The Fallen Angels: Possession

Possession

Possession

When Cait Douglass resolves to get over her broken heart, throw off her inhibitions, and really start living, she’s unprepared for the two sensual men who cross her path. Torn between them, she doesn’t know which to choose–or what kind of dire consequences could follow.

Jim Heron, fallen angel and reluctant savior, is ahead in the war, but he puts everything at risk when he seeks to make a deal with the devil–literally. As yet another soul is unwittingly caught in the battle between him and the demon Devina, his fixation on an innocent trapped in Hell threatens to sidetrack him from his sacred duty…

Can good still prevail if true love makes a savior weak? And will a woman’s future be the key, or the curse, for all humanity? Only time, and hearts, will tell.

I have loved J.R Ward for a long time. I remember reading Dark Lover and being like, this woman a goddess and I worship her. And for the most part, this has remained the case. But while this book was pretty good, I was still expecting more. I may well be alone in feeling this way, but I thought it was a situation where the story line was filled with both absolutely nothing and a whole lot. Stuff happened but it didn’t feel like it moved the story forward in any real way.

Our romance centres around three people. The first is Cait Douglass. She went through a major heartbreak a few years ago and, as a result, hasn’t really been living. But after a major shock in the form of an unexpected death, Cait has decided that life is too short to be sitting around on her ass, and she’s made a major effort to throw herself back out there. Then we have G.B, whose last name I can’t for the life of me remember and can’t find in the damn book. He’s sexy, sensitive, charming, and crazy talented. He’s everything you’d want in a guy, what with his ridiculous good looks and willingness to talk about his feelings. Duke Philips is the exact opposite of G.B. He’s a rough and tough bouncer, a man of few words. In fact, the only things G.B. and Duke have in common is that they are both fine as hell and they both have their respective eyes on Cait.

In addition to the  love triangle, we have my favourite angels and crazy bitch demon. I know I’ve said it before but I love Devina. She’s a complete psycho, but she’s funny. Ward has taken a character who should be completely repugnant and made her… almost relatable. She’s pining after a guy who has zero interest in her (but she’s managed to convince herself that they’re in love), she sees a psychiatrist, she has difficulties letting go, and she hates her yoga instructor. Our angels have been cut down to two, with only Adrian and Jim left to save the world now that Eddie’s gone. Well, more like one and a half. Those of you who’ve been following this series will know that Jim’s focus on this war has been split pretty much from the beginning due to the horrific murder of Sissy Barten. Jim has been so fixated on the death of this young woman, and on her torture down in hell, that he’s done something that has put the outcome of the entire war in jeopardy: He’s willing to trade one of his wins in the war for Sissy’s release from hell. To say that “the shit hits the fan” would be a huge understatement.

This was probably my least favourite installment in the Fallen Angels series. I can’t tell you why, but I just felt that there was something missing. There just wasn’t the same level of excitement and suspense that there usually is. That being said, I still enjoyed this book. Ward just has this ability to make me cackle with her writing style and she gave us some pretty steamy sex scenes. Plus, the end of Possession will have us waiting with baited breath to see what’s going to happen next.

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House of Comarre: Flesh and Blood

Flesh and Blood

Flesh and Blood

Sacrifice is a choice…

With the ring of sorrows still missing, and the covenant between othernaturals and humans broken, Chrysabelle and Malkolm’s problems are just beginning. Chrysabelle still owes Malkolm for his help, but fulfilling that debt means returning to Corvinestri, the hidden vampire city neither of them is welcome in.

The discovery that Chrysabelle has a brother could mean her reneging on her promise to Malkolm, something that might make him angry enough to loose the beast living inside him. And fulfilling her vow could prove devastating for Chrysabelle-especially when you throw in power hungry witches, dead fringe vampires, and the Kubai Mata.

Painter has done something really special with this series. She’s taken the traditional vampire lore and turned it on its head. Everything is fresh and exciting and interesting and I think I adore this series. It has everything you could possibly want: action, intrigue, hot guys, a fierce heroine, and a villain you love to hate.

Our story starts a couple of weeks after the big show down with Tatiana (who I think I love). Malkolm and Chrysabelle haven’t spoken at all in that time. It seems that each is waiting for the other to make the first move and, as a result, nothing is happening. Each is hosting their own little pity party, themed “why doesn’t s/he want to talk to me?” It’s a little tedious, but it doesn’t last long and things get interesting quick. Let me run down the basics with each character. Tatiana is as batshit crazy as ever. I know I shouldn’t, but this woman tends to make me laugh. She’s completely insane, ruthless as hell and is probably one of my favourite people in this series. Mal is miserable, Chrysabelle is miserable, Doc is miserable, everyone is miserable except for Tatiana. She’s getting shit done. Tatiana is determined to get her hands on the Ring of Sorrows (no clue what it actually does yet) and as much power as she can along the way. Mal thinks that Chrysabelle has forgotten him and her promise to him. This is despite the fact that she keeps sending him blood to make sure he doesn’t starve. Chrysabelle can’t figure out why Mal hasn’t come to see her. Doesn’t he want her help anymore? Doc is having an awful time of things because Fi, the ghost he loves, if forced to relive her own death night after night and there isn’t anything he can do about it. Except go to a really super dodgy witch who has plenty of her own reasons to pull a fast one on Doc. As you can see, the saying that “misery loves company” definitely rings true here.

In the previous book, Chrysabelle made a promise to Malkom: if he agreed to help her find out who killed her patron, she would help him find a way to remove his curse. You remember, the curse where Mal’s forced to hear the voices of all the people he’s ever killed in his head for the rest of his life. Chrysabelle hasn’t forgotten her promise but she’s still working herself up to seeing Mal again. But due to some unforeseen circumstances, the two are forced together sooner than they had planned. So Chrysabelle and Malkolm are reunited under less than happy conditions. But then something completely unexpected, completely amazing happens that completely makes up for the time and distance: Malkolm gets flirty. You could have knocked me over with a feather. Seriously, I very nearly swooned. Mal is hot while he’s being all broody and whatever, but when he pulls out the charm? Look out, because that guy will cause you to spontaneously combust. Speaking of hot guys, we have a new guy on the scene and this led to the one part of this book that I didn’t enjoy: the dreaded love triangle. Well, at this point it looks more like a potential love triangle. Still, I’m not too keen on the idea. Anyhow, his name is Creek. He’s a member of this monster hunting organisation called the Kubai Mata, who are in New Florida to lend a hand when the shit inevitably hits the fan. I have to admit that while I kinda like Creek, I don’t quite trust him or the Kubai Mata. Looks like we’ll just have to wait and see.

The House of Comarre series is quickly becoming a favourite of mine. It’s only the second book and I’m already hooked. I cannot wait to see what Painter has in store for us next. You can buy it at Sony’s ebook store.

Guild Hunters Series: Archangel’s Consort

Archangel's Consort

Archangel’s Consort

Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux and her lover, the lethally beautiful archangel Raphael, have returned home to New York only to face an uncompromising new evil…

A vampire has attacked a girls’ school-the assault one of sheer, vicious madness-and it is only the first act. Rampant bloodlust takes vampire after vampire, threatening to make the streets run with blood. Then Raphael himself begins to show signs of an uncontrolled rage, as inexplicable storms darken the city skyline and and the earth itself shudders. 

The omens are suddenly terrifyingly clear.

An ancient and malevolent immortal is rising. The violent winds whisper her name: Caliane. She has returned to reclaim her son, Raphael. Only one thing stands in her way: Elena, the consort who must be destroyed.

I don’t think there is any other author who can compare to Nalini Singh. This woman has such an amazing way with words. Sometimes I have to stop reading and just marvel. I’m torn between absolute awe and and utter envy.

Archangel’s Consort is book three in the Guild Hunter series and it takes place shortly after the shit hit the fan with Lijuan in China. Elena and Raphael are back in New York, hoping for a little (relative) peace and quiet. Unfortunately, it looks like all the weirdness has followed them home, and the New York vampires start losing their heads. Something is causing Raphael’s vampires to succumb to bloodlust and the results aren’t pretty. The normally cool-calm-and-collected Raphael is worried. He knows that if he doesn’t reign his vampires in, and quickly, things are going to get messy. Circumstances force him to be more brutal than he’d necessarily like, and this puts a little bit of strain on his relationship with Elena. While Elena knows that Raphael has rule with an iron fist to keep control of his city, the methods he’s forced to use make her slightly uneasy. Making their lives even more complicated, there are increasing signs that a Sleeping ancient is about to wake up. And this isn’t just any ancient: it’s Caliane, Raphael’s mother. She wants her son back and she isn’t willing to let anyone, let alone some newly-made angel, stand in her way. However, Raphael isn’t the only one having to deal with family issues. Elena is forced into a situation where she has to deal with her estranged father and the little sisters who are basically strangers to her.

I really enjoyed this installment of the Guild Hunter series. There was more action in this book than there was in Archangel’s Kiss. This isn’t to say that there was no progression in Raphael and Elena’s relationship; it’s just that there was a little more focus on Elena being the kickass heroine we met in Angel’s Blood. We saw a good balance in Elena’s personality and how she interacted with the other characters. She displayed a certain amount of vulnerability with Raphael, but she was in no way a push over. She isn’t as physically strong as she used to be, but that does in no way keep her from hunting down vampires and holding her own with Raphael’s Seven. I also liked how Singh is developing Raphael’s character. He’s a hard man and he’s capable of doing some really awful things, but with Elena he… softens. He’s capable of being sweet and gentle. And where I once wasn’t too sure about Raphael, I’ve now decided that I love him.

This series, and the author who writes it, is a-ma-zing. I cannot wait to see what Singh’s got planned next for this series.

Guild Hunters Series: Archangel’s Kiss

Archangel's Kiss

Archangel’s Kiss

Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux wakes from a year-long coma to find herself changed-an angel with wings the colors of midnight and dawn-but her fragile body needs time to heal  before she can take flight. Her lover, the stunningly dangerous archangel Raphael, is used  to being in control-even when it comes to the woman he considers his own.  But Elena has never done well with authority…

They’ve barely begun to understand  each other when Raphael receives an invitation to a ball from the archangel Lijuan. To refuse would be a sign of fatal weakness, so Raphael must ready Elena for the flight to Beijing-and to the nightmare that awaits them there. Ancient and without conscience, Lijuan holds a power that lies with the dead. And she has organized the most perfect and most vicious of welcomes for Elena…

Archangel’s Kiss is the second book in the Guild Hunter series, and it sees Elena dealing with her transition from human to angel. Unlike its predecessor, Archangel’s Kiss is a lot less action packed, focusing more on the burgeoning relationship between Raphael and Elena.

Archangel’s Kiss takes place roughly one year after Angel’s Blood. Things have changed a great deal since Uram, the evil archangel, was defeated. One of the most notable changes has taken place with Elena. She’s now more than simply a hunter: she’s an angel, albeit a weak one. After being out of commission for so long, it’s going to take Elena a while to get back on her feet again. The main issue weighing on Raphael and Elena in this book is the threat posed by Lijuan, the archangel of China. She is extremely old and extremely powerful. Unfortunately, she’s also stark raving mad. When Raphael receives the invitation to Lijuan’s little get together, his first instinct is to be all, “Hell, no!” But to do so would be to place both Raphael and Elena at a tactical disadvantage and betray weakness. The last thing anyone wants to do is to leave themselves open to attack from Lijuan. Sadly, though, there’s no arguing against the fact that Elena is a major weakness for Raphael. She’s nowhere near as strong as she should be, and this makes Raphael vulnerable in a way that he’s never been before. So, it’s decided that she needs to work on her strength and prepare as best as she’s able for the trip to Beijing. Unfortunately, things are made more difficult-and scary-by a string of murders taking place within the Haven (basically the place where angels go to chill). Many of these acts of violence seem to be directed at Elena.

While there is absolutely no question that this is a brilliant series, I did feel like something was missing. I missed the action. I know that Elena’s being in a coma severely hindered her ability to kick ass, but I just felt like more stuff should have been blown up, or something. The threat presented by Lijuan was… I hesitate to say hyped up, but there was a big ominous build up to the event and it felt a wee bit anticlimactic. Maybe that was just me. What I did love was that we finally met all of Raphael’s Seven, however briefly, and they were awesome. Some we’ve already met-like Illium, Dmitri, Jason and Venom. But the new boys are just as badass. They are Aodhan (haven’t the foggiest idea how to pronounce that), Naasir and Galen. Together they are the Seven and, quite honestly, I find them more interesting that their boss, which I think really says something for these guys.

Overall, I felt a teensy bit let down, but I think that’s mainly because the first book was out of this world awesome. The Guild Hunter’s series is still definitely one worth following, and I can’t wait to see what Ms Singh comes up with next.

House of Comarre: Blood Rights

Blood Rights

Blood Rights

Born into a life of secrets and service, Chrysabelles body bears the telltale marks of a comarre-a special race of humans bred to feed vampire nobility. When her patron is murdered, she becomes the prime suspect, which sends her running into the mortal world… and into the arms of Malkolm, an outcast vampire cursed to kill every being from whom he drinks.

Now, Chrysabelle and Malkolm must work together to stop a plot to merge the mortal and supernatural worlds. If they fail, a chaos unlike anything anyone has ever seen will threaten to reign. 

Before I actually start on what I thought about the book, let me be completely superficial and talk about the cover. Isn’t it so pretty? That was honestly the first thing that went through my mind when I saw this book. I know we shouldn’t judge books based solely on the pretty pictures, but, thankfully, this book did not disappoint in terms of the story. It was spectacular! I was in awe of Ms Painter’s writing abilities by the end, and I couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen next.

Blood Rights is the first book in the House of Comarre series. The story is set in the year 2067, in Paradise City, New Florida. In this alternate universe, we have several species living among humans. Obviously, we have the vampires, but in addition to this we have demons, ghosts, faeries, and shifters running amok. Plus, you know, the ever hapless humans. However, there is one branch of humanity that isn’t clueless and isn’t helpless, no matter what the supes think. They are the comarre.

The comarre are made up of those guys and girls who are born with extremely high quality blood. These individuals are described as being the geisha in the world of vampires. They are both extremely attractive and their blood is the Lindt chocolate to the rest of humanity’s Chomp. In order to maintain these very high standards, the comarre are carefully bred to ensure that their blood remains pure. Only the wealthiest vampires can afford a comarre, and thus the comarre are the ultimate status symbol.

Chrysabelle is comarre, and one of the most saught after ones at that. And that was even before she was accused of killing her benefactor. Her selling price (I’m not entirely sure how else to describe it) was the highest ever reached by any other comarre in history. But now she is in very big trouble. Not only is she the lead suspect in a murder, but she’s also being hunted down by all-round crazy bitch, Tatiana. While on the run, Chrysabelle has the misfortune to run into a crabby-ass vampire named Malkolm. To say that these two get off to a bad start would be an understatement. Malkolm is an outcast among vampires and, thanks to the itty-bitty problem of hearing the voices of all the people he’s ever killed inside his head, he’s also a bit of a recluse. A crazy vampire is the last thing Chrysabelle wants to deal with. A comarre whose blood is supposed to be like nothing he’s ever tasted is the last thing Malkolm’s tenuous control needs. But circumstances beyond their control force them to work together.

In addition to the fresh new take to vampire lore, I also loved the characters in this book! They were all so interesting, that I just wanted to learn everything I could about them all at once. Secondary characters include Chrysabelle’s aunt, Maris, and the mistress of the house of comarre, Rennata. But my favourite two secondary characters were Doc and Fi. They make such an adorable couple, I was all “Awww…” every time they appeared. Fi is one of the ghosts who haunt Malkolm, but for some reason she’s managed to assume some sort of corporal form. And Doc is a 6ft5 were-leopard who, thanks to a rather nasty curse, can only turn into… a house cat. I felt really sorry for Doc, but that didn’t stop me from laughing hysterically when I read that bit.

The main characters were just… amazing, all in their own ways. I need to talk about Tatiana here. This woman is certifiable. She reminds me a little of Devina from J.R Ward’s Fallen Angels series. Tatiana is driven, ruthless and ambitious. All this with a side order of batshit crazy. What I appreciated though, was that she had layers. She wasn’t just this random crazy lady doing evil stuff just for the sake of it. Then we have Chrysabelle. When I started and read the blurb, I wasn’t too sure if I was going to like her. I’m happy to report that I was right. I didn’t like her; I loved her. As a comarre, she had lived a pretty sheltered life, but she never did the helpless ninny thing. She didn’t do stupid stuff just to make a point, but at no point did she let Malkolm push her around. She was awesome. Then, last but certainly not least, there’s Malkolm. What is it about the whole tortured hero thing that makes a girl weak in the knees? Granted, Malkolm wasn’t a very nice man back in the day and it can be argued that he deserves to be tortured. Still… there’s something a little bit sad about him that just makes you want to grab him and give him a hug.

In conclusion: this book was awesome. Kristen Painter is a rock star. I’m really excited about this series. You need to go read it if you haven’t already. Go now.

Fallen Angels: Rapture

Rapture

Rapture

Mels Carmichael, reporter for the Caldwell Courier Journal, gets the shock of her life when a man stumbles in front of her car outside the local cemetery. After the accident, his amnesia is just the kind of mystery she likes to solve, but she soon discovers they’re in over their heads with his past. Over their heads with passion, too…

As shadows walk the line between reality and another realm, and her lover’s memory begins to come back, the two of them learn that nothing is truly dead and buried. Especially if you’re trapped in a no holds barred war between angels and demons. With a soul on the line and and Mels’s heart at risk, what in Heaven-or in Hell-will it take to save them both?

I have such a raging crush on J.R Ward, it’s not even funny. Her books just make me so ridiculously happy. And Rapture, book 4 in the Fallen Angel series, was no exception. In case you haven’t heard of this series (seriously, where have you been?), let me give you a quick rundown. It’s basic premise is that of the whole good vs evil, heaven vs hell thing. The idea is that there are seven souls who are teetering between being good or being evil. It is up to Jim Heron, our leading man, to influence these people. If they make the right decision, and fall on the side of good, the world will be saved. If they make the wrong decision, hell will quite literally break loose. So. Big stakes. Luckily, Jim doesn’t have to deal with this mess all on his own. He has the help of two angels, Eddie and Adrian. Or at least, he did. Eddie is no longer with us :-(. Hindering Jim is the demon, Devina. This woman is chock full of crazy and has it bad for Jim, much to his disgust.

This installment of the series sees the score being 2:1 to the good guys. Plus Divina is being punished because she is physically incapable of playing by the rules. So things aren’t looking awful for Team Angel at this point, but then Jim is confronted by a familiar face. The soul in need of saving is the one and only Matthias, leader of XOps and Jim’s former boss. The main reason this is such a shock is because the last time we saw Matthias, he was in hell. So, what the…hell… is he doing here? Turns out, Matthias being given a second chance. He knows the score, he understands all too clearly what will happen to him should he not make the right choice. See, through a series of misunderstandings, Jim went after the wrong soul in Crave. Circumstances being what they were, Team Angel lost and Matthias went to hell.

I don’t know if the WARDen had planned Matthias’s redemption, if she just had a soft spot for him, or if he was a fan favourite. All I can say is that I am so very glad that Matthias got his second chance. I thought that Isaac Rothe was it in terms of sheer awww…-ness, but Matthias came damn close to bumping him off that top spot. Matthias has some horrifying physical and mental scars that he has to deal with, and he has a serious bout of self-loathing going on. Case in point: the guy stepped on a bloody landmine. On purpose. Suicidal tendencies abound. Unfortunately for Matthias, he didn’t die and his lower body is riddled with scars and he has to walk with a cane. Despite being a huge blow to Matthias’s pride, he’s dealing. Cane or not, this man is still absolutely lethal.

Then Matthias’s already jumbled world is shaken up even further when he’s hit by a car being driven by one Mels Carmichael. Less than stellar circumstances in which to meet somebody but, oddly enough, Matthias doesn’t seem to mind too much. Mels is a reporter and her life has stalled out on her. She’s frustrated with her job, and she’s uncomfortable living with a mother she doesn’t fully understand or have much in common with. Needless to say, she needs a change. But I’m pretty sure almost turning some poor guy into a speed bump wasn’t what she had in mind. Things between Matthias and Mels develop pretty quickly, and soon they’re thinking terms of I-love-yous. But Shakespeare had it right and, in next to no time at all, Devina shows up looking to make somebody miserable.

I loved all the characters in this book. I just wanted to give Matthias a hug. He was this mixture of both supremely cuddly and utterly badass. Given all that he’d been through, Mels was honestly perfect for him. She wasn’t judgy, even when she would have had every reason to be. She was solid, but she didn’t put up with any of his crap either. While things were looking up for Matthias and Mels, things seemed to be spiraling for the remaining members of Team Angel. Adrian is not handling Eddie’s death well, and he isn’t providing Jim with the back up he needs. Eddie once provided Team Angel with a much needed referee. Adrian and Jim don’t always see eye-to-eye, and their idea of resolving the issue often leads to scenes that wouldn’t seem out of place at a WWE Smackdown. Jim really had his hands full in this book. He’s haunted by the death of the young woman, Cecelia Barton, and Devina is not above shoving that in his face at every opportunity. Now he’s responsible for keeping Adrian from going off the rails, as well as saving the world. It’s a good thing Jim’s already dead, or he would be bordering on a heart attack at this point. I’ve mentioned Devina a couple of times here. She is everything you’d expect from a demon; she’s an evil, manipulative, sadistic bitch. But I have a confession where Devina is concerned: I have a slight case of sympathy for the devil. The thing is, you can relate to her. Unlike some villains you read about, where all you get is the emphasis on what makes them so awful, she’s not just evil. She has layers and problems just like anyone else. She sees a therapist, she gets her hair done, she frets about what to wear and how to impress the guy she likes. If she wasn’t such a psychotic bitch, I’d feel sorry for her.

I know this is a fairly long post, but I can’t let you go without sharing some of my favourite quotes from this book.

In this scene, Mels’s boss is hitting on her. The aptly named Dick is, by the sounds of it, as far away from sexy as it’s possible to get:
What she was clear on was that with a jawline more ham sandwich than Jon Hamm, the man had no objective reason to believe the answer to any woman’s problems was in his pants.

This bit is from Jim’s perspective and conveys his utter disbelief at finding his old boss asking him for help:
And yet no matter how much his brain cramped, it looked like pigs could fly, there was a snowball in Hell, and somewhere across town, a twelve-year old dog was learning to drive a goddamn car.

Last little bit before I go comes after Jim and Adrian have rip-roaring fight. Adrian is being an irresponsible pain in Jim’s butt, and now Jim’s had enough. While they’re fighting, Jim kicks Adrian in the penalty area:
Motherfucker was going to sing the high notes like Justin-cocksucking-Timberlake for a while.  

I think you might be able to pick up on the fact that I loved this book. And I’m pretty sure that if you read it, you will, too.

Shaede Assassin: Shaedes of Gray

Shaedes of Gray

Shaedes of Gray

In the shadows of the night, Darian has lived alone for almost a century. Made and abandoned by her former love, Darian is the last of her kind-an immortal Shaede who can slip into darkness as easily as breathing. With no one else to rely on, she has taught herself how to survive, using her unique skills to become a deadly assassin.

When Darian’s next mark turns out to be Xander Peck, King of the Shaede Nation, her whole worldview is thrown into question. Darian begins to wonder if she’s taken on more than her conscience will allow. But a good assassin never leaves a job unfinished…

I was less than impressed with Ms Bonilla by the time I finished this book. Not because I didn’t love it, because I totally did. It broke the awesome scale. But it had me biting my nails again, a habit I thought I’d kicked in primary school. But then along came Shaedes of Gray, and I suddenly I was rendered a nervous, nail-biting wreck. Eight years of restraint and “maturity” down the tubes in the space of time that it took me to read this book. 

Ruined fingernails aside, this book was amazing. Honestly, it was epic. I loved the characters, or loved to hate them in some circumstances. Shaedes of Gray had everything: we had a smart, kickass heroine, a sweetie pie hero, and there was action, suspense, humour, and some romance on the side. See what I mean? It has everything. What’s not to love?

I have a confession as far as Darian goes: I think she’s my fictional girl-crush. I just loved her so much! She’s a Shaede and she’s an assassin. Yes, thank you, Captain Obvious. I know you could have gotten all that from the title and the blurb, but it does bear mentioning. Shaedes are humanish in most respects except that they have the power to sort of… poof into smoke? Sorry, I’m not entirely sure how else to describe it. I picture it as being similar to what the Dementors did in the Harry Potter movies. This whole poof-ing thing really comes in handy for Darian, especially given her profession. In addition to being the type of person you would not want coming after you, Darian is a little on the prickly side. And who can blame her? All of the people she ever trusted, the people who were supposed to look out for her, screwed her over in spectacular fashion. Her parents couldn’t wait to marry her off to any random wealthy stranger, her random wealthy stranger abuses her, and the guy who promised to take her away from all this supposedly dies on her. In short, people suck and Darian knows that the only person she can rely on is herself. So Darian is the poster child for trust issues, except for when it comes to Tyler.

Can I just have a minute here?

……..

Sorry about that. It’s just… I loved him so much! He was alpha when the need arose, but most of the time he was so sweet and supportive that I just wanted to cuddle with him. For the record: Tyler is definitely one of my book boyfriends. Even when Darian was being all prickly and sullen, he was there for her every step of the way. No matter what, he always had her back. And he’s not Mr Average Joe either. He’s a… Nah, I can’t tell you. Let’s just say that I haven’t ever had one of those in any of the books I’ve read, and leave it at that. I don’t want to spoil the surprise 😉 The next male character we deal with is Xander Peck. I liked this guy quite a bit, but I didn’t trust him as far as I could throw him. Xander has hired Darian to carry out a hit for him, but he doesn’t think her skills are quite where he needs them to be. Now, I’m sure you’re wondering, “Well then, why doesn’t he get someone who can do it?” You’ll have to read it to find out. This is where my favourite peripheral character came in: Raif, the King’s brother. I vow, if I hadn’t been pulling for Tyler from the get-go, Raif would have been my man. Xander has decided that it’ll be Raif’s job to train Darian and make her the fierce assassin he knows she’s capable of becoming. Raif hands Darian her ass a couple of times but, almost in spite of themselves, mutual respect eventually leads to a grudging friendship. He is definitely my favourite of the two  royal brothers. 

I highly recommend this book. It was nothing short of brilliant. There were so many unexpected developments that I spent a lot of the time reading this with my mouth hanging open. Very few of the characters were what they appeared to be, and there were double-crossings galore! Shaedes of Gray was really the best kind of book: it had crash-boom-bang action, laugh-out-loud moments, and romance that was sweet but never over the top. In summary? Go read it. Now. 

Fever: Shadowfever

Shadowfever

Shadowfever

“Evil is a completely different creature, Mac. Evil is bad that believes it’s good.”

MacKayla was just a child when she and her sister, Alina, were given up for adoption and banished from Ireland forever. 

Twenty years later, Alina is dead and Mac has returned to the country that expelled them to hunt her sister’s murderer. But after discovering that she descends from a bloodline both gifted and cursed, Mac is plunged into a secret history: an ancient conflict between humans and immortals that have lived concealed among us for thousands of years.

What follows is a shocking chain of events with devastating consequences, and now Mac struggles to cope with grief, while continuing her mission to acquire and control the Sinar Dubh-a book of dark, forbidden magic scribed by the mythical Unseelie King that contains the power to create and destroy worlds. 

Good… grief. I’m finally done with the Fever series. For now, anyway. I’m both totally depressed and utterly relieved to be moving on. While there is no denying that this series was beyond epic, it was also beyond exhausting. So many twists and turns, and turns and twists. I’m not going to give a full recap of the book because it would take more time than I have. I’m just going to mention the things I loved and the things that fell a little short for me. Now, I’m not knocking the series; I just think that there parts that were the eensiest bit… anticlimatic. It’s just that expectations got built so high that when things did get resolved, it was like… “Oh. Okay.” I think it might be the only downside to KMM’s writing. I don’t think anyone could have possibly topped what she did in Dreamfever.

Lets talk about the cliffhanger: dealing with it took too long. Seriously, I was practically rabid by the time that KMM finally put me out my misery eight or nine chapters in. Darroc, aka the Lord Master, is dead. I was a little disappointed with the way he got taken out. I would have thought, given how much trouble this SOB caused, his end would have been spectacularly bloody. Another person I think KMM went too easy on? Rowena. I wanted that bitch painfully dead. Every time I thought I couldn’t possibly dislike that woman more, I was proven wrong. She was evil incarnate.

On the plus side, we got to meet more of Barrons’ playmates. I’m torn between being really excited about getting to know them better because they’re smoking hot, and being really nervous about getting to know them better because a little birdie told me that Ryodan makes Barrons look like a mild-mannered accountant. So we shall have to see about this bunch of crazy kids. Another mystery that has been plaguing this series was who killed Mac’s sister Alina (I think I may have referred to her as “Alana” in an older post? My bad if I did). I must admit, given how much else was going on, I kinda forgot that Mac’s sister had been killed. But even if it had been at the forefront of my mind, I would never have expected her killer to be who it was. Big problems and another big ol’ cliffhanger.

This book was all about tying up loose ends. One of these was Fiona. Hell, this woman was more than a “loose end”. I’m going to quote the esteemed Dr Sheldon Cooper here and tell you that, “Bitches be crazy.” I actually felt sorry for Fiona, the poor misguided twit that she was. She was a shining example of loving someone too much. Loose end number two was Christian McKeltar. I don’t think I’ve mentioned him before. He’s this uber-cute Scotsman who knows more about the Fae than your typical Average Joe, and in Shadowfever this boy is up to his neck in crap. Things are still up in the air by the end of the book, but I understand that he’s going to play an important role in Iced. On the topic of V’lane, I have only one thing to say: I knew it! I’m not saying that I had even the faintest idea that KMM was going to pull that out of her hat, but I knew there was something fishy about him. Bloody agent. We also dealt with Barrons related loose ends. There’s the big reveal as to why Barrons wants the creepy Sinsar Dubh in the first place and, dammit, it made my heart hurt. It was just so sad. I wanted to give him a hug and, considering the fact that for three of the five books I wanted to slap his face, I think that says something.

Why do I get the feeling I’m leaving something out? Hmmm… What could it be?

Oh, that’s right! Mac and Barrons finally finally finally got together! Properly this time! I was so glad they finally stopped dancing around each other. Any longer and it would have become annoying. But I think KMM knew just how far to push things and then finally just let them progress as they should. I was a teeny bit disappointed but, in all fairness, given how much hype there was around Mac and Barrons finally getting their act together, that there was no way anything could have lived up to it. So it was a… good disappointment, if you know what I mean.

I loved this series from beginning to end. I know it sounds like I’ve dedicated this post to bitching, but it’s honestly easier to mention the few things I felt slightly let down by than to mention the dozens of things that totally blew my mind. Even if there are parts of the book that disappointed me, this series is probably better than ninety percent of the books I’ve read in the past.

Now on to my favourite bits. Shadowfever continued the series’ tradition of being all dark and broody, but there were some bits that had me smiling.

This quote had me laughing although I think it may have been a little inappropriate. This scene takes place shortly after the Lord Master gets his head ripped off. I think it gives us a clear picture of how far Mac has progressed from being the sweet, sheltered Southern gal who lost her sister to the tough chick whose primary goal in life is to survive.
He stumbles and collapses to the ground. Somewhere nearby, I hear garbled sounds. Oh, God, his head is still talking.
Good! Can he form sentences? I’m in a strong bargaining position.
 Tell me what I want, and I’ll put your head back on.

This is a scene between Barrons and Mac and features an unexpectedly sweet and protective and (totally expectedly) sexy Barrons.
“Jericho, I feel like my whole life has been pushing me toward this moment.”
“That’s it. Fate’s a fickle whore. We’re not going. Take you clothes off and get back in my bed.”

I think me finding that comment oddly romantic is just a testament to KMM’s writing. In the space of five books, she’s managed to make me do a complete 180 on a character who made me shout at my books.  

Fever: Dreamfever

Dreamfever

Dreamfever

They may have stolen my past but I will never let them take my future.

When the walls between Man and Fae come crashing down, freeing the immortal Unseelie from their icy prison, Mac is caught in a deadly trap. Tortured and trapped by the Fae Lord Master, Mac has no memory of who or what she is: the only sidhe-seer alive that can track the Sinsar Dubh, a book of black magic that holds the key to controlling both worlds. 

Clawing her way back from oblivion is only the first step Mac must take down a perilous path, from the battle filled streets of Dublin to the treacherous politics of an ancient, secret sect, through the tangled lies of men who claim to be her allies into the illusory world of the Fae themselves where nothing is as it seems-and Mac is forced to face a soul-shattering truth.

Who do you trust when you can’t even trust yourself?

Dreamfever was super intense. Not that I expected anything else with this series, but just when you think that there is no possible way KMM can push things further, she does. Seriously, I just want to take a moment to say that KMM is clearly not human. Because no mere mortal can write like she does. It’s insane. Also as a sort of public service to those of you reading this series, or are thinking about it: have Shadowfever on hand before you read Dreamfever. Honestly, if you thought that the cliffhanger from Faefever was bad, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Fair warning!

On to what actually happened. At the end of the last book, we saw Mac being kidnapped and turned Pri-ya by the pretentious Lord Master and his evil henchmen, the Unseelie princes. Being Pri-ya is basically like being turned into a raging nympho. Sex with the Fae makes humans that way and anytime they’re not having sex, they’re in mind-melting agony. Nothing matters beyond getting it on with a Fae. Not food, not sleep, not family. They exist for one reason: sex. So, naturally, this is the last thing Mac needs. While Mac is doing the sex fiend thing, we get the story told from Dani’s perspective. I know I’ve said it before, but I’m going to say it again: Dani rocks. Not only is being in her head pretty funny, but she’s not one of those little girly-girls who waits for a big strong man to swoop in and save the day. Barrons and V’lane are nowhere to be found and Mac needs saving. So, feck it. Dani saves her. No sweat.

Once Mac is out of the immediate danger of being subject to the Unseelie princes’ attentions, one glaring problem remains: she’s still Pri-ya, she’s in pain and she has no clue who she is. It takes Barrons to… snap her out of it. All I could think while reading about Barrons’ methods was, “You lucky, lucky girl.” Because not only is Barrons hotter than the sun, but he’s-dare I say it-sweet. It was weird, like he’d been body snatched or something. But it was also endearing and the last remnants of my anti-Barrons stance crumbled. Yes, he’s a butt head, but he was willing to listen to “Tub Thumping” with her. It takes a real hero to listen to that spectacularly aggravating song.

When Mac snaps out of being Pri-ya, she is properly pissedAny vestiges of “Pink Mac” are gone, and “Black Mac” has taken her place. No more pretty pink nail polish and accessories. Mac is now all about guns and leather. Mac’s shit list is a mile long and Barrons and Rowena, the aging sidhe-seer, are right up there. Mac has a huge confrontation with Rowena and the other sidhe-seers. She and Barrons go from being unable to keep their hands off each other to alternating between hostility and formality. Speaking of hostility, we see a lot of posturing between Barrons and V’lane and learn why V’lane is so twitchy around Barrons. Which once again brings us to the burning question: what the hell is Barrons?!?! We get some insight into Barrons’ past, but nothing to really explain why he is the way he is, and why the heck he wants the Sinsar Dubh. 

We are also introduced to Barrons’ merry band of sociopaths. I am very keen to learn more about these guys. The only person in this group of nutters we actually met was Ryodan, who is the leading man in Iced and, as I’ve been told, makes Barrons look humble. Colour me intrigued. And a little nervous.

Despite the fairly grim tone of this book, there were moments where I sat there pretty much laughing like a loon. I just want to share a few of those scenes with you:

Mac has just snapped out of being Pri-ya and is remembering some of what she and Barrons have been getting up to in the past few weeks.
If I know Jericho Barrons, he was walking around feeling like his dick was the most huge, magnificent, perfect, important creation under the sun.
Which-I winced-I vaguely recalled telling him a time or two.
Well… maybe several times.

Mac and Barrons have had a rip-roaring argument and Mac is now sitting on the floor. V’lane comes in, checks out the situation, and a pissing contest ensues.
“Did he strike you, MacKayla? Say the word and I’ll kill him.”
“As if you could,” said Barrons.
“Perhaps not. But I do enjoy thinking about it.”
“Bring it on, Tinker Bell.”

Lastly, a snippet from yet another argument between Mac and Barrons. This is one of the rare cases where Mac actually gets the upper hand in an argument,
“I’m trying to arm myself so I can fight like I fuck,” I snapped. “But you refuse to help.”
“I was beginning to wonder if you were ever going to say that word again, Ms Lane. Time was, you had no reservations. ‘Fuck me, Jericho Barrons,’ you’d say. Morning, noon and night.”
“I didn’t know getting you to talk was so easy, or I’d have said it five minutes ago. Fuck you, Jericho Barrons.”

Well said, Mac. I may not hate Barrons any more, but he was being a pig in that scene. I have finished Shadowfever and, I have to admit, I’m feeling both sad and relieved that I’m done for the time being. It’ll be quite a while before I read Iced. It’s been quite a ride, but it’s also been kinda heavy. I think I’ll need some time to breathe before I carry on with the series.  

Fever: Faefever

Faefever

Faefever

He calls me his Queen of the Night. I’d die for him. I’d kill for him, too.

When Mac receives a page torn from her dead sister’s journal, she is stunned by Alina’s words. Mac knows her sister’s killer is near. The sidhe-seer is on the hunt: for answers, for revenge. And for an ancient book of magic so twisted and dark that it corrupts anyone who touches it.

Mac’s quest takes her into the dark, riot-filled streets of Dublin with a suspicious cop on her tail. Forced into an uneasy alliance with a deadly Fae prince and the lethal Jericho Barrons, Mac is soon locked in a battle for her body, mind and soul.

Whoa… I just want to say, for the record, that if I fail my exams next week it is all KMM’s fault. How can I be expected to read all that dry stuff on museums when I can be reading this? I have no willpower when it comes to these books. They pull me in until the words “exams”, “fail miserably”, and “working at MacDonald’s” have no meaning. All I care about is finding out what’s going to happen next. Mac just seems to get stronger and stronger with each book. “Pink Mac”, as she refers to her younger, more clueless self, is rapidly being replaced by a darker, more ruthless Mac. She has so much to deal with, and any form of morality is being sacrificed on the alter of survival.

Mac’s problems seem to keep piling up. First, she has to deal with that dirty habit she picked up from Malluce. Mac’s determination to survive bit her in the bum a little bit on this one. While I’m glad Mac isn’t dead, it still squees me out to read about her habit. Even worse when she has a sort of “peer pressure” moment and gets poor Inspector Jayne in on the action. Just… ewww. Moving on. Mac’s having some serious trust issues in Faefever. And who can blame her? Nobody (translate: Barrons) tells her anything. And other people (read: V’lane) are about as trustworthy as a tenderpreneur. The poor girl is getting desperate to have somebody on her side who’s honest with her. And it’s not like she can force Barrons to quit being evasive, or make V’lane tell her the truth. So Mac has decided that it’s time to stop putting her eggs in one basket. So… ding! ding! ding!… Inspector Jayne, you have become Mac’s third option. Poor bastard.

The relationship between Mac and Barrons has become even more tense, if you’ll believe it. The Kiss strained things a little, and Barrons’ unwillingness to tell her what he is (dammit, it’s starting to drive me nuts!), isn’t helping any. But he is being… helpful, in his own way. He’s teaching her how to resist Voice (think Harry Potter’s Imperious curse) and they’re making plans to go after the Sinsar Dubh. Barrons wants that thing bad. But, as with everything Barrons-related, we haven’t the foggiest idea why. This forces both the reader and Mac to come up with reasons as to why he could possibly want that creepy thing. I’m with Mac and leaning towards something sinister. Mac is also getting closer to V’lane physically and she’s beginning to trust him somewhat. I tend to shout at Mac when she’s with V’lane. I’ve given up on my whole “Barrons sucks” stance, so most of the advice I shout tends to be along the lines of “Don’t trust that creepy feckin’ Fae!” And that neatly brings us to my second favourite character in this series: Dani. I love this kid. She is such a handful, but she’s so much fun! On the other hand, my least favourite sidhe-seer, Rowena makes me want to throw things. She is such a bitch.

Faefever centres around one burning issue: how to keep the walls between the human realm and the realm of the Fae up. Because once the walls are down, and the creepy Unseelie are released, shit is going to start flying. And then… then… KMM did that thing I hate: she threw in a cliffhanger. I’m glad I was home alone when I read this part because otherwise I’m pretty sure my parents would have had me committed. I went a little nutty. Like, how could KMM just leave me hanging there?! I have Dreamfever, thank the pope, or else I would be a complete wreck. To those of you reading this series or if you’re considering reading this series: if you love yourself, you will get all of the books at once. Don’t try and be clever or thrifty and buy them one at a time. You will want to get started on the next book as soon as you finish the one you’re currently on, and if you don’t have it you will suffer.

My two favourite quotes from Faefever both involve Barrons. Yes, I can hear the laughter. How the mighty have fallen.

This scene happens just after a completely hair-raising run in with the Sinsar Dubh.
I began to cry.
Barrons looked horrified. “Stop that immediately, Ms Lane.”
“I can’t.” I sniffled into my cup of cocoa so he wouldn’t see my face.
“Try harder.”
I know he was barking orders, but I think he may have been somewhat panicky about Mac crying. Mac’s pretty much been a trooper, all things considered.

In this book we learn that Barrons is having a birthday. Mac decided to be nice and get him a birthday cake. I mean, things have been pretty grim for Mac and I think she just wanted to lighten the mood. There’s just a slight problem: she doesn’t know how old Barrons is. Undeterred, Mac puts “Pi” on the cake. This is one of the scenes where I wished we could have gotten a third-person perspective. I wanted to know what was going on in that thick skull of his.
“Pi, Ms Lane? I’d pegged you for failing high school math.”
I got a D. The little stuff always trips me up. But the big stuff stuck with me.”
“Why Pi?”
“It’s irrational and uncountable.”
Funny girl, wasn’t I?
“It’s also a constant,” he said dryly. 

I’m now wavering between wanting to jump Barrons’ bones and wanting to smack him upside the head. But at least I’m not doing that indignant female fury thing so much any more. I still think he’s a creep, but he’s growing on me… like a fungus.

Fever: Bloodfever

Bloodfever

Bloodfever

I used to be your everyday, average girl but all that changed one night in Dublin, when I saw my first Fae, and got dragged into a world of deadly immortals and ancient secrets.

In her fight to stay alive, Mac must find the Sinsar Dubh-a million year old book of deadly black magic, which holds the key to power over both the worlds of Fae and Man. Pursued by assassins, surrounded by people she knows she can’t trust, Mac finds herself torn between two dangerous and powerful men, V’lane, a lethal Fae prince and the mysterious Jericho Barrons.

For millennia the shadowy realm of the Fae court has coexisted with that of humans. Now the walls between the two are coming down and Mac is the only thing that stands between them. 

While reading a book, I usually weigh the heroine on my own personal “Kick Ass Scale” from one to ten. If a heroine is a one, she’s a “Bella”. We do not like Bellas. If she’s a ten, she’s a “Buffy”. We love Buffys. But I think I’m going to need to create an eleven, The ladies who reach this point on the scale will henceforth be known as a “Mac”. Mac underwent a major transformation in this book. I was both really proud of her and utterly freaked out.

I didn’t enjoy Bloodfever quite as much as I did Darkfever, but there is no denying that Ms Moning can write one hell of a good book. Mac has now learnt that she is a sidhe-seer, a woman with the ability to see the Fae. There are other sidhe-seers in Ireland, but they haven’t been very nice to her. Mac has also, more or less, settled into her rather… odd living arrangements. Mac and Barrons have an extremely strange relationship. They’re all formal and stuff, and he insists on calling her “Ms Lane”.But there are moments where the formal facade cracks and they get so unbelievably pissy with one another. Those moments have me rolling around laughing. These two are sharp and they don’t pull any punches in terms of the snotty commentary. Now, I know that I said that Barrons is an ass and I stand by that statement, but, man… he’s funny!

And in spite of the fact that Barrons is a pig, and that Mac’s mental health will go down the toilet if she does, I wish that Mac and Barrons would just go there, The sexual tension between these two is off the charts, as is illustrated by this little snippet. It also raises a very important question: what in the hell is Jericho Barrons? This is an issue that we will deal with for most of the series.

“I’ve heard that there are no male sidhe-seers.
“Where did you hear that?”
“Around.”
“And which one of those are you in doubt about, Ms Lane?”
“Which one of what?”
“Whether I see the Fae, or whether I’m a man. I believe I’ve laid your mind to rest on the former; shall I relieve it on the latter?”
He reached for his belt.

See what I mean? He’s an obnoxious pig… but he’s funny. So do I roll my eyes in disgust, or do I succumb to side-splitting laughter. I suppose it only adds to Barrons’ appeal. I mean, who says stuff like that? Also, evasive much? But Mac has more pressing matters to deal with. She’s also being treated much like a bone between two hungry dogs. V’lane and Barrons both want to help Mac, but neither can stand the sight of the other. Add to that the mind-melting pain she experiences whenever she’s in the presence of the Sinsar Dubh, a seriously evil book of black magic, and Mac’s plate is pretty full.

The peripheral characters were pretty interesting. We saw more of the old faces and got introduced to a few newbies. Let me start with the people we’re familiar with and then I’ll introduce you to the new characters. I still don’t like V’lane, the death-by-sex Fae. Not only is this guy creepy as hell but he is morally bankrupt. This guy has something else on his agenda, besides getting into Mac’s pants. Fiona is still doing the whole crazy in love thing for Barrons, although she’s leaning more towards crazy than anything else. Rowena, the aging sidhe-seer is a horrible old lady, and I want to kick her. She is so bloody nasty to Mac, when all Mac needs at this point is a bit of guidance. The Lord Master, the guy Mac suspects of killing her sister, is still running amok causing trouble. Just as an aside, what kind of name is Lord Master? Really? Malluce, the vampire, is falling apart. When you see what’s going on with him you will cringe.

Now for our new faces. I think my favourite was Dani. She’s a precocious thirteen year old sidhe-seer with a potty mouth  and a bad attitude. She is so much fun and I can’t wait to read more about her. The next newbie is Inspector Jayne. He’s a member of Ireland’s Garda and is causing Mac’s butt to cramp. He won’t get out of her hair and is convinced that she knows more than she’s telling about the murder of his college. Finally, we meet the yummy Christian MacKeltar. He’s seems like your typical Average Joe, but he knows stuff. Stuff that Mac is dying to learn more about.

One more thing I’d like to talk about before I sign off is… the kiss. Barrons and Mac do lock lips towards the end of this book, and I couldn’t even get properly excited about it. Why, you ask? Because Mac kinda-okay, I’m lying-totally freaked me out just before the kiss and so, I didn’t appreciate it as much. I was still dwelling a little on the utterly disgusting habit that Mac had picked up from Malluce. I have one thing to say about it: yuck.

Last little quote before I go. I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about Barrons, but this quote made me dislike him a little less. Not to worry though. He will doubtless piss me off again in the next book.

“What are you, Barrons?”
The one who will never let you die, and that’s more, Ms Lane, than anyone in your life has ever been able to say to you. More than anyone else can do.”

Hope that you’ve all enjoyed your weekend!

 

Belador Series: The Curse

The Curse

The Curse

With the freedom of an entire race hanging in the balance, Evalle has two days to make good on a promise that she suddenly has no hope of fulfilling when demonic Svart Trolls invade Atlanta. She takes a leap of faith, seeking help from the one man who recently put Evalle in his crosshairs-Black Ops specialist Isak Nyght.

While trying to stop the bloody troll-led gang wars, Evalle unwittingly exposes a secret that endangers all she holds dear, and complicates her already tumultuous love life with the mysterious Skinwalker, Storm. But when Evalle discovers she’s the number-one target in the Medb coven’s ruthless plan to destroy all Beladors, the deadly Alterant is forced to make a game-changing decision with no time left on the clock. 

I didn’t give this book as much attention as I should have. Not because I didn’t enjoy it, but because I was enjoying something else more (I’ll tell you about it later; I’m still trying to process). This is exactly why I don’t read two books at once, but smarty-pants over here thought she could manage it. After all, I’m not some little kid who can’t focus on more than one thing at a time. Hell, I’m a woman! We multitask. Alas, I’ve embarrassed my gender because I most certainly cannot read more than one book at a time. The reading experience inevitably suffers.

Anyhow… I enjoyed The Curse, the lastest installment in the Belador series. It was much better than Alterant, which felt a little bit… off. Can’t put my finger on what went wrong there, but it didn’t sit quite right. The Curse starts a few weeks after Alterant, and Storm has been missing for that entire time. Evalle has no clue where he is and, to make matters worse, trolls have been involving themselves in human gang wars. VIPER now needs to kill the trolls and keep the humans involved from realising that anything fishy is going on. This makes our favourite Alterant more than a little cranky. If only she knew that Storm was okay, maybe she wouldn’t be so keen on taking her frustrations out on the icky things that are causing chaos in Atlanta.

We last saw Storm being thrown against a wall (really super hard) by Mr Cranky-Pants himself, Sen. Storm very nearly died and Adrianna, a Sterling witch and all-round sex-bomb, has been helping Storm get better. Once Storm is back on his feet, he knows there’s going to be hell to pay. Not only has he been out of contact for nearly three weeks, but he’s spent those weeks stuck in a room with Adrianna. Storm knows Evalle well enough to know that she’s going to flip her lid when she finds out. Once Storm and Evalle sort things out, things go smoothly for about… oh, say, five minutes. The situation with the trolls is making VIPER agents’ lives difficult. These things are damn near impossible to kill, and there’s only one person who has the means to deal with these things effectively.

So, as if things aren’t complicated enough, Isak Nyght is thrown into the mix. He’s got all kinds of cool toys that can make a demon go ka-boom, and he’s not really the sharing type. But he’s got a bit of a soft spot for Evalle, and Tzader and Quinn aren’t above suggesting that Evalle play the helpless girl card to get what they need. Gagging all the way, Evalle does as she’s asked and contacts Isak. Naturally, things don’t go as planned and the shit hits the fan in spectacular fashion. For a little while Isak acts like a complete tool and, even though he eventually got over it, it put me even more firmly in Storm’s corner.

Lets talk about the inevitable dreaded love triangle. I have to give credit here to Love and SK. Love triangles are the bane of my existence, particularly within the Urban Fantasy genre. It just wastes the time of the (usually) strong heroine. She spends time thinking about who she should choose (because she likes them both equally) instead of kicking ass. Evalle doesn’t  do that, thank the pope. She knows exactly who she wants, even though she’s not exactly sure how to tell him. And in spite of her relationship troubles, Evalle still manages to save the day. So a big thank you to SK and Love! I could not handle it if Evalle became one of those wimpish heroines whose biggest priority is which hunky piece of something is going to be her boyfriend.

And speaking of relationship woes, poor Tzader and Quinn. It’s hard to pick who has worse taste in women, Tzader the guy who’s in love with a woman who’s locked away in a castle that he’s barred from entering, or Quinn who is quite literally sleeping with the enemy. I’m leaning towards Quinn. I know Kazira’s mom is a crazy bitch who compels her to do stuff, but I can’t quite forgive her for taking advantage of Quinn last time. I’m still on the “you suck” bandwagon as far as Kazira goes.

The Curse was a definite step up from Alterant, even though I didn’t enjoy it as much as I had hoped. But that’s my own bloody fault. So if you’re thinking about giving this series a try, do not hesitate! It’s action-packed, fast paced, has an awesome heroine and just a hint of romance.

Before I go, I just want to share my favourite quote from this book. It epitomises why Storm is one of my book boyfriends. He’s so sweet and patient and attentive and yummy…

He swung her around in his arms and brought her close, nose to nose. “You are the most beautiful woman between earth and heaven to me in any form. I don’t care what you can turn into… as long as you end up in my arms.”

I melt every time I read that…

Fever: Darkfever

Darkfever

Darkfever

My philosophy is pretty simple-any day nobody’s trying to kill me is a good day in my book. I haven’t had many good days lately.”

MacKayla Lane’s life is good. She has great friends, a decent job, and a car that breaks down only every other week or so. In other words, she’s your perfectly ordinary twenty-first century woman.

Or so she thinks… until something extraordinary happens.

When her sister is murdered, leaving a single clue to her death-a cryptic message on Mac’s cell phone-Mac journeys to Ireland in search of answers. The quest to find her sister’s killer draws her into a shadowy realm where nothing is as it seems, where good and evil wear the same treacherously seductive mask. She is soon faced with an even greater challenge: staying alive long enough to learn to handle a power she had no idea she possessed-a gift that allows her to see beyond the world of man, into the dangerous realm of the Fae.

This book… whew. This book. Words fail me a little bit which, I’ll have you know, doesn’t happen often. This book was fabulous. Darkfever is the first book in Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series, and if the rest of the books are anything like this one, they’ll be spectacular! KMM is an evil genius, and she has created such a complex world with some really… interesting  characters to go along with it. This isn’t to say that I’ll be daydreaming about visiting her version of Ireland, or that I liked all of the characters. In fact, most of the characters pissed me off. But despite this, I couldn’t put this book down. My eyes were glued to the pages and whenever I wanted to take a breather, there was this little voice in my head asking what the hell I thought I was doing. This book was like crack for me. I just had to know what was going to happen next.

The story is told from the perspective of  MacKayla Lane, a sweet Southern girl whose life is damn near perfect. She lives in Georgia with her parents and her older sister. She’s young, she’s pretty, her parents adore her, and she and her sister are best friends. Her life couldn’t possibly get any better… but then her sister dies while studying abroad in Dublin. Then Mac’s world completely unravels. The police decide to discontinue their investigation because they’ve run out of leads, and her parents are in a state of complete shock. Mac doesn’t know how to react, but she soon decides to haul ass to Ireland to put pressure on the Dublin police. If they’re pulling that whole out of sight, out of mind thing, then she’ll make sure that she’s constantly in their face.

Then things start getting super freaky. Like, insanely weird. She runs into the arrogant, condescending, sarcastic, gorgeous Jericho Barrons and starts seeing Fae. Before I bitch about Barrons, let me tell you about the Fae: they are creepy. Tinkerbell these guys were not. Most of the time, the prettier these things were, the more capable they were of doing horrible things. On to other horrible, beautiful things: Jericho Barrons. I know I’m probably in the minority, but I did not like this man. There were times where I sat there with my mouth hanging wide open, and others where I actually started shouting at him (duh, Mo, he can’t hear you!). He was probably the single most infuriating male character I’ve read since Dark Predator’s Zacharias (don’t get me started on that asshole). Let me give you a few examples of why I would have dearly loved to smack him. In the head. With a rock.

His gaze dropped from my face to my toes and back again. Apparently unimpressed by what he saw. “Go home, Ms Lane. Be young. Be pretty. Get married. Have babies. Grow old with your pretty husband.”
Grrr… anyone?

Mac has long pretty blonde hair that she absolutely loves, but circumstance has made her its bitch so she has to cut it. Being kinda attached to my own hair, I totally understand where Mac is coming from when she’s reluctant to do so. Barrons? Not too big on that pesky little concept known as empathy. This quote caused me to use what my mom would call “workshop language”.
“When you’ve finished cutting and coloring you hair, return to me. Short and dark, Ms Lane. Lose the Barbie look.”

He gave me a brief glance. “Go put on something more… womanly.”
My eyes narrowed. “You mean sleazy.”
“I mean the kind of woman others are accustomed to seeing me with. 
grown one, if you think you can manage that, Ms Lane. Black might make you look old enough to drive. The new hair is… better. But doing something with it. Make it look like the night I woke you.”

So now you understand why I was acting a little on the crazy side. I know that he couldn’t really afford to coddle her, given the circumstances, but there was absolutely no reason for him to act like such a tremendous douche! With all that said though, I still kept reading. I wanted to see Mac prove him wrong, that she wasn’t just some pretty little airhead, that she could survive in the dangerous world of the Fae. I think I was also hoping that he’d soften just a little, tiny bit. Ha! Good thing I didn’t hold my breath waiting for it since it only happened in the last chapter and lasted about a page and a half. Mac somehow managed to convince him to paint her nails. It was actually pretty funny seeing Barrons so out of his element, and I was damn impressed that Mac had actually managed to convince him to do it.

Mac was actually a really interesting character. Initially she reminded me of Sookie Stackhouse (before Charlaine Harris lost her marbles), the nice Southern gal being dropped in at the deep end of the supernatural pond. But I didn’t think I was going to like her. She likes pink, for Pete’s sake. How can I possibly take to such a girly-girl heroine? Quite easily, as it turns out. The meaner Barrons was to her, the more I was cheering her on. Nothing like impossible odds and an odious man to make you take to a character, huh? Whenever Mac pulled herself out of a sticky situation or told Barrons where to get off, I did this little victory dance. I think the thing I liked best about Mac was that she didn’t fall into bed with Barrons. I mean, she did think about it. And who wouldn’t? Despite being an arrogant pig, he was hot. But Mac didn’t just shrug off his assholishness and have sex with him anyway.

We didn’t meet very many peripheral charaters. I can only really think of two worth mentioning, The one is V’lane, a death-by-sex Fae, and Fiona, Barrons’ human squeeze. V’lane sort of secretes these jump-my-bones pheromones that humans find irresistible. Didn’t like him one little it. Fiona, poor thing, is stupid in love with Barrons and she hates Mac practically on sight.

This book was absolutely amazing. I was completely riveted and when I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about it. I know I ranted about Barrons but, to be honest, if he wasn’t such a prick the book wouldn’t be the same. If you haven’t read this book yet, get your butt into gear and do so now. 

 

 

Women of the Underworld: Stolen

Stolen

Stolen

When a young witch tells Elena that a group of humans are kidnapping supernaturals, Elena ignores the warning. After all, everyone knows that there’s no such thing as witches. As for the thought of other “supernaturals” , well, she’d rather not dwell on the possibilities. Soon, however, she’s confronted with the truth about her world, when she’s kidnapped and thrown into a cell block with witches, sorcerers, half-demons and other werewolves. As Elena soon discovers, dealing with her fellow captives might be the least of her worries. In this prison, the real monsters carry the keys.

Stolen is the second book in the Women of the Underworld series by Kelley Armstrong and man… this book was good. I’m always impressed when authors manage to inject real suspense into a book. This book had me sitting on the edge of my seat. It was un-put-downable. I am feeling much better about this series after reading this book.

In Stolen, we once again get things from Elena’s perspective, and I think I like her a little bit more. She’ll never be one of my favourite female characters, but she’s redeemed herself somewhat.

The story starts with Elena investigating a case where it appears that someone is selling information on werewolf attacks. Now, this happens all the time, but the problem is… this looks like it’s for real. She goes to Pittsburgh to meet the person selling this information, but the whole thing doesn’t work out like she’d planned. Instead, she meets two witches, Ruth and Paige, who tell her that other supernaturals are being kidnapped and studied. At first, Elena scoffs at them. Other supernaturals? As in, things that aren’t werewolves or human? Please. However, despite her disbelief, an attack by some masked crazy makes her realise that she should probably take this issue seriously. So Elena calls in Jeremy, the Pack alpha, for some backup at the witches’ meeting. There she meets an assortment of other supernaturals, and she’s forced to admit that maybe she isn’t the only scary thing running around.

Things really start going down hill when Elena is kidnapped by the mad scientists. The people involved in this operation range from the greedy, to the stupid, to the batshit crazy, to the misguided. There are some scientists who genuinely want to understand what makes these supernatural creatures tick. Unfortunately, these people are outnumbered by the evil and the sadistic. The guy who funds the “institution” is once seriously messed up character, and I wanted him to die in a spectacularly painful fashion.

We didn’t see much of the Pack beyond Clay, Elena and Jeremy, but that’s okay. I wasn’t particularly attached to them, and the new characters we were introduced to in Stolen more than made up for the Pack’s absence. Paige, the feisty young witch, was awesome. This chick didn’t take shit from anybody. Then we have Savannah, a twelve year old girl with some insane powers that she can’t quite control. I’m excited about what’s going to happen with her. Then we have Xavier, the half-demon who worked with the mad scientists. I think he may have been my favourite new character and I hope we see more of him in the next books. He was a self-absorbed ass, but he was a funny self-absorbed ass.

Just a word of warning to those who are a little on the squeamish side: this book is graphic. Like, properly graphic. I was shuddering at some points with the mental images this book conjured. I’m not saying that you should avoid this book if blood, guts and gore aren’t your thing; just remember to take a deep breath before reading it.

 

Women of the Underworld: Bitten

Bitten

Bitten

Elena Michaels is the world’s only female werewolf. And she’s tired of it. Tired of a life spent hiding and protecting, a world where her most important job is hunting down rogue werewolves. Tired of a world that not only accepts the worst in her-her temper, her violence-but requires it. Worst of all, she realizes she’s growing content with that life, with being that person.

So she left the Pack and returned to Toronto where she’s trying to live as a human. When the Pack leader calls asking for her help fighting a sudden uprising, she only agrees because she owes him. Once this is over, she’ll be squared with the Pack and free to live life as a human. Which is what she wants. Really.

Bitten is the first book in Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Underworld series. This book is told from the perspective of Elena Michaels, the world’s only female werewolf. The reason that there are no female werewolves is that the werewolf gene is passed down through the males. But there’s a loophole: a person can become a werewolf if they’re bitten, which is exactly what happened to Elena ten years ago. Since being bitten, she’s been living with the Pack. There is only one Pack, and no other werewolves may form their own pack. They’re really picky about who they let in, and they make sure the other loner werewolves (referred to as “mutts”) toe the line and don’t expose the rest of them.

The person who bit her was her boyfriend, Clay. She and Clay were crazy in love before he turned her and she found out what he was. I think it’s a bit of an understatement to say that she was shocked. And, once the shock wore off, she was furious. I’m glad Armstrong didn’t gloss over that bit. Too many heroines just shrug that sort of life-altering bit of jackassery from their boyfriends. So, for a good long while, Elena hated Clay with a passion. But it’s been ten years, so she’s (mostly) gotten over it. But she and Clay have always had a tumultuous relationship, where they did that whole make-up-to-break-up thing. But Elena eventually decides that enough is enough, and she leaves the Pack to live a normal life. And she does. For a whole year, Elena rocks the Average Jane look and she meets a nice, normal Average Joe. They have a nice, calm, healthy relationship. But then the shit hits the fan when she gets a phone call from Jeremy, the Pack’s alpha. He needs her back in New York to help them take care of the threat being presented by a group of mutts who are making a power play. See, as well as being the only female werewolf, Elena is also an enforcer. This basically means that it’s her job to deal with any errant mutts, sometimes using lethal force if necessary. Elena is not happy about heading back to New York. She was hoping that she’d left that all behind her. It’s not that she doesn’t want to help, but her helping means she’ll have to be in close contact with Clay again.

I liked that Elena was a very no-nonsense female character. She was extremely capable, and didn’t hesitate when it came to doing what needed to be done. I liked that  Clay acknowledged that Elena could take care of herself, and that he didn’t get all uber protective over her. I also like how action packed this book was. There was rarely a dull moment. But, with all that said, I struggled with this book. I didn’t really like Elena. I mean, I liked that she didn’t pull the wilting flower routine, but I found her willingness to engage in hanky-panky with Clay while she’s got someone waiting at home for her a bit… blegh. Infidelity in a book for any reason doesn’t really sit well with me, especially when the person being unfaithful barely gives their partner a second thought. Like, I understood to an extent. She and Clay had chemistry and a history, and still loved each other deep down, but some bloody common courtesy shouldn’t have been too much of a problem.

So, in short, this book isn’t going to go down as one of my all time favourites. But that’s okay because the second book in the series, Stolen, made up for it.