After three months of back-to-back cat shifter books, you’d think that I’d be sick of Felicity Heaton’s kitties, but au contrReviewed by: Rabid Reads.
After three months of back-to-back cat shifter books, you’d think that I’d be sick of Felicity Heaton’s kitties, but au contraire! TREASURED BY A TIGER was a great way to wrap-up the sibling HEAs, although I’m not ruling out the possibility of a fourth with Byron. This story takes us back to Hell which just so happens to be my preferred setting in the ETERNAL MATES universe, and when you pair that with a feisty female lead and a humble hero, I couldn’t resist falling for this author’s seductive characters and writing all over again!
Lyra & Grey have a serendipitous meeting in the most unlikely of places: a slavers auction in the fiery pit. He’s unable to resist crashing the party to put an end to a distasteful practice, and she’s too injured to flee, so she must put her faith in a male even though it was one of ’em that’s to blame for her current predicament. Neither member of this duo experienced insta-love however, there was definitely insta-lust! It’s tough constantly finding new ways of introducing fated couples, and yet Heaton seemingly does it with ease.
I enjoyed this novel’s spin on the tiger protagonist; he’s a virgin with self-esteem problems due to being treated differently by his pride because of the colour of his fur. Add to that the heroine’s horrible history with male hellcats, and you’re left with a pretty big elephant in the room. Watching Lyra & Grey work on overcoming their hang-ups in order to embrace their destiny as Eternal Mates was quite remarkable, and they do it while facing off against everything that Hell throws at them.
Fuery’s tale is due out later this year if I’m not mistaken, and I’m amped for another mad elf installment, but Brink and to a lesser extent, Aryanna, make appearances towards the end, and now I’m really curious about their story. The black dragon seems to be closely tied to Archangel, and maybe even the reason why his species has been trapped in darkness for millennia. Sounds like we might be making major headway in this series’ main plot arc in the not so distant future. YAY!
TREASURED BY A TIGER concludes the feline trifecta however, the fun continues later on in 2017....more
Shannon Mayer brings her A-game in BLOOD OF A PHOENIX by spinning an exciting story full of unexpected twists, and dropping eReviewed by: Rabid Reads.
Shannon Mayer brings her A-game in BLOOD OF A PHOENIX by spinning an exciting story full of unexpected twists, and dropping enough bread crumbs about this trilogy’s finale to leave readers clamouring for an encore. The only negative thing that I have to say about this installment is that at times it seemed like Phoenix just knew or got a feeling about what she should do in a particular situation, but her intuitiveness was eventually explained, so I can’t even count this as a legitimate critique. This book was glorious!
In this title we revisit her son, Bear’s, death, which was one of the harder pills to swallow in FURY OF A PHOENIX due to the visceral emotions that it evoked in me as a new mom, and I was grateful for the opportunity. Mayer didn’t overdo it where Eleanor, Dinah & Linx were concerned either, and that was another worry of mine that was laid to rest. As a reviewer, I occasionally feel like an author took my opinions to heart, and this is one of those instances. Probably not the case, however I do like seeing improvement in the writing.
Simon & Noah’s motives continue to be murky at best, and I found myself oddly attracted to Killian, the Irish gangster. He’s kind of a male version of the heroine, but with a few obvious differences. I wouldn’t mind it if he and Nix ended up together, although not a lot time has elapsed since her husband’s death in the first novel, so at this point a relationship might be a little bit premature. I’d settle for a quick romp to feed my need for romance, and to provide a brief respite from all the violence and death.
It’s killing me not to be able to say more about Phoenix’s guns, Romano’s deal with the devil, and the revelation about the protagonist’s bloodline, so I’ll finish by talking about how much I love the dog instead. Abe is a big Malinois trained as a farm dog and protector, is one of the finest secondary characters that this series has to offer, and he never even says a word! His body language whenever a command is given speaks volumes, and the way in which he fiercely protects his human tugged at my heartstrings in the best kind of way.
BLOOD OF A PHOENIX hit all the right notes that a sequel should....more
THE EYE OF HORUS ~ 4 Stars This is a campfire tale narrated by Attitus to Granuaile and Oberon, but it predates the IRON DRUIDReviewed by: Rabid Reads.
THE EYE OF HORUS ~ 4 Stars This is a campfire tale narrated by Attitus to Granuaile and Oberon, but it predates the IRON DRUID CHRONICLES, so Luke Daniels adopted an old Irish accent for the dialogue which was almost as fun to listen to as Owen's. Readers discover in part how the protagonist became the Iron Druid which is a tidbit that's mostly glossed over in the full-length books, thus I really enjoyed unraveling that mystery, plus the usual Siodhachan takes on an impossible task for a God in exchange for a future favour plot line.
GODDESS AT THE CROSSROADS ~ 3.5 Stars This one was a barrel of laughs! The hero and William Shakespeare go witch hunting, and find more than they bargained for. O’Sullivan is pretending to be a French nobleman, so that he can "misunderstand" questions that he doesn't want to answer, and the Bard is drunk for most of this short which makes them quite the pair. Turns out that we can credit our favourite Druid for a key piece of poetry in MacBeth! GODDESS AT THE CROSSROADS had nothing to do with the main story arc however, it was entertaining.
THE DEMON BARKER OF WHEAT STREET ~ 3 Stars I liked this segment the least, probably because it revolved around Granuaile. It was a play on Heaven & Hell, but carnival-style. The Irish Wolfhound stole the show at certain points, and the narrative was a bit darker than what we're used to with a pretty high body count. Although, it did serve as a lesson for the female lead that being a Druid isn't all roses and fairy dust, it's ghouls and reapers too.
GOLD DUST DRUID ~ 4.5 Stars Attitus shares another tale from his past however, Oberon chimes-in throughout the account with star ratings which were freaking hilarious. His fearless leader doesn't even get to finish his first sentence before the pooch gives him 1-star because "many books suffer the same fate"—a shot at SCOURGED's Goodreads page? Luke Daniels had to pull-out his Italian and English accents for this Wild West short, and Kevin Hearne kept me happy with little gems such as the looming french fry-magedon. Haha!
THE BOGEYMAN OF BOORA BOG ~ 4.5 Stars Owen regales Greta with the story about how he met Siodhachan, and became his mentor. This morsel was fairly disturbing as well but, it takes place before the near extinction of Druids, so we do get to touch base with another of Gaia's recruits. The Morrígan pops-in, and does a bit of foreshadowing about Time Isle, and we learn that the events from THE BOGEYMAN OF BOORA BOG are responsible for the archdruid teaching his apprentice that it's ok to bend or even break the rules when necessary.
CUDDLE DUNGEON ~ 5 Stars We haven't seen much of Perun, the Slavic God of Thunder, since HAMMERED which is a shame because he's a real hoot! He and Flidais are looking to spice-up their love life, so they visit an S&M dungeon where she assumes the role of dom. What starts off on a light note quickly turns sour, and their relationship takes a turn for the worse. I have a feeling that their drama may continue to play-out in the final installment, or that might just be me hoping that Kevin Hearne will humour fans.
BLOOD PUDDING ~ 4 Stars Granuaile's POV is font-and-center again which would normally have me strongly considering hitting fast forward, however she actually wasn't too bad in this short. We catch-up with her in Poland which could have almost been her intro scene at Rúla Búla. Leif has tasked her with clearing out a vampire nest with a group of mercenaries, and some amusing flirting ensues. I wish that we got to see this side of her character more often because then I wouldn't cringe every time she opens her mouth.
HAUNTED DEVILS ~ 4.5 Stars The Elementals don't often ask the Druids to heal an entire species of animals, so when the call goes out, both Atticus & Owen answer. Circumstances force Greta & O’Sullivan to collaborate, and the problem in Tasmania provides a glimpse of things to come once Loki starts his end game. This tale was also an eye-opener for the archdruid in that he realizes that his pupil is the bridge between the old world and the new, and he acknowledges that he's proud—so many feels!
THE END OF IDYLLS ~ 5 Stars The protagonist has mentioned his first companion a couple of times in passing throughout this series, and in THE END OF IDYLLS Siodhachan tells Oberon what happened to him, and why it took him so long to open his heart to another. The Morrígan announces the onset of Ragnorok, and sets the tone for the last novel. Luke Daniels adds yet another voice to his arsenal, and I can't tell you how psyched I am to listen to his narration of the finale! *sniff*...more
Felicity Heaton’s ETERNAL MATES series tends to return to characters whom we’ve encountered along the way which is a brillianReviewed by: Rabid Reads.
Felicity Heaton’s ETERNAL MATES series tends to return to characters whom we’ve encountered along the way which is a brilliant strategy because no matter how fleeting their appearance was in a previous installment, readers know that every dog cat has its day. TAMED BY A TIGER was the perfect example of this with Talon’s sister front-and-center, and plenty of other kitty shifters along for the ride.
This book touches base with Cavanaugh’s pride following his abdication to August as alpha. I liked seeing how his cousin was faring in his new leadership role, and his response when confronted with a similar dilemma to the one that had caused his predecessor to step down. He’s burdened by his responsibilities, seeks advice at Underworld, and the protagonist’s approach to solving his predicament is very different than his pridemate’s.
I wasn’t sure how Maya would make out as this novel’s female lead because out of all the tigers that were introduced in the earlier volume, she stood out the least in my eyes. But, her sparring match with August, and her love-him-and-leave-him attitude won me over after the first one hundred pages. She may have been overshadowed by her brothers for most of her life however, when it was time to step up, she did so without hesitation.
Maya actually showing up for her arranged marriage came as a bit of a surprise. I’d thought that August would have thrown a wrench into that plan much sooner, although admittedly, his dramatic entrance to snatch her from Pyotr’s arms on her wedding day ratcheted up the entertainment value tenfold. I was also very excited to learn that the author granted my wish—Grey will be headlining in the next title scheduled for September!
If you need to give in to love, TAMED BY A TIGER is not a bad way to go!...more
Shannon Mayer has a whole new bag of tricks with NIX, her latest Urban Fantasy series! The heroine is a human living in an abReviewed by: Rabid Reads.
Shannon Mayer has a whole new bag of tricks with NIX, her latest Urban Fantasy series! The heroine is a human living in an abnormal world where props talk, and more importantly—her enemies have forgotten that revenge is a dish best served cold. I’m so happy that this author finally branched out from her RYLEE ADAMSON / ELEMENTAL conglomeration, and took a risk on this new venture because it totally paid off.
It’s clear from the blurb that the protagonist’s son dies, but I kinda expected that to have already happened, and for the story to start with Phoenix on the warpath. Instead, readers get to experience that agonizing moment of loss right alongside the lead character, and the crippling grief that follows. I just wanted to give you fair warning because I wish Mayer had done me the same courtesy. It was a rocky takeoff.
The gut wrenching opening did come with certain advantages though in that we get to witness Nix’s about-face from her domestic role to that of the assassin she once was. I enjoyed this approach because it allowed the author to slowly build-up the heroine while also piling on a bit of world-building which in turn gently eased fans into the fictional universe instead of opting for the info dump commonly found in book 1’s.
The plot took a more circuitous route than what I’d anticipated with various secondaries coming and going along the way. I liked how difficult it was to label any of them either ally or foe, especially the protagonist’s husband, Justin. My feelings on Dinah & Eleanor are still up in the air, and with the addition of Linx, it could go either way at this point depending on how Mayer decides to use them in future installments.
FURY OF A PHOENIX soared from the ashes in its debut. ~3.5 Stars...more
I was sooooo happy to get my hands on the next ETERNAL MATES installment after nearly a twelve-month drought. Felicity HeatonReviewed by: Rabid Reads.
I was sooooo happy to get my hands on the next ETERNAL MATES installment after nearly a twelve-month drought. Felicity Heaton didn’t leave readers high and dry during that interlude though, with her new GUARDIANS OF HADES series there to help fill the void. Still, that didn’t stop me from longing for this universe and its characters, and to top it off, TURNED BY A TIGER is the start of a triple tiger takeover!
This story didn’t adhere to the classic action followed by romance sequence, instead the order of these components were reversed which wasn’t how I personally prefer events to unfold. I need a little bit of adrenaline to get my engine going, so I had some difficulty with the insta-love introduction. Talon’s entrance into Underworld was dramatic however, after the initial shock value wore off the author briefly lost my interest.
The narrative was overflowing with cat puns that kept me grinning stupidly at my tablet the whole way through. Sherry’s nickname for the protagonist was by far the best though. Funny, yet GRRREAT! I also liked that a lot of past couples had their own little skits within the plot line including my main squeeze, Bleu. There was just the right amount of old favourites to compliment the flow along with a preview of a few more pairs to come.
Talon’s secret was a bit of a let-down, but that’s ok because his unusual brother more than made up for it. I know that his sister’s tale is up next, so fingers crossed that TREASURED BY A TIGER is Grey’s book! I’m a tad disappointed that this series is becoming weighed down by felines; I miss the elves, and I wouldn’t be opposed if the bear shifter that we encountered in this volume were to get his own happily-ever-after too.
Get your summer reading party started with TURNED BY A TIGER!...more
2017 seems to be the year of long-awaited series continuations; Keri Lake’s SONS OF WRATH has been on hold since the end of 2Reviewed by: Rabid Reads.
2017 seems to be the year of long-awaited series continuations; Keri Lake’s SONS OF WRATH has been on hold since the end of 2014, so when I got wind of Calix’s book, I couldn’t hit refresh on my Kindle fast enough for it to load. I must confess that after such a lengthy hiatus, I didn’t remember exactly how the half incubus fit into this world other than being one of the Wrath brothers, but SOUL REDEEMED was such a comprehensive story that my lack of a re-read didn’t impede my enjoyment in the least.
This was probably the steamiest volume to date, and seeing how I’ve been on an Urban Fantasy kick in recent weeks, the extra dollop of romance didn’t go amiss. Calix’s nature allows him access to everyone’s darkest desire which makes him the perfect lover, so expect quite a bit of kink. Until the incubus decides to change his wanton ways that is, the only problem was that when Ava finally turns up, sex is off the table. Fallen angel fantasies help, but nothing cures what ails ya like a four-day sweaty marathon.
The secondary plot lines were both a positive and a negative. Yay because I’ve really missed some of these characters, so I was psyched to see what they’ve been up to, and a few of the tangents were particularly interesting. The nay of it was that the main couple didn’t get as much page time as I would have preferred. At certain points, they pretty much disappeared for several chapters which threw off the pacing of their reconciliation, and was the equivalent of taking a cold shower in-between foreplay and the main event.
Night and day are close friends, and the same holds true in Lake’s writing because as explosive as Calix & Ava’s reunion was, the cause of their separation made me sick to my stomach. The nephilim’s been the subject of horrible experiments for months in an underground hospital, and as reprehensible as that aspect was, it didn’t hold a candle to the ultimate objective involving the Sang. This novel will leave you hiding under your blankets one minute, and throwing them off in a come hither heat wave the next!
SOUL REDEEMED was a delectable mixture of sweet and salty....more
I was happy that I came across this novella, and that it was available at a discounted price because it allowed me to test drive a new-to-me author wiI was happy that I came across this novella, and that it was available at a discounted price because it allowed me to test drive a new-to-me author without too much of a time or monetary commitment. The set-up for THE INVISIBLE ENTENTE was perfect for a prequel; it introduced some of the characters, their powers, and a bit of the universe that they inhabit. Each chapter revolved around how so-and-so knew the now deceased, Jermaine. Resulting in seven mini-stories which is a fun format IMO. This was a quick, but enjoyable read. I'll definitely be moving on to book 1 at the first available opportunity. ...more
I was surprised, but also thrilled by Cecy Robson’s decision to recast one of the other Wird sisters as this series’ protagonReviewed by: Rabid Reads.
I was surprised, but also thrilled by Cecy Robson’s decision to recast one of the other Wird sisters as this series’ protagonist after five installments. In this instance, it worked because the siblings are a package deal, so even though it’s a different voice continuing the story, it’s one that readers are very familiar with. OF FLAME AND PROMISE is closer to a novella length-wise, and calling it a continuation isn’t quite right either as the timeline does rewind to the events at the end of book 2.
Witnessing the same happenings unfold from another POV is always enjoyable because not every character’s assessment of a situation is identical, and oftentimes a shift in perspective is an opportunity to pick-up on things that may have gone unnoticed during the first pass. That proved to be the case here as we get to see how Celia & Aric’s relationship impacted the rest of the Wird household, especially Taran. I do however wish that this had been labelled as #3.5 for the sake of clarity because I was a bit fuzzy on the chronology.
Meeting the parents—we’ve all been there. The heroine goes out of her way to impress Gemini’s family by gifting them a rare kind of sake, and treating them to dinner at one of the premier restaurants in the world. And, to say that her efforts blow-up spectacularly would be putting it mildly. Tomas’ mom & dad are also ultratraditional Japanese, and her potty mouth didn’t exactly win any points with them. But, I laughed! Oh, how I laughed! I came close to dying of embarrassment on her behalf too.
I loved how Gemini stuck with Taran through thick and thin! He could have easily jumped on any of the excuses to hightail it, and there were many, however instead he weathered the storm, and I can’t wait to see what comes next for them in OF FLAME AND LIGHT. I’m very happy that the author chose to give this protagonist at least three volumes because if Celia deserves a handful, then her sisters are entitled to a close approximation IMO. I just hope that the timeline gets ironed out.
OF FLAME AND PROMISE picks up the torch, and keeps the WIRD GIRLS series alive....more
It’s been years since I’ve read something by Connie Suttle which is a real shame because she’s an incredibly talented author,Reviewed by: Rabid Reads.
It’s been years since I’ve read something by Connie Suttle which is a real shame because she’s an incredibly talented author, and THE ROSE MARK reminded me of that fact. Neither teething baby nor attention deprived husband could tear me away from this book! I shudder to think that I almost passed on it in favour of staying true to my existing TBR pile. The blurb comes across as a sexist, male dominated society with a heroine who’s screwed from birth, and yes, that’s how Sherra’s tale begins, but the 400 pages that follow turn tragedy into triumph.
This novel is written in alternating POVs, mostly rotating between the protagonist and her warrior, Kerok, with the occasional deviation whenever another character needs to weigh-in. All the chapters are clearly labelled, so you always know who’s speaking. I loved the way that this title was penned because the male / female perspectives are very different, and Suttle’s narrative for both was well executed which is a rare find because try as they may, most authors have difficulty with the opposite sex’s thought processes.
The world-building was rich, and intricate without the need for a lengthy lexicon like so many other Fantasy universes, although there is a brief list of the cast and places at the end for clarity’s sake. I really enjoyed how we got to follow Sherra’s journey from trainee to escort; instead of skipping straight to the trenches, readers are taken through their paces right alongside the Black Roses. It allowed for a more thorough understanding of the magic and techniques used, and of the driving forces behind the war.
Sherra is an amazing character, and her relationship with Kerok is very complex. The hero’s loyalties are split between the army, the crown, Grae and his escort, so he’s walking a paper-thin line. The protagonist has more-or-less accepted her fate, but thanks to a bout of ingenuity and a little outside help, her destiny is no longer a foregone conclusion. Foreshadowing and whispers are peppered throughout the story, and the last pages confirmed a few of my suspicions. My family better buckle-down as there’s another binge read in my future!
THE ROSE MARK’s deceptively simple cover hides a truly spectacular piece of fiction....more
I accepted this title for review without a second thought; it's written by Keri Arthur, and about werewolves—going once, goinReviewed by: Rabid Reads.
I accepted this title for review without a second thought; it's written by Keri Arthur, and about werewolves—going once, going twice, sold! The protagonist in BLOOD KISSED is a witch, so although our four-legged friends have been cast as secondary characters, it's safe to assume that we'll be seeing a lot of them given that the story is set on the Faelan reservation, a place run by shifters of the lunar persuasion.
This novel offered up tons of stand-out content including a human familiar (say what!?), small-town mystery, and a heroine who's outside of this author's norm. I liked the way that Arthur gave readers enough facts on the different elements that will make up her LIZZIE GRACE series so that all the moving parts jived, but still left sufficient wiggle room to maneuver in future installments, and more importantly, left us pining for book 2.
As odd as Belle's role sounded at first, picking her over a cat was actually quite brilliant. She's a sidekick, BFF, business partner, and adviser all rolled into one who's fate is closely tied to Lizzie's. They have a long history of working together, and because of her lot in life, Grace is very permissive when it comes to issuing "orders" which is turn equates to sexy times that don't take over the narrative (ex: SOULS OF FIRE, DARK ANGELS, etc).
I thought that the Psychic Café and Grace's psychometry expertise were a good jumping off point. As much as I love the investigative style plot line in Urban Fantasy, I get tired of the protagonist always being a P.I. I also liked that Aidan couldn't be more anti-witch because this will hopefully mean that his and Lizzie's romance will be of the slow burn variety. The heroine is definitely a character who I can see myself wanting to follow long-term.
BLOOD KISSED is a fresh start by a seasoned writer....more
As the title suggests, Shannon Mayer wreaks havoc on her ELEMENTAL universe in DESTROYER, the final installment. Characters dReviewed by: Rabid Reads.
As the title suggests, Shannon Mayer wreaks havoc on her ELEMENTAL universe in DESTROYER, the final installment. Characters die, the world is laid to waste, and the truths exposed rock Lark to her very core. There is no happily-ever-after, not for everyone at least, but life always finds a way to prevail, so there is hope for the few left standing because every ending is also a chance to start again.
The pacing took a beating in the first quarter of this book because there were too many threads that needed to be dealt with prior to moving forward with the actual story. The conclusion to a series is where an author’s approach to writing becomes obvious—are they a plotter or a panser? Mayer is a bit of both, so although the opening chapters left something to be desired, the later ones were all about the long game.
Lark finds herself allied with two antagonists, and discovers that there’s more to Cassava. The heroine’s entire existence has been one big chess match building towards a moment in time, and check is about to be called. The protagonist is of course outraged, and does regain control of her destiny to a certain extent, but ultimately when you’re out on a ledge, and the only thing left to do is jump… Can that really be called a choice?
The origin of Elementals is revealed, and it made a whole lot of sense. I felt that the resolution was too easy in some respects however, the price was steep, so it kind of evened out. I liked that we caught glimpses of most of the secondaries, and that Peta played an integral part in the outcome, but seeing how this novel is the last of this series + two other, an epilogue would have been nice, especially for Alex & Pam’s sake.
DESTROYER will play pinball with your emotions, and leave you raw....more
Delilah and the other cryptids of Metzger’s Menagerie are recaptured after their all too brief taste of freedom at the end ofReviewed by: Rabid Reads.
Delilah and the other cryptids of Metzger’s Menagerie are recaptured after their all too brief taste of freedom at the end of the last book. Originally, I’d thought that Rachel Vincent was going to take a completely different route in this sequel, but instead SPECTACLE showed us that not all cages have bars. The writing in this series is as exquisite as the horrors are abhorrent, and it’s this unlikely combination that makes the story so enthralling.
On the outside, the Savage Spectacle appears to be a relatively humane way of running a freak show, or at least as close as one can come with regards to the barbaric practice of keeping society’s cast outs incarcerated for monetary gain. The occupants have mats to sleep on, healthy food to eat, and their basic personal hygiene requirements are met. However, a prison is still a prison, no matter how shiny it is, and the fact remains that the inhabitants are being held against their will.
Vandekamp has set out to revolutionize the way that cryptids are kept with collars that can shock, paralyze, mute, and call their gifts. So, as uncivilized as their previous accommodations were at least the captives could still scream and fight. The owner has also come up with a bunch of different uses for his new technology including work detail, death matches, sport hunting, and engagements. The first three are pretty self-explanatory, but the last basically means that any detainee is available for hire, and as you can imagine, anything goes because cash is king.
The plot is once again driven by the need to survive, except in this installment the focus is on the mind instead of the body. It’s one thing to physically beat someone into submission, and quite another to literally take away their free will. The author’s insights into the human psyche are truly haunting in their realism, and will make you side with the monsters much like Anne Bishop did with her THE OTHERS series. Vincent concludes this novel with yet another missile that’ll see the MENAGERIE trilogy drastically shift directions one last time for the finale to Delilah’s tale.
Just when I thought that the Speculative Fiction genre has nothing left to give—BOOM—here’s SPECTACLE! ~ 4.5 Stars...more
For me to feel completely satisfied with the CHICAGOLAND VAMPIRES' conclusion, Chloe Neill needed to do three things: 1. GiveReviewed by: Rabid Reads.
For me to feel completely satisfied with the CHICAGOLAND VAMPIRES' conclusion, Chloe Neill needed to do three things: 1. Give Merit & Ethan their HEA. 2. Wrap-up the final arc. 3. Go out in style. Did BLADE BOUND pull it off? Yes, yes, and YES!
I liked that the author wasted no time in getting with the weddingpocalypse, and that it wasn't rushed for pacing reasons or ruined by sorcery. I'd expected the book to end on this note, so it was a nice surprise that readers didn't have to wait one second longer than the opening pages for something that's been thirteen volumes in the making. I was also thankful that the ceremony wasn't a cog in the wheel of plot development, and that the protagonists actually got to enjoy their special day.
This novel followed the same pattern as all of the others that came before it which was another plus because it felt like a Merit & Ethan story. Neill stuck with the familiar instead of trying too hard in an attempt to make history with an unforgettable climax that winds up being somewhat disjointed from the rest of the volumes. There's a Big Bad, the team does a bit of recon, and then the katanas come out. There were still a few bombshells that kept things interesting.
This series' quirkiness was out in full force from the literature themed wedding, to Darth Sullivan's pet name for Merit, and the jokes that ensue when Gabriel's prophesy takes flight. We also got plenty of moments with the treasured secondary characters, and the epilogue jumps forward by twenty-one months to ensure that no stone is left unturned. I hate goodbyes however, it's hard to argue with this one when the writing was just so darned good. Chloe Neill, you slay me!
BLADE BOUND closed the door on the CHICAGOLAND VAMPIRES, but another one will soon open on a spin-off! ~4.5 Stars...more
Jennifer Estep continually amazes me with the directions that she takes the ELEMENTAL ASSASSIN series in. SNARED was a strokeReviewed by: Rabid Reads.
Jennifer Estep continually amazes me with the directions that she takes the ELEMENTAL ASSASSIN series in. SNARED was a stroke of genius with how the plot connected with the main story arc. It also got my gears spinning over the questions raised about Hugh Tucker, and cast a shadow on Eira Snow’s memory. Not bad for the sixteenth installment—scratch that—it was goddamned Spider-ific!
One of Ashland’s mob bosses calls in the favour that Gin owes her, and things quickly spiral out of control as they go from sketchy to disastrous. The clues keep piling up, but even with Blanco’s entire crew on deck, it took some doing to get to the heart of it all, and the hunter winds up the hunted. I guessed the antagonist pretty easily however, there were so many other unknowns to keep me busy that it didn’t matter.
One of the things that I enjoy the most about these novels is how the author keeps making links to the past while still developing new tangents. Hugh’s been around for several volumes now, but we learn that he and Gin have met before. Estep also takes us back to that awful day when Blanco lost everything, and we discover an interesting morsel about her mom that has the potential to be a game changer.
All the characters get their turn under the guillotine, and this time around it was the Spider’s number that got called. Yes, she finds herself in more life-or-death situations that all the secondaries combined however, in this particular instance the outlook was worse than usual. After a bit of clever maneuvering with her ice & stone magic as well as her knives, we have the name of the Circle’s leader… or do we?
More and more romance has been making its way into Urban Fantasy turning it into a lesser version of itself. Chelsea Mueller gReviewed by: Rabid Reads
More and more romance has been making its way into Urban Fantasy turning it into a lesser version of itself. Chelsea Mueller grabbed the wheel, and steered the genre back into the correct lane with BORROWED SOULS. Callie & Derek do form a connection however, the focus remained on the bold, gritty roots that make this branch of Speculative Fiction so compelling. This author's years of experience as a book reviewer were put to good use in her writing debut.
Correlations can be drawn between this universe, and Stacia Kane's DOWNSIDE GHOSTS with the nature of the story line, the heroine's susceptible personality, and the flawed protector. This observation isn't meant as a critique, but rather a compliment because I happen to really enjoy the aforementioned series, and similarities aside, this title distinguished itself with its inventive premise and well-built characters. Plus, Mueller is just getting started!
Soul magic was loosely explained however, I still have so many questions like... Where does the Charmer get his wares? Why was he able to do something to Delgado that didn't work on Derek? What happens after the six-month self-life has elapsed? Needless to say, the author has a lot of world-building left to do, and I will DEFINITELY be snatching up the next installment. Theories aside, the plot was provocative, and I was happy with the direction that things seem to be taking.
I instantly connected with Callie; she's barely making ends meet, and is being taken advantage of by her family, but deep down she's a good person. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and although she's not proud of her actions, they were relatable because everyone's found themselves stretched to their breaking point for a loved one. I admired her spunk and tenacity, and look forward to watching her adapt to her new circumstances including her relationship with Derek.
You should spend your hard-earned money on BORROWED SOULS this week! Available for pre-order....more
The ALPHA GIRL series began to chart a different course after Tessa & Dastien’s story was finalized in the previous instaReviewed by: Rabid Reads.
The ALPHA GIRL series began to chart a different course after Tessa & Dastien’s story was finalized in the previous installment with a brief interlude for Claudia & Lucas’s HEA in book 4. I thought that it was odd that one couple got four novels vs. the other duos that only got one, and worried that fewer volumes would result in less polished characters. SHATTERED PACK and Aileen Erin proved that sometimes less really is more.
I was happy that this title brought with it a return to this author’s werewolves because as much as I enjoy her witches and fey, my heart lies with her shifters. Meredith was recently cured of a curse that prevented her from transforming, so I did have some concerns that this installment wouldn’t be Alpha enough for me. That unease was swiftly put to bed when Molloney walked the walk, and talked the talk with Donovan’s weres.
Cosette played a small role in this book however, she definitely made it count. We learn quite a whooper about her, mind you it was something that I’d already suspected, and even though she’s forced to take a back seat since the Courts are all in a tizzy over the wolves’ latest slip up, she covertly saved Meredith’s bacon. The pack politics were interesting enough, but they still didn’t hold a candle to the fey.
The ex-lover plot line has never been high on my fun-to-read list however, Vivian did bring new meaning to the crazy ex-girlfriend cliché. There were many factors at work that were causing the instability with the Irish werewolves, and I was surprised by how much I liked solving the puzzle. Friends turn into foes, nothing is as it seems, and Donovan must make some tough decisions that he’s been avoiding for far too long.
SHATTERED PACK was well worth the year and a half wait between novels....more
What should have been a fiery finish to Jeaniene Frost’s NIGHT PRINCE series was a bit of a dud. INTO THE FIRE was all aboutReviewed by: Rabid Reads.
What should have been a fiery finish to Jeaniene Frost’s NIGHT PRINCE series was a bit of a dud. INTO THE FIRE was all about Ian which made Vlad & Leila the protagonists of this story in name only. Per an FAQ on the author’s website, there’s a spin-off in the works for the former, and I get the need to propagate that message, but this could have been done in a more tasteful manner rather than hijacking Dracula’s happily-ever-after.
I still got a fair amount of enjoyment out of this novel including some good laughs. We learn about the origins of the heroine’s powers, and Mencheres makes an appearance, although the shock factor in relation to his character was a bit of a joke because I didn’t believe for one second that that thing that happened actually did, there’s just no way. That being said, I did get a kick out of the male cast sprouting boobs and totally owning their glamoured disguises.
Vlad & Leila’s fairy tale ending lacked passion—the token sex scene notwithstanding—there were too many secrets between them for a couple who’s supposedly embracing forever together, and the resolution vis-à-vis Mircea was so corny. Frost could have made this into a killer trilogy, but instead book 4 came along, and crapped the bed. This is the lowest rating that I’ve ever given something that was written by this author, and it really makes me sad.
I pre-ordered this audio months before its release because Tavia Gilbert is an experienced narrator whose familiarity with this universe and its inhabitants is beyond measure. She reads Dracula’s parts well without falling into the stereotypical trap that would be all too easy to adopt, and the energy that she brings to the love making bits will leave you blushing and a little jealous. Her voice was the saving grace of this audiobook.
INTO THE FIRE is where your paperback copy should go. However, if you really must, listen instead. ~2.5 Stars...more
If you're going to bring a character back from the dead, this is how you do it! I approached LYNCHPIReviewed by: Rabid Reads.
*** CONTAINS SPOILERS ***
If you're going to bring a character back from the dead, this is how you do it! I approached LYNCHPIN with a certain amount of trepidation because this isn't the first time that Shannon Mayer has played God (different series), and the previous occurrence didn't exactly sit well with me. But, there's no loop hole here, Alex must claw his way through the seven layers of the Veil to rejoin the living, and it was one hell of a climb.
This book takes place six months after BLOOD OF THE LOST, so I really can't stress enough that you need to read the ten RYLEE ADAMSON novels and three epilogues before attempting this volume. This installment was an eye opener in a lot of ways which was great. We discover how Alex & Rylee met, get the 411 on his family, and learn about the anatomy of the Veil. All things that I've been pondering for far too long, so it was a relief to finally get answers.
The seven layers are as follows: 7. Demons 6. Heroes 5. Prison 4. Library 3. Ghosts 2. Past / Present / Future 1. Castle. Naming them off isn't overly spoiler-y, but will give you a general idea of the obstacles that the protagonist will face. The blurb also does a fair job of surmising the story, so put those two together, and you should be able to get a clear picture of what's in store.
Here's the rub, I found that a lot of the secondary impediments were too easily overcome. Alex's twisted state? Magicked away. His father's past transgressions? Forgiven. Luca's stubborn opposition? Frenemy. Given the magnitude of the task at hand I felt like these tangents were overkill. It's as though the author wanted everything to work out perfectly for the hero, but didn't want the book to be too long, so cue cop-outs.
LYNCHPIN marks the end of the RYLEE ADAMSON EPILOGUES, however the real conclusion is still to come. ~ 3.5 Stars...more
Typically, I fall fast and hard for Kelley Armstrong’s writing, but her CAINSVILLE series has been the rare ugly duckling. OvReviewed by: Rabid Reads.
Typically, I fall fast and hard for Kelley Armstrong’s writing, but her CAINSVILLE series has been the rare ugly duckling. Over the course of four books, my ratings have fluctuated between 3 and 5 stars, so where LOST SOULS was going to land on that spectrum was anyone’s guess. I’m pleased to say that it settled right smack in the middle which is the best place for a novella to be in my option because it means that first timers will enjoy it without having to have read the full length novels, and buffs will welcome the chance to hang with Olivia & Gabriel again before the final installment is published in August.
The story takes place on the tail end of Taylor-Jones’ vacation with Ricky which was the note that BETRAYALS concluded on. So, as I mentioned, this short isn’t an essential part of the main plot however, if you’re a stickler for doing things the chronological way, you’ll want to cram it in before the summer. This side plot does cross a couple of T’s though with regards to Gabe & Patrick’s relationship, how Walsh’s childhood steered him towards becoming a lawyer, and Rose’s background information on the “lady in white” ghosts in different cultures was a nice perk. All things considered, the mystery still led us on a merry chase, and I liked that Gallagher was mostly absent because it allowed the author to refine Gabriel’s internal monologue.
LOST SOULS was largely told from Gabe’s point of view which is something that I’ve been longing for since I started this series. He’s such a contrary character that you can’t help but want to pick his brain. I also hope that the trio being short one member was Armstrong’s way of foreshadowing what’s to come in RITUALS however, that’s probably just me reading too much into things seeing how I’m Team Walsh. Recommended for anyone who loves a good “crime-spree hat trick”....more
Book 1 in the RAIN CHASER series left me with a Dean Winchester taste in my mouth, and my suspicions were confirmed upon readReviewed by: Rabid Reads.
Book 1 in the RAIN CHASER series left me with a Dean Winchester taste in my mouth, and my suspicions were confirmed upon reading DRIVING RAIN’s dedication. Tallulah Corentine was intended to be the female equivalent of my favourite SUPERNATURAL brother! Combine that with some lightning and Sierra Dean’s flair with words, and I was a sitting duck.
This novel revolved around the Convention of the Gods, and a string of murders targeting Temple initiates. So, there was a nice mix of fun—who doesn’t love a good con—and subterfuge. The meet-up in Vegas brought with it a hodgepodge of deity insight, Seth’s cleric puts on one sweet ass light show, and Sawyer punches a hole or two in Lula’s tough girl shell.
The story didn’t manage to really hold my interest until Imelda joined the party. The spark between Tallulah and Cade that I was hoping would remain unrequited for several more installments ignited. However, the normal rules don’t apply whenever you’re dealing with Gods, and as such Chronos allowed readers to have their cake… twice.
I like Leo and Prescott more than the bad luck priest, although all three men have the tortured hero shtick down to a science, so it’s still anyone’s game. Dean draws first blood by familiarizing us with an important ironically named character in Corentine’s life, and then jabs the wound a bit while the Styx thing still hangs over our heads.
As much as I admire Shannon Mayer’s other bodies of work, after three installments I think it’s safe to say that the VENOM TRReviewed by: Rabid Reads.
As much as I admire Shannon Mayer’s other bodies of work, after three installments I think it’s safe to say that the VENOM TRILOGY was a bust for me. HISSES AND HONEY was the worst of the bunch which is unfortunate because I still held on to a glimmer of hope that Alena might pull through in the end.
This novel was the embodiment of everything that is wrong with the Urban Fantasy genre. Exhibit A: the romance. Remo dumps Budrene to “protect” her, and then two other suitors immediately line-up to take his place (ok, only one is a serious candidate, but still). I hate everything about this trope from the sacrificial lamb of a relationship to the insta-love-replacement.
Exhibit B: Alena (view spoiler)[DIES (hide spoiler)]. Authors are permitted to play fast and loose with most of the founding rules of reality, it’s one of the perks of writing Speculative Fiction. However, there are a select few that should be handled with extreme care such as (view spoiler)[killing the protagonist (hide spoiler)]! I don’t care if the world consists of gods, and potent magic, this is a big red flag that should be avoided at all cost.
Exhibit C: limitless power. I’m a little fuzzy on the timeline, but no more than a couple of weeks have elapsed since Lena was a diminutive human dying of the Aegrus virus. Yet, since then she’s defeated countless members of the pantheon, changed the unfavourable laws governing supernaturals, and saved the population from certain death. All with minimal help, training or repercussions.
HISSES AND HONEY is for readers who still believe in the tooth fairy, the Easter bunny, and Santa. ...more
SILENCE FALLEN takes us back to a time when Mercy was a one-woman show. Her allies are still in place, but all their power anReviewed by: Rabid Reads.
SILENCE FALLEN takes us back to a time when Mercy was a one-woman show. Her allies are still in place, but all their power and might has been nullified by the Atlantic Ocean. Thompson is forced to do what she does best. Survive. I loved this book because even though I always look forward to reconnecting with the Tri-Cities cast, it was Patricia Briggs' strong heroine that first drew me to this series, and continues to call to me with each new installment.
There were still a lot of chapters told from Hauptman's point of view, and a couple from a few other characters' as well. So, even though this novel was mostly about our favourite VW mechanic, there was a hearty dose of Adam, Honey, Stefan, Elizaveta, and Marsilia in addition to newcomers from the European seethes and the Vltava pack not to mention a guest appearance from Matt Smith—not the Doctor, but you should pay special attention to him all the same!
I liked how interconnected all the different plot threads were. Initially, the players seemed to be working independently of each other however, as the author built towards the finish line that’s when Briggs’ mad skills at her craft manifested. The pacing felt off in the early chapters, so it’s important to judge this title for all its parts because every word has meaning, and if you find yourself as blindsided by the curveball as I was, I suspect that that ending will incite many a re-read.
This volume had one last thing going for it, and that was the way it expounded upon Mercy’s Coyote lineage, and her aptitude with the dead. Ghosts have been constant companions of the heroine but, she’s mostly ignored them until now. I also loved how forces like Charles and Wulfe attested to the fact that Thompson is the most dangerous person in the Tri-Cities. Fans already know this however, it took Lenka’s run-in with a bus, and eluding the Lord of the Night to sway Iacopo.