Category Archives: Magic
Publisher: Signet Eclipse
Publishing Date: December 3, 2013
Paperback: 217 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Meet the furry big brother that the Wird sisters never had…
Bren is a cocky, brash hound of a werewolf who loathes the idea of belonging to Aric’s pack—much less finding a mate. But Bren’s hotheaded behavior lands him in the doghouse when he defies Aric’s authority in front of his pack, bringing up a sore subject that’s bound to make the Alpha wolf’s blood boil…
Luckily for him, no one can stay mad at Bren and his wild charm for long. And when some frightening ghosts launch a hostile paranormal takeover, Bren will team up with Celia to take down the evil ghouls before they hurt someone they both love…
Bren is a lone wolf—or werewolf that is. He has been without a pack since his parents died when he was a kid and the elder’s wouldn’t allow him to join his father’s pack. Bren is okay with that because his “pack” consists of the people who matter to him: his roommate, Dan and Celia Wird and her sisters. They are the only people he can count on, the only people he can trust, and the only people he would die to protect.
And to protect those he loves against the growing danger from the demons and the witches of The Tribe that keep calling together the evilest of supernaturals, he would even agree to join Aric’s pack, even though the pure-blooded bastard broke Celia’s heart.
That doesn’t mean he is going to play by Aric’s rules like a good little pup. Bren’s mouth has a habit of writing checks his ass can’t cash and mouthing off to an alpha-were might not always be the best way to show that you are willing to be part of the pack.
When their friend Dan is kidnapped by soul-sucking ghouls, Bren has to quickly decide if he can trust the pack or will he and Celia go it alone to find Dan before it is too late.
As the Weird Girl series is told by Celia’s point of view, this was interesting to read from Bren’s perspective. He gives us some insight into his friendships with Dan and Celia and why he they mean so much to him. We also learn why he is a lone wolf and why he likes it that way.
This story continues on from where we left off after A Cursed Embrace. There is plenty of action since the witch is now calling forth cursed souls and will try to possess bodies and they keep showing up around Bren and Celia.
It was an enjoyable addition to the series and gives Celia’s friends a little more depth to their characters. I don’t know what I enjoyed more: watching Bren torment his roommate Dan or Celia, Bren mouthing off to Aric, Bren riling up Aric’s new fiance or the always entertaining disapproving neighbor, Mrs. Mancuso.
Received an ARC courtesy of the author in exchange for an honest review.
I jumped out and ambled toward the blue Colonial. Mrs. Mancuso, the girls’ elderly neighbor, was sweeping her front steps by the light of her lawn jockey’s lantern, a freak-ass little statue with bright red pants and a lazy eye. Despite the late hour she brushed her little broom back and forth with quick precise motions, even though any sap could have eaten off of the wooden steps as they were. She was probably bored, and lonely. The Wird sisters seemed to be her only form of entertainment.
She buttoned the top of her coat to protect her frail body against the cold. As a were, I’d keep the majority of my strength and reflexes till my dying day. Little old humans like her didn’t have that luxury. I grinned with my new set of chompers and winked her way. “Hey, sex-uh lady.”
Mrs. Mancuso smiled and tucked her neck skin into her brown wool scarf. “Oh, Brendan, you’re such a good boy to flirt with an old lady.” She furrowed her penciled in brows and glanced over at Celia’s former home sweet home. “Too good a boy in fact to be hanging out with those Wird girls.”
I nodded in agreement. “Don’t worry, Mrs. M, I’m trying to help them see the light. I plan to spend the next few hours reading to them from the Bible. They’ll come around, just leave it to me.”
The front door of the Wird house crashed open. There stood Celia—five-foot-three inches of long lethal muscles in skinny jeans and a tight white long sleeved T-shirt. The breeze picked up, sweeping her long mane of brown curls around her face. She pushed her hair out of the way, exposing her narrowing green eyes. Her supersized hearing had obviously picked up my chat with their not-so-favorite neighbor.
I waved. “Hey, Ceel. What’s wrong? Still mad I made you cancel your porn subscription?”
It was really hard not to laugh at her reaction. Celia subscribing to porn was like me joining a Justin Bieber fan club—so not happening. Her eyes shot open only to narrow further at Mrs. Mancuso’s stiff, reprimanding middle finger.
Celia stormed to the edge of her front porch, and while a wide driveway separated both houses, I still caught her golden skin reddening beneath the whitening glare of her porch light. “Mrs. Mancuso, I do not have a porn—”
“Harlot!” Mrs. Mancuso shot back. She lifted her broom defensively, daring Celia to cross the driveway and step foot on her property. Celia pinched the bridge of her nose. In a Mancuso/Celia Wird smack-down, Mrs. M won every time. Not that Celia couldn’t crush her like a fistful of berries, but because Ceel didn’t pick on those weaker than her, no matter how much they annoyed her.
I placed my hand on Mrs M’s shoulder. “It’s okay, honey-bunches. I won’t stop until the sin is washed from her wanton soul.”
“Bren, that’s enough out of you.”
Mrs. M patted my arm, ignoring Celia. “You’re a good boy, Branden,” she said once more.
She flipped Celia off again before shuffling into her house.
A Cursed Moon includes a preview of the upcoming Weird Girls novel Cursed by Destiny!
Cecy (pronounced Sessy) Robson is a full-time writer, registered nurse, wife, and mother living in the Great Northwest. A member of Romance Writers of America, she attributes her passion for storytelling to the rough New Jersey neighborhood she was raised in. As a child, she was rarely allowed to leave the safety of her house and passed her time fantasizing about flying, fairies, and things that go bump in the night. Gifted and cursed with an overactive imagination, she began writing in May 2009. Her Weird Girls Urban Fantasy Romance series is published with Penguin Random House’s Signet Eclipse and released to stellar praise from multiple reviewers including: Publisher’s Weekly, USA Today, and Romantic Times. THE WEIRD GIRLS: A Novella, SEALED WITH A CURSE, and A CURSED EMBRACE are now available. A CURSED MOON: A Novella, releases December 3, 2013, followed by CURSED BY DESTINY, January 7, 2014.
ORDER A COPY: Dark Witch: Book One of The Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Publishing Date: October 29, 2013
Paperback: 368 pages
Rating: 4 stars
With indifferent parents, Iona Sheehan grew up craving devotion and acceptance. From her maternal grandmother, she learned where to find both: a land of lush forests, dazzling lakes, and centuries-old legends.
County Mayo, to be exact. Where her ancestors’ blood and magic have flowed through generations—and where her destiny awaits.
Iona arrives in Ireland with nothing but her Nan’s directions, an unfailingly optimistic attitude, and an innate talent with horses. Not far from the luxurious castle where she is spending a week, she finds her cousins, Branna and Connor O’Dwyer. And since family is family, they invite her into their home and their lives.
When Iona lands a job at the local stables, she meets the owner, Boyle McGrath. Cowboy, pirate, wild tribal horsemen, he’s three of her biggest fantasy weaknesses all in one big, bold package.
Iona realizes that here she can make a home for herself—and live her life as she wants, even if that means falling head over heels for Boyle. But nothing is as it seems. An ancient evil has wound its way around Iona’s family tree and must be defeated. Family and friends will fight with each other and for each other to keep the promise of hope—and love—alive.
Iona Sheehan has come to Ireland to find an acceptance and an understanding which she has never before known. As the only child of very cold parents, Iona has never known the love and closeness of family. The only time she came close is when she would spend time with her gramdmother, Nan.
It was Nan who told her the stories of her ancestor Sorcha, the Dark Witch, and how she gave her magick to her children and gave her life and her blood to destroy the sorcerer, Cabhan, who would steal her family’s magick with his dark powers. But Sorcha knew if she was not strong enough to destroy Cabhan, it would fall to her children and their descendants to combine their magick and kill Cabhan. Sorcha’s three children have animal familiars: a horse, a hawk and a dog.
When Iona arrives at the door of her cousins Branna and Connor O’Dwyer, she is surprised to find herself so welcome into their home and into their lives. They arrange for Iona to move in and find her a job at the local stable working for their good friend Boyle McGrath. Iona has always had such a way with horses that she knows what they are feeling.
But by coming to Ireland and meeting Branna and Connor, Iona has closed the circle of the three–the three descendants of Sorcha and Iona must quick learn to polish up her magick because Cabhan has been waiting for 750 years to face the three again and take their combined magick so that he may return to corporal form. The three witches, and their friends, will be facing a vicious darkness and they need to finally destroy Cabhan because their failure is just too frightening to contemplate.
As with any Nora Roberts novel, it was a easy read, the characters were likeable and it was a well written story. I think by default, a Nora Roberts novel probably gets a five star rating as compared to most authors.
My only real issue here is that the whole premise of the story is very similar to her Circle Trilogy which I had greatly enjoyed. I am also noticing a trend in her trilogies: the first book is new acquaintances, the second book is friends to lovers (always my favorite premise), and the third usually involves a couple who fight their attraction since book #1.
There is no question that Nora Roberts knows how to write a good story. Nora is to romance what Stephen King is to horror. But it is not a good thing when I am being pulled out of the story to note that “this is just like that trilogy” or “these two remind me of _______.”
If you are a fan of romance with a paranormal twist or simple a fan of Nora Roberts, you will definitely enjoy this story. There’s no question of her talent as an author. I just think Nora needs to shake up her storytelling a bit since they are starting to get a bit predictable. With a discounted price tag of about $10, a reader shouldn’t feel like they already read the story.
Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Then she came to the roan mare with the big, poignant eyes, the long white blaze down her nose, and knew without being told.
“You’re Darling, and that’s just what you are.”
Even before Boyle stepped up beside her, the mare turned her head, big eyes warming, body quivering. Not in fear, Iona thought, but simple delight.
She’d smelled him, sensed him, before he came into view. And it was love twined with utter devotion that had the mare stretching her neck so her head could bump his shoulder, light as a kiss.
“That’s the girl.” He all but crooned it, and Darling whickered, turned her head for his hand.
He opened the stall door, eased in. “I’ll just check the foreleg while I’m here.”
“It’s better,” Iona said. “But she remembers how much it hurt. She remembers being hungry. Being afraid. Until you.”
Saying nothing, he crouched to run his hands up the foreleg, down again as Darling nibbled playfully at his hair.
“Do you have an apple in your coat pocket? She’s pretty sure you do.”
It was…disconcerting, to have his horse’s thoughts translated to him, but he rose again, slid his hands along Darling’s flank.
Iona thought if a horse could purr, she would have.
While Aine had astonished her, so much beauty and grace, Darling tugged her heart with her simple, unabashed devotion.
They knew, she and Darling, what it was to yearn for love, or at least genuine understanding and acceptance. To wish so hard and keep for a place, for a purpose.
It seemed they’d both gotten that wish.
Then Boyle reached in his pocket for the apple, into another for his pocketknife. Iona felt Darling’s pleasure in the treat, and more, that it would be offered.
“You’re filling out well, my girl, but what’s a bit of an apple, after all?” She took it neatly, eyed the second half as she ate.
“This one’s for Winnie, if she behaves with her student.”
“You saved her.” Iona waited while he stepped out, closed the stall door. “She’ll never be anything but yours.”
Iona reached up to stroke; Darling stretched her neck again.
“She’s not skittish with you,” Boyle noted. “That’s progress. She’s still a bit nervy with strangers.”
“We understand each other.”
When Darling angled her head so her cheek pressed to Boyle’s, and when he took the half apple out of his pocket, and fed it to her, Iona knew she was done.
“I’ll get another for Winnie. You haven’t had enough of them in your life.”
“That’s done it,” Iona muttered. “I’m good at getting mad, mostly when it’s justified. At least I think so. But I suck at staying mad. I just can’t hold on to it, it’s so heavy. Then add in me standing here watching this mutual love affair, and I can’t do it. So I’m finished being mad at you, if that matters.”
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.
ORDER A COPY: The Wicked (A Novella of the Elder Races)
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publishing Date: July 2, 2013
eBook: 105 pages
Rating: 5 stars
The adventure of a lifetime might just end in turmoil, but when it includes meeting your future mate, who gives a hoot?
A Novella of the Elder Races
For a librarian with a focus on rare magic books, Olivia’s new job is a dream come true. She has been hired as part of a team to help manage the safe transportation of the collection of books owned by the Vampyre sorceress Carling Severan. The fact that the library is located on a mysterious island in an Other land only heightens the adventure.
Head of security for the expedition, Sebastian Hale is tired of his rootless life of adventure and finds himself attracted to the calm, beautiful librarian. But he is living a personal nightmare. He has been hit with a curse that is slowly taking away his sight, and he doesn’t know if he will survive the results.
But the powerful feelings growing between them, along with Sebastian’s inner turmoil, take a backseat when they learn there is a traitor lurking among their expedition team. With Elder Races politics and a priceless library on the line, they’ll have to rely on each other to survive the experience.
Warning: When a librarian who likes to nest meets an owl Wyr who has always lived for adventure, their romance won’t just be fly-by-night.
Olivia Sutton is a librarian as well as a witch. When Olivia’s friend, Grace Andreas, set her up to meet Carling Severan, former leader of the Nightkind, to be part of the expedition to return to the Other land to retrieve Carling’s extensive collection of magical books, Olivia thought she was setting off for the greatest adventure of her life. Going to an Other land and getting a rare view of Carling’s vast collection of mystics books, including ancient Egyptian papyruses, is a dream come true for a witch-librarian.
She couldn’t know that that adventure would include a gorgeous Wyr named Sebastian Hale would was heading up the security team, and who would turn her world upside down in the most incredible way.
Nor did she realize that she would actually be making friends with a oddball Djinn.
But she also couldn’t know that Julian Regillus, the current Nightkind King and Carling’s child, would do everything he could to stop Carling from getting those books.
This will definitely change Olivia’s life, as long as she can survive the adventure.
I really enjoy Thea Harrison’s Elder Races series and this was a great short short which I read in an afternoon. Sadly, it reminded me that I missed the series since catching up with Oracle’s Moon. This story also gives us a quick update with Grace Andreas and the Djinn Khalil from Oracle’s Moon and how their lives have changed since Oracle’s Moon.
Like all series, there are characters and stories that I liked more than some others, and even though it was a very short story, I really enjoyed the characters of Olivia and Sebastian. Olivia was smart and thoughtful, and willing to give an almost childlike, annoying and temperamental Djinn a chance, and Sebastian who quickly sees how special and unique Olivia is and will fight to keep her. The story also highlighted several times how one moment can change everything. i.e.
And the job remained just has he thought it would, mind numbingly routine.
Right up to the moment a human witch–a librarian–appeared in a whirlwind of Power and called a Djinn a dimwit.
Witnessing that little scene was like having a switch thrown in his head. Just like that, after five years of a dangerous, growing ennui, he came back online, sharper and clearer than he had ever been. Engaged again. Interested.
My only problem with this story is the same problem I had with Carling’s story, Serpent’s Kiss, and that is the magical library is underused as a plot point. She has a library filled with magical books, some with light magic and some filled with dark magic which literally call to you to tempt you to come open them and investigate the magic inside, and no one is opening these books. WHAT??? Have someone open the wrong book. Release some dark magic. Cause Chaos. Magical Mayhem. There’s a whole lot of plotline being ignored in the form this magical library.
A quick check shows that Thea Harrison has a new novel due out in November featuring Harpie, Aryal and another novella in December featuring Dragos again. Yay! I want to see the dragon baby again.
Received ARC from netgalley.com, courtesy of the publisher. Thank you.
The protective bubble that Phaedra had drawn around Sebastian’s cabin popped, and a few moments later Bailey pounded twice on the door.
“They’re finally gone,” Bailey called through the barrier. “The fucking fuckers.”
Sebastian raised his voice, the deep timbre vibrating against Olivia’s cheek. “It’s about time. Ill be right out.”
Olivia wasn’t ready to let go of him. The hard length of his body against hers, the feel of his arms around her, all answered some kind of urgent question that she hadn’t even known she was asking. Reluctantly, she lifted her head from Sebastian’s shoulder, and they looked at each other.
Then, moving with deliberation, he cupped the back of her neck, drew her forward and kissed her. When his firm, mobile lips met hers, she felt another much-needed answer. Her lips parted and he dove into her mouth deeply with his tongue, stunning her with the swiftness of his invasion.
Her world whirled in a kaleidoscopic tilt. She hadn’t expected the kiss. She was still amazed that he had confided in her, and that they had embraced.
She hadn’t expected this.
His mouth was set, hard and demanding. Still kissing her, he pushed her back and back, and she complied until she came in contact with the wall. His body covered her. He took her wrists, pinning her arms over her head and shoved one muscled, jean-clad leg between hers. His movements were so aggressive, so surprising, a shaken moan broke out of her. Dear God, he had an erection. The hard length of it pressed against her hip.
He lit her world on fire. Everything burned with incandescent light.
She wanted to touch his hair to find out if it was as soft as it looked. She wanted to touch him. Her fingers opened and closed in fists. The hard shackles of his hands prevented her from touching him the way she needed to. All she could do was squeeze his leg between hers, arch against his body and kiss him back, so she did, while her heart took off on a manic gallop, running as fast as it could straight toward him.
His breath came and went rapidly, his wide chest working like a bellows. He drew back and stared at her, his strange, golden-amber-and-black-gaze fierce. Along with the muscles of his lean body, the lines of his face has sharpened.
The realization crept in that she stared at an entirely dangerous man, and she had no idea what he would do next.
“You could always just lock the door,” she whispered. Goodness, the things that fell out of her mouth on this trip.
His face blazed. Looking utterly barbaric, he ground his hips against hers. It tore a ragged cry out of her, because she had never felt like this before, never. Not with any of her dates or former lovers. Normally she was a calm, considering person, a bit of a nerd if she were to be quite honest, but now a strange, crazed creature had taken over her body.
“Yo!” Bailey pounded on the door again. “The crew’s starting to arrive.”
He bared his teeth. He looked utterly savage. “I said I’m on my way!”
“Take your time,” said Bailey. The other woman sounded extremely cheerful. “Just letting you know.”
He hissed in the direction of the door. “Go the fuck away.”
Olivia had focused her attention on the rapid pulse beating at the base of his strong jaw. She muttered, “Would you mind if I bit you?”
Wait, who just said that?
He released one of her wrists to yank his fingers violently through is speckled hair. “God. Damn. Yes. I mean no, I don’t mind. Yes, you should bite me. As many times as you want.” He thrust a stiffened finger under her nose. “We’re going to continue this very soon. got that, Olivia?”
She nodded drunkenly, staring at the finger. He kissed her again, swiftly and hard, and then with a growl he shoved away from her and the wall and strode out of the cabin.
ORDER A COPY: A Cursed Embrace: A Weird Girls Novel
Publisher: Signet Eclipse
Publishing Date: July 2, 2013
Paperback: 368 pages
Rating: 5 stars
Celia Wird and her three sisters are just like other twenty-something girls—with one tiny exception: They are the products of a curse that backfired and gave each of them unique powers that made them, well, a little weird…
After Celia Wird and her sisters help master vampire Misha save his family, their powers are exposed to the supernatural community of the Lake Tahoe region. But fame comes at a price, and being “weird” isn’t always welcome.
To make matters worse, Celia desires the love of Alpha werewolf Aric, but his pack is bent on destroying their relationship to preserve his pureblood status. And once weres start turning up dead—with evidence pointing to the vampires—she must face the prospect of losing Aric forever. But the chaos only masks a new threat. An evil known as the Tribe has risen—and their sights are set on Celia and her sisters.
In her second book of the Weird Girls series, Cecy Robson takes us on an action packed adventure involving nausea-inducing demons, and a rollercoaster ride of emotions as things between Celia and Aric heat up, yet vampire master, Misha, isn’t going to wait quietly in the wings to see if love blossoms.
Celia and her sisters are humans who were cursed at birth. Celia can shift into a tiger, always ready to protect her younger sisters. Taran harnesses the power of fire. Shayna can turn any metal into a blade and any wood into a weapon. Little sister, Emme, has the ability to heal her sisters, as well as move things with her mind.
As we begin book 2, Celia’s sisters, Shayna and Emme are settling into their new romances with their werewolf boyfriends, while Taran is frustrated with Gemini’s overprotective, but standoffish demeanor. Celia would even welcome a pat on the head from werewolf Alpha Aric, at least she would have a better understanding where she stands with him. As always, Celia knows that vampire Master Misha would welcome more than just a friendly relationship with Celia.
Little did Celia know that the day she had a wereraccoon’s dead body in her living room would be the most normal day for her in long, long time. Someone has unleashed evil into Tahoe and it’s focusing all its attention on the Wird sisters.
When couples start going missing, the weres start investigating only to find the partially eaten corpses of the men. Only they got off easy. What is happening to the women is the stuff out of nightmares. Someone has unleashed a demon from hell who is trying to spawn his own demon army—using the unwilling human women as hosts. Now, spawning with human women does the job, but he has his sights on the enchanted Wird sisters. They would bring an essence of magic to his spawn.
Demons are not known for waiting patiently for what they want. While Celia and her sisters are quite a force together, they are also protected by Aric and his werewolves and Misha and his vampires. But if you wait long enough and cause enough chaos, a clever demon might just get what he’s after.
Wow!! Fighting, sex, magic, werewolves, vampires, maggot-filled demons, cranky old neighbors…this book has it all, and makes damn good use of them all.
It was a little slow in the beginning and I started out feeling a little disappointed since I was so looking forward to Book 2. It was still funny and enjoyable but not all that exciting…oh boy, was I wrong. When she started adding demon spawn, the action took off like a bat out of hell (he,he) and just didn’t stop. Now, the demon raping (not described in detail, thankfully) turns this fun Urban Fantasy series a little gruesome, but there is no doubt that it added some nail-biting excitement every time a demon managed to get too close to a Wird sister.
Add to this a rollercoaster rider of emotions as things between Aric and Celia start heating up. Although the naked monkey sex brings them in the direction that Celia wanted to go, you can tell Aric is holding back and you don’t know why, and you can only worry if he’s going to break Celia’s heart in the end. Throw in a sexy vampire that wants the same girl to stir up the pot, and you’ve got an emotional love triangle worth watching.
I absolutely loved this story and can’t imagine how she’s going to top this with her next book, but I am excited to see what happens next.
Received an ARC courtesy of the author and publisher. Thank you.
Our giveaway winner was Tracy. Congratulations!
Cecy (pronounced Sessy) Robson is an author with Penguin’s SIGNET ECLIPSE. She attributes her passion for story-telling back to the rough New Jersey neighborhood she was raised in. As a child, she was rarely allowed to leave the safety of her house and passed her time fantasizing about flying, fairies, and things that go bump in the night. Gifted and cursed with an overactive imagination, she began writing her Urban Fantasy Romance Series, Weird Girls, in May 2009. THE WEIRD GIRLS: A Novella and SEALED WITH A CURSE are now available. A CURSED EMBRACE, releases July 2, 2013 followed by A CURSED MOON: An eSpecial Novella December 2013, and CURSED BY DESTINY, January 2014.
So many great scenes, so hard to decide…
“Please sit, Celia, so that I may tend to your wounds.”
The redhead spread a blanket on the ground and motioned me to it. I did as Misha asked and positioned myself on the ground, holding tight to my wound. Misha moved my hand with ease and spread my knees apart. Like an idiot, I forgot vampires didn’t use first aid kits. A gush of blood spurted out and splattered against the blanket. Misha didn’t panic. He bent forward and licked the inside of my thigh very slowly. The wound sealed, but he didn’t stop. He continued to lick me in teasing strokes, sending a wave of paralyzing chills up my spine. And call me crazy, but I failed to see how his look of seduction was beneficial to my injury.
“Ah…What?…I…” Words failed me. It took another flick of his tongue to finally jar me out of my shock. I slammed my knees together and quickly scrambled to the edge of the blanket. But I was too late. From nowhere, a snarling wolf appeared at my shoulder.
Aric changed back to human. Misha rose to meet him. They stood nose-to-nose. The scent of Aric’s fury scorched the air around us. Misha remained blissfully calm. After all, he’d just eaten. Challenging growls and hissing surrounded us as Misha’s vampires and Aric’s wolves prepared to attack.
I squeezed between them in an attempt to prevent all-out war. “Aric, stop.” I tried to push him back, yet couldn’t even manage to nudge him. Aric typically out-muscled me, but at the moment he was an impenetrable wall of livid energy. I didn’t want them to fight, and I sure as hell didn’t want anyone to die. So I threw in my only weapon—the weak and helpless card.
“Aric, please, Misha just saved me from a bunch of weres.
”I was coming for you!”
“Yes, but you might have been too late. I was already badly wounded, and the weres had caught up to me. Misha was just trying to help.”
”By trying to seduce you?” Aric’s muscles tensed and shook violently beneath my hands.
My breath sputtered as I released it. “I was bleeding from a deep wound in my thigh. All he did was seal it.” I glanced back at Misha, hoping he’d back up what I was saying. He didn’t. Bastard.
Aric ground his teeth. ”What is he even doing here?”
Misha flashed him one of the wickedest smiles in his arsenal. “Celia was in danger and thought my name. Thus, I responded. And now that I have tasted her blood, our call is that much stronger.”
Great. More bars, in more places. Having a vampire’s digits just got better and better.
Aric went perfectly still. In a way, that was way scarier than the angry, growling, red-faced wolf he’d been seconds before. I swallowed hard. The weak and helpless card clearly wasn’t working, so I tried to reason with him. My hand gently touched his face. “Aric, this is not the time. Something terrible is happening. We were attacked by vampires several months back. Yesterday it was a horde of demon children, and today some strange weres. What’s going to happen tomorrow? Misha isn’t the enemy. We have to figure out who is.”
Misha whipped his head away from Aric to glare at me. “You were attacked by a horde of demon children yesterday? And you did not inform me?”
I threw my hands in the air. Great, now they’re both pissed at me.
ORDER A COPY: Dead Ever After: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel (SSTB)
Publishing Date: May 7, 2013
Paperback: 338 pages
Rating: 1 stars
There are secrets in the town of Bon Temps, ones that threaten those closest to Sookie—and could destroy her heart…
Sookie Stackhouse finds it easy to turn down the request of former barmaid Arlene when she wants her job back at Merlotte’s. After all, Arlene tried to have Sookie killed. But her relationship with Eric Northman is not so clearcut. He and his vampires are keeping their distance…and a cold silence. And when Sookie learns the reason why, she is devastated.
Then a shocking murder rocks Bon Temps, and Sookie is arrested for the crime.
But the evidence against Sookie is weak, and she makes bail. Investigating the killing, she’ll learn that what passes for truth in Bon Temps is only a convenient lie. What passes for justice is more spilled blood. And what passes for love is never enough.
As we say a last goodbye to Sookie Stackhouse, Sookie is still reeling from watching Sam Merlotte die–actually die in front of her. Thankfully Sookie still had the cluviel dor (a fairy magic wish) and she used it to bring Sam back to life.
You would think that saving her friend’s life would make things wonderful for Sookie. But now Eric is unhappy with her because he wanted her to use the dor for his benefit to get him out of the arranged marriage to the Queen of Oklahoma. Eric then summons Sookie to Fangtasia to divorce her and release her from their vampire binding.
And if that is not enough to leave Sookie an emotional wreck, Sam has been acting very odd toward Sookie since he returned from the dead. You’d think he’s at least say thanks.
As if her friends acting odd wouldn’t be bad enough, Sookie has accumulated quite a few enemies over the last few years. Amelia’s father, Copley Carmichael sells his soul to a devil (no, not the devil) so that he can have Sookie’s cluviel dor, only to learn that Sookie has already used the dor and now he has sold his soul for nothing, and he plans on taking out his anger on Sookie.
There are another two men who have returned from Sookie’s past who have plans to ruin Sookie’s life as well and their first move is to have Arlene Fowler released from prison. Arlene, who had previously been arrested for her part in setting up Sookie to be crucified by her racist friends. Arlene is just happy to be released, and she doesn’t know that she is being set up as a pawn in a game to frame Sookie for Arlene’s murder.
When Sookie is arrested, she finds out who her true friends are when they rally around her and help her to find the real culprits.
In what should be an epic conclusion to a popular series which has been turned into a TV show to make it an even more popular series, you would think Charlaine Harris would go out with a bang as explosive as the 4th of July. This book fizzled more like a cheap, wet sparkler.
Although I had given up on this series and didn’t read the last two books, I had no problem keeping up with the happenings of this story. There is a guest appearance from almost every character that has ever shown up in this series, except for Bubba (f/k/a Elvis). Bubba seemed to have been written out of the series about halfway through which was sad, because I liked him. He was always there to help out Sookie or protect her if needed. Even Quinn, the pathetic weretiger, showed up to help out and support Sookie, and just as quickly disappeared again.
I started out enjoying this series, and then quickly became bored with the characters and storylines. I got disgusted with Sookie after the fairy fight where Bill said he would gladly die to protect her and when she looked at her love, Eric, he was “Mmmm, not so much.” Then in the next book, the witch Amelia indicated that Sookie might just be with Eric because of the blood bond, and maybe they could see about breaking it before Sookie changed to a vampire, and Sookie’s concern about that was “Meh.” Then I was thinking “meh” about the whole series.
I don’t know that I have read such a boring, tedious finale to a series ever. If you haven’t purchased your copy, save yourself the time and the money and don’t. If you weren’t planning on it, you are that much smarter than I. I purchased an audiobook copy and wasted almost 11 hours and several days listening to this torture.
Good-bye Sookie. I don’t think anyone is going to miss you.
I can’t say that I had a favorite scene, but just as an example of the excitement presented in this story…Here’s Sookie inventorying her nightstand.
No one at all was at my house when I unlocked the back door. That was strange, since it had been such a beehive that morning. Moved by an impulse, I went into my bedroom and perched on the side of the bed, close to my bedside table. Thanks to my compulsory cleaning during my three days off, neatly located in the top drawer were all the things I might need at a moment’s notice during the night: a flashlight, Kleenex, ChapStick, Tylenol, three condoms Queen had left when we’d dated, a list of emergency phone numbers, a cell phone charger, and old tin box (full of pins, needles, buttons, and paper clips), some pens, a notepad…the usual mixture of handy items.
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publishing Date: May 28, 2013
Paperback: 352 pages
Rating: 4 Stars
After being brought back from death, police officer Jackson Waverly receives the shock of his life: he has become host to a Bodywalker, a spirit that is reborn in flesh and blood, and part of a proud, ancient race that uses its extraordinary gifts to battle dark, evil forces. Jackson’s spirit is a powerful one—none other than the Egyptian pharaoh Menes, who longs to reunite with his eternal love, the Egyptian queen Hatshepsut.
While Menes is obsessed with finding the perfect vessel for his queen, Jackson cannot stop thinking about Dr. Marissa Anderson, the gorgeous precinct shrink who keeps pushing him to confront his grief over the loss of his K-9 partner. But what Marissa really arouses most in Jackson is intense desire, which is exactly what Menes is looking for. To fight a great enemy, pharaoh and queen must join; but to host Hatshepsut, Marissa will first have to die. Fate has given Jackson a profound choice: save Marissa from Menes’ plan or keep an entire species from the brink of extinction.
Jacquelyn Frank’s newest World of Nightwalker’s novel, Forever, once again introduces us to Bodywalkers. When the ancient Egyptians were worshiping their Gods and practicing their art of preparing the dead for life eternal in the afterworld, they did not realize that this grab for eternal life would anger the God Ra, and as a punishment, they would be eternally barred from heaven and their mummified bodies would tether them to the mortal world. Every time they die, they are returned to the Ether, a type of limbo, where they would wait until they were strong enough to Bodywalk again.
At that moment between life and death, the Bodywalkers could intercept a soul and offer that person a chance to live but in return they would need to share their body with the soul of a Bodywalker. Once taking a Bodywalker into their body, their lives would change dramatically including an ability to heal and an almost immortal existence. But the Sun God has not only denied them heaven, he has denied them the ability to walk in the sun, making them forever Nightwalkers.
When Officer Jackson Waverly was killed trying to defend his sister from the rival nightwalkers, the Templers, he was given an opportunity to return to the living and become a host for a Bodywalker. He was made that offer by not just any Bodywalker, the Pharaoh Menes, King of the Politic. Menes believes Jackson’s strength, his morality and his desire to protect people will make him the perfect host body and Jackson’s spirit will Blend well with the Menes’s and together they will fight against the Templers who are causing this civil war between the Bodywalkers.
Pharoah Menes has two great desires, to save his people and to return his soul mate, his Queen, to the earth and together they will lead their people with the same love and passion they hold for each other. What better choice of a host to return his beloved Queen, Hatshepsut, but Dr. Marisa Anderson, the police psychologist and red-headed, vixen who has been the center of Jackson’s fantasies for the last two years. Menes believes her kindness and her spirit would be a perfect blend for his Queen, and the fact that she causes Jackson’s body to react with an instant flood of lust every time he sees her, leaves him with no doubt that no other woman would do. He has to have Marissa for his Queen’s host.
Menes is aware that although Marissa keeps herself held back, hiding behind the excuse of doctor/patient ethics, her desire for Jackson is just as strong. Menes just has to convince Marissa that sharing her body with Queen Hatshepsut would bring them all a lifetime of joy. There is just one little hitch to the plan, in order to bring Hatshepsut back from mist, Marissa has to die.
Together Jackson and Menes must convince Marissa that the risk will bring them all a lifetime of passion, because now they don’t want anyone but her, and this is one fight they intend to win.
Now that I have been doing reviews for almost two years now, I have come to the conclusion that I am not a fan of the stories that involve reincarnation and/or body sharing. There are exceptions to ever rule and this was definitely one of them.
The premise of these Bodywalkers is that you are sharing a body with the soul of the Bodywalker. In Book 1, Forever, I never got a real feeling of sharing. Our hero in that book was Ram (or Ramses) who was the bodywalker and there was only interaction between the heroine and the host when a spell rendered Ram incapacitated inside his body. The heroine has still blending with the bodywalker and the bodywalker was still recovering, so it was all the host heroine talking. But overall I was left with a feeling that they just gave up their body to the bodywalker and was forced to be an observer in their own body. I was very on the fence with Book 1 whether or not to continue with the series, but I was interested in the set up for Book 2.
In Book 2, there was definitely a blending of Menes and Jackson and even within a paragraph when they were talking with Marissa, you could pick out what Jackson was saying to her and what Menes was saying to her. They were definitely working in conjunction, especially with trying to seduce Marissa, so I enjoyed this story a lot more than Book 2 since I wasn’t left with the feeling that Jackson was taken over. He was in control just as much as Menes.
There was a big set up with an evil entity who was going to try and take over the world, but when we still have to introduce all of the other Nightwalkers and then come together with the other series of Nightwalkers to fight the big evil. It is a big commitment that I am not sure I want to make to this series.
I’m still not sure if I am going to continue with this series, but this book was a good story.
Received an ARC from netgalley.com courtesy of the publisher. Thank you.
Menes looked at her in surprise, suddenly realizing how much he had confided in her. He had not wanted to mention Hatshepsut to her just yet, to lead her to believe that Jackson was unattainable because he was destined for another. It was bad enough that Jackson was struggling with his conscience on that one.
But perhaps it would be for the better, he mused thoughtfully.
“Yes. My queen. She is in the Ether, awaiting rebirth. She and I…there is nothing to compare it with, Marissa. Humans use the term ‘soul mate’ in order to try to make others understand the depth of feeling they harbor toward an individual that they love beyond all measure. But soul mate, in the case of my queen and myself, is woefully inadequate. And perhaps a little…inaccurate, since we are already mated with another soul when we exist in the flesh.
“In truth there is nothing capable of expressing what lies between me and my queen. She is beyond perfection in my eyes. She is that which holds all of the molecules of my physical self together. She is the only thing that can comfort my turbulent, enduring spirit when it begins to feel it has walked the world much too long.” He drew breath, the delicious smell of Marissa provoking memories of her taste onto his tongue. His body tightened with excitement as he filled his physical sense with her and thought of his queen. His appreciation for Marissa was growing rapidly beyond just the physical. She was complex and delightful, always surprising him with how she wanted to project herself on one hand, and what ran deep and true inside of her on the other.
“You mean…you mean you’re waiting for her?” he watched the light dawn in her eyes and had to work hard to suppress a smile at her sudden and glorious fury. “Of all the low-down dirty-dog things to do!” she erupted. “You have a woman waiting for you in those mists”—she waved a hand up toward the ceiling with an agitated flick of her wrist—“all alone up there and, by your account, in a state of grief and loneliness, and you’re down here getting all handsy with me?”
“Yes, indeed, that does make me something of a scoundrel, wouldn’t you say?” he said, not knowing why he was taking so much delight in her reaction. Perhaps it was because she was so indignant, so beautifully strong that the entire room practically resonated with her outrage. She was, he realized, a champion. She chose a side, most likely an underdog or someone who had somehow been wronged or victimized, and she became their protection…their armor…and with no regard for the damage she might suffer because of it. She was a glittering, impenetrable essence that repelled all enemies with all that she was, and would not abandon what she protected unless she was ripped away by force.
Oh yes. She was glorious.
And she was perfect.
A perfect queen and a perfect mate.
ORDER A COPY: A Witch’s Handbook of Kisses and Curses
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publishing Date: May 28, 2013
Paperback: 368 pages
Rating: 5 stars
Nola Leary would have been content to stay in Kilcairy, Ireland, healing villagers at her family’s clinic with a mix of magic and modern medicine. But a series of ill-timed omens and a deathbed promise to her grandmother have sent her on a quest to Half-Moon Hollow, Kentucky, to secure her family’s magical potency for the next generation. Her supernatural task? To unearth four artifacts hidden by her grandfather before a rival magical family beats her to it.
Complication One: The artifacts are lost somewhere in vampire Jane Jameson’s occult bookshop. Complication Two: Her new neighbor Jed Trudeau keeps turning up half-naked at the strangest times, a distraction Nola doesn’t need. And teaming up with a real-life Adonis is as dangerous as it sounds, especially since Jed’s got the face of an angel and the abs of a washboard. Can Nola complete her mission before falling completely under his spell?
Nola Leary has traveled all the way from the small Village of Kilcairy, Ireland to the small Town of Half Moon Hollow, KY, to find Gilbert Wainwright. On her deathbed, Nola’s grandmother, Nana Fee, confessed that as a young woman she had a passionate affair Gilbert Wainwright while he was searching for weredeer, which culminated in the birth of Nola’s mother. Not only that, but Fiona also gave over the family’s mystical treasures to Mr. Wainwright for safe keeping.
You see, Nola is a witch and centuries ago, Nola’s family used these objects to bind the Kerrigan Family from using their powers for harm. But as all mystical bindings go, the binding must be refreshed every 100 years on the night of the summer solstice. If the Kerrigan Family finds the objects first, they can use these Elements to bind Nola’s family powers for the next 100 years.
Now Nola is standing outside of the now deceased Gilbert Wainwright’s store, Specialty Books, hoping and praying that Mr. Wainwright hasn’t sold off her family’s treasures, where she meets the new proprietor, Jane Jameson-Nightingale, who isn’t ready to trust another previously unknown relative of Mr. Wainwright who shows up at her door.
With the help of Jane, Andrea and Dick Chaney, they will search the black hole known as Mr. Wainwright stock room to try and find the four rather unremarkable objects in time to bind the Kerrigans before they are freed to wreak magical revenge on Nola’s family.
It is always so much fun to return to Half Moon Hollow. To quote Jeb, “It’s a bit like the mafia, only with snarky insults instead of cement shoes.” I love the interaction between all the characters in this series. Molly Harper adds a lot of fun into her writing.
There is a love interest here in the form of contractor, Jed Trudeau who is sharing the two-family house with Nola, and it is fun and flirty, but there is a lot more interaction between Nola and Jane and the gang rather than Jed. So in the end the romance is just a bonus to the main story of finding the magic objects in Jane’s store.
Received an ARC from abovethetreeline.com, courtesy of the publisher. Thank you.
“It’s like the magical Hatfields and McCoys,” Andrea marveled.
“You’re not entirely wrong,” I admitted. “We lost people on both sides, to violence and curses. About three hundred years ago, the two matriarchs of the families met and agreed that matters had gone far enough. They selected four objects representing each of the elements and blessed them with magic from both sides. These objects, which they called the Elements, were scattered to the winds, given to strangers, sold to tinkers, that sort of thing. The matriarchs agreed that the family that found all four objects first would be able to bind the other branch.”
“Like magical Pokémon?” Andrea asked.
“If I wasn’t under an enormous amount of stress, I would find that funny,” I assured her. “The potential of losing our magic was a considerable risk, a risk I can only imagine was inspired by desperation. It took decades, but we rounded up the Elements first and bound the Kerrigans from doing magical harm. For the most part, they’re no more powerful than the average disenfranchised teenage who has seen The Craft once too often. The most they’re able to pull off is a stirring of air, which, honestly, could be done with a strategically place fan, so it’s not terribly impressive. But every one hundred years, on the night of the summer solstice, the binding has to be repeated by the family’s strongest witch. This leaves a small window of time in which the Kerrigans have a chance to obtain the objects and undo the binding, reversing it onto my family. They tried it once in the early 1900s, and my Nana Fee’s great-grandmother laid down a witchcraft bitch-slapping of epic proportions. I also hear there was a mighty nonmagical slap involved. And now it’s my generation’s turn, and by some bizarre accident of birth, the so-called strongest witch in my family happens to be sitting here in front of you.”
A Cheshire cat’s smile split Jane’s face. Andrea held up her hand and said, “No!”
“You don’t even know what I was going to ask!” Jane huffed.
“Whatever juvenile, ill-conceived test of her abilities you were about to demand could only end in tears.”
I stared at both of them. These were the people Mr. Wainwright had entrusted with his shop? They were the ones who were supposed to help me track down the Elements?
I was doomed.
“Sorry, Nola, you were saying?” Andrea asked, pouring me another cup of coffee.
“Under normal circumstances, the binding wouldn’t be a problem,” I said. “It’s just a minor incantation spoken over the artifacts. Around the time Mr. Wainwright visited all those years ago, Nana got rather worried about an increase in Kerrigan-related violence. She saw that he was trustworthy, that he was devoted to the pursuit of knowledge. So she took the objects out of the family vault and entrusted them to his care. She thought they would be safer with him.”
Both women winced, the corners of their mouths drawing back sharply. Jane said, “She probably should have rethought that. I don’t want to alarm you, but when I first got here, the shop looked like an episode of Extreme Hoarders: Book Edition.”
Now for all of you holdouts, the waiting is over.
Shadow of Night is now available in paperback.
The generous people at Viking have offered us a special giveaway to celebrate the paperback release. You will receive a paperback copy of Shadow of Night along with a set of the buttons associated with the story! Just leave your name in the comment section to be entered. Giveaway open to U.S. residents, 18 years and older please! Giveaway ends Monday, June 3rd.
Click here for a Q&A session with Deborah Harkness about her All Souls Trilogy. I wish I could say I had the pleasure of interviewing her, but this is just a reposting.
OUR ORIGINAL REVIEW OF SHADOW OF NIGHT
ORDER A COPY: Shadow of Night: A Novel
Publisher: Viking Books
Publishing Date: July 10, 2012
Paperback: 592 pages
Rating: 5 Stars
Deborah Harkness exploded onto the literary scene with her debut novel, A Discovery of Witches, Book One of the magical All Souls Trilogy and an international publishing phenomenon. The novel introduced Diana Bishop, Oxford scholar and reluctant witch, and the handsome geneticist and vampire Matthew Clairmont; together they found themselves at the center of a supernatural battle over an enchanted manuscript known as Ashmole 782.
Now, picking up from A Discovery of Witches’ cliffhanger ending, Shadow of Night plunges Diana and Matthew into Elizabethan London, a world of spies, subterfuge, and a coterie of Matthew’s old friends, the mysterious School of Night that includes Christopher Marlowe and Walter Raleigh. Here, Diana must locate a witch to tutor her in magic, Matthew is forced to confront a past he thought he had put to rest, and the mystery of Ashmole 782 deepens.
In the first book of the All Soul’s Trilogy, A Discovery of Witches, Deborah Harkess introduces us to Diane Bishop, historian and witch, Matthew Clairmont, scientist and vampire, and the mysterious, bespelled manuscript known as Ashmole 782 which Diana accidentally calls from the library archives. In this first novel, we watched the romance grow between Diana and Matthew, a romance which is forbidden by a centuries-old covenant; and we saw the growing contingent of creatures, including demons, vampires and witches, who will work together, if necessary, for force Diana to reclaim the manuscript from the archives. As the danger to Diana grows, Matthew and Diana devise a plan to thwart those who want to use Ashmole 782 for darker purposes.
Shadow of Night is the exhilarating continuation of the All Souls trilogy, and we follow Matthew and Diana in their endeavor to discover the secrets of Ashmole 782. Their plan is simple: Timewalk back to 1591; find Ashmole 782 before it becomes bespelled; and find Diana a tutor to help her control her magic. In and out. No problems. Hmmm. Sadly, Matthew and Diana have laid out the plans to achieve their goals without working out the small details of time travel.
Matthew, being a 1,500 year old vampire, is welcomed back by his friends at the Old Lodge and quickly acclimates to his past life, but our modern day heroine sticks out like the only warmblood at the a vampire ball. It is not just her modern day feminist views, or being an educated woman or speaking her mind. Everything about Diana stands out and screams, “I’m not from around here,” from her mannerisms to her accent and speech patterns. She will need more than just new clothes in order to move around Elizabethan England.
More importantly, the dangers to Matthew and Diana don’t decrease by leaving their own time period but simply, the names of their enemies change. Their relationship is no more acceptable in 1591 as it was in 2010. The covenant still exists against the fraternizing of creatures and a vampire and witch going about Town together draws unwanted eyes. With every creature in 1591 London whispering about the strange witch with Matthew de Clarmont, it won’t be long before the Congregation locates them. It is not just the Congregation that will be seeking them out, the witches have felt the arrival of the latent power that Diana holds within her, and the vampires and demons are watching too. Matthew and Diana are quickly accumulating some powerful enemies in the past.
They have also miscalculated the fact that in 1591 witch trials in Scotland are increasing and with more and more witches being persecuted and burned at the stake, the witches throughout Europe are increasingly fearful of openly discussing their magic and are not only weary of Diana who is a stranger with powerful magic, but of Matthew, who is a dangerous and powerful vampire in this time period. It quickly becomes clear to them that their plan to find a witch to help teach Diana to control her magic will not be so simple a feat to accomplish.
Finally, it is not just those outside of their lives that a cause for concern. When you are a 1,500 year old vampire, there are many secrets that you believe you have left buried in the past and taking a trip to that past brings them all to life for your new wife.
What an incredible continuation of the story! We meet some interesting new characters (both heroes and villains) in this story, most of whom we will need to leave behind in the past (but not all!). But it does make me realize I might not be so interested in a brooding, sexy vampire boyfriend full of centuries of secrets after all, although we do come to understand Matthew a lot better, including his brooding and what’s behind his apparent mood-swings. Matthew and Diana do work through their issues and form a true and strong bond by the end of the story.
If you haven’t read A Discovery of Witches, I don’t recommend you try and jump in here. But don’t be intimidated by the almost 600 pages. It was a quick read and such an intriguing story that you will catch up quickly.
By the way Ms. Harkness, the people over at Viking said it was okay for you to call me to talk about your outline for the final novel. Really!! I swear!! They said, “Of course, we have no problem with her telling you what’s going to happen next.” …or something like that. It might have been “No way in Hell!”, but you know how cell phones break up. So we’ll just go with they’re okay with it. So if you could just let me know what’s gonna happen–or Hey, let’s just save you some time, I know you are busy, you know you can just shoot me an e-mail with a rough draft of the next book. That would be fine. I don’t think they’d have a problem with that. I’m sure of it. (BOO!!!! I HATE WAITING!!)
Received ARC from Viking Books. Thank you.
See our review of A Discovery of Witches
“It’s not easy for vampires to live among warmbloods, Diana. Without an emotional bond, warmbloods are nothing more than a source of nourishment. No vampire, however civilized and well mannered, can remain in close proximity to one without feeling the urge to feed on them.” His breath was cool against my neck, tickling the sensitive spot where Miriam had used her blood to heal the wound Matthew had made there.
“You don’t seem to want to feed on me.” There had been no indication that Matthew wrestled with such an urge, and he had flatly refused his father’s suggestions that he take my blood.
“I can manage my cravings far better than when we first met. Now my desire for your blood is not so much about nourishment as control. To feed from you would primarily be an assertion of dominance now that we’re mated.”
“And we have sex for that,” I said matter-of-factly. Matthew was a generous and creative lover, but he definitely considered the bedroom his domain.
“Excuse me?” he said, his eyebrows drawn in a scowl.
“Sex and dominance. It’s what modern humans think vampire relationships are all about,” I said. “Their stories are full of crazed alpha-male vampires throwing women over their shoulders before dragging them off for dinner and a date.”
“Dinner and a date?” Matthew was aghast. “Do you mean…?”
“Uh-huh. You should see what Sarah’s friends in the Madison coven read. Vampire meets girl, girl is shocked to find out there really are vampires. The sex, blood, and overprotective behavior all come quickly thereafter. Some of it is pretty explicit.” I paused. “There’s no time for bundling, that’s for sure. I don’t remember much poetry or dancing either.”
Matthew swore. “No wonder your aunt wanted to know if I was hungry.”
“You really should read this stuff, if only to see what humans think. It’s a public-relations nightmare. Far worse than what witches have to overcome.” I turned around to face him. “You’d be surprised how many women seem to want a vampire boyfriend anyway, though.”
“What if their vampire boyfriends were to behave like callous bastards in the street and threaten starving orphans?”
“Most fictional vampires have hearts of gold, barring the occasional jealous rage and consequent dismemberment.” I smoothed the hair away from his eyes.
“I can’t believe we’re having this conversation,” Matthew said.
“Why? Vampires read books about witches. The fact that Kit’s Doctor Fautus is pure fantasy doesn’t stop you from enjoying a good supernatural yarn.”
“Yes, but all that manhandling and then making love…” Matthew shook his head.
“You’ve manhandled me, as you so charmingly put it. I seem to recall being hoisted into your arms at Sept-Tours on more than one occasion,” I pointed out.
“Only when you were injured!” Matthew said indignantly. “Or tired.”
“Or when you wanted me in one spot and I was in another. Or when the horse was too tall, or the bed was too high, or the seas were too rough. Honestly, Matthew. You have a selective memory when it suits you. As for making love, it’s not always the tender act that you describe. Not in the books I’ve seen. Sometimes it’s just a good, hard—”
Before I could finish my sentence, a tall, handsome vampire flung me over his shoulder.
“We will continue this conversation in private.”
“Help! I think my husband is a vampire!” I laughed and pounded on the backs of his thighs.
“Be quiet,” he growled. “Or you’ll have Mistress Hawley to contend with.”
“If I were a human woman and not a witch, that growly sound you just made would make me swoon. I’d be all yours, and you could have your way with me.” I giggled.
“You’re already all mine,” Matthew reminded me, depositing me on the bed. “I’m changing this ridiculous plot, by the way. In the interests of originality—not to mention verisimilitude—we’re skipping dinner and moving right on to the date.”
ORDER A COPY: Winterblaze (Darkest London)
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publishing Date: February 26, 2013
Paperback: 400 pages
Rating: 5 star
Poppy Lane is keeping secrets. Her powerful gift has earned her membership in the Society for the Suppression of Supernaturals, but she must keep both her ability and her alliance with the Society from her husband, Winston. Yet when Winston is brutally attacked by a werewolf, Poppy’s secrets are revealed, leaving Winston’s trust in her as broken as his body. Now Poppy will do anything to win back his affections.
Winston Lane soon regains his physical strength but his face and heart still bear the scars of the vicious attack. Drawn into the darkest depths of London, Winston must fight an evil demon that wants to take away the last hope of reconciliation with his wife. As a former police inspector, Winston has intelligence and logic on his side. But it will take the strength of Poppy’s love for him to defeat the forces that threaten to tear them apart.
In the third installment of the Darkest London series, Poppy Lane, also known in the supernatural world as “Mother”, finds herself alone. Her husband Winston has left her after 14 years of marriage after his nearly deadly attack by a werewolf. As a Police Inspector, Winston faces liars every day. He can’t stand liars and he is devastated that his Poppy has been the biggest liar of all. She has hidden the supernatural world from Winston, right under his nose—hidden her true self from him, and it is more than he can bear.
When a deadly demon is freed from his hellish prison, sent there by Poppy herself, he has sworn to pay back Poppy by destroying “her heart.” So whether Winston wants her or not, Poppy will be there to protect Winston from the evil which his coming for him.
But unbeknown to all, Winston is hiding the worst secret of all. A lie so great it could prove their whole lives as a lie.
Now they will have to play the demon’s game in order to fight for their very lives.
It is undeniable that passion still flare between Winston and Poppy, but can they both look past the lies and betrayals and rebuild the lives they once had full of undying love and mutual respect.
When I first read Firelight (which I loved), I wasn’t at all interested in Poppy and Winston. After Moonglow (which I didn’t like as much), they suddenly had my full attention. I was a lot more interested in Poppy and Winston and wanted to see if they could repair their shattered marriage.
Since this story mostly involved the fact that Winston and Poppy were separated and had an emotional wedge between them, I liked how we kept jumping between the present and the past so we could see how Winston and Poppy met, how they overcame their differences in station so that they could get married, and how much they wanted to be with each other before things went so wrong.
I was disappointed, as I usually am, that our hero and heroine both wanted to get past this chasm in their relationship, that they both missed each other and that they both loved and desired the other, BUT when it came to putting themselves out there and possibly to be hurt again, neither one of these brave, strong people were willing to be the one to take that step. My little brain keeps going, “You’re facing evil that wants to hurt you. You might die shortly, but you can’t tell the person you love the most in the world that you love them and miss them in what could be the last hours before you might die? Really? What are you waiting for the regretting part as you lay dying?” Stupid characters.
I also liked the fact that our secondary characters weren’t content to stay in the background as secondary characters are supposed to do, part of that is the set up for the next story. I am excited to say that there will be more stories now that we have finished with the tales of the Ellis sisters.
I am looking forward to seeing where we go next.
Received an ARC from netgalley.com courtesy of the publisher. Thank you.
“You do not think it romantic that her love for Hamlet was so great that she fell into unending despair when he left?” he asked.
Sharp red brows snapped together, and he wanted to kiss the little furrow between them. His hand curled into a fist as she, oblivious to his lust, proceeded to lecture him. “Romantic? Bah. Such a man’s idea of how a woman ought to love. By all means, let us poor, emotionally weak females fall into utter helplessness for the want of a man. Especially a man who couldn’t be bothered to treat her with any sort of—“
He kissed her. Because he couldn’t stop himself and didn’t have to. Her lips were soft, her tongue tart and slick and he slid an arm about her slim waist and suckled her lower lip before breaking away. “You’ll soon have me in despair,” he whispered, smiling against her mouth, “if you don’t believe in all-consuming love.”
Her arm snaked around his neck, her cool fingers slipping into his hair to toy with it. Had he the ability to purr, he would.
“That isn’t love,” she said.
He nuzzled closer, brushing his mouth against hers. “Kiss me again.”
“We are in public.” But she sipped at his upper lip as though she liked the taste of it.
Winston chuckled and reluctantly stepped back a pace. His gaze landed again on the storefront window beside them, and he looked back at a wonderfully flushed and mussed Poppy. “Do you realize you take us past this empty shop with every walk we take?”
Her cheeks darkened more. “Do I?” She moved to go, but he blocked her way with his shoulder.
“Yes.” He nudged her chin with his knuckle. “And you won’t get me to believe it’s by chance, either. Confess, Boadicea. Why this shop?”
Standing straight and smoothing her hair back into place, she attempted to look past him, her sweet lips pressed into an annoyed line. But then a noise of defeat sounded in her throat, and she glanced at the shop before meeting his eyes. “I want to let it.”
When his brows rose in surprise, she pushed on. “It is a book shop. Or was.” Her nose wrinkled as she made herself speak. “I would like to see it reopened. I—I have always wanted…It is a silly dream, I know.”
Her words cut into him. He hadn’t expected her to have dreams. Why? Why hadn’t he thought of her wants? It shamed him that he’d been so oblivious. Putting a staying hand around her waist when she squirmed to get away, he looked over her shoulder and studied the shop. “Have you any experience in running a book shop?”
Poppy’s expression closed. Tension tightened the muscles along her back. But she did not drop her gaze from his. “No.”
He looked into her dark eyes, his hand firm upon her. “Then you shall learn.”
She flinched. “What?”
He smiled then, tucking a stray lock of fire-bright hair behind her ear. “We have need of funds and a place to live. There is a flat attached to the shop, I see. You want this shop. So you will have it.”
Her breath left in a gust. “Win..How can you…” She drew herself up. “What if I fail?”
Slowly he shook his head. “My love, I have no doubt that if running a bookstore is what you want to do, then you will do it. And do it well. You are too strong-willed to fail at anything.”
She gaped at him, and he cupped her cheek. “I believe in you, Pop. I always will.”