Jessica McClain could use more females on her side, and I’m game because after just one night wThis review was originally posted at Vampire Book Club.
Jessica McClain could use more females on her side, and I’m game because after just one night with her—oh, Full Blooded was must-devour-at-once read—I need another book or three with her as the main character.
In Jessica’s world werewolves are par for the course. They’re also always male. Her dad is the Alpha of his pack. Her brother is ferocious, too. And, well, she grew up with them as the human sister. Werewolves aren’t supposed to have female children, but when she didn’t shift into a wolf at puberty, folk calmed down. She moved away, took an alias and became a P.I.
Apparently, she was just a late bloomer. At 26, Jessica shifted for the first time. The first female werewolf in existence. Maybe more. And it scared the crap out of everyone in the supernatural community. They need to try and hide it, because the supes think her turning is damn near a sign of the apocalypse. Only keeping that a secret isn’t all that easy, especially when you have a woman who fought so hard for her independence. Jessica’s not willing to be hidden away, and she craves the fight.
Quick writing and a heroine women will love make Full Blooded a delight to read. Jessica McClain manages to be one of the boys and fiercely independent. She’s at times girly, at others positively feral. The dynamic is engaging.
It doesn’t hurt that our Jessica might have a thing for a guy that should be sooooooo off limits. And readers will love him. I did. (See how I’m not telling you which guy it is? Spoiler-free review FTW!) Trust me, though, Jessica has excellent taste in men. Nom.
The plot thread opened at the end will leave you clawing for book two. Really. It may involve the aforementioned Captain Hottie. Despite that, the ending isn’t a burn the bridge cliffhanger, and I loved every bit of Full Blooded. You will, too. I know these things.
Sexual content: Sex and really epic kissing...more
Karina Cooper has taken the primary world building conflict of her Dark Mission series to a newThis review was originally posted at Vampire Book Club.
Karina Cooper has taken the primary world building conflict of her Dark Mission series to a new level. What was once witches versus witch hunters, now boils with conspiracy within the Mission. We know witches were being made a la super soldiers for the Mission. We know that many of these manufactured witches have died. And we learned some of our key players in the earlier novels are products of GeneCorp.
This time we spend time with Mission Director Parker Adams. She’s still trying to figure out what the hell went on at the old GeneCorp building at the end of All Things Wicked. She’s trying to investigate Operation Wayward Rose, but Sector Three isn’t having it. She knows witches have infiltrated her mission and is trying to figure out which people are truly hers. It’s quite infuriating for her. She is a dedicated and fiercely loyal woman. Her determination—or stubbornness, depending on who you ask—is a defining trait and one that amplifies the chemistry between her and Missionary-slash-Project-Salem-agent Simon Wells.
Simon can’t help but push Parker’s buttons. It’s too fun for him, and he’s running out of time for fun. He works for Sector Three, but is embedded in Parker’s Mission. He isn’t exactly hiding this from her. He can’t hide his feelings, either. As Sector Three turns up the heat, he has to choose between orders and the woman he loves. (Guess which way he goes there.)
Simon and Parker have a dynamic push-and-pull relationship with power plays and smoking-hot sex. Hard not to love that, right? What impressed me even more is somehow Cooper wrote her best hero yet. I thought I was head-over-heels for Silas. Then I was charmed by Phin. In the last book, I was surprised how quickly Caleb became my new favorite. Now bossy, protective, snarky, possessive Simon is my favorite of the Dark Mission heroes. Not kidding, folks. If you enjoy alphas, you’ll swoon for Simon.
Sacrifice the Wicked is heavy on the action and the sexual tension. If you love antagonistic relationships, clandestine meetings and conspiracies mixed in with heart-string-tugging romance, pick it up.
One of the reasons I recommend Stacia Kane's Downside Ghosts books so often is the remarkable cThis review was originally posted at Vampire Book Club.
One of the reasons I recommend Stacia Kane's Downside Ghosts books so often is the remarkable character development. Heroine Chess has hard edges, deep-seated issues and a big problem with seeing herself as valuable. While Kane provided more insight into Chess' past in Sacrificial Magic, this new prequel novella lets us to see what Chess was like before.
Not before the damage that pushed her to chemical dependency. But before the pills. Before the autonomy of living in Downside. Before love. Eighteen year old Chess is still working hard to prove herself worthy of being a part of the Church of Real Truth. She agrees to do a week of job shadowing with the Black Squad not because she wants to be one of their elitist club, but because she's frightened saying no will land her ass back in foster care. That she could lose it all.
The pressure of the job and the case she works to help solve -- while earning her dirty looks and nasty comments from the Black Squad team -- pushes her toward familiar coping mechanisms. Kane manages to help fans of the Downside series understand Chess a bit more by giving us this vulnerable view into her youth.
Also, there are ghosts, bitches getting in her way, reference to old religions and sex magic. Expect a trip or two to the City of Eternity in this one. (And, yes, it still skeeves me out.)
This quick read is great way to get insight into Chess before diving into Chasing Magic on June 26....more
Any author who can weave wit, subversive undertones and clever world building into a novel getsThis review was originally posted at Vampire Book Club.
Any author who can weave wit, subversive undertones and clever world building into a novel gets my attention.
Cassie Alexander demanded my attention with Nightshifted. She took a scenario that could become very campy very quickly — namely a nurse working in the supernatural ward of a hospital — and molded it into a tale of self-strength, desperation and noble causes.
Edie works the crappy shift at the bottom-run hospital. She’s new to working on Y4, the secret ward for supernatural types. And she’s only doing to because the beings in charge agreed to keep her drug addict brother clean. Her work there finds her embroiled in vampire affairs, trying to save a child-like vampire girl.
But she’s not doing it because she wants to save the world. Just this one girl. Because something deserves to go right here. Atonement is Edie’s game.
Things on the romance front are awkward for her. She tends to be a one-night-stand type of woman, which is working just fine. Until it isn’t. And she meets a zombie — not the rotting kind, but a kind fireman. And he cares. And maybe she cares. And it’s complicated. And messy.
The merger of dark tone and wry humor make Nightshifted a must read for fans of Jaye Wells, Stacey Jay and Stacia Kane. I’m eager to read the next book, Moonshifted, to see how Edie progresses.
If you love an angst-y read, Blood Before Sunrise is for you.
Get wrapped up in yelling at the hThis review was originally posted at Vampire Book Club.
If you love an angst-y read, Blood Before Sunrise is for you.
Get wrapped up in yelling at the heroine making infuriating and dangerous decisions? You’ll love Blood Before Sunrise.
Enjoy seeing a heroine handing big tough men their asses in fights? Oh, you need Blood Before Sunrise.
In the Shaedes of Gray, heroine Darian discovered she wasn’t the only one of her kind. She started to learn not only who she is but also what she is. Just as she began to understand her new role as a Shaede — she can fade into shadow, nothingness in the dark — an ancient prophecy changed things.
Now Darian is something else, more. She can disappear in the light and the dark, feel the passage of time. And she’s powerful. She still trains with Raif, but he can’t keep up with her. She’s powerful and gets accustomed to the idea she’s the biggest, baddest thing on the block.
Not only does her ego put her in danger when trying to find Raif’s daughter and while she tries to determine what her new-found obsession with the passage of time means, but it wreaks havoc on her relationship with Tyler. He isn’t just her boyfriend, remember. Tyler is a jinn, and his job is to protect Darian. The only hitch is he has to obey her wishes. She’s worried about protecting him, and though she doesn’t recognize it, she behaves in a way that illustrates she doesn’t need his protection or want it. Expect big relationship drama on this front.
I love books that are an emotional challenge. Ones where by the end of the book the main character has truly grown. There’s no question we get that with Blood Before Sunrise. There are moments when you’ll grip your book and pretend to be shaking some sense into Darian. Don’t expect easy answers in this novel, but I can promise one hell of a journey with lush descriptions. Even when Darian is making poor decisions, I want to be her friend.
Readers of the Rhiannon’s Law series know J.A. Saare never pulls punches. Rhiannon makes massivThis review was originally posted at Vampire Book Club.
Readers of the Rhiannon’s Law series know J.A. Saare never pulls punches. Rhiannon makes massive mistakes, awful things happen to her, the world spins out of control, everyone makes poor choices and the characters just have to deal. It’s what I like so much about the series. Nothing is easy in these books, and you can never take a sweet moment between characters for granted, because it all could change in the next chapter.
We come into The Ripple Effect a few weeks after the horrible misunderstanding (a.k.a. The Awfulness) between Disco and Rhiannon from the end of The Renfield Syndrome. He wants to apologize, wants to make things right and our girl Rhiannon isn’t having it. Their mutual friends are trying to make them get past this. Again, Rhiannon isn’t ready to forgive him.(I wouldn’t be ready either.)
The Ripple Effect is a book about consequences. And that’s a good thing. Every action has meaning, and everyone must endure as the results trickle in. First, turns out our boy Disco was sheltering Rhiannon from the real vampire world. That means his master is coming to visit and expects to see things a bit more violent and the humans much more subjugated. Imagine Rhiannon’s reaction to this. We find a link between demons and vampires and have to spend quality time at their place, which results in scenes horror fans will love and others will cringe at — but you’ll know who the bad guys are immediately.
As a result of the master vampire visiting, Rhiannon has to play dutiful girlfriend while in private still giving Disco the cold shoulder. This forces them — and Paine — to work out their issues, and to accept one another’s faults as best they can in a stressful situation.
Unrelenting and honest. Dark, deep and a touch dirty. If you like your vampires sexy and scary, The Ripple Effect is a must. Since it’s a Saare book, expect big changes in love, death and a heavy dose of violence — the kind that will captivate you early on.
J.A. Saare is at her best when she merges emotional turmoil with cutting action scenes. TheThis review was originally published at Vampire Book Club.
J.A. Saare is at her best when she merges emotional turmoil with cutting action scenes. The latter half of Crimson Sunrise brings this repeatedly in fresh ways that make your heart break for some characters and want to hug others.
Crimson Sunrise picks up a few weeks after Crimson Moon. While Emma and Caleb are happily together, they haven’t had much alone time. The two are staying with Caleb’s parents and others in the werewolf pack are around … lots. Caleb’s wolf has claimed Emma as his mate, so this makes her family. And adjusting to their nature — and not being around her trueblood vampire parents — makes her a bit antsy.
A kidnapping puts the pack on high alert, and Emma is sure the trueblood vampires are involved. I don’t want to give anything away, but there are prophecies, trickery and our girl chooses to become either a vampire or a werewolf.
While the first half had me making Twilight illusions (only with the vampire being the one heartbroken and not loved ‘that way’ — poor Trent! — and the werewolf being the alpha asshole at times), this isn’t a bad thing. The romantic elements were elevated and the way Emma handled Trent and his feelings were far better than Bella’s stringing along of Jacob. That said, the second half ditched the love triangle bit and focused on Emma and Caleb working together to fight the big bad.
Saare manages to write eye-popping action scenes that evoke emotional revelations from her protagonists. It’s in these moments that we see Emma’s strength, her devotion to friends and family and just how much power this one woman holds. Really, once you make it halfway through this one, it picks up speed and intensity. The ending sets the stage for book three and some big-time drama while still giving closure. (Thank goodness.)
Sexual content: Sex, kissing, lots of interrupted making out...more
Reading Shadow Bound is an experience. A heady, dark journey that causes one to dip into both eThis review was originally posted at Vampire Book Club.
Reading Shadow Bound is an experience. A heady, dark journey that causes one to dip into both ends of the emotional spectrum, often in rapid succession.
I had to read this book in smaller chunks over 10 days because the material is very heavy and emotional. That didn’t diminish Rachel Vincent’s brilliance here. Heroine Kori’s journey strips her raw and forces her to second guess everything — kindness from others, promises, the future, the past and even her own reactions.
Hero Ian doesn’t even understand the game he’s playing. And there’s a game here. When he finally understands why Kori refused to trust his genuine interest in her, his world — and what he knew about her, her sister and the syndicate — changes. Significantly.
Shadow Bound plays with your emotions. It’s twisted. And dark. And heartbreaking. And, really, a complete mindfuck. In the most glorious way.
I was horrified and hopeful reading Shadow Bound because the characters’ emotions are so strong you can’t help but take them into yourself. Reading Shadow Bound is an intense journey — maybe even painful — but it’s worth every agonizing moment.
I have to give it up to Michelle Rowen; she can make waiting for a single kiss the hottest thinThis review was originally posted at Vampire Book Club.
I have to give it up to Michelle Rowen; she can make waiting for a single kiss the hottest thing ever.
The majority of the novel has protagonist Samantha doing everything she can to keep from kissing people. It is the desire and the danger that lies with a potential kiss that will keep you turning the pages of Dark Kiss.
Samantha has been turned into a gray. She has no idea what this means, because the boy she’s crushed on forever didn’t explain a thing before he gave her the hottest kiss of her life and took her soul at the same time. Now she has an unyielding hunger to kiss others, and it just doesn’t make sense. Other grays may be giving in, but somehow she can resist it.
When she meets Bishop, she just thinks he’s a slightly crazy hottie. He knows more about her than she does, and the angel’s mission on earth means he might be her enemy.
Rowen’s characters are well developed, and I truly liked Samantha. She makes a handful of not-so-smart decisions, but they feel right for her. Bishop is delicious and tortured and complicated and … well… there is no way you will not want to kiss Bishop. Really.
Some of the elements of this one — angels, demons, souls on the line — reminded me of Lisa Desrocher’s Personal Demons, but better done. If you enjoyed that book, you will love this one.
If you like the long tease and heroines fighting against what they may become, Dark Kiss will be a win for you. I liked it and will be game to read book two.