Category Archives: Demons
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: Demon Hunting In a Dive Bar
Publisher: Kensington Books/Brava
Publishing Date: January 29, 2012
Paperback: 351 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Rebekah “Beck” Damian runs a demonoid bar where everyone’s welcome—even a reformed flesheater who’s strictly vegetarian, a musical ghost who’s looking for a piano bar, and a feline harbinger of doom named Wampus Kitty who’s scaring the customers. So when a big strapping demon-hunter walks into the bar, Beck knows it’s not the end of the world. She’ll treat him like any other customer.
If only she could. Conall Dalvahni is the toughest, meanest, sexiest demon-hunter Beck’s ever seen—and she’s finding it hard to hide her attraction. As far as Conall’s concerned, the feeling is mutual. But how can he trust a beautiful half-demon babe like Beck—when her demonic friends have the perfect weapon to destroy every hunter on earth?
Conall is the leader of the Dalvahni. As such, it is his duty to investigate these new demonoid abominations he has only just learned about. They are the spawn of a human and a human possessed by a demon. He must determine if they are as dangerous to the universe as the demons themselves. It is because of this that he keeps returning night after night to the little demonoid dive bar in Hannah, AL, known as Beck’s. It is for observation only that he watches the lovely Beck so intently. She is a demonoid and of course, must be evil, so he is confused why he likes to watch her smile and why he feels the need to return night after night to watch out for her—No, no, watch her! He must watch her in case she decides to do evil against the humans.
As if Beck doesn’t have enough on her plate just running the bar, her partner turns into a bloodhound and her cook turns into a bear. Now she’s got a vegetarian zombie and a piano playing ghost both looking for jobs. Sure, it’s all just another day at the office, and it wouldn’t worry her so much, but he’s back—again! sitting in the corner, watching her. He doesn’t say anything. He just stares. She would have Toby throw him out, but God! He’s sex-on-a-stick gorgeous! And the women do keep coming back just to look at him, and that’s good for business, right? It doesn’t bother her at all that they sit there and drool over him—Hey, back off, no touching—nope, she doesn’t care at all.
Man, what she wouldn’t do to get him out of that shirt—No, no, out of her bar. She definitely wants him out of her bar and out of her life! So why does she agree to allow him to “work” at her bar so he can keep an eye out for demons. Damn hormones! Is it too late to just go back to bed and forget this day even happened?
I really love this series! Although I am still calling Evie and Ansgar from Demon Hunting in the Deep South my favorite couple, Beck and Conall come in a very close second.
Beck is a fearless, kick ass woman, who, much to Conall’s frustration, has no problem jumping into the fray and kicking some demon butt.
I love Conall’s confusion about his attraction for Beck, since she is a demonoid, but I will give him kudos for getting over it and accepting his feelings for Beck, much faster than Ansgar or Brand who both fell for plain old humans, not demonoid abominations.
I loved the additional characters here: Tommy Henderson, the vegetarian zombie; Annie, the little lost kittie; Hank, the grumpy cook/bear; and even creepy Evan had some moments.
Can’t wait to see where we go next.
Received an ARC courtesy of Kensington Books. Thank you!
In case you missed it, check out our recent interview with Lexi George.
“I concede the rationality of your argument that my presence at this gathering might draw attention—“
“Duh, you think?” Beck said. He was big and beautiful and he radiated power and menace. Showing up with Elvis in drag might create a bigger stir, but she doubted it.
“—therefore, I will make myself invisible.”
“No,” Beck said. “The place will be crawling with kith. Just because I can’t see you when you’re wearing your invisible Underoos doesn’t mean no one else can. The kith have different abilities. Right, Toby?”
“Yup,” Toby said.
“Toby and I will go to the meeting,” Beck said. “Alone. We’ll be your eyes and ears.”
“Rebekah, I do not think—“
“I want your promise.”
Conall fell silent. “Very well,” he said at last. His mouth thinned. “We will do it your way this once. But not unless I get a promise of my own.” He slipped a silver ring off his hand and slid it on her left index finger. It was way too big, but the band magically shrank until it fit. “At the first sign of danger, speak to the ring. Do not hesitate. This you must promise me.”
Speak to the ring? What was she, Gollum? She’d feel like an idiot.
“Sure. Whatever you say.”
He stepped closer, his eyes hard as agate. “I gave you my word, Rebekah. Now I want yours.”
“Okay, okay, keep your panties on. I promise to speak to the fricking ring if there’s a problem. There, satisfied?”
“No. I am not accustomed to sitting idly by whilst others ride into battle. But I am inured of this course, for the moment.”
“Relax. Nothing’s going to happen. It’s beer and barbecue. Says so on the invitation. People will get drunk and run around naked and throw up, and somebody will get their truck stuck in a ditch. I’ve seen it a million times.”
“Proceed with caution,” Conall said. “’Tis an age-old trick to lull one’s enemies into complacence by plying them with food and drink.” He made a slashing motion in the air. “Once they are sleepy and replete, you move in for the kill.”
Hoo boy—Mr. Look on the Bright Side of Life.
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: Shadow’s Claim (Immortals After Dark: the Dacians)
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publishing Date: November 27, 2012
Paperback: 496 Pages
Rating: 5 stars
Shadow’s Claim features Prince Trehan, a ruthless master assassin who will do anything to possess Bettina, his beautiful sorceress mate, even compete for her hand in a blood-sport tournament—to the death.
Trehan Daciano, known as the Prince of Shadows, has spent his life serving his people—striking in the night, quietly executing any threat to their realm. The coldly disciplined swordsman has never desired anything for himself—until he beholds Bettina, the sheltered ward of two of the Lore’s most fearsome villains.
Desperate to earn her guardians’ approval after a life-shattering mistake, young Bettina has no choice but to marry whichever suitor prevails—even though she’s lost her heart to another. Yet one lethal competitor, a mysterious cloaked swordsman, invades her dreams, tempting her with forbidden pleasure.
Even if Trehan can survive the punishing contests to claim her as his wife, the true battle for Bettina’s heart is yet to come. And unleashing a millennium’s worth of savage need will either frighten his Bride away—or stoke Bettina’s own desires to a fever pitch.
Shadow Claim is the first book in a spinoff series of the very popular Immortal After Dark series which focuses on the Dacians and the Realm of Blood and Mist. Oddly though, in this first book Kresley Cole does not take us to the Realm of Blood and Mist, she takes us the Abaddon, the land of Death Demons, the Deathly Ones.
Prince Trehan Daciano, the Prince of Shadow, has followed the demon Caspion here. By law, otherlanders who come to Dacia can never leave. Thereby otherlanders cannot ever return with an army to take over their secret mountain lands. By leaving Dacia and returning to Abaddon, Caspion has sentenced himself to death at the hands of Trehan, the sword of the kingdom and the keeper of the law.
Once Trehan arrives in Abaddon and is awaiting his chance at his target, he is inexplicably drawn to a room in the castle spire. Vampires being a curious sort, Trehan goes to investigate what is drawing him about this room. There he finds the lovely Bettina Abaddon, half demon/half sorceri, and all drunk on demon brew. As Trehan approaches Bettina his heart begins to beat for the first time in almost 900 years. Bettina is his Bride. Now we know that a vampire becomes quite obsessed with his Bride and the very drunk Bettina and Trehan have quite the sensual tryst. Things are going very well until Trehan realizes Bettina thought he was Caspion come to bed her and save her from her fate.
The hand of the virginal Princess Bettina has been offered as the grand prize in a blood fight to the death, along with the crown of Abaddon. Bettina has long been in love with the handsome and charming Cas and hopes that he will agree to divest her of her virginity, thereby saving her the humiliation of being handed over as a prize. See as romantic as this gesture may seem, it is not just an attractive selection of studly demons who have entered the contest, most are homeless outcasts who have entered to win the crown and not the elfish looking Bettina. Her choices of suitors include an alligator shifter with scaly skin, Cerunnos (a snake like humanoid), an almost rabid lykae, and even a pus demon, and those are some of her better choices. She wants more than anything to spend her life with Cas.
As you can imagine, the very obsessive vampire does not like that his Bride is in love with another man and wants to give herself to him. Trehan has to choose between entering this contest and fighting to the death for right to have his Bride or returning to his home, for once he is seen by otherlanders he too is prohibited ever from returning to his secret home realm. As a trained killer and the enforcer of Dacia’s laws, Trehan has no doubt he will emerge the victor.
Trehan has learned one thing watching his cousin Lothaire and that is how to bargain to get what you want. As the contests begin, Trehan convinces Bettina to grant him a boon for each contestant he dispatches–lady’s choice. Bettina gives in to remove some of the more loathsome suitors. Trehan uses his boons to negotiate private time with Bettina so that he can seduce her heart from Cas. He had better work quickly since Cas too has entered the contest. If Trehan can’t win her heart before he has to kill Cas to win her hand, his Bride’s love might be lost to him forever.
This is definitely one of the best books I have read this year. In a story that bounces between bloody fights to the death, and sensual encounters between Trehan and Bettina as Trehan tries to seduce her heart, you will not be able to decide which parts of this story are more exciting.
Trehan is a great hero–strong, thoughtful, protective and sexy.
Bettina starts the story off nearly being beaten to death by Vrekeners (who hate the evil scorceri) and she has her powers stolen by them. So she is very fearful for an immortal. Although she is half demon, she has none of their strengths or natural defenses. Scorceri have no more strengths than a human besides their powers and their immortality. Other than their magic, their eyesight is no better, they have no real strength for fighting, no claws or sharp teeth or other natural defenses. So once Bettina loses her power, she is like a human in an immortals world and absolutely afraid that the Vrekeners will find her again and finish the job. This brings us to why Bettina would agree to be the prize in this battle to the death. Her demon godfather and her scorceri godmother have indicated that they will kill the Vrekeners and return her power once she is married to the winner of the battle. They also believe the strongest winning warrior will give Bettina a sense of security that he can protect her and thereby alleviate her fears.
If Shadow Claim is an example of how much further Kresley Cole can take her Immortal After Dark series, then I say spin away to your heart’s content. I cannot wait to see where she will take us next.
Received an ARC from the author. Thank you!
All she could think over and over: That vampire was in my bed, touching me as no other had before.
As he closed the distance, she felt increasingly weak and breathless, as if a flash-fever had taken hold.
How could merely looking at someone make her react physically? One word arose in her consciousness. Daliz. In Demonish, it meant lightning—in addition to another quaint, old-timey meaning.
“Who is that gorgeous male?” Morgana asked.
Bettina had never heard her sound so interested in a stranger.
The vampire wasn’t gorgeous to Bettina, but he was…striking.
“Oh, my gold, is he a Forbearer?” Morgana asked.
With his clear eyes, Daciano looked like one. No one would ever guess he was from the fabled Realm of Blood and Mist.
Once he neared the lower grandstand, Bettina subtly shook her head, warning him away, but he didn’t break his stride.
Earlier when Caspion had approached the sign-in table, the crowd had cheered for one of their own. As the vampire approached, everyone grew silent.
Crickets. A dog barked in the distance. A demon cub gave a cry.
“Your name?” Raum asked in puzzlement.
“I’m called the Prince of Shadow,” Daciano answered in that resonating voice.
“Where do you hail from? What is your standard?”
“I hail from nowhere you know.” The vampire retrieved a beautiful antique-looking banner of red and gray from his coat, handing it to Raum. “This is my standard. I enter for the hand of Bettina.”
He can’t lie? Then he’s not here just to kill Cas? He wants to marry me? She just stopped herself from fanning her face.
Why can’t I catch my breath?
Her godfather cast him a studying glance. Raum couldn’t bar the vampire entrance, but surely he would demand more information.
Instead Raum examined the standard, returned it, then offered Daciano the blade and quill. “Well then, Prince of Nowhere. Sign your name.”
Still holding her gaze, the vampire dragged the blade across his palm, never looking down at the contract, never taking his penetrating eyes off her.
Bettina could tell Morgana was glancing from the vampire to her and back, but didn’t acknowledge her godmother’s curiosity.
Once Daciano’s entry was complete, Raum announced, “The lists are filled! The tournament has officially begun.”
Cheering sounded from the spectators before Raum quieted them once more. “Now, on the first night of the tournament, we will have a melee, All competitors will go in unarmed, race to reach strategically placed weapons, then kill at will.”
“Oh, I’ve always enjoyed a spirited melee!” Morgana said, as if she were talking about a potato-sack race. Then she glanced past Bettina, her eyes gleaming with approval—no doubt ogling the vampire.
When Betting refused to look at him, Morgana tapped her chin with a metal claw. “You don’t appear to be an afterthought with that one, dearest freakling. You appear to be the only thought.
Bettina’s gaze darted to Daciano. His overall demeanor was bored. But she could see his cunning gaze taking in his enemies. She suspected she was about to witness the lethality she’d only sensed before.
Would he target Cas immediately?
Turning to Bettina, Morgana said, “I believe the Prince of Shadow is particularly motivated. He looks like his heart is in this. His beating heart.”
ORDER A COPY: Edge of Passion (Cloak Warriors #1)
Publishing Date: March 7, 2012
eBook: 208 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Able to render themselves invisible, immortal Cloak Warriors like Aiden have been protecting humans from the dark power of the Demons of Fear for centuries. But the demons might soon have a powerful tool in their hands to seduce humans to the dark side. And the person to provide them with this elixir is the human scientist Leila. Unbeknownst to her, the drug she’s developing to cure Alzheimer’s has the unexpected side effect of weakening the mind’s resistance to the influence of demons.
The Council of Cloak Warriors is divided, some of them believing the only safe way to eradicate this threat is to eliminate its inventor, others are bent on protecting the human scientist. Aiden is a loyal Cloak Warrior who accepts the assignment to protect her despite his own beliefs that humans can’t be trusted. However, when her life is endangered, his beliefs shift, and he’s drawn into a battle whose participants are unknown: is he fighting the demons or his fellow Cloak Warriors?
Forbidden desire flares between Aiden and Leila as they are forced to rely on the only people they can trust: each other. And even if he can save her and defeat their enemies, a union between them might be the most dangerous undertaking of all.
Dr. Leila Cruickshank was on the verge of a breakthrough. Her formula to stop the progression of Alzheimer’s was almost ready. Finally a chance for people like her parents to regain the memories and lives they were losing to this horrible, debilitating disease. She was also on the verge of the downfall of humanity.
It seems that her formula would also make the human brain more susceptible to demon mind control. With Dr. Cruickshank’s formula, the demons would easily control the humans and take over control of the Earth, and if they can’t get the formula, taking the pretty doctor into the netherworld would be the next best thing. Endless torture is just the thing to get the good doctor talking.
Aiden is the Cloak Warrior sent to protect Leila from demons and convince her to destroy her formula for the good of the world. Aiden dislikes humans since they are so weak. They can’t be trusted and will always succumb to the temptation of the demons.
Leila isn’t sure she can trust Aiden and his stories of demons and mind control, but she does know that she is not ready to give up her dream of saving her parents based solely on the ravings of this madman.
Aiden needs to quickly earn Leila’s trust since the demons are closing in on them and Leila’s formula.
I enjoyed this new series from Tina Folsom. Like all first books in a series, it goes a little slow in the beginning while we are introduced to Cloak Warriors and their world, but as the story progresses and we are on the run with Aiden and Leila, the story definitely picks up. Aiden enlists several of his fellow Cloak Warriors to protect Leila and fight the demons, so we are also introduced to several very interesting characters and we learn just enough about each of the other warriors to draw our interest for further stories.
Edge of Passion was an interesting and quick read, and I see a lot of potential for future stories. I will be interested to see where the series goes next.
Read more in our interview with author Tina Folsom.
Received an ARC courtesy of the author. Thank you.
Aiden held his palm over Leila’s mouth, making sure she wouldn’t scream. His other arm snaking around her waist, pulling her tightly against him.
It hadn’t been hard to find her. She’d really had only two options: her apartment and her lab. Sure, she could have gone to any hotel, but knowing what he knew about her life, what he’d read in her file, he guessed she would choose a familiar place, somewhere where she felt safe.
He’d figured she’d choose the lab for obvious reasons. One being that her apartment was uninhabitable right now, the other that she deemed her office to be safe from intruders. It wasn’t.
He’d had no problem sneaking past the security guard. In his cloaked state, he was invisible to the unsuspecting man.
Aiden moved his mouth to Leila’s ear, a strand of her hair brushing his cheek in the process. “Quiet, Leila.”
He felt her body jolt at the realization that it was he who was keeping her captive once more. A muffled word he didn’t catch bounced against his palm. Her warm breath nearly torched him, sending a hot flame into his groin.
“That’s right, it’s me. It was very stupid of you to run away. Didn’t I tell you I’d protect you” He felt himself getting angry again. “Will you remain quiet if I take my hand off your mouth now?”
She moved her head up and down in agreement.
Slowly he lifted his hand and turned her toward him in the same instance. Her lips instantly parted, her throat tightening. Clearly, she wasn’t going to comply with his wishes. There was only one thing he could do now.
With a low curse, he yanked her flush against him and slid his lips over hers, capturing her mouth in a searing kiss, one he’d been craving all night.
ORDER A COPY: The Demoness of Waking Dreams (The Company of Angels)
Publisher: Mira Books
Publishing Date: August 28, 2012
Paperback: 400 pages
Rating: 3 1/2 stars
Even ANGELS can be tough… Ex-cop Brendan Clarkson is an angel with an edge. His tough exterior is the perfect camouflage for his job-hunting down the most dangerous criminals on earth. Brendan’s a self-reliant and demanding lone wolf, constantly on the brink of clashing with his superiors at the Company of Angels.
Brendan is the perfect angel to track and capture demoness Luciana Rossetti. Luciana’s cool, green-eyed beauty masks her true nature: inside, she’s a dangerous and malevolent killer. Yet, she sees what most people don’t-that beneath the layers of Brendan’s rugged shell beats the heart of a passionate lover.
They are perfectly matched. Yin and yang. Angel and demon. Man and woman. But only one of them can win the battle of wills, of strength and of desire.
Brandon Clarkson was a good cop until the night he is shot in the back and left for dead in a back alley. A night he dreams over and over again each and every night since he became an angel ten years ago. Now he works for the Company of Angels as a Guardian Angel. His current assignment is to capture and bring back Luciana Rossetti, a rogue demon who uses poisons as her weapon of choice and who may now have created a poison strong enough to kill a demon (or an angel). She has fled back to Venice, Italy, after she failed to kill her ex-lover Julian Archer in Las Vegas. She is to be brought back to the Company headquarters in the United States to determine is she can be rehabilitated or if she needs to be disposed of.
Luciana Rossetti may not be an archdemon, but she is certainly dangerous and powerful enough. She has bargained her freedom from Hell with a yearly human sacrifice, always made during the Festival of the Redeemer. When she is interrupted and chased by Brendan and does not make her deadline, there will be Hell to pay for it, and Luciana is not going to go quietly.
Except for the night of his death, Brandon has never failed to capture a criminal, but Luciana is not your typical demon. She has spent centuries avoiding capture. Her home is hidden in plain sight, cloaked by a revulsion spell by Satan himself, so humans avoid it and don’t know why.
Now Satan wants Luciana to kill the Angel to make up for her mistake. Will she be able to kill a Guardian Angel or more importantly, will she want to?
Stephanie gives us an interesting look at the question are angels all good and demons truly all bad. Luciana is truly an evil demon but we do learn that her human life was never sunshine and roses and her life as a demon didn’t get much better until she worked her way out of Hell on the blood and souls of others. She does show a tiny bit of remorse here and there, and we can sympathize of how she ended up where she is and doing what she does.
Brandon was all cop and he has become all guardian angel. He usually keeps himself under control and on the right side of the line but you do see some slips into a gray area and he is confused whether he sees goodness and redemption in Luciana or if he just wants to see it.
It was a well written and flowing story. If you liked the first one, you will enjoy this one. I see some set ups for future stories which I found interesting. Because it is well written and a good build off of the last story, I gave this story 3 ½ stars. Personally, I didn’t really connect with the characters, and although I will definitely check out the next story, I don’t believe this book would ever be a re-read for me.
Received ARC from netgalley.com, courtesy of the publisher. Thank you.
He turned back to look at her, watched the last play of moonlight on her face turning to shadow as they passed beneath the bridge. Utterly without thinking, he leaned forward and closed the distance between them. With a brush of his fingers on the side of her jawline, turned her face toward him.
You’re on a mission here, said his mind. You must retain all of your faculties of reason.
Kiss her, screamed his gut.
So he kissed her.
A mere graze of his lips against hers, a flutter of contact as light as her butterfly touch. But he felt it as a visceral jolt that intimate connection of skin against moist skin, a shock that resounded in the depths of his being. He felt as though he had shifted into another reality, one that seemed as volatile and ephemeral as a dreamspace.
He felt her gasp.
Felt her lips part beneath his, felt her sharp intake of breath. Felt her mouth quiver against his before she want completely and utterly still. After a pause that seemed to last a lifetime, her breath escaped on a sigh so faint that it was almost outside the realm of perception.
Am I awake, or am I dreaming? He wondered.
The butterfly effect sprang to mind—the theory that something as light as a butterfly’s wings could change everything. That the mere presence of one small insect could alter weather patterns. Could lead to the creation or the absence of a hurricane, for instance.
What about a firefly? he wondered.
Whether it could or not, a hurricane sweep of desire was building inside Brandon, generated by that kiss. That gentle contact had stirred an internal fire that flared and raged, aching to get out. It was a desire he fought against with all the discipline of his calling, wrestling with his unruly passions.
From somewhere deep inside himself, a little voice said, Perhaps this kiss could change everything…
Our giveaway winner was Wanda. Please e-mail us Wanda with your contact information.
ORDER A COPY: Demon Hunting In the Deep South
Publishing Date: August 1, 2012
Paperback: 336 pages
Rating: 5 stars
The warrior and the wallflower . . .
Shy, self-conscious Evie Douglass tries to stay under the radar, especially when her nemesis Meredith Peterson, aka The Death Starr, is anywhere around. Meredith and her bitch posse of skinny girlfriends have tormented Evie since the seventh grade, calling her names like The Whale and Thunder Thighs.
Evie tries to stay invisible, but that’s not an easy thing for a plus-sized gal to do in a small town like Hannah, Alabama. She finds it doubly hard to avoid Meredith’s wrath once she takes a job at the lumber mill. You see, Meredith’s husband is Evie’s new boss. Translation: more torture time for The Death Starr.
Evie thinks things couldn’t get much worse until the morning she finds Meredith’s bloody body sprawled across her desk. Typical Meredith, she gets herself dead mere days after a very public scene in which Meredith accuses Evie of having an affair with her husband. Worse, the murder weapon is found in Evie’s car.
Suddenly, Evie is the Number One suspect in a sensational murder case. But she’s got bigger problems. Hannah is infested with demons—soul sucking, body snatching creatures of evil—and, for some reason, they want Evie. The only thing standing between Evie and death or possible possession is a hunky blond demon slayer named Ansgar.
Ansgar is a Dalvahni warrior, a supernaturally gorgeous race whose sole purpose is to hunt down and capture rogue demons.
Evie could almost swear that Ansgar is interested in more than demons. He seems interested in her. Ridiculous, of course, because he’s sex on two legs and she’s…Well, she’s Whaley Douglass.
To add to Evie’s troubles, Meredith doesn’t even have the decency to stay dead. She shows back up as a ghost and she’s more of a beyotch than ever. Meredith has deathnesia—she can’t remember who killed her—leaving Evie to solve the mystery herself, or go to jail for a murder she didn’t commit.
In book one, Demon Hunting in Dixie, we are introduced to the shy and shapely Evangeline Douglass and the Dalvahni warrior, Ansgar. We watched the attraction between these two characters developing in the background of the first story and we also watched the shy Evie blossom into a confident woman. But circumstances at the end of DHiD, leave Evie with a case of memory loss. Since fraternizing with humans is unacceptable, our very by-the-book warrior, Ansgar, knowing he is returning to his own dimension, leaves Evie with her memory loss so she will not remember him, and pine for him when he leaves her.
Unfortunately for Ansgar, that is a decision he has come to seriously regret. After months away from Evie, it is Ansgar who is pining. He could not forget her nor the feelings she has awakened in him. Without Evie, he finds himself feeling lonely and after millennia as a demon hunter, his existence is now unsatisfying to him.
Ansgar has returned to Hannah, Alabama, to be near the woman who has claimed his heart, but due to his own actions, she no longer remembers him or their time together, and she has once again become shy and withdrawn.
So the mighty Dalvahni warrior is now forced to hide in the shadows to watch over his lady love, and hope that he can once again earn her love, while he tries to hide his betrayal from her.
We once again take a trip to Hannah, AL, and are treated to a crazy, good time with the bizarre local residents, and we even meet a few new neighbors. If it is not enough that the Town seems to be a hot-bed for demons, Evie’s nemesis, Meredith Peterson is murdered in Evie’s office and someone is trying to frame Evie for the murder. It doesn’t help that Meredith’s husband Trey is in love with Evie and the whole Town believes that Evie killed Meredith to get her out of the way, and Trey’s constant pursuing of Evie is doing nothing to quiet those rumors. When Meredith comes back as a ghost, no kinder than she was when she was alive, the crazy gets bumped up another notch.
This was all great fun, and an interesting plot line, blah, blah, blah, but what I wanted to see since Book 1 was the romance between Ansgar and Evie and I was not disappointed!! My frustration at missing the burgeoning romance playing in the background of Book #1 is richly rewarded in watching our lovesick warrior trying to once again win the heart of his lovely Evangeline and again watching Evie’s self-confidence flourish due to the attentions of this gorgeous blond warrior.
We end this story with lots of open plot points being tied up neatly with a bow which makes me wonder if we have made our last trip down South. But we do meet several interesting new characters that I think would make for great stories so my fingers are crossed that we will see more in this Demon Hunter series.
Received an ARC from Kensington Books. Thank you.
Ansgar barely heard them. His entire being was focused on the enchanting bundle of femininity in his arms. He bent his head closer to hers. “Evangeline.” He gave her a little shake, but she did not open her eyes. “Evangeline.”
Panic sliced through him. “What ails her? Why does she not awaken?”
“Maybe she’s under a spell.” Addy stepped out of the circle of Brand’s arms. There was a calculating gleam in her brown eyes that sent a stab of alarm through Ansgar. Such a look from Addy did not bode well. “Maybe you should kiss her.”
He scowled. “To what purpose?”
“It works in the fairy tales. You whammied her. Stands to reason you’re the only one who can un-whammy her.”
Ansgar clenched his jaw. “This is not a…a fairy tale, and I did not whammy her. I looked at her. That is all.”
Addy gave him a measuring look. “What’s the matter, you chicken?”
Chicken: a domestic fowl bred for flesh and eggs. Also a term connoting cowardice.
Of a certainty, Addy did not refer to poultry. “Woman, I am Dalvahni. You do not question a warrior’s mettle.”
“Yeah? So kiss her already. Go on. I dare you.”
She was questioning his valor. Again. The woman had no semblance of decorum.
He looked at Brand for support. “Is she serious?”
“It is sometimes difficult to tell, but ‘twould seem so.” Brand shrugged. “At any rate, where is the harm? Unless you think it unwise.”
Unwise? Holding Evangeline nearly drove him mad. Kiss her, and he would be lost.
He touched Evangeline’s cheek with the tip of one finger. Her skin was tender and soft, a white rose without the faintest blush. She lay in his arms limp and wan, a sleeping princess waiting for a prince.
He was no prince. He was a warrior, hardened by countless years of blood and battle, his hands and soul stained by death. Still, the gauntlet had been thrown, and it was not his nature to back down from a challenge.
Lowering his head, he brushed his lips across hers. They were cool beneath his, bliss after the endless days and nights of desperate longing.
“Evangeline,” he murmured against the lush fullness of her mouth. “Open your eyes, sweetling.”
Lifting his head, he looked down at her. To his relief, delicate color suffused her cheeks and lips, but she did not stir.
“You call that a kiss?” Addy scoffed. “Come on, Blondy. Lay one on her. I thought all you immortal super dudes had game. Don’t you like girls?”
Aggravating creature. How Brand refrained from strangling her was a mystery.
Cradling Evangeline’s head in his hands, Ansgar bent once more to the task, his mouth moving over hers. He held nothing back, pouring the months of desolation, of aching for her, of unbearable desire and loneliness, into the kiss.
I just found out that Demon Hunting in Dixie is on sale for only $3.99 (from most major eBook retailers) from Monday, July 23rd, until Monday, July 30th. Plenty of time to pick up a copy before Demon Hunting in the Deep South is released on August 1st.
ORDER A COPY: Demon Hunting In Dixie
Publisher: Brava Books
Publishing Date: May 1, 2011
Paperback: 384 Pages
Rating: 4 stars
Addy Corwin is a florist with an attitude. A bad attitude, or so her mama says, ’cause she’s not looking for a man. Mama’s wrong. Addy has looked. There’s just not much to choose from in Hannah, her small Alabama hometown. Until Brand Dalvahni shows up, a supernaturally sexy, breathtakingly well-built hunk of a warrior fromwell, not from around here, that’s for sure. Mama thinks he might be European or maybe even a Yankee. Brand says he’s from another dimension.
Addy couldn’t care less where he’s from. He’s gorgeous. Serious muscles. Disturbing green eyes. Brand really gets her going. Too bad he’s a whack job. Says he’s come to rescue her from a demon. Puh-lease. But right after Brand shows up, strange things start to happen. Dogs talk and reanimated corpses stalk the quiet streets of Hannah. Her mortal enemy Meredith, otherwise known as the Death Starr, breaks out in a severe and inexplicable case of butt boils. Addy might not know what’s going on, but she definitely wants a certain sexy demon hunter by her side when it all goes down.
Adara Jean Corwin (“Addy”) is a good southern girl and does everything her mama tells her, or at least she tries…or so Mama thinks. Mama is still a little peeved since Addy left the family funeral business and bought her Aunt Muddy’s flower shop. Addy tries to live by Mama’s Book of what ladies can and cannot do, but it is so boring. So is the small Alabama Town of Hannah.
At least it was until smoking hot Brand shows up in her living room decked out in his leather pants. He starts to bring out her inner Hootchie-Mama, even if he is a little crazy talking about being a Dalvahni Warrior and Demon hunting and how he’s going to protector her from the demon trying to kill her. Isn’t that always the way, the really hot ones are either gay or crazy. If only her panties didn’t want to keep jumping off every time he got near.
Now things in Hannah, AL, are starting to get really crazy: her best friend, Evie, admits she sees fairies; her Aunt Muddy seems to know things before they happen; the crazy, town drunk actually isn’t crazy and he’s been seeing demons for years; the recently deceased Mr. Farris is strolling about Town and Brand keeps using his Dalvahni woo-woo; and now the whole Town is buzzing about sweet, little Addy. What will be worse: being killed by a Demon or her Mama finding out what Addy’s been up to?
This is an absolutely fun trip to the crazy small of Town of Hannah, AL. It’s so podunk it makes Charlaine Harris’s Bon Temps look like a major metropolis. Being from the NYC area, it is hard for me to believe that a Town like this actually exists, or if it is simply a caricature of small southern town living.
The gorgeous, muscled Dalvahni warriors certainly stick out in this small town, not only with their looks, but their stiff and formal warrior speech and attitude. At first I thought their stiffness would get annoying, it was actually quite funny to watch them trying to understand the small town life going on around them.
Although the character of Addy was amusing and watching her introduce Brand to the intricacies of small time life is hysterical, I was most interested in the behind the scenes romance of the very by-the-book warrior Ansgar and Addy’s BFF, the shy Evie. My slight frustration of wanting to see what was going on with them has been rewarded with the upcoming release of Demon Hunting in the Deep South. I will be back shortly with a review on that book. (Hint: Awesome!)
If you like your paranormal romance with side of great fun, you want to give Lexi George’s Demon Hunting series a try.
The corners of Brand’s mouth kicked up again, and Addy’s heart rate went into overdrive. Fight or flight; that was the biological response of animals under acute stress, wasn’t it? Well, her instincts were in working order, because she…because she—
–was going to sit here like a bedazzled lust-drunk female fascinated by the slightest movement of his sensuous lips, waiting to see if he—
Oh, crappy doodle, he was going to do it. Run away. Run away. Smart Addy screamed. But Dumbass Addy didn’t listen. Oh, no. Dumbass Addy sat there and stared at him, transfixed. She was Eve reaching for the apple. Pandora opening the box because she just had to see what was inside. She was the big fat bug drawn to the irresistible glowing radiance of Brand, the Dalvahni bug zapper.
“I am glad you are worried about my giblets, little one.” He said.
His rich, smoky baritone sent an electrical shiver down her spine. And then the dirty, lowdown bastard did it. Zzzzt, he zapped her with a smile. Smiled right at her, too, so she took the full blast.
The busted hinge on her jaw gave way, and her mouth dropped open. Again. She needed to see about getting that thing fixed, she thought dimly through the roaring in her head. The guy showed his pearly whites and the whole freaking room lit up. Little birdies sang, and silvery sparkles danced at the edge of her vision. It was like a freaking Disney movie. She gaped at him, as dizzy and punch drunk as a raccoon in a beer barrel. It was so unfair, she thought, fazing in dazed bemusement at his perfect teeth and killer dimples. A smile like that was a thing of power. It ought to be registered as a lethal weapon. It was terrifying, mesmerizing.
It made her want to drop trow right then and there.
She wouldn’t. No, no, of course she wouldn’t. She had better raising. Why, a moment ago, she’d been going on about the difference between tacky and trashy. Having sex in public with Conan the Stud Muffin would be majorly trashy, at the top of the trash-o-meter with Evie’s hypothetical floozie airing her fluff bunny in the lord’s temple…only without the divine retribution part. Maybe the Big G wouldn’t tap-dance on her head for having sex in public, but Mama sure as shoot would. It would also probably get her banned for life from the Sweet Shop, and that was a bad thing. No more Miss Vi’s fried chicken. No more greens cooked with ham hocks, Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoing, and a splash of cider vinegar for that extra punch. She would not have sex in public. She would not.
No, no no.
The ladies’ room in the back of the Sweet Shop…that was a different story. Not public at all. All right, maybe technically it was public. But, Miss Vi kept a clean restroom, and the door locked.
Holy mackerel, she was seriously contemplating having sex in a restaurant bathroom because the guy smiled at her.
She was in big trouble.
ORDER A COPY: A Discovery of Witches: A Novel (All Souls Trilogy)
Publishing Date: February 8, 2011
Paperback: 578 pages
Rating: 5 stars
A richly inventive novel about a centuries-old vampire, a spellbound witch, and the mysterious manuscript that draws them together.
Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.
Debut novelist Deborah Harkness has crafted a mesmerizing and addictive read, equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense. Diana is a bold heroine who meets her equal in vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont, and gradually warms up to him as their alliance deepens into an intimacy that violates age-old taboos. This smart, sophisticated story harks back to the novels of Anne Rice, but it is as contemporary and sensual as the Twilight series-with an extra serving of historical realism.
Dr. Diana Bishop is a historian, and she is currently doing research at Oxford University’s Bodleian Library on the history of alchemy. Diana is also the daughter of a witch, and a sorcerer, but she has no desire to practice witchcraft. She wants to earn her successes or failures in her academic career without the use of magic. While she is reviewing old manuscripts, she is given an odd manuscript. All of the alchemy pictures are slightly wrong, but that is not the only oddity. It is locked with a spell and when she finally opens it, she can see that the pages shimmer with hidden words like someone erased the pages and drew the new pictures over them. Diana has no interest in this bewitched book and sends it back to storage. Then she starts to notice all of the other creatures who have started to hang around the library; witches, demons and vampires are all watching her and waiting for her to recall that manuscript. Most particularly, one gorgeous vampire named Matthew Clairmont who is not only watching her, but has taken up the duty as her personal protector.
Unknown to her, Diana has located and opened the missing Ashmole 728 manuscript. No one is sure what is hidden within this hidden manuscript. Some think it is the secret to turn iron to gold. Some think it is the origins of the creatures. Some think it is an outline of how to destroy the vampires. They just know they all want to get their hands on it. Suddenly Diana is in grave danger, not just from the vampires and demons, but from the witches as well. They try to force Diana to retrieve the book, but she didn’t call for it in the first place and she doesn’t know how to retrieve it again.
In an attempt to protect her, Matthew takes her back to his mother’s castle in France to hide out, but everything gets more complicated when Diana and Matthew start to fall in love. The Commission makes sure that witches stay with witches, vampires with vampires. A covenant was agreed to centuries ago that creatures would stick with their own kind; and The Commission is not very happy that a vampire and witch are hiding out together, let alone getting romantically involved.
Diana quickly learns that getting involved with a century old vampire involves secrets, LOTS of secrets, and every time she thinks she knows Matthew, she is hit with more facts about her vampire that she does not know how to handle.
As if their lives aren’t complicated enough, they finally figure out that Diana’s parents have spellbound her so that no one could force her magic, not even Diana. Suddenly Diana is coming into her magic, but she can’t control it or call up anything on command.
Now Diana and Matthew need to group together all their allies because they are fighting too many enemies who are coming from too many directions, and the creatures on now on the verge of war over the manuscript and over their mixed relationship.
I was offered an opportunity to review Shadow of Night, book 2 of the All Souls trilogy, but when I read that it began with Diana and Matthew’s Timewalk, I knew I would be lost if I tried to start with book 2. I was overwhelmed with the idea of trying to fit another 588 page book into my already overburdened TBR list, but it moved so fast, I was able to tackle in it only 2 days…alright 2 ½ days.
Admittedly, when we move from London to Matthew’s ancestral home in France, it was suddenly like the book switched to a historical romance since they were living in a castle and spent a lot of time riding horses and Matthew started getting very bossy and Diana got very submissive. I was a bit annoyed by this change of characters. I could understand that vampires might be a little bit territorial due to their predatory nature and they would also be controlling due to age and surviving from a time when women had no place except to bear children and care for the home, but it was annoying nonetheless; and I was disappointed that Diana, a well educated woman with a doctorate, who teaches at Oxford, only stood up for herself on occasion, other than that, she let Matthew tell her what to do.
Other than my frustration with pushy, know it all vampires, I truly enjoyed the story and the characters involved, and I finally understand the excitement over the story and the upcoming release of book 2, which I am thoroughly enjoying.
Anyone who has read paperback bestsellers or even watched television knows that vampires are breathtaking, but nothing prepares you to actually see one. Their bone structures are so well honed that they seem chiseled by an expert sculptor. Then they move, or speak, and your mind can’t begin to absorb what you’re seeing. Every movement is graceful; every word is musical. And their eyes are arresting, which is precisely how they catch their prey. One long look, a few quiet words, a touch: once you’re caught in a vampire’s snare you don’t stand a chance.
Staring down at this vampire, I realized with a sinking feeling that my knowledge on the subject was, alas, largely theoretical. Little of it seemed useful now that I was facing one in the Bodleian Library.
This one was tall—well over six feet even accounting for the problems of perspective associated with looking down on him from the gallery. And he definitely was not slight. Broad shoulders narrowed into slender hips, which flowed into lean, muscular legs. His hands were strikingly long and agile, a mark of physiological delicacy that made your eyes drift back to them to figure out how they could belong to such a large man.
As my eyes swept over him, his own were fixed on me. From across the room, they seemed black as night, staring up under thick, equally black eyebrows, one of them lifted in a curve that suggested a question mark. His face was indeed striking—all distinct planes and surfaces, with high-angled cheekbones meeting brows that shielded and shadowed his eyes. Above his chin was one of the few places where there was room for softness—his wide mouth, which, like his long hands, didn’t seem to make sense.
But the most unnerving thing about him was not his physical perfection. It was his feral combination of strength, agility, and keen intelligence that was palpable across the room. In his black trousers and soft gray sweater, with a shock of back hair swept back from his forehead and cropped close to the nape of his neck, he looked like a panther that could strike at any moment but was in no rush to do so.
He smiled. It was a small, polite smile that didn’t reveal his teeth. I was intensely aware of them anyway, sitting in perfectly straight, sharp rows behind his pale lips.
The mere thought of teeth sent an instinctive rush of adrenaline through my body, setting my fingers tingling. Suddenly all I could think was, Get out of this room NOW.
The staircase seemed farther away than the four steps it took to reach it. I raced down to the floor below, stumbled on the last step, and pitched straight into the vampire’s waiting arms.
ORDER A COPY: The Noctuary
Publisher: Damnation Books
Publishing Date: December 1, 2011
eBook: 56 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Struggling writer Simon Ryan’s life has gone to Hell.
Shadows are pouring into his reality and his words are not his own anymore. He has been chosen to become a scribe for some of the worst creatures of the Underworld–the ones whose sole purpose is to torment human souls–The Dark Muses.
As Simon writes he falls deeper into the abyss and before long he has no sense of what is real. With the help of another scribe, old and mutilated, Simon comes to discover that his writing can mould people and places–that he can write things out of existence.
To become a scribe he has to pass a test and the Muses offer him a chance to rewrite his horrible past. All Simon has to decide is how the story ends.
The Noctuary is a short story in the genre of Horror. Simon Ryan is a writer who has had a traumatic childhood. His dark writings have attacked the attention of one of the Dark Muses from Hell. To prove to Simon his potential writing powers, Meknok gives Simon an opportunity to re-write his childhood in exchange for becoming a scribe for Meknok. Simon learns that trying to re-write your past and control your life is a lot harder then the stroke of a pen.
As a long time fan of Stephen King, I have read many, many of these bizarre story concepts, and I will admit at the end I had to stop a moment and think about the story as a whole. For a short story, it is broken up into two parts: one where Simon meets the dark muse who is trying to tempt Simon to write dark stories for him; and the second part is where Simon tries to re-write his past. Both parts of the story were very well written, and show that Greg can write various types of horror stories, one being the creepy, boogeyman hiding in the closet type, and the almost scarier, dangerous human with no moral compass and their only pleasure is in the fear and pain they cause others.
It was an intriguing story and gives us a taste of Greg Chapman’s writing talent.
My only issue is that this short story is only 56 pages, but is listed on Amazon for $4.50 which seems very, very steep for a short story.
Received review copy from the author. Thank you.
“Your father…” he says, sneering.
My father—what about my father? How does Meknok know about my father?
“I know your very soul, Simon, sometimes I feel it is my own.” He touches my face and traces the marks where he scratched me. “I know your past, your pain. You have lost so much that it shattered your soul; made you perfect for me.”
“But what does that have to do with my father?”
“He is to blame for your life as it is now,” Meknok says. “In some ways, he should be glorified for his actions, but in others he should be cursed and his time will come, be certain of that. But what if you could change things, my young scribe?”
The Muses lean in; they seem more attuned to what Meknok is saying. I ask him again to explain.
“You can change events—for better or worse—with a stroke of a pen! Imagine it! The power to change your past, present and future!”
Is he saying I can change what happened to me and my sister and mother—that it could be as if it never happened? I remember Schiller’s words to me when I found Christina’s corpse in my bed; how he said I wrote her horrible death and it was so.
“Rewrite your life, Simon,” Meknok snarls. “Either damn it or save it but be it your choice.”