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.

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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!    

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.

Scandalous Brides: A Beginner’s Guide to Rakes

A Beginner's Guide to Rakes

A Beginner’s Guide to Rakes

A Risque Business

All of London is abuzz with the return of the utterly alluring, recently widowed Diane Benchley. Will she remarry? What will she do with her late husband’s fortune? Society is shocked by her announcement-at the Grand Ball, of all places!-that she plans to open an exclusive gentleman’s gaming club in the family mansion. But no one is more stunned than the Marquis of Haybury, Oliver Warren.

An Indecent Proposal

Years ago, Oliver and Diane shared a private indiscretion. Now Diane threatens to reveal Oliver’s most ungentlemanly secrets… unless he agrees to help her. A notorious gambler-and rake-Oliver is overqualified to educate Diane in the ways and means of running her establishment. But striking a deal with Diane might just be the biggest risk Oliver has ever taken. This time, the only thing he has to lose is his heart…

A Beginner’s Guide to Rakes is the first book in the Scandalous Brides series, and it was nothing short of brilliant. Couple a sarcastic, smarty-pants heroine with a charming, bad boy hero and you have one hell of a story. Every once in a while, a book comes along that really really reminds me why I love to read. This was one of those books.

Our leads, Diane Benchley and Oliver Warren, have a past. And it is this past that has made the two somewhat… hostile towards one another. Diane’s late husband gambled away their fortune and left them destitute. Then the bastard went and died, leaving her in the lurch. Oliver bailing on her was the final straw, and it taught her a valuable lesson: you can’t trust anyone, least of all a man. So Diane vowed that she would rely only on herself, and endeavored to get herself out of the mess her dearly-departed husband left her in. See, Diane has this grand master plan: she’s going to do something so scandalous that no one is going to be able to resist coming to see what’s the what. Dianne is going to open a gentleman’s club staffed almost exclusively by… women. Diane has everything all planned out. There’s only more thing she needs to make sure her plan is foolproof, and that is Oliver Warren. Much as Dianne would rather avoid Oliver, there is no denying that the man knows his stuff when it comes to gambling and the like. And luckily for Diane, she has a little something to blackmail Oliver with should he prove reluctant. Boy, was he really super reluctant.

This book was really so much fun. I loved the witty and sarcastic barbs Oliver and Diane exchanged. I also liked that Diane wasn’t just willing to fall into Oliver’s arms the second he showed up. He hurt her and it was going to take time for him to earn her trust. I have to be honest, Diane totally outshone Oliver for me. I enjoyed his character, I thought he was very charming, but he didn’t have the same ooomph as Diane. I think it’s pretty hard for authors of historical romances to create kickass heroines without resorting to cliches (take the hot, petite chick dressing up like a young boy as an example). Enoch managed to create a no-nonsense leading lady without having to resort to any of the tropes so common in the genre.

I absolutely adored this book. It was so much fun. Diane was the perfect mix of sassy yet vulnerable, and Oliver managed to balance his devil-may-care charm with sincerity. I would definitely recommend this book if you’re looking for an original take on historical romance. You can get it over at Amazon or at Kobo. It’s actually cheaper at Kobo, but I heard that they did something (no clue what) and pissed a bunch of people off. If you are boycotting them, Amazon is the place to go.

Immortals After Dark: A Hunger Like No Other

A Hunger Like No Other

A Hunger Like No Other

A mythic warrior who will stop at nothing to possess her…

After enduring years of torture from the vampire Horde, Lacklain MacRieve, leader of the Lykae Clan, is enraged to find the predestined mate he’s been waiting millennia for is a vampire. Or partly one. This Emmaline is a small, ethereal half Valkyrie/half vampire, who somehow begins to soothe the fury burning within him.

A vampire captured by her wildest fantasy…

Sheltered Emmaline Troy sets out to uncover the truth about her deceased parents-until a powerful Lykae claims her as his mate and forces her back to his ancestral Scottish castle. There, her fear of the Lykae-and their notorious dark desire-ebbs as he begins a slow, wicked seduction to sate her dark cravings.

An all-consuming desire…

Yet when an ancient evil from her past resurfaces, will their desire deepen into a love that can bring a proud warrior to his knees and turn a gentle beauty into the fighter she was born to be?

I had heard some really good things about Kresley Cole, so I was pretty sure this book would be good. I was wrong… the word “good” doesn’t even come close to describing this book. It was amazing. Everything was just right there. The universe, the story line, the romance and chemistry between the lead characters. And my review would not be complete if I didn’t mention the sex scenes. They were insanely hot. Like, really. Wow.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I started with this book. The blurb mentions “Valkyrie” and “Lykae” and I had no idea what the hell either of those things were. Turns out the Lykae are a little like werewolves and the Valkyrie are these warrior women who reminded me of the Amazons. They all belong to the Lore, which is basically the supernatural world. Here’s the thing, though: these two species do not like each other. Which leaves our two leads in a bit of a pickle. Lachlain MacGrieve is an all-round badass and the leader of the Lykae. He’s been tortured by the evil vampiric Horde for the last one hundred and fifty years. He’s really messed up, both physically and mentally, and he loathes vampires. In his opinion, the only good leach is a dead one. And when he meets his mate, the sweet little half vampire/half Valkyrie Emmaline Troy, he is beyond pissed off. Emma is the very definition of meek and mild. She does not want to rock the boat; all she wants is to learn more about her birth parents. But Emma’s demure demeanor is put to the test when she meets a pushy, arrogant and domineering Lykae with a super bad attitude. Emma and Lachlain’s relationship is not an easy one in the beginning. Lachlain was rude, and bossy, and just plain mean. And then something amazing happened: he started being nice. And then he started being really sweet. And then I totally wanted to jump him. Emma underwent a major transition, too. She went from being timid and shy to being fierce and strong. It got to the point where she was actually willing to call Lachlain, a man she was once terrified of, on his shit and give him the what-for. Emma managed to prove not only to her scary-ass Valkyrie aunts that she’s tough, she managed to prove to herself that she was a strong woman. And I loved that.

It took a little while for me to warm up to Lachlain. In fact, I could have strangled him for a couple of the things he said and did to Emma. But when he decided that he loved Emma, he just became this marshmallow. Except when he was in the bedroom. There he became a beast. It didn’t excuse him from his past behaviour, but he certainly made up for it. I won’t say much more about Emma; suffice to say, I loved her. I also adored her equally parts scary and crazy aunts, especially Nix and Regin. I can’t wait to learn more about the Valkyrie. They sound like a lot of fun. Hell, I can’t wait to get further into this series!

I highly recommend that you head on over to Sony’s ebook store and get started on this series. I promise, it will be money well spent.

 

Highland Pleasures: Lady Isabella’s Scandalous Marriage

Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage

Lady Isabella’s Scandalous Marriage

Six years ago, eighteen-year-old Lady Isabella Scranton scandalized all of London by eloping the night of her come-out ball with the notorious rake, Lord Mac Mackenzie. After three turbulent years of marriage, she scandalized London yet again-this time by leaving him.

Now the reformed Mac has returned, and he wants one thing: Isabella back in his life, his house, his bed. He’ll do anything he has to, play any game, as long as he gets her back. Isabella resists, but when she agrees to pose for erotic paintings he’s been working on, she realizes her body has never stopped craving her husband’s very skilled touch. Mac is determined to show Isabella he’s a changed man, but three years without her has only increased his hunger for her.

When an ingenious painter with designs on Mac’s paintings, and Isabella herself, comes dangerously near, Mac sets himself up as Isabella’s protector and vows to never leave her side, whether his independent and proud lady likes it or not.

Jennifer Ashley can quite easily become my favourite historical romance author. This series is so incredibly well-written, I am in utter awe of Ashley’s ability. She manages to create characters who are awesome on their own and, when you put them together, their chemistry is off the charts.

I didn’t enjoy Lady Isabella’s Scandalous Marriage quite as much as I enjoyed the first book, but that is not to say that this book wasn’t off the charts awesome. Lady Isabella and her husband, Mac Mackenzie, have always had a rather tumultuous relationship. They first met at Isabella’s debut ball where, after only having known each other a few hours, they skipped the rest of the party to go and get married. It caused a major stir in London, and set precedent for the rest of their married life: Lots of impulsive decisions that get people talking and occasionally came to bite them in their rear ends. Their relationship is also characterised by either fighting like cat and dog, or humping like bunnies. There was no disputing that they loved one another; it’s just that they could never find any middle ground. It was one extreme or another. Finally, it all became too much and Isabella told Mac that she’d had enough. It’s been three years since Isabella called it quits and both of them are miserable. They do their best to pretend that they don’t really miss each other, but they fall a little short. And then, they’re forced back into one another’s company when Isabella discovers that someone is forging Mac’s paintings. Mac doesn’t seem to care one way or another, but Isabella is determined to find out what’s going on. However, Mac catches an abrupt wake up when he realises that the dude mimicking his artwork isn’t as benign as he first seemed…

I loved Mac and Isabella together. There were such sweet moments between them and you could tell, despite how long they’d been apart, that they still loved each other as much as they did when they were blissful newlyweds. That being said, though, there were moments where I was a bit frustrated with Isabella. I thought that she was a little indecisive; she couldn’t seem to make up her mind about what she wanted. That is honestly the only thing I can think of that detracted from this book. Otherwise, it was as good as I’m coming to expect from Ms Ashley.

I’ve looked around and the cheapest place to get this book is over at Kobo. I really recommend giving this series a try. It’s epic!

Midnight Breeds: Midnight Awakening

Midnight Awakening

Midnight Awakening

He has resisted temptation for centuries, a stone-cold warrior whose frozen heart refuses to thaw-until her…

With a dagger in her hand and vengence on her mind, Darkhaven beauty Elise Chase prowls Boston’s streets in search of retribution against the Rogue vampires who took from her everything she cherished. Using an extraordinary psychic gift, she tracks her prey, well aware that the power she possesses is destroying her. She must learn to harness this gift, and for that she can turn to only one man-the deadliest of the Breed warriors, Tegan.

No stranger to loss, Tegan knows Elise’s pain. He knows fury, but when he slays his enemies it is with ice in his veins. He is perfect in his self-control, until Elise seeks his aid in her personal war. An unholy alliance is forged-a bond that will link them by blood and vow-and plunge them into a tempest of danger, desire, and the darkest passions of the heart…

Midnight Awakening is book three in the Midnight Breeds series by Lara Adrian. I’ll admit, I wasn’t particularly looking forward to this book. Tegan, our hero, is a Gen One vampire who seemed to me to be in dire need of an attitude adjustment, and Elise, our heroine, is a widowed Breedmate who struck me as a bit of a wuss. So I started this book with some pretty low expectations. But since I flat out refuse to skip books in a series, I sucked it up and started reading. Imagine my surprise when I found this to be the best book of the series.

We met Elise in Kiss of Crimson, which took place four months before Midnight Awakening. She had just lost her son and she was determined to get revenge. So she left her Darkhaven (the community where most vampire live) and made her way in the human world. She taught herself how to fight, and how to kill, the Rogues who were responsible for murdering her son. She does pretty well for awhile-until she bites off more than she can chew. She ends up taking on more Rogues than she can handle, and things start looking pretty grim… until Tegan swoops in to save the day. Once Tegan realises who he’s saved, you could have knocked him over with a feather. “Gobsmacked” doesn’t even begin to cover it. But Tegan’s got his own crap to deal with and if this chick is on a suicide mission, that’s none of his business. He walks away, not expecting to see Elise again. However, circumstances take a turn for the worse-or the better-and Elise and Tegan find themselves stuck together in extremely close quarters. Closer than either are comfortable with.

While the Order’s headquarters are in Boston, most of the story took place in Berlin. It was here that we saw some of the familiar faces and met some new ones. Among the old favourites is Rio, the sexy Spaniard whose mate turned out to be a crazy bitch. His mental state has not improved since we last saw him. Sterling Chase has joined the Order and has gone from straight-laced and buttoned-up to being brooding bad boy. The new faces include two more new recruits, Kade and Brock. We haven’t learned much about them beyond the fact that they’re friends with Nikolai (swoon) and they love a good fight. I’ve saved the most sexiest newbie for last: Andreas Reichen. Oh, my yum. This guy is fine. He’s the leader of the Belin Darkhaven and I cannot wait to see more of this guy.

Never have I been so happy to be wrong. I prematurely judged our leads and if it weren’t for my slight case of OCD, I would have missed what I honestly feel is the best book in the series so far. That’ll learn me not to be judge-y.

If you’re looking to read Midnight Awakening-and I really think you should-you can buy it either at Diesel’s ebook store or over at Sony’s.

Lords of Deliverance: Eternal Rider

Eternal Rider

Eternal Rider

They are here. They ride. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

His name is Ares, and the fate of mankind rests on his powerful shoulders. If he falls to the forces of evil, the world falls too. As one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, he is far stronger than any mortal, but even he cannot fight his destiny forever. Not when his own brother plots against him. 

Yet there is one last hope. Gifted in a way other humans can’t-or won’t-understand, Cara Thornheart is the key to both this Horseman’s safety and his doom. But involving Cara will prove treacherous, even beyond the maddening, dangerous desire that seizes them when they meet. For staving off eternal darkness could have a staggering cost: Cara’s life.

I was quite a fan of Larissa Ione’s Demonica series, so when I saw that she had released a spinoff I was so totally there. And Ms Ione did not disappoint. The Lords of Deliverance series is set in the same universe as the Demonica books, and features quite a few of the old faces from that series. If you do decide to read this series, I would advise starting with Demonica and working your way through.

On to the actual story line: this series is going to be dealing with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The idea is that the Horsemen are not intrinsically evil, nor are they intrinsically good. They’re just, you know, people (sort of). That is, until their Seals break. And that is exactly what happened to one of the Horsemen at the end of Sin Undone. Reseph’s (aka Pestilence) Seal broke and now he’s gone stark raving mad. He is evil, and hellbent on breaking his sibling’s Seals and bringing on the end of days. The other Horsemen are Ares (aka War), Limos (aka Famine) and Thanatos (aka Death), and they are doing all they can to stop Pestilence and save the world. I was actually pretty bummed that Ms Ione chose Reseph to be the bad guy. Going by the flashback scenes, and his sibling’s memories of him, Reseph was a pretty decent guy and then, through no fault of his own, he loses his shit and goes crazy.

Eternal Rider is Ares’s book. You’ll probably remember that we met him right at the end of Sin Undone. It took me a little while to really warm up to him. I mean, I liked him but I didn’t love him. He was a little on the grouchy side, but after a while I found his whole gruff he-man thing kinda cute. And then, about halfway through the book, Cara made Ares blush. Well, that was me. I was done. This big, tough, scary guy blushing? Adorable. As a heroine, I thought Cara handled herself pretty well. She didn’t freak out too badly when she was introduced to the supernatural world, and her bond with Hal the Hellhound was… unexpected. I mean, those things are vicious as hell and to see one acting like a tame little chihuahua was weird. 

In all, Lords of Deliverance is definitely looking to be a fun series, and I can’t wait to see what Ms Ione has in store for us next.

FBI/US Attorney Series: A Lot Like Love

A Lot Like Love

A Lot Like Love

The FBI wants her cooperation.

As the daughter of a billionaire and the owner of the city’s top wine store, Jordan Rhodes is invited to the most exclusive parties in Chicago. But there’s only one party the FBI wants to crash: the charity fundraiser of a famous restaurateur, who also happens to launder money for the mob. In exchange for her brother’s release from prison, Jordan is going to be there-with a date supplied by the Bureau.

Agent McCall just wants her. 

As the top undercover agent in Chicago, Nick McCall has one rule: never get personal. This “date” with Jordan Rhodes is merely an assignment-one they’re both determined to pull off even if they can’t be together for five minutes before the sarcasm and sparks begin to fly. But when Nick’s investigation is compromised, he and Jordan have no choice but to pretend they’re a couple, and what starts out as a simple assignment begins to feel a lot like something more…

A Lot Like Love was a real gem. I didn’t realise it when I bought it, but this is actually the second book in the FBI/US Attorney series, but it is possible to read it as a stand alone. I’m normally a bit of a stickler (okay, not really; I’m a gigantic pain in the ass) about reading books in order, but there will be zero confusion should you decide to read these books out of order.

The story is set in Chicago and our leads embody the whole “two worlds collide” concept. Nick McCall is an FBI agent who hails from Brooklyn and comes from modest means. Jordan Rhodes is a billionaire heiress who owns a wine shop. Most would agree that these two should have next to nothing in common, and would have no reason to come into contact with one another. Fortunately, fate has other plans. The FBI comes to Jordan with a proposition: if she agrees to help them out with an undercover operation, they’ll make arrangements for her twin brother, Kyle, to be released from prison early. Jordan is less than enthusiastic about the whole thing-after all, these people had her brother thrown in jail-but she can’t really refuse. Even so, she’s just a little tempted to tell the FBI to get stuffed when she’s introduced to her “boyfriend”. Jordan and Nick have a rocky start with sarcasm and snarky comments flowing thick and fast between the two. However, the more time they spend together, the more they realise that their preconceptions of one another may have been a little off…

This story was really too sweet. I loved how Nick and Jordan’s relationship changed. They went from being antagonistic and a little hostile, to okay-maybe-you’re-not-so-bad, to flirty, to totally into one another. It wasn’t an overnight thing, and the development of their relationship was pretty entertaining. But what I enjoyed even more than the romance between Nick and Jordan was Kyle Rhodes. Kyle has served four months of an eighteen month prison sentence. His crime? I’ll let Ms James explain it:

Kyle worked in technology; he knew it would only be a matter of time before the video of Daniela and the A-list actor went viral and spread everywhere. So he did what any pissed-off, red-blooded computer geek would do after catching his girlfriend giving an underwater blowjob to another man: he hacked into Twitter and deleted both the video and her earlier tweet from the site. Then, raging at the world that had devolved so much in civility that 140-character breakups had become acceptable, he shut down the entire network in a denial of service attack that lasted two days.

Thus, the “Twitter Terrorist” was born. So, if you’re looking for something light and fluffy to read, I’d give this book a go. It was sweet and it was funny and what more could you possibly want?   

The Smythe-Smith Quartet: Just Like Heaven

Just Like Heaven

Just Like Heaven

Honoria Smythe-Smith, the youngest daughter of the eldest son of the Earl of Winstead, plays the violin in the annual musicale performed by the Smythe-Smith quartet. She’s well aware that they are dreadful but she’s the sort who figures that nothing good will come of being mortified, so she puts on a good show and laughs about it.

Marcus Holroyd is the best friend of Honoria’s brother Daniel, who lives in exile. Marcus has promised to watch out for Honoria, but he faces a challenge when she sets off for Cambridge determined to marry by the end of the season. She’s got her eye on the only unmarried Bridgerton, who’s a bit wet behind the ears. When her advances are spurned, can Marcus swoop in and steal her heart in time for the musicale?

Just Like Heaven was my first book by Julia Quinn. The first thing I did when I finished with it was ask myself why the hell I had waited so long to give this author a try. This lady is funny! Three chapters into the book and I was giggling like an idiot.

Just Like Heaven is the first book in the Smythe-Smith series. The Smythe-Smiths are ginormous family who under the misapprehension that their young ladies are musically gifted. Any unmarried member of the Smythe-Smith family is drafted into performing in the family’s annual musicale. Despite the inexplicably high attendance of said musicale, these ladies are really, super bad. They should not be allowed to do what they do. Unfortunately, most of the family is blissfully unaware of the musical carnage the wreak every year.

However, Honoria Smythe-Smith’s ears are in perfect working order and she knows exactly how bad they are. Honoria plays the violin although, from the way it is described, the word “play” might be a little too optimistic for what it is Honoria does. I loved Honoria to bits. She was so funny, and she never let herself be put off by the fact that the music created by the Smythe-Smith quartet could easily be used as an instrument of torture. See, for Honoria, it’s not about the music; it’s about family and upholding family traditions. Our hero is only child, Marcus. He and Daniel, Honoria’s older brother, have been friends since they were children and so Marcus has always been considered a member of the Smythe-Smith family. So when Daniel is exiled from London after a moment of epic stupidity, it’s up to Marcus to pick up the slack on the whole “concerned big brother” gig.

The events of this book border on the ridiculous. Honoria and her friends/cousins are on a mission: find a husband before the season’s end or be forced to perform in yet another Smythe-Smith musicale. Some, like Honoria’s cousin Sarah, just want to find a husband in order to avoid the ordeal that is the musicale. Honoria’s motives are far more noble: she just wants a family of her own. Since Daniel was forced to leave London, things at home haven’t been the same and she misses the chaos of having a big family. Though, I have to say at this point that I’m glad I’m not living back in the day. The level of planning and creativity it takes to attract a husband would be completely beyond me. These ladies were not screwing around.

But even the best laid plans have a tendency to go horrendously wrong. Just ask Honoria and Marcus, who fell victim to Honoria’s mad scheming. Marcus was really such a gem. He was so completely into Honoria, even after her antics left him bedridden for a week. While there obviously wasn’t any malice behind her actions, I still would’ve thought that he might feel the need to approach Honoria with some caution.

I loved all the characters in this book, especially Honoria’s cousins. These chicks were completely batty, but every one of them added something to the story. Daisy was one of those misguided family members who believes in the Smythe-Smith family’s musical prowess; Sarah knows full well that they suck and she’s willing to resort to extreme measures in order to get out of performing; Iris is actually pretty good, not that you can tell with the racket her cousins make. This story was just so sweet and fluffy! Kinda like candyfloss, only without the nausea afterwards.

Here’s a quote from Marcus, which I think very neatly sums up how bad the Smythe-Smith quartet actually is:

Marcus could not possibly have described the sound that came forth from the four instruments in the Smythe-Smith rehearsal room. He was not sure that there were words that would be accurate, at least not in polite company. He was loath to call it music; in all honesty, it was more of a weapon than anything else. 

The Gravedigger’s Brawl

The Gravedigger's Brawl

The Gravedigger’s Brawl

Dr Wyatt Case is never happier than when he’s walking the halls of his history museum. Playing wingman for his best friend at Gravedigger’s Tavern throws him way out of his comfort zone, but not as much as the eccentric man behind the bar, Ash Lucroix.

Ash is everything Wyatt doesn’t understand: exuberant, quirky, and elbow deep in a gaslight lifestyle that weaves history into everyday life. He coordinates his suspenders with his tongue rings. Within hours, Wyatt and Ash are hooked.

But strange things are afoot at Gravedigger’s and after a knock to the head, Ash starts seeing things that can’t be explained by old appliances or faulty wiring. Soon everyone at Gravedigger’s is wondering if they’re seeing ghosts, or just going crazy. The answer to that question could end more than just Wyatt and Ash’s fragile relationship-it might also end their lives.

Let me just start off by saying that I absolutely adore Abigail Roux. At this point she is my favourite author, hands down, no questions asked. The Gravedigger’s Brawl went with the whole opposites attract thing which I love, and I thought that Abi handled this beautifully. What also appealed to me is that Wyatt is a museum curator, something that I’m currently studying to be, so that was a bonus.

First, let me state that I loved, loved, loved Ash and Wyatt together. They were such an odd couple, and yet they were so utterly adorable that they pulled at your heartstrings. Dr Wyatt Case is… well, he’s a little bit of a square. He has the bumbling professor thing down pat, and he loves nothing more than to be safely tucked away in his museum. He’s not what you would call out going and his “people skills” are “rusty” (forgive the Supernatural reference; I couldn’t resist).  Ash is the complete opposite.. He’s a bartender at the Gravedigger’s Tavern, and loves being the centre of attention. He’s confident and sassy, and utterly charmed by Wyatt’s quiet demeanor At first glance, these two polar opposites would have zero chance of getting past the infatuation stage, and would have even less chance of making a relationship work in the long term. But despite their differences, there’s something there. Ash finds Wyatt’s absent-minded scholar vibe endearing. He likes that Wyatt is kinda clueless and shy. Wyatt is completely intrigued by Ash’s quirky personality and mischievous smile. These two are pretty much smitten at first sight, and things are going swimmingly. The chemistry between these two is so intense, Ash takes Wyatt home that very night and they have some scorching hot sex; if it weren’t so effing cold right now I’d have been inclined to take a cold shower. Everything is right, everything is perfect… until Wyatt lets insecurity dictate his actions.

While I really wanted to boot Wyatt in the ass for being such a moron, I still felt so sorry for him. Ash’s feelings were pretty hurt, and he wasn’t just going to let Wyatt and his shitty behaviour off the hook. Well done, Ash. Three cheers for self-respect! But after much grovelling, Ash decides to forgive Wyatt and things start to get better. Except for one thing… strange stuff keeps happening with the lights and appliances. These occurrences all have logical explanations but Ash is still uneasy. He does his best to shrug off the weirdness and focus on his budding relationship with Wyatt. But, after a nasty conk on the head, things get hairy and Ash starts freaking out. He’s hearing noises the others don’t, and seeing things that can’t be explained. This starts putting strain on things between him and Wyatt.

I didn’t particularly like the whole ghost theme, but that’s mostly because ghost squee me out. So while I imagine that the ghost aspect wasn’t particularly creepy, it still gave me a slight case of the heeby-jeebies. But beyond that, I loved every single thing about this story. Wyatt and Ash were brilliant. Wyatt was this adorable fuddy-duddy and Ash really cute guy with a rather eccentric taste in… well, everything. I decided that Wyatt was awesome the minute after we first met him. The man had crawled under his own desk to hide away from the museum’s board of directors. The mental image alone should have you laughing. Ash cemented himself as a favourite when it was revealed that he coordinates his tongue rings with his outfits. Talk about fashion forward. While Ash and Wyatt pretty much stole the show, the secondary characters were pretty awesome too.  Honourable mention also goes to Noah and Caleb. Those two came pretty close to unseating Ash and Wyatt from their position of cutest couple ever.

I highly recommend giving this book a try. It was just such a sweet story with minimal angst which, if you’re familiar with Abi’s other books you’ll know, is something of a rarity. Usually she just stabs you in the feels and laughs as you bleed. So enjoy the straight up HEA when the Evil Overlord sees fit to give it to you.

Also, as a sort of PS: if you haven’t already heard, you can order Shock & Awe from Riptide over here. As well as getting what will undoubtedly be an A-MA-ZING story, you will also be contributing to a good cause. Half of the profits made from the first month of sales will donated to One Fund Boston.

Demonica: Passion Unleashed

Passion Unleashed

Passion Unleashed

Forbidden temptations…

Serena Kelley is an archaeologist and treasure hunter-and a woman with a secret. Since she was seven, she’s been the keeper of a powerful charm that grants her health and immortality… as long as she stays a virgin. But Serena isn’t all that innocent. And when a dangerously handsome stranger brings her to the brink of ecstasy, she wonders if she’s finally met the one man she cannot resist. 

Fatal desires… 

Wraith is a Seminus demon with a death wish. But when an old enemy poisons him, he must find Serena and persuade her to give him the only known antidote in the universe-her charm. Yet, as she begins to surrender to his seductions, and Wraith senses the cure is within his grasp, he realizes a horrible truth: he’s falling for the woman whose life he must take in order to save his own.

I liked this book. Okay, understatement… I loved this book! Wraith is honestly my favourite Seminus brother and I’m really glad that his book was as epic as he is. Right, so Passion Unleashed is the third book in the series. Like I said, this is Wraith’s book and he is one stubborn, sarcastic moron who I’d love to just give a hug. He’s just so… messed up and cuddly. But don’t let Wraith’s devil-may-care attitude fool you. He’s also harbouring a serious death wish. And, for the most part, his brothers have managed to keep his dumb butt out of any major trouble… until one night he bites off more than he can chew.

Wraith gets attacked by an assassin who poisons him. Not too big a crisis, right? I mean, his brothers work in a demon hospital. All he needs to do is mosey on over and get them to patch him up. Except… that’s not going to happen. The poison he’s been hit with has no cure, and Wraith is as good as dead. Now, Wraith wouldn’t be all that concerned with his death if it didn’t have such a direct impact on his brothers, Eidolon and Shade. We’re not only talking about the devastation of losing a brother; if Wraith dies, Underworld General will be toast. Because the brothers poured so much of themselves into the hospital, their lives are tied to the place. Wraith knows that his brothers won’t be able to take the double blow of losing both him and the hospital, so it is absolutely vital that he find some sort of cure.

This is where Serena comes in. She’s a human who’s been charmed by angels. She can’t die. Ever. There’s only one catch: she cannot swipe her V-card. If she does, her charm will be transferred to the person she has sex with. Serena may have been tempted to give up her charm along with her virginity, but for the fact that she’s suffering from a demonic disease with no cure. If she gives up her charm, she’ll be dead within days. Quite a shitty little situation Ms Ione has set up here, right?

When Wraith learns about Serena and her charm, he decides to… well, quite literally, charm the pants off her (sorry, couldn’t resist). Wraith is pretty sure that this will be over with in a day, a quick wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am, and then he’ll be on his way. Easy peasy. He finds Serena in Egypt, prepared to unleash his charm and tumble her into bed. No such luck. Serena wasn’t born yesterday and she knows what’s at stake. She isn’t going to give up her entire life for a one night stand, no matter how hot this “Josh” guy is.

The story progresses from there. Serena gradually starts to trust Wraith, and Wraith slowly becomes acquainted with his conscience. Wraith finds that the more he gets to know her, the worse he feels about the whole situation. Not only is he lying to her (she thought his name was Josh for most of the book), but he plans on stealing the only thing standing between her and a painful death. This part of the story was awful and I will admit to yelling at Wraith some while I was reading. I mean, besides the fact that Wraith was lying like a cheap rug, he and Serena were so perfect for each other. You just knew that while they were being all sweet and googly eyes, things were going to blow up in their faces. The angst was awful.

Despite the fact that Wraith was a lying liar, I loved his so much! He tries to act all tough guy and be all I-don’t-give-a-shit but, deep down, he was a teddy bear. And Serena was pretty awesome too. It would have been easy for her character to be overshadowed by Wraith, but she really held her own. Yes, she was into Wraith. Yes, having to remain a virgin was causing her all sorts of frustrations. But she didn’t let that rule her or affect how she lived her life.

In addition to building the romance between Wraith and Serena, Ms Ione finally, finally, resolved the issues between Gem and Ky. Halle-fraking-lujah! I thought the waiting was going to cause my head to explode. As well as tying loose ends, we were also introduced to new characters. We meet a very sweet fallen angel named Reaver, and a sexy as fuck assassin named Lore. I am very excited to see what’s going to happen with these two gentlemen…

Now, since it’s Larissa Ione, I can’t let you leave without sharing a few of my favourite moments from this book. I haven’t managed to get through a book in this series without laughing myself silly. Ms Ione has a tremendous sense of humour…

Here is an example of Wraith’s seriously distorted priorities, and it supports my argument that although he’s adorable, he’s also a moron.
The worst part about dying slowly wasn’t the dying part. It was the fact that the poison had all but killed Wraith’s libido.

There’s a succubus (a female sex demon) that works at Underworld General. Wraith does not like this woman, and if Wraith isn’t willing to even contemplate having sex with a female, then you know that she’s unpleasant.
Even if it wasn’t physically impossible for succubi and incubi to screw, he wouldn’t touch her. In the dictionary, the word “bitch” ran and hid from her. 

In this scene, Shade is filling Wraith in on what he’s missed since he’s been away.
“… Our other brother, but he’s in chains. He’s also a total dick. You’ll like him.”

For the record? I like the new Seminus brother. Also for the record? I am loving this series. I would definitely recommend giving it a try if you haven’t already.

 

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.