I accepted this title for review without a second thought; it's written by Keri Arthur, and about werewolves—going once, goinReviewed by: Rabid Reads.
I accepted this title for review without a second thought; it's written by Keri Arthur, and about werewolves—going once, going twice, sold! The protagonist in BLOOD KISSED is a witch, so although our four-legged friends have been cast as secondary characters, it's safe to assume that we'll be seeing a lot of them given that the story is set on the Faelan reservation, a place run by shifters of the lunar persuasion.
This novel offered up tons of stand-out content including a human familiar (say what!?), small-town mystery, and a heroine who's outside of this author's norm. I liked the way that Arthur gave readers enough facts on the different elements that will make up her LIZZIE GRACE series so that all the moving parts jived, but still left sufficient wiggle room to maneuver in future installments, and more importantly, left us pining for book 2.
As odd as Belle's role sounded at first, picking her over a cat was actually quite brilliant. She's a sidekick, BFF, business partner, and adviser all rolled into one who's fate is closely tied to Lizzie's. They have a long history of working together, and because of her lot in life, Grace is very permissive when it comes to issuing "orders" which is turn equates to sexy times that don't take over the narrative (ex: SOULS OF FIRE, DARK ANGELS, etc).
I thought that the Psychic Café and Grace's psychometry expertise were a good jumping off point. As much as I love the investigative style plot line in Urban Fantasy, I get tired of the protagonist always being a P.I. I also liked that Aidan couldn't be more anti-witch because this will hopefully mean that his and Lizzie's romance will be of the slow burn variety. The heroine is definitely a character who I can see myself wanting to follow long-term.
BLOOD KISSED is a fresh start by a seasoned writer. ...more
Jennifer Estep continually amazes me with the directions that she takes the ELEMENTAL ASSASSIN series in. SNARED was a strokeReviewed by: Rabid Reads.
Jennifer Estep continually amazes me with the directions that she takes the ELEMENTAL ASSASSIN series in. SNARED was a stroke of genius with how the plot connected with the main story arc. It also got my gears spinning over the questions raised about Hugh Tucker, and cast a shadow on Eira Snow’s memory. Not bad for the sixteenth installment—scratch that—it was goddamned Spider-ific!
One of Ashland’s mob bosses calls in the favour that Gin owes her, and things quickly spiral out of control as they go from sketchy to disastrous. The clues keep piling up, but even with Blanco’s entire crew on deck, it took some doing to get to the heart of it all, and the hunter winds up the hunted. I guessed the antagonist pretty easily however, there were so many other unknowns to keep me busy that it didn’t matter.
One of the things that I enjoy the most about these novels is how the author keeps making links to the past while still developing new tangents. Hugh’s been around for several volumes now, but we learn that he and Gin have met before. Estep also takes us back to that awful day when Blanco lost everything, and we discover an interesting morsel about her mom that has the potential to be a game changer.
All the characters get their turn under the guillotine, and this time around it was the Spider’s number that got called. Yes, she finds herself in more life-or-death situations that all the secondaries combined however, in this particular instance the outlook was worse than usual. After a bit of clever maneuvering with her ice & stone magic as well as her knives, we have the name of the Circle’s leader… or do we?
More and more romance has been making its way into Urban Fantasy turning it into a lesser version of itself. Chelsea Mueller gReviewed by: Rabid Reads
More and more romance has been making its way into Urban Fantasy turning it into a lesser version of itself. Chelsea Mueller grabbed the wheel, and steered the genre back into the correct lane with BORROWED SOULS. Callie & Derek do form a connection however, the focus remained on the bold, gritty roots that make this branch of Speculative Fiction so compelling. This author's years of experience as a book reviewer were put to good use in her writing debut.
Correlations can be drawn between this universe, and Stacia Kane's DOWNSIDE GHOSTS with the nature of the story line, the heroine's susceptible personality, and the flawed protector. This observation isn't meant as a critique, but rather a compliment because I happen to really enjoy the aforementioned series, and similarities aside, this title distinguished itself with its inventive premise and well-built characters. Plus, Mueller is just getting started!
Soul magic was loosely explained however, I still have so many questions like... Where does the Charmer get his wares? Why was he able to do something to Delgado that didn't work on Derek? What happens after the six-month self-life has elapsed? Needless to say, the author has a lot of world-building left to do, and I will DEFINITELY be snatching up the next installment. Theories aside, the plot was provocative, and I was happy with the direction that things seem to be taking.
I instantly connected with Callie; she's barely making ends meet, and is being taken advantage of by her family, but deep down she's a good person. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and although she's not proud of her actions, they were relatable because everyone's found themselves stretched to their breaking point for a loved one. I admired her spunk and tenacity, and look forward to watching her adapt to her new circumstances including her relationship with Derek.
You should spend your hard-earned money on BORROWED SOULS this week! Available for pre-order....more
As the title suggests, Shannon Mayer wreaks havoc on her ELEMENTAL universe in DESTROYER, the final installment. Characters dReviewed by: Rabid Reads.
As the title suggests, Shannon Mayer wreaks havoc on her ELEMENTAL universe in DESTROYER, the final installment. Characters die, the world is laid to waste, and the truths exposed rock Lark to her very core. There is no happily-ever-after, not for everyone at least, but life always finds a way to prevail, so there is hope for the few left standing because every ending is also a chance to start again.
The pacing took a beating in the first quarter of this book because there were too many threads that needed to be dealt with prior to moving forward with the actual story. The conclusion to a series is where an author’s approach to writing becomes obvious—are they a plotter or a panser? Mayer is a bit of both, so although the opening chapters left something to be desired, the later ones were all about the long game.
Lark finds herself allied with two antagonists, and discovers that there’s more to Cassava. The heroine’s entire existence has been one big chess match building towards a moment in time, and check is about to be called. The protagonist is of course outraged, and does regain control of her destiny to a certain extent, but ultimately when you’re out on a ledge, and the only thing left to do is jump… Can that really be called a choice?
The origin of Elementals is revealed, and it made a whole lot of sense. I felt that the resolution was too easy in some respects however, the price was steep, so it kind of evened out. I liked that we caught glimpses of most of the secondaries, and that Peta played an integral part in the outcome, but seeing how this novel is the last of this series + two other, an epilogue would have been nice, especially for Alex & Pam’s sake.
DESTROYER will play pinball with your emotions, and leave you raw....more
Delilah and the other cryptids of Metzger’s Menagerie are recaptured after their all too brief taste of freedom at the end ofReviewed by: Rabid Reads.
Delilah and the other cryptids of Metzger’s Menagerie are recaptured after their all too brief taste of freedom at the end of the last book. Originally, I’d thought that Rachel Vincent was going to take a completely different route in this sequel, but instead SPECTACLE showed us that not all cages have bars. The writing in this series is as exquisite as the horrors are abhorrent, and it’s this unlikely combination that makes the story so enthralling.
On the outside, the Savage Spectacle appears to be a relatively humane way of running a freak show, or at least as close as one can come with regards to the barbaric practice of keeping society’s cast outs incarcerated for monetary gain. The occupants have mats to sleep on, healthy food to eat, and their basic personal hygiene requirements are met. However, a prison is still a prison, no matter how shiny it is, and the fact remains that the inhabitants are being held against their will.
Vandekamp has set out to revolutionize the way that cryptids are kept with collars that can shock, paralyze, mute, and call their gifts. So, as uncivilized as their previous accommodations were at least the captives could still scream and fight. The owner has also come up with a bunch of different uses for his new technology including work detail, death matches, sport hunting, and engagements. The first three are pretty self-explanatory, but the last basically means that any detainee is available for hire, and as you can imagine, anything goes because cash is king.
The plot is once again driven by the need to survive, except in this installment the focus is on the mind instead of the body. It’s one thing to physically beat someone into submission, and quite another to literally take away their free will. The author’s insights into the human psyche are truly haunting in their realism, and will make you side with the monsters much like Anne Bishop did with her THE OTHERS series. Vincent concludes this novel with yet another missile that’ll see the MENAGERIE trilogy drastically shift directions one last time for the finale to Delilah’s tale.
Just when I thought that the Speculative Fiction genre has nothing left to give—BOOM—here’s SPECTACLE! ~ 4.5 Stars...more
For me to feel completely satisfied with the CHICAGOLAND VAMPIRES' conclusion, Chloe Neill needed to do three things: 1. GiveReviewed by: Rabid Reads.
For me to feel completely satisfied with the CHICAGOLAND VAMPIRES' conclusion, Chloe Neill needed to do three things: 1. Give Merit & Ethan their HEA. 2. Wrap-up the final arc. 3. Go out in style. Did BLADE BOUND pull it off? Yes, yes, and YES!
I liked that the author wasted no time in getting with the weddingpocalypse, and that it wasn't rushed for pacing reasons or ruined by sorcery. I'd expected the book to end on this note, so it was a nice surprise that readers didn't have to wait one second longer than the opening pages for something that's been thirteen volumes in the making. I was also thankful that the ceremony wasn't a cog in the wheel of plot development, and that the protagonists actually got to enjoy their special day.
This novel followed the same pattern as all of the others that came before it which was another plus because it felt like a Merit & Ethan story. Neill stuck with the familiar instead of trying too hard in an attempt to make history with an unforgettable climax that winds up being somewhat disjointed from the rest of the volumes. There's a Big Bad, the team does a bit of recon, and then the katanas come out. There were still a few bombshells that kept things interesting.
This series' quirkiness was out in full force from the literature themed wedding, to Darth Sullivan's pet name for Merit, and the jokes that ensue when Gabriel's prophesy takes flight. We also got plenty of moments with the treasured secondary characters, and the epilogue jumps forward by twenty-one months to ensure that no stone is left unturned. I hate goodbyes however, it's hard to argue with this one when the writing was just so darned good. Chloe Neill, you slay me!
BLADE BOUND closed the door on the CHICAGOLAND VAMPIRES, but another one will soon open on a spin-off! ~4.5 Stars...more