Category Archives: Paranormal
ORDER A COPY: Peanut Goes to School: A Short Story of the Elder Races
Publisher: Self Published
Publishing Date: June 30, 2014
eBook: 49 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Dragos Cuelebre is no longer the only dragon.
Dragos’s son Liam Cuelebre (a.k.a. Peanut) is springing into existence, reminiscent of the first of the Elder Races who were born at the beginning of the world. At just six months of age, he has already grown to the size of a large five-year-old boy. He can read, write in complete sentences, and his math skills are off the chart.
A white dragon in his Wyr form, Liam also holds more Power than almost anyone else. In an effort to give him a taste of normality, no matter how fleeting, his parents Pia and Dragos enroll him in first grade.
They hope school will help teach Liam how to relate to others, a vital skill that will help him control his growing Power. But school has a surprising number of pitfalls, and relating to others can be a tricky business.
When a classmate is threatened, Liam must quickly learn self-control, how to rein in his instincts, and govern his temper, because there’s no doubt about it—he is fast becoming one of the most dangerous creatures in all of the Elder Races.
Peanut, or Liam as we should call him since his is growing up so quickly, is becoming one of my favorite characters in this or just about any series.
Liam is the only a few months old, but as the first dragon since Dragos was created at the beginning of creation, no one is certain what to expect as far as powers or his unusual growth. He seems to have a blend of his parents personalities and abilities, but he keep surprising us all with new abilities of his very own. He even managed to sneak up on his Dad without his father sensing him, which his quite the feat.
On his first day of school, he is picked on by a few of the older boys as well as his teacher. He handles both instances with just the right mixture of intelligent thought, bravery and a little intimidation of his own. I am sure he will shine as a future leader in this series.
I can’t wait to see what else Liam’s unusual character will bring to the series as far as his adventures and his abilities. I just hope he doesn’t grow up too fast. I am not sure how I would feel about him growing up and getting his own love story when he is only, say two calendar years old.
Received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.
The tricky thing about using a cloaking spell is that cloaking spells are tricky.
Liam snickered to himself as he tiptoed around the patio furniture and changed into his dragon form. His dragon had grown to the size of an adult lion, and he had to be careful not to knock over furniture as he shapeshifted.
He also managed to hold on to his cloaking spell, which was a bit fat win. Dad had said Liam’s cloaking ability was one of the best he’d ever seen, although it was difficult to stay hidden while changing forms.
But since his dad could do it, Liam felt he would be able to it also. Eventually. Sometimes. If he kept practicing, pretty soon he should be able to stay cloaked all the time if he needed to.
Liam was playing his favorite game, Spy Wyr, which he had totally made up himself. When he grew up, he was going to be a secret sentinal. Uncle Graydon would send him out on missions, and when he returned after saving somebody, or maybe even after saving everybody, Mom and Dad would be really proud of him.
Of course, because it was undercover, Dad would have to give him medals in secret. Sometimes they might be silver or bronze ones, or when he did something amazing, they might be gold. Or maybe when he did something really outstanding, Dad would give him a sparkly medal with diamonds on it. Then Liam would have to find a super-secret place to hide them.
His dragon side like the sound of that. It made him feel growly and fine.
By day, Liam would be, oh, maybe a basketball player. Basketball players traveled a lot, so it would be a good cover, and besides it would be fun to play ball all the time, so that would be big fat win.
Hi, my name if Cuelebre, Liam Cuelebre. My code name is Double Oh Peanut, but you can call me Rock Star for short.
ORDER A COPY: Predatory
Publisher: Zebra Books
Publishing Date: May 7, 2013
Paperback: 384 pages
Rating: See each story
Four of today’s most exciting paranormal authors take readers into the thrilling realm of vampires, immortals, and other supernatural beings with a thirst for illicit desire…
Out Of Control by Alexandra Ivy
Ph.D student Angela Locke has a crush on her sexy professor, Dr. Nikolo Bartrev. When she learns he’s actually a Sentinel with extraordinary powers, she joins forces with him to catch a psychopath. But soon, their hottest pursuit is of each other…
Ties That Bind by Nina Bangs
Cassie Tyler agrees to sub for her friend at the funeral home where she works. But she gets more than she bargained for when a group of men attack her and a vampire comes to her rescue. . .
In Still Darkness by Dianne Duvall
Immortal Richart d’Alençon can’t forget the woman who rewarded him with a sensuous kiss after he saved her from a trio of vampires. While Richart knows that loving a human can only bring trouble, the taste of forbidden lust is too great to resist. . .
High Stakes by Hannah Jayne
When vampire fashionista Nina LaShay’s design contest rival is found dead, she’s the prime suspect. Sexy photographer Pike is number two. He’s the kind of man who makes Nina salivate. But will she have to reveal herself to have him–and to save them both? Or does Pike have a secret of his own?
Out of Control by Alexandra Ivy
Angela Locke is just weeks away from finishing her PhD when visiting Professor Hottie…umm, Dr. Niko Bartrev comes to the college and for the first time ever, the only biology Angela can keep her mind on is the kind involving a naked Niko. Niko isn’t really a professor at the college to monitor Angela’s class. He’s actually a Sentinel on the trail of an escaped high-blood who wants the knowledge in Angela’s brain to change her advance DNA and make her a normal human. Niko fears that when Angela learns of his deception, even if it was for her own good, he might have lost his chance with her forever.
This short story is supposed to be the introduction to the new Sentinel series. Although there is a basic explanation of the Sentinels, who are guardians, and the high-bloods, who are mutants (some dangerous/some not), this story was really too short to build to any real understanding and interest in the new series. I would definitely have to hold off judgment of the Sentinels until after Book #1.
Rating: 3 stars – Being an Alexandra Ivy fan I will check out the next Sentinel book, but this short didn’t do anything to really draw me to the series.
Ties That Bind by Nina Bangs
Cassie thought she was just going to help out her friend for a few hours answering phones while Felicity had an “emergency.” The problem is Cassie is at the wrong place/wrong time and some men show up to remove her from the job permanently. When she ends up killing one of them in self-defense, she releases the vampire they had captured and now he has taken Cassie under his wing for her own protection, but how can she be safer in the arms of a hot, sexy vampire?
Nina Bangs in one of those authors on my I want to read list, where I hope that someone offers me a review copy and give me an excuse to pop her on my TBR list. This story was just ok. There are some things that I don’t understand why she wrote them in, but again, I haven’t read anything of hers yet so I don’t know what’s part of her series and why she added them.
Rating: 3 stars – This story should have intrigued me enough to grab Book #1 of the series, but the characters just didn’t interest me.
In Still Darkness by Dianne Duvall
Richart d’Alençon has been an Immortal Guardian for about 240 years now but the night he saves Jenna McBride from a group of vampires, is the night that truly changes his life. Guardians are not supposed to date humans, but he is so drawn to the lively Jenna that he can’t think about anything else but seeing her again. He wants to take the relationship further, but not until he can confess the truth to her. When Richart is wounded and drugged by an unknown enemy, he teleports directly to Jenna’s living room, carrying swords and covered in blood, just before passing out. Maybe she won’t notice anything weird about that? Uh, oh. If he survives the night, he’ll be in so much trouble.
I like the Immortal Guardians series, and we got to know Richart a little more in the last book, Phantom Shadows, where we see him sneaking phone calls to his human girlfriend. I definitely enjoyed Richart and Jenna’s story.
Rating: 5 stars – I like the Immortal Guardian series, and this had all the fun, excitement and great characters that I have come to expect from Dianne Duvall.
High Stakes by Hannah Jayne
When fashionista Nina LaShay goes to New York City to compete in a fashion show, she bring her best designs, her scissors, but she forgets to pack an alibi. When her fellow competitors start turning up dead, of course, who is the first one they look at…the vampire. Like she would even need to snack on those “breathers” just to win. Nina had this competition in the bag. Now she has to figure out who’s killing the rest of the competitors before she ends up in jail or in a body bag.
Nina is a great character from the Urban Fantasy series, The Underworld Detection Agency. As roommate, co-worker and BFF of the main characters, Sophie Lawson, Nina is always around to add life and some fashion sense to the story. It was nice to see Nina shine in her own story, but something was missing without Sophie. Think Ethel without Lucy.
Rating: 4 stars – It was a good story, but if I didn’t follow the UDA series, I don’t know if this would have convinced me to try the series. Nina is playful and snarky, but without Sophie, you are missing the star of the series.
From In Still Darkness By Dianne Duvall:
“I was attacked by vampires?”
“Why didn’t you tell me?” How could he keep something like that from her?
“I was attacked, Richart! You should have told me!”
“How?” he asked helplessly.
“Easy. You should have said, Jenna, I know this is going to sound strange, but you were attacked by vampires and I rescued–okay, I see your point. I would have thought you were off your rocker.” She rubbed a shaking hand over her face. “I can’t believe this. Did they…? What did they do to me?”
“Other than the bite, you were unharmed. They must have just taken you when I came upon you.”
“Am I infected?” If all Richart had said was true, she would turn into a psychotic vampire if she transformed. She didn’t have the special DNA need to make her immortal. She couldn’t read minds or teleport or see the future or whatever else they could do.
“No. A single brief bite won’t turn you. You would either have to be bitten fairly often over a stretch of time or have your blood drained until you were on the brink of death, then infused wholly with infected blood.”
And the vampire had only bitten her once. Briefly.
Richart covered the hand she had braced on the mattress with on of his. “Are you all right?”
She met his concerned gaze. “I’m freaked out over being attacked and having no memory of it. That’s really scary.”
“So you—what—killed them Blade-style?”
He smiled. “All but one, who got away, yes.”
“One got away?” Panic shrieked through her. “What if he came back? What if he bit me again and I just can’t remember it?”
“How do you know?”
“Have you experienced missing time again? Have there been any blank spots you couldn’t recall?”
She thought hard, trying to think of any other instances. “I don’t think so. But how can I be sure?”
“I’ve been guarding you,” he admitted, seeming almost ashamed.
“I used speed and stealth to obtain your work schedule and have been at the store every night when you arrived and departed in case he returned and tried to harm you.”
She stared at him. “Every night?”
“Is he likely to return?”
“No. He would have done so before now.”
“Yet you continued to watch over me.”
He shrugged. “At least you said watched. Sheldon kept accusing me of stalking you.”
ORDER A COPY: Blessed By a Demon’s Mark (Kat Redding)
Publisher: Kensington Books
Publishing Date: December 31, 2012
Paperback: 280 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Kat Redding’s life is dangerous enough when she’s hunting the rogue vampires who prey on Pureblood humans. But now that Kat is thinking of getting out of the killing business, she’s faced with a slew of new problems. Like the demon Beligral, who offers help at an escalating cost, and the werewolf cult with whom she’s entwined professionally and personally. And then there’s Countess Baset—the terrifying vampire who wants Kat to become her personal assassin.
It’s no wonder that Kat has been seeking refuge in the mysterious town known as Delai, a place where she can shed her Lady Death persona and live a life that’s as close to normal as she’s ever known. But even in this haven, something feels askew. Delai is a little too serene. And the more she discovers, the more Kat realizes that the only choice left to her is not whether to do battle, but which side she’ll risk her life to defend.
Kat Redding has been hiding out in the Town of Delia for the last few months. She is tired of her life surrounded by death and killing and just wanted to bask in the feeling of peace she feels in Delia, even if she knows deep down there is something wrong with the Town. But it is time to go back and can feel Ethan’s demon calling her back to pay the price of the promise she made. The problem is when you run away from your life with no word to anyone, the world moves on without you especially when they all think you are dead.
Which was probably for the best because more than just her friends have been waiting for Kat to return. There is a Major Vampire House looking for revenge against Lady Death and they have been rather vehement in their questioning of her friends. There are drawback to having a reputation like “Lady Death” whenever vampires and werewolves show up dead, they believe Kat is responsible. Countess Baset believes that Kat is responsible for the death of her lover and she won’t stop ‘til she finds Kat.
Whether it is Kat’s time in Delia messing with her or the pain that her friends have moved on with their lives without her, but Kat isn’t thinking straight. Not when she is decides to let everyone know she’s back, in a big way, by feeding quite publically in the area run by Count Mephisto, a major Vampire Royal, and not when she decides to take on Countess Baset by herself.
Kat needs to get her head on straight before she gets herself killed and her actions are taken out on the few people she truly cares about.
This story shows that it is not good to be a friend of Kat Redding. I thought the story was very frustrating in the beginning. I don’t know if it was Kat’s time is Delia, Levi’s blood deprivation program to cure Kat’s vampire problem, or just leftover trauma following her brother’s death messing with her had, but she does some really stupid things in this story, most of which affect her friends. She is also very angry and nasty toward the only people who truly care about her; including Jonathan, the werewolf leader of the Luna Cult, who is my personal hero. I love Jonathan. So that probably pissed me off most of all. (If she gets Jonathan killed, I am finished.)
But where Kat was a killer who used her skills and cunning to attack and destroy the smaller Vampire Houses, she acts a little unstable in this story, running hot and cold with her friends, declaring that they are trying to control her, while getting herself into some bad situations where she has to bargain her soul and her freedom.
Although she starts acting more level headed by the end of the story, the damage has been done. Kat has been backed in the corner by several major players due to her dumbass actions which are going to be significant impact on not only her future, but those of her friends.
I am also hoping that Kat Redding is not getting a case of Sookie Stackhouse Syndrome where every supernatural creature wants her. Although Jonathan has definite feelings for her and we know the other werewolf leader has also declared he wants to mate with her so together they can rule the area (*bwahahaha*) , it came off that more than just those two are making moony eyes at Kat. Please don’t go there!
Received ARC from Kensington Books. Thank you.
“Don’t you start in on me, too.”
He held his hands up. He was holding something in his left hand.
I felt myself soften without meaning to. The coat looked just like the one I’d worn for years. I’d managed to lose both of my old coats while dealing with the mess my brother had caused.
Jonathan saw me looking and a small smile quirked the corners of his mouth. “I thought you might like a new one.” He glanced at the coat on the table. “It appears you have not replaced your other, so it seems the gift is warranted.” His gaze traveled back to me. “I’ve waited a long time to give this to you.”
For some reason, that made me angry. Just seeing Jonathan made memories of my brother flood into my head. I couldn’t stop blaming him for Thomas’s death. He’d been there and hadn’t been able to do anything to stop it.
“Keep it.” I said. “I don’t need it.”
Jonathan looked hurt. He lowered his hands and gave me such a pained look, I almost felt guilty for turning away his gift.
“Look.” I said, trying to keep most of the anger out of my voice. “Tell me why you’re here and then get the fuck out of my house. And take your maimed wolf with you.”
Jeremy flinched, and I could tell I’d hurt him almost as bad as I’d hurt Jonathan, maybe more. Why was I being such a bitch when all they were trying to do was help?
Jonathan’s jaw stiffened as if he was fighting off the urge to say something less than respectful. He managed to compose himself before speaking.
“I wanted to make sure you were okay,” he said. “When Jeremy called and said you were back, I didn’t know what to think. I was really starting to believe you might be dead.”
I glanced at the young wolf. He quickly looked away, face flaming. Ethan stepped protectively near him and glared at me.
What the fuck? Ethan used to be scared of the Luna Cult wolves, had even warned me against them more than once. And now he was defending one of them? Things had really changed since I’d been gone.
I hate change.
“You’ve seen I’m okay,” I said, shifting my attention back to Jonathan. “Now go.” I tried to walk past him, but he refused to move out of my way.
“No,” Jonathan said. “You’re not okay.”
“Who gave you the right to decide how I’m doing?’
“No one,” he said. “But I can see it in your eyes, hear it in your words. Something is very wrong with you and I only want to help.”
My hands balled into fists and I stepped closer to the Luna Cult Denmaster, seriously invading his space. “Nothing is wrong with me. It’s everyone around me that’s pissing me off. I’m tired of everyone telling me to hide, to run away. I never should have come back if that’s the way you’re all going to act.”
“Then why did you?”
Anger flared and I had to fight really hard to keep from lashing out. I should have listened to Ethan before when he’d warned me against the Cult. Now here I was with them in my house and they’d seemingly swayed him to their side. I was losing control of my own life.
Jonathan glanced over his shoulder, apparently unconcerned with my nearness. “I’d like to talk to her alone,” he said.
Both Jeremy and Ethan turned and headed for the stairs without hesitation. Ethan glanced back once, giving me a pleading look as if asking me to cooperate, before vanishing down the stairs.
“Shut up and listen to me for a minute,” Jonathan said turning back to face me. His eyes flared yellow and I took a step back, snapping my mouth closed. I’d never seen him this angry before without some severe provocation.
“You have no right to talk to any of us like this,” he said. “I’d almost forgotten how stubborn you could be.”
“I…” This time I trailed off on my own.
“Ethan is supposed to be your friend and you left him to fend for himself. Jeremy lost his arm in an effort to help your brother. He thinks he is useless now, thinks the world has no place for a ‘maimed wolf,’ as you so eloquently put it. I gave him a reason to live, and I will not let you throw that away because you are too stubborn to see we are all here trying to help.”
Guilt crept in past all my anger and confusion. I felt like a fool for lashing out so quickly. Just because I didn’t like what they were saying didn’t mean I should ignore them. They were only concerned for my well-being.
Then why did it feel like they were trying to control me?
Check out our interview with Cynthia Eden. We’ll be talking about her many, many, many new series out now and coming in 2013.
ORDER A COPY: The Better to Bite
Publishing Date: November 4, 2012
eBook: 300 pages
Rating: 5 stars
Don’t go into the woods.
Sixteen-year-old Anna Lambert knows that the woods near her new home aren’t safe. She’s seen the wolves that stalk through that dark forest, but Anna doesn’t scare easily.
Anna is cursed–or gifted, depending on how you look at it–with the ability to find anyone or anything that is lost. So when folks start disappearing in the small town of Haven, Anna’s father, the sheriff, has to use her special skills as they begin to hunt for a killer.
But the killer isn’t exactly human. As Anna is pulled deeper into the secrets of Haven–a town that is truly cursed–she finds herself falling for two, equally mysterious boys. With the danger closing in, one of those boys may just turn out to be her savior. And the other? He could be a very big, very bad…beast.
Beware of beasts…and boys…with bite
Anna Lambert and her father have just moved from Chicago to the small town of Haven, SC. Maybe she’s just not used to small towns, but it seems that there is something odd going on in Haven. And Anna knows all about being odd, or as her father calls her…different. Anna can always find things that are lost, whether it is lost keys, a lost earring, or even lost people.
When Anna goes to visit her father, the new local sheriff, she sees all the missing person’s fliers and she immediately knows where to find the “lost” people but none of them are coming home alive. They have all been the victims of animal attacks…more particularly, a wolf. Maybe even the same wolf that chased Anna herself through the forest.
Anna’s father forbids her from getting involved in the searches, and just wants her to get settled into her new school. That sounds simple enough, but being the new girl in town isn’t always easy. Aside from a few new friends, Anna isn’t the most popular girl in class, especially after she catches the attention of not only the hot football quarterback, and gorgeous, boy-next-door, Brent Peters, but also the sexy bad-boy, Rafe Channing.
But as more people go missing, Anna’s special abilities are needed to help find them before it’s too late. When discussions start turning to witches, magic and werewolves, Anna thinks she might just be been safer on the mean streets of Chicago.
This was a spellbinding tale of a young woman, first loves and paranormal mystery. A perfect example of great storytelling.
There was no hot werewolf sex in this book, barely so much as a kiss, but I didn’t miss it at all. There was so much going on and so many questions running through my head that I never felt the loss. I also realized that there were several questions left open once we got to the end. But even before I knew it was the first in a trilogy, I didn’t feel short-changed about the unanswered questions which would usually piss me off. Really, don’t get me started on Lost!!!
You knew that there were a lot of secrets in this little town, but you were never sure who was hiding a secret and if everyone was actually in on them but Anna.
Definitely pick up a copy for your favorite teen, as well as a copy for yourself. I am looking forward to getting some more answers in the upcoming books.
A long, mournful wail jerked my attention from the Trig book on the kitchen table. Who was I kidding? I wasn’t into Trig right then. I kept peeking out of the window and hoping to see some sign of my dad.
The howl had me rising and creeping once more to the window. I pulled backthe curtain and peered outside. I didn’t see anything.
I turned away.
Seconds later, something slammed into the front door, and I gasped.
Hard, heavy. The whole house seemed to shake with the impact.
Very, very slowly, I turned back around.
Once more, I looked outside, but I couldn’t see anything. From this angle, I wouldn’t be able to see what was on the other side of that door.
I crept toward the door and risked a fast glance out of the peephole.
I could hear a faint scratching. Like nails, digging into the wood.
I jumped back, then I turned and ran as fast as I could for the closet in my dad’s room.
I knew my dad. Knew how he thought. Knew where he hid his weapons. It took me about three seconds to shove a chair into his closet and climb up on it to find the back-up gun he’d tucked onto the top shelf.
Dad had taught me to use a gun, and I really was a very good shot. I loaded the bullets, climbed down, and carefully inched back toward the living room.
I heard the scratches instantly. Scratches and a low whine.
An animal in pain. Possibly dying. But weren’t those the most dangerous types of animals?
I didn’t open the door. “Get out of here!” I yelled, hoping my voice would scare the beast away. “Just get out of here!”
I didn’t hear the sound of fleeing feet, but I did hear…”Anna.”
My name, so soft, barely slipping past the locked door.
Not an animal. Oh, crap. I kept my hold on the gun and fumbled with the lock. I jerked and twisted and the door creaked open, but not too much. Just a few inches.
The porch light fell on his dark hair.
He was lying on his stomach, with his arms outstretched toward the door. He was naked, totally naked and blood gushed from wounds on his back.
I dropped to me knees. “What happened?” But I knew what those wounds were on his back. No way could I mistake gunshot wounds, not with my dad’s job.
He grabbed for my leg, and that was when I realized something was very, very wrong with is hands. Because he didn’t just have hands. Long, thick claws—actual freaking claws—burst from his fingertips. Claws like an animal would have. Not fingernails like a human would possess.
I stopped breathing.
His head lifted, and he looked up at me. His face…it was different, too. His cheeks were sharper, his jaw longer, his whole face thinner. And his eyes weren’t blue anymore. They were bright yellow. Glowing.
The wolf’s eyes.
”Help…me.” The voice wasn’t his. That hard, desperate grating seemed more like an animal’s growl than anything else.
His claws were wrapped around my knee. His eyes burned into mine. His blood dripped onto my porch.
I lifted my gun and pointed it right between his eyes. “What are you?” But I knew–I knew.
ORDER A COPY: Death Warmed Over (Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I.)
Publisher: Kensington Publishing
Publishing Date: August 28, 2012
Paperback: 305 pages
Ever since The Big Uneasy unleashed vampires, werewolves, and other undead denizens on the world, it’s been hell being a detective—especially for zombie P.I. Dan Chambeaux. Taking on the creepiest of cases in the Unnatural Quarter with a human lawyer for a partner and a ghost for a girlfriend, Chambeaux redefines “dead on arrival.” But just because he was murdered doesn’t mean he’d leave his clients in the lurch. Besides, zombies are so good at lurching.
Now he’s back from the dead and back in business—with a case load that’s downright unnatural. A resurrected mummy is suing the museum that put him on display. Two witches, victims of a curse gone terribly wrong, seek restitution from a publisher for not using “spell check” on its magical tomes. And he’s got to figure out a very personal question—Who killed him?
For Dan Chambeaux, it’s all in a day’s work. (Still, does ***everybody*** [delete: the media] have to call him “Shamble”?) Funny, fresh, and irresistible, this cadaverous caper puts the P.I. in R.I.P….with a vengeance.
This was a cleverly written book by Kevin Anderson. I was intrigued by the novelty of the zombie P.I. but the story didn’t hold my attention.
Although I didn’t finish this book, I did spend a lot of time laughing at the parts of the book that I did read, but the underlying story of Dan’s murder and the murder of his girlfriend was so chopped up among the other stories, that I lost my overall interest in the book. We were introduced to characters whose cases he was investigating, but then we didn’t go back to them before meeting other characters or focusing on Dan’s case for a while. The main character indicates that this is the way of investigations, not the one hr solution of the case you see on TV, but it ended up being as choppy as a multi-POV story. Maybe it was simply that it was trying to do too much.
As far as being cleverly written, for example, there was the nerdy vampire who thought all his neighbors were being staked since they weren’t showing up for his book club or his chess club, etc. No question they were not intending to spend eternity with this dweeb.
There was also the witch sisters who bought a new spell book and wanted to use a beauty spell, but due to a typo in the spell, the one sister was turned into a pig. The book company was standing behind their statement of “the book was intended for entertainment purposes only.”
There were great lines that included the new seasonings to make chicken “taste just like human.”
And talk of the local beat cop, “When he walked his beat, McGoo tried to be prepared for everything. He carried a service revolver loaded with regular bullets on his left hip, and one with silver-jacketed bullets on the right. He had a spray can of Mace and a spray can of holy water, along with a bandolier with wooden stakes, both blunted and sharpened.”
I don’t know if it would be been better written as a collection of short stories focusing on a particular case investigation until the end, or maybe that is how it started and Kevin Anderson tried to revise it to add the continuing story of Shamble’s own murder investigation the flow the whole thing together.
In the end, I put this book aside to start on something else that I had really wanted to read, but it didn’t have enough draw that I bothered to pick it up again.
It was very cleverly written and certainly enough to make you chuckle, but I don’t know how the novelty won’t run out real fast.
ORDER A COPY: Torn (Reflections)
Publisher: Self published
Publishing Date: October 17, 2011
eBook: 205 pages
Rating: 3 stars
Shape shifter Alec Graves has spent nearly a decade trying to keep his family from being drawn into open warfare with a larger pack. The new girl at school shouldn’t matter, but the more he gets to know her, the more mysterious she becomes. Worse, she seems to know things she shouldn’t about his shadowy world.
Is she an unfortunate victim or bait designed to draw him into a fatal misstep? If she’s a victim, then he’s running out of time to save her. If she’s bait, then his attraction to her will pull him into a fight that’ll cost him everything.
When Alec Graves first met Adrianna, he wasn’t sure if she was sent by the governing body of shifters to watch his pack, since she gave off a glow like a shifter, but didn’t give off the usual power signature of a shifter. Was she that powerful to be able to hide her powers or could she truly be a human?
He needs to solve this mystery soon since his attraction to her keeps growing stronger, and if she is truly human, protecting her may cost him everything.
The first thing I need to advise readers is that the author’s note which is located after the story indicates that this is the “he said” portion of the complete story. There is a “she said” version which is called Broken. I indicated to Mr. Murray that it would have been better if that information was located before the story since I, for one, would have looked at this story completely differently if I was aware that this was not the complete story.
I was in fact quite dissatisfied with the very cardboard character of Adiranna. There was no indication of why she kept having these fainting spells. No indication why she was rude to Alec at the beginning of the book or why she was dating Brandon, who is the alpha of the other shifter pack who was trying to destroy Alec.
In fact, I was quite angry when I hit the words “the end” and had many, many unanswered questions. Any lover of the TV show “Lost”, knows that being left with the list full of “but WTF happened with…” makes one very unhappy.
I contacted Mr. Murray after I finished reading and he advised me that many of the questions I had would be answered by reading the companion book, Broken, and that there are a few other novels planned which will answer some of the other questions that I had.
I was not that excited with this story. There was a lot of fighting between the two shifter groups, but since they didn’t appear to be killed or too seriously injured in any of these fights, these got very repetitous and I lost interest in the rival fights. I have bumped my review up to a 3 star to be fair since I am certain that my dissatisfaction with this book would be reduced by reading Broken, but I don’t have any plans to go back at this time.
Received ARC from author.
ORDER A COPY: Dark Taste of Rapture (Alien Huntress Novels)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publishing Date: August 23, 2011
Paperback: 464 pages
Rating: 5 stars
Hector Dean is shaved, tattooed, and totally ripped—and he has a deadly secret. He is a walking weapon, capable of killing with a single brush of his fingertips. Little wonder he’s determined to remain on his own. But Noelle Tremain is a temptation like no other. She is beautiful and rich, with a party girl smile that hides a shocking vulnerability, and from the beginning his sizzling attraction to her is undeniable. For the first time, his stone-cold resistance is tested. But to be with her, he risks destroying her.
When a wealthy businessman is murdered in New Chicago’s seediest district, the two are partnered, and there’s no escaping what they both want: each other. Yet neither Hector nor Noelle knows what to fear more—the killer case, or their own lethal desires. . . .
Hector Dean was born in the poorest corner of New Chicago. His parents, both junkies, made Hector and his brother fight in human cockfights when they were children. Now an AIR agent, everything about Hector from his shaved head, tattoos, and constant scowl screams dangerous and do not touch. Good thing because a touch from Hector could bring death, his heated arms could burn through everything including flesh.
Hector’s ripped muscles and back-off attitude is like catnip to rich, party girl Noelle Tremain, and when Hector starts to see the real woman behind the fascade, he hungers to put his hands all over her. If only he could. He’s not sure what makes him angrier, the fact that he can’t have her or the fact that his closest friend, Dallas, also wants to take a bite out of the beautiful Noelle.
When Hector and Noelle are assigned to work together on a case, he can’t avoid her or his growing feelings and desires for her.
I know, I know…took long enough to get to this one. But I had just read one disappointing story and was trying to read a book which was the third in a series and I was lost by page 4, so I was soooo happy to have this one tucked on my Nook shelf since August. I snuggled down and read this one in one day.
A rather quiet character in the first five books, I wasn’t really that interested in Hector as a main character, but he certainly glowed when given the spotlight. In a new earth where aliens were accepted but not trusted, Hector feared that if anyone knew of his abilities it would be bring the government down on him thinking he was dangerous and an alien. As I read I couldn’t imagine how we were going to get past his burning issue when every time he got close to Noelle, his arms starting heating up, and when he kissed her things literally went up in flames. Gena Showalter handled that quite well. Get it—handled it—burning hands? no? Okay, I’ll behave.
Noelle Tremaine was a fabulous character who we met in Ecstasy in Darkess (another awesome story). She grew up in a rich and privileged lifestyle with a family more interested in her behavior than in her, so she acted up in the worst way to disappoint them as they had disappointed her. Spending a lifetime being rejected by her family and most of people who judged her on the façade she presented, she was disappointed when Hector rejected her after their heated kisses, but she was determined to break through his gruff demeanor to the man she saw beneath the gorgeous muscle.
My only disappointment would be that I would have liked to see a little more Noelle/Ava time which was so hysterical in Ecstasy in Darkness. We only get a little Ava and barely any McKell at all. I had hoped to see more of them in Noelle’s book since she and Ava were inseparable, but then again, Ava probably would have stabbed Hector for making Noelle sad.
Although this is Book 6, there is no reason you couldn’t pick this book up and start the series with this book.
“I take my job seriously, you know,” he began.
O-kay. Not the direction she’d anticipated. “Why?”
A crackling pause. “Did you really just ask me why?”
“Yes.” Not to be facetious or anything, but because she was curious about him.
“I stop predatory aliens from hurting other,” he gritted out. “I save lives.”
And didn’t that just make him even sexier? She thought with a wistful sigh.
“Why do you want to be an agent?” he asked. “And don’t give me that bullshit about wanting to shoot people legally.”
So Jaxon had told him about that.
Hector went on, “I believed it before, but I’ve seen the way you push yourself.”
He’d seen—and been impressed? She wouldn’t get her hopes up on that front. “To be honest, I just want to spend more time with Ava.” No reason to lie. If AIR had decided to can her, she would be canned, no matter what she said.
A beat of silence. Most likely her bluntness had stunned him. That happened a lot. With her family, her friends, everyone but Ava. “Well,” he finally said, “your reason sucks, and it won’t get you anywhere.”
“Why would a girl like me want or need to get anywhere?” she asked, only the slightest trace of bitterness escaping.
“Don’t do that.”
“That girl like me crap. You’ve got determination and drive, and you should be proud of it, not masking it with sarcasm.”
Hector Dean had just…praised her. She was dreaming. She had to be dreaming. “Are you saying I’d…make a good agent?”
Another beat of silence, as if he had to gather his thoughts. And that was answer enough, wasn’t it.
Knew better than to ask. Also good thing she hadn’t gotten her hopes up.
“I’m saying you need to think long and hard about whether or not you’re right for this,” he said. “It’s hard and it’s dirty.”
Even as she fought the urge to punch him in the face for implying she couldn’t handle something like that, she force her voice to go low and husky. “Hmm, hard and dirty. Just how I like my sex.”
He tripped over nothing and, scowling, hurried to right himself.
ORDER A COPY: To Walk the Night
Publisher: Kensington Books
Publishing Date: January 3, 2012
Paperback: 300 pages
Rating: 4 Stars
Even a vampire has to face her inner demons…
Kat Redding is the very thing she hunts: a vampire, thirsting for blood, capable of killing any creature unlucky enough to get in her path. The difference is, Kat kills her own kind in order to protect human Purebloods. She’s good at what she does. Good enough to earn the nickname Lady Death—and the enmity of every bloodthirsty being around. But now a vampire Count is intent on merging his House with a werewolf cult to create a force of terrifying power.
Kat can’t allow that to happen. Even if it means taking on a den of weres and a vampire more ruthless than any she’s encountered before. She has the weapons, the skill, and a few allies. But that may not be enough to eliminate the Count before her own dark nature rises to the surface—and costs her whatever is left of her humanity…
Kat Redding is a vampire that hunts vampires. This is the time after the Uprising, when vampires and werewolves made their presence known and declared themselves rulers of the night and the humans (Purebloods) began to hide in their homes after dark. Kat has made it her mission to destroy the Vampire Houses who prey on those foolish or desperate enough to be out after dark.
Now the Luna Cult, worshipers of werewolves, want Kat’s help to destroy the power hungry House Tremaine and free their leader being held by the vampire House. Although there is nothing Kat enjoys more than taking down the vampires, she is concerned if she can really trust a monster to guard her back.
In this new Urban Fantasy, E.S. Moore shows us a world where children aren’t the only ones who should be afraid of the dark. Unlike many of the stories where supernaturals exist quietly protecting humans from other supernatural threats, in this world Vampire Houses dominate the night, using werewolves as their guard dogs, and any Purebloods (a/k/a humans) found wandering the night are fair game, kept as slaves and used for blood and sex.
Like most first books in a series, it was a little slowing going in the beginning as we set up the background of our heroine and the city around her, but once we got into the story it really picked up.
There are more than enough dangling story lines to keep me interested in reading the next book which comes out in July 2012.
Received ARC courtesy of Kensington Books. Thank you.
Jonathan stood and walked around his desk. He stopped all of five feet away from me and I still couldn’t see his face. “I should probably explain something to you first,” he said. “The more you know going in, the more likely you are to understand why I came to you. There are certain things you should know, things best shown to you rather than told.”
“Sounds like a plan,” I said. Something about Jonathan’s tone had me on edge, but I managed to keep my cool. So far, aside from Pablo’s attitude and Nathan’s angry demeanor, no one had really shown me much in the way of hostility.
Jonathan glanced over to his two associates and nodded ever so slightly. Both Nathan and Gregory sat down, though Nathan did so much slower, as if he wasn’t sure it was the right thing to do. The tension level in the room rose tenfold, and I desperately wanted to know what was going on before I accidently shot someone.
“Would you care to take a seat?” Jonathan asked, motioning toward one of the recliners. It was black and leather and looked really comfortable.
“No thanks,” I said. “I’m fine just where I am.”
Jonathan bowed his head in acquiescence before speaking. “I though you might say that. I take it some of the rumors about you are true. It’s probably why I haven’t seen Joshua since he was sent to deliver my message.” His tone hardened. “I assume he is dead.”
My hand slowly fell to my waist. I didn’t draw, but I wanted to be ready. I didn’t like where the conversation was heading.
Nathan started to rise, but Jonathan waved him back down. The big man hesitated, his frown deepening, before settling back down on the couch.
“He broke in to my house.”
Jonathan leaned back against his desk and sighed. “I should have expected it, really. Joshua is an impulsive man. He was to deliver the note and leave before anyone knew he was there. I should have realized he would want to see you himself.”
I glanced at Nathan before answering. The big man was glowering, but he didn’t seem like he was getting ready to fight. Yet.
“I didn’t want to do it,” I said. “But I don’t like people knowing where I live, which brings me back to my question. How did you know where to find me?”
“It wasn’t easy, honestly. Even though I knew who you were, you had moved to a new location before I could act on my knowledge. It made tracking you down that much more difficult.”
I clenched my fist. How long had this guy known about me? “How?” It was all I could think to say.
“You made a mistake,” Jonathan said. “It happened a long time ago, back before you were as well equipped as you are now Back before you had made a name for yourself.”
I stared at him, unsure what to make of the statement. What kind of mistake had I made, other than getting myself captured once? I was always careful, even back when I was young and stupid.
Jonathan stood silent for a long moment before speaking again. “I was your mistake,” he said. His hands slowly rose to the hood concealing his face and slide it slowly back from his head. There was a shimmer, as if the air around his head was disturbed by some unfelt wave of heat; then his features came into focus.
ORDER A COPY: Whispers in the Dark
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Publishing Date: January 3, 2012
Paperback: 333 pages
Rating: 5 Stars
She came to him at his lowest point. The voice of an angel, a whisper in the dark. She’s the only thing that gets Nathan Kelly through his captivity, the endless days of torture and the fear that he’ll never return to his family. With her help, he’s able to escape. But he isn’t truly free, because now she’s disappeared and he’s left with an all-consuming emptiness as he struggles to pick up the pieces of his life. Did he imagine his angel? Or is she out there, needing his help as he’d once needed hers?
Now he rushes to save her before it’s too late.
Shea has been on the run from people who will stop at nothing to exploit her unique abilities. She never wanted to drag Nathan, who’d already suffered so much, into danger, but she doesn’t have a choice so she reaches out to him for help. Finally face-to-face after having already formed a soul-deep bond in hell, their emotional connection is even more powerful than their telepathic one. Nathan refuses to consider ever letting her go again, but she worries they can never have a life free of the dangers that dog her every step. He’ll protect her with his every breath, but can he convince her that they are meant to face these threats together?
Nathan Kelly was a soldier fighting in Afghanistan. He was captured, hidden and tortured by the enemy. He no longer knows if it was day or night, or how long he had been held captive. Two of his friends have already been killed and he has lost his will to fight his captors and just wants the release of death. Then he hears the voice of an angel in his head. Has he lost his mind at last? Does it even matter? She brings him comfort, takes his pain and gives him the strength to fight back and escape.
Although once he is finally free, she is no longer in his head and it feels like he lost a piece of his soul. Did he imagine his angel or was she real?
Halfway around the world, Shea Peterson is on the run. Shea is a telepath, and she and her sister, Grace, are running from those who want to use them like lab rats. She doesn’t know why she hears the pain and torment of the soldier who has been captured, but when he finally starts to give in to despair, she cannot stop herself from connecting with him. She gives him her strength and takes away his pain, although taking his pain makes her weak and vulnerable.
When her pursuers finally catch up with Shea, she is drugged and beaten for information about her sister. She manages to escape, and Nathan is the only person she trusts enough to turn to for help.
There is no question for Nathan that he would protect the woman who saved him. When Nathan finally got to where Shea was hiding, I held my breath as nervous as he was for them to finally meet.
His heart nearly stopped as he pulled onto the shoulder. His palms went slick on the steering wheel. His pulse raced so hard he was light-headed.
Just a few feet away was Shea. The woman—the Angel—who’d invaded his mind. All his doubts surfaced, but all he had to do was open his door and get out. He would have his proof and until now he’d had no idea how badly he wanted her to be real.
He was holding her. Finally holding her.
“You’re real. You’re real.”
Now that Nathan has Shea, he will do anything and everything to protect her and shield her as she had done for him.
“It’s going to be we from now on,” he bit out. “There is no you. No me. Only us.”
Can Nathan and his family’s KGI special forces team keep Shea safe, when they don’t even know the enemy they face?
Whispers in the Dark is one of the most emotional books I have read in a long time—in such a good way. Nathan and Shea are connected on such an intimate level both by their telepathic link and their similar experiences of capture and torture. It is portrayed so strongly in this story you will feel as connected with Nathan and Shea as if you share their bond.
I can’t recommend this book to you strong enough. This will be one of those books that you tell all your friends about, but there’s no way you’re loaning them your copy.
The next KGI story will feature Shea’s sister, Grace and will be released in 2012.
Received ARC courtesy of Penguin Group. Thank you!
This time the knife slashed across his chest in a measured cut meant to inflict pain, but not mortal damage.
He ground his teeth together and focused on breathing in and out. He could endure this. He’d suffered far worse already.
Then warmth crept through his body and he felt sunshine fill his mind. Instead of welcoming it, he screamed a silent no.
Get out, Shea! Get the hell out of my head. I don’t want you here, damn it.
Do or say nothing to further anger them, she said in the voice he’d already associated with everything good in the world.
He felt her flinch, and it took him a moment to realize that he’d been cut again. He stared down in horror as blood trickled down his chest. But he felt nothing.
She wrapped herself completely around him, holding him, offering her warmth and caring and all the while he could smell her blood from the wound given to him.
Never, never had he felt more helpless as he sat there being slowly carved up by a knife that he couldn’t even feel. He couldn’t even feel her pain. She was working hard to keep it all from him.
Tears ran freely down his cheeks, not because of what was being done to him, but because she suffered in his stead. It was more than he could bear.
His fingers dug into the ropes binding him and he clawed relentlessly, trying to break free so he could kill the sons of bitches who were causing Shea so much pain. He’d die before he allowed her to continue hurting.
Just be still, Nathan, and maybe they’ll leave you alone. Don’t do anything to anger them. Please. It will all be over soon. It’s only temporary for me. You know this.
As much as he wanted to rage, he willed himself to quell the hatred and fury that burned so hotly within him. For her, he would do it because it was she who was hurting. Not him. Not him, goddamn it.
She was slick with blood and it threatened what little control he had left over his sanity.
Get the hell away from me, Shea. I don’t want you here. This isn’t yours to take for me.
It nearly broke him when she raised her hand to softly touch his cheek. A simple gesture of comfort. She was comforting him when she was taking the brunt of his torture.
Please, Shea. Don’t do this. God, don’t do this. Not for me. I can take it. They won’t break me. I’m not giving up. I swear it. Just please go. Break off.
She merely wrapped her arms around him and pressed her body close. He hugged her back as they both endured hell.
ORDER A COPY: Death’s Hand, A Dark Urban Fantasy (The Descent Series)
Publisher: Red Iris Books
Publishing Date: October 21, 2011
Paperback: 336 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Policing relations between Heaven, Hell, and Earth is messy and violent, but Elise Kavanagh and James Faulkner excelled at it– until coming across a job so brutal that even they couldn’t stand to see one more dead body.
Now they’ve been pretending to be normal for five years, leaving their horrific history a dark secret. Elise works in an office. James owns a business. None of their friends realize they used to be one of the world’s best killing teams.
After years of hiding, something stirs. Bodies are vanishing. Demons scurry in the shadows of the night. A child has been possessed.
Some enemies aren’t willing to let the secrets of the past stay dead…
Demon fighter, Elise Kavanagh, and her mentor, James Faulkner, thought they could retire from fighting the nightmares that most people only believe exist in fiction. But those nightmares aren’t willing to stay in Hell where they belong.
A few of the demons that Elise and James have sent back to Hell are looking for a second chance to return and payback Elise and James for their interference.
When a little girl is demonically possessed, Elise is asked to do an exorcism. Elise hesitates because she knows if she is dragged back into the life of a demon hunter, she won’t be able to leave again.
I want to point out that from the description I originally thought this was a husband and wife team. We learn from the start that Elise is only 16 when she retires as a demon slayer and that James was her guardian and her “shield.”
This is an intriguing story which I raced through in one day. It appears to be the first in a descent series and there were some questions left unanswered, like exactly what happened to Elise’s parents and what’s with the gloves and exactly what happened that night in the woods.
There was a lot going on in this story including climatic battles with witches, fiends and zombies. I was impressed that Elise got up again from many of these battles and kept jumping back into the fight.
There were some parts where I was a little confused what was going on and if Death’s Hand was a male or female demon (if it even matters) or were some of references made were simply hints of a future story? Sometimes you just have to go with it.
It was well worth the read and I am intrigued enough to continue with the next book due out in the spring of 2012.
As of this posting, the digital copies of this book are listed for $.99.
Elise grabbed the doorknob to the dressing room and shook it. Locked.
Nuema screamed again, and the door rattled in its hinges as something heavy slammed against the other side.
She took a step back and unleashed a powerful kick next to the lock mechanism. The door shattered around the handle. Elise kicked again. It slammed open.
Nuema was pressed against the counter, her back smashed into the now-shattered glass of mirror. A gray creature with branded flesh crushed her, its stubby hands locked on her wrists as its slavering mouth lowered toward her chest.
“Hey!” Elise shouted.
The demon turned. Its bulging eyes were almost all black. Opens slashes across his face wept blood and pus, and saliva dripped from its mouth.
It focused on her, and its pupils dilated.
Elise drew back her fist and punched, throwing her whole body behind the blow. The demon’s head snapped to the side. It toppled with a keening scream.
The half-succubus cried out as she got off the counter. Several shards of glass stuck in her back, and blood poured down her perfect spine.
The little demon clambered to its fee. Elise pushed the bartender behind her.
“What do you want?” Elise demanded. The demon’s thin gray tongue darted out of its mouth to lick where its lips should have been.
It lunged at Elise.
She moved into its attack and it slammed into her shoulder. They hit the ground, and she rolled with their momentum. Her entire body felt the impact. It was like getting hit by a raging bull.
The fiend recovered instantly. Elise wasn’t quite so fast.
It came at her with a roar, and a flash of inspiration struck – the black lights, the vanity bulbs, the demon’s huge pupils. Elise threw herself out of the demon’s way, and it hit the wall behind her instead.
She launched across the room. Elise fumbled in the darkness behind the rack of costumes. She heard the sound of clawed feet against ground, and shut her eyes against the impact—then found the switch.
Click. The lights over the vanities blazed to life.
Her eyes watered from the sudden light, but it was nothing compared to the demon’s reaction. It screamed and clawed at its eyes, stumbling toward Elise. A stray swipe of its claws slashed her arm. Pain flared, and she jerked back with a shout.
The demon plunged into the dark hallway.