I read this book with a tissue in one hand, and a beer in the other. The perfect ending to one of my favourite Urban Fantasy series. Secret McQueen, y...moreI read this book with a tissue in one hand, and a beer in the other. The perfect ending to one of my favourite Urban Fantasy series. Secret McQueen, you will be missed. Full review to follow.(less)
I spent a large chunk of this novella thinking "this story is only a shorter version of NO HUMANS INVOLVED just with different ghosts." And, I stayed...moreI spent a large chunk of this novella thinking "this story is only a shorter version of NO HUMANS INVOLVED just with different ghosts." And, I stayed on that thought train up until the final pages when Armstrong reveals that no— in fact, this story is not at all what it seems. The plot is delightfully creepy, and incorporates a decent amount of this series’ mythology to make it feel like it could have been a full length installment.
Jaime’s always gotten a bad rep in the WOTO series, and is many readers’ least favourite character, but personally I rather enjoy her eccentricity, and ditzyness. She’s not badass like Elena, or smart like Paige, but Vegas certainly has her own unique charm, and she’s dating Jeremy which definitely helps. She also doesn’t need to be overly tough with Eve Levine as her guardian angel, and the pack alpha watching her back. The ending was by far my favourite part, but of course, I can’t really share why because of spoilers, but this novella is definitely worth the read just so long as you’re not a member of the ‘I hate Jamie’ club.(less)
Armstrong doesn’t write from Clay’s POV nearly enough in my opinion, but I enjoyed this little glimpse into my favourite werewolf c...moreStalked - 4.5 stars
Armstrong doesn’t write from Clay’s POV nearly enough in my opinion, but I enjoyed this little glimpse into my favourite werewolf couple’s lives. Both are trying so hard not to ruin their much deserved honeymoon by fighting their natures, and trying to each resolve a mutt problem without making the other aware that there’s a situation. They really should know better! The hunter quickly becomes the hunted when Clay and Elena decide to take their boredom out on Cain by tag teaming the clueless wolf. Communication has never been this duo's strong suit, but their chemistry and knowledge of each other more than make up for that lack, and besides, their adventures wouldn't be nearly as fun to read about if they were always on the same page.
Off-Duty Angel - 3 stars
Eve and Kristof are an unusual couple in that they are more evil than good. This short is told from Levine's POV, and packs quite the paranormal punch with angels, Fates, Furies, shamans, demons, and by spanning multiple afterlife dimensions. They say boredom is the devil's playground, and that's doubly true where Eve is concerned. Kristof tries his best to keep her entertained by sending her off on a wild goose chase while he's stuck in court, but that of course backfires, and poor Trsiel gets dragged along for the ride. I wish there'd been a bit more to this story because as Armstrong mentions in the foreword, Levine doesn't get much face time in her WOMEN OF THE OTHERWORLD series. No new light is shed on these characters, but I'll still jump on any excuse to revisit this world.(less)
Wow! That did NOT go as I expected it to AT ALL. At first I thought poor Bobby, his grandmother is abusive, crazy, and totally deserved what she got....moreWow! That did NOT go as I expected it to AT ALL. At first I thought poor Bobby, his grandmother is abusive, crazy, and totally deserved what she got. His sister's a brat, and his parents are blind; he really struck out in the family department. But, as the story progressed, and more of Armstrong's CAINSVILLE universe came in to play, I realized that there was evil in this little boy, and the Fae tend to be twisted creatures to begin with. Left unchecked, and ignored, with no one to show him the way, the kid was forced to pick his own path, and unfortunately he chose wrong. There's good, and bad in everyone, but there's also a point of no return, and Bobby reached it when he turned thirteen. The Elders, his friends, and his parents are all to blame for having seen the signs, and done nothing. However, the troubled child is now a young man who's responsible for his own actions, and in the end he's the one left to pay the ultimate price.
A great series prequel—very dark and unsettling. I enjoyed picking out some of the characters from the full length books, but would recommend reading this short after at least the first installment, and quite possibly the second as well. (less)
The author does a good job of the world-building, this book doesn't suffer from the info dump that frequently happens in first installments. The story...moreThe author does a good job of the world-building, this book doesn't suffer from the info dump that frequently happens in first installments. The story flowed well, I quite enjoyed the pacing and the characters, and I liked how readers got to witness a vampire hunter in the making. The magical artifacts were a nice touch as well. I liked that the heroine is human and the fact that she was actually AFRAID of the Others scored Haines extra points. Full review to follow.(less)
I wasn't sold on this series after book 1, but decided to give 2 a try because I believe in second chances. However, pretty much the only good thing a...moreI wasn't sold on this series after book 1, but decided to give 2 a try because I believe in second chances. However, pretty much the only good thing about this one was the ghost dog. I can deal with weak heroines who are coming into their powers, not stupid ones. Clare consistently makes dumb decisions, and gets mad at Zach for advising her against them because she thinks he's trying to control her, but as an ex-cop he is actually trying to protect her from herself. The author also uses an excessive amount of caps to make sure key clues stand out to readers which is just plain insulting. The romantic aspects are rigid, and feel forced; this is shelved as UF, but there's lots of sex that takes place off scene, and it just seemed like Owens couldn't make up her mind if this was PNR or UF. Plus, Cermak keeps getting mad at Slade for refusing to reveal ALL of his secrets, yet they have only been dating for a couple of weeks. Frustration thy name is GHOST LAYER. I will not be continuing this series. 2.5 stars - Full review to follow.
Originally reviewed as part of the Predatory anthology.
Out of all of Dianne Duvall’s Immortal Guardians, Richart d’Alençon has always been my least fa...moreOriginally reviewed as part of the Predatory anthology.
Out of all of Dianne Duvall’s Immortal Guardians, Richart d’Alençon has always been my least favourite so I’m not overly upset that his love story only merited a novella. In spite of its brevity, In Still Darkness still delivers plenty of sizzling romance, bloody battles and a picture perfect HEA that’s sure to make you want to read the full length books if you haven’t done so already. As an added bonus, Roland, Sarah, Marcus, Ami, Étienne, Lisette and yes, even Reordon are also along for the ride.
Duvall does a remarkable job of making Richart and Jenna’s relationship believable by somehow cramming a month’s worth of dates into so few pages. I was surprised and somewhat delighted with the fact that McBride is 37 years old in this story; definitely a rare occurrence in Paranormal Romance! The age jokes that follow are cute and fun; I especially enjoyed Jenna’s reaction when d’Alençon finally reveals his true age and she realizes that she’s actually not the oldest one in their relationship. There’s only one thing that somewhat annoyed me about this novella and it was the author’s inaccurate use of the French word “chier” on a few occasions. Most readers will probably miss it and perhaps it’s been corrected in the final copy but it still irked me.
I can’t get enough of Dianne Duvall’s Immortal Guardians and even though this is a mere blip in her overall universe, I still thoroughly enjoyed In Still Darkness. Hopefully it was enough to tide me over until Darkness Rises hits shelves in October!(less)
Loved all of the shorts with the wolves, and the outtakes from SILVER BORNE and NIGHT BROKEN. I'll definitely be reading her ALPHA AND OMEGA series so...moreLoved all of the shorts with the wolves, and the outtakes from SILVER BORNE and NIGHT BROKEN. I'll definitely be reading her ALPHA AND OMEGA series sooner rather than later after spending some time with Charles & Anna. Full review to follow.(less)
*** Review may contain spoilers for previous installments in the series. ***
Whenever I finish a truly amazing book I’m often tempted to write a one sentence review because words fail me, and the only thing that potential readers really need to know is READ THIS. And, never has that urge been as strong as in the case of MAGIC BREAKS. This novel wraps up one of the greatest Urban Fantasy story arcs that has ever been penned, and that’s not even the best part, because even though KATE DANIELS’ lifelong journey has reached its culmination, the best is still to come. In this installment, characters die, power shifts, and a new path is forged—epic is the only term that comes to mind, and even then, it still falls short.
It was a good thing that MAGIC BREAKS came with a disclaimer because otherwise I think this novel would have caused mass panic among readers (me included). I loved the character recap; it really helped to set the stage for this story, and ensured that everyone was on the same page regardless of whether you re-read all of the installments prior to this one, or haven’t visited Andrews’ universe since last July when MAGIC RISES hit shelves. Hugh d’Ambray demonstrates why he earned the title of Roland’s Warlord when he sets his ingenious scheme in motion to cause an all-out war between the Pack and the People. Kate’s got some pretty big shoes to fill with Curran away on business, and although I did find myself missing the Beast Lord, the wait was worth it when he finally made his spectacular entrance.
Pretty much all of this series’ characters came out to play which was awesome, and fitting seeing how everything comes to a head in this book. Kate and Curran’s interactions were perfect, and I loved learning more about Ghastek. And, even though the action was at the forefront of this story, there’s still a good dose of romance, and—believe it or not—cuteness thanks to Cuddles, the mammoth donkey, and an adorable bunnycat. A long time character dies, however I think that I was actually more upset over what happened to Slayer, but again it was all part of the Andrews’ master plan. The authors did a fabulous job of tying up loose ends while still continuing to add new mythology and world-building to the mix. Roland was positively magnificent, and I was thrilled that his and Kate’s first meeting exceeded my sky high expectations after a grueling six installment long build-up.
I’ve been hooked on Renée Raudman’s narration of this series since the very beginning, but never have I hung on her every word quite like I did while listening to this audiobook. Towards the end, I think that I actually forgot to breathe a time or two. The conclusion was jaw droppingly wonderful, and her suspenseful delivery made time stand still. I loved everything about her performance, from Curran’s raspy baritone, to Kate’s sarcastic wit, and Julie’s bonus short story at the end was the cherry on top.
Never has a series been more about the journey than the actual destination, and the evolution that Ilona & Gordon’s characters have undergone is staggering. Urban Fantasy doesn’t get any better than MAGIC BREAKS—READ THIS.(less)
I was really looking forward to reading the first female IMMORTAL GUARDIAN's story, and although Lisette & Zach's tale was undoubtedly passionate,...moreI was really looking forward to reading the first female IMMORTAL GUARDIAN's story, and although Lisette & Zach's tale was undoubtedly passionate, the insta-love kicked-in too quickly for my tastes. The series' plot arc was at the forefront of this book totally eclipsing their romance, and the author compensated by upping the number of sex scenes. This unfortunately was my least favourite installment to date. 3.5 Stars - Full Review to Follow.(less)
I was originally planning on reading SINNER ‘just for me’ because I don’t typically review novellas, but at 368 pages this st...moreReviewed by: Rabid Reads.
I was originally planning on reading SINNER ‘just for me’ because I don’t typically review novellas, but at 368 pages this story can’t really be labeled short. Then I succumbed to the lure of Whispersync when I realized that the audiobook featured not one but two narrators. And, of course, the lower price helped too. From there my dilemma grew as it became apparent that Cole & Isabel’s tale, although beautiful, was more contemporary in nature than paranormal (i.e. not my thing), only to end up completely floored by the sheer brilliance of it all that my review practically wrote itself. Yeah… Maggie Stiefvater tends to have that effect on me.
Plot wise, there’s not very much to this book; a rehabilitated rockstar is trying to make a comeback with the help of a reality TV show while also attempting to win back the woman he loves. It was all very… L.A. I didn’t mind the simplicity of the story because well, in all honesty, this author’s writing style could probably make tomato soup attractive. Plus, it allowed her lyrical prose to really shine. I loved the alternating POVs—Cole’s eccentric monologues, and Isabel’s pessimistic outlook—the secondary characters (especially Leon), and the hot / cold romance. Virtual Cole was a quirky little extra as well.
St. Clair is a werewolf; however that fact seemed secondary in this THE WOLVES OF MERCY FALLS novella, which perplexed me at first. I thought I would miss the paranormal elements of this series, but by trimming off all of the excess the author was able to better convey that SINNER is first and foremost a love story. I liked how broken both of the characters were, and how they refused to apologize for their imperfections. I found it interesting how Culpeper equated Cole’s wolfing out to a drug relapse, and in a lot of ways it was so much worse. The romance was as touching as it was heartbreaking, and there were even a few heated scenes that made this novel borderline New Adult (YA readers beware!).
The dual narrators were a nice fit for SINNER’s alternating POVs; I enjoyed both Dan Bittner and Emma Galvin’s performances. They certainly did Stiefvater’s writing proud, and as a result, I couldn’t help but fall even more in love with her trademark poetic style. My only complaint was that I wish the narrators had read their respective POVs throughout the tale instead of just each characters’ specific chapters. The audiobook also included music that was written by the author which was a cool bonus. This was my first experience with Whispersync, but the feature proved useful seeing how there were oh so many notable quotes!
SINNER was an unexpected contemporary delight, and a welcome return to THE WOLVES OF MERCY FALLS.(less)
This book would have been better without the first half; too much unrequited loved & secrets between friends. I loved McMaster's writing style, th...moreThis book would have been better without the first half; too much unrequited loved & secrets between friends. I loved McMaster's writing style, the deviousness of Echelon politics, and the romance was moving. I wish the plot had been woven throughout the story instead of only kicking in at the midway point. Good, but not my favourite installment. 3.5 Stars - Full Review To Follow.(less)
I loved Elliott James’ PAX ARCANA universe, his first person POV writing style, and John, the male protagonist, but I had some...moreReviewed by: Rabid Reads
I loved Elliott James’ PAX ARCANA universe, his first person POV writing style, and John, the male protagonist, but I had some major issues with the love triangle, info dumps, and the fact that the female lead was a Valkyrie. However, the former appears to have been resolved, and even though I have reached my limit on books that feature this type of lore, the Norse mythology was light enough to be tolerable. And, because of this, I will not hesitate to one-click DARING in September. CHARMING was made for audio, as soon as I heard Roger Wayne’s voice I knew that this series was meant for my ears and not my eyes.
A number of reviewers mentioned that having the narrator speak directly to the reader was a little weird; I on the other hand did not have this problem thanks to the audiobook. From the prelude onward I felt like I was part of the story, and I really enjoyed that aspect of James’ style. The world-building was rich albeit a little too much at times, and I especially liked the idea behind the PAX ARCANA. Many authors struggle with whether supes are ‘out’ or not, so I loved the idea behind a world-wide spell. The Knights Templar oath also added an interesting twist on what John can and cannot do, plus he’s learned how to brew the perfect cup of coffee—a man after my own heart!
I’m not sure why the love triangle surprised me, but I honestly just didn’t expect one from a male Urban Fantasy author which is probably why it annoyed me way more than it should have. Dvornik and Charming are two bad ass characters, so the fact that they are fighting over Sig like a couple of school boys struck me as ridiculous. And, at times I found that the vampire hunt became secondary to the romantic drama which caused me to lose interest in the story. But, the wonderful secondary characters helped to reel me back in, and John’s wit & snark reminded me of Atticus O’Sullivan (Kevin Hearne), another protagonist whom I adore.
Roger Wayne was an instant hit with this listener; I loved everything about his delivery and tone, and how I felt like he was talking to ME because of the first person POV. His narration flowed well, and I liked all of his character voices. I sometimes had difficulty telling when an explanation wasn’t part of John’s storytelling, but otherwise this audiobook was a near perfect listen. I finally have another male narrator to add to my favourites list—I’m now at two in case you’re wondering.
CHARMING brought a lot to the table with great writing, lovable characters, and the geeky humour that I love. It wasn’t perfect, but Elliott James hasn’t really even gotten to the best part yet… the werewolves!(less)
Even though I’m saving myself for Bleu, I do love a good anti-hero, and you don’t get more tortured than Felicity Heaton’s mad...moreReviewed by: Rabid Reads
Even though I’m saving myself for Bleu, I do love a good anti-hero, and you don’t get more tortured than Felicity Heaton’s mad elf prince, Vail. TEMPTED BY A ROGUE PRINCE was the darkest installment yet in the ETERNAL MATES series, and the perfect read for all of us bad boy fan girls! I highly recommend that you read these novels in order because only then will you be able to fully appreciate how long it has taken the protagonist to finally reach this level of rock bottom. Vail and Rosalind’s romance begins in a demon dungeon which pretty much says it all—torture, light D/S, and some serious ass whooping ensue.
Madness is one of my absolute favourite character traits, I know this sounds weird, but think about it, there are just SO many directions an author can take with a crazy hero. Heaton does a remarkable job of capturing both sides of Vail’s personality through vocabulary, mood swings, body language, and magic; she made him easy to hate, but also impossible to resist. I loved how detailed the physical descriptions were because by the time I was done reading this book, I could easily see the mad elf prince in my mind’s eye. God how I wanted to run my hands through his blue-black hair, and watch his armor slowly peel itself off of his body…
Rosalind was a nice mix of light & dark, and complimented Vail’s character well. When I first read CLAIMED BY A DEMON KING, I was curious as to why the witch had avoided Loren like he was death incarnate, and I really liked how that tidbit came full circle in this installment. It takes a lot of courage to stand up to a crazy person, or in this case a mad elf prince, but Rosalind manages to hold her own by being just the right amount of salty & sweet. She’s tough when she needs to be while also respecting Vail’s limits, and slowly healing both his body & his mind. Two broken souls fix each other—you don’t get more romantic than that!
I was happy that the author didn’t hold back when it came to the more grim parts of this novel; the torture scenes were deliciously evil and the sex was a nice balance between raw and passionate. This novel isn’t for the squeamish, but you can’t very well tell the story of an anti-hero without getting your hands a little dirty. There were also some impressive fight sequences where the only cure for Vail’s madness seemed to be more demon blood. I enjoyed meeting Fenix, and expect for his and Frayne’s tale to be told at some point in this series. Bleu even makes an appearance (YAY!) along with Loren and Olivia.
Crazy has never looked sexier than in Felicity Heaton’s TEMPTED BY A ROGUE PRINCE! 4.5 Stars(less)
Lots going on in this book. I loved Owen, Oberon & Orlaith... wished for more Atticus, and WAY less Granuaile. I'm just not a big fan of her POV....moreLots going on in this book. I loved Owen, Oberon & Orlaith... wished for more Atticus, and WAY less Granuaile. I'm just not a big fan of her POV. The Tuatha De Danann story arc finally comes full circle too. Good, but not my favourite. 3.5 Stars - Full review to follow.(less)
Reading this book was a foregone conclusion for me because, well, it’s Jeaniene Frost, and that pretty much says it all in my...moreReviewed by: Rabid Reads.
Reading this book was a foregone conclusion for me because, well, it’s Jeaniene Frost, and that pretty much says it all in my opinion. I even skimmed the blurb which I NEVER do because New Adult isn’t really my genre, and I wanted to make sure that I knew what I was getting in to. Unfortunately the synopsis is rather vague, and I didn’t realize that this story was actually about Heaven & Hell until I had reached the point of no return. Angels are by far my least favourite supe, so THE BEAUTIFUL ASHES’ saving grace was the fact that it revolved mostly around demons, and again… it’s Jeaniene Frost. I’d even go so far as to say that it’s a NA version of SUPERNATURAL—the protagonists are driving around in a black car (’68 Challenger) with an arsenal of weapons in the trunk searching for a special Colt slingshot. Now, I’m not claiming that Adrian is hotter than Dean Winchester because that would be a bold faced lie, but the world, characters, and writing were excellent, as always because, yup—Jeaniene Frost.
The very foundation of the BROKEN DESTINY universe is in itself somewhat of a spoiler, and although I’m sure that there will be plenty of reviewers who’ll spill the beans, I won’t be one of them. So, please excuse my vagueness, but I loved how the author selected a specific religious story, and built her mythology around it. One of my main problems with ‘angel books’ is the whole Heaven vs. Hell plot line; it doesn’t matter if it’s vampires, werewolves, or witches because in the end it always comes down to good fighting evil. And, don’t get me wrong, that is ultimately what THE BEAUTIFUL ASHES is about, but the story is also more personal because Frost has upped the stakes. Meet Adrian, a reformed Demon prince who’s destined to screw up (anti-hero fan girls, REJOICE!!).
Ivy was an interesting character who I can see growing on me over time; she’s young and naive, but if you can see past her rookie mistakes you’ll notice that she’s also tenacious, and tough as nails. Ten days ago this girl was living a typical twenty year olds life, then her sister goes missing, her parents are killed, and no, she’s not crazy. Demon realms exist. All things considering, I think she did pretty darned good! This book isn’t entirely angel-free, but Zach didn’t really make an impression on me either way. At least he wasn’t preachy (my #1 ‘angel book’ pet peeve). I liked Costa well-enough however, I’m not overly confident of his chances at survival, so I tried not to get too attached. Demetrius was convincing as this series’ big bad, and I look forward to him and Ivy eventually butting heads.
The ending was predictable and rushed; betrayal and Ivy having to hunt down the other Demon killing weapons were foregone conclusions. THE BEAUTIFUL ASHES was sometimes gory, rarely sweet, and 100% Jeaniene Frost!(less)
As a long time Kelley Armstrong fan, I hate to say this but I didn’t like OMENS. I just couldn’t connect with the characters,...moreReviewed by: Rabid Reads
As a long time Kelley Armstrong fan, I hate to say this but I didn’t like OMENS. I just couldn’t connect with the characters, it was more psychological thriller than urban fantasy, and readers were left with an exorbitant amount of unanswered questions. I honestly expected the worst when I started reading VISIONS, instead… I absolutely freaking LOVED IT! I instantly clicked with Olivia, Gabriel & Ricky, the plot was more closely tied to the main story arc & the town of Cainsville, and we get answers—not many, but enough to make me feel like we’re making some progress. My do-I-really-want-to-read-this dilemma was transformed overnight into an unrelenting craving for book 3. VISIONS is 500 pages of 5-star epicsauce!
I was immediately sucked in by the quality of Armstrong’s storytelling and writing; between the influx of lore surrounding the Wild Hunt, and the murder mystery—this novel was near impossible to put down. It’s apparent that the victims, town, and mythology are somehow linked, but what it all means is still anyone’s guess. There’s a game afoot, and Ricky, Gabriel & Olivia are the pawns however, it still remains to be seen who the actual players are. I liked how I was never quite sure whether the clues were real or just another one of Taylor-Jones’ omens; it made the puzzle even more intriguing because it was near impossible to tell fact from fiction. I won’t go into the lore seeing how none of it is mentioned in the blurb, but I will go so far as to say that I’m no longer doubting this book’s urban fantasy status.
I found myself loving Gabriel more and more with every new page I read. In OMENS, he was stiff and prickly, and although he is still both of those things, he’s also cocky, brave and intelligent. His actions say one thing, but his body language says another, and I really liked how Armstrong was able to capture the minute changes in his posture and facial expression. I don’t believe that I have ever met a character quite like Gabriel which makes him a real joy to read about because he’s just so unpredictable. Olivia grew on me quite a bit in this installment as well; she still makes a couple of stupid mistakes—like following her cat into a creepy, abandoned house—but otherwise seemed to have wised-up.
There was even a bit of romance in this novel which surprised me while also being a welcomed addition. It’s a love triangle, but not. There’s definitely something going on between Liv and Gabriel; I’m just not exactly sure what it is yet. It’s still early in the series, so it’s hard to say for sure what the author has planned. The off-scene sex helped bring some much needed heat to an otherwise dark narrative, and Armstrong’s foreplay is better than most writers’ on page romp sessions anyway. I really liked Olivia and Ricky’s relationship; he’s exactly what she needs at this point in her life, plus he’s damned fine. There’s a Harley scene that’ll have you calling up your friends with bikes just to give it a try. I suspect that this thing with Gallagher is only a fling, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy the ride while it lasts!
Double-entendres, twists, lore, secrets, and hunktastic men—VISIONS was everything I wanted book 1 to be, and more!(less)
This series is now four books in, and I’m still not fully sold on the Saberton vs. Zombies story line however, Angel’s wacky a...moreReviewed by: Rabid Reads
This series is now four books in, and I’m still not fully sold on the Saberton vs. Zombies story line however, Angel’s wacky antics and Allison McLemore’s engrossing narration more than make up for any plot shortcomings. I really enjoyed Diana Rowland’s snark in this latest installment, and the secondary characters were extremely well fleshed out which both went a long way in distracting me from the inescapable brain eating ick factor. The on-again-off-again relationship between Marcus and the heroine is also another sticking point for me. But in the end, the author’s firecracker of a protagonist and killer sense of humour tipped HOW THE WHITE TRASH ZOMBIE GOT HER GROOVE BACK into 4 star territory.
Angel Crawford is quickly becoming one of my favourite protagonists to listen to in audio. In this installment she’s attempting to master jujitsu by trash-ifying the terminology (i.e. osoto gari becomes Trip the Drunk Guy), learning how to punch without breaking her hand (while holding a beer! LOL), and FINALLY putting Marcus in his place (hopefully for the last time). Angel is also one of the rare heroines who’s character growth is obvious from book-to-book; she’s come a long way since MY LIFE AS A WHITE TRASH ZOMBIE, and is taking steps to help ensure that her forward momentum continues. The ending of this book did give me some cause for concern though; Crawford’s zombie state practically cured her of her addictions overnight, but the discovery of mods might soon change all that.
Saberton continues to be a thorn in the Zombie Tribe’s side by kidnapping their leader, attempting to blackmail a congresswoman, and conducting longevity experiments. I’m still not entirely sure why Nicole harbours such hate towards her friendly neighbourhood brain-eaters, but the whole thing reeks of government conspiracies which, as far as story lines go, I am not a big fan of. Rowland adds a couple of new elements to her zombie lore which again, were a little too WTF for my tastes; maybe I just need to read more walking dead novels, either that or the author really has gone off the deep end. I wish there’d been more of a resolution to Angel and Marcus’ relationship too because 1. I seriously hate that guy, and 2. NICK!! *swoons*
This audiobook wasn’t available in Canada through my usual go-to retailers which left me scrambling for a copy on release day. Normally, in cases like this I’d hold a grudge and postpone buying it out of spite, so it’s definitely a testament to Allison McLemore’s talent as a narrator that I went above and beyond to snag the audio version. I just could not wait to get my grabby hands on this one! McLemore’s Southern twang is perfectly suited to Angel’s POV, her character voices are distinct and memorable, and she delivers all of Rowland’s punch lines with finesse. There’s even a hat tip to audiobooks in this installment when the author references PASSION OF THE VIKING, Crawford’s current listen, which I loved!
Allison McLemore and Angel Crawford is a match made in heaven. Zombie superpowers ACTIVATE!(less)
*** Review contains minor spoilers from previous books in this series. ***
There are two main plot threads in Chloe Neill’s latest CHICAGOLAND VAMPIRES installment, but in all honesty I only had eyes for one. The Tarot murder mystery was interesting enough in itself; I liked seeing Merit & Mallory finally getting back on track, and I enjoyed deciphering the riddles left behind by the killer. However, after the way WILD THINGS ended, my focus was entirely on Ethan’s GP candidacy, and given the title of this book I was a little surprised that the author didn’t concentrate more on the latter and less on the former. That point aside, in BLOOD GAMES readers get to meet Amit Patel (the most powerful vampire in the world!), discover Neill’s version of THE HUNGER GAMES, and no CV novel would be complete without… Sullivan acting like a douche.
I really liked the way that the GP plot line played out; from Darius’ fall from grace, to the trials, to the unexpected end result. Nicole Heart, Ethan’s American competition, does kind of come out of left field though. Perhaps I missed it, but I think some reference should have been made to her before now. I also wish that The Sentinels Games would have evolved past the intimidation stage. That being said, I loved the psych and phys tests that the candidates had to undertake because vampires are an all-or-nothing kind of supe, meaning the BLOOD GAMES were to the death. The physical trial was nail bitingly spectacular with burning buildings, trolls and unforeseen duplicity. I won’t pretend to understand how the GP tallies points, but the winner will leave you wondering.
No CHICAGOLAND VAMPIRES review would be complete without a mini Ethan rant, so here it comes! After an attempt is made on his life, the master of Cargodan House receives a note that he refuses to share with Merit because for some inexplicable reason he thinks that lying to her somehow qualifies as protection. Yes, THIS AGAIN. So, of course they end up at odds, seeds of doubt are planted, and the happy couple goes from mock proposals to butting heads. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again; will this 400+ year old vampire never learn!? At least their tiff does lead to some light being shed on Ethan’s past with Balthasar, and after Merit proves once again that she’s in it for the long haul some genuinely tender moments ensue. I loved them together in the later chapters, but couldn’t help feeling a little frustrated by the fact that the 28 year old novitiate continues to be the more mature one in this relationship.
The author stays true to her Chicago roots by making the city’s famous food and landmarks integral parts of the story. I liked the correlations between the locations and the Tarot murders, and the Ombuddies were amazing as usual. The ending was a bit of a head-scratcher followed by a startling cliff hanger, but all of this just goes to prove that Chloe Neill’s still got it! BLOOD GAMES is a high octave read peppered with awesome fights, heartfelt moments, and developments that shake the very core of the CHICAGOLAND VAMPIRES universe.(less)
When starting a new book, I can usually tell pretty early on whether I’m going to like it or not, and after reading the openin...moreReviewed by: Rabid Reads
When starting a new book, I can usually tell pretty early on whether I’m going to like it or not, and after reading the opening scene of VEILED TARGET, I knew that Robin Bielman’s brand of action was for me. Chapter one begins with Tess in a face-off against a vampire on an airplane, and ends with her kicking butt and sky diving to safety—I mean, talk about an intro! The main heroine is an adrenaline junkie, and the alpha male is hotter than the fires of Hades, so right off the bat you have all the makings of an excellent Paranormal series. The only thing that slowed this story down was the relationship building, but other than that this novel is a thrill seekers’ dream.
The plot weaves a gripping tale of multi-layered double crosses which makes each character’s motivations difficult to pinpoint. Tess and Hugh both have their own agenda, but so do the supporting sidekicks who really helped transform this book into a complicated game of ‘he said, she said.’ And, just when you think that you’ve got it all figured out, the ending comes out of nowhere and catches you completely by surprise. I love a good guessing game, and VEILED TARGET delivered a whopper on that front. As for the paranormal mythology, it was straight forward and easy enough to grasp. I wish the author would have expanded a bit more on the different qualities of her various supes, and the reasons behind the Night Runners vs. Wolf Seekers war, but I think I got the gist of it.
My first impression of Tess was a good one, and sparks were definitely flying during her initial meeting with Hugh, but after that her personality began to take-on a stalker-ish quality that had me second guessing my original opinion. Langston had to bail on their date early after getting a lead on his kidnapped apprentice’s location, and Tess flat out refused to say goodbye. She offers to help and Hugh declines (multiple times), but instead of calling it a night she tails him. The girl’s got mad skills as an Eliminator, I’m not disputing that, and the events that ensue resulted in an off the wall first date, BUT she does come off as kind of batty in the earlier chapters.
Hugh was everything that I’ve come to expect from an alpha male; a loyal protector of his pack, unwaveringly brave, and as smexy as they come. I liked that no matter how hard Tess tried to find the evil in him to justify her kill orders; he constantly proved her wrong without even trying thanks to his inherent goodness. I was also happy that Langston didn’t try to coddle Damon and instead almost immediately accepted her as his equal; I loved their dialogue exchanges, and the bedroom scenes were extra steamy. Tess even saves his furry hide with a hot and heavy make-out session after an unfortunate encounter with a Banoth. She counteracts the beast’s toxic saliva with her own—now that must have been one heck of a first kiss!
VEILED TARGET is stunning in all of the right places; Robin Bielman’s writing is new to me, but not for long because I’m adding her to my ‘authors to stalk’ list!(less)
As a longtime fan of Diana Gabaldon I was a little weary of switching to audio this late in the series, but Davina Porter's performance was absolutely...moreAs a longtime fan of Diana Gabaldon I was a little weary of switching to audio this late in the series, but Davina Porter's performance was absolutely spellbinding! I loved every second of this 45 hour long listen. 5++ stars! (less)
Urban Fantasy author, Kelly Meding, has made the jump to Paranormal Romance in style with the first book in her CORNERSTONE RU...moreReviewed by: Rabid Reads
Urban Fantasy author, Kelly Meding, has made the jump to Paranormal Romance in style with the first book in her CORNERSTONE RUN TRILOGY, BLACK ROOK. To say that I fell head over heels in love with the McQueen brothers would be putting it mildly when in fact this series might just be the best thing that’s happened to werewolves since sliced bread. I adored the loup garou mythology, three dimensional characters, chess inspired plot maneuvers, and slow burn romance. My only complaint is that I had to wait until the 90% mark for Brynn and Rook to get horizontal, but really that’s more a personal preference than a legit gripe, so I won’t hold that against Meade (much) because otherwise, this novel was exceptional!
Being the werewolf fanatic that I am, the number one thing that I look forward to whenever I start a new series is the author’s own unique spin on my favourite supes. And, Kelly Meade most certainly did NOT disappoint with her loups garous! Usually I expect there to be one or two twists on the typical lore, but in this case what I received was a whole new world. I loved the use of a wolf’s colour as a power/rank indicator that also comes with its own exclusive traits that range from procreation to special abilities. I was especially fascinated by Meade’s white loups garous, but of course… she’s saving Knight’s novel until last. Shifting is well explained, and I really enjoyed the run (pack) dynamics. The buck doesn’t stop here though, there are also Magi, vampires, and hybrids in the CORNERSTONE RUN TRILOGY universe which makes it a very well-rounded read from a paranormal perspective.
The plot is ingeniously crafted, and reminiscent of a chess match where the opponents take turns and must adjust their strategy depending on what moves their foe makes. The character names and wolf colours tie in to this as well which only further added to this book’s one-of-a-kind story line. In the earlier chapters the pawns and chess master are clearly identifiable, but as the tale progresses and the power shifts, things get a lot more interesting. The author’s Urban Fantasy background is evident in the main story arc, and will continue to serve her well in future installments. In no way did this novel feel like your typical werewolf Paranormal Romance, so if you’re a reader that lives in constant fear of mate insta-love, you can rest easy because you’re safe with Meade.
Brynn is kind of the black sheep of the Magus thanks to being born the ‘second’ child, and gifted with unreliable precognitive powers in a community that prides itself on control. I admired her bravery, and loyalty to her father in the face of a heartbreaking vision, and her determination to do whatever it takes to set things right. Rook is a colourful character with his rockstar past, and potential Alpha future. I think that his brother, Knight, stole a bit of his thunder, but I still liked him as a match for Brynn. The romance is subtle and flirtatious, and culminates in one sexy scene towards the end. This book doesn’t score many points on the Richter scale which was a tad disappointing given the genre and the reason why I’m deducting half a rating.
BLACK ROOK was a fast favourite with this rabid reader making the CORNERSTONE RUN TRILOGY a surefire winning series that’s not to be missed.(less)
When I first discovered this series I was hesitant to give it a listen because it’s shelved as both Romantic Suspense and Paranormal Romance. And, eve...moreWhen I first discovered this series I was hesitant to give it a listen because it’s shelved as both Romantic Suspense and Paranormal Romance. And, even though I loved the first installment, I wasn’t sure whether it was because of the ‘new’ factor or legit enjoyment. Well, as it turns out book 1 was no fluke—I really liked this one too—albeit slightly less than FORGOTTEN SINS, but I think that was more Matt’s fault than anything else. He just couldn’t measure up to Shane Dean’s smexiness. Like the first novel, the plot’s very life-or-death thriller with an added dash of evil mastermind. What’s not to love?
In the earlier chapters Rebecca Zanetti flashes back to the SIN BROTHERS’ time at the facility to help put Matt’s alpha-ness into perspective. It helped me grasp that this guy really does have the weight of the world on his shoulders, or rather at least all three of his siblings’ lives. It was a smart move on the author’s part that allowed me to sympathize more with his character because after the first book, I thought that Matt was somewhat of a d*ck. That being said, there was still something missing to help me fully make the leap from drill sergeant to love interest. He’s undeniably strong and fiercely protective of his family, but he’s also very serious because he’s the oldest brother, and as a result I found that his dialogue was a little dry at times. It’s hard to pull off flirty when his personality lacks a playful side.
Laney on the other hand was an absolute delight! I loved that she was a grey protagonist; her intentions are good, but you know what they say about hindsight… The SIN BROTHERS seem to have a weakness for soft women—well, as far as first impressions go anyway—but Jacobs promptly proves Matt wrong. I liked how her past tied in to a number of plot threads, and I suspect that she’ll play a key role in helping the Deans get out of this whole killer microchip mess before all is said and done. The romance between Laney & Matt was instantaneous, and continued burned hot and bright for the duration of the story. There was however one rather awkward sexy scene that included an attempted murder; it just didn’t sit entirely right with me, but otherwise I have no complaints in the steam department.
Karen White continues to work her way up my list of favourite narrators, and with over 150 audiobooks under her belt, it’s easy to understand why. In this series she excels at keeping up with Zanetti’s quick paced writing style, her character voices are consistent from book-to-book, and she’s not afraid to pull out her Southern twang when the need arises. It’s hard to say for sure what I would have rated this novel has I read it instead, but I strongly suspect that White’s narration helped curtail some of the issues that I had with Matt.
SWEET REVENGE is a great addition to this series, and I look forward to listening to BLIND FAITH. I think that it’s important that I be properly introduced to all of the SIN BROTHERS before deciding which one is alpha enough to be my new fictional boyfriend.(less)
It's been a few months since I've read a book by Kelly Armstrong but within moments of starting this one I was reminded why she...moreReviewed on Rabid Reads
It's been a few months since I've read a book by Kelly Armstrong but within moments of starting this one I was reminded why she's one of my all-time favorite authors. Her writing skills are top notch and her characters are so real I feel as if they're my friends. Tales of the Otherworld is a real treat for both new and old fans because it offers a peak into this series without commitment but also offers new insights into your favorite characters. There was one particular short story that I was looking forward to in this novel: the tale of how Clay and Elena met. My absolutely, most favorite, beyond the shadow of a doubt, werewolf couple. And rest assured that it did not disappoint! In fact, it was all that I could have ever hoped for and more! I'm getting warm fuzzy feelings all over again just thinking about it!
There are a few short stories in this book that are only a chapter in length. Not much to go on if you're new to this series but for long-time fans they're like the cherry on top of a delicious sunday. Short but oh so sweet! While these stories may leave a newcomer confused, don't worry because others are between 100 & 200 pages in length with ample content that'll convert even the most skeptical reader. One such story is about the beginning of Eve Levine and Kristof Nast's romantic relationship. Both of which are extremely badass and evil in their own right but this tale shows them in an entirely different light. Love doesn't discriminate and even bad guys have a soft side. By the end of this short story I actually liked Eve. I was shocked by the history between these two! A quick side-note, they're Savannah's parents, and because of this my interest in their lives grew two-fold.
The coup de grâce of this anthology for me was Beginnings. I've been dying to know how Clay and Elena's relationship first began. Bits and pieces are mentioned throughout this series but this story really brings it all together. Again, I was surprised by the events in this tale. Modern day Clay is very masculine, which is still true in Beginnings but a whole new side of him is also explored. When he meets Elena he falls head-over-heels and all of his walls turn into goo. I loved seeing this side of him. I already count him among my fictional boyfriends but this story made me pine for him even more! Elena is great too. In the more recent books of the Women of the Otherworld series she's strong, authoritative and the backbone of the pack but she didn't start out that way. In this tale she's vulnerable, insecure and human. I could go on forever on the reasons why I adored Beginnings but I'm afraid to ruin it for those who haven't read it so I'll stop here. But I LOVED this short story. There I go getting emotional again! Will I be re-reading this one? HELL YEAH!
Wedding Bell Hell and The Case of El Chupacabra are also brilliant! Lucas and Paige are front and center in both of these stories. Another one of my favorite fictional couples. The second tale gave me a whole new understanding of Lucas and the motives behind his decisions. What more can I say!? This book is incredible and I was enthralled from page 1. My expectations going into this novel were excessively high, but in true Kelley Armstrong fashion, she surpassed them by leaps and bounds. Read this anthology; in fact, read the whole series! I can't reiterate enough how fabulous all aspects of these books are so you'll just have to read them for yourselves and discover first-hand. (less)
Had this been a regular installment in Cassie Alexander’s EDIE SPENCE series, I probably would have given it 5 stars because t...moreReviewed by: Rabid Reads
Had this been a regular installment in Cassie Alexander’s EDIE SPENCE series, I probably would have given it 5 stars because the story was well laid out, and the vamp-y action top notch. However, BLOODSHIFTED is also the last book, and as a result, I had to judge it as such. As far as conclusions go, it fell short in a number of pretty significant areas, namely the secondary characters (including the love interest) were for the most part MIA, and the ending was way too open-ended for a finale in my opinion. Those points aside, I really did enjoy this novel, its extra bloody and violent which is just the way I like ‘em!
DEADSHIFTED ended on a rather brutal cliffhanger, and I’m pretty sure that I was the first in line to receive an advanced copy for review because I was quite gung-ho for book 5. Luckily, Alexander’s assistant is a doll and humoured me. Anyway, once received I dived right in and was thrilled to discover that the story picked up right where it left off. There’s a lot going on in this installment with multiple plot threads including freeing the mysterious vampire prisoner, putting an end to Natasha’s research, Raven using Edie to set a trap for Anna, and Jackson’s questionable loyalties. The Catacombs are no Y4, but I was happy to see Spence back in a medical-type setting, and loved the unexpected turn that the main story arc takes.
It took me five novels to be able to fully grasp Edie’s character because I struggled to understand her willingness to put others’ lives above her own. Having had little to no contact with nurses personally, it was difficult for me to comprehend her profession’s calling. But, it’s also one of the aspects that I enjoyed most about this series; Spence truly is in a league all of her own as far as heroines go. In this installment she struggles with her new daytimer side which helped to balance out her benevolent nature; it also allowed me to gain a newfound respect for her because it permitted her to make some difficult decisions when the situation called for it. My only complaint where Edie is concerned were her countless conversations with her View Spoiler » throughout this book. They drove me absolutely b-a-n-a-n-a-s.
As previously mentioned, I did have a few issues with this novel on account of it being the finale, but before I get in to those I thought I should mention that Alexander’s publisher discontinued this series. I understand that the author had to finagle a last minute conclusion, and the challenges that that presented, however I believe that she could have handled it better. My main beef was with the secondary characters, or rather their absence; it was hard to say good bye to them when they were barely a blip on the radar. I was especially disappointed by the minute role that Asher played in this book considering that he’s the main love interest, and their HEA was lukewarm at best. I think this novel would have greatly benefited from an epilogue because although I understand the author’s desire to leave herself some room to maneuver should she decide to self-publish, the conclusion was far too open-ended to be able to satisfy this reader.
It’s with a heavy heart that I bid adieu to the EDIE SPENCE series. I can’t help but feel like the heroine’s adventures are far from over, but at least BLOODSHIFTED provided readers with some closure.(less)
I’d like to start this review off by first saying that I’m not 100% sure whether it’s the narration or the story that’s making...moreReviewed by: Rabid Reads
I’d like to start this review off by first saying that I’m not 100% sure whether it’s the narration or the story that’s making me consistently rate this series 3 stars, so you might want to take my thoughts with a grain of salt until I figure that one out. Anyway, I think that I enjoyed this installment slightly less than its predecessor on account of all the psycho babble & lengthy experiment explanations. I felt like I was back in college listening to a professor drone on about a subject I couldn’t have cared less about. Kat Richardson’s approach to the paranormal seems to be largely academic in nature, and I’m not convinced that that writing style is well-suited for the Urban Fantasy genre.
One of the aspects that I enjoyed the most about GREYWALKER was Ben and Mara’s supe 101 sessions with Harper, yet they seem to have almost completely vanished in this installment. I’m not sure how much time has elapsed between novels—I may have missed it in the earlier chapters—but it can’t be more than a couple of months, and I found that Blaine’s grasp of her newfound abilities was far too advanced for book 2. She’s also suddenly full-out dating Will, and in a long distance relationship no less, after only a few weeks (?). Again, I’m not clear on the time frame, but it just felt off to me. I had to double-check to make sure that POLTERGEIST was indeed the second installment in this series.
I enjoyed the whodunit murder mystery even though I did find that it was a little too predictable because the suspect pool was restricted to the experiment participants. I also liked learning some of the tricks on the trade when Richardson explores how certain illusions are created; it’s clear that a lot of research went into this novel. Quinton is probably one of my favourite characters to date, and I was satisfied with the role he played in this story as well as Phoebe Mason’s. She’s a new addition, and I look forward to reconnecting with her in future installments. Will on the other hand… I honestly don’t see his appeal, and hope that Harper dumps his ass ASAP.
The narration was somewhat improved when compared to the previous audiobook. I thought that Mia Barron’s Jamaican accent was well-done, and her ‘baby’ voice wasn’t half-bad either, although too much of it would have definitely given me a headache. But to be fair, any 2 year old talking in my ear nonstop would, so that means that her performance was authentic. Barron’s portrayal of the vampire characters was still too over-the-top for my tastes, especially where Carlos was concerned; he came across as more Count Dracula than evil undead master.
In short, my struggles with this series continue, and if something doesn’t start to click soon, I may be calling it quits. POLTERGEIST felt more like a crime novel with paranormal elements mixed in than it did an Urban Fantasy which might be the crux of my problems with Harper Blaine.(less)
I held off on the fifth book for the sole purpose of evading the cliffhanger, yet here I am experiencing exactly what I wanted...moreReviewed by: Rabid Reads
I held off on the fifth book for the sole purpose of evading the cliffhanger, yet here I am experiencing exactly what I wanted to avoid—a horrible hangover that’s going to last five months. Ok, so I know it’s bad form to start a review off by talking about the ending, but holy geez how can I not? I mean… the series just completely changed directions because of one revelation! I always feel like Darynda Jones leaves readers with more questions than answers, and that’s the case yet again with SIXTH GRAVE ON THE EDGE. As usual, this installment is packed with so many plot threads that trying to figure out how Lorelei King managed to cover them all in under 10 hours just might make your head explode.
It’s been a while since I’ve mentioned the entertaining quotes this author uses at the beginning of each chapter, so it’s definitely worth repeating. Jones also takes it a step further in this installment with the addition of hashtags which I LOVED! Then there were the countless references to Charley’s coffee addiction that always make me feel like we’re sisters-from-another-mother. All of the spork jokes cracked me up too! The author also delves deeper into the powers of the reaper, and if you thought Davidson was badass before, just wait until you learn what other tricks she has up her sleeve. And then, there’s the mystery surrounding the prophesies, the daughter of light, and the twelve. Yes, we get some answers, but mostly it’s just more questions.
Charley’s got her hands full once again in this installment with a naked dead man riding shotgun in Misery, her on-going child abduction case, Reyes’ looming question, and then there’s The Dealer. Ooh, and of course let’s not forget that Angel’s true past comes to light, there’s news on the Mr. Wong front, and in the midst of all this chaos Charley is also playing matchmaker to Cookie and Ubie. Needless to say, life as the Grim Reaper is never dull! But, leave it to Reyes Farrow to totally eclipse the entire action packed story line with his hot self. I love how far his and Davidson’s relationship has come through the course of this series, and I think the ending of this book will be a step in the right direction for them, even though the world might not agree.
When it comes to audiobooks I consider myself somewhat of a slow listener, but I had no problems finishing SIXTH GRAVE ON THE EDGE in a day thanks to Lorelei King’s exquisite narration. Her pitch is perfectly suited for Jones’ writing style, and her voice couldn’t be any more CHARLEY DAVIDSON if she tried. You can tell that she’s having a blast while in the studio recording these, and that really comes through in her performances. It doesn’t matter whether it’s an action or sex scene; King always gives it her all which is why pre-ordering this audiobook was a no-brainer.
SIXTH GRAVE ON THE EDGE ends with a big surprise that will leave you reeling in the possibilities. I’m telling you, this could change EVERYTHING! #holyshit(less)