Saintcrow's Jill Kismet series is available bundled as a single kindle book, which i happened to pick up a very long time ago on sale. Re-reading theSaintcrow's Jill Kismet series is available bundled as a single kindle book, which i happened to pick up a very long time ago on sale. Re-reading the first book in the series recently was better than the first time I came across it, and I've ended up leaping into a series dive through the underbelly of Kismet's fictional Santa Luz for 5 books now. The episodic tales of battling the hideous evil of demons and their human converts have been plenty interesting, and many times a cut above my usual UF fare.
And gradually, partway through Heaven's Spite, a whole bunch of little threads cast throughout the past 4 books get jerked taut into a noose that Jill's going to have a hell of a time escaping. A solid summary of events spoils too much of the masterful way this noose tightens, so suffice to say if you've made it this far, book 5 is an unexpected payout of grand proportions, right up to the final drumbeat of the decidedly NOT cliffhanger ending. ...more
Or maybe 4.5 stars, certainly enough to keep me one-more-chaptering until a good bit past my bedtime.
Just as Jill is starting to let go of the weightOr maybe 4.5 stars, certainly enough to keep me one-more-chaptering until a good bit past my bedtime.
Just as Jill is starting to let go of the weight of her mentor's death, her streetwalker past catches up to her with an unusually grisly series of murders of the local prostitute population. If that wasn't more than enough for a solo operative to deal with, her demonic bargain starts to show its true cost. Thank goodness she's not totally alone here, backed up by a shockingly mature and shenanigan-free relationship that actually grows organically instead of zapping fully formed out of some silly insta-love trope (wow, can you tell I've read a LOOOOOOT of overly formulaic UF?).
I'm content to continue my series dive, and kinda wondering why I left it so long after enjoying the first book a few years ago. ...more
a wonderfully ideal palate cleanser for those of us that like lightly trashy fantasy in-between our srs bzns fantasy, this series opener hits pretty ma wonderfully ideal palate cleanser for those of us that like lightly trashy fantasy in-between our srs bzns fantasy, this series opener hits pretty much every note just right. there's a nicely imagined world of magical and mugglemundane people, an engaging plot, leads with solid chemistry, and villains that are deeply dastardly (indeed, if there's anything really wrong with this book, it's that everyone is pretty one-note). oh, and, hey, pretty hawt to boot. special bonus points: you know that obnoxious crap where the plot of a standard romance novel is fueled mainly by miscommunication? well, in this book right here, the heroine gets all worried over something imminently practical she's done, starts to get nervous about overstepping her bounds, and the hero says, "wow, i was such a bonehead to have not done that earlier. thanks for being awesome," and then the plot continues on just fine without the unnecessary silliness. i'll definitely be picking up more of Beardsley's stuff....more
3.5 stars, and basically the same review for the last three or four books in the series.
Neill has her formula down well: come up with a mystery that o3.5 stars, and basically the same review for the last three or four books in the series.
Neill has her formula down well: come up with a mystery that only Merit is capable of solving, then stretch out the final who done it till the end, all while building up bigger and bigger piles of vampire politics. You're definitely too far along in the series for a new reader to start out here, but she does a good job of reminding returning readers about important events at the moment that you need to remember that information. A solidly entertaining series, if not an amazing one. ...more
'blameness' corrects most of the issues of the disappointing 'changeless' by simply having the heroine run off to italy to avoid all sorts of unpleasa'blameness' corrects most of the issues of the disappointing 'changeless' by simply having the heroine run off to italy to avoid all sorts of unpleasantness at home (being drug through the gossip rags, abandonment, murder attempts, etc), and therefore neatly avoiding her idiot husband. it's a fun romp through one wacky cliffhanger escape after another, and you don't even realize that nothing actually happened until the end. ...more
well. this whole thing is a hot mess, and exactly the sort of story people would point to when asked why they think a traditional publishing model iswell. this whole thing is a hot mess, and exactly the sort of story people would point to when asked why they think a traditional publishing model is alive and well in this age of easy self-publishing. the only reasons i slogged through to the end were a)i read most of it on a lazy sunday where relaxing with something brainless was a reasonable pursuit and b)sheer stubbornness of not wanting to DNF something at 70% complete.
on the plus side, this ebook was mainly typo-free, which has been an pretty frequent issue with SP books. the cover also appears to be pretty professional and all.
on the minus side... alexa is a werewolf, self-declared as the alpha of her pack. the male alpha is the only person over 20-something in said pack. with these two as examples, apparently, the sole qualification to be alpha here has nothing to do with charisma, leadership, natural dominance, or animal cunning, nope - you just gotta be a brash, selfish idiot. she works in an office where she & the gang openly take hits on secretive creatures of the night, under no kind of charter from the supernatural community (as in, other than a paycheck, i can't figure out why they feel the need to kill some murdering bloodsuckers and go out the bar with others, and i can't figure out why the hit-ees don't just bomb the joint). the plot (such as it is) keeps happening TO her, rather than the other way around. there's an obligatory love triangle that appears to be set up for the sole purpose of having alexa reluctantly-at-first-but-hey-sparks-fly-anyway shag 2 different man friends.
an unlikable protagonist is a real kiss of death for me, and this girl has the mindset of a 22 year old mall bimbo, complete with what all ass-kicking alpha werewolves go "huntressing" in: a wardrobe of playboy bunny baby tees. since a plot doesn't bother to show up until 2/3 of the way through, there's really nothing to entice you to stay in alexa's suburban world. ...more
starts off as eye-rollingly silly as the blurb makes it sound, but manages to very quickly get right on track as a snappy-paced swashbuckler of a UF/astarts off as eye-rollingly silly as the blurb makes it sound, but manages to very quickly get right on track as a snappy-paced swashbuckler of a UF/alternate history. massive bonus points for having both male and female main characters be actual well-rounded characters, not just stock-issued love interests or generic ass kickers.
random PSA for the day: this is SO not steampunk, guys. they may be wearing corsets and outdated fashion for the whims of their centuries-old undead monarch, but they have cell phones and cars, not dirigibles and clockwork....more
it is entirely possible that Bishop has only one book (series) in her. i've heard some less-than-lovely reviews of anything of hers that's not her debit is entirely possible that Bishop has only one book (series) in her. i've heard some less-than-lovely reviews of anything of hers that's not her debut, The Black Jewels Trilogy: Daughter of the Blood, Heir to the Shadows, Queen of the Darkness, and if 'written in red' is indicative of the rest, well, yep.
the world here is all kinds of interesting - there are hints that it's a sort of alternate-history, that it takes place in an america of feral shapeshifters, where civilization as we know it never really happened. the social interactions of various flavors of non-humans is likewise interesting, and best of all, we get the suggestions of barracks of enslaved human prophets that can see the future within their own blood, sold to the highest bidder.
but the characters, GAH! we're told repeatedly that all the shapeshifters are dark and ominous and rule the earth like kings crushing puny humans beneath their heels...and this story is about the monsters tenderly protecting their stray lamb of an innocent girl. it's far too much like the set-up for a cheez romance novel wherein the male lead is a Bad Boy (tm) who becomes good only for his true luv. thankfully, this book doesn't veer into romance territory, but even worse, it doesn't richly explore a whole lot of the actually very interesting things it sets up. ultimately, therefore, a bit bland and a bit frustrating....more
skimming through this book's page, i'm amazed by the consistent 4- and 5-star reviews. so take it with a grain of salt that while i really didn't likeskimming through this book's page, i'm amazed by the consistent 4- and 5-star reviews. so take it with a grain of salt that while i really didn't like this book a whole lot, most other people apparently do.
the start of the book finds us discovering along with jessica that she is the one and only female werewolf in existence (e.g., Bitten). this may have some upcoming lifestyle changes necessary for her PI job (e.g., harry dresden, anita blake...oh, who am i kidding, 50% of every UF knocks off either harry or anita) and everyone's efforts to keep the supernatural secret world hidden. as the plot sails along, a love interest as obvious as the red paint on a firetruck is introduced via a super sultry phone call (cuz you usually get those at work), and jessica also finds out that she's a megasuperbadass despite a lack of any previous combat training. and then the book ends in such an abrupt way that if it weren't for the "jessica's story continues in book 2!" announcement at the bottom of the same page, i would be worried my kindle copy was defective.
the pacing and the plot of this book were great - it's a fun read, and it doesn't drag - and the sex scenes are fantastic (NOT a skill every writer has), but the characters are about as complex as tissue paper, and i ultimately didn't care in the least what happened to any of them. jessica is nice, doesn't treat coworkers rudely, whines a little when life gets crappy, is loyal to her family...and has absolutely no depth or moral ambiguity. her defining character trait is that she's fictional. her love interest is 500 to her 25 (e.g., just as creepy as Twilight), and is bound to her by clichéd mystical woo-woo destiny. her father is noble, her brother is reliable, some vampires are antagonistic, and each of them is as interchangeable as the other.
in other words, every possible trope of the genre is trotted out here. it reads like copy edited self-published fan-fic, and doesn't even have the decency to come up with an ending. despite the pseudo-cliffhanger, i don't have enough of an attachment to jessica & pals to worry about what happens in the continuation....more