's slowly dying, coughing, back sores, and more. Sylvia Torres is the sister who continues to give interviews, keeping her brother's condition in the press, always accusing the Tate family of being in the wrong, of covering up the truth. Elias is her husband, and they have two children, Vanessa and Georgie. Fermina is Junior, Danny, and Sylvia's devoted mother. She visits Junior every single day as does Danny. Chiclets is the family terrier.
Yvonne Argos is the attorney Sylvia has hired. Ethan Byrd is the artist who discovered the bodies.
The Villa del Sol d'Oro Rory, a.k.a., Aurora Langtry, is the younger twin. Just as beautiful, but more absorbed in the beauty company, Langtry Cosmetics, she started with seed money from her father-in-law and brought to prominence using her model sister's face. Tom Fuller is her worried fiancée. Anya is the older twin, the outrageously successful one with the career as a high-flying model. One bought at great expense. Evelyn Langtry Tate married Richard Tate III, a.k.a., Ratsy, L.A. old money. Abigail "Boo" Barrett is Tate's first wife. Jordan is his secretary. Richie, Richard Tate IV, is a backstabbing jerk with no long-term sense, Rory's stepbrother, and CEO of Rory's company. Paige is his wife; Beatrice is their daughter. Leland Declues is the Tate family attorney, Ratsy's fraternity brother, and a longtime family friend.
Graehme is Evelyn's assistant. Rosario is the housekeeper; Hector is her husband, and they live in the carriage house on the property with their two children. Donna is Rory and Anya's aunt, Evelyn's sister. She's married to Dave Knight, and they raised Evelyn's kids. DOB was Anya's secret caller.
Victoria Newell and Hannah Vorst are a couple of Rory's friends. Jonah Donati is a hedge-fund manager who dated Anya. Gilles is the make-up artist at Langtry Cosmetics.
The hospital Johnnie and T. Cordero are guards at the hospital. Corliss is the lead nurse on Junior's floor; Keith is the night nurse. Robert Patyk is Junior's roommate.
Dr. Reece Gaspar and Joy and Brad, two nurses, tend to Rory that first time. Dr. Toshiko Ballard is a neurologist. Dr. Templeton is an ob-gyn. Dr. Olga Ostermann is a psychiatrist at the Casa del Fuente. Simon Weber is one of del Fuente's administrators.
The police Officer Glen Shortall is the arresting officer at the ball. Sergeant Alex Burke quickly dismisses the arrest. Detective Harry Auburn worked the shooting five years ago; he's never been satisfied. Detective Gabe Rodriguez is his current partner. Dr. Gene Hedges is the coroner with a blind eye.
TOV is The Other Victims, a charity Rory started in Anya's name intended to provide aid to families of murder victims. Oscar Han of Kwik Kwality Kut and Sewing buys the Killingsworth building.
The Cover It’s a nice use of complements — blues and oranges — on the cover. It’s Rory holding a sheer blue curtain aside as she peers through the window of her life. A reflection in the window shows an artist’s brushstrokes in whites, yellows, and oranges outlining a tall building in a twilight sky, one window lit up. The author’s name is shades of orange while the title stands out in bordered white.
The title is more metaphor than truth, for The Night Visitor comes when he pleases, day or night....more
First in the Roaring Twenties historical paranormal romance series revolving around a medium and a bootlegger in San Francisco, in, when else, the 192First in the Roaring Twenties historical paranormal romance series revolving around a medium and a bootlegger in San Francisco, in, when else, the 1920s, 1927 to be exact.
My Take I loved this. Not only did Bennett put a nice twist on this, but she also kept this so true to the time period. Especially when it came to the developing romance between Aida and Winter. It took awhile before Bennett let them loose on each other, and it was so worth the wait! Of course, the brief description of the condoms of the time helped set the mood as well, lol.
It's an interesting combination of strong characters, Aida and Winter. She's a medium who channels the dead and roams the country performing while he's a bootlegger, settled into his business while punishing himself for what he sees as a guilty action. Add in a rogue rival who wants to take over the liquor distribution business in San Francisco, the possibility of tong wars, and secret tunnels, and it's game on.
I do hafta say, the ingredients in that antidote are just nasty…and that's understating it!
It's definitely exciting as Winter deftly evades the Feds as they raid and raid again. It's also annoying that Aida is soooo sensitive. Jesus, she leaps to conclusions faster than a race car pushes off from a starting line. All that back-and-forth each of them was doing over the s/he's attracted - s/he couldn't possibly be attracted got rather old. Of course, Winter has his duh-what moments as well. Takes him long enough to figure out what Aida really needs.
I love that Aida is so independent and proud even as she questions where she exists within society. She doesn't take any guff from anyone and doesn't hesitate to let them know. And Winter loves it. Someone with spunk!
Oh, Chinatown. I do miss it. All that lovely food, the smells, the sounds of it. Reading of the tasty treats Aida gets to eat drove me wild for some duck and a bowl of jook.
Bennett's obsession in telling us over and over that Winter is Swedish got me to thinking. We still ask each other where our people come from. Identifying ourselves as German, English, Irish, Indian, Italian, whatever. It's not that long ago, really, that immigrants were pouring into the United States, so it felt perfectly natural for Bennett to keep on this. No, I'm not dissing this or anything, it was simply an observation that cropped up, and I wanted to share it, lol. Part of the fun of writing reviews is shoving off my thoughts on y'all.
The Story It’s a curse that happens to bring Aida and Winter together. Lucky for Winter that Aida was performing at Velma’s speakeasy. She can at least get rid of the ghost, even if she does give him a whole new problem to deal with.
It’s a ripening relationship that occurs at the wrong time when a rival is pushing at Winter, and using Aida as one of the prods. Poison, arson, murderous ghosts, and kidnapping — nothing is too low for this man.
The Characters Aida Palmer is a very independently minded young lady who has been taking care of herself since she was seventeen. A trance medium, she invites the departed into her body to speak. Her brother, Sam, was a strong influence on her, except he died too young. Sam is also her mastiff dog. The Lanes took Aida and Sam in when the children lost their parents in the Great Fire of 1906. Emmet Lane was Mr. Lane's brother and not a kindly soul. Mrs. Stone is a medium who took Aida in and trained her in using her skills to earn a living.
Winter Magnusson inherited his father's bootlegging business and is one of the top three suppliers in San Francisco. Bo Yeung is a young Chinese boy Winter rescued; he's now his right hand man. And I wouldn't be a'tall surprised if he hooks up with Astrid!Greta is the housekeeper in his home. Jonte is his chauffeur. Winter's sister, Astrid, is seventeen years old and quite the handful. Benita is Astrid's seamstress. Paulina is the dead wife.
Velma Toussaint runs the Gris-Gris, a black-and-tan speakeasy in North Beach. She's also a witch who practices hoo-doo. Daniels is the club manager. Hezekiah is the compere, the host, for the show. Manny is one of the club's guards.
Chinatown Dr. Yip is an herbalist. Black Star, a.k.a., Mr. Wu, is a fortune teller with a history. Joe Cheung and Ju-Ray "Ju" Wong are a couple of the tong leaders. Sook Yin is a concubine (although not in the sense I would have defined it) who can choose which men she will lie with. And one of them was Winter.
Mr. and Mrs. Lin run the Golden Lotus, a Chinese restaurant, and rent out apartments, including one to Aida. Mr. Bradley Bix runs The Limbo Room in New Orleans and is interested in her doing a series of shows for him. Florie Beecham is a contemporary of Winter's and having a dinner party in her new mansion. Robert Morran is Florie's drunkard of a cousin. Harold Beecham is her dead husband. Andy Halstead is the lover she was cheating on him with. Adrian St. Laurent was one of the three big time bootleggers. Anthony Parducci goes out of business in a less spectacular way. I think Dina is dispatch at a police station.
Dick Jepsen is the first man Winter ever killed. Arnie Brown drowned but not at Winter's hand.
A black-and-tan speakeasy meant whites and blacks could enter and mingle together.
The Cover The cover is a vested Winter in lighter gray trousers grasping Aida in her cranberry evening dress and wearing a velvet headband with matching perky feather. They’re about to kiss with the Ferry Building and its clock tower in the background. I do wish the artist had been a bit more true to the storyline in terms of height.
The title is perfect for there are Bitter Spirits hunting Winter down....more
Second in The Cousins O'Dwyer paranormal romance series set in Ireland. The couple focus is on Connor and Meara as they finally realize they love loveSecond in The Cousins O'Dwyer paranormal romance series set in Ireland. The couple focus is on Connor and Meara as they finally realize they love love each other.
My Take Okay, it’s obvious what has to happen, but it’s still a sweet story encompassing six friends who are more like family in a beautiful setting. I love this if only for their supportiveness of each other, and the sound of the food! Oh, lordy. The food, Branna’s house, the horses, the hawks, the woods, heck even the pub meals sound fab!
Naturally, it isn’t perfect in this Irish heaven, as Meara must cope with her mother’s emotional indecisiveness and her own fear of what a relationship can bring. Branna has her own milestones to reach which will be achieved in the next installment.
The Story It’s testing and poking by Cabhan against the six --- the three and three.
They each will be tested and rescued by the others.
The Characters Meara Quinn has been a lifelong friend of the O’Dwyers and works in the stables. Donal is her brother and is moving out of their mother’s house and in with his girlfriend, Sharon. Maureen’s been married for a while and has her children. Colleen is their timid, indecisive mother who was abandoned by her weak husband years ago. Mrs. Hannigan had been their cook when Joseph Quinn had been around. Mary Clare is another daughter but lives too far away.
The romantic Connor O’Dwyer is of Eamon’s line and has his own Roibeard, his hawk familiar. He’s in charge of the falconry at the castle.
Finbar Burke is from Cabhan’s bloodline and in love with Branna, who does not want to love him back. Fin flies Merlin and rides Baru. Branna has her own Kathel with her and an affinity for hounds. Iona is of Sorcha through Teagan and holds Teagan’s affinity for horses and rides Alastar. In Dark Witch, 1, the focus was on Iona and Boyle McGraff, who is in charge of the stables.
Brian and Kyra work at the falconry. Megan Stanley wants to buy a hawk.
The original three Eamon is the youngest and the only son of Sorcha, the Dark Witch of Mayo. Dathi was their father before Cabhan murdered him. Eamon has Roibeard for his hawk while Brannaugh, the oldest daughter, has Kathel, her hound. Teagan, the middle child, has her horse, Alastar. Ailish is their mother’s cousin who fears her magicks; Bardan is her husband. Their children include Mabh, their oldest child, Seamus, and Brighid. Ailish is suggesting that Brannaugh wed Fial to start her own family and give her brother and sister a home. Slaine is the old plow horse Bardan gives the trio. Aine is a gypsy.
Cabhan is the evil sorcerer in this. He has somehow achieved immortality and is determined to destroy the O’Dwyers for their power and their blood.
The Cover The cover is a range of oranges. Dense woods border a wide path leading to the O’Dwyer cottage as Roibeard flies across the path. The author’s name and the fancy frame for the title are in a pale gray blue with the title in the darker orange.