This was a great paranormal romance. Highly sensual, great worldbuilding, fabulous characters, compelling plot... All great stuff!
We begin with our heroine, Beth Carter, and her absolute arsehole of an ex-husband on an archaeological dig in Ireland. Beth is a fantastic heroine. She's kind of a doormat, and her ex treats her abominably, but she really was great to read. Her journey from the girl in the opening pages, to the woman at the end, was nothing short of momentous.
During the dig, Beth unknowingly awakens Fae warrior Conn. Now Conn was interesting because he's every bit the cold, unfeeling, superior being you might expect from an ancient Fae. He looks down his nose at humans and uses his glamour (compulsion) without qualm. He sees Beth, initially, as someone to take to bed, as is his right, even knowing it will leave her unable to function afterwards. Naturally, therefore, it took a lot longer to warm up to his character than Beth's!
Aside from the sexual connection and a few early interludes, the relationship between Beth and Conn actually progressed fairly slowly due to Beth's mistrust and reticence. However, once the bond began to form it seemed to catch like wildfire. The switch over from lust to love was a little abrupt for my liking. Especially from Conn's side, considering how he was at the start. However, that was probably my only blip in what was, overall, a really enjoyable story.
As well as the romance, COLD IRON also has a really great storyline - A search for a missing sword on the rough Southie streets. We meet some compelling secondary characters that are sure to take centre stage in future instalments, and also have plenty of opportunities to jeer and the slimy villain that is Beth's self-serving ex-husband. Grr!
A highly recommended read!
4 Stars ★★★★ ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.(less)
You know, novellas are tricky things. They always leave me unsure how to rate them since they're too short to ever really blow me away w...moreHome For Keeps
You know, novellas are tricky things. They always leave me unsure how to rate them since they're too short to ever really blow me away with their amazing worldbuilding or character development. The only time they succeed in that way are when they're mid series in an already established world. What they are good for as prequels, however, is getting a sense of an author's writing style. And in this, HOMECOMING was a win. I enjoyed the style and the emotion she managed to draw from me in such a short time. But the actual story itself left me feeling frustrated.
Firstly, there was the off-the-charts sexual tension that never came to full fruition, if you know what I mean? *nudge, nudge, wink, wink* That was such a tease! And also the ending, if that is the end for this particular couple, was rushed and unsatisfying.
But what about that sexual tension, eh? If allowed the time to be explored properly in a full-length novel, and with all the other wonderful steampunk and paranormal elements to be found, it could really turn out be something special. So I suppose you could say I'm slightly conflicted over HOMECOMING and unsure if I'm going to carry on with it or not. If the ending had been better, more HEAified, I might be more eager to move on to couple number two. But as it is... The jury's still out, I'm afraid. I'll probably watch for others' reactions to book two; let them be my litmus paper and take it from there, because I do see potential, I'm just not sure it was enough to add the series to my already teetering TBR pile.
An uncertain 3 Stars ★★★
ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. (less)
Isn't She Lovelyreads like your favourite Romantic Comedy movie set down in pen and ink. B...moreOriginally posted at The Demon Librarian.
Isn't it Wonderful
Isn't She Lovely reads like your favourite Romantic Comedy movie set down in pen and ink. Based on an adaptation of the Pygmalion tale, with, cleverly, a plot centred around two film students trying to create the exact same thing, art becomes life and life becomes a lot more complicated in this tale of opposites attract. What made Isn't She Lovely so enjoyable for me is the very thing that makes my favourite movies my favourite movies - chemistry. I mean really, truly GREAT chemistry between the two romantic leads. That indefinable spark that brings a film/book to life. It had all that and so much more. I freakin' loved it!
I can see why there's been movie after movie after movie based on Pygmalion, because there's just something inherently appealing about watching two unlikely comrades-in-arms working together to create this amazing "fool-proof" charade, only to have the plan blow up in their faces as the line between reality and make-believe gets blurred beyond recognition. A lot of these movies are quite clichéd now, however, and I was glad to see Layne tried her best to avoid as much of the cheesiness as possible, while still providing me with a Hollywood-worthy ending sweet enough to make me grin from ear to ear.
Brimming with great banter right from the first page, Isn't She Lovely hooked me instantly and I read it in a single day, which is unusual for me. The witty dialogue doesn't end once things heat up in the romance department, either; it carries on throughout the whole book, really making you feel like the characters were good friends as well as lovers. And yet it never gives the impression that the book is not to be taken seriously. Because there is a lot of emotional stuff in here too. If you've ever watched any of the other adaptations like Pretty Woman, My Fair Lady, She's All That and, one that wasn't mentioned here but that I'm throwing in anyway, Mannequin, then you'll know that trying to create, or recreate, the perfect woman, always seems fun in the beginning (gotta love those makeover montages!), but ultimately leads to a lot of soul searching by both parties. And here it was no different. Can a Goth girl and a spoiled frat boy ever really come together in compromise? Add into that the characters' own troubles, and it was definitely a book with some real, raw emotions going on, despite the ever-present humour.
Stephanie and Ethan were great characters. So endearing and likeable. I was most impressed by Ethan's character, actually. Aside from being a total hottie, which never hurts, he was also a lot more than either Stephanie or I expected. Stephanie even accuses him of being without substance early on in the book during their judgemental, stereotyping phase, but that's far from the truth and I was glad that, although the whole situation of the fake relationship was messy, he never played games. Now Stephanie on the other hand... She was the more troubled of the two, and there were a couple of instances where I felt she was being a little unfair to Ethan. Testing him in circumstances where he was destined to fail. I suppose calling it game-playing would be slightly unfair, but I just felt like the poor bloke was in a lose-lose situation at times. Bless him.
To sum up, I recommend this book to all readers of Contemporary Romance and New Adult. It was one of the most enjoyable NA's I've read so far, leaving me feeling supremely satisfied and yet sad that it was over at the same time. Great fun! ~ 5 Stars ★★★★
ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.(less)
I really have only one complaint about this book so I'll just get that out of the way before I start: Fa...moreSleep with the lights on - and the door open!
I really have only one complaint about this book so I'll just get that out of the way before I start: Fade-to-black sex scenes... Not cool, Shayne. Not cool. I had to sit with my eyes squeezed shut and use my imagination for a bit. Way to make me work for it. Sheesh...
But since that's the only thing I didn't like, I guess I can forgive you. The rewards were a gripping and cleverly written mystery, a slow-forming but deliciously complex romance, some fantastic, high-octane creepy scenes, a touch of paranormal, a smart-arsed protagonist (seriously, I have a total Girl Crush on Rachel), all finished up to a satisfying conclusion, though with some breadcrumbs left to lead us on to the next book.
Rachel de Luca has been blind since age 12. That hasn't stopped her writing a plethora of self-help books, however, all aimed at better living, thinking positive, being upbeat and perky... HA! Rachel was hilarious. She has this sugary-sweet public persona that she flips on whenever she's, well, in public, but in reality, around her close friends, she's the snarkiest, most acerbic, totally un-PC but completely fabulous character ever. She really made this book something special for me. With murders, emotional traumas and grief going on all around her, her tenacity and strength showed in the fact that she never lost that spunk. And the book was better for it. All good books need light and shade; Rachel was the light in SLEEP WITH THE LIGHTS ON.
Detective Mason Brown is brought into Rachel's orbit when he accidentally runs her over outside the police station, where she'd just reported her bother missing. Oops! Shortly after, his own brother dies and he decides to donate his organs. Who better to receive his corneas than the blind but utterly gorgeous and intriguing Rachel whom he'd just so rudely mowed down earlier that day. There's just one problem: It's not until after his brother's death that he discovers his brother was the very serial killer his police unit has been hunting these last several months, and he may have just given Rachel the eyes of her own brother's murderer. Unless they can find him.
This is just the beginning for our duo. The "touch of paranormal" I mentioned comes in the form of strange dreams and visions Rachel experiences after the surgery. Well, I say it's "paranormal," but the book actually made it sound like there might be some science behind it, or at least, some documented cases of transplant recipients reporting differences in things they like to eat, watch, read, etc. I confess, I haven't bothered to research further on it, but it was fascinating to see Shayne take it that step further in her writing.
As the story progresses, the visions escalate and, bizarrely, the murders haven't stopped. It really becomes quite the tangled web, all told, but Shayne untangles it expertly. I loved Detective Mason's conflict and turmoil. He really is a good guy just trying to do the right thing in crappy circumstances. I did get kind of annoyed with him at times when it *almost* seemed like he was accusing Rachel of knowing too much, when he of all people should know that's not the case. The cheeky bugger. I really liked him, though, and look forward to more of him in book two. Including in the bedroom!
4 Stars ★★★★ ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.(less)
What a thoroughly enjoyable read! Walking the razor's edge between Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance, STONE GUARDIAN has a love story that simmers and action scenes that will knock your block off. Full of colourful characters, interesting supernats and dangerous adversaries, as well as many tertiary characters that are just screaming for further exploration, I'm really excited to see where Monsch will take the Entwined Realms series.
Here in STONE GUARDIAN I had the absolute delight of meeting Terak, our gargoyle main character. Such an underused, fascinating and pretty freakin' sexy (if Terak is any indication) supernatural class to explore. Monsch brings us a version that's dignified, steeped in tradition and in many ways, held apart from the rest of society. Humans included. That is until the Oracle tells Terak he must watch one particular human - school teacher Larissa Miller. Why? Well, that's what Terak would like to know. But like most Oracles, clear and concise answers are not her forte and she's being very vague about what makes Larissa so darn special.
But let me tell you, Larissa is special, as a main character. Hurrah for non-stupid heroines! Heroines that know their limitations, that don't run headlong into danger or try to commit suicide by stubborn! She was wonderful, charming, engaging, and very likeable. Born on the day the worlds collided, Larissa's family (Dad + four older bothers, all cops) all lost something precious that day - Larissa's mother. For that reason they have no love for any of the supernatural races and live in the human only area. This makes Larissa understandably a little ignorant when it comes to supes, so imagine being thrown into their world head first with EVERYONE trying to kill you, and only a stern-looking gargoyle for protection.
I loved the romance in STONE GUARDIAN. It was sweet, unhurried, tender. Just gorgeous. I hope to see more of Larissa and Terak in future books even if they're not the main characters next time. I also enjoyed several other characters, including some feisty female members of The Guild who brought some comedic relief.
All together a wonderful addition to the paranormal playing field
4.5 Stars ★★★★1/2 ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Incidentally, another author who does this UF/PNR mashup brilliantly is Kate SeRine. You should check her out, too, if you haven't already;)(less)
Move over Urban Fantasy. Stick your vampires where the solar rays don't penetrate, and bring on the...moreFind this and more reviews at The Demon Librarian
Move over Urban Fantasy. Stick your vampires where the solar rays don't penetrate, and bring on the hot aliens! Wow. I can't get over how much I enjoyed this book! I picked it up on a whim, really, and after having a rather lacklustre reaction to another Sci-fi title earlier this year, wasn't overly optimistic that I'd enjoy it that much. Boy, was I wrong! I'm so glad I gave this a try because it was just so redonkulously entertaining and interesting and sexy and...gah! It was just amazeballs!
Cassiel Winters is a space cadet with a secret. She experiences what she thinks of as "deja vu episodes" and strange glimpses of overlapping time sequences that she doesn't fully understand. The only thing she does comprehend is that her older brother Daz - a fully-fledged member of ESE (Earth Space Exploration) and her only remaining family - is missing, and that someone left her a note telling her to hide. Having joined ESE herself in the hopes of finding Daz, we join Cassiel towards the end of her cadet training on board a spaceship about to take her final tests for the second time. Being the first cadet ever to fail her original tests is not something she feels particularly proud of, so imagine her surprise when she is asked to undertake a special mission by her commanding officer.
This mission is where it all kicks off and from here I was sold on the story hook, line and sinker. You couldn't have pried the book from my hands with a crowbar. You couldn't have enticed my eyes from the pages with the promise of naked Ryan Gosling. Seriously, it was just fun, ya know? Pure entertainment. I'm thinking SKY'S END is probably going to appeal to the ladies rather than any hardcore Sci-fi fanboys because it was very sexy and sensual in places with many a descriptive passage detailing the hotness of a certain alien race's male members (heh, I said members), and Cassiel's narration is also very female and girlish - wondering if her butt looks too big in her Spandex space suit, for example - which would probably drive guys nuts, but which I found funny. You would though, right? Head-to-toe freakin' Spandex or whatever the hell spacey equivalent there is? I know I would.
These inanities and Cassiel's charismatic, lively narration in general, all added to her appeal and drew me into the story by giving me something recognisable to grasp onto amongst all the Sci-fi whoosimawhatsit which, as a noob to the genre, was all very alien to me (heh, I said alien). That's not to say of course that Cassiel was a perfect character. She could certainly be annoying at times, and unreasonable occasionally, and a bit immature, and possibly too impetuous as well. But she needed those flaws. If not for those she would have come off far too "Special Snowflake," because there was a definite theme going on here of everyone fancies Cassiel, which might potentially annoy some readers. It was explained away by the female-to-male ratio on board the ship being seriously out of whack, and later by the unusual mating rituals of the alien race, but I know some people will take issue with it. I just find that I don't care though. I see it, I recognise it, but I give no shits. Observe how many shits I do not give. I was entertained, and that's all I care about. The set up might have been a total ploy, but it was a fun ploy. In fact, discovering more about this alien race's relationships, or lack thereof, with its female counterparts was one of my favourite things about the story, and led to much contemplation on my part. Well, that and the pew pew pew pew spaceship racing! So like, joint favourites. 'Cause, you know, I'm a dork.
Speaking of spaceships, I found all the Sci-fi stuff complex enough to be interesting, while at no point overwhelming me, and the finer details such as the technology, weaponry and cool gadgetry, all added flavour to what was already a pretty damn tasty cake, so that was great too.
I suppose the best thing of all about SKY'S END was that it kept surprising me. I couldn't have predicted one single bit of it, and that was just so goddamn refreshing! Even with Cassiel, as much as I liked her and thought I had her all figured out, even she would surprise the heck out of me by doing the unexpected. I thought some of her decisions were very brave and admirable, and my respect for her grew as I read on. She may actually be a Special Snowflake! Stranger things have happened.
I don't know much about book two yet other than that it's set to be called Sky's Surrender, but I can tell you one thing about it: When it's released, I will be reading it. Oh, yes I will. If you build it, they will come. So says the Costner.
5 Stars ★★★★★ ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Book three in the Sentinels of New Orleans series is by far the most blood-soaked story thus far, so naturally it would be my favourite, right? Featuring an axe-wielding serial killer, no less. One whose crimes are getting disconcertingly closer to DJ's neck of the woods. Coincidence? Yeah, she wishes. And so once again our favourite female wizard is in the centre of a shitstorm of epic proportions, and if only that were the worst of her problems!
Oh, I loved this one. Here is a book that's not only a satisfying read in its own right, but also plants seed after seed of future intrigue as Johnson introduces her Long Game. And I have to say, judging by this book, I simply cannot wait to see where she's planning to take us next!
As well as dealing with the Axeman of New Orleans in his undead but frighteningly corporeal form, DJ has some very interesting personal issues to address in Elysian Fields. Some good, some not so good, and some that she's just been plain avoiding for far too long. There was also a lot more emphasis made here on the elves this time around. They've been somewhat in the background up until now, wanting little to do with the rest of supernatural kind, but when they step out of the shadows they sure do it in style! And with some humongous repercussions for DJ, I might add. Not happy with her bond with Charlie, the elven staff, they make their feelings known in true elven tradition: trickery, sneak tactics, and mind games.
Dealing with the elves proves a challenge for DJ. I've mentioned before that she's quite forthright - no wallflower is our Dru - but this poses a problem among the elves who, as a race with a very healthy superiority complex, see her as little more than a mongrel mutt. While not the most violent of the races as a general rule, that doesn't mean their methods of getting their way are a walk in the park. Mental torture being just as effective as the physical kind. Yes, our girl is put though the wringer in this one alright. She may never be quite the same again...
As well as all that, there's another gigantic development. I wish I could tell you what it was, seriously I do. It's a plot twist worthy of the only best UF writers. Not necessarily something you wanted to happen ( like, not at all), and yet you'll be d y i n g to see how it all pans out. You've been warned!
On a slightly more frivolous note, this pesky serial killer malarky doesn't stop DJ from finding time for some romance in Elysian Fields. Nuh, uh. And what a fine hunk of man she picks for her playmate! I bet you want to know who it is, don't you? Hee hee! I'm not telling, but I'm happy. Take from that what you will :)
To sum up, this was yet another great read in a series shaping up to be one of the high flyers of its genre. Absorbing from page one, I couldn't have asked for more.
5 Stars ★★★★★ ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
You might also like to read my reviews for the first two books in the series below:
My first Kristen Ashley book didn't go with quite the bang I'd hoped it would. I've seen plenty of positive reviews for her work and know she's an auto-buy author for many people. And despite my many issues with the characters and dialogue in FIRE INSIDE, I'm still hopeful that I might do better with a book from one of her other, non-biker, series one day. Because really, that's where my problems stemmed from—The Bikers. Their whole "bros before hos" mentality. Their attitude towards women in general. Their ridiculous speech and dialect. Their over-the-top alpha douchecanoeness. And the fact that I found the book's background storyline (something about some drug dealer dude impeaching on their "biker turf") really boring. (Thankfully it only took up about 20 pages in between all the bed hopping).
The story follows Lanie Heron, a good girl gone wild and long-time follower of the biker club Chaos. Her and love interest Hop have known each other from group get-togethers and the like for about eight years, both liking what they saw in each other, but at the time they both had other partners. In this book, they're suddenly both free and single for the first time, and so Lanie propositions him with the offer of a one-night stand. Romantic, huh?
Then sex happens. A lot. Sex, sex, sex sex, sex and a bit more sex.
They of course develop feelings for each other and it all gets hella complicated. Melodrama and overreactions ensue, followed by more make up sex.
My biggest peeve of the whole thing was the language used by Hop and his buddies. Women are referred to as Bitches, Gashes, Pussy, Old Ladies...you get the idea. That was a deal-breaker already, but then on top of that, Hop was also way past the alpha douchecanoe line marked clearly across the floor (He can't even see the line. The line is a dot to him.). And I just didn't like him, basically. Even when he was (supposedly) being sweet calling her "Lady" and insisting she's too posh to be on her knees and is only allowed to perform fellatio on the bed. Like a lady.
Yeah. What a total prize.
I have to say though, even hating the characters as I clearly did, I can still appreciate Ashley knows a thing or two about chemistry and writing a good love scene. Which is why I'm still determined to try another one of her books in the hopes that I just picked a bad one to start with as a newbie.
2 Stars ★★ ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
This is the age-old story of girl meets vampire, girl falls in love with vampire, vampire...moreFind this review and more like it at The Demon Librarian.
This is the age-old story of girl meets vampire, girl falls in love with vampire, vampire tries not to fall in love with girl until other vampire tries to kill girl... etc., etc., etc..
The girl in question being Nikki James, a human Private Investigator with telepathic abilities. And the vampire being enigmatic Michael, who turns up with orders to save Nikki from a threat, who also happens to be an old adversary of his. Shenanigans ensue, and the pair grow close both emotionally and telepathically while they try to solve the mystery/get the bad guy.
In terms of romance, I have to say I preferred this over the only other thing I've read from this author: The Riley Jenson series. With its unabashed, unrestrained take on werewolf mating habits, public sex and multiple partners, Riley Jenson was always a bit too much for me, delicate little flower that I am. (I only actually read the first two books, but my reviews basically went like this: Book one "There's a lot of sex but I can totally handle it and it makes perfect sense within the story so it's FINE, guys! Chillaxitaxi!" Book two: "There's too much sex and I totally can't handle it.") I suppose that means I'm a traditionalist and better off with the one-on-one stuff with, like, romance and anticipation and buildup. So, in that respect, DANCING WITH THE DEVIL worked better for me and I'm glad there was some restraint going on between the two characters. Buuuuut..... it still kinda fell flat. Sorry! The pull between them just didn't feel authentic; I didn't believe it. And there's nothing more cringe-worthy than characters saying their I love Yous before it feels real to readers. It's just such a facepalm moment. And that's what was happening here. I was practically reading it through my fingers going, "Duuuuude, no." It was just all too much too soon, or maybe too little too late, depending on how you look at it.
Then comes the second problem: without the romance, all I was left with was the mystery, which also wasn't that great. It had a very one-dimensional villain who was basically just bad for being bad's sake with no real motive and no presence. And it was a very simplistic and straightforward plot, too. Kinda boring, in fact.
Eh, well. Can't win 'em all, I suppose. I don't think I'm going to continue on with this one (or the Riley Jenson series but for totally different reasons). Maybe this author and I just aren't meant to be friends...
3 Stars ★★★ ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.(less)
I'm wearing my sad face at the moment because I don't want to be here giving a Bec McMaster book 2 stars. Especially directly after giving the last...moreOh.
I'm wearing my sad face at the moment because I don't want to be here giving a Bec McMaster book 2 stars. Especially directly after giving the last one I read - Heart of Iron - 5 stars. But I am so disappointed in this one!
Essentially, everything I loved about books one and two - the sweet, tortured heroes, the feisty yet soft heroines, the perfectly executed buildup of sexual tension - was missing. Both Rosa and Lynch were such different types of characters to what McMaster normally delivers. Slightly older for a start, but also both very closed off people; mistrustful of the opposite sex, jaded. I'd even go so far as to say slightly bitter. Add to that the giant deception going on with regards to Rosa's alter-ego as "Mercury" and her sneaky infiltration of Lynch's Nighthawks, and the whole thing just left me with a nasty aftertaste.
I'm not going to bang on about it, though. I'll just say this one did not do it for me as the others have, and let's say no more about it.
2 Stars ★★ ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.(less)
I find myself slightly frustrated after finishing CLOCKWORK MAFIA. Like I've been short...moreFind more reviews at The Demon Librarian.
Steam but no sizzle.
I find myself slightly frustrated after finishing CLOCKWORK MAFIA. Like I've been short changed somehow. You see, its synopsis reads like that of any other romance novel—albeit a steampunk one—with a bit about the heroine and a bit about the hero. So I was kind of expecting a full on romance. You know, with heated kisses and intimate scenes and stuff like that. But, nope it was sadly lacking in that department. Only a couple of smooches which had little impact. And, you know, I can happily read a book with no sex in it just fine, so it's not like I'm some insatiable smutmonster or anything. But it's all about expectations. I expected more romance, I didn't get it, so I'm disappointed. So on the romance front, it gets a very low score.
However, on the Steampunk side of things, I really enjoyed it. I loved that Henrietta was so skilled with machines and clockworks, even if it did land her in hot water more often than not thanks to her late father's dealings with the mafia. I also loved that the hero, Carson, was still amiable despite being a man hell-bent on vengeance for his murdered fiance these last eight years. And the descriptions of all the various instruments were great, and the plot in general was entertaining, if fairly short. Hey, maybe they could have made it longer with some sex scenes! Just a thought.
So, all in all an entertaining steampunk, but a disappointing romance
3 Stars ★★★ ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
This was a good read with lots of potential for future plots. I've read a number of promisi...moreFind more reviews at The Demon Librarian.
Fun and flirty UF
This was a good read with lots of potential for future plots. I've read a number of promising starters in the last 6 months in the Urban Fantasy genre, which is as exciting as it is daunting. Joining a series so early means a commitment of 5-6 years of waiting for new releases, sometimes after crippling cliffhangers, so only the really good ones will I pick up for books two, three, four... This is one I will continue with, for sure.
It was a fun, exciting and well-paced story following a likeable young witch (an Enchantress, actually) called Libby, who is working a case for her coven. The ritualistic killing of cats leads her to discoveries way above her usual pay grade. Since she's so far out of her depth, you'd think she'd be happy to have a darkly handsome and enigmatic warlock turn up to assist her. Right? Yeah, not so much. Libby's past experiences with warlocks have led her to be wary and slow to trust. And that's putting it very mildly. Something Libby probably wouldn't bother to do. She's more the 'say it as you see it' kind of gal. Her smart mouth was entertaining and only once or twice did I think she took it too far with the wrong people. I really liked Libby's "voice" and felt for her as the frustrations of dealing with her new and extremely evasive shadow got her down.
Warlock Kale, the potential love interest and a man who answers questions with yet more questions, or simply diverts, distracts or fails to answer at all, was so annoyingly interesting I wanted to scream! And so did Libby by the end. He takes secretive to a whole new irritating level and yet I still liked him. I loved how slowly their relationship developed—largely because of his refusal to give away any information about himself—but it was something that I was invested in nonetheless and had me turning the pages like a crazy woman. And although it was slow to start, it had a more than satisfying conclusion!
Can't wait to find out what happens next after all the shock revelations in this book. Bring it on!
4 Stars ★★★★ ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. (less)
Oh, I do love this world and this writer! I have enjoyed both books tremendously so far in this fun, fun UF/PNR series (I suppose techn...moreQuickie Review:
Oh, I do love this world and this writer! I have enjoyed both books tremendously so far in this fun, fun UF/PNR series (I suppose technically it's PNR, but it feels too plot heavy to call it that at times).
I'd say the mystery was possibly slightly more engaging in the first book, but on the flip side, we were treated to a lot more hot sexy times in this one, which was absolutely fine by me since it involved the delicious (especially when he's blushing!) Seth Wolf. His was an adorable character. In fact, I'm really liking Ms. SeRine's 'men' in general. She writes them as drool-worthy and tough, but also very sensitive and vulnerable. Definitely no alpha douchecanoes in sight.
As for our heroine, I loved getting to know Lavender Seelie (aka The Fairy Godmother) more once I got my incorrect mental picture of her out of my head. You see, in book one she makes an appearance in a less than sober state, so I kept seeing her as this purple-haired drunken lush, and it wasn't a pretty picture, let me tell you. However, our Lav hasn't touched a drop in 12 months thanks to a quiet word from Red, and she's trying to make a fresh start down at "The Refuge." Cue dead bodies, magical runes, missing Tales, hungry hellhounds and a smoking hot werewolf, and you've got a good idea of the kind of treat you're in for with this book.
After enjoying the steamy, emotional rollercoaster that was book one of this series, I immediately snapped up my review copy of HIGHLANDER TAKEN as soon as I spotted it. And I'm certainly glad I did! I positively flew through it; reading up to the 70% mark in the first sitting before I even realized what was happening.
HIGHLANDER TAKEN follows middle Mackenzie brother Kade, who as you may recall, stepped up when Wilkie (hero of the last book) could no longer honour his agreement to enter into an arranged marriage for clan alliance with the Morrisons - not after he'd met the beautiful Roses. So Kade volunteered in his place, which sounds very altruistic, doesn't it? Well, wait until you read his reasons why. :)
Kade was a great hero. He was very misunderstood in the beginning - by everybody, but most especially by his bride-to-be - but he was actually a really nice guy once you got to know him. I'm definitely liking these Highlanders that Miller is dreaming up for us so far. They're a great blend of heart-pounding masculinity, and heart-melting sweetness. And, really, what more can you ask for in your heroes than that?
Stella was a great heroine, too. Not quite as timid as I thought she was going to be; this lassie had hidden fire! A fire that matched Kade's flame for flame. They were great together, and as with the last book, the heat was certainly on when it came to the bedroom!
I found the book engaging. Mostly just because I really liked the main characters. But actually, the plot itself was quite gentle. Especially in the first half. It was more about Kade and Stella getting to know each other and building a trust between them. However, the conflict that arrived in the last quarter of the book was thrilling and definitely made it end with a bang. Quite literally. ;)
4 Stars ★★★1/2 ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I don’t know if you know this about me, but I’m a bit of an Urban Fantasy fanatic....moreFind this and other reviews at The Demon Librarian.
One true thing.
I don’t know if you know this about me, but I’m a bit of an Urban Fantasy fanatic.
You’re deeply shocked, I can tell.
Yes, I confess, I’ve read a lot of UF series. Or more specifically, I’ve read book one of a lot of UF series. And generally I always find at least something to enjoy in each one, but in many cases, not enough to entice me into reaching for book two.
Then of course I have my FAVOURITE UF AUTHORS OF ALL-TIME. The frontrunners. The trailblazers. The Big Cheeses. The Top Dogs. The—okay, you get it. Those select few authors whose imagination and creativity I find infinitely superior. Authors like Kim Harrison, Patricia Briggs, Karen Chance, Ilona Andrews...the list goes on. And here’s the point I’m trying to make: I see Leigh Evans joining that latter group of all-time favourite UF authors. In fact, at times during THE THING ABOUT WERES, I already found myself finishing a scene and thinking to myself, “Wow, that could have easily been written by Author X”, it was that good.
If you’re not familiar with the authors I’m referencing above (and you really, really should be), you might not realise what a ginormic compliment it is to be lumped (even if only in my mind) into that elite group, or just how happy it makes me to have discovered a potential new member. Because the really great writers of UF are so few and far between, it makes it ridiculously exciting to find one with something new to bring to the buffet, rather than just handing out the same tired old sausage rolls as everyone else. And new ideas is something Leigh Evans apparently has in spades. Whether it be her fantastically imagined realm of Threall, her new take on both the Fae and Were races, or her most awesome creation of all: Merry, the tiny-Fae-soul-trapped-inside-an-enchanted-amulet character. A character that is a necklace. A necklace character. I can’t even...
Okay. Moving swiftly on lest I make another food analogy.
Oh! Speaking of food and delicious things one might like to eat—and I have no idea how my brain made that leap of topic, honest—we have the equally gorgeous, equally irritating, Alpha of Creemore himself, Mr Robson Trowbridge. And I have to say, it’s a very different Robson Trowbridge that we meet in THE THING ABOUT WERES, compared to the man we met in THE TROUBLE WITH FATE. I just love how many risks Evans has taken with her characters in this series, and how fearless she seems to be when it comes to torturing them. Sometimes literally.
Well, when I say I love it... For entertainment purposes, I love it. But for the sake of my poor, wee heart and my overtaxed tear ducts, I guess shouldn't be quite so encouraging. I find myself actually wondering what else she can possibly do to these two characters to complicate things further. It’s only been two books and I already feel like they've run the gauntlet. There were some extremely emotionally fraught scenes in TTAW. Some chest-squeezing, heart-dropping, ouch-that-freakin’-hurts scenes. As well as some absolutely humdinger plot twists. (Actually, there was this one particular section—I think I updated my Goodreads status about 12 times during it— that made me absolutely frantic because I had to stop reading right at the point when everything was still all up in the air because it was daft o’clock in the morning and I had to be up for work the next day, and it was all I could think about at work. I practically raced home to finish it, not actually convinced I even wanted to know what was about to happen next!)
Of course, all of this heartache and drama is lived vicariously through our wonderful protagonist Hedi—we couldn't very well have a review without mentioning her, now could we? Hedi has progressed a lot as a character over the course of the series so far, and she's been faced with some pretty tough challenges, to say the very least. Sure, her age sometimes shows in her behaviour (she’s only 22), and her insecurities can affect her thought processes at times. But it’s because of these flaws that the growth we’re seeing, and her gradual evolution from timid introvert to... to whatever she’ll end up as, is so very enjoyable. I’m highly anticipating finishing the series and looking back on Hedi’s journey and just being like, “Woah. You freakin’ go, girlfriend”.
And finally. To sum up my thoughts, on the slight chance I haven’t made it completely clear yet in my seven-page review, let me state explicitly: I really enjoyed THE THING ABOUT WERES. The Mystwalker series is shaping up to be truly fantastic UF, with a great romantic backbone, wonderful secondary characters, well-thought-out back stories, and the worldbuilding? In a word: Phenomenal.
Now go check it out.
5 Stars ★★★★★ ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
This was great, fun, sexy Urban Fantasy....moreJoint read/review with Janice. Find more reviews like this at The Demon Librarian book blog.
What a fun read!
This was great, fun, sexy Urban Fantasy. Hedi's voice was immediately engaging as a protagonist, and you got the sense that she was talking directly to you, which I thought was great. It had some standard UF fare with the werewolves and Fae taking centre stage, but it definitely managed to put its own spin on even those regular staples of the genre.
And also some great new ideas as well. There were plenty of interesting plot developments and action to keep the reader glued throughout, and there was even quite a substantial amount of romance in there too! This was actually my only slight problem area. Not that I didn't like the romance - I did. I just felt at times it was moving too fast for me to keep up with. But then, I'm one of those strange people who doesn't mind being made to wait several books for a romance to form, especially in my Urban Fantasy series. I'm sure other people will be more than happy having things moving as quickly as they do.
I'm definitely going to be reading the next one as I liked the world building, the characters and the plot twists despite my minor issues with the romance. Can't wait to see how things pan out in book two: The Thing About Weres, when it releases in July 2013.