Channing has a lot of great things going for this novel: cover, author name (kinda unintentionally awesome), title (!), engaging plot and that enigmat...moreChanning has a lot of great things going for this novel: cover, author name (kinda unintentionally awesome), title (!), engaging plot and that enigmatic "nailed it." If you dig paranormal vampire tales but are tired of the regurgitated fare that copy-cats like a puzzle piece that can't find its fit, WKM will hit the spot.
Axelia is living abroad in Italy with a foreign host family. Sugar plums dance in her head with the potential she feels the place holds; a blank canvas for adventure. When a exotically cute boy takes an interest in her, she shuns intuition in favor or recklessness. Soon her choice lands Axelia in a peril so final there seems to be no hope. Then the extraordinary happens and she becomes the thing that hunted her.
Axelia is not a weak heroine in need of rescuing and I normally don't dig that. I like the woman-in-peril gets saved by hunk-o-love scenario. However, Channing has such a way of writing to allow the MC's vulnerabilities to shine through and not make this story read like every other urban fantasy tale that needs a kick @ss heroine to make it. Our girl is tough but has a fragile edge that causes the reader to root for her. If you like a multi-dimensional heroine then you'll like this. Also, though the MC is almost 18, this doesn't have that "young" adult feel. It's more of the YA crossover/Mature YA and could easily progress into the New Adult realm with book number two. Addressing age-appropriateness, this book is multi-genre with elements of both dark urban fantasy (a sub-genre of horror) and paranormal romance. There are some fairly horrific things happening with a decent amount of violence. I'd think high school and above on this.
This is a 4.5 star read that centered between very good and outstanding so it was easy to round up to a five star. Channing has worked as a journalist and her skills for tight prose, a narrative voice that paints scenes and hard-core pacing shines in this short novel. I look forward to reading more of her work. Fans of Tammy Blackwell, JL Bryan, SM Reine and Dannika Dark should like this work.(less)
These stories of the Downside Ghosts are hopelessly addictive! There just isn't enough dark urban fantasy that rivals these. ANGELFALL had the same de...moreThese stories of the Downside Ghosts are hopelessly addictive! There just isn't enough dark urban fantasy that rivals these. ANGELFALL had the same decrepit lurching speed as these tales do but was geared more for young adult readers. This series is fully adult and gets edgier with each subsequent installment.
GHOSTS is no different. Delivering action sequence after action sequence of Chess in peril. But she's so tough, she never needs a man to rescue her. That is one of the things I don't like so much: Chess is almost too independent. There is no interdependence. In book three, she allows the facade of her self-preservation to crack just enough to let the one man in she is scared to trust but must. In the end, Chess decides to take a leap of faith. But the big question remains: can she tow the mark?
I am dying here! CHASING MAGIC will not release until June 26! The pain! The misery! Must. Know. What. Happens next! Ugh! Okay... this fourth book of...moreI am dying here! CHASING MAGIC will not release until June 26! The pain! The misery! Must. Know. What. Happens next! Ugh! Okay... this fourth book of the Downside Series is absolutely perfect. What I totally loved was the snippets of Chess's past that are finally revealed. Why, in the name of the Good Lord is she using drugs? Well... we find out and it's not the neat little package of assumptions we thought it'd be. Why does she have such a hard time trusting? Answers there too. I was beginning to be unsympathetic toward Chess by book number four. I was thinking, "clean up your act!" Now, I understand that her internal framework is a myriad of depravity, abuse and memories she cloaks through drug abuse. Gotcha.
Where will our heroine be in book five? I don't know but I can't wait to read and find out!(less)
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, draggin...moreThis 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.(less)
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, da...moreI'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.(less)
I know, I know... so why review a book that is selling so well and has a boatload of five star reviews already? Because, it's THAT good! Did you go nu...more I know, I know... so why review a book that is selling so well and has a boatload of five star reviews already? Because, it's THAT good! Did you go nuts over Hunger Games? Sick and tired of all the sappy angel stories out there? Then you've got a great fit in Angelfall, because it's none of that. It's a take-no-prisoners read that will leave you really wanting the next installment.
The story is essentially about an angel apocalypse. The angels decimate earth and we are now under their strange rule. In this world our MC, Penryn, is busy looking after a wheelchair-bound seven year old sister and a Mom that is constantly bordering on unpredictable psychosis. The family slowly starves in an environment where water and electricity are sporadic at best and gangs have taken over suburbia. This is a dark, urban fantasy that has tension strung taut in a way that makes the reader stayed glued to the pages, wishing for Penryn's safety and dying over the sister's kidnapping. Did I say dying? Ugh! Ee paints such a startling and clear portrait of gritty survival, the reader can't help but be drawn in.
What I liked: the pacing and the flow. This story moves! And it does so in such a way that the reader is getting "fed" little tidbits of intrigue in a fairly consistent way throughout the entire tale. I love the MC. Penryn has never been soft, but she longs to be. Her inner girlie has never had a chance to manifest and she is left being the provider for her family after her father deserts them. I love a MC under pressure and Ee knows just how to cook it! I never feel pity for Penryn, but I root for her. That is the mark of a clever storyteller. Where you wish to assist the MC but you don't languish in their pain and angst. Awesome! I like the dark angel that she befriends and the mystery of their relationship as it evolves.
What I didn't care for as much: I thought it was a little short for a full-length and didn't feel like her relationship with Raffe was clear at the end. Maybe it wasn't supposed to be? I will definitely be picking up book two. This is the first angel book that has really made me want the subsequent installment. Romance and angel lovers might also enjoy The Saving Angel Series by Tiffany King. That series is "softer," with more romance and alpha male vibe. With the current trend in Angel Lit there is no shortage!
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 o...moreVital, 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+(less)