Into the Hollow picks up right where On Demon Wings left off and begins with a tough decision for our gal Perry Palomino. A deAww, this was so good!
Into the Hollow picks up right where On Demon Wings left off and begins with a tough decision for our gal Perry Palomino. A decision I was silently squeeing over going "SAY YES, YOU NUMPTY!" It also shows us a side to Mr. Declan Foray we've never really seen before since he's always been in a relationship in the past. I think I rather like the free and single version of Dex. Again, SQUEE!
And there's not just the changes in Dex's behaviour to get used to, but you'll also recall he'd transformed a lot physically when he (eventually) showed up in On Demon Wings (he was all buff and stuff). And that's not the only difference we see in him over the course of this book.
If you'd asked me before I began Into the Hollow I'd have told you it wasn't possible for me to love Dex more than I already did, but it turns out that's total bumf because I found him even more irresistible in this book than ever before! He was just so patient but still determined, cheeky, badass, adorable, annoying and absolutely everything in between. I just love him!
The plot wasn't quite as creepy or scary this time but it was definitely action-packed and full of some great dramatic scenes (which I loved). In fact, I'd say this instalment was more Urban Fantasy than Horror—much like Red Fox was—and it was super duper fun and got the old adrenaline pumping nicely.
As well as dealing with the emotional fallout from the last couple of books, Dex and Perry are asked to investigate a potential "creature" sighting in the Canadian Rockies. But even with everything they've seen, they're unsure how much credence they can put in the testimony of one of its supposed victims, so the only solution is to go check it out for themselves.
There was also a moment or two of this book that made me very interested in things to come with regards to Dex and his past demons. Very interesting developments indeed.
My new favourite nickname for an animal (or vegetable, or mineral) ever has to go to Twatwaffle the llama. Pure unadulterated genius and my new favourite word of the week.
Sigh. Of course, the sad thing is now I've run out of books! I knew this would happen, obviously, but I didn't think it would feel quite this crappy. I've got the shakes, withdrawals, extreme lethargy (although I think I had that last one already) and just general uninterest in anything anybody whose name isn't Karina Halle has written. Ever.
My first thoughts upon reading the synopsis for thisFind more reviews like this one at The Demon Librarian
Another fabulous tale from Karina Halle.
My first thoughts upon reading the synopsis for this one were "Oh. Dear. You are kidding me, right?"
I mean, we've heard about Dex's girlfriend Jenn a few times in the first three books. We've heard how hot she is and how much everyone lusts after her blah blah blah, including Dex (gag). But that was kind of okay because it was only talk; she wasn't right there in the picture. She was removed, vague, indistinct, abstract...
Then comes this book, and suddenly shit just got a whole lot more real. And a lot more painful!
I don't know about you, but when I read I really, really get absorbed in my books; especially ones as well-written and evocative as these. I live vicariously through the characters, I identify with them, empathise and in some cases, I am that character. I particularly connect well to Perry because I share some of her insecurities. And I can tell you that because of that, this book seriously hurt my feelings. I mean, it literally HURT. I could feel my chest squeezing in jealousy and anguish and I had to blink hard more than once. So in that respect, it was not a 'fun' read, and yet there were other moments of it that I wouldn't swap for the world. I was such a wreck afterwards as well; it really took me a while to process everything. In fact, my husband kept stumbling upon me in a trance-like state after I'd finished and he'd be all "what is up with you today?" And I'd be like "Wha? Um, uh, book, thing, Dex, why did he, I don't...uh...."
So it could only be a five star read after that, lol.
It's impossible to say much more without getting into spoiler territory, but just make sure you have a couple of days free of interruptions when you start this one because you will not want to put it down!
As for the rest of it, Perry and Dex are in Seattle to investigate an alleged haunting at a Mental Institute. There were some great spooky scenes as you'll have come to expect by now. There were also some really nice new secondary characters introduced in the form of Dex (and Jenn's) friends. I really liked them and can't wait to see them again, hopefully.
And lastly, my final top tip would be to have the next book to hand for when you finish this one. It's not a cliffhanger, but I defy anyone not to want to know what happens next RIGHT FREAKING NOW!
This book was like an endurance test - in the nicest possible way.
This is really going to put my no spoilers policy to the test because there's a certain thing you're waiting to happen in this book, and anyone who's read it will know exactly what that something is, and so you find yourself racing towards that point (if such a point even exists;)), and I wouldn't blame you for doing that too. But I think it's worth actually slowing down a little and just examining the rest of what's going on. The changes in Perry that are in evidence for starters, and the development—for better or worse—of other returning characters. They're quite significant.
There are certain events in life that are powerful enough to actually affect your personality and change your character to a degree, whether temporarily or permanently. Having undergone just such a shocking change, Perry is in a...weird head space. I don't want to say she's in a "dark place" because she's actually trying really hard not to be dark. She's silently berating and encouraging herself to be positive, get out there, meet new people, and absolutely, positively NO DWELLING under any circumstances! But it's so hard.
It's also hard to be around people that don't understand. Her parents, for example, have never made a secret of the fact that they don't believe her about the whole ghost thing or that they think her show is a bunch of bull****. But someone who's always been on Team Perry (even if it took her a while to realise it) is her kid sister, Ada. I've liked Ada in the past books but my high opinion of her grew exponentially in this one. She's supportive but not coddling, and at times it felt like a role reversal—who's the 23-year old and who's the 15-year old? She just rocks.
Even with all this going on, though, it's not long before people start to realise Perry is acting strange above and beyond what might be expected under the circumstances. Giving us, and them, even more reason to keep a close eye on her. Some of the changes just might not be as natural as they seem...
I'm so looking forward to being able to read the Dex Files after this! It's meant to be read between books 5 and 6. I can't wait to see his take on, well, everything!
This is just a quickie review (see Janice's full review on the blog).
This was fantastic. They just keep getting better and better! Karina Halle upped the creepy factor all the way up to eleven and never let it drop. It also had a buttload of foreshadowing and questions raised for future books. As if I needed any further encouragement to devour them all! Pfft! It had lots of nice character development as well, although it was a bit of a test of my devotion to Dex at times. Still, I luuuurved it.
As a former big L.O.S.T. fan I adored the setting of D’Arcy Island and all the spooky goings on there. And the effects it had on both Dex and Perry's state of mind was harrowing yet fascinating to read.
I think I'm going to have a problem here because I already gave book one, Darkhouse, 5 stars because I thoughtI love this series. It's now official.
I think I'm going to have a problem here because I already gave book one, Darkhouse, 5 stars because I thought it was awesome on toast with a side order of shamazeballs. But this one was undeniably, unquestionably and indisputably better in almost every sense. So where do I go from here? I do not have 6 stars, people! Everyone knows all books have to be rated out of 5 and that half stars are against God's plan, so how can I express the, the...betterness of this one? Yes, I am aware betterness isn't a word. But it should be!
In my first joint review with Janice I said that I suspected there may end up being more to the series than just ghosts and ghost-hunting. And I was right! There's so much more. I really, really loved the storyline for this book. And the setting. And all the extra paranormal elements. And the fact that it was more mystery based - almost a whodunnit. And most especially, I loved the developments between Perry and Dex!
I'm just flabbergasted at how much they both seemed to change before my very eyes in this book, and in each other's. They say that scary, life-threatening events will form an emotional bond between two people, and I certainly think that was part of it. But I also think Perry and Dex are two people who just fit together anyway. Like slightly broken puzzle pieces, they each may not be completely whole, but they still fit.
I have to admit to a certain amount of fangirl squeeing when it became apparent they would have to feign a higher level of closeness during the case they were working on down in Red Fox. Anything that might have forced them to be in the same room where they could get to know each other more would have made me happy, but the deception they had to maintain made it even better!
There were some really interesting secondary characters in this book including a blast from Dex's past who provided us with some much-needed back story on him. I loved all that but I'm not yet convinced I like the person who delivered it. His motives are highly questionable.
So, to sum up, in case you missed your cue—yes do I recommend this series! If book one was awesome on toast with a side order of shamazeballs, then book two was spaghetti bloody marvellous with Parmesan genius.
My first thought upon beginning this book was,"First person nFind more review like this one at The Demon Librarian.
A truly romantic highlander tale.
My first thought upon beginning this book was,"First person narrative? Really? Not seen that before in my Hunky Highlander books!" But I have to say, I thought it worked brilliantly. I slightly favour 1st person perspectives in general as I find it easier to connect to the heroine—whose character I invariably like to drop myself into. Unless, you know, she's an idiot. Then I remove myself as far from her as possible and call her names—but I've become so used to third person in romances that it struck me as a bold choice. I think it worked really well here, not only in my connection to the heroine, but in making the hero seem more of a mystery to us as readers—What is he thinking? Why is he acting that way?—We have no clue; much like in real life! Men are from Mars and women are from Venus and all that. So, writing style-wise, this was a hit for me, and I didn't find it limiting at all.
As to the characters, both hero and heroine, Wilkie and Roses, were great. Roses is a blonde-haired, green-eyed exotic beauty with a secret. Wilkie is a tall, dark and handsome warrior, a hit with the ladies, and a thoroughly nice guy. Both were pretty flawless physical specimens, it has to be said. Although you got the sense that Roses didn't really realise her own appeal after so many years trying to hide herself away at her old clan. And for Wilkie, while it can't have escaped his notice that he turns female heads everywhere he goes, he's far from arrogant. In fact, it's him that's struck dumb initially by Roses's beauty. It was a fantastic first meet scene and made me see perhaps why the book is called 'Highlander Claimed' rather than, say, 'Claimed by the Highlander.' Because it's Wilkie that's been caught hook, line and sinker. He's finally met his match, and he is never letting her go!
The story, while enjoyable, wasn't anything ground-breaking and in fact, I'd read a similar story in another highlander book just this year that had used two of the same plot lines. But, to be honest, I found the romance so engaging I didn't really mind how obvious the big ta-da! moment was. Sure, the dialogue got a bit flowery at times, and Roses could be a bit too biddable and simpering on occasion, but other than that, I had a fantastic time with the book and am excited about the prospect of more from this author. And did I mention the sex scenes? H. O. T!
I shall be adding Juliette Miller to my list of Highlander romance authors I recommend. And I'm greatly looking forward to brother number two—Kade's book, which is called Highlander Taken and releases on 1st May, 2013.
4 Stars ★★★★ ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Despite taking a while to grab me and a few minor compFind more reviews like this at The Demon Librarian.
After a shaky start, I really enjoyed this.
Despite taking a while to grab me and a few minor complaints about the characterization of the Wird sisters, this ended up being a really fun urban fantasy romp with some great action scenes, sizzling sexual tension and really fun magical elements.
Told from eldest sister Celia Wird's POV, she and her three sisters are introduced to us in the opening scene already in hot water with master vampire, Misha, having been summoned to "vampire court" on charges of murder. This introduction—which was used as a convenient way to tell us about each sister's unique supernatural abilities—raised instant warning flags for me as it became apparent the sisters had all been given personas so large and so extreme as to be bordering on the ridiculous. I realize the need to make it easy for us differentiate between them, to make each stand out, but for someone like myself who appreciates more subtly nuanced characters, the Spice Girl-like qualities of the sisters' personalities made me baulk.
There's the brash, crude and loud sister—Taran (Scary Spice).
There's the blonde-haired, timid and shy sister—Emme (Baby Spice).
There's the fun-loving, bouncy, calls everyone "dude" sister—Shayna (Sporty Spice).
The protagonist, Celia, however (who must be some amalgamation of Posh spice and Ginger Spice since that's all that's left) was a much more complex character (thank heavens!) and I grew to like her a lot. As the eldest sister, she's taken on the role of protector/defender of the family, having also the strongest physically ability when it comes to fighting. She's a Tigress shape-shifter with some other... interesting... abilities as well, all derived from a curse that was put on all mother Wird's unborn children. A badass when it comes to fighting, but totally hopeless when it comes to relationships and those "men" thingies, I really enjoyed discovering these two very different sides to her nature. I also felt quite sorry for her since she was quite a lonely character as well. Having an inner "beast" that people—whether they know it not—can sense, has always caused them to give her a wide berth. Her sisters are the ones that go on dates and get noticed by the opposite sex, not Celia. Until, that is, very Hot and very Alpha werewolf, Aric, who is her beast's equal in every way, comes on the scene!
I loved Aric. He was the perfect blend of strong manly man and total sweetie-pie. The romance was one of my favourite things about this book, actually. That and the action! It's not just the personalities that are big in Robson's world! Oh no. Even the Big Bads were Marvel comic book-like in their size, strength and descriptions. They could give Hulk a run for his money any day of the week! I found myself glued to these sections and up rather late at night finishing the book as I just couldn't put it down. Which is always nice.
So overall, while not perfect, this book was Fun with a capital F once it got going and I will definitely be reading the next one, A Cursed Embrace, when it comes out in July 2013. If you can accept some larger than life aspects in your Urban Fantasy, you should enjoy this book, as I did.
4 Stars ★★★★ ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Well now. I've gone from 'like' to 'love' over the space of two books. I 'liked' the plot for book one, but I 'loved' the plot book two. It wasn't tha
Well now. I've gone from 'like' to 'love' over the space of two books. I 'liked' the plot for book one, but I 'loved' the plot book two. It wasn't that it was better written either because the standard was already high, but it was just more interesting because it had such devastating repercussions for Duclie's personal life.
I also loved the new characters that were introduced. Dea, for example, was a nice surprise. I'd grown quite attached to her by the end. I hope she's a regular feature from now on. And getting to know the characters we'd already met before more... intimately was fun too. Especially Knight and Bran. Bran has his moments, but ultimately always ruins it for himself by being a total narcissist. And Knight....ah, Knight. I love Knight Vander!!! (Extra exclamations marks were required- you have no idea). I just can't hide it any longer. I need to confess it to someone. He's too cute/hot/sweet/arrogant/funny/sexy for words. And I think we saw a different side to him in this book, too. Okay, the Knight that we met in book one- the self-confessed "cocky bastard"- is still very much there, but we discovered new depths in A TALE OF TWO GOBLINS and were it a test, he would have passed with flying colours in the "is also a pretty freaking nice guy" department.
This book wasn't perfect. The BIG BAD was unguessable (my red squiggly line maker says unguessable isn't a word, but it so should be) and there were also some pretty major time discrepancies going on between what was said in book one, and what's said here in this one, which in the end I just decided to overlook and make it up for myself. So I was perhaps a bit generous giving it a full five stars (which is not like me at all!), but I enjoyed it so much it seemed mean to mark it down.
This is the third instalment of the Jolie Wilkins series, and the first one to be published by Bantam, rather than sDecisions, decisions, decisions.
This is the third instalment of the Jolie Wilkins series, and the first one to be published by Bantam, rather than self-published. The series follows the trials and tribulations of Jolie who is a witch, and who also very recently became Queen of the Underworld. It also follows her somewhat complicated love life between the man she loves, Rand, who won't commit, and the man that lusts after her, Sinjin, who is seriously confusing her feelings.
And essentially, that is all this book was about; the love triangle. Which I did enjoy up to a point because I do enjoy the characters of both Rand and Sinjin, and of course Jolie, and I'm quite invested in the outcome at this point. And I even enjoyed some of the unusual complications and roadblocks Mallory has thrown in the way to keep things interesting, and to delay that ultimately inevitable Happily Ever After. But I would also have liked a plot to go with it. Which sadly this book did not posses.
It's actually funny that in my last review I commented on how much stuff Mallory likes to squeeze into each instalment, and regarding books one and two, that statement holds true. Unfortunately not so with this book. There was boy drama and indecision, a house move, some more boy drama and indecision, a few meetings and things for Jolie's new role as Queen, some more boy drama and indecision...you get the idea.
No fighting, no mystery, no bad guys, hardly any magic, even. Just lots of dialogue and angst. I wouldn't go so far as to say the book wasn't enjoyable, and in terms of the Rand- Sinjin- Jolie storyline, it's essential reading, but I was just expecting more.
It was also filled with lots of recaps in the form of journal entries which it's never had before. I can only guess the reason for this is because, with it now being backed by a publishing house, they have assumed people might start the series with this one, and therefore felt the need to try and recap two whole books' worth of stuff. Which is just not possible. It will only serve to be very annoying for readers of the series who don't need the recaps, and for new readers, to be thrown in half way through a war, with existing, complicated inter-character relationships, it will be just too much to take in or connect with and recaps just won't cut it. What folly.
I have to mention as well, I thought I'd accidentally picked up the wrong book when I started reading it and found myself reliving chapter one of book one. Don't worry, you haven't gone mad. (Or at least I don't think so. I'm not a doctor). There is a reason this scene is replayed and it will all make sense by the end of the book.
Whilst I found some of the boy drama overdone, I do appreciate that Jolie, unlike a lot of UF heroines that are all of sudden handed a title like Queen (for no apparent reason- just for being super special) and do nothing but complain about it, Jolie was actually pleased and thankful for it and never (well not much, anyway) bemoaned her new powerful status, even with its drawbacks. She admits it's cool to feel powerful.
Another favourite aspect is how Mallory manages to squeeze a nice dose of drama out of every plot. Even a rather dull one. There were a couple of scenes with Rand and/or Sinjin that were nice and emotive. But, again, only if you've read the first two books and know their history.
I didn't like the amount time it took Jolie to tell Rand about the binding that happened in Toil and Trouble during her sojourn to the past. I didn't fully understand her reasons for keeping it from him. Also, everybody's acceptance of Jolie's new queenly status, which to me seems to be based solely on one woman's assurance that "It's her destiny," is a little suspect. Especially since the entire war they just fought was to prevent another witch becoming Queen and having too much power. Not that I'm comparing Jolie to that evil cow Bella, but still.
I also suffered confusion over some inconsistencies: Did Mathilda make 1978 Rand forget as she kept saying? Or was it as Mercedes said, that the magic of time travelling rinsed them from the minds of anyone who saw them? Answers on a postcard, please.
But, ultimately, it doesn't matter what happened in the beginning and middle this book, or even what didn't happen, because after that KILLER cliffhanger ending, I am now desperate to get my hands on the next book! Just when I thought Mallory had forgotten her knack of keeping the plot fresh and exciting... No, no. She was just saving the best bit for last.
This is not my normal fare- straight YA contemporary with no paranormal woo woo- but I loved it. I didn't need anything else whilst reading it because This is not my normal fare- straight YA contemporary with no paranormal woo woo- but I loved it. I didn't need anything else whilst reading it because I was fully, 100% immersed in this story and these two great characters, Noah and Echo. And I'm all about the characters; they're so hugely important for my enjoyment. You can have a somewhat average story with amazing characters and give it 5 stars, or a great story with flat, cookie-cutter characters you don't care about, and give it one star.
Then every once in a while you get something like this, which has both! Yay!
First, as a responsible parent-type person, I'd just like to make readers aware that there was quite a bit of swearing, some scenes of sensuality and references to drug use (smoking weed at parties) as well as under-age drinking (again, at a party). I'm not saying this to put anyone off, just to make readers aware that Ms. McGarry was keeping it real when she wrote these young people, so they speak and behave in the way you would expect two troubled teens to speak and behave. I never found any of it unnecessary or over the top. In fact, I thought she got the balance just right whilst being authentic. But since it's a YA I would suggest it for more mature teens.
The story itself spends lot of the time in a highschool setting, with all the teasing, taunting and bitching that that entails. The writing of this was very well done and the target audience isn't talked down to or told every little thing. They're left to work out a lot of stuff for themselves. For example, which of the friends/secondary characters are as nice as they are supposed to be. You need to sometimes look beyond what Echo is telling you (because she is not the best judge of character) and read between the lines. I enjoyed the alternating first person POV's between Echo and Noah. He had such typical boy thoughts at times. "Ooh! Boobies!" It was rather amusing, and again, felt very authentic. (Disclaimer: he never actually says 'Ooh! Boobies!'. I am paraphrasing). I'm actually really glad she didn't pull any punches to tame it down for younger readers. Discerning teen readers deserve to have this kind of quality writing to enjoy. And it's hardly as if they won't have ever heard a swear word (or tweleve) by the time they're old enough to be interested in this book.
Going by the blurb concerning Echo's mysterious scars and memory black-out, you might be forgiven for thinking the main focus of the story was on her, and that Noah is just the token Bad Boy that turns out to be a Sweetie Pie. Well, you'd be wrong. I actually found Noah's own story even more compelling at times, and it was his scenes that brought a tear to my eye. He was a great character. A swoon-worthy hunk, to be sure, but also so much more.
I loved the way the story unfolded; the blocked memories were an ongoing issue that proved very intriguing. I really have nothing but positive things to say. If I had to find one negative it would be that some of the later scenes got a bit too sugary sweet for a jaded old bird like me, but I'm sure the YAers will like it just fine.
5 Stars! ★★★★★ Review Copy: Received from the publisher for an honest review
The Horngate Witches series is set in a post magical apocaFind more reviews like this one at The Demon Librarian book blog.
Five action-packed stars!
The Horngate Witches series is set in a post magical apocalyptic America and features badass sword-wielding, not quite human, warriors, mildly sociopathic witches, not very angelic angels, and all manner of other weird mythological creatures and beasties. With a splash of romance enough to make me grin like a weirdo, worldbuilding that knocks my socks off, and action by the bucket load, you can see why this series is right up their with my other Urban Fantasy favourites like Kate Daniels, The Hollows, Mercedes Thompson and all those other great female-led UF series. If you haven't started this series yet and you are a fan of any of the above, add this to your TBR today! You will not be sorry.
The warriors in this series—Shadowblades and Sunspears—act as guardians for the witches and are, in fact, the main focus of books, despite the slightly misleading series name. They're woven with spells that make them nearly indestructible, as well as faster, stronger, more resistant to extreme temperatures, etc. But the downside to all that is eternal servitude to the witch who turned them. Which wouldn't be so much of a problem unless, say for instance, that witch used to be your best friend and did it to you without your permission.
Our main character is Max (that's a girl, btw), but at this point in the series, it's fair to say that Alexander is just as much of a main character as it's told in alternating third person POVs between them. Max and Alexander not only have to fight all manner of nasty things in this book as part of their role as leaders of the Shadowblades, but they're also fighting some more personal demons, as well as their increasingly complicated feelings for each other.
Following on from the giant waves of magic that erupted a couple of books back, and then Max's trials in Shadow City, she and her fellow Blades are reunited once again and decide it's time they get out from behind the safety and insulation of Horngate's wards to check out the aftermath and find out what's happening with the humans still out there in the towns and cities. Which is nothing good, as it turns out. Food is in critical demand, people are reverting back to their baser natures, and where there's chaos and panic, there's always some douchecanoe wannabe dictator ready to lead them all up the creek without a paddle. Which loosely sums up the premise of this book, in a very crude and ineloquent way.
I thought the use of the split POVs proved really useful once again; allowing us to see the action from all sides at once. The awkwardness that's developed between Alexander and Max was showcased brilliantly, too. Max, being Max, isn't handling the new dynamic with Alexander very well. She's been acting like Jekyll and Hyde with him and he is both perplexed and annoyed by it. I fully expected Max to make some mistakes at the whole "relationship" thing, and she certainly didn't disappoint! I thought that entire situation was really well-written, and with a few unpredictable twists thrown in for good measure.
Overall, I thought the story was engaging, well-paced, amusing, emotional, exhilarating, intense...I mean, I could just go on and on. It was just superb urban fantasy.
So what are you waiting for, hmm? Go grab yourself a copy right now!
5 Stars! ★★★★★ ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Lynsey: Well, as recommendations go, this was ceThis is a joint review with Janice. Find more reviews like this one at The Demon Librarian book blog.
Lynsey: Well, as recommendations go, this was certainly a winner!
I'd had this book on my TBR for a while and had snapped it up as a Kindle Freebie. I was vaguely aware of a good buzz surrounding it, but was ultimately convinced to bump it to the top of my list when Janice said the immortal words, "you have to meet Dex."
Now, when a character is so awesome that he defies describing in a few sentences, you just "have to meet him" to understand, I'm instantly intrigued because I am all about characters; the more unique, the better.
Not only was Dex 100% unique (literally unlike any other character I have read in any book from any genre), but so is Perry! I think possibly Dex gets mentioned in reviews more often since he's more mysterious to us as readers—it's written 1st person through Perry—but I have to give Perry a virtual high-five too because she totally rocks as a protagonist!
So thank you, Janice! I am so glad to have started this series and can't wait to read the rest! (I've already started book 2. TBR list? What TBR list?!)
Janice: You're very welcome, Lynsey! I knew you'd love it!
I discovered Karina Halle's Experiment In Terror series earlier this year and fell instantly, utterly, in love with both it and Halle's engaging writing style. In anticipation of the release of book #6 (Into The Hollow), I decided to re-read the entire series, beginning with Darkhouse, and I gotta say, it was even more enjoyable the second time around. There were so many little details I'd forgotten, hints and clues of things to come in future books. But more than that, I just wanted to revisit the world of Dex and Perry. It's a very cool and creepy place to be.
Lynsey: It certainly is. I think this will be a series I end up re-reading, too. Once I finally get some answers about Dex, I'm sure it would be fascinating to go back to the beginning and look again at some of his scenes and be like, "Ohhhhh, I get it now," lol.
So, aside from having two fascinating, intriguing and endearing main characters, what is the book about? Well, ghosts and ghost-hunting, essentially. I suspect there's a lot more to the series once you get a few more books down the line, and I definitely get the sense that we've only seen the tip of the iceberg where Dex and Perry's back stories are concerned, but for this first book alone it was the story of how Perry met the delightful Dex who is a webshow filmmaker, cameraman, composer and all-round enigma with an... unusual approach to conversation, shall we say (understatement alert), and how they set out to make a documentary-style film about a haunted lighthouse.
Janice: But who, exactly, are these incredible characters Lynsey speaks of? Well, Perry is a twenty-two year old college grad living at home with her parents and younger sister, working a dead-end receptionist job and sort of drifting through life without any real purpose or direction. She's always been the odd duck in her family, always felt like she was meant to do something more, only she could never quite figure out what that something was...that is, until one fateful night when she investigates the lighthouse on her uncle's property and bumps into a trespasser named Dex Foray.
If there was a moment that determined the course of my future, I'm pretty sure this was it. I had two somewhat simple choices. I could make a run for it and go back to Uncle Al's. Back to the bonfire where my cousins and dear sister would be drinking and revel in the normalcy of a Saturday night and forget I ever went to this horrid place and ran into this weirdo. Or I could go with said weirdo up the stairs in this decrepit old lighthouse, which was most likely condemned and unsafe, towards some unknown person (or thing) that was walking around, potentially waiting to murder us in horrific ways.
It didn't seem like a very hard decision to make. In fact, I think 99.7% of people in the right frame of mind would have picked from column A and gone on with their merry lives. But for some freaking crazy reason, I thought that maybe, just maybe I should go with this stranger up those kelp-ridden stairs and toward the lair of unimaginable horror. You know, because it was the more interesting alternative.
That's what I love about Perry. Even when she's scared out of her mind, she is not a roll-over-and-play-dead type of girl. As a narrator, she's snarky and so easy to relate to; she just draws you into the whole experience. What she feels, you feel. She is also more than able to hold her own with Dex, which I don't think many people could do.
I wish I could describe Dex to you. Oh sure, I can rattle off an impressive list of adjectives - intense, flawed, enigmatic, funny, maddening, and sexy, just to name a few - but the truth is, Dex is not a man who can be pinned down with mere words. He must be experienced.
Lynsey: That's so true; I can totally see why you say that now. It's almost like it would do him a disservice to try to sum him up or something...
Janice: Exactly! Dex is...well, Dex. I love the dynamic between him and Perry. It's so electric and brimming with possibility, and Karina Halle does a brilliant job conveying the tension in their relationship. They are constantly pushing and pulling each other. Can I trust you? What are you going to do in this situation? How will you react if I say this? Who are you, really? And as the reader, you're totally caught up in it. And you know, instinctively, that these two characters are going to take you on a journey unlike any other.
If any two people were fated to meet, Dex and Perry were. Don't believe me? Ask the Creepy Clown Lady. (That restaurant scene.....*shudder*....freaky!)
Lynsey: No, not Creepy Clown Lady! Anything but her! Lol.
There were quite a few interesting secondary characters, actually. It wasn't just the Dex and Perry show (although they totally stole it). I quite liked Perry's kid sister, Ada, for example. I really felt like she added another layer to Perry's character. I haven't encountered many heroines with a teenage sister before—in fact, quite often they have no family at all or were adopted or fostered—so it's refreshing to read about Perry's relatively normal family and all its accompanying issues.
Like most things with Dex, his family (or lack thereof?) remains a mystery at this point.
I thought Halle's writing overall, although quite straightforward in style, was extremely effective in creating a scary movie-like atmosphere and made everything very easy to visualise (Creepy Clown Lady being a prime example!). I thought all the ghostly action scenes were really well-done; nicely spooky with a sinister edge. And although much of the book was an introduction to the characters (to be expected in a first book), there was definitely plenty there to keep action-lovers happy. My favourite thing of all, though, has to be the dialogue—I do love reading dialogue and body language! Especially when you have to work at reading between the lines, seeing past what you're being told to what might really be the case.
Janice: For me, the beauty of Darkhouse - of all the EIT books - is how well it blends the mundane and the scary. You're going along, cheering for Perry or laughing at some shocking thing Dex has said, and then....everything shifts. The tone darkens. Sometimes it's sudden, like a door slamming down the hall, making you jump. But most of the time, it's more insidious, creeping over you like a rolling fog. As I was reading Darkhouse (both times), I could often feel my body curling in on itself in a sort of defensive posture, as if I was subconsciously preparing for an attack. My grip on my ereader tightened, too - not quite a death grip, but close - and I was suddenly, intensely aware of every shadow in every corner of every room. That uncomfortable, on-edge feeling, it doesn't just go away when you put the book down, either. It lingers. That, to me, is more frightening than any monster in any horror movie.
Lynsey: So have we convinced you yet? I hope so because I definitely, wholeheartedly recommend this book. Especially while it's still a Freebie. I mean, what have you got to lose? Answer: nothing!
Janice: Seriously, folks, don't wait. Get your copy of Darkhouse today and START READING! You'll thank us, I promise!
Lynsey's Rating: 5 Stars ★★★★★ Janice's Rating: 5 Stars ★★★★★ *This is currently a Kindle freebie - snap it up while you can!*
Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble is the first book in the Jolie Wilkins series. We join Jolie's story to find herlivinghappily inignorantbliss, believiFire Burn and Cauldron Bubble is the first book in the Jolie Wilkins series. We join Jolie's story to find her living happily in ignorant bliss, believing she's a psychic; giving readings and fortunes from her quirky little shop with her best friend Christa. Turns out the reason she's so good at reading people has nothing to do with being psychic at all, it's because she's a witch. She has her eyes forcibly opened to this salient piece of information by Rand, a rather dashing warlock, who, among other things, has a job he needs her to do that she just can't turn down, but may later wish she had anyway.
I'm already three books into H.P. Mallory's other series about Dulcie O'Neil, a Faerie law enforcement agent, so I came to this expecting a similar style of writing and world-building, and that's just what I got. I don't believe they are actually set in exactly the same 'world' (although I could be mistaken about that) because there do appear to be some discrepancies, particularly regarding the Fae race, but it has that similar feel to it. So basically, if you enjoy one series, you'll probably enjoy the other one, too.
It's written from Jolie's POV in first person, and I found her to be endearing and likeable, if sometimes a little naive and clueless. I can't help but compare her to Dulcie, who is a lot tougher and more sure of herself, particularly about her skills at her job as a sort of supernatural cop. Jolie is much softer, much less kick-ass, but no less enjoyable to read about. Her whole life has just been turned upside-down, and because everything is so new to her, she's naturally a lot less confident at the start of her journey.
I also really liked Rand, the warlock I mentioned earlier. He's Jolie's first connection to this new supernatural world and I enjoyed reading about the relationship that's slowly developing there. He's a Brit, a bit of a loner, his dimples sound adorable and I just hope to see much more of him as the series progresses.
At first, I found the scene jumps a little bit jarring. There are lots of transitions between settings, time lapses, skipping over any travelling or long journeys, and it can feel a bit jumpy at first. But by the end of the novel, when I thought back on all the different scenes that were still flying around in my head, it actually served to make it feel as though I'd read a story much longer than only 300ish pages. I felt like Jolie had come so far, seen so much, been so many places. It gave it a feeling of scale and scope.
As I said earlier, if anyone's read the Dulcie O'Neil series and were wondering about this one, you should like it just fine. And as with her other series, which also has these cutsie cartoon covers, you always get a lot more substantial plot than you're probably expecting. They're not just silly, ditzy mysteries. There are credible bad guys, a couple of hot guys, some heartache, a steep learning curve. And if this is still free on Amazon, which it was last I checked, you should absolutely, positively, definitely snap it up ASAP.
This series of high action, high romance, historical paranormal romances in the beautiful Gothic setting of lateA fantastic follow-up to Firelight.
This series of high action, high romance, historical paranormal romances in the beautiful Gothic setting of late nineteenth century London, is swiftly becoming a favourite of mine. It's often the case that when a series starts out really well, as this one did with Firelight, the follow-ups are almost inevitably a disappointment. Especially if the best character pairings were used in the first book. I was hoping and praying this wouldn't be the case with Moonglow, but my outlook was gloomy since I hadn't developed any great love for Ian, one of the main characters, in book one.
In Firelight Ian played the role of antagonist to Miranda and Archer's relationship, throwing a spanner in the works at every given opportunity, and generally being a pest. Although, even then it was clear he wasn't as bad as he wanted people to believe him to be. But, nevertheless, his interference and general attitude didn't endear him to me, so I began Moonglow with slight trepidation. And at the start of the book, his constant talk of whoring-- particularly with red-headed, green-eyed prostitutes-- didn't help his cause much. He tells the readers early on how he had fancied himself in love with Miranda (who is red-headed and green-eyed). And why not? She is stunningly beautiful, after all. But it is later revealed that his obsession with red-haired women stems from something much further back than we were led to believe, and he has a past that may make you forgive him for all of his sins.
I ended up enjoying Ian's character immensely. He was a lot more complex, gentle and caring than you'd have ever suspected. And he has a cheeky wit and rakish charm. His werewolf mythology that was explored was interesting and showed a new way of looking at immortality. It's not always a bonus for a race that has few females and a very low birth-rate. What's the point of living forever if you're destined to be alone?
Daisy, our other lead character, was wonderful also. She's Miranda's older sister and has been in a loveless, sexless marriage for the last six years to a complete pig. At the beginning of the story she's just finishing up her year of mourning his death (bah!) and wearing black to keep societies' tongues from wagging, and is looking forward to finally being free, throwing caution to the wind...and possibly getting a little som'n, som'n. She's a lady with a healthy appetite for pleasure- something her late husband never failed to make her feel dirty about- but that's in her past. No one is going to tell her what to do, say, wear or how to behave ever again! She's even more 'no nonsense' than Miranda was, if you can believe that. She's having absolutely none of it from charming rogue Ian. And he just doesn't know what's hit him when they meet. Miranda who?
I enjoyed their developing romance. The obstacles that were put in their way were believable and there were several really charming scenes, as well as the obligatory scorching hot ones, and some heartbreakingly tender ones. Moonglow had a slightly different feel to it than Firelight in that both Daisy and Ian worked together to solve a mystery, rather than one of the characters themselves being the mystery. This gave us some great scenes as their relationship developed.
I did find some of the descriptions of the seedier side of London, the side that Ian had previously been revelling in, rather crude and vulgar at times. All the talk of whores and such. Speaking of the seedier side, there was an appearance by the street thug Billy Fingers whom you might remember from Miranda's days on the streets in Firelight. I swear I have no idea what that man is saying. I'm a Brit, I can understand Cockney Rhyming Slang and the colloquial language of Londoners, even if it's not from this century I can usually decipher it, but what comes out of Billy's mouth is unlike any slang I've ever heard. It doesn't even make sense half the time. Oh well.
In summation, I'd say the romance side of things was just as compelling as book one. I also enjoyed some of the new world-building elements that were introduced, including the GIMs, this mysterious 'Mother' person, and several other things I shall keep schtum about for now, and it was altogether a great sequel and highly enjoyable.
If you loved book one, you will love this one, too. Go forth and enjoy!
4 Stars ★★★★ Review Copy: Received from the publisher for an honest review
This is book three in a series that's gradually becoming a top favourite of mine. What makes it a favourite? WSo good to be back with Alex and crew.
This is book three in a series that's gradually becoming a top favourite of mine. What makes it a favourite? Well, you've got the imaginative world-building, the diverse cast of characters of all ages and from all walks of life, the new spin on the Fae race, the interesting take on witch magic, including its harsh drawbacks, and all the inter-layered plains of existence and creatures that live in them. And also the potential love interest characters are none too shabby either.
Now, I know a lot of people hate love triangles with the fiery passion of a thousand suns, but this one I feel is more than worth while getting involved in. Because you've basically been given two good (mostly) men, both of whom love Alex and who I like to think she loves in return in slightly differing ways, and then Price has just complicated the ever living hell out of it, making each potential pairing seemingly impossible for one reason or another. It's very interesting and I'm completely torn over how I feel about each of them. I was pleased, therefore, that this book had a little more time devoted to Death and the Collectors, to try and balance out my opinion since Falin was hogging the limelight for most of the first two books.
It's really hard to watch what's happening with Falin at the moment. He's tied through compulsions to the Winter Queen (can you say bitch in a tiara?), who, despite her animosity towards Alex, wants her to join her Court. The way she's been trying to "gently persuade" Alex to her side has been to dangle the prospect of being with Falin in her face.... by sending him to raid her house every couple of weeks on bogus charges and searches as part of his F.I.B job. Just to torment her with the fact that she can see him, talk to him, but he's been compelled to only have contact with her in an official capacity. No small talk, no niceties. It's painful for Alex and more than a little cruel of the Winter Queen. I'm dying to see what else she has up her sleeve after what happened in the final pages.
Death, as I mentioned before, gets more time to shine in this instalment. I enjoyed learning even more about the Collectors and Death himself. He's so yummy. I really struggle to find fault with him. I guess his main fault is that he's unattainable.
Alex is having a slightly hard time of things. Her friend John seems to be giving her the cold shoulder, she can't seem to do right for doing wrong in the investigation currently ongoing, and her love life is a disaster. Still, she's trying to make the best of things and is thrilled to have her childhood friend Rianna back in her life. They've decided to do something they planned as kids together; open a P. I. firm called 'Tongues for the dead.'
I enjoyed the plot surrounding the 'Rider' once it got going. Unfortunately that seemed to take quite while. Also, there was not much sign of either Falin or Death in the first half so I found it a little slow going. It did have plenty of recaps in the opening chapters for anyone who, like me, has forgotten a lot of the details since the last book. I was worried at first that I'd forgotten too much as I couldn't even remember the names of her house mates, but it all came back to me with the gentle re-introductions provided. By which I mean, we were given just enough info to jog the old memory box, but not pages and pages of character bios copied and pasted from past books (take note, Estep!).
All in all a great instalment, definitely one for the Death fans, and a great progression of the series.
I have to admit, I wasn't sure how much I would enjoy Andrea's POV; I thought I would miss Kate more, but it turns out that AndreIt's Andrea, bitch!
I have to admit, I wasn't sure how much I would enjoy Andrea's POV; I thought I would miss Kate more, but it turns out that Andrea's just as much of a badass as Kate, just with different weapons selection.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for her ex, Raphael. He is no Curran. Not that I would have expected him to match up to my book husband, but he didn't even come close. He ticked me (and Andrea) off quite royally at the outset and acted like the spoiled baby he's been brought up to be, and never really recovered. There was progress made with him throughout the book, of course, but I'm still only luke warm about him at this point. Naturally, as a die hard Ilona Andrews fan, I'm more than happy to keep reading until they convince me to change my mind. But it was disappointing that the bantering dynamic they're so good at, was absent in this first book.
Back to Andrea for a second. There was a wealth of information provided on her back story. Up until now we've known she'd had a terrible time with her first Bouda clan, but the details we garnered in this book were still shocking. We also find out where she went and why during her absence in Kate's books right after dear Aunt Era came a-visiting. All of which only endeared her to me and made me root for her all the more. And want to slap Raphael all over again!
The plot, which was mostly easy to follow (although I did get a bit lost in the details on occasion) focuses on yet another branch of mythology—Egyptian. The Andrews writing team seem to like focusing on one per book. Lucky for me, Egyptian is one of my faves.
So, to sum up, I enjoyed this a lot but not quite as much as a Kate and Curran book, mostly because of Raphael's failure to impress. But it's still a solid UF read with all the fun stuff you've come to expect from this duo I like to call Team Awesome.
Ahh, so good to be back in this world! There are a select few urban faFind more reviews like this one at The Demon Librarian.
Don't fear the Damphir.
Ahh, so good to be back in this world! There are a select few urban fantasy authors that really take their worldbuilding seriously, and probably none quite as seriously as Ms. Chance. She knows her vampire lore inside and out, and is steadily increasing the intricate layering of her fey mythology as well, both within this, the spin-off, and the main Cassandra Palmer series. And it's fabulous stuff, let me tell you.
Everyone does vamps slightly differently, of course (although, let us never again mention the sparkly vegetarian variety, please, if you don't mind), but Chance's are without doubt my favourites. From their ability to take blood without biting, to the sense of family and loyalty they have within their feudal society, to the various extra abilities they acquire once reaching master level status. And just when you think you know exactly what it means to be a first level master, such as Mircea or Louis Cesare, there's more! And I do so enjoy the richness of it all; that no detail has been overlooked, even though I'm sure much of it doesn't even make it into the books, it's clear Chance knows the rules and limitations of her world, and that leaves us as readers feeling completely secure and able to just sit back and enjoy. Which I did!
In this instalment, we not only delve deeper into both the vampire and, to a lesser extent, the fey societies, but we also look more closely at our very own, very rare, resident damphir, Dory. Or should that be Dorina....?
She's not the only damphir in existence, but they are so rare and so short-lived, she might as well be. But we've never really examined too closely the why of it, of her. Why has Dory lived centuries longer than all other damphirs in existence? Why has she managed to stave off the insanity where none of the others have? Why wasn't she killed on sight like vamp law says she should have been? And why can't she ever remember what happens during her rages?
Wanna know? Read this book!
As well as the excellent worldbuilding, you've also got some pretty fabulous characters that are all equally fleshed-out and real. In some cases, quite literally real. Real historical people, that is. I thought the scenes with Mircea and Dory were really nicely done, and although I like Mircea in both series, it's nice to finally see him in a better light through Dory's eyes in this one. Also seen in a slightly new way were Kit and Louis Cesare. The latter of which gets a bit of a hard time from Dory. There's nothing quite as resistant as a scared damphir, it seems.
For me, though, the stand out character, the scene-stealer, the handsdown winner for best dialogue and most improved character, has to be Ray. I'm not even going to try to describe him or explain why; I wouldn't do him justice, I'm sure, but I just loved him. He has a new fan!
As is often the case with Chance's writing, although brilliant, it can sometimes seem a little hectic in places, or, in complete contrast, over explanatory in others. You've got some action scenes where it's hard to follow what's happening because everything is moving so fast—Whose foot was that that just kicked Dory in the face? You fell through where into a what now?—Then the next thing you know, you're reading a conversation over a chessboard that takes almost three entire chapters. Go figure.
Once the story had built sufficiently, however, and the mystery was in place, it was one of those books that you just wished would never end. Just keep going forever. More adventures, more fight scenes, more worldbuilding, more revelations, more sweet, sexy moments. Please just keep them coming!
Sadly, all good things must come to an end. And I'm even more sad this it will likely be two years until we get another Dory book. They are most definitely worth the wait though, much as it pains me to admit it. But please, Ms. Chance, for the sake of my sanity, couldn't you just write a little faster?
I have to confess to finding this a slightly disappointing entry to the series after the strong start of book one: Urban shaman. Essentially, the mainI have to confess to finding this a slightly disappointing entry to the series after the strong start of book one: Urban shaman. Essentially, the main problem for me was that for the first three quarters of this book, there just wasn't enough going on. I didn't feel engaged in the mystery element of the story, which is unusual for me because I'm normally keen to pick up on any clues left for the reader, and often, (sometimes annoyingly so) work out who the "bad guy" is way ahead of the big reveal. But in this case, when there was a big ta-da! moment, I was completely taken by surprise, but I think this was more to do with there not actually being any breadcrumbs left for me to follow prior to this, than me just not observing them. I hadn't been looking in that direction for anything untoward. So on the one hand it was nice to be surprised for a change, but on the other hand, my inner smug know-it-all missed out on being able to say "Ha! I knew it!"
Joanne also spent a large portion of the book bemoaning her new shamanic abilities or wishing them away all together, which I found very contradictory to the way she'd accepted them without question in book one. What she really needs is to learn how to properly use her abilities instead of just bumbling around, but unfortunately, her spirit guide and mentor, Coyote, was noticeably absent for most of the book. Something Joanne barely seemed to register.
I did, on the plus side, really enjoy seeing more of the great characters I had met in book one. For me- at this point in the series, anyway- the best thing about this series is the strong characterization. Her secondary characters are exceptionally well written and I'm developing a big old soft spot for a couple of them in particular. And Joanne herself is growing on me as well. Aside the girlie whining about her magic in this book (which I hope was simply added to show character growth later on and that I won't have to suffer too much more of in subsequent books), she is mostly a cool and collect, dry-humoured kind of gal, and I love her tom-boy nature and her deep love for her car, Petite. She's also taken up fencing (she might as well since she stole an immortal warrior's sword, right?) so I'm hoping this means she'll become even more of a badass without her magic, as she is with it.
The last quarter of the book was very exciting, although it can get very confusing at times when Joanne is out of her body or on another plane of existence. I'll confess to only just barely following what was going on during these end scenes, but they were fascinating nonetheless. I'm hoping as the series progresses I'll be able to wrap my tiny brain around the different realities Joanne can exist in and it will all make way more sense to me.
Toby kicks ass in this high octane addition to the October Daye series.
At this point, six books into the series, we've seen October's character makeToby kicks ass in this high octane addition to the October Daye series.
At this point, six books into the series, we've seen October's character make quite the transformation, both emotionally and physically. From orphaned changeling kid, wandering lost in the human world. To wife and mother, trying to play Fairy Bride. And finally, where we are today; to kickass hero and knight errant to the Duke of Shadowed Hills, friend and ally to the King of Cats and Sea Witch, rescuer of lost kids, acquirer of loyal friends, and just all-round reckless but totally lovable main character with an infectious personality. I absolutely love her! For reals.
And throughout all these changes in her circumstances, and the physical changes and power-ups she's gone through that make her now almost as indestructible as May (her former Fetch and kinda twin sister), she's somehow managed to keep that wonderful glibness, that highly inappropriate wit that so often gets her in trouble, but that is hilarious to read.
I have to say, Seanan McGuire's writing of Toby's dialogue is so funny, and so...random. I think her humour is quirky and possibly won't be for everyone, but it really tickles me. I often have to stop to do that silent laughing thing when she catches me off guard. I just like the silliness of it, especially when it's completely inappropriately-timed.
The plot for ASHES OF HONOR was a little more simplistic than past instalments have been, which I think is a good thing because this world is complex enough without having head-bending, multi-stranded plots to try and wrap my tiny mind around. It's another missing child case; a changeling teleporter this time. Which is problematic since Toby can't exactly follow a teleporter around. But that's why it helps to have friends in high places, such as the Sea Witch who can make a spell for almost any occasion, or the King of Cats who can travel through the shadows (which is almost the same thing as teleporting, but significantly more uncomfortable for a non-Caith Sidh like Toby).
There was also a separate subplot surrounding the Court of Cats which brought with it some new and very exiting developments. (You can't see me, but I'm grinning).
Most of the characters from past books made and appearance with a few notable exceptions: There was no Queen of the Mists this time (not really sad about that since she's batshit crazy and hates Toby's guts), but also not much mention of Danny the Bridge Troll (who I really like), and no one from the Undersea realm either. But I was happy to see we revisited Tamed Lightning. I love April the techno-Dryad and her complete inability to understand, sarcasm, jokes, emotions or anything said that's not meant 100% literally.
The best thing about ASHES OF HONOR for me was seeing the character development of many key players, but especially Toby. It's been a year since the last book (in Toby time as well as our time), and much has changed: Quentin, who's around 18 now, is growing up fast. May is becoming more and more like the twin sister people think she is. The Luidaeg still hasn't killed Toby. And maybe, just maybe, Tybalt doesn't dislike Toby as much as she once liked to believe he did. But at the start of the book, the one person who hasn't changed in the last year or moved on from the sad events of ONE SALT SEA, is Toby. Lucky for her, she's surrounded by awesome peeps who won't let that continue for much longer, and the progress she makes here in this book is immense.
For fans of the series, I think this instalment will become a new favourite. It certainly has for me. I feel like McGuire delivered everything I could possibly want from a UF novel, and I simply can't wait for the next one. I still have unanswered questions, but I'm confident McGuire has a master plan set in motion for revealing the answers in due course. For example, when are we going to see Amandine again and where the hell has she been? Who the frack are Quentin's parents? And what did the Sea Witch mean about the Selkies having to pay their debt soon? All these questions and more will have me counting the days until The Chimes at Midnight, which releases September 2013. Go faster time, damn you!
A PERFECT BLOOD has absolutely everything you have come to expect from a Hollows novel: humour, mystery, magic, romantic eWow! What a fantastic read!
A PERFECT BLOOD has absolutely everything you have come to expect from a Hollows novel: humour, mystery, magic, romantic elements, danger, adventure, friendships and so much more.
A lot of series would be losing steam and momentum by their tenth book. Not so for The Hollows. Instead, it feels more like Kim is finally getting to have a bit of fun by letting some of the seeds she's been sewing come into fruition and it marks some exciting changes on the horizon, as well as some potentially sad and poignant ones.
The characters in this series are some of the most diverse and interesting I have ever come across. And any writer that can make me go from hating a character in one book, to having me jumping up and down in fangirl excitement every time he steps on the page in recent books, has my utmost respect. Yes, of course I am talking about the delectable, incorrigible, part-time businessman, part-time badass, all the time pain in the ass, Trenton Aloysius Kalamack. There is yet more development of his character in this book, as if the huge steps he made in the previous one, Pale Demon, weren't epic enough. This time we get to see Trent when he's relaxed, Trent when he's having fun, Trent when he's furious and many other Trent's that we haven't ever seen before because they were hidden underneath his professional façade of political bullshit. I loved every single one of his scenes in this book and I'm so excited to see what else Ms. Harrison has up her sleeve for the elf you love to hate and hate to love.
The rest of the supporting characters were excellent too, of course. We saw all the usual faces and returned to many familiar settings which was nice after the departure we took in Pale Demon. Rachel is back in her church trying to lay low and take some much needed me time after the hell she went through four months ago. She's also got a new bodyguard- a Were named Wayde, whom I though was an okay addition to the cast, and who now lives in her belfry. We also saw quite a bit from David and, if anything, this is probably the character and relationship I understand the least. I think from what I've read on Kim Harrison's website, the werewolf angle was something she would have liked to have addressed in more detail, but decided against it when she plotted out the Demon/Elf/Witch story arc for the remaining books. So now David feels a bit surplus to requirements within the series. I was glad to see she got her werewolf tattoo sorted out, but it had a definite "tying up loose ends" feel to it.
Jenks has some great moments and one-liners as always. Still worshipping the almighty Tinkerbell in all of her red-thonged glory. There wasn't a great deal of Ivy and it's made clear that Rachel feels they might be drifting apart. I wish I could say that really, really bothers me, but to be brutally honest, their relationship has always seemed to have an unhealthy balance to me, so I'm glad Ivy is moving on a bit and isn't quite so focused on Rachel. That doesn't mean Rachel is happy about it, though. It's more like something that she has accepted as inevitable, but still finds very sad.
There were a few more new characters introduced as well but I shall leave them for you to discover yourself. They were very intriguing, though. As was the mystery plot. There was truly not a dull moment throughout.
There may be a slight upset for Al fans as he has very little screen time in comparison to others, but for me, again, this wasn't so much of a problem because I'm all about the elf.
All together, a wonderful addition to the series. Easily Pale Demon's equal and one I look forward to re-reading again next year while I wait impatiently for "Ever after" to come out in early 2013.
This is one of my three top favourites of the whole series. There's this one, which is Bowen and Mari's stBowen the Bitter and Mariketa the Awaited.
This is one of my three top favourites of the whole series. There's this one, which is Bowen and Mari's story, Cade's book and Malkolm's book, and they are all fabulous, but this one has always been the top prize in my eyes. I just love everything about it. It has the best setting, the best plot, the best and most sympathetic couple, and the absolute best surprise plot twist!
I was raised on action and adventure movies, due, no doubt, to being in an all-male household for a time. Indiana Jones, Romancing the Stone, Rambo, Croccodile Dundee, all those kind of films were always on and were mandatory viewing. So it seems I've kind of developed a bit of a soft spot for a jungle setting (which this book has, despite the contradictory title—there is a reason for that). And there's nothing quite like a hot and sweaty trek through lush greenery and bracing waterfalls with a panting Lykae at your back (who just happens to be a rugged and tormented Scotsman), combined with a feisty, curvy and beautiful heroine with a backbone of steel, and enough chemistry to set fire to the pages.
What's not to love?
Of course, it's not all smooth sailing. As usual—and this is a recurring theme for this series—although there is a natural mate connection going on, there's also a giant problem preventing things from progressing further. I'm reluctant to tell you anything about the plot in case I let something slip, but let's just say Bowen behaves like a total butthead at the beginning, and will have to spend quite a bit of time making up for it.
Kresley Cole does some of the best sex scenes in all of Paranormal Romance Land in my opinion, as well as outstanding dialogue. It's snappy, funny, clever, and second to none in my eyes. These books are just so much FUN! Even when the hero (or sometimes heroine) is being a total ass, I still love them. Because the thing that defines them and separates them from other PNR heroes, is that once that 'misunderstanding' is all cleared up, they become the sweetest, most protective and endearing mates you will ever read about. So just bask and enjoy.
I would recommend reading the series in order as certain elements overlap, but if you wanted to dive in here you could do that too as the romance has a solid conclusion.