Can this girl ever catch a break? Even cutting herself off from the demon collective and having a new bodyguard can't save our favorite itchy witch from problems. Rachel tries to adjust to being a borderline civilian (as she still works to solve cases after all) but her secret is out and that has made her the perfect target for a pretty serious hate group, HAPA, led by a group of sadistic humans. Their public enemy #1 is the Inderlander community and they will stop at nothing to be rid of them all, even if they must use Inderlander powers to do so. Of course we would have no story if Rachel wasn't exactly what they needed. She tries her damnedest to take them on the good old-fashioned demonless way, but she soon finds that it may not be enough.
She can't do it alone which results in the unlikely but very anticipated partnership with none other than Trent. And this partnership certainly doesn't disappoint. It's a new day for the new dad as we see a completely new but believable side to our favorite elf (well, he's my favorite at least). Their teamwork really is the heart of this book though other familiar faces, Ivy and Jenks, are still around.
Since Book 3 Rachel has liked to drive home that she and Trent look so good together, yet they're apart. But by the end of this book, you start to wonder why. Though she denies it, to me Rachel's actions clearly indicate growing affections towards him. As Trent embraces his magic, they seems a lot more compatible than one would initially think. If I spilled the beans about some of the revelations for his character, it would seem as if Harrison pulled it out of thin air. But she backs it up with several references from past novels, making one wonder if she was thinking about these threads all along. A lot of scenes are stark contrasts to what we've seen before, most notably her interactions with Trent in his home and office. Key moments throughout the series (though few and far in between) have taken place in those locations, so the evolution is meaningful.
While there wasn't a lot of Al, he certainly makes it count for the scenes he's in, managing to be his usual hilarious, yet terrifying self. I'm sure he will be a large presence in the next novel, so I'm looking forward to that. Jenks is funny as always, saying the most inappropriate things at the most awkward times. Ivy is stable and more of a presence than I was expecting based on Harrison's comments about her going away and then coming back in the last book. We're introduced to a few new supporting characters as well. Wayde is a Were bodyguard hired to look out for Rachel. Nina is a living vampire often being controlled by a master-vamp, making her really vulnerable. Both of those characters were okay---I could take them or leave them---but I really took a liking to Winona, a Witch prisoner that Rachel befriends as she takes on HAPA. She's a sympathetic character, just a normal person wanting to live her life. But the events of this book make her shine for her adaptability and practicality. I thought she and Rachel worked really well together.
I'm not sure if it's because it's fresh, but I LOVED this book...dare I say better than Pale Demon in a lot of ways. I liked Rachel's self discovery that she can hide but she can't run. She truly accepts who she is as a demon and the animosity between her and Trent is over too so now it's just the building process that you really hope pays off.
If I don't like a Hollows book, I will say so. I've been with this series since 2005, so I've been through all of the ups and downs. While I read many urban fantasy novels, I pick up The Hollows and feel like I'm saying hello to an old friend. It still manages to be really exciting, so knowing that there are only two books left (with a thirteenth as a possible continuation) makes me a bit sad. But for some reason, I didn't get the same vibe like I did from Pale Demon where it was really obvious how much the story was winding down. I guess that's a signal for filler, but at least it's good filler. The mystery aspect made me flash back to book 2 and the times when Rachel had gruesome mysteries to solve, so it gave me a feeling of nostalgia. This book isn't perfect but all in all I found it to be a satisfying entry to The Hollows series, so I gave it 4.5 stars.
"I pinned him with pitying glare. 'That the best you got?" His eye flares at the challenge. 'No, this is.' His hand cupped his balls. 'According to Alice in Dispatch'--I lowered my gaze to his crotch and winced--'there ain't much magical about that wand."
"How do I know where you're really taking me? Maybe you got a plan to kidnap me and make me your sex slave." I scanned a dubious gaze over the man's ratty gray hair, serious dental hygiene crimes, and the dirt caked back under his nails. "It's tempting, but I think I can control myself today."
"I leaned against the counter and eyed the back of Danny’s head. His hair was in the style his peers favored—meticulous messiness. I swear the kid took half an hour applying goo to his hair so it could look exactly like it had when he rolled out of bed."
Well this was a fun one! Does the cover model remind anyone else of Olivia Munn? I should know!
I think this series is off to a great start. I don't really read too many police procedurals, but Dirty Magic makes it more interesting through incorporating paranormal elements in a traditional urban fantasy setting. The magic is really unique and I liked that it isn't totally flashy. It comes off as more scientific which makes the parallels between magic in this world and drugs in ours very believable.
Kate can be very funny and I think she's a good heroine so far. Though she has a tragic past, the series doesn't come off as too dark. I found myself quoting several hilarious lines though the latter half isn't quite as quotable as the first one. A few of the supporting characters should develop pretty nicely in the sequels, but I wasn't quite attached to them right away. I do sense a potential love triangle brewing, but I wouldn't be surprised if this series doesn't put a lot of focus on romance.
I'm very happy to have given Jaye Wells another shot. I tried a novel in her Sabina Kane series and it didn't really grip me, but Dirty Magic's witty dialogue, solid worth building, and character development put this series on track to become a potential favorite.
*ARC provided by the publisher. *Review also posted to Amazon.(less)
"Adam snorted as he pulled on a faded green t-shirt that said "I Heart Coyotes." Yet another sign that folding my clean clothes wasn't too big a price to pay to make him happy. He didn't have any "I Heart Christy " shirts--or I would have burned them already."
"I thought we should apply that kind of thinking to the matter of Cristy's stalker." He gave me a skeptical look. "No, really," I said. "Now that we know that Flores is really this nasty, fiery, superpowerful nothing-can-kill-me demon from hell, maybe we should consider just giving Christy to him?" He laughed. "I'm serious," I said.
"Seriously? Do you know how many guilty people are in jail? None." Gary's voice rose to imitate a woman's voice. "Honest. I didn't kill him. He fell on my knife. Fourteen times."
You would think that our favorite coyote, Mercy, would have enough to deal with in her life when it comes to adversaries of the supernatural and furry variety. But she may have to confront her biggest challenge yet in the form of the former Mrs. Adam Hauptman. That's right, the ex is in trouble and on the run from her psycho boyfriend. And Adam wouldn't be the Adam that Mercy knows and loves if it wasn't in his nature to help others, especially the mother of his child.
The ex, Christy, is only safest in Adam's house and with his pack even though several things aren't quite adding up. But one thing is as clear as day, Christy wants Adam back and isn't afraid to play dirty to get him. Mercy isn't going to take this lying down, but Christy's peculiar psycho boyfriend may have more going on than some crazy stalker tendencies and as more bodies pile up, it's up to Mercy to put a stop to it.
Night Broken is certainly one of the more memorable entries in the world of Mercy Thompson. She's got bad guys...and girls all around and it's hard to know who she can truly trust! Christy's character is the one you love to hate. We'd been lucky for a while with her out of the picture, but since the character never died we knew she'd have to crop up sooner or later. And even death isn't always a guarantee that we'll be done with a character in the paranormal world, so it's always in our best interests to just wait and see. I did thoroughly enjoy this part of the book, even if Christy made me want to
Mercy's snark was of the highest order this time around and I found it refreshing. I loved this that novel tested the depth of Mercy and Adam's feelings for one another as well. They define what it is to be a unit. I think Adam fans in general will find him pretty swoon-worthy.
The villain was pretty interesting. I wasn't always sure what direction Briggs was going to take with his character so that helped keep the read very engaging. I did find myself annoyed more than once with Adam's pack though. It really disappointed me how they treated Mercy despite her dedication to them and the fact that she sticks her neck out there for their sakes time and time again. I really wish they would get over themselves. One saving grace is the fact that if they can't do it at once, they might be able to do it one by one. I thought the developments with Honey were well done and are a closer step in the direction of where things need to go.
My biggest gripe for the book would be the length. The latest Mercy books have felt too short to me. I mean, 350 pages might seem like enough but I feel like I whiz through it so fast. I could use another meaty 50-75 pages per entry. Additional pages would perhaps allow for more inclusion of side characters whose presence I found myself missing, namely Stefan. I know it's probably not very easy to figure out how to incorporate him now that Mercy's married to Adam, but I really like his character and his devotion to Mercy. Though he plays an important role, he is featured so little here and that makes me miss the old times. I am not very invested in the vampires as a whole in this world, just him. Briggs does a wonderful job at making me care more about pack matters in general, but I could still use a Stefan spin-off!
But all in all it's a good read and I think the fans will enjoy it immensely. The series still has a lot to offer and I look forward to what's next.
*ARC Provided by the Publisher. *Review also posted to Amazon. (less)
I read the first Shadow Reader novel a couple of years ago, but due to the supposed cliffhanger nature of the second book I decided to hold off on continuing the series until it was completed. After a back-to-back read I don’t feel either novel was as strong as the original.
I do appreciate the world that Sandy Williams creates and how it intertwines and conflicts with the human world. The fae culture is very developed and unique in this series. I definitely wouldn’t say it’s a boring read because things are constantly happening, but I honestly didn’t feel as if I was on the edge of my seat waiting for what would happen either. I kind of figured out where things would go, it was just a matter of how the story would get there.
Most of the time I actually felt these books could be better suited to the young adult genre than the adult genre. Part of that could be due to how immature McKenzie is sometimes along with the usual interrupted opportunities. I am a big fan of good characterization (most of the time that keeps me engaged better than a plot will) and I felt like there was more to be desired when it comes to personality from these characters. I liked all of them more in the first book, but in the sequels there was more self-centered drama that I could have done without.
I felt like the love triangle was already settled in the first book, so I was annoyed with the perpetual reminders about why she chooses who she chooses. The life bond situation served to annoy me more than entertain because it unnecessarily reinforced that idea. That and its place in the story still didn’t make sense to me. She felt how she felt about that person before the bond, so why would she doubt her feelings now just because the feelings between both of them are connected? “Oh boo hoo, I’m connected to someone who loves me more than anything. Whatever shall I do?” Ultimately, I just really didn’t like the dynamics of the trio.
Flaws aside, I think it’s a fairly solid trilogy. It's just that my gripes are strong in this one.
I enjoyed the first novel in this series, Sanctum, and jumped right into Fractured as soon as I could. There’s not much of a time-lapse at all so you won’t feel like you’ve missed much. While the supernatural big bads have come over to the human world, that leaves less time to explore the Shadowlands. I enjoyed the story overall, but I found myself wanting Lela and the gang to head back into Shadowlands pretty often since I found the world building and development there pretty interesting. This one focused more on high school life and came across as a more traditional paranormal YA read.
Malachi and Lela run into trouble in paradise which didn’t totally surprise me. One of the highlights of the book included several fish out of water moments for Malachi. You can’t expect someone who existed during the Holocaust to easily grasp how things are today. There are some interesting twists with the character as well that will leave you on the edge of your seat waiting for the next book.
We meet new side characters as well, but I didn’t find myself as invested in their storyline as I was with characters from the first book. I guess I might be a little afraid to get too attached.
Based on the ending of this book, I think book 3 will be closer to the same vein as book one which is a little more of what I’m looking for in this type of series. I look forward to its release and definitely recommend this series! And as an added bonus I really like the covers!
I don't regularly read yaoi manga, but this is probably the first where I think I can get really invested in the story and characters! The art is gorg...moreI don't regularly read yaoi manga, but this is probably the first where I think I can get really invested in the story and characters! The art is gorgeous! (less)
Being the fan that I am of crossovers and retellings of old tales, I figured this would be right up my alley, cheesy cover as...moreCheesy Cover, Good Story
Being the fan that I am of crossovers and retellings of old tales, I figured this would be right up my alley, cheesy cover aside. I'm a sucker for Disney and I make no apologies for it. After reading it I can confidentially say that the story is definitely better than the cover suggests.
One of the challenges of doing crossovers and retellings is that the author has to make the plot flow as cohesively as possible. I felt like this was handled well for the most part though there were a few subplots I didn't care about. Above all the novel needs to be able to stand on its own and I think there was enough original content, world building and history to accomplish that. Though I know how Jack the Ripper, Snow White, and Dracula end, I wasn't able to predict the direction of this book, which is a good thing.
While the story was enjoyable, I thought the actual characters were fairly flat and I wasn't totally invested in the romance. It was nice to see Alba Spencer's character as a barrister (a type of lawyer if you didn't know) and in a position to solve problems, but it just wasn't as compelling as I was hoping it would be for the majority of the novel. Her position does become more relevant and interesting toward the end, but by then it was too little too late for me. Dmitri's inner turmoil got a little tiresome at times as well, but his position as a surgeon leads to a few interesting plot twists.
If you plan to give this a shot keep in mind that this book is the second novel in this series, but it is written as a standalone. I haven't read the first book, but it's completely different and features different characters.
I'm a casual gamer, but I tend to prefer the ones with adventure as opposed to fighting (give me Uncharted or Assassin's Creed any day). I actually just wrapped up playing the new Tomb Raider yesterday. So needless to say the Injustice game escaped me. I went into this story complete blind as to what t
o expect. I thought I'd just open it up and read a few pages just to get my feet wet. But no, I ended up reading the whole thing in one sitting. It took about an hour. I don't follow comic books very closely, only the story lines that make it to Hollywood. So you can imagine my mind was blown to see this particular universe KILL Lois Lane!! And she was PREGNANT!! That was total drama I wasn't prepared for.
There are definitely themes that could cause some controversy. Politics and war are all touch upon. And the idea that absolute power corrupts absolutely. Some character behaviors surprised me, namely Wonder Woman. She's got the hotts for the Supes (can you blame her?) and she uses it to drive her decisions. I'm not really sure how I feel about that development with her character, but if you're a fan of that ship you might want to give this series a go to see what develops.
I don't know if comic book purists would get on board with this, especially Superman fans, because it seems out of character. But I think certain changes are necessary to keep a franchise interesting. It certainly got my attention. I know there's a movie coming up soon involving Superman vs. Batman, and the two are at odds in this universe as well, but I can't imagine it being based on the same plot. Either way I will definitely be watching that film (it's got Henry Cavill, what else do you need?) and I'll be on the lookout for the next volume of the Injustice series.
Overall I enjoyed the novel and found it engaging almost the entire time, though it wasn't until the third act that it reached unputd...moreThe World After
Overall I enjoyed the novel and found it engaging almost the entire time, though it wasn't until the third act that it reached unputdownable territory. Though it's clearly not the only dystopian novel out there, I enjoy the balance with supernatural elements and creatures. I like that I can become completely immersed in this gritty world suddenly turned upside down where we see beings (human or otherwise) at their best and their worst. Though it's considered a young-adult novel, I think it's just as gritty as an adult novel which adds to its appeal.
I found it thought-provoking often, wondering many times what I'd do in Penryn's shoes. For a seventeen-year-old, she's had to grow up so fast and while she makes a few dumb decisions, she also makes a lot of good ones and I was really rooting her for and her sister, Paige. I even found myself liking Penryn's nutty mom. I feel like she's just crazy enough to survive this thing. But Paige. Ugh, I spent most of the book just wanting to hug her. Her ordeal is completely heart-wrenching and I had a very tough time reading about it. We learn how she becomes what she is now, a twisted, patched up, razor-toothed experiment gone totally wrong...or maybe totally right? All I know is she's seven and it's just not fair. But I do appreciate that there may be a sense of destiny about the character which would make her even more multidimensional than being a sympathy magnet.
You're probably wondering why I haven't really said much about Raffe. You know, Raphael, the Great Archangel, the Wrath of God, and more importantly for the fans, Penryn's unexpected but very yummy main squeeze. He's definitely our favorite archangel. Well, unfortunately there's not much to tell this time. About half his significance in the book is through flashbacks of what we already knew. When they finally do meet up their chemistry and banter are a lot of fun, but I would have liked more of it and sooner.
Aside from that I had a couple more gripes with the entry. For one, the end didn't feel complete enough. I wouldn't quite call it a cliffhanger but it honestly just stops. I prefer when books wind down in the last chapter or at least provide an epilogue. My next issue would be the length. This novel is not very long at all. While I don't have page numbers to reference, I can't imagine it being over 300 pages. So why does this book have 75 chapters? Unless you're busting out 1,500+ pages novels like George R. R. Martin or something, it's completely superfluous. And since most of the scenes flow into the next one if anything it affected the pace a little. I honestly don't see why this would need more than 30. I just finished it and yet I couldn't tell you a standout chapter if my life depended on it.
But yes, my issues aside, I thought it was a very entertaining read and I'm looking forward to the next one. I also recently learned that this series will be adapted into a movie. I definitely think it's a good call because that's all I could think about while reading it, how cool it'd be on the big screen. But how often do movies live up to expectations?
If you're a fan, you won't want to miss it, but you might want to re-read Angelfall to give yourself a bit of a refresher.
*ARC provided by the publisher. *Review also posted to Amazon.(less)
I read this manga series once upon a time when it was still in Japanese. I was surprised to see it show up as an ARC some years la...moreShort, easy, steamy
I read this manga series once upon a time when it was still in Japanese. I was surprised to see it show up as an ARC some years later. It's definitely an easy read and the plot is pretty straightforward. It's a really nice option if you're in between reads. I like the artwork and if you're into comics, manga and romance, I imagine this series would be right up your alley to check out. There's nudity and sexual situations, but it doesn't overtake the story or qualify as hentai in my opinion.
This was my first time reading a full length Larissa Ione novel. I believe I read a short story once upon a time but I can't remember wh...moreEntertaining!
This was my first time reading a full length Larissa Ione novel. I believe I read a short story once upon a time but I can't remember which one. I figured I'd rather start fresh with a new series to see if I enjoy her style, and after reading this novel I'd say I do! Though primarily a PNR, I thought it offered a satisfying dose of snark, comedy, and action. I liked the premise of vampires actually being the slaves this time around. At first glance it seems a bit ridiculous considering their place on the food chain, but humans have strength in numbers, resources and smarts and all of that plays a big part in this novel.
The love story between Riker and Nicole was satisfying enough. It felt like your standard fanfare in terms of progression for a standalone. Though I wasn't blown away by the book, I did appreciate the solid world building and the characters. It has potential to get better and better. I would consider reading the second book and I'd also considering giving her Lords of Deliverance series a try sometime down the line. It definitely won't be this year, but perhaps sometime in 2014. If you're in the mood for a lighter PNR, I'd recommend this one. It has dark themes at times, but it didn't really play on my angst strings very much.
I started this series thinking Keri Arthur was publishing a new one alongside the Dark Angels novels. I didn't know that they we...moreI was hoping for more
I started this series thinking Keri Arthur was publishing a new one alongside the Dark Angels novels. I didn't know that they were republishing her older works. It's very interesting to become familiar with an author's style and ability and compare it to something else. I noticed after a while that this had more of a pedestrian quality to it as opposed to the Dark Angels series. I've only read the first Riley Jenson novel but it did not feel quite on that level either. This is not to say that the story wasn't straightforward and enjoyable in some parts. I thought the mystery was good and it worked fine as a standalone story. But it's not my favorite effort by Arthur.
I didn't really become invested in the development of the protagonists or their relationship to one another over the course of the book. The most interesting aspects were the villains and the world building, but as I said, Arthur's definitely done better. This is the first of a trilogy, though to me if felt perfect as a standalone. I honestly doubt I will continue with this as I'm more likely to read her other books instead because I'm not yet caught up on either one.
I found Hot Redemption to be a decent satisfying novella. I liked the cyber punk theme quite a bit, but I believe the length prevented me from becomin...moreI found Hot Redemption to be a decent satisfying novella. I liked the cyber punk theme quite a bit, but I believe the length prevented me from becoming as invested as I could have. The ending also felt very rushed, but all in all I'd say it delivered as advertised. I'd like to see a full length version with a bit more cyber punk included to make it more well-rounded.
As a follow-up to Gilded Destiny, which I enjoyed quite a bit, I must say that Jaded Touch was also well done. I feel like the Vesper species is a pretty unique addition to the world of urban fantasy. My favorite part of this novel would be the origins and development of their race. Though it’s a short read, a borderline novella, it offers very solid world-building and it pulls me in as effectively as any full length novel, leaving me wanting to know what comes next. The politics and dynamics between male and female Vespers adds just the right amount of tension while still keeping things unpredictable. I still have questions, but I feel as if more layers will be peeled back in the next installment.
The relationship of Jack and Three has me on the fence. Though the dynamic didn’t always work for me, they have a lot of chemistry. As their own characters I liked them quite a bit though. Scarred and tormented, Three has to march by the beat of her own drum due to her origins, so she’s constantly getting into trouble. But deep down she is a genuine person and she’s easy to root for.
Considering how the first book ended I actually was expecting this novel to be a continuation of that one. And considering how this one ended, there are even more possibilities for the next novel. I won’t be giving away spoilers here but I certainly wouldn’t mind a revisit to what could happen between either of those potential storylines.
*ARC provided by the author *Review also posted to Amazon. (less)
This was my first time delving into the Love at Stake novels, or at least I think so. What drew me to this book was mainly the title. I thought it’d be a parody of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo novel. There was humor here and there, but this is first and foremost a paranormal romance, so the romance and drama take precedence. I may have read a short story from this series before because one aspect sounded familiar to me; it was the VANNA angle in particular though I can’t recall where I could have read it. VANNA is a life-size synthetic device designed to look like a human woman. There’s blood stored inside it to help curb a vampire’s desire to attack real living people. That provided a healthy dose of comic relief in this book. Though the story appears to be a standalone, there is an overarching plot that I feel has been developing since the earlier books. But even still I never felt lost.
The relationship between Dougal and Leah was decent but I didn’t connect to it very much. Both were a little too down on themselves most of the time. I also think the timing was wrong for me because I read this on the heels of another book where reincarnation was at the heart of the relationship. I wasn’t disappointed with the book, so I imagine fans of the series who have read it from the beginning should enjoy it. Though I doubt I will read all the earlier 13 novels, I might look into reading one of its stronger prequels to get a better feel for Kerrelyn Sparks’s writing at its best.
*ARC Provided by Publisher *Review also posted on Amazon.(less)
Calli, a tattoo artist, lost her memory some time ago believing she was in a terrible car accident that left her scarred. The memories start to return when Nycholas, a predatory, serpentine Vesper comes into her life to save her from a dangerous situation. As it turns out, this stranger may not be a stranger at all and as things heat up between them, his brutal master is honing in with plans that put Nycholas, Calli, and her family at risk.
I wasn’t totally sure what to expect when I took a chance on this one, but it surely exceeded my expectations. Novellas tend to be more miss than hit for me when it comes to a brand new story and new characters, but Sarina did an excellent job with the world building, character development, and the suspense. I’ve seen less in full novels which really speaks to her talents and skills. The Vespers, while attractive, can also be super creepy. I found their species quite refreshing in the urban fantasy genre. They really stand out to me in times when vampires and other supernaturals have become a dime a dozen.
The story is not for the faint of heart, but if you like series that are on the darker side, then I definitely recommend giving this one a try. Considering how the novella ended, I am assuming this is the start of a whole new series. If it is, I can’t wait to read it in its full on glory.
*ARC provided by the author. *Review also posted to Amazon. (less)
3 stars. The writing and world-building wer solid and the story moved along at a reasonable pace. I have taken a liking to the angel angle of the para...more3 stars. The writing and world-building wer solid and the story moved along at a reasonable pace. I have taken a liking to the angel angle of the paranormal genre as of late, so the premise stood out to me. However, as I read it I didn't connect with the characters as well as I would have liked. I wasn't quite sure if this was targeted towards young adults or adults. Based on the cover (which looks cool) I was expecting something grittier. It depicts more chemistry between the hero and heroine than I felt while reading the actual story. Needless to say, it fell a bit flat for me there. The second half was significantly more interesting and it clearly sets things up for an ongoing series. It has a lot of potential.
To be fair. I read this directly after finishing a series of books that became a top 5 all-time favorite of mine, so after a book high like that it's very likely that I just wasn't in the right frame of mind to really embrace this story as much.
Sofia Claremont gets more than she bargained for on the evening of her seventeenth birthday after she is kidnapped to a mysterious island. While perpetually nighttime, it’d be easy to assume that she’s been taken to Alaska during that time of year; but it turns out it’s an uncharted location where vampires rule. She soon learns that she’s been abducted into slavery at the mercy of vampires that can be as cruel as they are beautiful. She may have a chance to fare better than most, as her master is the dark royal Prince himself, Derek Novak. Though blood thirsty due to a 400 year stasis he may be her best chance at survival, meaning she’ll do everything in her power to remain on his good side. However, his more sinister Novak siblings may have other plans…
I’ve been on somewhat of a YA kick lately, so this was a satisfying read for the time. The writing and world-building were very good for a debut. The characterization was adequate in that I found myself becoming invested in the cast. I liked who I was supposed to late and hated who I was supposed to hate. I think Sofia makes a few silly choices, but that’s pretty much the status quo for 99% of heroines out there. Derek is a pretty good leading man, though I would like to see him more unhinged. It would make him a little more interesting considering his age, though he looks eternally youthful.
I enjoyed the premise but I read it almost directly after another novel with a similar idea, though this novel was published first. I plan to follow both, but I definitely want to stagger them so that I don’t mix up plots. Though only a novella, Bella Forest makes it count with a tight and suspenseful story. I look forward to more, hopefully a full length novel at some point.
Though the book is currently $3.99 for 150 pages, if you’re an Amazon Prime member like myself, it can be your free book of the month.
*ARC provided by the author. *Review also posted to Amazon.(less)
As you can see, I present definitive proof that I've indeed read the book! And man oh man is it fantastic! It's my new favorite! I normally worry about using that term too loosely because it could diminish the potential quality of the series as a whole, but I genuinely think it's the best book thus far. Kim Harrison has done it yet again and all signs point to her doing it two more times, and in epic proportions.
This time the Ever After, home of the demons, is shrinking at an alarmingly fast rate, placing the existence of magic in a pretty vulnerable position; without one there couldn't be the other. So as if our favorite itchy witch, Rachel Morgan, didn't have enough problems, this just sprang up to #1. If she can't solve this one, she won't have any others. If she can't fix it, the demons want her head as her botched leyline creation caused this mess in the first place. And no one wants to see that happen more than her old buddy, Ku'Sox, the former day walking demon who had the misfortune to cross Rachel and lose. He even resorts to abducting her friend and goddaughter as insurance...and boy is it effective. Thankfully she's got Trent Kalamack and Algaliarept by her side to restore balance and take him down once and for all. But the price may be too high for things to ever be the same again.
I know there was criticism about not a lot happening in A Perfect Blood, though I personally enjoyed the old-school Hollows style mystery. But for those of you who didn't, for EVER AFTER I think a better question is what *didn't* happen! There was so much going on that I genuinely can't recall a dull moment. I think I felt and continue to feel every emotion possible, but I ultimately finished the book in pure euphoria. In case you needed a little reminding, Harrison presents really harsh realities and difficult decisions that prove she's an author with guts. I don't think I've experienced so many pulse pounding moments since For a Few Demons More (book 5). This book left me reeling like no other.
The scenes that take place in the Ever-After were some of the best of the series. The race against the clock really made this book so intense. Learning the history of the demons and the elves and the eventual degradation of their relationship was great, though I would have loved even more insight. I just can't get enough of it.
And that brings me to Big Al, who was totally amazing. Fans will absolutely adore him in this book as we learn more about his personal back story. He's much more prominent here than in A Perfect Blood and that's fine by me because he literally lights up the pages and keeps things exciting in his own peculiar way.
After having read Trent's POV in the bonus chapter of A Perfect Blood, I saw everything he did in a whole new light, and boy was it refreshing. He's got his own personal demons to work through and it really makes you feel for the guy. He is in a rock and a hard place, accepting his actions that have led to certain consequences while still working to find the best solution possible. I loved seeing him use more magic. I feel like elves have a pretty powerful arsenal that deserve more exploration, so it was nice to see Harrison skim the surface here with the insinuation of even greater things. Magic is amped up for the elves, while more human qualities are amped up for the demons, so it was an interesting trade off.
His teamwork with Rachel was one of my favorite parts of the book. The tension was insane and placed so well all throughout. It's seriously amazing to go back and read passages from Dead Witch Walking and then look at them now. Their progress is usually one step forward, two steps back, but the slow burn for this ship is probably what will make it my all-time #1 favorite if they end up together *fingers crossed*.
This book was just about everything I could ask for, but it wasn't 100% flawless. With so much ever after, elf and demon action, the story manages to throw in a smidgeon of development in vampire politics. Unfortunately it felt very much like an afterthought and briefly broke the overall flow. We know vampires won't get a lot of focus until the final book 13, so 10 or so pages of development came off a random at best and forgettable at worst.
All in all, this is an absolute MUST READ for fans of the series. Since Black Magic Sanction and Pale Demon the series has been invigorated and manages to improve as we reach the final stretch. That is a rarity for 95% of series that make it this far. I think it helps a lot that Kim Harrison has an end in sight and continues to write towards that. Many others have jumped-the-shark by this point. The Hollows is absolutely revving up for a grande finale and I cannot wait to be there.
*ARC provided by the author (cuz she frickin' ROCKS!!)
If you’re a fan of films like Robocop, Artificial Intelligence and Bourne Identity then Milo 2.0 might be right up your alley, only with a young adult...moreIf you’re a fan of films like Robocop, Artificial Intelligence and Bourne Identity then Milo 2.0 might be right up your alley, only with a young adult flavor thrown in. This new series centers on Mila, a seemingly normal teenage girl whose world is turned upside down after a freak accident reveals that she’s not quite human. In fact, she’s a cyborg military experiment, removed from their clutches to prevent those with ill intentions from doing more harm than good. With her identity revealed, she must go on the run with her “mom,” one of the engineers who fled with Mila, making tough decisions that cause her question whether she’s truly more man or machine.
I think I read this book at the right time. I was looking for something a little different from the usual urban fantasy or contemporary series. I am a fan of sci-fi stories and this is very well done for young adult genre. I think Debra Driza is positioning herself well, carving out her own little niche in the YA realm.
The book starts off with the typical day in the life of a teenager, so it was a little slow for me. I don’t read YA very much anymore because I no longer find the high school thing very interesting, and those I do read have little to none of that element. However, it has its place here in the story because the reader is allowed believe in Mila as a normal teenage girl. She’s very emotional and when she learns her true identity and purpose it’s very easy to sympathize. This technique (though in reverse) reminded me of Artificial Intelligence and how Haley Joel Osment’s character was handled. I may have cried during that movie and I go on record to say that I am NOT a crier!
I did think it was a little ridiculous that the military would design a teenage cyborg for the purposes of infiltrating groups and gathering intel as opposed to an adult, but I let it go. If you start reading the book and are a little disenchanted with it keep reading because the action really does pick up. I was on the edge of my seat with next to no idea of what would happen next. I found Mila to be easily likeable and though she may not be a human girl, she’s still a “real” girl to me. While a next book is definitely obvious, I’ve read worse cliffhangers so don’t let that dissuade you. I’m not sure if this is an ongoing series or a trilogy in the works, but I’d like to know what happens next and that’s always a good feeling to have at the end of a book. I recommend it.
When it comes to books I rarely venture into contemporary territory, but after enjoying Karina Halle’s Experiment in Terror series, I decided to give her new Artist Trilogy a chance. The gritty and offbeat theme seemed particularly enticing, and after diving into the unpredictable and tumultuous world, you don’t really want to come out.
Ellie is definitely one of the darker protagonists, but it makes her decisions all the more interesting. Though she does bad things, she is sympathetic character. Though you can’t excuse some of her actions, she never really had a chance and just survives as best she can with the cards she’s been dealt. After such a tragic childhood, she could easily be worse.
Camden is even more intriguing. Since the book is not from his POV his decisions and reactions can be harder to gauge. Based on the synopsis he definitely has a dark streak and you never really know what will set him off. That said, as I read the actual book he wasn’t as dark as I thought he’d be based on the synopsis. It was more about what was going on around him as opposed to the character himself. I didn’t come into this expecting to like Camden but you can’t help but fall for him over time.
There’s a lot of chemistry between Camden and Ellie and the flashbacks to their past were a good device to cement the relationship and allow the reader to become invested in where things can go from here. In the life of crime, there are forces bigger than the both of them that can change everything, but their moments are far from cliche and corny. That’s one of Karina Halle’s best qualities as an author. Her main characters and their relationships are rarely cookie-cutter, conventional, or contrived.
Based on the subject matter and the main characters with questionable morals, I am not sure if this book is for everyone. It might be too dark and times are rarely happy, but I enjoyed it a great deal. It is one of my favorite contemporary series now and I am thrilled that she writes fast enough so that the second book isn’t too far behind.
For a reference book, this was a very engaging and interesting read filled with tips, facts, and hilarious anecdotes. As a cat owner myself, it's a gr...moreFor a reference book, this was a very engaging and interesting read filled with tips, facts, and hilarious anecdotes. As a cat owner myself, it's a great to put a term to the things my cat does. It's also nice to see what behaviors my cat does NOT exhibit because even though he's not perfect, it could always be worse.
There were a few detailed directions on several subjects from retraining to introducing multiple cats in one household to clicker training. The book is broken into sections which makes it a lot easier to skip to the chapter you're looking for if there's a specific topic of interest.
While I found it to be informative, a lot of it wasn't relevant to my actual cat. The one thing I haven't been able to curtail with my little guy still has no clear or ideal answer. My cat is a serial cord chewer. I've lost many an electronic (expensive ones too) due to his habit. The one solution is to wrap my cords in no chew tape; it's what veterinarians use to wrapped around a pet's leg after surgery to keep them from picking at their wound or stitches. It's just very expensive to buy roll after roll for every cord.
While helpful, it didn't provide a clear solution to my cat's chewing habit. It suggests a bitter apple type of spray, but I've tried that in the past and I know that my cat is not phased by the taste. At best he is simply annoyed when it's sprayed at him directly, but an ordinary spray bottle with water does the same trick.
All in all, while this was one of the most interesting reference texts I've ever read, it didn't completely solve my issue nor it didn't suggest the pseudo solution provided by my vet, so in the end I had to take away a star. I think all cat owners and potential owners should read it, but it is not the be all end all to problematic behavior.
Betrayal and redemption are the primary themes in Love is Mortal, book 3 in the Valerie Dearborn series. It also completes the story arc of Valerie and Lucas. Stuck in the land of the Fey, Valerie is desperate to get out of Cerdwellyn’s clutches. Her powers as an empath, while useful, are not enough and she’ll have to work with Lucas if they have any hope of freedom. But can she trust him after his betrayal?
I have enjoyed this series quite a bit so it was sad to see this come to the end, though this book was a fitting way to conclude their story. There’s a lot of character development, particularly on Lucas’s end. After the devastating revelations in Love is Fear, there was a lot of rebuilding to be done when it came to Lucas and Valerie’s relationship and not a lot of time to do it. The work around was effective.
There wasn’t as much action this time around as Val and Lucas spend a great deal of time captive. It’s more of a psychological game. The the start was a little on the slow side for me because of this, but it does hit its stride and doesn’t really stop until it’s over.
Even though this doesn’t leave on a cliffhanger, there are a lot of questions still left when it comes to the land of the Fey and Cerdwellyn’s past and future, as well as Jack and Rachel, so thankfully we’re not completely finished with Valerie Dearborn world. It’s a fabulous series and I still want more.
*ARC provided by the author. *Review also posted to Amazon. (less)
I was glad to have the opportunity to review The Burning Bush (Habitat #2) by Kenya Wright after enjoying its predecessor a great deal.
When you’re a mixie, sometimes you have to take matters into your own hands to survive. In Lanore and Zulu’s case, that includes taking down a real mover and shaker, vampire businessman Dante Bottelli. After bombing his production plant, everything goes downhill and Lanore gets roped into a bizarre murder case, the Burning Bush Murders to be exact, involving the bodies of young women being tied to burning bushes. There is undoubtedly magic involved, making this not so cut and dry. Solving a murder and managing a turf war…it’s safe to say our heroine’s got her hands full.
There are some of the usual urban fantasy tropes that aren’t my favorite when it comes to this series, particularly the love triangle, but the actual story is engaging enough for me to deal with it. Their vigilante antics raise the stakes immensely, producing rather unpredictable outcomes. The characters themselves have quite a bit of flaws, but it makes them more relatable because of it. While the series is heavy on the drama and grit, there are quite a few laugh out loud moments as well. I can honestly say that I wasn’t bored for even one page.
Though longer than the first book, the Burning Bush is even better. The world building is as solid as ever and you really feel for the mixies being treated as second class citizens. Lanore, Zulu, and MeShack’s hardships take you on an emotional roller coaster that you feel even until the very last page. My jaw dropped to the floor. I wanted to make sure my file wasn’t corrupted and I somehow didn’t get the rest of the book. Think of the series finale of The Sopranos when it cut off suddenly and you stared at who had the remote. The “ending” if you can call it that was just unbelievable and it left me immediately wanting the next novel.
This series is as good as it gets when it comes to this genre, so I highly recommend it.
*ARC provided by Author. *Review also posted to Amazon.(less)
These days I’m hard pressed to read a lot of manga as opposed to written novels, so Mayu Shinjo’s new series, Demon Love Spell, was a welcomed reprieve. Miko is a budding shrine maiden who is still developing her abilities to banish spirits, a skill and duty that has passed down from generation to generation in her family for centuries. She strives to keep her family’s tradition alive, but she has to get better. She sees one opportunity to do so when she meets Kagura, an incubus demon who feeds on women’s desires for strength. Miko’s spell inadvertently works to incapacitate his abilities, even shrinking him to the size of a pixy! But this plan isn’t full proof and he now has his sights set on her. While not completely evil, Kagura aides Miko in banishing spirits with intentions more evil than “lady-killing.”
It’s a cute, short, and occasionally humorous read. While it’s not what I’d consider explicit, the implied sexual themes are very obvious. He is an incubus with an appetite! I will say that I like how his smoldering sexiness is balanced with implementing his chibi form whenever Miko sees fit. Their dynamics shift at these points, which gives the series breathing room to put the two on screen while limiting the sap.
Overall, not a lot struck me as particularly original or innovative when it came to the art or the story, but I didn’t come in expecting that anyway. The plot is still entertaining even with the elements that I’ve seen before.
I liked the two lead characters overall and I expect a lot of emotional development as the series progresses. This is only the first volume, so it’s going to take time to build to something deeper I think.