A very satisfying conclusion to the series! I did manage to guess the big surprise several chapters in, but overall I really enjoyed this book. DefiniA very satisfying conclusion to the series! I did manage to guess the big surprise several chapters in, but overall I really enjoyed this book. Definitely recommend it!...more
This is now one of my favorite of the Guild Hunter books. I love the Raphael-Elena story line, and while I enjoyed the books in thRating: 4.5 out of 5
This is now one of my favorite of the Guild Hunter books. I love the Raphael-Elena story line, and while I enjoyed the books in the series about Dmitri and Jason, they just didn't draw me in the way these do. I've found myself re-reading sections of the novel already, so I know this will be on my keeper shelf.
If you haven't read any of the Guild Hunter books, you can start here, but I highly suggest you begin from the beginning.
This is probably my least favorite book in the series thus far. In fact, I think I'll wait on reviews of the following book in the series before I buyThis is probably my least favorite book in the series thus far. In fact, I think I'll wait on reviews of the following book in the series before I buy it, because I was really frustrated with Maddy's behavior in this book. She seems to act impulsively and without thinking several times, and even though her friends warn her that she's heading to a dark place, she ignores them. It felt like her character didn't really develop much. I am interested in seeing how she's changed in the next book, though, so I'll probably check reviews of it and then decide whether I should buy or check it out from the library....more
I absolutely love Nalini Singh's Guild Hunter series, so even though I already own the first three novellas in this anthology, I went ahead and purchaI absolutely love Nalini Singh's Guild Hunter series, so even though I already own the first three novellas in this anthology, I went ahead and purchased it for Galen and Jessamy's story (Angels' Dance). It was totally worth the money! Galen and Jessamy's story is the longest of the novellas, and it's a sweet and touching story. My second favorite is Angels' Judgment, which is from the Must Love Hellhounds anthology and is about Sara and Deacon (plus Slayer, my favorite hellhound).
I've never really liked Angels' Flight all that much - it's a prequel to the series, and is Ashwini and Janvier's story, but there's not a HEA or even a HFN. It's interesting, but probably my least favorite of the book.
Angel's Wolf is the story of Raphael's vampire Noel, who gets beaten to a pulp in Archangel's Kiss. Fortunately, he's recovered and gets his HEA with an angel in Raphael's territory. I liked this story; I didn't love it....more
I have conflicted feelings about this book. I love Paris's character and Ms. Showalter's writing is always so easy to read. I was only going to read aI have conflicted feelings about this book. I love Paris's character and Ms. Showalter's writing is always so easy to read. I was only going to read a few chapters before bed, but I ended up staying up late to finish the book. I like that we get to see a little of each of the other lords with their mates and that we get to see Ashyln's twins (Ashlyn and Maddox's story still remains my all time favorite). Paris's devotion to Sienna is really touching, and I love that he recognizes how beautiful she is.
However, I was a bit surprised by Sienna's character. She was definitely less of a wet blanket than I remember from past books(which is good) but it felt like her character was completely different in this book. Some of these changes are explained, however, so that didn't bother me too much.
I'm still not 100% convinced by how Paris's demon (which I'd always thought was Promiscuity but several times is referred to as Sex) reacted to Paris's monogamy with Sienna. This seemed less problematic than I thought it would be, so I was a little confused by that.
Finally, if you haven't read any of the books in the series or you skipped several books, you should begin from the beginning or go back and catch up on what you've missed, because there are TONS of appearances from other characters. I've read all the books, and there were still times when I had to stop and think, "Now, who is this again?"
Overall, though, this was a great addition to the series. I love the cover, and I can't decide whose story I want to read next: Galen & Legion, Zacharel or Kane....more
Loved the novellas by Meljean Brook and Marjorie M. Liu, but the other two were indifferent, to put it mildly. Brook's novella is part of the GuardianLoved the novellas by Meljean Brook and Marjorie M. Liu, but the other two were indifferent, to put it mildly. Brook's novella is part of the Guardian series (#1.5) and Marjorie M. Liu's is a prequel/introduction to her Hunter Kiss series, both of which are AWESOME. That made this anthology worth the money for me....more
I’ve long been a fan of Heather Killough-Walden’s self published books. Most are priced at only $ 0.99, and she has a strong authorial voice with plots that tend to feature intriguing twists. So I was thrilled when I learned that Signet would be publishing her newest series, The Lost Angels. The first book in the series, Avenger’s Angel, just came out last week and is a paranormal romance featuring Angels, a trend that’s becoming more popular these days. While I’m disappointed that the book doesn’t add much new to the current flock of Angel-themed PNRs, overall it’s a solid first book in the series and an enjoyable read.
The premise of the book is that over 4,000 years ago four archangels were promised mates, or archesses, but when the females were sent to Earth for their protection, the archangels elected to fall to Earth to search for them. Uriel, the archangel of vengeance, is the first to find his archess in the person of Eleanore Granger, a woman hunted by a mysterious organization for her ability to heal others.
I like that this book sets up the series well while keeping our interest in the main couple. The other archangels, Gabriel, Azrael, and Michael are also searching for their archesses, though after 4,000 years they have nearly given up hope. There are a few hints that Gabriel’s archess has been discovered, setting up the next book in the series, but the archangels’ enemy, Samael, is overwhelmingly my favorite character in the novel. He’s an enigmatic villain, as he attempts to secure Eleanore’s interest and tells her half-truths in an effort to undermine Uriel. However, his friendship with Lilith and the archangels’ guardian Max’s interest in Lilith create interesting secondary stories that I’m looking forward to seeing developed in future books.
The book moves along well, but the second half definitely picks up the pace, as there’s a great deal more action taking place. True to Ms. Killough-Walden’s style in her self-published books, there are several unexpected twists that I really enjoyed. The final battle will keep you turning the pages, and I love that Eleanore is the one who saves the day, rather than the male characters. This is all the better because Eleanore really isn’t the kick-arse kind of female protagonist we’re used to seeing in PNR and UF, but she manages to surprise the males.
The romance between Uriel and Eleanore didn’t blow me away, to be honest. I’ve written elsewhere that I’m not a huge fan of the “fated mates” trope, and this series relies heavily upon that idea. At times the so-called good guys seemed more interested in trapping Eleanore into her “fated” relationship than in Uriel making a sincere effort to woo her. In fact, I felt that Samael set off more sparks with Eleanore than Uriel did (perhaps because he’s the forbidden bad boy?). So while I liked the couple together, the romance aspect of the novel felt a bit forced.
A minor complaint about the book is that it really doesn’t feel all that original. I’m not sure if that’s because there are so many angel related PNR/UF novels out at the moment or not, but despite that, the premise is strong and the characters intriguing enough to keep my interest. I’ll definitely read the next book in the series.
I was, however, very disappointed that Ms. Killough-Walden’s voice was so subdued in this novel. One of the reasons I’ve enjoyed her self-published books so much is how strong her authorial voice is. You could open any of her self-published books and know immediately that she was the author, which is a huge selling point. I’m not sure I could say the same for Avenger’s Angel.
All of my criticism of the novel can easily be resolved in future books, so I have high hopes for this series. Ms. Killough-Walden remains a favorite of mine, and I’m looking forward to seeing the other archangels find their archesses.
I received this book for review from the publisher through NetGalley....more
This book includes novellas by three of my all-time favorite authors, Nalini Singh, Ilona Andrews, and Meljean Brook, so I was really excited to find it in the bookstore early. It features outstanding writing, which I’ve come to expect from these authors, and I was pleasantly surprised by Sharon Shinn’s novella Nocturne, which is my favorite of the collection. I hadn’t read anything by her before, but I will be remedying that shortly. Here’s a breakdown of the novellas in the book.
Angel’s Wolf by Nalini Singh. This novella is set in the world of Singh’s Guild Hunter series and stars vampire Noel, who was viciously beaten by an enemy of Archangel Raphael in the second novel of the series, Archangel’s Kiss. Now that Noel’s recovered, he’s been assigned to the court of angel Nimra in Louisiana, which he initially believes reflects Raphael’s diminished opinion of his abilities. He soon learns otherwise, as he’s there to investigate an assassination attempt against Nimra. While I enjoyed another glimpse into the Guild Hunter world, I was a bit disappointed by this novella, mainly because it was so short. I like seeing what happened to Noel, but because it was shorter than the other novellas, the romance between Noel and Nimra felt a bit short-changed. I would have liked to have seen more interaction between the angel and the vampire, and the mystery was resolved too quickly. 3 out of 5
Alphas: Origins by Ilona Andrews. This story was so different from Ilona Andrews’ other writing that I was a bit taken aback and not sure how to react to the story. It also didn’t compare favorably to their recently released enovella Silver Shark, which I just reviewed yesterday. Alphas: Origins is set in a world very different from any of the author’s other series, and at times I was a little confused about what was going on. The heroine, Karina, is driving her daughter and several other children on a school field trip when they stop at a motel so the kids can use the bathroom. Unfortunately for Karina, the “people” at the motel attack them, and Karina wakes up after the attack to learn that she’s now part of a world she never knew existed. The hormones in her blood will be used to feed Lucas, one of four alpha men who are warriors protecting humanity in a strange fight against a group of genetically altered humans. The story definitely improves as you read, because Karina is a strong and sympathetic character, but the first few chapters were confusing and none of the male characters particularly likeable. 3 out of 5
Nocturne by Sharon Shinn. I had never read any of Shinn’s work before, but I very much enjoyed this novella about a woman on the run who discovers an angel at the school where she’s working. This is set in the world of her Samaria series and takes place about 70 years after the first book in the series, Archangel. Moriah works the late shift in the kitchen at the school, and when she learns that no one is allowed to go inside the headmistress’s house, her curiosity is piqued. When the headmistress leaves for two weeks and the housekeeper sprains her ankle, Moriah steps in to help serve the guest on the upper floor. Turns out that the guess is Corban, a angel who’s been blinded and is feeling lots of self-pity for his condition. Moriah’s bracing character is more than a match for his depression, however, and soon he finds himself stretching his wings literally and figuratively. There’s a slow build to this story, but this was easily my favorite of the collection, and I’ll be looking for more of Ms. Shinn’s work. 4 out of 5
Ascension by Meljean Brook. This novella is set in the world of Brook’s Guardian series. I’ve read several of the novels and a few of the novellas, so I have a general idea of the background, even though I wasn’t familiar with these characters. I’m not sure how easily one could pick up details about the Guardians without having read another book in the series, so you might want to keep that in mind. That said, I did enjoy this novella. Like Singh’s novella, this is one of the shorter entries, but I felt that it was more fleshed out than Angel’s Wolf. Guardian Marc Revoire is investigating the deaths of several vampires in town, when he’s joined by former lover Radha. They had a hot and steamy night a LONG time ago, but she took off and he never knew why. Turns out he was a little too holier than thou and referred to her as “unclean” when praying for redemption after falling into temptation, which not surprisingly ticked her off. Fortunately, he’s more low key and less judgmental now, so the sparks fly between the two again. In the meantime, they solve the mystery behind who’s killing off the local vamps. While I like Ms. Brook’s writing, I really didn’t like Radha all that much, which diminished my enjoyment of the story. 3.5 out of 5...more
This is my first time reading a book by Michele Hauf, but it will not be the last! I just finished Ashes of Angels, the third book in her Of Angels and Demons series, and it was an engaging paranormal romance with hot vampires and sexy Fallen Angels. The book is being released tomorrow, July 19, and includes the novella that takes place between the second and third books, The Ninja Vampire’s Girl. In a letter from the author, Ms. Hauf states that the events in the novella take place about 5 months before those in the novel, and suggests that you read the novella first if you want to keep events in order, but that’s not necessary, as both novella and novel can be read as stand-alone works. In fact, I did read the novella first, and now I wish I’d read it last, because the novella was not nearly as good as the novel and I almost didn’t go on to read the novel. That would have been a shame, because the novel is tightly written with appealing characters, and I definitely recommend it!
Artist Cassandra (Caz) Stevens is celebrating finishing a statue of an angel when she meets a stunning looking man in a club. All too quickly she realizes that she’s in terrible danger, because he’s a Fallen Angel, and the glowing mark on her wrist indicates that she’s his muse. Fallen Angels who are summoned to Earth seek out mortal women, their muses, and sexually assault them, impregnating them with Nephilim, monstrous killers. Caz’s grandmother warned her and her sister Coco years ago that they needed to prepare to fight off the Fallen, but Samandiriel (Sam) is different from the others. He regrets the Fallen Angels’ decision to leave Heaven and wants to protect Caz from the others who will seek her out. It seems that a group of Vampires in Germany is summoning the Fallen Angels to Earth, hoping to lead them to their muses and perform tests on the resulting Nephilim. The vampires’ leader believes that the Nephilim blood will allow the vampires to walk in the sun, but the more Fallen Angels he summons, the more danger Caz and her fellow muses are in. Sam offers to help Caz in her fight against the vampires and the other Fallen, and the two agree to work together, fighting an overwhelming attraction that if acted upon could result in Caz’s death.
The world building in this novel is complex but clearly explained and easy to pick up even though I jumped into the series at book three. I appreciated how seamlessly the world was introduced to a new reader. The mix of Angels, demons, and vampires was fascinating, and Ms. Hauf integrated religious elements into her novel while still leaving a lot open to speculation. The background of the Fallen and the demons is explained clearly, but I’m still uncertain about the origins of the vampires in this world. Given the focus on the muse heroine and angel hero, however, the origins of the vampires were not necessary to the story and didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the novel.
Sam and Caz were likeable characters, and since Sam had only recently returned to Earth after the vampires summoned him, he’s an interesting mix of innocence and experience that Caz finds irresistible. I like that Ms. Hauf turned the tables on the trope of the “virgin” heroine learning about her sexuality with this one, since Caz has to teach Sam how to kiss! The sexual tension between the two was sizzling and dangerous, since there's the possibility that Sam will assault Caz if he reverts to his stronger angel form. Caz is a sensual, creative woman, and it’s easy to see that Sam’s attraction to her soon becomes more than just the link between a muse and a Fallen Angel.
While most of the novel was action-packed with Caz and Sam fighting demons, Fallen Angels, and vampires, there were also some really funny lines. I laughed out loud several times, especially at the scene where Sam gets a little tipsy and is informed that the feelings he’s describing for Caz are definitely love. When he and Caz first meet, he teases her by calling her hilarious nicknames just to annoy her. Sam may be an Angel, but he’s got a wicked sense of humor! When Caz calls him on the endearments, he asks if she would “prefer sweetie? Perhaps mein little cupcake?” And later he tells her that he’d kill any Fallen who tried to attack her, claiming that he prefers the word “smite over murder.” Who wouldn’t?
I only have two criticisms about the novel. The first is that the epilogue wraps everything up in a neat package, but I’m not sure it’s absolutely necessary. The book ends with a dramatic fight that packs a strong punch, and the epilogue seems a bit quick to resolve everything. I suspect the novel could have ended either without the epilogue or with another chapter and the ending wouldn’t have felt so rushed.
The second complaint is not really related to the novel at all but rather the novella. The Ninja Vampire’s Girl was previously published in an anthology, and feels really short, possibly less than 20,000 words, although that could merely be my perception. Because the novel is so well written with such engaging characters and dialogue the much shorter novella suffers by comparison. It details how Caz’s sister Coco met her vampire boyfriend Zane while searching for a Fallen Angel’s halo. The story is cute, but it’s written in 2 separate first-person points of view, with a lot of jumping from one POV to the next. In the advanced reader copy there was no separation to indicate the jump from one POV to the other, which was a bit confusing, but I’m sure in the published version that is not the case. Ms. Hauf wrote the third-person POV so well in the novel that the first-person POVs of Coco and Zane in the novella come across as underdeveloped.
Despite the novella’s shortcomings, I really enjoyed Ashes of Angels and as soon as I finished it I went online to check out Ms. Hauf’s webpage to look up the other books and novellas in the series. The summaries of the first and second books make it clear that they take place in the same world and focus on different types of heroes and heroines, which further impresses me with Ms. Hauf’s creativity. I’ll definitely be catching up on the rest of the series and look forward to future installments of the series!
I received a copy of this book for review from the Publisher through NetGalley....more
Title: Where Demons Fear to Tread Author: Stephanie Chong Publisher: MIRA Books Format: MaYou can also read this review at Reflections on Reading Romance
Title: Where Demons Fear to Tread Author: Stephanie Chong Publisher: MIRA Books Format: Mass Market Paperback, ebook Source: NetGalley Publication Date: August 23, 2011 Rating: 3 out of 5
I think the overall message of Stephanie Chong’s Where Demons Fear to Tread was supposed to be that love conquers all, but what I took away from the book is that Good is really, really boring. Good doesn’t have fun and is about as bland as white bread. The truth is that the heroine in this book is annoyingly good, so good, in fact, that she’s pretty uninspiring. And why would you read a book with a boring heroine? I’m not at all sure why the hero, Archdemon Julian Ascher is interested in her, other than her looks, because she’s dull as dirt. All that goodness is hard to take, quite frankly. This is unfortunate, because Ms. Chong is clearly a talented writer with a well-developed and engaging plot. I really enjoyed her writing, but the heroine was so mild in her “goodness” that I just couldn’t buy into the romance aspect of it.
The premise of the book is that there’s a company of guardian angels who attempt to steer humans towards good decisions while demons work actively to encourage us to engage in the sort of behavior that will damn our souls to hell. The more souls a demon sends to hell, the more powerful the demon. Julian Ascher reached archdemon status in record time, a little over 200 years, so we know that he’s a real baddie. He runs a string of night clubs (those dens of iniquity!) when our bright as sunshine (really, she’s wearing a yellow sundress, for Pete’s sake) newly minted Guardian Angel Serena St. Clair comes traipsing into his club in LA. She’s been assigned to look out for bad boy actor Nick, who’s currently snorting coke off some woman’s body. When Julian sees Serena, he decides to toy with her and hustles her off to his office in the club, where he lays a few moves on her. She’s all, “Oh NO, I shouldn’t, but I really want to, oooh what do I do? He’s so smoking hot!” and at the last minute pleads with him to let her go, which, for some strange reason, he does.
Naturally Mr. Bad-Ass Archdemon decides to pursue Serena, because nothing wins you points with the boss like corrupting an angel, right? He’s also inexplicably drawn to her goodness and beauty – she smells like the beach! Who could resist? Julian engages in a nasty spot of blackmail, and Serena finds herself with Julian in Las Vegas. Over the course of a week, Julian finds his defenses weakening, and the two fall in love. Redemption is nigh!
The problem with this book is twofold. First, Serena is portrayed as the epitome of all that is good, but she’s also dull as dirt. Her brother tells Julian that she didn’t have fun often, and that seems to be true even after her death and rebirth as an angel. She also has a few too stupid to live moments, such as running into an empty nightclub when someone calls out to her, despite being told to wait for reinforcements. Um, hellooo!!!! Wait for the backup, dummy! This would be a great time for a blonde joke, except I know lots of blondes who would be rightly offended at the comparison.
The second problem is Julian. Julian’s working on building a new night club in Vegas with another archdemon, Corbin Ranulfson, who is truly evil. In comparison with Corbin, Julian is a woolly lamb. Corbin rips peoples’ limbs from their body, cannibalizes women while they’re still living, and murders a bellboy for breaking a Ming vase. He’s pretty darn scary. Julian, however, is not. Now, you’re thinking that no one would want a hero who’s that scary, because who wants to be with someone like that? And you’d be right! Julian’s a much milder type of demon, and yet we’re supposed to accept that he reached a status similar to Corbin’s within a record 200 years. I could almost picture Serena (a la Luke Skywalker) turning to Princess Leia, and saying “There’s still good in him. I can FEEL it.” But even with the flaws in Julian’s character, he’s still much more interesting than Serena. I didn’t hate Serena; I was just bored by her, and that’s never good for a romance.
So after all of this, you’re probably wondering why I would give the book a 3 out of 5. The truth is, Ms. Chong’s writing is smoothly executed and easy to read. The plot moves along nicely, and I like the underlying premise of the book. The “reforming the rake” trope is a favorite, and I like Ms. Chong’s spin on it, plus the portrayal of angels and demons, while not highly original, was well thought out and developed. Unfortunately the heroine was just too flat for the book to succeed for me. But because the writing IS so engaging, I would be more than willing to read another book by Ms. Chong. She managed to keep me reading her book, even though I couldn’t stand the heroine, and that takes some doing. ...more