I loved this book - and that's a first for me with the adult Steampunk genre. The characters were what really made the story - Honoria and Blade wereI loved this book - and that's a first for me with the adult Steampunk genre. The characters were what really made the story - Honoria and Blade were so well developed and likable. Their strengths made them characters I could admire, and their flaws allowed me to connect with them, and care for them. The plot was action packed full terror filled flights through foggy London streets, rabid vampire attacks, betrayals, political intrigue, and devils bargains. The romance was refreshing. It avoided most of the PNR tropes, and delivered solid, believable chemistry and romantic buildup.
A real review is already in the works - it just needs a good bit of editing before posting. :)...more
Words really can’t describe how much I loved Grimspace and the rest of this series. Not since Moning’s Fever series have I been this captivated aboutWords really can’t describe how much I loved Grimspace and the rest of this series. Not since Moning’s Fever series have I been this captivated about a set of novels. It helps that there are five books out of six already published, with the final releasing this month, so no waiting. But what really makes this series so magnificent is the characters, the thrilling plots, and the beautiful, thought provoking themes.
There are prisons without bars and worlds without sunlight. I didn’t know about either one until I joined the Corp.
Sirantha Jax is imprisoned for a crime she does not remember committing. She’s a decorated Corp navigator, and the last thing she recollects is piloting a ship full of diplomats and dignitaries to a summit on Mantins IV. She’s told she made mistakes, ignored direct orders, and her actions precipitated a crash that took the lives of eighty-two souls including the man she loved. Now she is incarcerated in a Corp prison, subject to brutal interrogation techniques, forced to relive that day over and over again. What she remembers of it anyway – staring the final approach on the planet, a kiss for luck, and then nothing but a big red hole in her brain until she wakes pinned in the wreck, assaulted by the smell of burning flesh, and the cries of the dying. It took them days to rescue her. Now she’s incarcerated, injured, worn down by grief, and slowly losing her grip on sanity.
She’s nearing a mental break when help arrives from an expected quarter. An ex-merc and his team break into the station where she’s held captive and offer her a devils bargain. They’ll free her if she agrees to join their rebellion and work against her former employers. Her decision makes her a fugitive, public enemy #1, and starts a chain of events that change everything for Jax and the universe.
The world building in Grimspace is fantastic. The universe is vast, with thousands of planets, each with their own society and culture. The story is rich, intricate, and exciting. Sirantha’s journey takes her to Lachion, the heart of the rebellion, where she’s hunted by invisible monsters; to the swamp world of Marakeq; to the pirate kingdom of Hon-Durren where she is held captive; to Gehenna where she faces her shadows; and finally to New Terra where everything falls apart. This story is crammed full of action with nary a dull moment to be found, yet somehow in the midst of the whirlwind of events surround Jax, Ann still manages to make this a character driven story. Jax, March, Dina, and Doc are the real focus of Grimspace. Each character is complex, with unique history, issues, and goals. Each of them grows through the story.
The Gunnars look like killers, all of them. Big men, hard-eyed, well geared, and ready to throw down. That’s fine. So am I. I’m Sirantha Jax, and I have had enough.
Sirantha is exactly the kind of heroine I love. She is strong, makes her own decisions, and fights her own battles. She’s not afraid to throw a punch, but generally only does so for the right reasons. She was a selfish individual in the past, but that person died on Mantins IV. What emerged from the ashes of that crash was a different woman, broken, but determined to atone for the blood on her hands. She’s given a cause, and people that depend on her. She finally finds something that matters more than the next jump, or looking out for her own skin.
March. I feel as though someone punched me in the chest. He believes I’m dead, or he wouldn’t be doing this. It’s vengeance now—he doesn’t see a way for us to win. In his own eyes, he failed me, failed Mair, so this is the only thing left. Even though he told me his gift kills the soul, though I glimpsed the darkness in him, because he always tried so hard to do the right thing, I didn’t realize the truth, the scope. I rise to my knees, gazing into darkness. He would kill the world for me. I have to save him.
Jax’s savior, March is the ultimate tortured hero. He’s the reason I purchased this book in the first place. A reviewer I respect, Miss Vain, likened him onto Barrons, and that’s all it took for me. After reading this book, I’d say I agree with her assessment. He’s just as fierce and indomitable as Barrons, but more compassionate. I absolutely loved him. He’s a psy of extraordinary strength. He can hear the thoughts of others or use his powers to psychically crush their minds. In his past he used his gift in war, to break his opponents. He was a force to be reckoned with, but his power came at a terrible cost to his soul. He was a monster until an old woman turned his life around. Now he seeks redemption. His life is dedicated to atoning for his past. He is a champion of lost causes, and a protector of the weak. He’s fiercely loyal, honorable to a fault, and does the right thing. Always. No matter the cost.
We’re both so fucking broken that I understand our strange attraction, a push-pull magnetism born of similar scars.
When he rescues Jax, there is little love lost between them. The crash on Mantins IV took the life of someone March loved, and he blames Sirantha. But when his pilot is killed, he’s forced to jump with her. Part of the interface that allows pilots and navigators to work together in grimspace ties them together psychically. For the duration of the jump, they live in each other’s minds. March’s gift enhances this connection tenfold. In grimspace he and Jax discover just how similar they are in spirit, and begin to form a bond that goes deeper than love.
“You think it didn’t cut me every time you thought of him?” His jaw clenches. “You think I didn’t bleed when you left my bed to scrub away my touch and deify his memory? You think it didn’t hurt when you left me? Jax, you’ve been slicing me to bits for months, and there’s damn near nothing left.”
I’ve always enjoyed the science fiction genre, but, let’s face it, most of these books are written by men. One of the things I loved so much about Grimspace was that it’s written by a woman, and as such, this story has an amazing romance. The raw passion and fierce love between Jax and March is a one of the sexiest things I’ve seen in fiction in a long time. I’d read this book again just for that romance, but there is so much more to the story. The world building is top notch. The characters are heroic, flawed, and written so realistically they feel like friends. The story is fast paced and exciting. The language is beautiful. The themes are poignant.
This is a story about finding healing, seeking redemption, fighting for the greater good. It is full of wisdom and weighty revelations. There are series that come along that touch you in such a profound way, you feel changed by them. This was one of those series for me. I really cannot recommend it highly enough.
There’s a lesson in that, I think. No matter how interminable something feels, there is always, always an ending. Sometimes that’s good, and sometimes it’s bad; sometimes it’s a matter of indifference, and sometimes it’s heartbreaking, and your life is never the same thereafter.
DISCLAIMER: This is a science fiction novel, and that means there’s a lot of world building and technical terms. Nothing too confusing, but if you loathe sci-fi or get bored in stories with complex world building, then this probably isn’t the book for you....more
I think it’s safe to say this book has taken the literary world by storm. I started seeing it popping up on blogs a week or so ago, but I discounted iI think it’s safe to say this book has taken the literary world by storm. I started seeing it popping up on blogs a week or so ago, but I discounted it to the relative age differences between the protagonists. I’m an older man kind of woman, and I assumed this was more of a book for people like my best friend who adores younger men and finds them sexy as all hell (definitely not me). Fortunately for me, I have some wonderful Goodreads friends whom I trust implicitly that loved this book and recommended it highly, so I gave it a shot. After having read On the Island, I’d like to go on record as saying this is a book for all people.
It's an incredibly sweet and moving love story. Not just any kind of love though. Not the "oh baby, you are so hot, shove me against a wall and do naughty things to me" sort of love so often found in romance novels. Nope this is a story about the kind of love I think we all secretly hope exists out there. Pure, selfless love. Love that doesn't care how you look, how old you are, or even if you've showered in a week. Love that gives more than it takes. Love that doesn't waver in the face of tribulation.
The age gap between the characters is handled tastefully, and by the time the characters actually get around to feeling attraction for one another, much less doing anything about that attraction, everything is all legal and above board. More importantly, you as a reader have started to forget there even is an age gap.
On the Island is also the kind of story that grips you. I started reading this around 10 PM at night, and couldn't put it down until I finished it around 5 AM. "But it's a story primarily about two people on an island alone. How could it be exciting?" you ask. The first 50% of the book deals with TJ and Anna's experiences on the island. This part of the book is mostly a survival story. They deal with finding water, food, and shelter. They have to combat disease, injuries, and aggressive wild life. They constantly hope for rescue, and you as the reader find yourself hoping with them, cringing and praying they'll survive the latest round of misfortune that befalls them. You keep turning the pages, because you are afraid for them, and rooting for their survival. The last half of the book deals with the aftermath of their experiences on the island. It's rich with romance, painful decisions, heartbreak, and hope. The suspense here was wondering if TJ and Anna would manage to make it work, to overcome the world's judgments of them and their relationship, to accept that two people of such vastly different ages really can make things work in the real world. The story here isn't depressing. It could have easily gone that route, but didn't. Nor do the characters act in foolish, bull headed ways that leave you frustrated as a reader. Instead they consistently do everything in their power to do what's best by one another. You may not always agree with their decisions (I certainly didn't), but I respected their motivations, and was moved by their selflessness.
This really is a beautiful story. It touched me, made me cry, and made me hope everyone has a chance to experience a love as beautiful as Anna and TJ's in their lifetime. ...more
Flat Out Love is one of the most unique, smartly written, and intelligent books I’ve read in a long while. It has brilliant humor, likeable, quirky chFlat Out Love is one of the most unique, smartly written, and intelligent books I’ve read in a long while. It has brilliant humor, likeable, quirky characters, emotional poignancy, and takes a refreshingly non-standard approach to romance and plot development.
You’re starting at Whitney?” “Yeah. It’s not exactly MIT, though,” she said with a teasing smile. “I’m sure Literature 101 can’t compete with, what? Adoration of Differential Equations?” Matt laughed. “Close. That was last year. This year it’s Obsessive Devotion to Fourier Analysis Theory and Applications. And my personal favorite, Quantum Physics II: Romantic Entanglements of Energy and Matter.”
The first thing that jumped out at me while reading Flat Out Love was the dry, witty banter between the characters. Most of the characters in the story are intellectuals, and it really brings up the cerebral level of the humor. It’s very academic, somewhat geeky, sarcastic humor. I strongly suggest you check out the Amazon sample. It has 4.5 chapters, introduces two of the major characters in the story, and showcases the amazing humor and wit of the book. I knew I’d love the story from those first few chapters, and I was not wrong.
The characters in this story as about as unique as they come. The protagonist, Julie, is the most normal character, by far. She’s a bright girl, from a small town, with a dry sense of humor, and a sarcastic wit. She’s a dedicated student and highly intelligent. But the Watkins family is what makes this story really shine. Each of the members of the family is highly quirky, and flawed, and this makes them all very interesting.
Finn Watkins is the oldest son, and the seeming golden child of the family. He’s less academically focused than any of the other members of his family, focused more on sports, and socialization. He’s now traveling the world, during relief and aid work - saving dolphins, feeding starving children in Africa, building homes for the impoverished, etc. His presence in the story is mostly limited to witty facebook and text message banter with Julie. He seems like the most balanced member of the Watkins family, but his absence in the story raises a lot of questions. He seems determined to stay away from home, finding convenient reasons to remain abroad even over holidays or during family crisis.
Erin and Roger Watkins – the Watkins parents are sadly almost as absent as their oldest son. Both parents are professors at Harvard, and seem to find any reason they can to avoid their own home.
Matt was so consistently inconsistent, she thought sleepily. He was always catching her, and wrapping her up, and then being evasive and annoying her, and then feeding her soup, and then snapping, and then talking about fonts and equations…
Matt Watkins is the middle child, and I was madly in love with him from almost the first scene in the story. When he shows up we know he’s a student at MIT with a double major in math and physics. He’s also wearing a t-shirt that says “Nietzscheis my homeboy.” Anyone that knows me knows I love me some geeky men, and Matt is utterly perfect. He’s ridiculously intelligent, very witty, and the banter between him and Julie is some of the best in the story. He’s the brother that stayed behind to do his duty. While Finn is out seeing the world, and while Mr. and Mrs. Watkins are pursuing their careers, he stays at home to take care of things for the family. He’s a stand in parent for Celeste, running her to and from school, meeting with her teachers, handling dinners. He is very protective of his family, especially his little sister, Celeste. He’s also very moody, often swinging from happy banter to angry rebuttals and sullen withdrawals in the span of seconds. It’s enough to make your head spin in the beginning, because you aren’t sure what’s triggering his mood swings.
Julie swallowed. “Flat Finn is on Facebook?” She’d love to see those status updates. Got strapped to the roof of the car today for a trip to Starbucks. Would have loved to taste caramel mocha, but can’t move arms and so was forced to stare longingly at delicious hot beverage. Will the taunting never end?
Celeste Watkins is the youngest, and by far the most interesting one in the family. She’s a teenager that wears pinafores and old fashion dresses, and speaks like a 50 year old society matron. She’s excessively formal in her speech patterns and manner. Like most of her family, she’s a genius. However, what really sets her apart from her peers is her best friend – a life sized, card board cut out of her oldest brother, Finn. She carries “Flat Finn” everywhere she goes. He has a place at the dinner table, guards her sleep at night, and is as much a part of the family as Celeste is. Flat Finn is tied to one of the biggest mysteries in the story. He’s an intricate part of some complex fantasy Celeste life has built for herself, and the Watkins family does everything they can to protect that fantasy for her. Any challenge to the validity and importance of Flat Finn causes an emotional meltdown of epic proportions. This of course makes Celeste a social pariah. She has no friends, except Julie, who comes into Celeste’s life and seems to know exactly how to handle her.
One of the biggest mysteries in the novel is what exactly happened to the Watkins family. They seem to be hiding dark secrets. And their particular quirks hint at brokenness and hurt in the past, but none of them will discuss what happened. Julie comes into this odd family like a ray of sunshine. She immediately accepts all their odd quirks, identifies the lines and fractures that exist in the family. She has no idea what broke this family so completely, but she’s determined get to the bottom of it, and to help fix them. While I was able to figure out what was going on fairly early on, the story was complex enough I still enjoyed the journey Julie took uncovering the truth.
She sniffed, aware that she’d become a blubbering mess in an instant. But that’s what love does to you. Gut-wrenching, overpowering, crushing, fulfilling, complex, bring-you-to-your-knees love.
The novel is about the process Julie goes through to bring healing to the Watkins family. There is romance, and it is completely swoon worthy, but it isn’t the focus of the story. The focus is the relationship Julie builds with each of the family members. Each relationship is unique, and refreshing to read. With Finn, Julie is a love interest, and a tie to his distant family. She is his eyes and ears, and often the hands he uses to help them from afar. With Matt, she is a confidant, friend, an intellectual equal and often the person that helps drag him out of his dark moods. With Celeste she is a teacher, and a lonely girl’s only real friend, the person that accepts her despite her quirks and teaches her how to be a normal little girl.
Flat Out Love is a gut wrenching, heart breaking, beautiful story. It has fantastic characters, and a complex, unique plot. I really can’t recommend it highly enough....more
Loved this book. Obsidian was a three star book for me. I enjoyed Kat and loved the plot, but Daemon was just too much of a dick for my tastes. Now OnLoved this book. Obsidian was a three star book for me. I enjoyed Kat and loved the plot, but Daemon was just too much of a dick for my tastes. Now Onyx is completely deserving of every one of those five stars. Daemon is actually amazing in this book, the story is unique, and the plot is mind blowingly exciting. I'll write a more thorough review later (I'm so behind on reviews right now), but I recommend everyone pick this book up, even if you were iffy about the first book in the series....more
He swallowed, closing his eyes and inhaling slowly. I knew he would be all rational and do-the-right-thing and he would push me away again, and I wasHe swallowed, closing his eyes and inhaling slowly. I knew he would be all rational and do-the-right-thing and he would push me away again, and I was determined not to give him that chance. But then his eyes flashed open and he said, “Fuck it,” pushing me against the door, slamming his forearms on either side of my head and kissing me more forcefully than I’d ever been kissed, so firmly that I could feel the ring at the edge of his mouth scoring into the surface of my lip.
I’ve been on an obsessive chiclit reading kick of late. I just can’t get enough of these touching, emotional love stories. I read Easy pretty early on in this genre binge, and adored it. One might even say it was what sparked my chiclit kick. While I’ve read a lot of books in the same genre since, I still feel Easy is one of the best I’ve read.
What makes it so great? It had the holy grail of male protagonists for me. Lucas is a geek, with all the trappings of a bad boy, but none of the terribly cliché temper issues, or ridiculously alpha behavior. And by ridiculously alpha, I mean the type of behavior that would earn a guy a good boot in the ass from me if I ever ran into him in real life. I find it sexy, yes, and this kind of male protagonist does appeal to me in fiction, but sometimes I have a hard time suspending disbelief (and my urge to punch the guy right in the mouth). Lucas is more my speed. He’s protective, ridiculously smart, academically accomplished, and yet still dark and edgy. He’s not perfect, which I appreciate. He has real issues, and those issues hurt the heroine more than once, but they feel realistic and genuine and the root cause of all his hang-ups is guaranteed to break your heart. Basically Lucas got all the good parts of an alpha character without the douche factor.
The heroine isn’t half bad either. I made it through the entire novel without wanting to smack either of the protagonists once, and that’s quite a feat with this kind of story. In the first chapter of the novel, Jacqueline’s long term boyfriend breaks up with her, and she barely escapes becoming the victim of a violent crime. Yet she doesn’t adopt a victim mindset. She doesn’t spend the story whining or complaining, or looking for a man to save her. She takes charge of her life, takes defense classes, and builds a future for herself. She has issues, yes, but she is strong, confident, and I loved her character.
The chemistry between Jacqueline and Lucas is ridiculously hot. Easy doesn’t have a ton of blatant sex, but it has some of the most sensual scenes I’ve seen in any book.
Another thing that makes Easy so fantastic is the romantic suspense. I’ve read a lot of chiclit books where we see both sides of the romantic story through shifting POVs between the hero and heroine. While this type of storytelling has its place, I am not a fan. For me, it detracts from the nail biting uncertainty and anticipation of a great romance. I like that doubt, that tension you feel wondering if the hero and heroine will end up together. For me romantic suspense is just as compelling as plot suspense, and Easy has that in spades. It’s told from Jacqueline’s POV only, and through her eyes Lucas is as enigmatic as he is delicious. I was never really sure of his motivations until the very end, and, as such, I felt every high and low of his relationship with Jacqueline. I shared her feelings of doubt and her concerns. Better yet, Easy manages to pull off suspense that doesn’t even once feel contrived or forced. The hero and heroine act in ways that make sense for their characters. You don’t always know the reasons for their actions, but reasons do exist, and they are logical ones. Thus you are spared the frustration of dealing with characters you want to smack of acting so stupid. This story keeps you guessing up until the last chapter, and the romantic buildup is intense, and guaranteed to keep you turning the pages.
I'd give this book 6 stars if I could. It's an amazing, heartwarming novel, that presents a heartbreaking sweet romance without resorting to cheap tricks like love triangles or unnecessary drama to bolster up the story. Instead it's a tale about two genuine, good people, both broken in their own ways, finding love, understanding, and acceptance in each other. I loved this story and deffinitely recomend it to anyone that enjoys mature YA romances....more
This book blew me away. I loved it. It’s emotional, highly romantic, and incredibly swoon worthy. It left me cheering wildly, sighing, and yes, even hThis book blew me away. I loved it. It’s emotional, highly romantic, and incredibly swoon worthy. It left me cheering wildly, sighing, and yes, even hugging my kindle at various moments.
Cross said nothing until the car was on its way down; then he pushed the call button again and asked, “Are you sleeping with anyone?” The question was asked so casually, it took a second to process what he’d said. I inhaled sharply. “Why is that any business of yours?” He looked at me and I saw what I’d seen the first time we’d met— tremendous power and steely control. Both of which had me taking an involuntary step back. Again. At least I didn’t fall this time; I was making progress. “Because I want to fuck you, Eva. I need to know what’s standing in my way, if anything.”
In Bared to You, Eva is a driven, strong business woman that’s broken away from her wealthy family and is carving out her own place in the world. She’s chosen to start in at the bottom of a company, and work her way up the old fashion way. To this end, she’s secured a position for herself as an executive assistant at a marketing firm. What she doesn’t count on in her five year plan is meeting Gideon Cross, the company’s incredibly sexy owner. She stumbles into him (literally) several times, and they have an instant connection. While their chemistry is undeniable, she is scared off by his approach, which is very high handed and aggressive. He’s a beautiful, wealthy man, and is a man used to getting what he wants with very little effort. Eva isn’t impressed by his wealth, and she quickly determines he’s more trouble than he’s worth.
And so the hunt begins. And it is enthralling. One of the hottest things about this book is just how much Eva legitimately fights her attraction to Gideon, and how doggedly he pursues her. I loved every second of his chase.
He caught my hand and pressed my fingertips to his lips. “I have to know everything, every part of you, inside and out, every detail.” “A woman has to have some secrets,” I teased. “You won’t have any with me.” He captured me by my hair and an arm banded around my hips, urging me against him, reminding me— as if I could forget— that he was still inside me. “I’m going to possess you, Eva. It’s only fair since you’ve possessed me.”
Gideon Cross – what can I say about him? He’s incredibly sexy, 100% alpha, but able to see and appreciate the intrinsic worth in Eva, and express his love for her openly and beautifully. Both he and Eva have tragic pasts that have given them ample reasons to close themselves off. However with each other they are they are truly open – completed bared to one another. The title of the book is apropos as there are definitely a lot of sexy times in the novel, but there is also a baring of souls that I found incredibly moving. Both of them have to work through their past hurts to be good for one another. It all felt very real, and vital and I cried on more than one occasion as they learned how to open up and love one another.
Eva is amazing – she’s strong, intelligent, and nurturing. Her past has given her a wellspring of sympathy and care for others. She looks after her friends, mothers them, and protects them. For all her strengths, she is also very fragile in love. Her past has given her a fight of flight tendency. She runs when she’s hurt. I really identified with her strengths and failings, and found her to be an incredibly realistic and likeable character.
“I don’t want us to fight anymore,” I said quietly from my perch on the counter. He tossed the washcloth down a concealed laundry chute and refastened his fly. Then he came to me, brushing his cool fingertips down my cheek. “We don’t fight, angel. We just have to learn not to scare the hell out of each other.”
The romantic path this novel takes is not a straight line. The trauma from both character’s pasts ensures they take two steps back for every one they take forward. This creates a delicious amount of romantic tension and suspense. I was never quite sure Gideon and Eva were going to make it, and that doubt kept me on the edge of my seat. I hate when romance novels throw us easy love stories. Two destined soul mates that instantly fall in love, and know they’ll never be apart. The ease of the love stories cheapens them in my estimation. Eva and Gideon have an uphill fight every step of the way with their love, but that pulled me into their story. It made me care. And it made every victory they experienced as a couple that much more cathartic for me.
The author has a way with words. Her prose is poetic and moving. I had a hard time picking what quotes to put in this review, because there are just so many good ones.
Bared to You has been criticized for being Fifty Shades of Grey 2.0, and, as much as I hate to say it, I think it kind of deserves that censure. This is the only negative thing I can say about the book. It’s SUCH a similar story, but it’s better written, with stronger, more likeable characters, and more realistic phycology. It also has less S&M elements. I wish I’d read it first, so I could have spared myself the inevitable comparisons to Fifty Shades because it’s five times the book.
This story had me laughing, crying, and swooning in a major way. It’s everything I look for in a romance story. Great characters, and a romance that keeps you captivated, in suspense, turning the pages, just waiting to see if everything turns out well in the end....more
I started reading Shattered Dark with a good deal of trepidation. It's the second book in a trilogy - and we all know second books tend to struggle. TI started reading Shattered Dark with a good deal of trepidation. It's the second book in a trilogy - and we all know second books tend to struggle. The reviews I've seen for it were also fairly luke warm. But I have to say - I loved this book. I thought the author did a great job staying true to the pace, and themes she set up in Shadow Reader. The world was just as interesting. The romantic tension was still there - it's just changed a bit. The end was less cathartic in some ways, more so in others. The world changed less, but the people and relationships with in it experienced some rather epic upheavals.
I thoroughly enjoyed the story, and feel it's every bit as good as Shadow Reader.
I'll work on a more detailed review this weekend....more
I’m currently making my way through Julie’s favorites list (from Yummie Men and Kick Ass Chicks). A Brush of Darkness caught my eye not only because oI’m currently making my way through Julie’s favorites list (from Yummie Men and Kick Ass Chicks). A Brush of Darkness caught my eye not only because of Julie’s recommendation but also because the plot centers around the fae, a subject matter I love and simply cannot get enough of. Thus far, in the wonderful world of urban fantasy, I’ve only seen Fae done really well twice: The Moning’s Fever series and Sandy Williams’ Shadow Reader. The rest of the Fae novels I’ve encountered were lack luster at best. While I wouldn’t say this book is Fever quality, I would place it third on my Best-Fae-Series-of-All-Times list. I’d give it a solid four stars, and they could easily quality for more if it were not for a few foolish decisions the main character makes.
Our main character in this estimable series is a girl named Abby who acts as a Touchstone for a powerful Fae. In this world, the Fae have issues travelling between the mortal realms and our own. They can only do so during certain times, unless they acquire a mortal Touchstone. They form a link between a mortal and themselves, and the mortal can then act as a link between their worlds. They can travel any time, and many of the innate weakness of their particular type of Fae can be counteracted (a werewolf with a Touchstone would no longer be forced to change under the full moon, and could choose to change any time he want to). In exchange for agreeing to a seven year contract with the Fae, the mortal then stops aging (for the term of the contract) and sometimes gains other boons or artifacts. There's a lot more complexity here, but I won't bore you with the details. Needless to say, I really enjoyed the world building in this series. It was fascinating and unique take on the Fae.
Abby’s past is a mystery, but we know she was in a terrible accident, and now has a metal plate in her skull, walks with a limp, and suffers from seizures. It was shortly after her accident that she contracted to Moira, a powerful Fae woman. She now lives in this woman’s book shop, and manages her mortal affairs. This is where the story starts, and it quickly gets very intense. Abby is approached by an Brystion, an Incubus, whose sister is missing. He wishes to gain Moira’s assistance finding her, however Moira has been absent, visiting the Fae lands for months, so Abby chooses to help him in her stead. As it turns out, Brystion’s sister’s disappearance is just the tip of the iceberg. Other Succubus’s have gone missing, and no one knows where Abby’s benefactor is, so they fear she may also be a victim. The mystery here is fascinating, and full of enough twists and turns to keep even the most astute reader guessing. I found the whole story to be very imaginative, and exciting.
“Sit back and wait for my new special power to show up? Seems to work that way in all the Faery tales, doesn’t it?” I crossed my arms. “What do you think? Will I be able to shoot fire out my ass or just control all the werewolves in the neighborhood through the awesomeness of my Sex-Fu?”
The ghost of a smile crossed her face. “I’ll be sure to pick up a bag of marshmallows. I’d really dig an ass-fire s’more right about now.”
Abby’s character is a lot of fun. She’s snarky as hell, blunt, honest, loyal, and has a strong sense of responsibility. She tries to do her duty, and stand by her commitments even when facing insurmountable odds. Her past makes her somewhat fragile, but she compensates for it by being bold in other ways. She’s the sort that speaks her mind, without a ton of thought to the consequences, which every once in a while made me think she was being a bit bitchy, but for the most part I really liked her character.
Brystion or Ion seems like classic sex fiend Incubus, but the author did something really special with him. On the outside you think he’s all about sex, commitment phobic, selfish to the core, only looking out for himself. However there’s a whole other layer to his character. His race is looked down on by the other supernaturals – he’s seen as a whore, a dream eater, and considered trash. What makes his character so special under his bravado, he is profoundly insecure. He actually believes all the epitaphs people have thrown on him over the years. He does not see himself as anything more than a parasite. He feels profoundly unworthy of love or even care. There were several times in the books I actually got teary eyed as I learned more about Ion and started to see things from his perspective.
There’s one more character worth mentioning here, and that’s Phineas – the horny miniature unicorn. He’s hilarious. In between frolicking around in Abby’s underwear drawer, and making amorous advances on hedgehogs, he manages to practically steal the show in the book. He’s pivotal in getting Abby out of more than one bind, and he does it with such flair and humor, you are guaranteed to fall as in love with him as I did.
The romance between Abby and Brystion is delicious, and I’m happy to report that this book is 100% love-triangle free (the second book does introduce a triangle though). We get a lot of ridiculously steamy incubus sensuality, and a good deal of beauty and pain as these two fragile, flawed, insecure people come together. Because of what Brystion is, and how he sees himself, you have the sense that his role in Abby’s life is temporal, but that doesn’t detract from the building love between the two, if anything it makes it feel even more vital, because it feels as if they could be ripped apart at any moment.
The story is told in the first person from Abby’s POV. It takes place mostly in the world we know, although if you are jonesing for some time in the Fae lands, you’ll get your fix in A Sliver of Shadow (book 2). The author employs a lot of cultural references in her characters' humor - it's very geeky and hilarious. Lots of star wars references and the like.
This story would have easily been a solid five stars for me, but Abby did a few hair brained things that made me want to smack her. I can’t stand it when protagonists do things that fly in the face of common sense. There’s one moment in particular where the villain tells Abby to meet him somewhere alone (of course), or else...bad things will happen to people she cares about (of course). And what do you think she did? If you guessed she went to the bad, scary place alone and offered herself up like a proverbial lamb to the slaughter that you’d be right. Le sigh. Doesn’t these characters read books or watch TV? It never goes well when the character allows herself to be manipulated into confronting the bad guys alone. Tell someone. Devise a plan. Make it seem like you are going alone, but have your buddies waiting on the sidelines ready to break out a can of woop ass on that bad guys.
Abby's overly noble solo shenanigans aside, this is a fantastic book, and an even better series if you are looking for a great fae story. ...more