Category Archives: Angels
ORDER A COPY: Souls of the Damned
Publishing Date: June 19, 2014
Paperback: 240 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Kat Redding would love to take a break from the gruesome, dangerous work of hunting down rogue vampires and werewolves, battling for innocent lives. But there’s no peace for Lady Death. Until Kat’s young charge, Sienna, appears on her doorstep, escaped from the shadow-paradise of Delai. Sienna is weak, confused, desperate–human in the utmost. If Kat is going to have any hope of breaking the hold of Delai, she’ll have to infiltrate the walls around the false sanctuary. And the only way she can do that is to trade in her battle-hardened, bloodthirsty vampire’s body–for Sienna’s human form.
With no weapons but her wits, Kat has to trust a demon, defeat an angel, and wrestle with her own rebel soul–because with all the fear and death she’s conquered, no one has ever offered her another day under a warm yellow sun.
Kat has tried several times unsuccessfully to find Delai. She promised Sienna that she wouldn’t leave her there to the mercy of Levi. Sienna doesn’t even know that Levi isn’t a man. He’s an angel. But angels are not the heavenly, kind of creatures we have all been brainwashed to believe they are. Levi is no better than the demon Beligral who has marked Kat and her human friend, Ethan.
So imagine how surprised Kat is to come home one night to find Sienna sleeping in her bed. Beligral helped break Levi’s bond long enough for Sienna to escape Delai, but what Kat can’t figure out is why? The only thing she is sure about is that Beligral wants Kat to send Levi back to his own realm, and he’s willing to make Kat human in order to accomplish that. But then again when negotiating with a demon, there is always a catch, to make her human, Beligral will swap Kat and Sienna’s souls.
Kat isn’t willing to make Sienna suffer vampire hunger and rage no matter how much Kat would like to be human. But she didn’t count on Levi being able to call Sienna and the only way to keep Sienna from running back on her own would be to lock her in a cage for the rest of her life.
With no other way to save Sienna from returning to Delia, Kat agrees to the soul swap. If she can make it back out alive, will she have the strength to give Sienna back her body, or will the lure of once again being human be too much of a temptation for Kat to resist.
I knew when I picked this book up that it was a storyline focusing on the Twilight Zone town of Delai. I didn’t enjoy that storyline when it was presented in Book 2, but I understand and the author (1) isn’t writing just for my personal pleasure, and (2) he has to wrap up this loose thread since Kat isn’t the type of character to abandon an innocent young woman after promising to come back for her.
E.S. Moore left us reeling at the end of Book 4 with an ending which will bring big changes, but we couldn’t really get into what’s going to happen yet because we had to wrap up the Delai storyline. Kat’s character had improved in Book 4 and she was continuing with her personal growth in Book 5. Kat hates being a vampire and wants to be human again, but even with how tempting it was to take Sienna’s body, she didn’t give in until she had no other choice. Sienna was being force back to go back and she wasn’t strong enough to have been able to stop Levi herself. Once she takes Sienna’s body and becomes human again, Kat comes to realize how much weaker humans are, how much slower, eyesight, etc. So maybe the time spent in Sienna’s body will help her re-think her deep desire to be human again. Kat has made many enemies and becoming human again would make her too weak to protect herself and her friends for the powerful Supes who would be gunning for her.
Now that the Delai storyline is dead, Kat still has to deal with the new threat by Countess Basset who wants Kat to walk away from her old life and move into her House and for Kat become her full-time assassin. She also has creepy, gross Adrian, the psycho werewolf Alpha, who wants Kat to mate with him (ewww) still stalking her. He wants Kat to pass on a message of Jonathan that he wants Jonathan to join his House. I think he just wants to keep on eye on Jonathan because he knows that there are feelings between Jonathan and Kat.
(Little more spoilers) The big positive in this story was that we got some Jonathan and Kat (as Sienna) action. What do I mean by that? After Kat switches bodies with Sienna, she realizes she might not come back and she goes to see Jonathan for possibly the last time. They have sex (Yay!) and Jonathan is suddenly out of his funk (not surprising). He doesn’t know what Kat is up to, but obviously he wants to see more of her when she comes back. Knowing she won’t be keeping Sienna’s body if she survives, Kat starts with the “we can’t mix vampires and werewolves” BS fear she keeps falling back on, and Jonathan pleads that they not go backwards in their relationship now that they finally have taken a step forward.
Now I don’t know if this was intentional by the author or not, but Jonathan and Kat/Sienna have sex. I’m gonna guess that no condom was used since Jonathan is currently displaced and in a funk and probably not thinking about sex. I am sure Kat/Sienna didn’t show up with one and since Sienna has been living in Delai, I’m gonna guess she isn’t taking birth control to control her cramps which is the lame excuse in several books. Is the author just glancing over this oversight or will Sienna start the next novel suddenly feeling out of sorts or nursing a case of the “flu” and asking Kat what she was doing with Sienna’s body while she was out? Additionally, Kat’s BFF Ethan has a crush on Sienna. I don’t think he’s gonna be happy to find out Kat got his new love knocked up with a half werewolf baby. That would make awkward breakfast conversation. We’ll have to see if that turns into something in the next book.
I’m still in on this series for now and since we’ve gotten rid of the Delai storyline, we can concentrate of Kat extricating herself from the clutches of both the vampire Countess and Adrian the creepy werewolf. I must admit that I fear for my beloved Jonathan now that he and Kat have upped their relationship. I said all along she should mate with Jonathan since she was so attached to him and that would get Adrian off her back. Now that there is a relationship between them (including sex) will Adrian kill Jonathan or simply threaten Jonathan’s life to get Kat to mate with him (ewww!). If Jonathan’s gone, I’m out. :( He’s my favorite character here.
Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
The sound of birds chirping woke me. I stretched and sat up in bed, somewhat dazed. Sometime during the night, I’d been moved so that when I woke, my head was on the pillow and a blanket covered me. I’d somehow slept through it, which wasn’t like me at all.
With a yawn, I rose and sludged my way across the dark bedroom, into the bathroom. I flipped on a light and jumped back in surprise when I saw my face.
Sienna stared back at me. It was strange knowing I was looking into a mirror and yet, not recognizing the face as my own. I ran my fingers down my cheek, stretching the skin as if I thought it might slough off, revealing the same old face I was used to.
“This is fucking weird.” Even my voice didn’t sound right.
I turned away from the mirror with a grimace. Smells and sights were muted from what I knew. I couldn’t hear as well as before either. It made me feel as if I was wrapped in cotton, or crippled, perhaps.
And then there was the whole washing thing. I really didn’t want to see Sienna naked, but if I was stuck with this body for any length of time, there was no helping it. I doubted I’d be able to go to Delai, find the summoner, kill him, and then get back to switch bodies before I started to stink.
I quickly stripped out of Sienna’s clothes, stepped into the shower, and tried to wash her body without actually touching anything. It’s my body now, I reminded myself. I needed to start thinking of it that way so that if I came across a situation where I need to react quickly, I didn’t try to act like the vampire I once was. That would only get me killed.
Once I was clean, I dried off and hurried into my room to get dressed, pointedly not looking in the mirror as I passed. There wasn’t much that fit me right, but I managed to find an old T-shirt in the back of my closet that wasn’t too big and a pair of shorts that worked well enough once I strapped on a belt. I felt like a little girl playing dress-up with her mom’s clothes.
The sound of birds continued. My eyes were drawn to the sound.
My heart in my throat as I crossed the room to the window. The blinds were taped to the wall so that no light could penetrate them. Heavy curtains hung over them for added protection. Ever so slowly, I pushed the curtains back and pulled the blinds away from the window.
Light struck me square in the face. I cringed back, expecting to feel burned and weak, but instead, the sunlight on my skin felt warm and comforting. I opened the blinds wider and looked out on a sunlit world I never thought I’d see again.
Tears sprung suddenly to my eyes, so I closed them. The sun warmed my flesh, sent my heart soaring. While I couldn’t see it directly, the sunlight lit up my eyelids so that they seemed to glow bright pink.
With a cry of pure joy, I spun and ran out of my room. I was crying hard now and couldn’t make myself stop. I didn’t know if it was the body or if I was just that overjoyed about what I’d felt. Either way, my emotions were getting the better of me. And right then, I didn’t care. All I wanted to do was feel the sun directly on my skin, revel in the light of day for the first time in a very, very long time.
I threw open the front door and ran out into the yard, heedless of anyone that might be lurking in the surrounding trees. I spread my arms wide as I raised my face to a sun that shone so bright, so strong, it was a wonder the entire world didn’t burn. A breeze played across my skin, warm and reassuring. I fell to my knees and cried.
“Could you remember what it was like before now?”
Jeremy’s voice startled me, but I refused to rise. I shook my head and smiled into the sun.
The world smelled different during the day. Even with my weaker sense of smell, I could tell. It was as if I’d walked into another reality entirely. Everything was so strange, and that included myself. It was all I could do not to be overwhelmed.
Jeremy didn’t move from where he stood a few feet back. I had a feeling I’d woken him with my shout before I’d run from the house. He was probably out here making sure no one took advantage of the idiot girl.
I finally rose and turned to face him. He looked tired, but oddly happy. The sun did strange things to his face, made him look older somehow. I’m not sure if it was that the shadows were thinner here or if it was how the lines of worry were more defined in direct sunlight.
“I’m glad you got to see this,” he said, scanning the trees. “I think if vampires could actually come out and spend sometime in the sun, they wouldn’t be so goddamn pissy all of the time. That big orange ball up there has a soothing effect on people, you know?”
I nodded, but didn’t trust myself to speak just yet. The waterworks had shut off, but I still felt full to bursting. I wanted to scream and run naked through the trees, to feel the grass beneath my toes. If it wasn’t for the fact that there might still be werewolves camped out there and that it wasn’t my body I’d be exposing to the world, I very well might have done it.
ORDER A COPY: Dark Skye (Immortals After Dark)
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publishing Date: August 5, 2014
Hardcover: 384 pages
Rating: 5 Stars (Loved it!)
As a boy, Thronos, Lord of Skye Hall, loved Lanthe, a mischievous Sorceri girl who made him question everything about his Vrekener clan. But when the two got caught in the middle of their families’ war, tragedy struck, leaving Thronos and Lanthe bitter enemies. Though centuries have passed, nothing can cool his seething need for the beautiful enchantress who scarred his body – and left an even deeper impression on his soul.
Lanthe, a once-formidable sorceress struggling to reclaim her gifts, searches for love and acceptance with all the wrong immortal suitors. But she’s never forgotten Thronos, the magnificent silver-eyed boy who protected her until she was ripped from the shelter of his arms. One harrowing night changed everything between them. Now he’s a notorious warlord with a blood vendetta against Lanthe, hunting her relentlessly.
With their families locked in conflict and battles raging all around them, will Thronos and Lanthe succumb to the brutal chaos that threatens everything they cherish? Or will the fragile bond they formed so long ago spark a passion strong enough to withstand even the darkest doubts?
Romeo and Juliet have nothing on the tale of Lanthe and Thronos. Melanthe, the Queen of Persuasion and Thronos Talos, Knight of Reckoning and Prince of the Skye, should have been mortal enemies. Vrekeners have always sought to curtail the activities of the evil Sorceri. Lanthe and Thronos met as children and enjoyed an easy friendship. Thronos recognized Lanthe as his fated female and knew that someday their friendship would grow into something much more.
Yet it only took a moment of hate and fear to destroy their future. Thronos’s father, the King, brought his knights to murder Lanthe’s parents. Although they were only children, Lanthe and her sister, Sabine, used their powers to fight back and killed the King and his men. Believing that Thronos betrayed her, Lanthe turned her power of persuasion on him, and commanded him to jump out of the high tower and not use his wings to stop his fall. As a young Vrekener, Thronos had not yet come into his immortality. It is a miracle that he survived at all. His face and body bear the scars from the glass and his deformed leg and wing are physical reminders of the betrayal of that night.
Vrekener’s never abandon their hunt and a male never lets go of his fated female. She is his only chance for children. So for 500 years Thronos has been chasing Lanthe across worlds and dimensions, but she has eluded him every time. Now they have both escaped from the Order’s prison and Lanthe is still wearing the torque which dampens her sorceri powers. She can’t create a portal to escape and she can’t persuade Thronos to leaver her alone. After 500 years of the chase, he finally has her in his arms. Now that he finally has her, he needs to decide what to do with her.
There is a part of him that wants to torture her for the wrongs she has done him. While he tried unsuccessfully to capture her, he had to watch his fated female take male after male to her bed while Lanthe tried desperately to find true love. There is also a part of him that still yearns for the friend he lost and the family they should have had together. Is there is too much pain and betrayal between them to ever get past?
As Thronos tries to get Lanthe to his home in the sky, they will need to fight as a team, instead of each other, to survive the perils surrounding them. They each feel the loss of their past connection like an ache, but is it enough to get them past 500 years of betrayal and treachery and find the friendship they left behind?
Thank you, Kresley Cole, for finally giving us the story we have all been dying to read.
I have been desperate for this story since we first met Lanthe and Thronos in Kiss of a Demon King. We were tortured further in Demon from the Dark, when we left off with Thronos capturing Lanthe. Being so desperate for this story, I was both thrilled and terrified when Kresley Cole announced that Dark Skye would be her next book. Thrilled that it was coming out and terrified that it would not be as fabulous a story as I needed it to be. I received a copy on late Friday afternoon and had it finished to Saturday afternoon and I am so happy to say that Thronos and Lanthe’s story will be on my list of top ten favorite stories ever.
My favorite part of this story was that Thronos gets pissed off every time Lanthe calls him a demon. Thronos is very black and white with his thinking and Lanthe forces him to see that life is mostly gray. He was raised to believe that Vrekeners were not demons, but Lanthe keeps pointing out everything that Thronos does that is demon-like.
“One more time, sorceress: I am not a demon! Vrekeners are descended from gods. We have purpose. His tone was harsher than he’d intended, because…because he had felt an affinity for the beast.
“I thought Vrekener horns were only for show,” Melanthe said with obvious glee. “Yours straightened when I began to undress.”
“I’m to take your word on that?” But how they’d ached!
“I’ll bet you have a demon seal. You won’t release seed until you’re inside your mate.”
“So I have a couple things in common with demons.” He ran his fingers throug his hair. “I also have fangs—does that make me a vampire? My eyes turn silver, so I must be a Valkyrie.”
Deny, deny, deny.
Much to his frustration, Lanthe is the only one who could challenge his rigid mindset and make him acknowledge the gray.
What I had disliked in the last two IAD books, Lothaire and especially, MacRieve, was that the heroes were sexually attracted to their heroines, but afterwards they acted disgusted by the fact that they gave in to those desires and touched a female like her. Before starting Dark Skye, I was afraid we would have more of the same especially since we are starting the story knowing that there is a lot of pain and anger between these two characters. The book starts off with a seething Thronos barely able to control his wrath against Lanthe. But we see as the story progresses that just having her with him is starting to calm him down. As his rage passes, we start to see that Thronos is naturally a calm and rational guy. He assesses each new danger or challenge before acting. Although we are still a long way from love, as he starts to think clearer he starts to work through his feelings of betrayal. He wants to get Lanthe home with him so that he can have a family since Lanthe is the only one who can have his children. Once he truly works through his feelings, he wants a family with her because she matters to him.
Thronos’s biggest issue is that Lanthe has been sexually active with many, many partners trying to find someone who will love her, and Thronos is a virgin. Vrekeners are very, very conservative and have a giant book of rules of what is taboo or an “offendment” to his people. Kissing Lanthe before they are married is considered an offendment so you can see why her promiscuity is a problem for him. By the time we get to anything really sexual, they are already working through their problems and Thronos is never in any way disgusted by what he wants to do with Lanthe, even when he is angry with her.
Lanthe has no problem with Thronos scars. She thinks they make him look warlord-y and sexy. But it is not until Lanthe takes a peek into Thronos’s mind and starts to see what happened between them from his point of view that she softens her heart and forgives him a little, but whenever he continues with the slut-shaming, he loses her again.
It is such a good story and there is such a gradual working through their issues which brings them a complete 180 from where we started that you almost forget how dark the story starts and how much seething hatred they had when we began.
All Immortal After Dark followers will be delighted with this next chapter in the series, and if you haven’t tried an IAD story, you are missing out on a truly fun and sexy series.
Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much!!!
So many scenes, which one to pick…
Lanthe hadn’t caught her breath since she’d entered, her captivated gaze taking in every detail.
Happiness coursed through her veins. How had clever Thronos found this place?
Though she was in a room full of gold, her attention veered to him, crouched on that shelf. The muscles of his torso flexed with his movements. His stern, intense expression and that gargoyle-like position made him look very demonic.
She’d never bedded a demon before. Huh.
Yet as she strolled the temple, his constant scowl eased. Without that scowl, he was…gorgeous.
There was no more denying it—or her attraction to him.
Some females might consider his scars unsightly. Lanthe though they made him look tough and warlord-y. Besides, who could care about them when those silver eyes were so compelling? When his warrior’s body seemed to have been sculpted from granite?
He’d once believed that she was “everything missing” from his life. Could he still feel that way? And why was she contemplating these things—instead of how to transpo this gold to Rothkalina or calculating karats?
Why did she have the urge to peer up at him with equal captivation? She surrendered to her impulse, turning to him. He seemed surprised by her perusal but held her gaze.
They were—dare she say it?—having a moment.
“You face me when surrounded by gold? Perhaps I rate after all?” The scowl returned, as if he was hardening himself. She wanted to cry, No, no, no, just a few more minutes!
“We had a deal,” he said. “I grow impatient.”
She could imagine—he’d waited so long to see her. And now she knew he’d already been struggling with his lust and curiosity when he’d been a young man.
A deal was a deal. She would take the sight of this gold into her, a memory to last forever. Unless I can return…
“Be about it, sorceress.”
Since she’d planned on enthrall him, this would be a good start, but the way he was crouching forward, as if on the verge of pouncing, made her hesitate. “If I do this, how do I know you won’t try to touch me? You’re not supposed to, right?”
“I only intend to look,” he said, though she could sense his aggression mounting.
“Do it, then.” When she still hesitated, he said, “Don’t feign shyness—I know you’ve done this with a horde of males before me.”
And just like that, her interest was checked. Though she was neither ashamed nor proud of the number of men she’d been with, his cruel jabs wounded her.
At least now she better understood his resentment. “I don’t think it’s a good idea to put myself in a sexual situation with you.”
He growled at that. “After your purported year of celibacy, I would expect you to be climbing the walls for any male’s attentions. And if I’m not mistaken, you’re in season.”
She flushed, lips thinning.
“I’ve heard tales of females like you.” At her raised brows, he enunciated the words, “Easy quarry.”
How could a maddened Vrekener hurt her so much?
Because he once looked at you with perfect acceptance, Lanthe. And she feared she’d been searching for that look ever since she’d lost it.
In order for her to be interested in a male, he needed to make her feel special—even if she knew it was a ruse. Despite Thronos’s mind-blowing body and heartbreaking past, he stood no chance. “Even we ‘easy quarry’ girls have standards. And you, Thronos Talos, are leaving me cold.”
He scoffed. “I could seduce you with ease. You’ve welcomed scores before me with only minuscule effort on their part. but I’ve no intention of taking you, nor even of touching you. Both are offendments. I only want to see my female.”
“You think you can resist seeing your mate naked?”
“You think I can’t?” A cunning light shone in his gaze. “You Sorceri like to gamble? To make bets? Then I’ll enter into a wager with you—my first.”
Dudley Do-Right makes a bet.
“If your body tempts me to touch it, then I’ll tell you how I found this temple and opened the door.”
“And if it doesn’t tempt you?”
“The blow to your enchantress pride would be reward enough.”
That is it! Now it was imperative to wipe that smirk off his face. “I’ll take your bet.” She thought she spied a flash of surprise in his expression. “No sex, though.”
He glowered, as if she’d suggested something ludicrous. “I’ll breed no bastards! Already my offspring will be half Sorceri. Do you think I’d allow the first to be illegitimate on top of that?”
Asshole! Only Thronos could ruin this: her, in a temple full of gold with a physically attractive male. He was like the anti-Sorceri—created to repel her.
Forget enchanting him! He didn’t deserve her beguilement. “I’ll remember this.”
“That you kill joy wherever you find it.” She gave him her back as she unfastened the first of three clips on the side of her breastplate.
Had his breaths quickened?
She gazed over her shoulder, saw his claws digging into the gold shelf, his throat working. His voice dropped an octave when he commanded, “Off with it.”
She unfastened the second clip.
“That’s it,” he murmured, his words dripping with pent-up lust.
As she was undoing the last clip, she heard something from beyond the main cave, and paused. The sound came again, growing in volume—movement down the mountainside. Something big was approaching. “Thronos, what was that?”
“Heard nothing. Continue.”
“Come on, demon!” She began fastening the clips again.
“There’s nothing to fear out there!”
When the entire temple rocked, she snapped, “Oh, really?”
He made a coarse sound of frustration; then she heard the swoop of his wings. She whirled around to find him charging toward her, that determined look in his grave face.
His eyes appeared to have darkened, and she could swear his horns were straightening—just like a demon’s would when he became aroused.
In other words, Thronos doesn’t live here anymore.
Reaching for her, he bit out, “To tide me over.”
A roar sounded in the cave. Seeming to wake out of a daze, Thronos dropped his hands. And she could have sworn upstanding Dudley Do-Right grated “Fuck.“
ORDER A COPY: Under The Final Moon (Underworld Detective Agency)
Publisher: Kensington Books
Publishing Date: August 5, 2014
Paperback: 352 pages
Rating: 3 stars
It’s not the end of the world–until it is. Sophie Lawson may be a mere human with no special abilities except a strong immunity to magic. But the havoc she’s wreaked on the supernaturals who come up against the Underworld Detection Agency have earned her plenty of enemies. Still, a girl can’t freak out every time a horribly barbecued corpse is found with her business card in its hand. Or see a sudden glut of earthquakes, wildfires and three-headed dogs as just another day in California. But Alex Grace, her favorite fallen angel, is concerned–or saying he is to see more of her. Getting Sophie to see all the signs of the Apocalypse is an interesting way to heat things up. Or maybe what’s making everyone hot under the collar is the fact that all Hell is about to break loose. . .
Arsonists are lighting up San Francisco and they all have one thing in common, they all appear to be trying to bring forth Satan. When a vampire lights himself up, and just happens to be holding onto a card belonging to one, Sophie Lawson, Det. Alex Grace comes knocking to find out of Sophie knows anything about Daddy-Dearest trying to get in touch with her. Oh yeah, did we mention that Sophie’s Dad is Satan himself, and that as some celestial joke, the Vessel of Souls holding all the souls that haven’t traveled on to heaven has been hidden inside Sophie.
There is also a group known as the Grigori who are trying to kill Sophie before Satan can get the Vessel of Souls from her.
As if Firestarter vampires, three-headed dogs, Grigori and a home visit from Satan isn’t enough to keep Sophie snacking on chocolate pinwheels, she still hasn’t made any decision on her choices of men…Will or Alex?
Armageddon is coming is something you say, not something that’s actually happening on Tuesday, but as the signs start added up, it appears that Dear Old Dad might just be trying to come for a visit, but is he looking to spend time with his little girl, get Sophie to join the family business or just do a snatch and grab of the souls hidden inside her?
This was the last book of the series and I can’t tell you how absolutely disappointed I was while I was reading it.
Poor Sophie, being the only human in a bunch of paranormals, usually ends up being beaten up and crying. Sophie had so many breakdowns in this story and a lot of them a constant pity party of “Why didn’t my Dad love me and come to the Father/Daughter dance” or “to my play” or “come to my graduation” or “what does he want from me now.” Most of her crying jags were with Alex and she ended up crying in his arms. This happened so many time that if I was listening to an audiobook, I would have assumed I messed up the download and was repeating scenes.
We also kept having scenes where someone was attacking Sophie and then they disappeared, never to be heard from again, and then someone else would attack her and again, that storyline just disappeared. The story starts with fires, fires, fires everywhere…and then suddenly there are no more fires mentioned again. There were also several of the usual scenes where everyone was there to protect her, and then they all just stepped away giving the bad guy time to attack. “We’re here to protect you.” “No, I’m okay.” “Alright, see you tomorrow.” Knock, knock, Bad guy calling.
There was also many, many references to Satan being “a trickster” and I kept waiting for the big trick Sophie would do to fight him at his own game, but the ending happened so fast and ended up being pretty anticlimactic.
After listening to Sophie constantly bounce back and forth between Alex and Will for five of the six stories, in the end Sophie doesn’t pick one over the other so much as one leaves town, leaving her choosing the other by default. I think it would have been funnier after all these books of her lamenting which hottie will I choose, if they both left her at the end.
Although the humor was still there, the story itself seemed to just circled around and the plot was not very cohesive. For the last book in the series where she could have done anything that she wanted with the characters, it was totally disappointing.
Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I heard the murmurings and a few stepped forward to pat me on the back or touch my arm gingerly, and I was basking in the warmth of this weird, horned, extended family that cared, and gave a damn whether I lived or died.
And then, the elevator dinged.
Alex was standing there and it was like the first time I’d ever seen him: his shoulders were thrown back, chin hitched one lock of wavy hair impishly falling over his forehead. His chest looked impossibly broad, Greek-God like, and when his badge winked from his hip, I felt my mouth water.
Once again, I was: Sophie Lawson, turned on in the face of danger.
Alex’s icy eyes cut across the waiting room until he saw me. I saw him suck in a breath, and I was ready to shimmy out of my panties—all the demons cared and Alex, too—when the other elevator dinged.
We all waited, no one breathed, until the doors slid open.
Then I had to pick my jaw up off the floor.
Will was in the second elevator, leaning against the back wall and looking relaxed and comfortably cool, as though he were in an Abercrombie ad just awaiting his scantily clad co-model. His hazel eyes were slightly hooded in that “hey, baby, I’m holding a kitten” kind of way that made my heart bloom and ignited something low in my belly. Between the two of them I was a pile of supercharged horny goo while the whole of the world trembled on the precipice of holy hell.
As I clamped my knees together and gritted my teeth, I was fairly certain that my inappropriate sex drive was half the reason the city was vaulting toward our brimstony demise.
Both Alex and Will stepped out at the same time, each with a set of eyes fixed on me for a brief second before they glanced at each other. Then each seemed to get an inch taller. Suddenly, chests were puffed out and, I’m not entirely sure, but I’m fairly certain that arms were flexed. I would have paused to scrutinize further, but both made a beeline for me, talking at the same time.
“Wanted to make sure—“
“—you were okay down here.”
They stopped talking at the same time, too, glared at each other, then swung to face me and my army of Underworld associates.
“We’re all okay down here,” I said, feeling suddenly overwhelmed with domestic love and nearly throwing my arms around the armless zombie and the troll who had kicked me out from under the coffee table.
ORDER A COPY: Kindle -or- AllRomanceEBooks
Publishing Date: October 29, 2013
Paperback: 384 pages
Rating: 5 stars
Angels are falling from the sky in New York, struck down by a vicious, unknown force.
Vampires are dying impossibly of disease.
Guild hunter Elena Deveraux and the Archangel Raphael must discover the source of the wave of death before it engulfs their city and their people, leaving New York a ruin and Raphael’s Tower under siege by enemy archangels.
Yet even as they fight desperately to save the city, an even darker force is stirring, its chill eyes trained on New York…and on Raphael. Rivers of crimson and nightmares given flesh, the world will never again be the same.
In Nalini Singh’s world of Archangels, these Archangel’s aren’t saints. The Archangels are the most powerful beings and they rule over the earth and the angels, vampires and humans who live there. They have divided the earth into territories, but there are constant power struggles between the Archangels. Over a millennia old, Raphael is one of the youngest and most powerful Archangels who rules over the most prized territory from up high in his Tower which dominates the New York City skyline.
After Raphael’s mother, Caliane, a truly Ancient Archangel, woke from her millennia of sleep, she began a Cascade which effects the natural order of the world causing changes in weather and worse, granting new, dangerous powers to the Archangels.
A strange cloud covers New York City and angels and birds start falling from the sky. On the day forever known as the Falling, over 800 of Raphael’s defensive force lies broken on the streets.
When vampires start dying from some strange pox which is being passed through blood, and the Hudson River turns blood red, Raphael and Elena don’t know if this all part of the Cascade or if an Archangel has turned their eye towards Raphael’s prized territory.
Raphael will find out who his true allies are as he rallies his remaining forces to protect the City for a possible invasion, but if this is all part of the Cascade, there might not be an army large enough to save New York from destruction.
This is the most exciting and intrigue story in the series so far. Although most of the stories have dealt with the power struggles between Archangels, this one contained a great build up of the story with the question of whether this was an attack or the new natural order of things and if it was an attack, Raphael’s forces were severely depleted, could he truly hold off a frontal assault at this point?
In general, this is a darker series than Singh’s psy-changelings. Raphael is a very powerful Archangel and even when he first met Elena, he had lost any respect for mere humans. Their lives were too short to be of any concern to him. Although he still has a very cold side to him, his time with and love for Elena (former human and guild hunter, now angel) has given him a depth of character.
As we watch disaster after disaster attack New York and Raphael’s people, we are also trying to determine if this is a subsequence of the rising of the ancient archangel or an act of war. There are few Archangels who are old enough to remember the last Cascade and not enough records to verify if this is only the beginning of the end of the world.
With the beginning of the Cascade, all of the Archangels began receiving new powers. Raphael obtained the ability to heal others with a touch as well as create deadly wildfire. But the power struggle between Archangels makes them cautious and Raphael hasn’t been able to determine just what powers the others might have been granted and whether or not the damage befalling New York is due to the Cascade or an act of war.
It was an exhilarating, heart pounding story that doesn’t let up until the very end.
Received an ARC courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
“Anything from Aodhan?” she said, when Raphael came alongside.
“No, the city has been quiet since we–” He paused, his eyes locked on the Hudson.
“What is it?” It appeared as it always did to her, but she knew he had the piercing eyesight of a bird of prey.
The water began to crash and froth even as he spoke. Managing to hover beside Raphael as he halted at the river’s edge, Elena glanced to the right…and that was when she saw it, the wave of red. Rich and dark, it rolled down the river in an eerie tide that made the hairs rise on the back of her neck, the scent of living iron pungent in the air. “Is that blood?”
“There’s only one way to find out.” He swept down to the water, hovering lower than she could manage with her current wing strength, until his fingertips skimmed the red stain.
Bringing his fingers to his nose, he shook off the wet and rose to her side. “Blood,” he confirmed. “But it’s weakening.”
As they watched, the water turned rose red, then pink, then blush, until it was the murky brown of a churned-up Hudson again, the unmistakable scent gone as if it had never existed. That was when the snow began to fall, airy flakes that whispered over her wings and face to settle on the city, a caress of whiteness to erase the blood.
“What we just saw”–she stared at the water–“should’ve been impossible.”
“Did Jessamy not say something about blood raining from the skies during the Cascade? This would seem to fall along the same continuum.”
“And the archangels were not who they should be, and bodies rotted in the streets and blood rained from the skies as empires burned.“
“Jesus, Raphael,” Elena said, as the historian’s words rang in her mind, “this is really happening.” And it wasn’t just going to be a war. “It’s going to be an event that changes the face of our world.” Her brain could barely comprehend the scale of what was coming.
Raphael’s eyes met hers, the snow continuing to drift from a crystalline sky. “In the hours I spent with Caliane, she told me more of the last Cascade.” Shadows of terrible darkness in the intense, impossible blue of his eyes.
“I almost don’t want to know,” she whispered, all the while aware this was a truth that couldn’t be avoided.
Her archangel angled his wings toward the Tower, and she did a wider sweep to follow. “You are consort to an archangel. You no longer have a choice.”
ORDER A COPY: The Vampire With the Dragon Tattoo (Love at Stake)
Publisher: Avon Books
Publishing Date: August 27, 2013
Paperback: 384 pages
Rating: 5 stars
Dougal Kincaid has something to prove. After being injured in a battle with the Malcontents, he’s ready for active duty protecting unsuspecting mortals from these villainous vampires who want to rule the world. But first he has to get control of himself . . . because just the sight of a certain lovely doctor has his injured hand doing some peculiar things, not to mention the sizzling sensation that burns along his dragon tattoo.
Vampires? Vampires?! As a scientist, Leah is having trouble believing that these immortal creatures exist. But there they are, standing in front of her, asking for help in solving a genetic puzzle that can save mankind. There’s even one in a sexy kilt! Just one look into Dougal’s gorgeous green eyes sets her pulse racing. But can she trust him—and the overwhelming desire that refuses to be ignored?
Dougal Kincaid had a rather rough life. He was kidnapped as a boy and was pressed into service on a ship. When his ship was overtaken by pirates, he was sold into slavery. It was only through the love of the master’s daughter that she helped him escape his bondage, but Dougal couldn’t save her in return. Her death has haunted him for the last 300 years.
After being turned into a vampire in 1749, his life had improved. He had friends and he was always able to enjoy playing his beloved bagpipes. But his life once again took a dismal turn when he lost his right hand during a battle with the malcontents. Now all anyone wants to talk to him about is his missing hand.
Dougal had to learn to sword fight left handed and then after he received a prosthetic hand, he learned to again fight right handed. Being ambidextrous makes him value to MacKay S&I, but Dougal wants more from his life than the next bloody battle.
Dougal lost more than just his hand that day. He lost his ability to play his bagpipes. His music was part of his soul, and without it he has felt lost.
When Roman brings in geneticist, Leah Chin to help deal with Master Han’s superhuman slaves, Douglas is captivated by her from the moment she walks into Romatech. Something about her reminds him of the woman he lost 300 years ago, and he is not about to let anything happen to her again.
But Leah isn’t too sure that she can deal with a relationship with a vampire, although Dougal’s quiet manner and green eyes haunts her dreams.
More than anything Dougal wants to be able to woo Leah with his music and show her that there is more to the man than just the vampire she sees.
i really love this series and now it is Dougal’s turn. Dougal is a very deep and complex character. I really liked the way his story unfolded. He is quiet and awkward, even with his fellow vampires, and that has only increased since he lost his hand.
Leah is a genius and completed her doctorate at age 21. Starting college at 14 after being homeschooled, left Leah socially awkward and not used to having any friends. She is used to people showing a friendly face, only so they can use her knowledge.
They understand each other and this quickly forms a bond between the two of them.
I was a little disappointed in Howard’s story, although I can’t explain exactly what bothered me about it, maybe it was the fairytale aspect, but I enjoyed Dougal’s story. Usually I don’t like the reincarnated storyline, but in this story it was presented more that Leah reminded him of the woman he lost and what is what caught his initial attention. He declares often that Leah is quite different from Li Lei and he wants Leah.
There was also the continuing storyline where we are trying to defeat Master Han who is being helped by the demon Darafar.
Received an ARC from abovethetreeline.com courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
A wailing sound echoed in the distance, and she turned her head toward it. It sounded familiar somehow, like a distant memory. A chill skittered down her back, and she pulled on her thick cardigan sweater.
She crossed the basketball court, headed for the gazebo. The sound grew louder, more confident. More beautiful. She halted with a gasp. It was pipe music. Just like Grandpa had played that magical summer. She’d thought the pipes were the most beautiful sound in the world.
She closed her eyes to listen, and the plaintive melody enveloped her, seeped into her skin, and settled in her heart. So much emotion. She didn’t know how the pipes could sound like they were crying, but they did.
Tears filled her eyes as flashes of memory returned from fourteen years ago. The green fields of Ireland. Her grandfather’s lilting voice and warm hug. She’d never had to earn his hugs with straight As. He had loved her for simply being herself. He would have loved this music.
Was it Dougal? It had to be him. How could she resist such a man? His handsome face touched her heart, and his music lured her soul. As she followed the sound of the pipes, her skin pebbled with goosebumps. Was she following her destiny?
Leah, I’ve waited so long for you.
His voice whispered in her mind. He was still thinking about her, still wanting her. She passed the gazebo and headed for the woods. A white shirt came into view.
It was him. She didn’t want to disturb his playing, so she remained halfway hidden behind a tree. He was seated on a bench, his head bowed and forehead furrowed as he concentrated on his hands. His left hand moved easily and gracefully, but the fingers on his prosthetic hand were jerky and slow.
Leah’s heart ached for him. How it must hurt him to struggle with his music. He ended the plaintive melody and sighed.
“Enough of sadness,” he whispered. “I need joy in my life.” I need Leah.
Her breath caught. Should she tell him she was here? Did she dare? In a split second, she knew that if she approached him now, her life would be forever changed. She would fall for a vampire, and he would never let her go.
Her feet froze, unable to move.
He launched into a happy jig, but after a few bars, his prosthetic hand couldn’t keep up. She grimaced as the music soured and declined into a jarring noise.
“Dammit!” He tossed the pipes onto the ground, and they let out a dying wail as leftover air fizzled from the bag. “Damn it to hell.” He strode toward the building, his kilt swishing about his knees.
She stood still, watching him go, then her gaze shifted back to the pipes where they rested on a bed of dead leaves. A breeze stirred up more leaves, and they settled on the bag. In another hour, they might be completely covered with dead leaves. Buried.
A surge of anger shot through her. How dare he give up! He played from his soul. Without music, how would his soul survive?
She wouldn’t let him quit. She strode toward the pipes and gathered them up in her arms. Her grip caused the remaining air in the bag to escape, and the pipes protested with a forlorn wail.
“What are ye doing?” he asked softly.
She whirled around. “I-I didn’t think these should be left outside.”
His brow furrowed with a deep scowl. “How long have ye been out here?”
“Long enough.” She lifted her chin. “You came back awfully fast.”
“I can move verra quickly.” His mouth thinned. “At least my feet can.”
“I know you were having trouble with the jig, but you shouldn’t let that stop you from playing. The slow music was absolutely—“
“Sad,” he interrupted her, his eyes flashing.
“I was going to say beautiful.”
“Nay. It was melancholy. And pathetic. Should I spend the rest of my miserably long life with only sad music to fill my soul?”
“Better to have a sad soul than an empty one.” She held the pipes out to him. “And you have to believe that it will get better. You can’t give up on yourself.”
ORDER A COPY: Under a Spell (Underworld Detection Agency)
Publisher: Kensington Books
Publishing Date: August 6, 2013
Paperback: 416 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Sophie Lawson was seriously hoping life at the UDA would get back to relative normal now that her boss Pete Sampson has been reinstated. Unfortunately, her new assignment is sending her undercover into a realm where even the most powerful paranormals fear to tread…her old high school. Being a human immune to magic is no defense against soulless picture-perfect mean girls—or a secret witch coven about to sacrifice a missing female student. And Sophie’s Guardian, uber-proper Englishman Will, is determined to convince Sophie he’s the kind of temptation she should indulge in permanently. Now, as the clock ticks down to apocalypse, he and Sophie will have to summon every trick in the book to battle devilish illusion, lethal sorcery—and betrayals they’ll never see coming…
Sophie Lawson has to face her biggest fear since arriving at the Underworld Detection Agency and it’s not zombies or vampires or even a fallen angel looking for the Vessel of Souls, it’s—returning to high school and once again facing the dreaded cool girls. High school was a nightmare for an awkward and shy Sophie with no sense of style and crazy, no-tame red hair. She would rather face a rabid werewolf then the homecoming queen, but her boss, Pete Sampson, isn’t giving Sophie a chance to say no.
Another girl has gone missing at Sophie’s old high school and while the police have no concrete leads, the UDA believes that a coven of witches is working out of the school and they are trying to bring something forth with human sacrifices. As the only “breather” at the UDA as well as someone who is immune to magic, it is up to Sophie to go undercover as the new substitute teacher.
As if returning to high school and facing some childhood demons isn’t enough to throw Sophie into a tailspin, Sophie’s friend and personal fantasy, fallen angel Det. Alex Grace is leading the police investigation, but he wants no help from Sophie. In fact, Alex has decided to “distance himself” from Sophie and it’s breaking her heart.
As Alex once again leaves Sophie spinning, right into the arms of the waiting Will Sherman, will he eventually regret letting her go. Sophie has to pick up her broken heart for now because she only has a week to find the missing girl. On the night of the seventh day, the moon will be perfect for a sacrifice. Sophie needs to be the hero and stop the Coven from killing the girl and opening a door, but to where?
I love the Underworld Detection Agency. Poor Sophie can never get a break, but she is always surrounded by friends who let her know just how much her life sucks.
Although it wasn’t bad, this was not my favorite story of the series. Some of the plot was a little predictable. There certainly wasn’t enough Alex in the story, who was acting bizarre since the end of the last story. In the last story, Alex and Will are just short of peeing on Sophie to mark their territory and both (especially Alex) are notably laid back in this story.
There seemed to be a hint at the very end that the next story might involve Sophie’s father. We’ll just have to wait and see.
As always, Nina has a new project and this time she wants to be the director of a promotional video for the UDA. See the link below for the video she produced. :)
Received an ARC from netgalley.com courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
“We need to go back in the building.”
Will looked at me, eyebrows disappearing into his sandy hair. “Back into the high school? Why? We’ve checked it over twice.”
I sucked in a slow, deep breath. “I don’t think I was ready to see anything.”
Will’s brow furrowed and he pressed his lips together.
I rushed on. “I didn’t want to see anything there except for what I knew–in my head, in my–what is it? Repressed memories.”
Will reached across the center console and took my hand tenderly in his. He cocked his head slightly and blinked the honey-amber of his eyes warm and inviting. “You’ve never repressed a thing in your life, love.”
I snatched my hand back and grabbed the door. “Are you coming or not?”
We stood in front of the glass double doors and stared, somehow both waiting for the ultimate evil to come barreling toward us or for a commercial break. The school remained silent, the double doors cloudy and revealing nothing, and there was no pause to regroup or offer some sort of cheery distraction. My heart was thundering in my ears and Will had been uncharacteristically silent the whole walk from parking lot to school entrance. A wind kicked up and a handful of skeletal leaves and garbage brushed past us.
“Ready?” I asked, my fingers closing around the administration key Principal Lowe had offered me.
Will shrugged and attempted to look nonchalant, but his eyes never left the keyhole. “I guess.”
I unlocked the door and stepped aside, waiting for Will to push it open.
“What?” he asked.
I gestured. “You always open doors for ladies.”
He cocked a brow. “I didn’t know gender roles held firm even in the face of unspeakable danger.”
I steeled my body and tried to sum up confidence I didn’t feel. “What are you so worried about? You said yourself we’ve checked the place twice already and found nothing.”
Will pushed open the door for me and I hesitated before stepping through. “Yes, but that was before your whole ‘I see dead people…if I care to look’ routine.”
I huffed, crossing my arms in front of my chest. “I don’t see dead peple. I mean, I’ve seen dead people.” I shuddered. “I’ve probably seen more dead people inthe last two years than most people will see in their whole lives.”
Will glanced at me before slapping a flashlight into my hand. “You’re not the best at putting people at their ease, you know?”
I flicked on the flashlight and shined the yellow bulb toward Will’s face. “Hey, you’re the Guardian.”
He slung an arm over my shoulder. “And if there’s a team of fallen angels lurking around this place, then you’re in luck.”
Will flashed his light down the blackened hallway. “Otherwise? You’re on your own.”
“What a relief,” I groaned.
“They don’t pay me enough.”
I rolled up on my tiptoes and glanced through the windows into darkened classrooms that looked as benign as they had during the day–desks in neat lines, unoccupied by witches, hobgoblins, or any other manner of creepy-crawly; stacked textbooks; glossy posters reminding girls to stay off drugs.
“I ask again,” Will said as we approached the last room. “What exactly are we looking for?”
“I don’t know, exactly. Just keep an eye out for anything that seems…off.”
Will swung his light toward me, and I was enveloped in a bright yellow glow. I rolled my eyes.
Our winner was Melissa L. Thank you to Kensington for the givewaway.
ORDER A COPY: Avenging Angel (The Fallen)
Publishing Date: May 28, 2013
Paperback: 337 pages
Rating: 5 stars
With a messed up family background and a tendency to grow claws and fangs, Tanner Chance isn’t exactly the boy next door. But he’s a decent cop, and he keeps himself on the side of the good guys. Convenient, because when he rescues a survivor of a horrific shifter attack he finds himself instantly smitten—with an honest-to-goodness angel, as innocent as she is irresistible.
Marna may be angelic, but she’s not stupid or weak. She can take care of herself. Tanner is more temptation than protection anyway. Or so she thinks, until someone wearing her face starts taking out some of New Orleans’ more unsavory paranormals. With police and predators both gunning for her blood, Marna has no choice but to trust Tanner…even though what’s sparking between them is hotter than anything holy.
Marna was an Angel of Death. Being an Angel of Death wasn’t something that she loved to do. She hated seeing all the pain, suffering and fear associated with death, but it was all she knew. Except Heaven is closed to her now. An Angel without wings can’t fly back to Heaven and her wings were shredded off her body by a half-shifter/half-angel named Brandt. He’s dead, killed by another Fallen, but that doesn’t stop the pain that Marna suffers each day for her loss. The loss of everything that she has ever known. The unbearable pain of having her delicate wings ripped from her body. And suffering the overwhelming emotions which are plaguing her, a Fallen Angel, rage, pain…lust.
The worst part is being a Fallen Death Angel that no longer has the killing touch. Oh how she wanted to use it to kill those shifters to just watched and laughed as her life was torn from her. She tried to touch them and failed, and they laughed at her some more. Now everyone knows that the fragile, helpless little Angel has no power to protect herself. And every predator is looking for her wanting a taste of Angel’s blood, of the power that blood can boost their supernatural abilities. She No. 1 on every supernatural’s hit list whether they want a taste or just want the fortune to be had selling her blood to the highest bidder.
Detective (and shifter) Tanner Chance has been trying to protect Marna since his brother, Brandt, left her broken and bleeding in the swamp. Now that those shifters have turned up dead and eyewitnesses are pointing to the little blonde angel as the killer, Tanner has to work fast to keep Marna from being locked up in the human jail. He will do whatever he must to protect her, even go against his training, because every sense he has tells him to protect her…to protect what is his. Marna isn’t his yet, but she will be. Both the man and the beast know she is his.
Cynthia Eden never disappoints. Although Azreal gets to keep the crown for most awesome Angel, this story kept me guessing the entire time, Who could we trust? Who is watching? Who is after them? After three stories featuring powerful, bad-ass Angels, I loved that Marna is portrayed as small and helpless. Unlike the other Fallen, Marna has not regained her Angel powers since loosing her wings. This makes her a prime target for all the vampires, demons and shifters prowling New Orleans who want to take or cash in on her powerful and very addictive angel’s blood.
There has been something between Tanner and Marna since he picked her up off the ground in the swamp in Angel In Chains and it was a great story to read. Watching Marna go from being afraid whenever she saw Tanner’s claws to her coming to trust him not to hurt her and finally their budding relationship was so enjoyable.
Another great story by Cynthia Eden!
Received a review copy from the publisher. Thank you.
Marna swallowed and lifted her chin higher. Of course, she lifted the covers higher, too. “I want to be alone now. I don’t want–“
In two seconds, he was on that bed with her. Marna tried to scramble back. Too late. He grabbed her hand and forced it against his bare chest.
Her breath rasped out, and she tried to jerk away from him. “Stop it!”
“Make me.” A cruel taunt, but he had to see what would happen.
Marna’s blue eyes widened as she tried to yank her hand away again. He just tightened his hold. Her palm was soft against his chest. Her splayed fingers pressed right over his racing heart.
“Let me go!”
The covers had dropped. She had on a black bra–one he’d raced out and bought for her before they’d gone to Hell. He’d picked up clothes for her, fantasizing a bit about her in the silk panties, and–
Her left hand plowed into his face.
He shook his head, barely feeling the sting of that blow as realization settled heavily in his gut. “You can’t do it.”
No wonder the vampire had been so close to her.
Her breath rushed out, far too fast, and he could see the frantic race of her pulse at the base of her neck. “Don’t push me.” Her words were loud, rushed. “I don’t want to hurt you!”
“You can’t.” Certain now. “You can’t hurt me.” She was touching him. Flesh to flesh.
Her skin was so pale. Her eyes wide. And the scent of her fear was driving him freaking insane. “You can’t kill me. You can’t use the Death Touch.” Fuck. “Why the hell didn’t you tell me? That vamp could have drained you dry!”
But, even as he asked, Tanner knew why she hadn’t told him. The lady didn’t trust him, not for one single minute.
“I could have handled him,” Marna gritted out.
He still held her hand pinned against his chest. “Oh, yeah? How? The way you’re handling me right now?”
Then she moved, so fast that he didn’t even see the motion of her body. Angels could always move so quickly. Marna just hadn’t moved that way in a while, and he’d forgotten…
She shoved him back on the bed and straddled him, and Marna shoved a knife against this throat.
Now where the hell had she gotten that little trinket?
The silver began to slice into his flesh.
“I found this back at Hell,” she told him, fingers clenched tightly around the hilt of the blade. “I had it when that vamp came at me. I could’ve used it on him.”
“A little knife wouldn’t stop him.” Or me. Silver would hurt like a bitch because the old tale about shifters and silver not mixing so well was true, but she wouldn’t have time to do any permanent damage. Permanent like cutting out his heart.
“It would have slowed him down. Vampires get weaker with blood loss. I would have been sure to make him plenty weak.”
Strange to hear such bloodthirsty plans come from her lips. He had to remember, the lady was far deadlier than she appeared.
Even if she’d somehow lost the Death Touch.
“When did you know?” Her legs straddled him. Did she feel the swelling cock shoving again her? Probably. Tanner didn’t really see how she could miss that. Not like it was a small thing.
The blade dug a bit deeper into his skin. “I went after those bastard panther shifters, LaRue and Stokes,” Marna confessed. “I went after the jerks because I wanted to kill them.”
So she had been seeking some vengeance. Tanner tried to keep his body perfectly still beneath her. He had one hell of a view, and other than the stinging pain in his neck, being beneath her was pretty damn pleasurable.
Being in her, that would be even better.
A hungry growl slipped from him.
Marna frowned down at him.
Tanner cleared his throat. “What happened?”
Her tongue swiped over her lips. His cock jerked.
“I–I tracked them in the Quarter,” she said. “I followed them for days. I waited, wanting the perfect moment.”
Definitely a bloodthirsty angel. He’d have to remember that little tidbit about her. Marna sure wasn’t all sunshine and light, no matter how she appeared.
“I was going to walk right up to them. Look them straight in the eyes, and watch as their lives drained away.”
He would have done the exact same thing. He liked for his kills to be personal. Those getting payback, well, they needed to see just who was delivering the justice to them.
“They always went to the same place for drinks. I waited until the bar on Bourbon Street was almost empty, and then I went inside.”
Tanner heard the echo of pain in her voice. “What did they do to you?”
“Nothing.” A laugh, heavy with bitterness, slipped from her. “I marched up to Stokes. Put my hand on his chest and waited for him to look at me with fear in his eyes.”
Beau Stokes had always been a sadistic prick. So eager to attack weaker prey. So quick to slice with his claws and laugh when his prey begged for mercy.
“But he didn’t even know who I was,” Marna whispered. did she realized she still held the knife to his throat? “He tried to kiss me. Tried to pull me closer to him, like I was another body to screw in that dark bar.”
Tanner didn’t speak.
“I wanted to kill him. I was trying to. LaRue was coming toward us, laughing, and I wanted them both to die.” Her head dipped further forward, and the curtain of her hair hid her face.
Tanner lifted his hand and pushed back her hair. He could barely feel the sting of the knife now. “But they didn’t die.”
Her lashes slowly lifted. “Angels of death–those Fallen and those who still have their wings–all of them can kill with a touch. That’s our power. Our one, unbreakable gift. Death.”
Death was a gift?
“I ran from the shifters. They were laughing at me while I ran away.” Her breath rasped out. “When Brandt took my wings from me, he took away everything that I was. I have nothing now. Nothing.”
But fury. A rage so dark it had sent her after the panthers–ready to kill and destroy.
“Angels have magic. They can do so much–conjure, stir fire.” A bitter laugh came from her. “I can’t even make smoke.” She shook her head. “So what am I supposed to do now?” Marna asked him and then she blinked, seeming to finally realize that she still had a knife at his throat. Her hand lifted as she took the knife away from his jugular. “Just wait around for a vamp to drain me? Wait for a shifter to slice me and–“
It was his turn to have her flat on her back. Tanner crushed her into the mattress. He didn’t have to worry about a Death Touch now. She wasn’t going to lose control.
Maybe it was time he did.
ORDER A COPY: Under the Gun (Underworld Detection Agency)
Publisher: Kensington Books
Publishing Date: February 5, 2013
Paperback: 352 pages
Rating: 4 stars
When you’re near the top of the Underworld Detection Agency, the claws really come out…
Quick thinking and loyalty have taken human Sophie Lawson a long way in the UDA—along with a healthy dose of magic immunity. But when her old boss Pete Sampson asks for help after a mysterious two-year disappearance, she’s determined to find out what high-placed demon has put two ruthless werewolf killers on his tail. Of course, sucking up to her icy vampire department head and negotiating a treacherous inter-office demon battle are the kind of workplace politics that could easily get a “breather” way worse than reprimanded. And sexy fallen angel Alex is doing whatever it takes to heat up Sophie’s professional cool and raise feelings she’s done her best to bury. Too bad their investigation is about to uncover the Agency’s darkest secrets…and powerful entities happy to sign one inquisitive human’s pink slip in blood.
Sophie Lawson is on the job again. But as the new head of the Fallen Angel Division at the Underworld Detection Agency, there really isn’t much to do. Unless you count the fact that her past has come knocking on her front door. Her former boss, werewolf and frequent star of Sophie’s sexy daydreams, Pete Sampson, has returned. Sophie’s not sure what’s more shocking, the fact that he’s not dead or the fact that he let her think that he was dead all this time. Someone has put out a contract for Sampson’s life and he has been hiding out from the fiercest werewolf killers on the west coast—even if one of them does dresses like an anime character…
When bodies start to turn up, not just dead, but mauled to death by say…a werewolf? Sophie is torn between her loyalty to her old boss and her devotion to fallen angel now Det. Alex Grace. Hey, yeah, I know where we could find a possibly killer werewolf—on my couch. Oh, that would go over well.
If she tells Alex that she’s hiding a werewolf in her apartment, he’ll have no choice but to bring Sampson in for questioning. She just can’t do it. Not only won’t a human jail be able to hold a werewolf, but then the hunters will know exactly were to find Sampson. But is her loyalty to Sampson getting people killed?
It’s just a typical Monday in the life of Sophie Lawson…
I love Sophie and the gang! After the last book when Sophie and Will get a little bit closer and Alex finds her sneaking out of Will’s apartment, I couldn’t wait to see how Alex reacted in this book. I wasn’t disappointed especially when Will and Alex play a game of She’s My Girl. I do think Alex is still a little too noble with his “but I’m a fallen angel” bit. Stop being such a tease.
I did miss Nina a bit in this book. San Francisco is hit with a heat wave and sunny skies are keeping the vampires inside and they’re getting more than a little batty (he, he). Nina goes on a QVC spree, but her cabin fever seems to tone her down a bit in this book.
Also with Sophie’s new position as head of fallen angels (as there aren’t very many registered fallen angels with the UDA), she doesn’t have much interaction with the clients in the last two books and I miss that novelty of the mundane registration of supernatural creatures. It was a very quirky and funny part of the series. See my notes from Under Attack.
Hannah Jayne is an entertaining storywriter and I enjoy her quirky cast at the UDA.
Don’t forget to check out our past interview with the cast of the UDA.
Received ARC from the publisher. Thank you.
We pulled up to a stoplight just off Union Avenue and I listened to the car idle, to the faint sounds of someone playing a saxophone on a distant corner. And then there was something else.
A wail—or a moan.
“Did you hear that?” Alex asked, ear cocked toward the open window.
I turned the stereo off and leaned out my own window, holding my breath for a silent beat. A lazy wisp of oregano scented air wafted into the car, and on it, a chorus of low moans. They were desperate, insistent rumbles that cut through the city noise.
I furrowed my brow. “What is that?”
Now the moans and rumbles were joined by thumps, then a shallow scraping as though something—or someone—was being dragged.
Alex’s eyebrows went up. “Lawson?” I saw his hand hover around his concealed gun.
I held up a silencing hand. “Wait, Alex. I thing it might be—“
They engulfed the car before the word was out of his mouth, their fingers scraping against the paint, lifeless limbs thumping against the mangled exterior of my vampmobile. Alex’s eyes were wide, distressed, his face ashen as their fingers came through the open window, clawing at him, touching his skin, ruffling his hair. Zombie fingers brushed at my face, too; a clammy hand landed on my arm, grabbed a fistful of my shirt.
I couldn’t help myself. I started to giggle.
Alex, swatting at the grey, rotting arms that waved at him, looked at my incredulously. “You’re laughing? This is funny to you?”
One of the zombies had curled his fingers under my neck and was actively tickling me now, giggling back at me as my laughter grew, his grin wide and goofy. I clamped my knees together and tried not to wet myself. “They’re—they’re—they’re real!” I squeezed out, throwing the car into park and doubling over myself.
“Of course they’re real!” Alex said. “How the hell do we kill them?”
“Double tap!” A zombie on Alex’s side of the car yelled. “Cardio-oooo!”
“Beeeeer!,” another one groaned, a rivulet of black-red blood dribbled out the side of his mouth. “Beeer!”
Alex wrinkled his brow. “Is that zombie asking for beer? Can they do that!”
I was laughing so hard now that tears were pulsing from my eyes and I started to cough. Finally, I got hold of myself. “They’re real, Alex. They’re real people.”
Alex paused, his lip curling up into a snarl as another zombie wannabe poked her full torso through my window. “Graiiiins!” she moaned, stiff arms waiving. “Graiiins!”
“She’s a vegetarian,” I said by way of explanation.
“What the hell is going on here?” Alex wanted to know.
Veggie-zombie bared a mouth full of grayish teeth, half smeared with a thick coat of shiny black greasepaint. “Zombie pub crawl,” she informed. “We’re only on our second pub.” She craned her neck to look out the windshield. “Light’s green.” She wriggled out of the car and I inched forward. Veggie-Zombie’s undead brood wailing and flailing in the street behind us.
“There’s hundreds of them,” Alex said, staring out the back window incredulously.
“You’re not the slightest bit spooked by that?” Alex said.
“Why should I be? Those zombies are in way better spirits than the ones from the Underworld. And they can be satiated with beer. The ones at the office? Ugh. They’re supposed to have eaten before they come in, but if you even look the slightest bit intelligent, they’re salivating all over your desk. I had a guy suck the hair tie right off of my ponytail once.”
Alex shook his head in disbelief. “I’m hearing the words, but they don’t make sense.” He was silent for a beat and I glanced at him from the corner of my eye, his serious expression starting my giggles all over again. He gave me a dirty look. “Look, you’ve got to cut me some slack.”
I shot him a devious smirk. “And why’s that?”
“Come on. It’s ninety degrees in San Francisco, we processed a murder scene that was right out of a Wes Craven film, you were shish-kebabed by a hoarder, and suddenly, the streets are overrun with the thirsty dead.” He brushed the zombie-fist marks out of his shirt. “It’s perfectly normal that a guy would get a little unnerved.”
“Or that a guy could scream like a little girl.”
ORDER A COPY: Angel In Chains (The Fallen)
Publishing Date: November 27, 2012
Paperback: 352 pages
Rating: 5 stars
As a fallen Angel of Death, Azrael is cursed to walk the earth alone in search of redemption. One night, as he wanders the streets of New Orleans, he discovers a woman surrounded by panther shifters. No longer able to contain the anger simmering within, Az summons his dark powers and attacks, determined to protect this innocent human from certain death.
Only Jade Pierce is no delicate flower. She’s spent years learning to survive and fight the evil forces sent by her ex-lover who refuses to let her go. But after seeing Az in action, she figures she could use a little supernatural help. And so she plans a course of seduction guaranteed to arouse his interest and his angelic passions.
Azreal was an Angel—The Angel. Az was in charge of the Angels of Death. Except that was before—before he fell for trying to take a soul that was not on his List. Now Az is a fallen angel looking for a way back.
When he comes across Jade Pierce being attacked in a back alley by three shifters, he realizes that protecting her, a human, might be Az’s chance at redemption. He will use her helplessness to his advantage and earn his wings back.
Az isn’t the only one looking to use someone for his own advantage. Jade knows that Azreal is more than the average Other and he might just be what she needs to save her from her ex. Her ex-boyfriend is no ordinary stalker. He is the Alpha of a pack of panther shifters and he believes that he and Jade are destined to be together. He has killed her parents and anyone else who Jade has tried to get close to while she has been running from him and his vicious pack for the last ten years.
If she can get Az to kill Brandt, Jade can finally stop running. But there is more to Brandt than even Jade knows and it won’t be so easy to kill him. Especially when Heaven’s #2 comes staking with a List of his own, and he is as zealous as Azreal was to make sure that all souls on his List are accounted for. When Jade’s name comes up, Brandt might just be the least of her problems.
Absolutely incredible! Action packed and exciting with an ending that had me out of mind. I picked it up and didn’t put it down until I was finished. I am amazed when an author can take the antagonist from one book and make him the hero in the next, and I actually like him.
In Book #1, Angel of Darkness, Az was after Keenan and Nicole because Nicole’s name had come up on the List to die the night Keenan interfered and Nicole was turned into a vampire. Azreal was determined that Keenan kill Nicole so he could return to heaven and when Keenan refused, Az was determined to take her soul himself. Azreal fell because Nicole was no longer on the List and he was just chasing a personal vendetta against her for tempting Keenan. Now it was Az’s turn to protect Jade from the death angel who is marking her for death.
Now after Angel Betrayed, I didn’t think we could get an angel more badass then Sam. Sam and Az have been enemies of a sort since Sam fell a millennium ago. Sam has been on earth growing wealth and power. All the Others know to be afraid of Sam, but even Sam is weary of the power that Az holds in check. Sam is cool and confident as a powerful man would be, but Az is cold and uncaring as a VERY powerful man would be, one who knows there is no one more dangerous around. Except he isn’t cold to Jade. She has been the first woman to tempt him from his mission to return to heaven.
There is a set up for the next book and I am excited to see how that next story plays out.
Received an ARC courtesy of Kensington books. Thank you.
“I was…just…” The demon rose and winced. “I was merely checking her out.”
“I saw that.” A lethal edge underscored Az’s words. He spun to face the doctor, giving Jade his back, and that was when she actually paid attention enough to notice his wings.
Not real wings. More like shadows. Thick, black, they rose from his bare shoulders and extended high above him.
They were dark and so beautiful.
“She was scared,” Az snarled as he closed in on the demon. “I heard her fear.” His hands were clenched into powerful fists.
Uh, oh. Jade kept a hold on her sheet as she hopped out of bed. Her knees didn’t so much as jiggle when her feet touched down on the wooden floor. That angel blood sure packed a powerful punch.
“Because she realized—we both realized—“ Cody spoke quickly now as he pressed his back against the wall in an attempt to put more distance between him and Az. “We realized that she’s healed.”
Jade crept up behind Az. Tanner didn’t move. She reached out and her fingers skimmed over those shadowy wings. She could almost feel them against her skin. Like silk.
Az stiffened. He’d loved it when she stroked his scars before. What effect would it have on him when she touched these shadowy remnants of his wings?
“Jade…” Her name was a rasp, heavy with need, lust.
She stroked the shadows once more.
This time, he shuddered.
“She’s healed,” Cody said again. “And—“
Az turned to face her. His jaw was locked, and his eyes still burned hot enough to scorch her. And the man looked like he could eat her.
“I think it’s time for us to get out of here.” Tanner hurried over and grabbed Cody’s arm. “They need to…talk.”
“Talk? I don’t think talking is what—“
Tanner knocked his brother’s head into the wall then hustled him out of the room.
The shifter made sure to slam the door closed behind him.
Az’s wings were out of her reach now, but she wanted to touch them again. “I can see them” she whispered.
He shook his head. “Nothing’s there. The wings burned away when I fell.”
Maybe. But those shadows were still there. She stepped closer to him. Jade kept one hand on the sheet that she’d hurriedly wrapped around her body while her left hand lifted and touched those shadows. “What does it feel like when I touch them?” Jade whispered.
“They aren’t there.”
Something was. Her fingers went right through the silken remnants.
He stepped back and put enough distance between them so that she couldn’t touch his wings. When he caught her hand and held it tight. “You’re seeing what was,” he gritted. “My blood’s in you. Only those with an angel’s blood can—“
“Thank you,” her soft words cut him off.
He blinked. Shook his head.
“You saved me.” That she knew with certainty.
His fingers tightened on hers. “I was afraid I was too late.”
No. Leave it to an angel to know just how to cheat death. “Are you afraid of me?” Az asked as his eyes searched hers.
She let the sheet drop. It pooled on the floor between them. “No.”
ORDER A COPY: Archangel’s Storm
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Publishing Date: September 4, 2012
Paperback: 337 pages
Rating: 5 stars
With wings of midnight and an affinity for shadows, Jason courts darkness. But now, with the Archangel Neha’s consort lying murdered in the jewel-studded palace that was his prison and her rage threatening cataclysmic devastation, Jason steps into the light, knowing he must unearth the murderer before it is too late.
Earning Neha’s trust comes at a price—Jason must tie himself to her bloodline through the Princess Mahiya, a woman with secrets so dangerous, she trusts no one. Least of all an enemy spymaster.
With only their relentless hunt for a violent, intelligent killer to unite them, Jason and Mahiya embark on a quest that leads to a centuries-old nightmare… and to the dark storm of an unexpected passion that threatens to drench them both in blood.
As the angels and vampires celebrate the wedding of Dmitri and Honor, not everyone is full of joy. Halfway around the world, the Archangel of India, Neha, has found her consort dead. When Spymaster Jason (angel), one of Archangel Raphael’s most trusted seven, receives a call from one of his sources that Neha’s grief might be dangerous for all those in her region, Jason knows that he must help solve the mystery of who would dare to kill an Archangel’s consort.
Although Neha has kept Eris imprisoned for 300 years for the unforgiveable crime of infidelity, she loves him too much to kill him, as she did her betraying sister. But Neha will not trust one of Raphael’s spies into her territory without a blood oath swearing to do no harm to Neha or her people. Jason cannot make a blood oath with an archangel, so Neha offers the Princess Mahiya. Neha expects Mahiya to spy on Jason to make sure that the Jason lives up to the blood oath.
Mehiya (angel) is the illegitimate child of Eris and Neha’s sister, and Neha has not raised her as a beloved daughter. Neha has raised her as a tool to serve as a constant reminder to Eris of his infidelity. Mehiya has been the model daughter to Neha and has been quietly biding her time to escape from Neha’s territory so she can live a life free of hate. Now that Eris is dead, Mehiya knows that her every breath is precious. Neha has no further use for her as punishment, and she will use any excuse to kill Mehiya. While Jason and Mehiya investigate Eris’s murder, Jason quickly discovers Mehiya is not the simple court adornment that the archangel has led him to believe. She is as intelligent and brave as she is beautiful.
Mehiya and Jason are drawn to each other, but Jason survived a traumatic childhood, his parents’ deaths left him abandoned on a tropical island far from any others, and it was decades before Jason was strong enough to fly to any civilization, so long that he had completely forgot how to communicate. Jason does not believe he is capable to truly connecting to another person. He does not believe he can feel the love and connection that his friends have been finding lately. Although he is attracted to Mehiya’s beauty and her intelligence, he warns her often that he will not be able to commit to a relationship.
When the killer shows a power almost equal to the archangel, Mehiya and Jason will need to work together to keep these powers from destroying each other as well as the world around them.
I have only read a few Nalini Singh’s stories, but I truly enjoy the characters that she writes. They are so vivid and multi-dimensional. Although most of the characters are angels, they are not the usual type of halo wearing angels. They have the same emotions as humans, love and joy but also sadness, fear, betrayal and vengeance.
Jason is a strong, self-made man, surviving his childhood trauma but not without psychological damage. Although he had strong love for his mother, he feels that he is damaged and cannot love like normal people. He has avoided any type of commitment and he seriously fights any thoughts of a permanent attachment. We see that Mehiya’s simple thoughtful gestures mean so much to him, such as making dinner for him.
Mehiya is another strong heroine who has not allowed the harsh treatment she has received all her life to change the person she is, and her greatest desire is to leave and just simply live a life that is happy, and where she might meet someone who will show her love.
This is no fluff romance story. The storyline is almost Shakespearean with the betrayal of the husband and the sister, the illegitimate child, the traumatized childhoods and the epic battle between archangels. Although this is my first Guild Hunter story, I had no trouble following the back stories.
I have been wanting to read the Guild Hunter series for some time now and after reading this book, I am definitely going to find the time to squeeze in the rest.
Received an ARC from Penguin/Berkley. Thank you.
He wondered if Mehiya had truly heard what he said to her the night before, or if she, too, harbored dreams of fixing the broken pieces of him. The truth was, no matter how she compelled him, she would soon realize what was shattered in him was nothing that could be healed, the damage done at such a young age that it had become part of his very psyche.
Yet instead of backing off, he did a selfish thing then. Lowering his head, he claimed the lush intoxication of her kiss, his hands thrusting into her hair to tumble black silk over his skin. She opened for him with a sweet sensual generosity that enticed without design, and made him want to caress her every secret pleasure point until her desire was a shimmer across her skin and he knew her like no other man ever would.
Tugging her head with the hand fisted in her hair, he forced himself to release lips swollen from his kisses. “Open your eyes.” It was a harsh order.
Thick lashes rose to reveal tawny eyes hazy with passion. “I see you, Jason.”
“And what do you see?” He stroked his free hand up her side, rubbing his thumb gently back and forth over her nipple through her clothing.
Her breath caught, but she didn’t break the eye contact. “A man who is a storm, who belongs to no one and who will never be tamed. To expect otherwise would be to ask for agonizing disappointment.”
Open eyes, he thought, she had wide-open eyes. “Some might say you’re attempting to seduce me in order to lead me on a leash.”
Laughter, warm and startled, spilled over the hilltop. “Only a fool would attempt to contain or direct a storm. I’m far too smart.”
He took her lips in an open-mouthed kiss in an attempt to drink of her laughter, steal some of her dazzling warmth of spirit to hoard inside him. Her nails dug into his chest through his shirt, her breast pushed into his hand, and her scent, it tangled around him in an exotic wildness.
The gut-deep sense of connection was an intense shock that made his nerve endings burn. He had never felt more real, more a part of the world.