Wow. What can I even say? I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of Skin After Skin, and I pretty much devoured it once I started reading. I’ve been thiWow. What can I even say? I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of Skin After Skin, and I pretty much devoured it once I started reading. I’ve been thinking about it for a few days, trying to come up with a review that’ll do it justice.
I’ve loved Crash almost from the moment he appeared in Criss Cross. Seeing Crash through Vic’s eyes, he’s bold, he’s brash, he’s confident, he’s intriguing. All of those impressions hold true during his own story too—at least for me. I found it so interesting to see all of the other PsyCop characters I know and love through Crash’s POV. Vic’s an unreliable narrator for a number of reasons, but Crash’s POV is, in my opinion, much more dependable. As I was reading, I couldn’t wait to get all the inside dirt about his and Jacob’s relationship and his initial impressions the first time he met Vic. It was truly fascinating to see how different the characters were when viewed through Crash’s empathic lens.
This takes place over the span of several years. We get Crash’s back-story, how Sticks and Stones came to be, how Crash evolved into the person Vic meets, and we learned more about the mysterious Red, who I liked very, very much—and who I feel is the perfect complement for Crash.
JCP’s writing was wonderful, as always. Gritty and realistic and sexy. She’s one of my favorite authors for a reason, and I’m constantly in awe of her skill whenever I finish one of her stories. This time was no exception.
Recommended for fans of the series, and if you haven’t dipped your toe into the PsyCop world yet, I recommend you start at the beginning with Among the Living. I think my appreciation for this story—and Crash as a character—was deepened by already having read the other books.
When I finished "Epitaph (Infected, #8)," I was crying. It wasn’t that the ending was sad. On the contrary, it was hopeful. In fact, it was as happy aWhen I finished "Epitaph (Infected, #8)," I was crying. It wasn’t that the ending was sad. On the contrary, it was hopeful. In fact, it was as happy an ending as I could hope for with this series. So, what made me cry? Relief. As I was finishing the book, I was filled with such an intense feeling of relief, I couldn’t express it any other way but tears.
If you’re as big of a fan of the "Infected" series and as invested in it as I am, you might understand why I was emotionally overwhelmed.
It’s been a hard, long road for Roan. All his life, he’s been told he’s a “dead man walking,” that he’s a freak, that he shouldn’t have survived for very long after his birth, and he certainly shouldn’t have made it into adulthood. Roan is the oldest known virus child in the "Infected" world. He defies all odds and expectations. He’s a pill-popping, self-proclaimed “sarcastic asshole.” If you put Roan through a trial by fire, he might come out a little singed, but he’ll also be stronger—and he’ll be giving you the finger and asking if that’s all you got.
Needless to say, I love him. From the very first book, I’ve been invested in Roan’s story like he was someone I knew in real life. So, when Andrea Speed—who knows what a big fangirl I am—offered me an ARC of "Epitaph" in exchange for an honest review, well, hell, no one could possibly have expected me to refuse, right?
Here we are at book eight. The official end to Roan’s story arc, not counting the prequel coming out in February. These books definitely need to be read in order. I don’t think they can stand alone. There are too many different threads and characters and too much backstory. If you jump into the middle of the story, you might be able to follow along since each book features a new mystery—usually several—but for maximum enjoyment, I’d suggest starting with book one.
How to review this without giving away spoilers, for both this book and the preceding ones, which are currently being rereleased by DSPP? I’m not sure, but I’ll do my best.
In this world, a werecat virus has changed everything. When you’re infected, you’ll turn into whatever big cat strain you were infected with (lion, tiger, cougar, panther, etc). These aren’t your ordinary shifters. They have a monthly cycle, but when they turn, well, they basically become animals. There is no rational thought, no empathy, no humanity. They become hunters, and as such, they need to lock themselves away whenever they enter their cycles so as not to go on a killing spree. Naturally, for a variety of reasons, the infecteds often get loose and start wreaking havoc—and that’s where Roan comes in. He’s strong, a veritable superhero in his own right. He makes other infecteds look like wee, helpless kittens—because he was born with the virus and something happened in utero to make him special. But, see, no one really understands what Roan is or how strong he might become. He’s literally the first of his kind, and so he’s writing the “how-to” guide as he goes along.
Roan is a former cop, current private detective. His sidekick is a former prostitute named Holden, his best friends are a mix of cops, hockey players, and EMTs, and he’s married to an artist/bartender. Over the last few books, Roan’s health has been getting worse and worse, even as he’s gotten freakishly stronger and stronger—even by his own standards. It doesn’t look like it’ll end well. Really, everyone keeps expecting that one day he’s going to either drop dead out of nowhere or go out in a hail of bullets. Because Roan can’t help himself. As sarcastic and cynical as he might be, as shitty of a childhood as he might have had, he still wants to save the world—or at least his part of it.
When tiger strain infections start showing up and killing people around Seattle, Roan is both horrified and furious. Followers of the series will know why. He needs to find out who is intentionally infecting people, in addition to a couple of other cases, but in the meantime, new symptoms are showing up every time Roan shifts, and he can almost hear his own death knell ringing. He knows if something doesn’t give—and soon—he’ll probably die horribly, leaving behind a hell of a lot of grief and anger. But how can he give up what feels like such an intrinsic part of his nature? What will he do with himself if he’s not investigating? But on the flipside, what’ll happen if the extent of his powers become known to the public? Nothing good. So Roan has to figure it out and make some decisions about his future and the life he wants to lead before it’s too late. But as with just about everything in Roan’s life, it won’t be that easy. Good thing Roan is such a stubborn bastard. ;)
I recommend this book for fans of the series, and to those readers who haven’t read it, if you’re a fan of shows like Supernatural or urban fantasy books, I’d suggest trying it out. There are romantic relationships, but these books are predominantly action/adventure mysteries. So, if you like your romance to be an undercurrent, not the primary focus, these might be for you. As always, this book was masterfully written, with Andrea Speed’s signature humor, emotion, and compelling characters. These books pack a punch, but if you’re anything like me, you’ll be captivated right from the start, and you’ll fall in love with Roan the way so many of the other characters do. He’s magnetic, even just on the page, and a character who will stick with me for a long time to come....more
My story in this antho is called Three Strikes. Check out the unofficial blurb below. :)
Jeremy Saitou is on his third and final strike. His manager, SMy story in this antho is called Three Strikes. Check out the unofficial blurb below. :)
Jeremy Saitou is on his third and final strike. His manager, Shawn, would love nothing more than to send him packing. Shawn hates everything about the guy, especially Jeremy’s insolent mouth. Sure, Jeremy is exactly Shawn’s type—hot, pierced, and tattooed—but no one else has ever annoyed Shawn more. So when Jeremy offers Shawn the use of his body in exchange for one last chance to save his job, Shawn immediately shuts him down, even as everything in him screams for him to say yes and finally put Jeremy in his place.
As a manager, Shawn can’t in good conscience accept Jeremy’s offer, but he does grant Jeremy the same chance he would any other employee—one last week to get his act together and prove his dedication to his job and the company.
The very last thing Shawn expects is for Jeremy to start pursuing him in the days that follow. Now it’s impossible to separate the lies from the truth. Is Jeremy really interested… or is he just doing everything in his power to make sure he still has a job at the end of the week?...more
Just FYI, for anyone curious. Some of the events in this collection and Beyond Moonlight have been incorporated into the second editionUpdate: 4/24/14
Just FYI, for anyone curious. Some of the events in this collection and Beyond Moonlight have been incorporated into the second edition of Moonlight Becomes You (published by Dreamspinner Press in April, 2014). The 2nd edition is over 60K words (original: 44K), including the content mentioned above as well as new scenes, and was also released as a paperback. If you have yet to read our free vignette collections but planned on buying the new version of MBY, it might be better to wait for that as some of these scenes have also been altered during edits. :)...more
The 2nd edition of this story was uploaded today, 1/19/14. The epub is available to download here on GR. If you're looking for the PDF or MOBI files,The 2nd edition of this story was uploaded today, 1/19/14. The epub is available to download here on GR. If you're looking for the PDF or MOBI files, those can be found at ARe or you can download it directly to your Kindle from Amazon. The overall story is the same, but it's been re-edited and the epilogue was removed. The epilogue is available on my blog for whoever might want to read it, but as Laurie and Jo's story will eventually be continued in Ringing True, I felt the epilogue wasn't necessary in the updated version of Wanting.
Thanks to everyone who's shown love to Laurie and Jo so far! ♥