Apprentice in Death, the 43rd installment in Nora Roberts’ wildly successful In Death series, won’t leave a single fan disappointed. By now, we’ve leaApprentice in Death, the 43rd installment in Nora Roberts’ wildly successful In Death series, won’t leave a single fan disappointed. By now, we’ve learned to expect only the best from this series and only the best is precisely what we always get. When a series has been successful for over 20 years, every new installment is pretty much a safe bet.
In Apprentice in Death, Eve hunts a LDSK (long-distance serial killer) – a laser sniper killing from a distance. The victims seem like random choices, but Eve senses a deeper motive in the killings. She quickly familiarizes herself with weapons and tactics while also assessing the targets and doing what she does best – entering the minds of killers. Eve has an uncanny ability to connect with killers, and she uses it rather well. Every now and then, Robb allows just a touch of paranormal into the series and it’s becoming quite obvious that there’s something supernatural to Eve’s talents. She sees murders unfold with little evidence and she can put herself completely in any killer’s place and fully understand their thoughts, emotions and motivations.
While the killings aren’t as bloody and messy as they sometimes can be, the killer is one of the worst in the series, difficult to accept and process. Their identity isn’t difficult for Eve to discover, but catching them with minimal loss of life is a whole different matter. Once again Eve has to be smarter, faster and more intuitive to outwit and capture a danger to her beloved city.
The frenzied hunt leaves little room for personal things, not only between Eve and Roarke, but also between Eve and her friends. I missed seeing her interact a bit more with people like Mr. Mira, Mavis or Leonardo, but Robb gave us just enough with Bella’s birthday celebration to keep us satisfied.
Each new release by J.D. Robb is considered a holiday in my house, and probably thousands of other homes around the world. Today is that day, my friends. Join the horde, grab a copy and enjoy.
4.5 stars Behind the Throne, K. B. Wagers’ sci-fi debut, fell into my hands after much praise from some of my most trusted peers. To describe my experi4.5 stars Behind the Throne, K. B. Wagers’ sci-fi debut, fell into my hands after much praise from some of my most trusted peers. To describe my experience with it as love at first chapter would not be an exaggeration at all. Discovering books like it and pushing them at unsuspecting readers is why I took up blogging in the first place. It gives me great pleasure to share my delight over this title with all of you.
Behind the Throne starts with a bang and continues in an unrelenting pace. It is set in a distant future, on one of many human colonies in space. The Indranan Empire relies somewhat on our reality, namely Indian culture and beliefs, but it’s really present only in traces that allow us to connect more easily. Although it neatly falls into the science fiction category, the first Indranan War book reads a lot like fantasy, which is to be expected considering the atmosphere and the political intrigue.
I’ve seen Behind the Throne compared to books like Queen of the Tearling, but the comparisons are vastly unfair. Although I enjoyed the first Tearling book, Behind the Throne is a much better work in every aspect, starting with the quality of writing and ending with the protagonist. Hailimi is a heroine like no other – tough, ruthless and sharp-witted. As the runaway daughter of the Indranan Empress, she wants nothing to do with the throne, but when the responsibility falls on her, she accepts it and does a fantastic job of it. She can be soft, kind, and even insecure, but she rises to every challenge and constantly displays an air of not-so-quiet confidence. It’s rare to find a protagonist like her, unapologetic and confident in every situation.
Hailimi isn’t a heroine that prevaricates or dawdles in any given situation. She chooses her course swiftly and decidedly and she follows through until the end. She accepts and even follows advice of her trusted guards, but in the end, she is aware of her own worth and confident in her abilities. These days it’s tough to find a heroine like her, someone who doesn’t doubt herself on every step of the way. I could see myself following someone like her blindly and even dying to protect her, for the good of the Empire.
Wagers does an equally excellent job with her side characters. A lot of love and effort was put into Emmory, the leader of Hail’s guard. His partner was equally well crafted and the two together provided much needed physical and emotional support for our heroine. There are several others that stood out, the most complex being the empress-mother herself.
Hailimi falls into the snake pit that is her mother’s court as the only remaining hope for the empire. She wants nothing to do with it, but she suddenly has to play if she is to save her family’s legacy. There are so many obstacles ahead of her and very few people she can trust. The plots to undermine her are complex and very well done, with enemies coming from all sides and friends ready to betray when least expected. While the book is strongest in characterization, plotting doesn’t fall behind, and all of it is laced with a wicked sense of humor that makes even the biggest tragedies bearable.
Behind the Throne needs little help for me since its success is practically guaranteed. Word of mouth is still the best way to sell a book, and this one will make a fan of anyone who touches it. Trust me when I tell you it will make a fan out of you, too.
It’s always so good to be back with our Charley. Even after ten books, she’s still such a breath of fresh air and she always makes us laugh. There’s bIt’s always so good to be back with our Charley. Even after ten books, she’s still such a breath of fresh air and she always makes us laugh. There’s been a lot of heartbreak in her life lately, but she always manages to stay upbeat and spread sarcasm wherever she turns. It could be the ADD, or maybe she’s just certifiably insane. Either way, it works for her, and it definitely works for us.
Charley is working on one of those cases only she could possibly solve. Emery Adams is dead, her fiancé accused of murder in what appears to be a slam dunk case. However, Charley is less than convinced, and so are Emery’s friends and family. The mystery takes some time to unravel, especially for an investigator with ADD, but as usual, it’s a good one. In addition, Charley stumbles upon a young homeless girl with a curse. If she is to save the girl’s life, she has to dig out the truth about a group home called Harbor House. Cookie is there to help, of course, but even then it’s a race against time.
The worlds of Charley Davidson (and there are now many) are becoming complicated. The number of her enemies and allies both is constantly growing. Now that some of her allies are guarding Beep, though, new people are showing up to fill in for them. I can never get enough of Darynda’s secondary characters, starting with Cookie and ending with Pari the tattoo artist. Fortunately, both of them get plenty of page time in this book.
I’m afraid I also have to address a pet peeve of mine, which takes up a lot of this book. For such a strong, practically destined couple, Charley and Reyes spend very little time actually talking to each other. In fact, most of their marriage is a series of ridiculous misunderstandings, made that much more difficult by Charley’s tendency to hide things and investigate behind Reyes’ back. She is the queen of wrong conclusions, and his avoidance techniques certainly don’t help. Fortunately for them, a wicked game of Twister can solve a lot, and the rest kind of takes care of itself.
Without another word, he stepped forward, and while still holding a plate in each hand, he bent down and put his mouth on mine. I raised half-closed fists to his chest and melted into him. Most of me did, anyway. Some of me melted into my panties.
I’m not sure how many more books we’ll be getting about Charley, but a spin-off is definitely in the works. All the signs are there, and while I’m sure no one could ever replace our Charley, her daughter at least deserves a chance to try.
After two books focused on other members of Destructive Delta (Ash and Cael followed by Calvin and Hobbs), we’re finally back with Dex and Sloane. AsAfter two books focused on other members of Destructive Delta (Ash and Cael followed by Calvin and Hobbs), we’re finally back with Dex and Sloane. As much as I enjoyed seeing the other couples finally get together, I was desperate to rejoin my favorite blond, blue-eyed, gummy bear devourer. Unfortunately, Smoke & Mirrors starts out with both of our heroes in deep trouble so it takes a while for us to reach a part where we can laugh alongside them.
It’s quite obvious that Sloane and Dex’s main story arc is slowly coming to an end. At this point, we finally have more answers than questions and both Dex and Sloane understand their pasts more clearly. When they finally come, the answers are unexpected and hurtful and they put a strain on this usually solid relationship. It was so difficult to watch our boys go through so much once again, especially when they had to do it apart, but it was also useful to see that they’re still human and fallible. They seemed just a bit too perfect for a while.
As far as Dex’s and Sloane’s relationship goes, I was surprised by some of their choices in this book and maybe a tiny bit disappointed. I expect more from them, especially Sloane, and I wanted to see him keeping his word in every situation. However, the two of them keep learning about each other and accepting each other for who they truly are, which is the most important thing.
Dex undergoes some major changes in this story and while they were surprising and the novelty was awesome, I must confess I wasn’t too comfortable with the direction. With seven books behind us, I understand we need major twists to keep things alive, but it’s difficult for us readers to adjust to such profound changes. At the same time, what happened to him seemed to me like an easy way out, a cop out of sorts and a magical fix for most of their problems, which I did not like. I wish Charlie had found another way to make things work and keep Dex alive.
Aside from that, though, Smoke and Mirrors is an emotional, excellent book that will give the fans precisely what they want and need – more THIRDS awesomeness, more action, more humor and more deliciously hot romances. What’s not to like?
First of all, thank you, Nora Roberts, for being consistently amazing. Getting the latest J. D. Robb book is practically a holiday in my house. No mo
First of all, thank you, Nora Roberts, for being consistently amazing. Getting the latest J. D. Robb book is practically a holiday in my house. No more than six months pass between her books, and yet somehow they always seem like an eternity.
Honestly, what could be better than a series that keeps on being awesome, even after 42 installments? Not much, that’s what. I know these characters inside and out, but more importantly, Nora knows them too, which means they are always, unfailingly, true to themselves. It’s high praise indeed for a series that’s gone on for approximately 15000 pages. High praise from someone who gets bored easily that I never, ever got even close to being tired of Eve and Roarke. Quite the opposite, each new book leaves me craving more and going back to reread my favorites just to feel close to them a while longer.
In Brotherhood in Death, Eve helps our favorite Professor Mira, a kind, gentle, if a bit scattered husband of Dr. Charlotte Mira. Dennis isn’t in trouble himself, but his cousin, US senator Edward Mira, most definitely is. It’s up to Eve to untangle a web of brotherhoods, vicious crimes and revenge, all the while keeping those she loves safe.
These characters progress and evolve even now, and it’s wonderful to see Eve open up to others and find comfort with friends like the ever-faithful Peabody. The two have such a significant moment in this book, one of appreciation and true friendship. It made me melt a little, and tear up at the beauty of it. Eve finally feels secure enough to rely on people other than Roarke. It was a slow process, so very difficult at times, but now that we see the person she was always meant to be, all of it seems somehow more manageable.
The crimes in this book are more violent, more vicious than usual. Trust Nora to find ways to shake us to the core. I love that her murders are rarely black and white. She prefers the gray areas, and she especially enjoys making us sympathize with the killers.
This is not a review, per se. It’s more of a love letter to this amazing author who keeps proving, again and again, that she knows how to keep a series alive.
As impossible as it may sound, with each new installment, Anne Bishop’s Others series becomes increasingly darker, more violent, and yes, much, much
As impossible as it may sound, with each new installment, Anne Bishop’s Others series becomes increasingly darker, more violent, and yes, much, much better. I still maintain that it’s not really urban fantasy, but that’s just my OCD talking. Who cares about the genre when the books are this good?
In Thasia, a world so much like our own but filled with creatures that represent nature in its purest form, the Humans First and Last Movement is growing stronger and louder every day. The more followers they attract, the more confident they seem, even when it would be far more prudent to plan in silence. Our friends among the terra indigene have to fight battles at two fronts. On the one side, the HFL movement is making life very hard for the few humans who’ve allied themselves with the Others. On the other side, though, the Elders have sent a warning to Simon that they’re nearby and watching. It’s very easy to guess which side scares Simon more.
As usual, Anne Bishop knows how to make her Others truly other. Even the moderately adapted terra indigene in the courtyards have very little in common with humans. Their logic is unlike ours, and so are their priorities. Seeing human behavior through their eyes sheds a different light on some of our habits and ways of thinking. The underlying social commentary is cleverly and subtly offered and it’s best to read these books with eyes wide open, both literally and metaphorically.
It’s no secret that we’ve all been waiting for some progress between Simon and Meg with bated breath and let me assure you, some progress is made. It’s still on their terms, however, and still somewhat understated, but that’s actually what makes their relationship so memorable.
My favorite thing about this series is that more is yet to come. I could spend thousands of pages in this world and not get tired of it in the least. If you are still unfamiliar with this series, please give it a chance. All four books have been breathtaking five-star reads. At this point, I’m confident the next one will be, too.
A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.
4.5 stars Chloe Neill is one of the best urban fantasy authors out there. She writes her books with a very sure hand and we as readers never once doubt4.5 stars Chloe Neill is one of the best urban fantasy authors out there. She writes her books with a very sure hand and we as readers never once doubt her ability to use every scene to its maximum potential. Armed with experience and a whole lot of love for her characters, she writes one successful story after another. When you go to a bookstore for your urban fantasy fix, Neill is as safe a bet as they come.
With The Veil, there was some fear that she won’t be able to pull herself away from her long and successful Chicagoland Vampires series, but that proved to be unfounded. Devil’s Isle shares no similarities whatsoever with Chicagoland, except maybe in quality. But even there the new series seems to outshine its predecessor – the plotting is tighter, the writing better, and the characters far more relatable.
In this moment, Claire is one of the best heroines UF has to offer. With human fears and a backbone of steel, she is easy to love and even easier to relate to. We see her at her best and at her worst, but even when she’s down, she’s someone we can admire. Claire has no family left, but she is surrounded by wonderful friends who are a substitute family of sorts and she keeps earning new ones with her loyalty and integrity. It’s wonderful to see her interact with others, weigh her every action and always try to do best by everyone.
We finally see some progress between Liam and Claire, but of course it can’t come without a whole new set of complications. These two have such chemistry between them, a strong magnetism that can be felt in every interaction, and even when they’re not together, they seem to present a united front. Liam has legitimate fears that seem unfair to them both, but Claire gets to look at them from a different angle and finally understand his position. Despite their lack of touching, though, at least for the most part, they behave and function as a couple, and everyone else seems to view them as one.
I hesitate to write much about the plot except to say that it’s even better than what we’ve seen in The Veil. Right now, zealots of all kinds are the biggest danger humanity faces, and I loved seeing that transferred into Claire’s world as well. There will always be crazies and there will always be followers, but we determine how we stand up to them.
Overall, with Devil’s Isle to look forward to, saying goodbye to Ethan and Merit will be much easier. I will say that I’m desperate to get my hands on the next book and that I trust Neill to make it nothing short of amazing
As the Chicagoland Vampires series comes closer to its big finale, the excitement is reaching an almost unbearable level. Midnight Marked, the penult
As the Chicagoland Vampires series comes closer to its big finale, the excitement is reaching an almost unbearable level. Midnight Marked, the penultimate book in this excellent, beloved series, brings just a tiny bit more of everything: more romance, more action, more friendships, more enemies, and more danger than ever before.
Ethan and Merit are still right in the middle of a supernatural war, and as they fight prejudice, misunderstandings, and outright malice coming from all sides, they somehow always come out on top and learn alongside each other. At this point, they are a well established couple, comfortable around each other though not always harmonious, and it’s good to see them growing stronger and finally working together.
I always mention the timeline of this series because it makes me somewhat uncomfortable. I would have preferred a much longer period between the events of the first book and now. Only a year has passed since Merit has become a vampire, and considering everything that’s happened to her, I have a hard time believing everything from her character development to her romance with Ethan. It’s just too much for such a short time – the intensity of their emotions would have been far more credible had they been given enough time to develop. As it is, they jump from one supernatural battle to the next, twelve total at this point, and they still have time for friendships, prophecies, resurrections and forgiveness.
Merit is finally learning to accept her family, flaws and all, and perhaps even making peace with the fact that they are who they are and that they’re highly unlikely to change. I love that this aspect of her life isn’t at all black and white, that her father has horrible flaws as well as redeeming qualities. It adds an extra layer to her character and brings complexity to her actions that otherwise wouldn’t exist.
Ethan, for his part, remains the stubborn, high handed, secretive idiot, but I find that oddly comforting. Having him change his ways in asingle year after 400 years of existence would have been almost ridiculous. As it is, he infuriates me, but I understand, and the tiny improvements I notice make me absurdly happy.
I’m already dreading the goodbye that’s ahead of me. I’ve spent so much time with these guys, learned to love them and even despise them at times (Ethan, ahem), and I already know I’ll miss them like crazy. But let’s not borrow trouble or grief. There’s the big finale ahead of us and I just know it’s going to be spectacular.
A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review....more
If there's one thing Darynda Jones knows better than pretty much everyone else, it's how to keep a series fresh and exciting through more pages than
If there's one thing Darynda Jones knows better than pretty much everyone else, it's how to keep a series fresh and exciting through more pages than one can count. Charley Davidson never gets old (no, really, she's more or less immortal), she never gets tired (supernatural beinh, duh), and she never gets bored… or boring, for that matter. There are very few series I love more at this point and I don't see that changing any time soon.
We’ve reached a long awaited culmination in Eighth Grave after Dark and for only a second or two it was very difficult to see where things might go or how they could go on at all. As always, though, Darynda found the perfect solution by making a simple yet startlingly clever move and handling things elegantly while staying true to the series and herself. I’ve had more than a little faith in the woman ever since First Grave fell into my hands, but even I was surprised by how skillfully she handled things in this book.
At this point, it’s very difficult to say anything without revealing major spoilers, so I won’t even try. Suffice it to say that the series is just as good, just as exciting as it’s been at the very beginning. Ninth Grave itself, though, stands out due to the overwhelming sense of community and family, the strong connections we get to see between Charley and her friends in the most trying times they’ve ever faced.
Two more books are certainly ahead of us (and hopefully even more), and I’m very curious to see how things will turn out for Charley and the gang. We’ve had some hints along the way and some very ominous signs, but I have no doubt that Darynda will find a way to give Charley her much deserved happily ever after, and even more importantly, a way for Reyes to finally have some peace.
The Black Blade series started out as Elemental Assassin lite, a young adult version of the series Jennifer Estep is first known for. I liked it well
The Black Blade series started out as Elemental Assassin lite, a young adult version of the series Jennifer Estep is first known for. I liked it well enough at the time, but saw it merely as a reprise of sorts, a nice way to pass the time, but a book I could have easily done without. The same does not apply to the sequel. Jennifer Estep truly stepped up her game and gave us a book that stands out.
We reunite with Lila only days after she’s become Devon Sinclair’s personal bodyguard. Their world is still as violent as ever, with threats from other magical families always looming over their heads. But even with an outright war brewing, traditions need to be upheld, and one of those traditions is the Tournament of Blades. Lila is naturally one of the contestants, and so is Devon, and they work together more closely than ever to discover the various conspiracies and traps set by other participants.
I distinctly remember feeling ambivalent about the lack of romance in the first book. I had no such problems here – the romance is understated, yes, but wonderful nevertheless. Devon’s steady, dependable presence and Lila’s reactions to him hit all the right notes for me. Even when they fight against each other, they do it as a team, which is very difficult to achieve, but so beautiful to behold.
My only true objection is aimed at the predictability of this book. I don't like feeling that much smarter than the characters and I intensely dislike feeling frustrated while waiting for them to catch up. Lila was painfully slow in this book, always failing to see what was right in front of her. To make matters worse, the villain was glaringly obvious the second he/she showed up, which made it impossible not to feel bothered by the blindness of our heroine. If you can put that aside, however, Dark Heart of Magic is an exciting, emotionally charged book that outshines its predecessor by far. I have very high hopes for Bright Blaze of Magic and I absolutely trust Jennifer Estep to deliver a fabulous read. ...more
4.5 stars A series that’s still exciting and fresh after no less than 41 installments is truly something to admire. I don’t think there are many autho
4.5 stars A series that’s still exciting and fresh after no less than 41 installments is truly something to admire. I don’t think there are many authors who can produce such a thing, and in fact, I know only of one: the wonderful, the incomparable J.D Robb, or Nora Roberts, if you will.
In Death series is a wonderful blend of romance, thriller and futuristic police procedurals. The futuristic setting sets it apart from others of its genre, as do the strong relationships between characters, both primary and secondary. There are many things about Robb’s recipe that work, and more than one reason why this series has consistently made #1 on the New York Times list.
In Devoted in Death, Eve and her team work to catch a pair of spree killers who’ve been running wild across the country. The couple of deranged lovebirds are leaving behind a trail of dead bodies, tortured and mutilated beyond comprehension, and Eve must use her considerable resources and her husband’s help to catch them. I generally don’t enjoy crime stories that offer the killers’ perspective. I don’t like knowing things and waiting for the investigators to catch up. But even with that, Robb does what no one else can do – she makes the hunt itself interesting enough to make up for the fact that we know who is being hunted. I must confess that I skimmed through several short insights into the victim’s mind, though. I can stomach most things – blood and gore don’t bother me at all – but rape isn’t one of them, no matter how subtly described. Overall, though, Robb is perfect at bringing forth every side of a crime, every emotion that occurs in the process, be it the killer’s, the victim’s or the investigators. She’s also perfect at building lives around her dead bodies, at showing us people after she shows us their deaths, so that we suffer and cry and mourn them right alongside their families.
Eve and Roarke have such a beautiful, unique relationship. It is a pillar that holds the series, but it doesn’t take attention away from the actual crime. I know people have been expecting some progression in their relationship, but I’m really happy with how things are. It’s been 41 books for us, but only three years for them. Things feel so deeply and utterly right.
Eve’s team is as strong as ever, with one very interesting addition in this installment. It takes a lot to create such a strong cast of characters, but that’s only to be expected in the 41st installment. At this point, I think I love Peabody She-Body, McNabb, Mira and everyone else just as much as I love Eve and Roarke, as impossible as that sounds.
We’ll have to wait almost a year for the next installment, but there’s plenty to reread until then. I have no doubt that I’m going to love as many books as Robb decides to write.
I’ve done with this series something I’ve never done before, jumped right in with the latest installment and skipped everything that came bef4.5 stars
I’ve done with this series something I’ve never done before, jumped right in with the latest installment and skipped everything that came before. I soon realized my mistake, though. While each book can easily function as a standalone, missing even a word of this enchanting series is a crime. So here I am, going back to the beginning, meeting Eve and Roarke in their early days and sharing their journey from the start.
Naked in Death was first released in 1995, but it’s still fresh and innovative today, which tells you everything you need to know about it. It’s set in a futuristic version of New York, 2058 to be precise, but the reality isn’t so different from today. Yes, people have expanded their activities and moved some of them to various other planets, and technological developments have moved forward just enough to make them interesting even 20 years later, but human nature has more or less remained the same.
Enter Lieutenant Eve Dallas, a competent homicide detective. She handles the most complicated cases with unwavering dedication and a strong sense of justice. Her own past is incredibly painful, which left her emotionally closed off, but when it comes to her victims, Eve has all the compassion in the world.
In Naked in Death, Eve investigates the murders of three prostitutes. Cold, vicious, calculated crimes, all videotaped and left for her to find. Her investigation takes straight to one of the richest men in the world – Roarke – but as hard as she tries, Eve just can’t see the honest, competent man as her killer.
Naked in Death has a strong romance, yes, but it’s so much more than that. The case Eve investigates isn’t just something to fill the pages between romantic encounters. If anything, it’s the other way around. These murders are painful, well planned and with a huge emotional impact for both Eve and the reader. In addition, Robb gives us splendid characterization on multiple fronts. It’s obvious even in this first installment that she’s building her characters to last.
This series is up to its 40th installment now, and each one is better than the last. There is no noticeable decline in quality or intensity, which is not only rare, but absolutely brilliant as well. The descriptions can be a bit wordy at times, but they only add to the impression that we’re dealing with much more than a simple murder mystery/romantic suspense. After all, this is Nora Roberts we’re talking about. She can do so much more than that.
I’ve been reading these slightly out of order, which I wouldn’t normally do, but J.D. Robb makes it very easy for me to enjoy them regardless4.5 stars
I’ve been reading these slightly out of order, which I wouldn’t normally do, but J.D. Robb makes it very easy for me to enjoy them regardless of the number on the cover. In Death series is one of the most popular series in the world and with good reason. Just days ago, I sung Nora Roberts’ praises to all of you, and I still stand by my every word.
The series takes place about 40 years from now, which is highly unusual for the detective/mystery genre, but I love that Robb never makes a big deal out of it. Mostly it’s the technology that’s new. The people, the lives, are very much the same. The changes in our world are subtle, which I suspect they will be, and everything that’s available to Eve and Rourke is very easy to imagine being available to us in 2060. In a weird way, the futuristic setting makes sense. So many of my favorite long-running series (like Kay Scarpetta) run the risk of becoming outdated. In fact, reading those first Kay Scarpetta installments is a bit funny now, with all that old technology and crime investigation techniques. Robb faces no such challenge. Her futuristic gadgets will always be new and interesting.
In this installment, Eve and Peabody investigate the murder of a fitness trainer. By all accounts, the victim was a bastard and a criminal, but Even wouldn’t be Eve if she didn’t give it her all. There are far too many suspects in this one, dozens of people with excellent motives and even opportunities. Eve will have to rely on her considerable experience and sometimes her husband to find the murderer.
As always, Peabody and McNab provide some much needed comic relief, and Eve’s attempts at Christmas shopping are simply hilarious. While she’s investigating, Roarke is preparing for their huge Christmas party and Eve is somewhat lost and trying to ignore the whole thing. Our heroine is still adorably clueless in social situations (which reminds me of Sherlock Holmes sometimes), but she’s improved considerably and she is, as always, very much aware of her shortcomings.
Eve and Roarke are still an amazing couple, that’s all that needs to be said about them. Robb uses their wonderful marriage as an asset, and never as a source of drama. There’s plenty of drama with Eve’s cases and there’s absolutely no need to add to it by creating unnecessary romantic tension. These two work together as one and I adore them for it.
You don’t need me to tell you how wildly popular this series has been from the start and you definitely don’t need me to recommend it. Obviously it’s something everyone needs to read. I’m still working my way through it, having missed several along the way, and every one is a special treat. A J.D. Robb book is a sure bet if ever there was one.
There’s a reason why Nora Roberts is indisputably one of the most popular writers in the world. Her experience is enormous and her self-assuredness isThere’s a reason why Nora Roberts is indisputably one of the most popular writers in the world. Her experience is enormous and her self-assuredness is evident on every page. Calling her a skilled storyteller is a bit of an understatement. Roberts is much more than that, she is the queen of genre fiction and as such, she can do no wrong.
The Liar is a fabulous example of everything I love in her books. She easily combines mystery, small town drama, a wonderful community and a delightful romance. In a 500-page book everything runs smoothly, and somehow, during that time, you and the characters become like family.
At the beginning of The Liar, we find a distraught young widow. Her husband has died, her baby daughter has lost her father and life has come crashing down hard on her, but the worst of it all is learning that her husband wasn’t a decent man, wasn’t who she thought he was at all. Left with a huge debt and very little self-esteem, Shelby must find her way once again and become the woman she deserves to be.
The opening chapters of the novel are a bit hard to get through. We can almost taste the bitterness of Richard’s betrayal, and the anger is sometimes too much. But 500 pages of watching Shelby claw her way back to a healthy life more than make up for it, and the initial difficulties only make the end that much more rewarding.
Left all alone and choking in debt, Shelby returns to Tennessee to be with her family. That’s when things really get interesting – Roberts paints for us a small town in such vivid detail, full of colorful characters and everyday events. Her choice of narration – third person (I could almost say omniscient) with many switches in perspective – would seem a bit odd in a different book, but here, everyone important was able to offer a glimpse through their eyes. I find it thrilling that something that could have been so messy ended up being smooth and put together seamlessly.
The romance was another pleasant surprise. Although the plot was a bit predictable and I was disappointed that Shelby didn’t think of the answer herself, the rest of the story made up for that small fault and the romance especially made it completely worthwhile. A perfect man can sometimes be so boring, but not Griffin. He was just what Shelby and her little girl needed.
This book is absolutely perfect for when you want to let everything else go and just be surrounded by something else altogether. Trust me, Nora Roberts won’t disappoint. I don’t think she knows how.
As an urban fantasy author, Kristen Painter keeps exceeding my already high expectations. City of Eternal Night is undoubtedly a fabulous addition toAs an urban fantasy author, Kristen Painter keeps exceeding my already high expectations. City of Eternal Night is undoubtedly a fabulous addition to her Crescent City series – full of danger, excitement, intrigue and romance.
Painter has an infallible sense of pacing, it seems. The tension here builds slowly, gradually, until it finally drives us to the edge of our seats. The story is mostly told from Augustine and Harlow’s perspectives, although there are things we see through Giselle’s eyes. As the story progresses, the villain’s POV becomes more and more important, and the picture we get in the end is far from hopeful for our two heroes.
Augustine remains the absolute star of this series. His character has grown considerably since the beginning and now, as Guardian, he has a steady moral compass we can’t help but admire. If you add to that his boyish charm, his absolute integrity and strong sense of responsibility, you get a hero as lovable as Adam in Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series, and just as appealing as Kate Daniels’ Curran.
Harlow is still somewhat difficult to like, although she certainly tries. I feel that her character really shows Painter’s remarkable skill. She is extremely vulnerable, which appeals to our protective instincts, but she can also be judgmental and rash. She does make significant progress in this novel, but there’s still a long way to go.
I loved how (slowly) the romance was developed in this book. At the beginning, Harlow was too afraid of her own kind to even think about trusting Augustine, who is so obviously fae. But as she learns more about the different kinds of fae and their abilities, and as Augustine keeps proving again and again how very dependable he is, her attitude starts to change until she is just as attracted to him as he is to her. There two dance a very slow dance, a playful, entertaining negotiation of sorts. Something is always between them, but the obstacles are genuine and not something fabricated to keep them apart. Trust is incredibly important between them – once things finally align, I have a feeling their romance will be epic.
This is a series I cannot recommend highly enough. Painter has already successfully concluded one UF series, and her experience is clear from everything she writes. Even though I loved House of Comarré, this story is obviously more controlled, and I have no doubt there are plently more fabulous things to come.