Cut & Run: Ball & Chain

Ball & Chain

Ball & Chain

Home from their unexpected deployment, the former members of Marine Force Recon team Sidewinder rejoin their loved ones and try to pick up the pieces of the lives they were forced to leave behind. Ty Grady comes home to Zane Garrett, only to find that everything around him has changed–even the man he went to war with. He barely has time to adjust before his brother, Deuce, asks Ty to be his best man. But that isn’t all Deuce asks Ty to do, and Ty must call for backup to deal with the business issues of Deuce’s future father-in-law.

Nick O’Flaherty and Kelly Abbot join Ty and Zane at the wedding on an island in Scotland, thinking they’re there to assuage Deuce’s paranoia. But when bodies start dropping and boats start sinking, the four men get more involved with the festivities than they’d ever planned to.

With the clock ticking and the killer just as stuck on the isolated island as they are, Ty and Zane must navigate a veritable minefield of family, friends, and foes to stop the whole island from being destroyed.

I just want to start this review, or possibly rant, with the following: this is entirely my opinion. And if you haven’t read Ball & Chain yet, you should steer clear. There will be spoilers.

Right, so we basically start off six months or so after the heart wrenching end of Touch & Geaux. Zane and Kelly are waiting for their boys to get home. We have an emotional reunion between Ty and Zane, and the rest of the Sidewinder guys. It’s great. Everyone skips home and everything is dandy. Life goes on, until one day Deuce phones Ty asking him to be the best man at Deuce’s wedding, which is going to be held in Scotland. Also, would Ty mind bringing one of his Recon buddies to double up as security, too? This person can even bring a date. Enter Nick and Kelly. They head on over to Scotland, and there things start to go pear shaped as they inevitably tend to when the boys embark on the dreaded V-word.

I’m not going to go into a whole lot of detail, but that’s the gist of it. When I finished this book, I was confused. I didn’t really know how to feel about it. But the more I think about it, the more let down I feel. This book, for me, was indisputably the weakest book in the series. I don’t know what the effing hell happened. I really need to vent here, so I’m just going to go ahead and spill my guts. First thing that pissed me off? The reunion sex, or rather the glaring lack thereof. I know that sounds terribly superficial, but I felt cheated. Ty and Zane haven’t seen each other for months, and there’s no reunion sex??? And then, when we did get some sexy time, it was intruded upon by Nick and Kelly shouting through the walls. I’ll talk about those two in a minute. Secondly, when the shit started to fly, it did so in such a way that I just found myself shaking my head. I know that in most of the Cut & Run books, the guys run into situations that are a little out there. And that’s totally fine. But this time went a step too far. It was just so far-fetched. And chaotic. People were running around all over the place, but it didn’t really feel like anything was really happening. Now, on to Nick and Kelly. I just want it to be known that I like Nick and Kelly. I’m really looking forward to more of their story. In their books. Honest to God, it felt like I was reading a Sidewinder novel. I mean, this is Ty and Zane’s second last book. I needed them to have more page time than they did. As someone I was talking to on Twitter pointed out, it felt like they were supporting characters in their own bloody book. The huge issues that caused so much friggin’ angst in the last book were barely touched on. I mean, Ty asked Zane to marry him, for Pete’s sake. Surely before you take that much anticipated leap, you should talk some stuff out? And get to know each other again? You haven’t seen one another for nearly half a year! Related to those NOLA issues, and I swear to God I’ll stop after this, was Nick’s beef with Ty. I didn’t get it. It felt… a little forced. I understand why Nick was upset, but there didn’t seem to be any build up to it. One minute Nick was chilled, and the next Nick was all pissy.

I’m sorry that this turned into a rant. But I just needed to get it out there. This isn’t to say that there weren’t any good points because there were. I just probably won’t remember them in the long run…

Hell or High Water: Long Time Gone

Long Time Gone

Long Time Gone

Soldier of fortune, Prophet Andrews always worked alone–until Tom Boudreaux became his partner. But when Tom walked away three months ago, ostensibly to keep Prophet safe, Prophet learnt the true meaning of being alone. Everyone knows that Prophet, a Navy SEAL turned CIA spook turned mercenary, can look after himself. Which means he must’ve driven his lover away.

Even with half a world between them, Prophet can’t get the man out of his head. Maybe that’s why he’s in New Orleans in the middle of a hurricane, protecting Tom’s aunt. But the only looter around is Tom, bursting back into Prophet’s life. It turns out that Prophet has been stuck in Tom’s head–and heart–too.

Their explosive reunion gets even hotter when Tom is arrested for murder. As they fight to clear his name, they delve deep into his past, finding enemies among everyone they meet. Staying alive in such a dangerous world is enough, but they soon discover that fighting to stay together is the most difficult thing they’ve ever done. 

I read this book ages ago, pretty much when it first came out, and for some reason I’m only talking about it now. I’m telling you this because I might be a little fuzzy on the details, so I apologise in advance.

When we last saw our boys, Tommy had pulled that whole I’m-staying-away-from-you-for-your-own-good thing. And it is only because I adore Tommy that I didn’t want to punch him in the mouth.Unfortunately for Tommy, though, Prophet didn’t really share my sentiments and he went off the radar. No one has any idea where he is, or what he’s doing. And Tommy’s a little worried. Every night he sends Prophet an email. And every morning he wakes up, hoping for a response. Except… Prophet never replies. Undeterred, Tommy keeps on. And one day, Tommy mentions in one of his innumerable messages, Tommy mentions his concerns for his aunt living in New Orleans, a city once again on the verge of another hurricane.

Prophet has been having a bit of a rough time. He didn’t expect getting kicked to the curb to hurt so much. He didn’t expect it to be so difficult to move on. He’s on the brink of going so deep undercover that no one will find him. And then something makes him check his email. And then he starts to read. And against his better judgement, he then heads down to New Orleans. And this is where our two boys reunite.

This book made me happy. It was serious, but not so angsty that I wanted to jump in my pool and then forget how to swim. Tommy and Prophet had their issues–honesty being a big one–but they managed to work through a lot of it. And let me tell you one thing: I do not mind them fighting if SE Jakes keeps writing those steamy make up scenes. My God, those things are hotBut beyond the make up sex and the reunion sex and the angry sex was the fact that we got to know Tommy and Prophet a little better. Prophet opened up a little more to Tommy. He spent a lot less time hiding his feelings from both himself and his partner. Tommy was the star of this book, for me. We learnt more about his past and why he’s not so keen on his family. Lets just say, the guy has some daddy issues, and who can blame him? I loved how Prophet stood up for him. It was really sweet and it made me happy and wish for tender sex. What? I can’t help it, Jakes writes some insane love scenes. One other thing I want to mention is Cillian. God, that guy worked on my nerves. Not because he’s a bad character or whatever, but because he wouldn’t stop flirting with Prophet. It’s the crazy fangirl in me, but I get oddly territorial on behalf of fictional characters when other people hit on them. I kinda wanna be like this:

I really think I love this series. It has it’s emotionally traumatising moments, but they don’t last too long. And, happily, Long Time Gone didn’t end with a huge honking cliffhanger. Thank God for small mercies. The last one almost did me in.

Fighting Destiny: Born to Darkness

Born to Darkness

Born to Darkness

Dishonorably discharged, former Navy SEAL Shane Laughlin is down to his last ten bucks when he finally finds work as a test subject at the Obermeyer Institute, a little-known and believed-to-be-fringe scientific research facility. When he enters the OI compound, he is plunged into a strange world where seemingly mild-mannered scientists–including women half his size–can kick his highly skilled ass.

Shane soon discovers that there are certain individuals who possess the unique ability to access untapped regions of the brain with extraordinary results–including telekinesis, super strength, and reversal of the aging process. Known as “Greater-Thans”, this rare breed is recruited by OI, where they are rigorously trained using ancient techniques to cultivate their powers and wield them responsibly.

But in depths of America’s second Great Depression, where the divide between the haves and have-nots has grown even wider, those who are rich–and reckless–enough have a quick, seductive alternative: Destiny, a highly addictive designer drug that can make anyone a Greater-Than, with the power of eternal youth. The sinister cartel known as The Organization has begun mass-producing Destiny, and the demand is growing. But few realize the drug’s true danger, and fewer still know the dirty secret of Destiny’s crucial ingredient.

Michelle “Mac” Mackenzie knows the ugly truth. And as one of the Obermeyer Institute’s crack team of operatives, she’s determined to end the scourge of Destiny. But her kick-ass attitude gets knocked for a loop when she discovers one of the new test subjects is the same smoldering stranger who rocked her world in a one-night stand. And although Shane quickly discovers he isn’t a Greater-Than like Mac, as an ex-Seal, he’s got talents of his own. But Mac’s got powerful reasons to keep her distance from Shane–and reasons to want him close. She’s used to risking her life, but now she faces risking her heart in the ultimate war on drugs.

Have you ever read a book where you just weren’t sure what to think about it once you were done? That’s how I felt with this one. There were bits that I liked and bits that… I really didn’t. And, dammit, I wanted to like this book!

Born to Darkness is the first book by Suzanne Brockmann that I’ve read. I was quite keen on the premise of the book, but I felt that it fell a little short. Let me start with the book’s format. Born to Darkness didn’t focus on one main couple, but on three. This was good because the “main” couple bugged the hell out of me. More on that later. Next is the whole universe that Brockmann had set up. This is an America of the future (don’t know how far into the future because I don’t believe that the year was ever mentioned), and it is a very, very bleak future indeed. Money is tight, people in general are so apathetic it’s scary, and rich yahoos take drugs that make both superhuman and crazy. There are also people with incredible powers, who come by their superhuman-ness naturally. Some of these people work for the Obermeyer Institute in an effort to not only train those who’ve just discovered their powers, but to get Destiny off the street. The Obermeyer Institute is a safe place for those born with extra super special powers, a place where tests are carried out and a place where Greater-Thans, without somewhere to live, can stay. Sounds good, right?

But there were bits that just felt a bit iffy for me. The bad guys were sort of… obvious bad guys. Because all bad guys are hideously disfigured, because how else will you know how to avoid them? And the three main couples, who I’ll talk about more in just a sec, seemed to just fall in love in the space of less than a week. Upon reflection, all the couples bugged me in some way and let me tell you why. Mac and Shane were Born of Darkness’s main focus. Mac has issues, and fair enough. She’s got this huge wall around her and she very rarely lets anyone too close. And because of her unusual… talents, she doesn’t believe that anyone will want her of their own free will. Shane and Mac had a thing, which Mac believes was as a result of her talent. Shane, after having the situation explained to him, doesn’t much care. He wants Mac. He believes that there’s a connection, despite the fact that Mac treats him like a yo-yo with her “go away, no come back!” routine. Very irritating. The next couple is Elliot and Stephen. I honestly felt that they declared the “I-love-yous” far too quickly. And I thought that Brockmann could have gone deeper with their relationship. Their issues and stuff seemed to be glossed over. The last couple were Dr Joseph Back and Anna Taylor. Theirs was the relationship I was most invested in and, by the end of the book, it was left up in the air.

There was also a little short story at the end of the book, Shane’s Last Stand. I’ll be honest, it didn’t do anything for me. It basically covered the how and why of Shane’s dishonourable discharge. It’s only about five chapters long, so it’s a really short read.

So, in all, this is not a book that’s going to make it onto my top ten list. Born of Darkness definitely had it’s good bits, but I just felt that something was missing. I’ll probably read the next book in the series (if one ever comes out; it’s a 2012 release and I haven’t seen any mention of a sequel) if only to see what the hell’s going to happen with Anna and Bach.

Midnight Breeds: Shades of Midnight

Shades of Midnight

Shades of Midnight

In a frozen wilderness steeped in darkness, the lines between good and evil, lover and enemy, are never black or white but drawn in Shades of Midnight…

Something inhuman is stalking the frigid Alaskan wilds, leaving unspeakable carnage in its wake. For bush pilot Alexandra Maguire, the killings stir memories of a horrific event she witnessed as a child and evoke in her the inexplicable sense of otherness she has long felt but never fully understood… until a darkly seductive stranger with secrets of his own enters her world.

Sent from Boston on a mission to investigate the savage attacks and stop the slaughter, vampire warrior Kade has his own reasons for returning to the frigid, forbidding place of his birth. Haunted by a secret shame, Kade soon realizes the stunning truth of the threat he faces–a threat that will jeopardize the fragile bond he has formed with the courageous, determined young woman who arouses his deepest passions and most primal hungers. But in bringing Alex into his world of blood and darkness, Kade must confront both his personal demons and the even greater evil that could destroy all he holds dear…

I had a bit of a bumpy start with this series, but I’m really glad I pushed on with this it. Things are really picking up now, and I’m finding myself increasingly intrigued with the way in which the overall story is developing.

Our hero is Kade. We’ve seen him here and there in the past books, but he hasn’t really played a very big role. But then he gets his chance to shine when he’s asked to travel to Alaska to investigate a spate of vicious murders that reek of the handiwork of Breed males suffering from Bloodlust. Kade’s happy to step up, even though he’s reluctant to return home. He left Alaska under less than ideal circumstances, and he’s pretty sure that the welcome he’s set to receive is going to make the chilly Alaskan weather look downright balmy. But Kade sucks it up and, upon meeting Alexandra Maguire, he soon finds that he’s really glad he did. Alexandra has had a difficult life. Witnessing the brutal deaths of her mother and younger brother, Alex has gone out of her way to bury those memories along with anything about herself that might label her as “strange”. But things start to fall apart when, on a routine delivery to the more remote regions of her tiny town, she discovers the broken bodies of about a dozen people. Everyone is set on blaming the horrific find on a pack of rogue wolves, but Alex is sure that it’s something far more sinister. Only, no one will believe her–no one except the mysterious stranger, Kade.

I really enjoyed this book. Kade and Alex were cute together, but they weren’t my favourite element of this book. As is becoming my habit, I found myself more interested in the overall development of the world that Adrian’s created. The two things that I found myself most drawn in by were the situation with the Ancient, and what Jenna’s deal was. Those two are both characters I felt some sympathy for. The Ancient is vicious, no doubt about it. But he’s also been stuck on this alien planet, in completely unfamiliar surroundings, being abused by the evil Dragos. And Jenna lost her entire family in one fell swoop. She’s basically got nothing left. And I really want her to have some kind of happily-ever-after. Which, luckily enough, is what I think is going to happen in the next book.

This series is really starting to grow on me, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what’s going to happen next. Bring on the next installment of the Midnight Breeds!    

In Death: Glory in Death

Glory in Death

Glory in Death

The dead were her business. She lived with them, she worked with them, studied them. She dreamed of them. Murder no longer shocked, but it continued to repel.

The first victim is found lying on a sidewalk in the rain. The second is found murdered in her own apartment building. Both have had their throats slashed.

New York City homicide lieutenant Eve Dallas has no problem finding connections between the two crimes. Both women were beautiful and successful; their glamorous lives and loves the talk of the city. And their intimate relations with powerful men provide Eve with a long list of suspects–including her own lover, Roarke.

As a woman, Eve is compelled to trust the man who shares her bed. But as a cop, it’s her job to follow every lead, to explore every secret passion, no matter how dark. Or how dangerous.

There are some authors who just have that something. You know, that thing, that quality, to their writing that makes it almost impossible to put their books down. J.D Robb has that thing. With every chapter that I finished, I became more and more glad that I’d started this series. It really is something else.

Eve Dallas’s life hasn’t changed all that much since the end of Naked in Death. She still investigates murders, she still works too hard, she still has nightmares. The only aspect in her life that’s undergone any sort of shift is her love life. As in, now she actually has one and she’s not entirely sure how to handle it. Thankfully, but also unfortunately, Eve has plenty to distract herself from her growing attachment to Roarke. A high profile lawyer has been found murdered in a really dodgy part of town. Said lawyer had a close relationship with Eve’s boss, who’s given Eve strict instructions to find whoever did this at whatever cost. So no pressure. But then the body of another high profile lady is found, murdered in the exact same way, and Eve finds herself in the midst of a shit storm. Not only does she have to deal with one truly obnoxious journalist, she also has to face the fact that both victims were linked to Roarke. So, once again, Eve has to turn her eye onto Roarke in her professional capacity. This obviously doesn’t go down too well with Roarke, leaving Eve to deal with issues in both her personal and professional life.

This book was really incredible. I wasn’t only captivated by the who-dunnit element of the story, but also how the characters are starting to evolve. We see Eve gradually becoming more open and vulnerable with Roarke. She spends a lot of time fighting her feelings, and we see how justifiably frustrated Roarke gets. I didn’t really blame him for getting huffy. He really puts himself out there, and still Eve holds back. I think my favourite part of this book was actually getting to know Roarke better. In the first book, he came off as this hot, aloof millionaire who’s suddenly taken an interest in Eve. With this book, we saw Roarke as a person, not the badboy rich guy. He was actually–dare I say it–sweet. Not a word I would have associated with Roarke, but there you go.

Now, I just need to share this with you. This little snippet, after Roarke swoops in to rescue her, is exactly why I love Eve as much as I do. She’s awesome sauce…

“It’s his blood,” Roarke said calmly, “not mine.”
“His blood.” She nearly wobbled again, forced her knees to lock. “You’re not hurt?”
“Nothinh major.” Concerned, he angled her head back to examine the shallow slice along her collarbone, the rapidly swelling eye. “You need a medic, Lieutenant.”
“In a minute. Let me ask you something.”
“Ask away.” Having nothing else, he tore part of his ripped sleeve to dab at the blood on her shoulder.
“Do I come charging into one of your board rooms when your having trouble with a business deal?”
His eyes flicked to hers. Some of the fierceness died out of them into what was almost a smile. “No, Eve, you don’t. I don’t know what got into me.” 

I really recommend giving this series a try. Robb’s descriptions and the way she seems to weave these mysteries so effortlessly is awe inspiring. And the characters are just so interesting. I know that I’m dying to find out more about both Eve and Roarke. They’re both very enigmatic characters, despite being our leads.

Psy-Changeling: Branded by Fire

Branded by Fire

Branded by Fire

Though DarkRiver sentinel Mercy is feeling the pressure to mate, she savagely resists when Riley Kincaid, a lieutenant from the SnowDancer pack, tries to possess her. The problem is not simply that he pushes her buttons;  the problem is that he’s a wolf, she’s a cat, and they’re both used to being on top.

But when a brilliant changeling researcher is kidnapped from DarkRiver territory, Mercy and Riley must work together–before his shadowy captors decide he’s no longer useful. Along the way, the two dominants may find that submitting to one another uncovers not just a deadly conspiracy, but a passion so raw that it will leave them both branded by fire…

 I have fallen in love with this series. I’d really, really, really enjoyed it before, but this book totally clinched it for me: Nalini Singh is a paranormal romance writing goddess. I adored everything about this book. Singh manages to write these hot romances while keeping up with her absolutely riveting world building. Honestly, I’m fangirling right now.

Branded by Fire is Mercy and Riley’s story. I wasn’t sure what to expect from these two since they’ve both been peripheral characters in the past books. But Singh did not disappoint. Branded by Fire is another one of those “opposites attract” scenarios. We start off with Riley and Mercy not particularly liking each other very much. They respect each other on a professional level, each acknowledging that the other is a badass, but not having much time for one another beyond that. Until one day… bang! Pun intended. In a moment of sexually frustrated weakness, Mercy takes Riley on after he propositions her. And, man, talk about fireworks. Riley, of course, is happy to go there again, but Mercy is horrified that she went there with a wolf with no discernible personality. Mercy is of the opinion that Riley makes the chilly Psy seem bubbly, and Riley sort of sees Mercy as a bit of a lose cannon. Mercy thinks that Riley thinks too much, while Riley thinks that Mercy doesn’t think enough. Mercy is a free spirit, and Riley is always in control. Clearly, they’re as different as two people can be in terms of temperament, never mind the fact that one’s a leopard and the other is a wolf.

I enjoyed the romance and how they gradually softened towards one another. Riley hasn’t been the same since Brenna (our heroine from Caressed by Ice) was kidnapped and tortured by a deranged Psy. He’s hardened himself, and everyone in his pack has noticed. But when he starts spending time with Mercy, he lightens up a little. Mercy’s been having some problems that her pack’s picked up on too. As a dominant female, she’s been worried about her prospects of finding a male who can handle her. Thing is, she needs someone even more dominant than her in order for her leopard to accept him. Thankfully, Riley seems to fit the bill.

I’m not going to go into too much detail with the romance because, although I enjoyed it, it wasn’t my favourite part of the book. No, my favourite bits were the more peripheral stuff. I was far more focused on  issues like, what’s happening with the Psy Council? And who exactly is the Ghost? And what is Kaleb Krychek’s story? And why are there so many books on my to-be-read pile between me and Sienna and Hawke’s book?!?! Just to go off on a quick tangent here, but I cannot–CANNOT— wait to read that book! It’s going to be EPIC!!! Ahem… anyhow. I actually find that Singh’s attention to detail is my favourite part of her books. I mean, most romance novels follow the same general patterns and she’s no exception to that. But what she does do, better than almost any author I can think of, is focus on the little things. Her world building is just phenomenal. With each installment of this series, things just get more and more intricate.

In short, I can’t get enough of this series. The attention to detail in the world building is breathtaking, the romances are hot and sweet, and everything is just so well-written that I think this series is going to go down as one of my favourites. Nalini Singh can honestly do no wrong in my eyes, and I am dying to see what’s going to happen next.

 

Immortals After Dark: Dark Desires After Dusk

Dark Desires After Dusk

Dark Desires After Dusk

 

A Ruthless Demon Mercenary.
A Lovely Young Halfling.
In the Dark, There is No Escaping Desire.

A seductive beauty he can never have, yet can’t resist…

Cade of the rage demons will stop at nothing to atone for the one wrong that will haunt him forever. But once he secures the key to his redemption, the halfling Holly Ashwin, Cade finds that the woman he thought he could use for his own ends and then forget haunts him as much as his past.

A tormented warrior she should fear, but can’t deny…

Raised as a human, Holly Ashwin never knew some frightening legends are real until she encounters a brutal demon who inexplicably guards her like a treasure. Thrust into a sensual new world of myth and power, with him as her protector, she begins to crave the demon’s wicked touch. 

Surrender to dark desires…

Yet just when he earns Holly’s trust, will Cade be forced to betray the only woman who can sate his wildest needs–and claim his heart?

It’s official: Kresley Cole is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of my absolute favourite authors. In fact, I think she’s in the top five. Every time I start another of her books, I think to myself that it can’t possibly be any better than the last. And then… I’m proven wrong. Each and every single time.

Dark Desires After Dusk is Cadeon Woede’s story. Cade is a rage demon. And not just any rage demon; he is actually the brother of the king of the rage demons… and also the reason why his brother, Rydstrom, lost said kingdom to an evil sorcerer. It happened centuries ago, but no one’s been willing to let him live it down. Now, at long last, Cade has the opportunity to make things right. All he needs to do is deliver the Vessel, a Lore female destined to give birth to either a force of ultimate evil or ultimate good, to a slightly deranged sorcerer, and he’ll be well on his way to mending fences between him and his brother. Cade should be chuffed as hell to finally accomplish what he’d started to believe was impossible. Except the Vessel is none other than Holly, a woman he believed to be forbidden to him due to the fact that she was human. Now it turns out that Holly is not, in fact, human but Cade can’t have her anyway because he’s promised his brother to put the needs of their kingdom above his own. Poor demon…

Holly Ashwin was raised as a human. A woman with an unquestionably brilliant mind, Holly suffers from some… social anxieties. Sporting a bad case of OCD and a reluctance to get intimate with her supportive boyfriend, Holly lives a very ordered life. At least, until she finds out that not only is she part Valkyrie, but she’s also the Vessel. Gone is her predictable and structured life; she’s now got almost every faction of the Lore coming after her and finds herself having no choice but to trust a foul-mouthed, rough-and-tumble demon. A demon who, as time passes, she finds herself increasingly attracted to.

God, I loved this book. Every single little thing. The characters, the plot, the dialogue–everything– was just epic. Cade was just this lovable, brash moron who I just wanted to hug… and do other things to. He’s had a thing for Holly for months but, believing her to be human, has resigned himself to the fact that he can never have her. And then things just get worse for him when he realises that her being human would be the least of his problems. He tries so hard to sort of work his way onto her good side, but half the time that just backfires on him. He was this mixture of cocky and uncertain with Holly, and it just made him so sexy. And Holly was an utter badass, too. I think she may be my favourite leading lady in this series so far, and that’s saying something. Cole’s heroines never wait around for their men to come save them. He’s not there when the shit hits the fan? She takes care of it herself, because she’s got shit to do. Holly adapted really well to her change in circumstances, and didn’t let Cade just talk his way into her bed. She told him when she thought he was being full of crap (which was fairly often) and held her ground when confronted with the freakiness of the Lore. The only thing I wish is that we’d seen more of Rydstrom. I think it would have been interesting to see more of him and Cade interacting. But since he was kidnapped by an evil sorceress for reasons unknown, we’ll just have to wait for his book to see a resolution to his and Cade’s issues.

In all, this book was everything you could possibly want from a paranormal romance: Take-no-prisoners heroines get paired up with sexy bad boy heroes to take on some nasty thing bent on destruction. And nobody does it like Kresley Cole.

You can buy Dark Desires After Dusk at Sony‘s ebook store.

In Death: Naked In Death

Naked In Death

Naked In Death

She woke in the dark. For a moment she simply lay there, shuddering, imprisoned, while the dream faded. After ten years on the force, Eve still had dreams.

Named by the social worker who rescued her as a child, Eve Dallas is now a New York City cop who lives for the job. 

While recovering from her latest case, Eve is sent to investigate the brutal execution of Sharon DeGlass. A high-class escort and senator’s granddaughter, Sharon has been shot three times with an illegal gun and left naked and posed on her own bed.

All the evidence points Eve towards Irish billionaire Roarke. With an instant sexual attraction between them, Eve and Roarke must work together to find a sadistic killer–but can Eve really trust a man whose past is as damaged as her own?

I had heard of J.D Robb, or Nora Roberts, for a long time and for some reason, I never tried any of her stuff. Let me let you in on a little secret: that was dumb. I was dumb. Because this book was brilliant. Robb is an incredible writer. Her descriptions are so vivid, her characters are so complex and layered, and I was kept on the edge of my seat the entire time I was reading. This book was, in a word, phenomenal.

Our story is set in the year 2058, and a lot has changed. Prostitution is now legal, guns are–for the most part–illegal, and genetic testing is done to ensure that the worst of humanity’s violent tendencies are weeded out. Despite many of the advancements that have been made, murder is still a fact of life. This is where out leading lady, Eve Dallas, comes in. She’s a cop, and she’s been called in to investigate the murder of a prostitute. This particular case has made headlines, not only because of the way in which the victim was killed but also because of the woman’s social status. Her grandfather is a high-ranking member of a conservative political party calling for a return to a more “moral” way of life, where prostitutes are arrested and the American public has the right to bear arms. Also of note is the fact that this woman wasn’t strangled or stabbed; she was shot. So there is a lot of public interest in this case and a great deal of pressure on Eve to catch the person responsible. And the pressure continues to mount when more prostitutes are found dead, all killed in the exact same way. As Eve investigates, she finds a lot of evidence pointing in the direction of Roarke, the gorgeous, mysterious billionaire. Eve pursues the investigation wherever it takes her, but things are made a little complicated by the sexual tension between her and Roarke.

I need a minute to talk about Eve. She was such a complete and utter badass. I cannot remember the last time I enjoyed a heroine this much. She didn’t put up with anybody’s shit. Her utter focus on finding the truth, on catching the bad guy, was awesome. She was tough, but she never came across as hard. Eve has suffered through some major trauma in her life, but she’s overcome it to become on of the best cops in New York. She’s just the kind of heroine that you have to root for. Given her damage, you just want her to be happy. This leads me nicely to Roarke. He is Mr Megabucks, the guy who has everything and wants for nothing. Well, there is one thing he wants: Eve. For the first time since he made his first million, it looks like Roarke is actually going to have to really work at getting what he wants because Eve is wary of him from the get-go. Not only because he’s a suspect but because he threatens her on a level that no one else ever has.

This is normally the kind of book I would avoid since I don’t really like being kept in any real kind of suspense. But I loved everything about this book. I honestly had no clue who the murderer was, even until the end. I know there are a crap load of books in this series and, while some may find that intimidating, I find that I can’t wait to delve even deeper into it.

You can buy Naked in Death over at Sony‘s ebook store.

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.

Immortals After Dark: Dark Needs at Night’s Edge

Dark Needs at Night's Edge

Dark Needs at Night’s Edge

The Beauty Wants Him Gone-
The Warrior Can’t Leave

Let the games begin…

Neomi Laress, a famous ballerina in the 1900s, became a phantom the night she was murdered. Imbued with powers, but invisible to the living, she haunts her beloved home, scaring away any trespassers–until she encounters a ruthless immortal even more terrifying than Neomi herself.

To prevent him from harming others, Conrad Roth’s brothers imprison him in an abandoned manor. There only Conrad can see the dancer with wild raven hair–who seems determined to drive him further into madness. The exquisite creature inflames him with desire, leaving his body wracked with lust and his soul torn as he finds himself coveting her for his own. 

Yet even if Conrad can win Neomi and claim her completely, evil still surrounds her. Once he returns to the brutality of his past to protect her, will he succumb to the dark needs seething inside him?

Kresley Cole really is something else. Every time I read something of hers, I’m just left in utter awe. How she manages to create these awesome characters, while writing intensely hot romances, while also producing this incredibly complex and intriguing world is beyond me. Each book in this series just gets better and better than the last. 

Dark Needs at Night’s Edge is book four in the Immortals After Dark series and, as usual, Cole did not disappoint. Conrad Roth is… well, the kindest thing to call him would be troubled. He was once a vampire hunter, sworn to destroy any and all of the monstrous creatures he could find. Aside from Conrad’s duty to his vampire slaying buddies, he also had a duty to his family. Living in Estonia back in the day was not easy, especially considering that the country had beef with Russia at the time. The whole war thing, coupled with the fact that his little sisters were killed by Russian looters, and the fact that he was turned into a vampire by his brothers in spite of the fact that he was trained to loathe the creatures, has left Conrad a little bit crazy. He’s now one of the most feared assassins in the Lore and he’s also seeking revenge against his brothers. So, to say our hero has issues would be an understatement. That’s why he needs a heroine who’s capable of seeing the lighter side of life, someone who–despite being through a lot–is still capable of laughing and smiling and being happy.

Enter Neomi. Neomi is a phantom. She had fairly humble beginnings, going from being a burlesque dancer to a highly acclaimed ballerina in just a few short years. However, she was killed by a jilted lover the night she was to make the announcement that she’d bought her dream house, and all by herself too. So, since that fateful night, Neomi has been stuck in that house and has been forced to live her death once a month. Not the most ideal conditions to live under, but Neomi gets by okay, scaring away those she deems unworthy of living in her home/prison and observing those that she finds acceptable. It’s been a while since Neomi last had house guests and she kind of misses the company, but she’s not entirely sure how she feels about having a ranting, raving madman in her house. Even stranger than his behaviour is the fact that he can see her.

I loved this book so much. Neomi and Conrad were beautiful together. The fact that Conrad was able to see Neomi but not actually touch her took the sexual tension to a whole new level. It also gave them the chance to get know each other before the hopped into bed together. But beyond the romance between Neomi and Conrad was the fact that we got to see a whole bunch of my other favourite characters. We got see see Mariketa and Bowen, and a couple of the Valkyrie and even the demon brothers, Cade and Rydstrom. Shiver me timbers, those guys are smoking!

Dark Needs at Night’s Edge has been my favourite book in this series by far and I am so looking forward to Dark Desires After Dusk. It’s Cade’s book, and I’m dying to see more of the sexy demon brothers. You can buy this book over at Amazon. It’s the teeniest bit cheaper there.

In the Company of Shadows: Evenfall

Evenfall

Evenfall

Years after the bombs of WWIII have changed the physical and political landscape, the Agency ruthlessly works behind the scenes to take down rebel groups that threaten the current government. Their goals justify all means. Hsin Liu Vega (Sin) is their most efficient and deadly assassin ever. However, he tends to go off on unauthorized killing sprees and somehow his assigned partners all end up dead under suspicious circumstances. That is why the Agency has had him locked up in a box on the fourth floor for years. But now they think it is time to put the psychopath back in the field. With a new partner.

Boyd’s mother, a high ranking Agency official, volunteers her teenage son for the position. Boyd is not afraid of death. In fact, his life has been such an endless cycle of apathy and despair for the last few years that he’d welcome it. 

Can these two broken men form an efficient partnership? Can they learn to trust anyone, let alone each other? Sin doesn’t give a fuck about the Agency, or the androgynous boy who holds the remote to the shock collar that is supposed to control him.

On the other hand, Boyd is strangely unafraid of the man everyone calls “monster” and Sin seems reluctant to let his keeper get himself killed on any mission. Yet.

Have you ever read a book where, a couple of chapters in, you question the wisdom of having started it at all? Not because it’s bad but because it is so good. Almost too good. Like your brain has just been kicked in the metaphorical face, solar plexus and nuts all at the same time. Ever had that feeling? Because I was assaulted by that feeling every time I picked up my Kindle and started reading.

Sin and Boyd are the most interesting characters I’ve read in a long time. Individually and as a team, these two were riveting. They’re both so damaged and so sad and they just completely broke my heart. Boyd is just… completely apathetic. His traumatic past has made it so that he honestly doesn’t care if he lives or dies. When he’s given the gig at the Agency, it’s just a means of passing the time until he croaks. He has this huge wall between him and the people surrounding him; very little can inspire any sort of reaction from him. And that is what makes him perfect for the recently opened position at the Agency: the position of being Hsin Liu Vega’s new partner. Sin makes me want to cry. Like, ugly snot-en-trane cry. He has had such a horrible life, with the people who were meant to protect him doing him the most damage. Sin had been trained from an early–and I mean, ridiculously early–age to be an assassin, despite showing signs of mental instability. After his father died, Sin went to the Agency and picked up where his father left off. Instead of showing empathy, Sin’s new colleges treated him like shit and cemented Sin’s decision to never trust anyone. And now he and Boyd are thrown together and expected to work as a team. Needless to say, the beginning was rough. But then things get better. Boyd doesn’t treat Sin like a monster; he treats him like any other guy, albeit someone seriously lacking in the people skills department. Seeing Sin gradually let his guard down, in even the teeniest ways, was just so sweet and so sad. And seeing Boyd let something filter through the barriers he’d put up between himself and the rest of the world just put a lump in my throat. There were parts where I was pretty much wanted to get inside the book and be, like:

  

I’m not going to go into too much detail as to the actual story line. I could spend the whole day telling you about it and still not manage to do it justice. From here on, I’m just going to tell you how this book made me feel. I have always been one of those people who has the tendency to shout at my books. It doesn’t always happen; it’s only when I’m really into what’s happening on the pages. I spent so much time yelling at my Kindle that I honestly think that I was starting to freak my family out a little bit. Seriously, I was rowdy. Shouting in anger because someone was being hateful, or Sin and Boyd’s massive communication issues reared their ugly heads; just about sobbing when something awful happened to Sin or Boyd (which was fucking often, I’ll have you know); giggling when Sin got snarky; and heaving dreamy sighs whenever my boys had a moment where they seemed to get each other. This book was honestly an emotional roller coaster. There were times when I was miserable. Like, how could these evil authors do such horrible things to these two characters I had so quickly come to adore? But, at the same time, I have never been happier to be miserable because of a book.

I think that by now you can tell that I loved this book. A lot. That being said, I do want to warn you of a few things. Firstly, you will not like me if you decide to take my advice and give this book a go. I currently sort of, but not really, loathe the people who recommended this book to me because I had not planned on spending my December holiday as an emotional wreck. Next, you can probably tell that this book is not what you’d call “light and fluffy”. If you are looking for candy floss, you might want to keep on looking. I’m not saying that this book won’t totally grab you if you start, but it is a little on the heavy side. Thirdly, it might take you a while to finish reading. Not as long as it’s taken me (two bloody weeks!) but at 1400 pages, it’ll probably consume quite a bit of your time. So do yourself a favour and wait until you’ve finished up with any deadlines or whatever.

However, even with all these warnings in place, I can honestly not think of a better way for anyone to spend their time. Evenfall was incredible. I don’t think I’ve ever been so invested in characters and their development before. And I realise I’m droning on so I’m going to go now before I make you gag. 

You can download the entire series for free right here.

Sidewinder: Shock & Awe

Shock & Awe

Shock & Awe

After barely surviving a shootout in New Orleans, Sidewinder medic Kelly Abbott has to suffer through a month of recovery before he can return home to Colorado. He’s not surprised when fellow Sidewinder Nick O’Flaherty stays with him in New Orleans. Nor is he surprised when Nick travels home with him to help him get back on his feet–after all, years on the same Marine Force Recon team bonded the men in ways that only bleeding for a brother can. He’s very surprised, though, when Nick humors his curiosity and kisses him.

Nick knows all of Kelly’s quirks and caprices, so the kiss was a low-risk move on his part… or so he thought. But what should have been a simple moment unleashes a flood of emotions and urges that neither man is prepared to address. 

Now, Kelly and Nick must figure out what they mean to each other–friends and brothers in arms, or something even deeper?–before the past can come back to ruin their tenuous future.

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Abigail Roux’s, so I was mega excited about Shock & Awe. Needless to say, Ms Roux did not disappoint. This novella was packed with steamy sex and some really heavy emotional scenes. This is an excellent start to the Sidewinder series.

Shock & Awe takes place just after the emotional trauma that was Touch & Geaux. Kelly is recovering from a gunshot wound that, had the bullet hit it’s target, would have killed Nick. Kelly is in fairly good spirits for a man with a bullet hole in him, but he still needs some help getting around. For a heart stopping minute, it looked like Kelly was going to have to ask his ex-wife to step in, but Nick offers to help him out instead. The guys have been through a lot together, so Nick’s offer is no big deal. While Nick and Ty were always close, Kelly and Nick are pretty tight too. They understand each other and there’s never been any weirdness between the two. Until Kelly, in a painkiller induced haze, asks Nick to kiss him. This comes as a bit of a surprise to both of them when Nick not only agrees to it, but that it turns out to be the kind of kiss that rocks their world. This opens up an avenue that neither man ever would have guessed existed. So the question is, do they go for it and possibly ruin their friendship; or do they ignore the attraction and run the risk of missing out on something amazing?

In addition to Shock & Awe, we got a teeny, tiny short story called Bait & Switch, featuring Zane. My poor baby. It just felt wrong to read anything with Zane that didn’t also directly involve Ty. It just made my heart hurt to see Zane so sad. I just wanted to get in the book and give him a hug. There was just enough angst in this short story to have me making these high pitched keening noises.

I really did enjoy this novella. Nick and Kelly were insanely hot. The chemistry between these two was absolutely explosive. I was just sitting there at one point fanning myself. I do not have enough words to adequately describe the bedroom scenes. Ms Roux has always had the ability to write some scorchers, but she pulled out all the stops for this one. And she also threw in some serious moments of heart-stopping angst. They didn’t last long, but they were enough to leave me feeling a little faint. But. But. There is one thing that niggled at me and kept me from giving Roux her usual five stars. It was Kelly. Now, this does not in any way mean that I didn’t like him, because I did. It’s just that we got to know Kelly–not very well, granted–as a straight guy. And now, suddenly, he’s decided that he likes cock. I know that this is just a novella so there wasn’t much time for soul searching and whatever, but I just think that the transition was too… easy. It just bothered me a little.

Definitely a good start to the Sidewinder series. I’m very excited to see more of the Sidewinder boys in the future. You can buy Shock & Awe over at Riptide.

Midnight Breeds: Ashes of Midnight

Ashes of Midnight

Ashes of Midnight

A woman driven by blood. A man thirsting for vengeance. A place where darkness and desire meet…

As night falls, Claire Roth flees, driven from her home by a fiery threat that seems to come from hell itself. Then, from out of the flames and ash, a vampire warrior emerges. He is Andreas Richen, her onetime lover, now a stranger consumed by vengeance. Caught in the crossfire, Claire cannot escape his savage fury–or the hunger that plunges her into his world of eternal darkness and unending pleasure.

Nothing will stop Andreas from destroying the vampire responsible for slaughtering his Breed brethren… even if he must use his former lover as a pawn in his deadly mission. Blood-bonded to his treacherous adversary, Claire can lead Andreas to the enemy he seeks, but it is a journey fraught with danger–and deep, unbidden desires. For Claire is the one woman Andreas should not crave, and the only one he’s ever loved. A dangerous seduction begins–one that blurs the line between predator and prey, and stokes the flames of a white-hot passion that may consume all in its path…

I know that I’ve spent some time bitching about this series and how inconsistent it can be. One moment it’s really good, and then the next it’s utterly predictable. And I keep reading because I’ve already bought the bloody books. And for the first time in a while, I’m glad that I’ve kept reading because this book was a definite “up”.

I’ve spoken about Andreas Richen before. He was the sexy leader of the Hamburg DarkHaven when the unthinkable happened: his entire family was gunned down in a mindless attack that left Andreas as the sole survivor. It goes without saying that Andre was devastated by the loss, and he’s now out for revenge. Over the past few months, he’s steadily been killing off those involved in the attack against his DarkHaven. And by now everyone who’s wronged him is dead… except for one person: Wilhelm Roth. Roth is a big wig at the enforcement agency, an increasingly corrupt organisation meant to ensure the protection of the Breed, and the one who ordered the hit on Andreas’s DarkHaven. Andre is dead set on making Roth pay, but there is one little, tiny detail making the whole revenge thing a bit complicated: Roth is mated to Claire. Andre and Claire have A Past. And it isn’t one based exclusively on scratching their respective itches; they genuinely cared about each other. But then one day Andre just disappeared from Claire’s life without a word of explanation. Devastated, but convinced that Andre no longer wanted her, Claire decided to move on with her life. Unfortunately, the guy she decided to move on with was a thundering loony. Once Claire realises this, she ends up on the run along with Andre. They both eventually end up on the doorstep of the Order, taking the story from Germany to the US.

Overall, I thought this book was much better than a few of the previous ones. I’ll be honest, there was a time or two where I rolled my eyes. I mean, the idea that after all the obsessing Andreas has been doing about Roth, it never once occurred to him to consider why Roth was targeting him seemed silly. But the eye rolls were a lot less frequent in this book. I enjoyed the romance element and the over arching story line. This will probably never be one of my favourite series’ but it’s good if you’re looking for something to pass the time with.

You can buy it at Diesel’s ebook store.

McCabe: Seduction of a Highland Lass

Seduction of a Highland Lass

Seduction of a Highland Lass

Fiercely loyal to his older brother, Alaric McCabe leads his clan in the fight for their birthright. Now, he is prepared to wed for duty, as well. But on his way to claim the hand of Rionna McDonald, daughter of a neighboring chieftain, he is ambushed and left for dead. Miraculously, his life is saved by the soft touch of a Highland angel, a courageous beauty who will put his fealty to his clan, his honor, and his deepest desires, to the test.

An outcast from her own clan, Keely McDonald was betrayed by those she loved and trusted. When the wounded warrior falls from his horse, she is drawn to his strong, lean body. The wicked glint in his green eyes ignites a passion that will follow them back to Alaric’s keep, where their forbidden love draws them deeper into the pleasures of the flesh. But as conspiracy and danger circle closer, Alaric must make an impossible choice. Will he betray his blood ties for the woman he loves?

I have to admit, this series has come as something of a surprise. I looked at the cover and I read the blurb–for this book and In Bed with a Highlander–and was a little hesitant. As you know, I loved In Bed with a Highlander. But it’s been a while so I once again found myself judging a book by its cover. And once again, I was completely blown away.

Alaric is the middle McCabe brother. He’s not as serious as Ewan and not as grouchy and brooding as Caelen. He’s the nice brother. This isn’t to say that he’s any kind of slouch in the sexy badass department. His loyal to his family and his clan is absolute. There is nothing he values more in his life. Which is why, when Laird McDonald put forth the idea of uniting the McCabes and McDonalds through marriage, Alaric stepped up and offered to marry Rionna McDonald. He’s not totally enamoured with Rionna, but… she’ll do. Marrying her will also give Alaric the opportunity to be laird of his own keep, something that will be impossible if he stays with his family. In all, not a bad way for his life to go. But as it turns out, things don’t go exactly to plan. In fact, they go horribly awry with Alaric and his men being attacked in the dead of night. All of his men are killed and Alaric is gravely injured. He hops on his horse in the hopes of getting to safety as soon as possible.

Enter Keely. Keely’s been living on her own for years after being kicked out of her clan. She doesn’t get many visitors aside from those who seek her out for her healing skills. So you can imagine her surprise at seeing this huge ass horse riding up to her cottage and an unconscious man dropping to her feet. Keely’s a little uncertain. Which is smart given that she has no idea who Alaric is or where the hell he came from. But she can’t in good conscience leave him there so she manages to drag him into her cottage and nurses him back to health. Everything goes along swimmingly until the McCabes come to reclaim Alaric and insist on her accompanying them back to their keep. This is where Keely and Alaric are drawn deeper into their attraction to one another. Things are especially difficult for Keely once she realises that not only is he betrothed to another, but that this woman–Rionna– was once her best friend.

I enjoyed this book so very much. Keely and Alaric were wonderful characters. I especially enjoyed Keely. That girl had steel in her spine. She managed to survive after being kicked out of her home for something she didn’t do, she manages to heal the people who come to her for help and, especially impressive, she manages to hold her own with the McCabes. Despite knowing that the guy she loved was going to marry another, Keely had so much dignity. Alaric was… surprisingly sexy. I wasn’t too sure about him from the previous book. It’s not that I didn’t like him, I just wasn’t paying him very much attention. Trust me, all that changed pretty quick; it involved some sexy time featuring some light bondage. It may or may not feature for this week’s Holy Wow Wednesday…

I definitely recommend giving this book a try. Please, I know the blurb and cover are misleading, but this series is so definitely worth your time. You can get it over at Kobo, nice and cheap 😉    

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.