How awesome does this sound: the Prince Charming we all know and love isn't one man, but an entire family. T...morethis review will go live on the blog10/11
How awesome does this sound: the Prince Charming we all know and love isn't one man, but an entire family. The Charming title is passed down from generation to generation - and these men aren't your everyday Prince. They're highly trained assassins, capable of taking down the toughest dragon and nastiest witch.
While pregnant, John Charming's mother was bit by a werewolf. John came into this world as the one thing his family was trained to hunt: a monster. As a child John showed no signs of being anything other than human. Perhaps it was a fluke; John might just be safe after all. Unfortunately, puberty struck. If you think it's hard on humans, well, you can imagine what it was like for John. While he doesn't sprout fur or fangs, he does have a heightened sense of smell and strong urges to kill. So far he's managed to keep a low profile, working at a bar and leading a rather ordinary life. That is until the day a vampire walked into the pub.
I wanted to be head-over-heels for Charming. This book sounds like it would be the ultimate Leah Novel; it has all the makings of a story perfectly suited for me. Sadly that wasn't the case. I'd like to think I'm fairly lenient to the start of new series. I understand there's a certain amount of world-building that needs to be done, especially for sci-fi/fantasy. That said, Charming was nothing but one massive info-dump - usually right in the middle of a big action scene.
I made it roughly halfway through this one before setting it aside. Charming was by no means a bad book - in fact I quite enjoyed it! I plan on revisiting it one day when I have more time (and patience) to devote to Charming's world.(less)
Everything you need to know about The Reluctant Reaper can be found in its summary: on her 25th birthday, Ki...morethis review will go live on the blog10/18
Everything you need to know about The Reluctant Reaper can be found in its summary: on her 25th birthday, Kirsty d'Arc was accidentally reaped when she jumped in front of a scythe meant for her boss. The man who was more like a father to her had offered up her soul in exchange for fame and fortune and now the Reaper has come to collect. Suffice it to say things didn't exactly go according to plan. Kirsty's body is technically still alive, though in a near-vegetative state, meaning she's stuck in Hell until Reaper management can sort out the whole mess.
The Reluctant Reaperscreamed guilty pleasure and I was really looking forward to spending a giggle-filled afternoon with it. Just like Dante's reaping, however, things went awry. Speaking of, that reaper Dante? Turns out he's the Dante Alighieri. Perhaps you've heard of a little work called The Divine Comedy? Yeah, that's him. Only now he's wavy-haired and hunkalicious. His undeniable mastery over the written word is sorely lacking in this novel, causing him to come off as more of a lovesick teenage boy than the famed poet.
If Dante's poetry was the worst thing about The Reluctant Reaper I would have been happy. Instead I was thrown pun after pun, to the point where it was no longer punny (I am so sorry). I'm all about cheesy. Witty phrases and plays-on-words are so my thing. Here, though, they were taken a step too far and after a few chapters it began to feel as though a conversation (or Kirsty's running narrative, for that matter) couldn't happen without a handful of puns. In the beginning I truly giggled and thought they were clever. A few chapters in they began losing their luster and by the end of the book I was flat-out frustrated. Sybil Serpent (and her union!), gee-gnomes and metro-gnomes, the GI's (Good Intentions) that line the roads, Sue Sayer and Claire Voyant, and Dante's gargoyle Jenni (because her fur gets all over - Jennifur harhar) all made multiple appearances. There were times the author must have been feeling especially clever because she would set up a paragraph of dialog - that usually had nothing to do with the current topic - just so she could whip out a phrase. Enough is enough, madam.
If it wasn't such (I accidentally typed suck at first - that should tell you what my mind thought of this book!) a short, quick read I highly doubt I would have finished. I went into The Reluctant Reaper expecting a fun, light-hearted story. Instead I got a story VERY heavy on the jokes and not so interested in actual plot. Kirsty spent the majority of the novel wandering around Hell simply taking in all the sights and sounds. I wanted to like this book, but sadly it wasn't for me.(less)
Picking up nearly immediately after River Road ended, Elysian Fields plunges readers into a post-Katrina New Orleans with the added bonus of wizards and werewolves. DJ Jaco is a wizard and newly-appointed Sentinel for the city; it's her job to keep the magical community under control. Easier said than done though, right?
As if her job wasn't hard enough, she's got a sort-of-kind-of-maybe budding relationship with a shifter, her human best friend is slowly pulling away, a neighbor who's keeping a secret, and a serial killer is on the loose. All in a day's work.
I'm not the biggest Urban Fantasy reader, but I adore these books. This series is so much fun and I couldn't wait to dive into Elysian Fields! Whereas the previous two could work as standalones, River Road is definitely required reading before starting this one! There's SO. MUCH. that went on in this book, but it definitely feels like the middle of a story while the previous installments had distinct endings.
It was a joy to see where DJ and Alex's relationship went. From the early days when she took care of a dog (not realizing that was Alex's shifter form) to their first kiss, these two have grown and matured and I was nothing but flails and squeals. The happiness comes at a price however, and Alex begins to wonder if DJ's chaotic life is really what he wants.
Romance naysayers, don't fear - the novel isn't completely lovey-dovey. There are multiple Big Bads this time around, but my favorite by far was the Axeman. Initially thought of as a copycat killer taking inspiration from the 1918 Axeman murders, it's eventually determined the original Axeman is back from the Beyond and has a serious bone to pick with DJ. More than one attempt on her life and the loss of both her car and house lets DJ know this guy isn't playing around; someone wants her dead and she's going to find out why.
I don't want to give away any spoilers, but I will say the reveal was shocking! Over the course of the novel I had suspects pegged, but I was way off and completely surprised. It'll definitely be interesting to see where things go from here. Also, things are really getting serious now that the human characters (DJ's bestie and a fellow cop) have been told about the Preternatural world.
Whether you're a seasoned fan of Urban Fantasy or a complete newbie, I highly recommend this series! The Sentinels of New Orleans series is so fun - and there's a super-charming undead pirate!(less)
People jog at dawn for a reason. If they wait, their brains will wake up and convince them there are things they'd rather do. Like have oral surgery.
The first book in the series, Royal Street was something I picked up on a whim. I'm a total sucker for pretty covers and, although I'm not a big fan of the genre, paranormal/urban fantasy tends to have SUPER SHINY OH-SO-PRETTY covers.
To my complete surprise, I loved it. Much to my delight I didn't have to wait long at all for the sequel - less than a year! Guys, I'm extremely pleased to announce River Road does NOT suffer from Middle Book Syndrome. In fact, I'll go so far as to say it's even better than its predecessor!
River Road takes place three years after Hurricane Katrina laid waste to New Orleans in Royal Street. I was a bit surprised by the time lapse (I'm not used to such large gaps between books!), but from the very first page the book is off running.
If you're new to the series, Drusilla Jaco - DJ - is a Green Congress wizard, meaning that while she can do magic, her abilities are limited. Alex Warin, shape-shifter extraordinaire is her ex-enforcer partner and his cousin Jake is a recently-turned loup-garou: the biggest, baddest breed of werewolf. Add in the centuries-old undead pirate Jean Lafitte and you're set. Especially when all three men are unsure of their feelings for DJ (just as she's equally unsure of her own feelings for them).
Jean Lafitte informs DJ of an odd illness afflicting mermaid clans and upon investigating, two bodies of Green Congress wizards are discovered. It's up to DJ and crew to find out what's going on and just who is behind the attacks.
The plaque on the enormous clock claimed it has been hand-carved of mahogany in 1909, about 130 years after the birth of the undead pirate waiting for me upstairs. They were both quite handsome, but the clock was a lot safer.
Needless to say, I love this series. With the first book, I was a little worried about how the author would handle Katrina's aftermath. After reading, I realized I had nothing to worry about: Suzanne Johnson took a painful subject still fresh in mind and approached it delicately and respectfully. River Road is no different: New Orleans is still struggling to regain its footing and Johnson tells it like it is. No sugar-coating here, folks.
River Road introduces a few new species (mers, nymphs) and I loved getting to know them! That said, even though there are plenty of new characters, all the old ones get plenty of screen time, so to speak. I especially enjoyed Jean's scenes (I'm totally Team Lafitte, by the way!) and absolutely cannot wait to see him again!
Having three super-hot, though not exactly human, love interests might seem like overkill, but I loved it. Jean Lafitte, eternal flirt and gentleman, seems to genuinely care for DJ; Jake has made no secret of his feelings, though his inability to control his loup-garou form makes him hesitant; and Alex is definitely changing their "we're-much-better-as-friends" relationship. I loved seeing the interactions with each guy and I actually GASPED at that final paragraph! Oh man. Talk about an ending!
Guys, seriously. If you're looking for a fun, funny urban fantasy, look no further!(less)
They said it when they were wishing for crops not to fail and storms to pass, but she realized now she'd heard her mother say it when something happened to scare her, as if to reassure herself: The Lynburns are gone.
Kami Glass has lived in the tiny English village of Sorry-in-the-Vale her entire life and has grown up hearing tales of the Lynburns. One family loomed over the town, creating laws - and enforcing them. Though Aurimere Manor now stands silent and empty on the hill, the family's presence can still be felt and the family is just as feared.
Apart from hearing these stories since childhood, Kami has also heard a voice. A boy's voice. Jared has been her imaginary friend for as long as she can recall and she still continues to speak to him even though she's well past the age where having an imaginary friend is acceptable.
Her world turns upside-down the day the Lynburns return. Regal Lillian Lynburn is the heir to the legacy and she's brought her family with her: her husband Rob and son Ash, and her sister Rosalind and Rosalind's son Jared. Suddenly Kami isn't so sure her imaginary friend is only in her head.
Sorry-in-the-Vale's records date back to the 1400s. Six hundred years do not go by without someone doing something nefarious.
I couldn't wait to jump right in and adore Unspoken. Everyone seems to be obsessing over it and it definitely has all the makings of a book I'd love: ancient family, dark secrets, a quiet town.
I tore through the first half of this book. I loved everything about it! The premise was phenomenal, the writing is stunning, the local legends gave me chills, and the characters - with the exception of Angela - were wonderfully done. Even the backstory was done in a way that didn't feel like a massive infodump.
Jared's appearance came as no surprise, though I still have no idea what his issue was with touching. Even when he was protecting Kami he would barely touch her and his avoidance of contact was never explained. That said, save for a few minor problems, Kami & Jared's dynamic was great. It was an interesting, new take on the genre and I ate it up.
"Put the jerk in the south wing, you won't see him for weeks at a time. Or lock him in the attic. The law will not be on your side, but literary precedent will."
A lot of reviews have mentioned the humor in Unspoken and while I enjoyed it, I felt it could have been toned down a lot. Particularly Kami's father. I liked his character, but did he ever say anything that wasn't a witty one-liner? Even when he walked into Kami's bedroom one morning and found both Kami and Jared asleep in bed, the only thing he had to say was some wisecrack.
Unfortunately, around the halfway mark, Unspoken really started to lose steam. Oddly enough this was right around the time when Things Started Happening. A classmate was murdered (and was never really brought up again), and the secret of the Lynburns' is finally revealed. All of this should have kept me on the edge of me seat. Although I still plowed though, I definitely did not do so with the same fervor I had in the beginning.
The other families say, 'My way or the highway.' The Lynburns said, "I am unfamiliar with the concept of the highway, so that leaves you with only one choice.'
So much was happening by the end: the will-they-or-won't-they angle, a huge fight scene, Kami's life-altering decision, Angela's secret. Everything was happening so fast and the sudden stop at the end - and I do mean sudden (that was so NOT a cliffhanger, that was right in the middle of the scene!) - that it got to be a little jarring. There were so many questions left unanswered, particularly in regards to Kami and Jared, that I feel a little cheated. I want that sense of closure. Yes, there's another book coming out, but even in a series novels should wrap up nicely enough that reads aren't left in a state of confusion and frustration.
I hate that I'm in the minority with this one, guys. I really, really do. I loved the idea for Unspoken and the beginning was FANTASTIC. I'll be reading the next book when it comes out, but I don't think I'll be giving in to the hype next time.(less)
Heading into Royal Street, I was a little hesitant: Hurricane Katrina is still fresh in Americans' minds and I was nervous to see how the author would handle using a devastated New Orleans as a backdrop.
Drusilla Jaco - DJ, thank you very much - is a wizard in the order of Green Congress and her specialty is emphatic magic. She has the ability to take on the feelings and emotions of those surrounding her. Given she's in the heart of post-Katrina New Orleans, her ability is so not enviable.
I had read a few reviews saying Royal Street was boring. I found the opposite to be true: I was excited to read this book. The plot progressed at a wonderful pace with just enough action thrown in before the Big Fight to make me eager for more.
The characters were great. I'm normally not a reader of Paranormal/Urban series, but I do know a lot of the heroines tend to be tough-as-nails, kick-butt sort of girls. Not so in DJ's case. She's barely able to cast the weakest of spells before losing energy, but her faults made me enjoy her character and truly care about her. Jake and Alex, cousins and possible love-interests, were an absolute joy to read. In fact, I liked their characters so much, I'm torn on who to root for (& typically I'm not a fan of love triangles).
Alex is part-FBI, part-shapeshifter, whereas Jake is a regular ol' human. Alex is a hulking, monosyllabic brute, while Jake is a sweet, wounded Marine. Throughout the story, they both grow and it's so wonderful seeing more sides to their characters.
As much as I enjoyed Royal Street, it does come with a few faults of its own. I'm still a little confused about the castes. Green Congress wizards are weaker than Red, but stronger than Yellow? I truly have no idea. I do know each comes with a different set of abilities and strengths, but apart from that, not much detail was given. As with any series involving a magical system, explanations are an absolute necessity.
Royal Street is a strong debut and I'll definitely be picking up the next book in the series. Also, any book where an undead Louis Armstrong is a spy is one worth reading.(less)