This is a strong 3.5 but a "4 star" is me liking it a lot and getting book #2 and I just couldn't endorse it that strongly. There wasn't enough romancThis is a strong 3.5 but a "4 star" is me liking it a lot and getting book #2 and I just couldn't endorse it that strongly. There wasn't enough romance for starters and although it was well-written with that dark vibe that generally draws me in, there was that spark missing that will usually propel me to progress with the series. I especially disliked Mac as the main character, I couldn't warm up to her superficiality. Maybe I'll try Moning's highlander series.......more
This installment takes off exactly from the ending of book #1 and never lets off the throttle! It is a roller coaster ride from the inception, dragginThis installment takes off exactly from the ending of book #1 and never lets off the throttle! It is a roller coaster ride from the inception, dragging the reader by the hair and whipping them off their collective feet until the finish. This was a five star: from the artfully decadent prose that left you gasping through love scenes that bordered on violent to hideous circumstances no human being should have been able to survive. Fantastic.
Each of the four books has one major mystery with a heady undercurrent of sexual tension between Chess, Lex and of course, Terrible. The reluctant hero that is flawed, hot, built and stoically moral despite an environment that is depraved beyond what we know.
The relationship between Terrible and Chess sits more solidly and blooms like a reluctant flower between two people that have become porcupines due to abusive backgrounds yet somehow find each other. MAGIC also expounds on the natural skills which Chess possesses in her witchcraft. The "why" and tantalizing other details about the Facts are Truth order come to the surface to fascinate the reader. Chess's world is such a fascinating mix of very old-world and modern. The reader never knows what to expect.
But expect this: a great mystery wrapped up in a tight bundle of taut erotic tension and action....more
I'm going to try and Rein. It. In. with this four book series but not without effort! This is a fantastic dark urban fantasy series that is gritty, daI'm going to try and Rein. It. In. with this four book series but not without effort! This is a fantastic dark urban fantasy series that is gritty, dark, real and uncompromising. Kane has flavors of the Anita Blake Series by Laurell K. Hamilton. However, there is more "meat" and less sex in these works. They really smack of Hamilton's earlier works that I adored (#s 1-10) with the detective/action angles. If you like your urban fantasy served up dark, this is totally the series for you.
Chess Putnam, is a drifting loner who believes deeply in the calling she's been assigned: church witch. She is also equally challenged by an upbringing that's left her bereft of the typical emotional foundation most people possess. She's tough and fragile, rolled up in an intoxicatingly mad mix that has the reader rooting for her and worrying after her. Splendid! The world-building is solid and what I really dug was the made-up language of the Downside residents. It's a little off-putting at first as it reads "wrong" but it is so "right" with the depth that it allows into the story. The differences of the people in this dystopian world come alive as you read them. You see them, feel them, hear them. It's story telling at its best.
This debut installment establishes the first Debunking we see from Chess and how she handles herself through her addictions; both with drugs and with her numbing obsession for superficial relationships.
This first book was a 4.5 for me. It was disturbing and messy, with elements I didn't agree with on a personal level. In the end, none of that mattered. I went ahead and read... UNHOLY MAGIC....more
First, let me just say this is a FANTASTIC romantic suspense novel! It has a touch of the paranormal and uses the same type of males we love from theFirst, let me just say this is a FANTASTIC romantic suspense novel! It has a touch of the paranormal and uses the same type of males we love from the BDB series that J.R. Ward so famously crafted. These Navy Seals guys are swoon-worthy, rock your face off hot. There's battles, romance, heat; all delivered with a powerful one-two punch of intrigue and danger. Love it!
Beth is a lonely but hardworking woman that keeps her emotional entanglements neat and tidy. She doesn't allow men inside her tender emotional inner circle after a botched up jilt at the alter taught her it was better to be safe than sorry. Then... she receives a portentous dream that forces her to shun her cautious nature and take a chance to save an elite team of Navy Seals she witnesses perish in a brutal airplane massacre. What she wasn't counting on was the cosmic and fatalist connection that would snap into place upon meeting Zane Winters.
What I loved: I love the romantic tension between Beth and Zane. I love that McCallan was able to show he was deep-feeling but SO intimately embraced his male side as well. That's not an easy balance to achieve. A lot of times I read authors that "feminize" their males and the Alphas become Betas. Effectively neutering them as the agressive and possessive males we want to read about. The author doesn't do that here and I love it. The plot is great with a slightly new twist on an age-old favorite in the middle of an intriguing terrorist-like plot that is steeped by enough solid verbiage/research and good old-fashioned storytelling that I never disbelieve anything the author feeds me. And boy, is it a lot! The pace is brutally fast, nightmarishly so; just the way I like it.
What I didn't like: nothing. This is a re-read for me. It may be for you too. I liked it enough that I perused the author's blog and (thank you God), she plans to write this as a series and has been approached by a publisher. Yea for us!
6.0 of 5 stars!
Genre: Romantic Suspense Sub-genre: Thriller, suspense, military undertones Elements: Profanity, violence and sexuality Age: 18+...more
Vital, Engaging, riveting, narrative-voice-I-love. Yeah guys, STERLING has all of that. This is a hill and valley read. Pretty much, I am on the top oVital, Engaging, riveting, narrative-voice-I-love. Yeah guys, STERLING has all of that. This is a hill and valley read. Pretty much, I am on the top of the mountain during the entire read with only a small valley about two thirds of the way through that dragged a little for me. I was reading along thinking to myself, four stars, pretty great then BAM, the author wallops me between the eyes with a few chapters that were so beautifully terrible, so brutal in their raw emotional transference it took my breath away. I do NOT tear up during reading (except for A DOG'S PURPOSE, of course!) and Dark made me! I couldn't believe the horrible circumstances the MC found herself amongst and wanted to commit murder against the perpetrators, that amped it to a five star right there. To know what Dark is capable of delivering was almost disturbing. I hope to see more of that intensity in book #2. I'm all over that gritty edge she served up in this book!
There, I feel so much better.
STERLING began talking about mages and I rolled my eyes. I am Sick to Death with mage this and mage that. But guess what? It was not what I was thinking and was a completely different premise than I was expecting. Another plus for the book. There is so a love triangle between Adam, Simon, Justus and Zoe (or square?). But we're just not sure how or which one and I love the suspense. It is acute without being frustrating. Zoe, who becomes Silver, is not weak but she is vulnerable and it is this subtlety in Dark's writing that made me not want to stop and bark like a dog on a short leash to get the next installment. Which I'm happily reading now.
Zoe is murdered during the opening scene and STERLING follows her odyssey of self-discovery with regard to what she's become. It's difficult, frustrating and she misses her old life. Zoe/Silver has a mentor that does so from a distance and it leaves her tense and lonely. But in his way, he loves her.
What I loved: pretty much everything. I love the latter third of the book deeply, it moved my soul. The first third was interesting and engaging along with giving me surprise bread crumbs to munch on. The middle had a sag but picked up quickly enough that I got through it.
What I wasn't as nuts over: there seems to be some things that are logically missing like: why didn't Zoe contact her friend sooner? Why did the mage council not see that her maker was an atrocity to their kind and meant her harm? They almost seemed to goad him to that end. Ugh!
Overall, STERLING gets a killer endorsement. Usually, I only go forward in a series if I adore the first book. It has to grab me for the second to be on TBR list. This one has that spark, that enigmatic something that pushed me forward. It's unique and that's what got my full attention. Try it, you won't be disappointed.
Genre: Dark Urban Fantasy Sub-genre: militaristic, sci-fi, romantic tension Elements: Violence, Profanity, Violence against women Age: 18+...more
I just finished book two in the Blood Skies Series and feel like I ate my supper...twice! Don't kid yourselves, guys, this is a main entree, no appetiI just finished book two in the Blood Skies Series and feel like I ate my supper...twice! Don't kid yourselves, guys, this is a main entree, no appetizer or dessert served here! Montano really understands how to deliver dark fantasy and make no mistake, it's dark.
In this adventure, Southern Claw Solider, Eric Cross, takes on more than he can handle and becomes a prisoner and gladiator-of-sorts for vampires. Wanting nothing more than to survive, save his comrades and find the Woman in the Ice/Lake he does just that...with the single-minded focus only Cross possesses. I am not a big high fantasy fan but what saves the genre for me is Montano's descriptive prowess. It may not be for all, but a less adept writer could never have managed the weighty material. Look at the following example:
~The undead exploded. Pale animated bodies and jagged skeletal weapons, razor vapors and icy claws, maggot hearts and grave dust, soiled black fire and cursed souls: all of it immolated within the onslaught of primal spirit matter like paper put to the flame~
The entire work is a scene-scape of words. In some parts I desperately wished to escape the vividness of his writing, especially in battles, my heart raced! But there is no escape. You are IN the battle, while the melee swirls around the reader. This is a heavily descriptive work with great pacing and action throughout. Fans of high, dark fantasy are going to love this second installment in the Blood Skies Series....more
I've already read Crane's first book in the Significance Series and liked it a lot. I loved this one. She seems to have really gotten a head o' steamI've already read Crane's first book in the Significance Series and liked it a lot. I loved this one. She seems to have really gotten a head o' steam and taken the characters to a new level. The ending was so well-done, I loved it. I think she could even do more action. I especially enjoyed those portions of her novel.
This is definitely morphing into a Christian-themed novel but it's okay for the secular crowd as well. Maggie and Caleb's relationship deepens and the ones' surrounding theirs evolve nicely as well. The pacing, like the first one, was well-done and the dialogue improved. There was some plot twisting at the end that was unexpected and has set up the third novel nicely. If you like themes with alpha-males in protective roles this is a must-buy series. It is not a stand-alone, you'll have to buy "Significance" as well. They were both hard to put down and terrific reading.
*IMHO, Crane's work has the same quality as Amanda Hocking's in this regard: "what's going to happen next?" If you've read Hocking's work and couldn't wait to read the next book, Crane's has that same vibe.
As an aside, I like the interesting book covers Crane has chosen and she's an approachable author; always a plus....more