Category Archives: Urban Fantasy

A Cursed Bloodline by Cecy Robson


ORDER A COPY: A Cursed Bloodline: A Weird Girls Novel

Publisher: Loveswept
Publishing Date: November 18, 2014
eBook: 370 pages

Rating: 4 stars


The excitement never ends for Celia Wird, and by excitement I mean attempts to kill her. In this story, even friends become enemies. With no one at her back, she will still risk everything to get back the one friend she still has in the world and to protect the man she loves but can’t have.


I originally made the mistake of classifying this series in my brain as paranormal romance. The first book was lighthearted and funny. But make no mistake, this is an Urban Fantasy series. The difference (I feel) between the Urban Fantasy and the paranormal romance is how dark the story gets and how deadly it gets to the characters. In an Urban Fantasy it is not unusual for major characters to be killed and the main characters to get mauled. Although Celia transforms into a tiger, she is not a were and does not have a were’s healing ability. If it was not for her sister’s ability to heal, Celia would have been long dead.
CONTINUE READING

Shifting Shadows by Patricia Briggs


ORDER A COPY: Shifting Shadows: Stories from the World of Mercy Thompson

Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publishing Date: September 2, 2014
Paperback: 450 pages
Narrators: Lorelei King and Alexander Cendese

Rating: 5 stars


Shifting Shadows is a collection of short stories from the World of Mercy Thompson. Some feature Mercy and her friends and some do not. Patricia Briggs has a wonderful storyteller and she has created an interesting world of Urban Fantasy. These stories give you a taste of her Mercy Thompson series, as well as several stories that don’t feature characters from her Mercy Thompson series so you can simply enjoy the stories and see if Patricia Briggs is for you.


The Mercy Thompson series are told in the first person by Mercy. A few of these stories are fill in scenes from her books that didn’t fit since there were told by Mercy. So it gives you extras views but it will give spoilers if you haven’t reached those stories yet.

We also get to spend time with Warren and Kyle as well as Ben.  It is nice to get a little deeper into these characters. Ben is challenged to not swear for a month and it is quite entertaining to see him almost struggle to speak without his expletives.  There is a back story on Samuel and Ariana.

As you can probably guess, Alpha and Omega is the novella which began the Alpha and Omega spinoff series.  We never spent much time with Charles in any of Mercy’s book but we kind of knew him as Bran’s scary powerful and unsocial son.  I hadn’t jumped on his spin off but now I have picked up the first three audiobooks in this series and am looking forward to those.

The remaining stories involve vampires, ghosts, witches and fae which will all follow the world building rules which is presented in the Mercy Thompson series.  These were all very entertaining stories.  It reminded me of Stephen King novels when he would give you a full back story on a character who was just crossing the street (and about to be killed), but by the time King killed off the guy, you were so intrigued and invested in this guy you were sad he died.   I enjoyed these little peeks in the windows of others who live in Mercy’s world.

I found it interesting that Patricia Briggs gives a brief description of what prompted the story or what guidelines she was presented in the previously published stories. For example, for the story Gray , she needed to write a story featuring a color and a holiday. It is interesting the stories that are created for the different anthologies that these stories were originally part of.

THOUGHTS:
I am a big fan of Patricia Briggs’ writing and Mercy Thompson and friends. So I enjoyed all the stories presented in this collection. If you are looking for a new paranormal/urban fantasy author, this would be a great way to check out Patricia’s work without making the full commitment to an entire series.

I have listened to this entire series by audiobook. Lorelei King brings Mercy and the gang to life for me.  She has a very natural narration style and gives voice to a cast of characters.  This was my first time listening to Alexander Cendese, but I thought he did a wonderful job narrating for Samuel and for David.

Received a review audiobook from Brilliance audio in exchange for an honest review.


 

Previously Published Stories

  • Alpha and Omega The first novella about Anna and Charles, which led to a whole spin-off series.
  • Gray An vampire buys the home where she lived with her husband, which has fallen into disrespair. She begins remodeling the place, only to find that old and beloved ghosts still linger.
  • Fairy Gifts Mining towns are rough and human life is cheap. In the turn-of-the-century Butte Montana, a young man, turned to a vampire, struggles with his nature and eventually finds a measure of redemption in an unlikely place.
  • Seeing Eye White witches are rare, and seldom as powerful as their morally-compromised counterparts. In this story, a blind witch teams up with a werewolf on a mission.
  • The Star of David Being a werewolf can wreck havoc on family relations. This is a story of how murder and deception can bring a family together . . .
  • In Red, with Pearls Warren is a werewolf, and a private detective. This is a noir-flavored story about some truly terrible neighbors and why you should always treat a werewolf nicely.

New Stories

  • Silver This is probably the only depressing story I’ve ever written, and it was a hard story to write. This covers how Bran and Samuel were first made into werewolves, and how Samuel first fell in love with the Ariana. Of course, as we learned in Silver Borne, things have to take a tragic turn.
  • Outtake One After the tragedy of Silver, I had to remind myself that with long life comes the opportunity to overcome the past, and forge a better future. Samuel and Ariana have another chance at love, and they’re determined to make it work. This is an outtake from Silver Borne
  • Roses in Winter A young girl survives a werewolf attack, and is transformed into a werewolf. When she wasn’t able to control the wolf, she was moved to Bran’s pack. The law is absolute: if a werewolf cannot learn to control the wolf, they must be destroyed for the safety of all. With hope fading, Asil intervenes.
  • Redemption Ben’s got a quick temper, and a quicker tongue. He’s also made a bet that he can stop swearing for a week, and it just might change his life.
  • Hollow A wealthy recluse is haunted by a terrible ghost, and asks Mercy for help. What could possibly go wrong?
  • Outtake Two A bit that I wrote in Adam’s viewpoint for Night Broken.

Favorite Scene:

This is from Alpha and Omega:

“I think maybe you are the key to Leo’s mystery.”

She couldn’t help a snort of derision. “Me? Leo needed a new doormat?”

He leaned suddenly forward, knocking his chair over as he swept her off of her own and stood her on her feet. She’d thought she was used to the speed and strength of the wolves, but he stole her breath.

As she stood still and shocked, he prowled around her until he came back around the front and kissed her, a long, dark, deep kiss that left her breathless for another reason entirely.

“Leo found you and decided that he needed you,” he told her. “He sent Justin after you, because any of his other wolves would know what you were. Even before your Change, they’d have known. So he sent a half-crazy wolf because any other would have been unable to attack you.”

Hurt, she flinched away from him. He made her sound special, but she knew he was lying. He sounded like he was telling the truth, but she was no prize. She was nothing. For three years she had been nothing. He made her feel special today, but she knew better.

His hands, when they came down on her shoulders, were hard and impossible to resist. “Let me tell you something about Omega wolves, Anna. Look at me.”

She blinked back tears, and, unable to resist his command, raised her eyes to glare at him.

“Almost unique,” he said and gave her a little shake. “I work with numbers and percentages all the time, Anna. I might not be able to figure the odds exactly, but I’ll tell you that the chances that Justin picked you out to Change by sheer chance are almost infinitesimal. No werewolf, acting on instincts alone, would attack an Omega. And Justin strikes me as a wolf who acts on very little else.”

“Why no? Why wouldn’t he have attacked me? And what is an Omega?”

It was evidently the right question because Charles stilled, his former agitation gone. “You are an Omega, Anna. I bet that when you walk into a room, people come to you. I bet complete strangers tell you things they wouldn’t tell their own mothers.”

Incredulous, she stared at him. “You saw Justin this morning. Did he look calm to you?”

“I saw Justin,” he agreed slowly. “And I think that in any other pack he would have been killed shortly after he was made because his control is not good enough. I don’t know why he was not. But I think you allow him to control his wolf—and he hates you for it. You should not be ranked last in your pack.” His hands slid down her shoulders until he held her hands. Oddly that felt more intimate than his kiss had. “An Omega wolf is like the Indian medicine men, outside of the normal pack rankings. They had to teach you to lower your eyes, didn’t they?  To submissive wolves, such things are instinctive. You, they had to beat down. You bring peace to all those around you, Anna,” he said intently, his eyes on her. “A werewolf, especially a dominant wolf, is always on the edge of violence. After being shut in an aircraft with too many people for hours, I came into the airport craving bloodshed like a junkie craves his next fix. But when you came up to me, the anger, the hunger left.”

He squeezed her hands. “You are a gift, Anna. An Omega wolf in the pack means that more wolves survive the Change from human to wolf because they can find control easier with you there. It means that we lose fewer males to stupid dominance fights because an Omega brings a calmness to all those around him. Or her.”

There was a hole in his argument. “But what about earlier, when you almost changed because you were so angry.”

Something happened to his face, an emotion she didn’t know him well enough to read, except to know that it was strong.

When he spoke it was with the visible effort, as if his throat had tightened. “Most werewolves find someone they love, get married, and spend a long time with their spouse before the wolf accepts her as his mate.” He dropped her gaze and turned away, walking across the room and giving her his back.

Without the warmth of his body, she felt cold and alone. Scared.

“Sometimes it doesn’t happen that way,” he told the wall. “Let it rest there for now, Anna. You have been through enough without this.”

“I am so tired of being ignorant,” she spat, suddenly hugely angry. “You’ve changed all the rules on me—so you can damned well tell me what the new rules are.” As abruptly as the anger had come, it was gone, leaving her shaky and on the verge of tears.

He turned and his eyes had gone gold, reflecting the dim light of the room until they glowed. “Fine. You should have let it be, but you want truth.” His voice rumbled like thunder, though it wasn’t very loud. “My Brother Wolf has taken you for his mate. Even if you were nothing to me, I would have never allowed such abuse as you have suffered since your Change. But you are mine, and the though of you hurt, of being able to do nothing about it, is an anger that even an Omega wolf cannot easily soothe.”

Chained by Night by Larissa Ione

ORDER A COPY: Chained by Night (Moonbound Clan Vampires)

Publisher: Pocket Books
Publishing Date: September 30, 2014
Paperback: 400 pages

Rating: 5 stars


Wow. Wow. Wow. Larissa Ione kicks up the excitement in Book 2. Hunter has to make a choice – marry one twin and bring peace with ShadowSpawn or marry the twin he wants and kick off an all out war with a larger and more brutal Clan.   But first he has to break an ancient agreement with a demon.   He has to pick one twin to take with him on a trial through Hell or give up his first born child.  Chose the wrong twin and he’ll never make it out alive.


At the end of Bound by Night, Hunter makes a deal with the barbaric leader of ShadowSpawn in order to save Riker’s mate, Nicole. He agreed to mate with Kars’s oldest daughter, Rasha. Rasha is a warrior in her own right. Growing up in ShadowSpawn’s more vicious camp where disagreements were settled by bloody battles where the victor is in the right, she has always had to prove her value to the Clan. Rasha doesn’t approve of Hunter’s more lax leadership which allows learning, playing, and for injured Clan members to sit and eat amongst the strong warriors, even though one of those injured is her own sister who was born with a deformed leg. Rasha plans to make changes once she becomes Hunter’s mate and one of those changes might just be a change of leadership.

Hunter’s head is spinning with all the problems laid at his feet right now. For the good of the Clan he will mate with Rasha, even if he can’t stand the sight of her. Well, actually it’s not really the sight of her that is the problem, is it? Hunter can’t stop lusting over her identical twin sister, Aylin.  For a brief moment, Hunter believes that his future might not be so bleak when he mistakes Aylin for Rasha and a kiss turns toward passion. At least until they both realize the error.  Now they know what they want and what they can’t have. Aylin is everything her sister is not: sweet, caring, thoughtful, intelligent, but with a bad leg she is considered worthless in her father’s camp of warriors.

Before any mating can happen, Hunter and Rasha have a task they must perform. Vampires did not come to be as legend has always told. The story of the raven and the crow mixing their blood with the blood of two fallen Chiefs is a myth and the modern day rumor about a virus creating vampires is also wrong. The original vampires made a deal with the demon Samnult for strength to fight their enemies and they promised their first born child as well as the first born of the first generation of vampires as payment. As a first generation, Hunter will be expected to give up his first born to Sumnult and Hunter will do whatever is required to break that contract. Samnult has agreed if Hunter brings his intended to complete a series of tasks, and if they both survive, they can keep their first child. Hunter’s best scene was at the end of Book 1 when he contacts Samnult and tells him that Hunter will do whatever is necessary to break the contract. Samnult says What if I tell you to blow me? and Hunter drops to his knees and says I’m gonna get very drunk when it’s over, but I said I would do whatever it took. The demon was actually frazzled by Hunter’s willingness to do whatever was necessary to keep his child, something no other vampire was willing to do.  Samnult obviously did not accept the blow job in favor of the more exciting trial storyline.

Rasha refuses to risk her own life and is willing to let the demon have her first born. Both Hunter and Aylin are disgusted with her behavior and because Aylin is an identical twin, Samnult allows her to go in her sister’s place. And we’re barely a third into the book. Obviously they survive the quest, or do they? Samnult offers Aylin a deal asking her to make an ultimate sacrifice for Hunter and her sister so they win the quest, and of course she agrees.

They might have won the trials, but it has also strengthened the bond between Hunter and Aylin. Not only does Hunter not get to mate Aylin, but after his mating ceremony to Rasha, Aylin will be sent to mate a vampire more vicious than her father who has a harem of wives. Hunter is in a frenzy and the only way to save Aylin would be for her to lose her virginity…and Hunter will need to chose one of his own men to do it.

Except it might not be so easy after all. Samnult has gifted Aylin with something very special for her sacrifice and now both her father and her intended are knocking on the door to take Aylin away. So the questions we need answered are:  How can Hunter mate Aylin instead of Rasha without causing a war that MoonBound Clan will doubtless lose? Who is giving information to ShadowSpawn about MoonBound business? And what the heck is Samnult doing with all those first borns?

THOUGHTS:
This book was really exciting and kept me on the edge of my seat.  It was the age old romance storyline between sacrifice and want.  Hunter wants Aylin but he needs to sacrifice for his Clan and mate Rasha.

First of all, I couldn’t tell what we were supposed to be feeling about Rasha. Oh, we hated Rasha and we don’t trust her, but every once in a while she would be so nice to Aylin and you would start to think, maybe she’s not all bad. Then she would do something else awful and it was no question, she’s a bitch! But I just couldn’t figure out how Hunter was going to possibly get out of mating Rasha so he could mate Aylin instead, because obviously we all wanted Aylin.

The first half of the book was the quest and leading up to the quest which was all very tension filled, and after that was introducing BitchyPoo and Aylin to the MoonBound Clan and everyone’s reactions. The buzz between Hunter and Aylin kept intensifying and he kept wanting to pull away for the good of the Clan and the quest gave Aylin a boost of confidence that she has never had before to stand up to Hunter’s torment of I want you but I can’t have you which made him even crazier about her than before. Aylin was an incredible heroine at the start of the book and the fact that she was so selfless as to sacrifice her own dreams for Hunter (and her bitch sister) just makes her stand out as extraordinary.

This story was sensational. I couldn’t put it down and the fact that I couldn’t figure a way for them to be together was making me crazy.

I highly recommend grabbing a copy of this and Bound by Night. I had a Twitter conversation with Larissa Ione over the star of the next book who will be…wait for it…<strong>Myne</strong> (Yay!) and you’ll never guess who his lady love will be.  (Not Rasha thank God!)  I will be looking forward to Myne’s story next year.

Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Favorite Scene:

The scene I wanted to share gave away too much information, so you get the next best. :)

“Do you know what kind of alliances your father has made with other clans recently?”

“No why?”

“I think he’s up to something. He might be trying to unite the clans.”

“Wouldn’t that be a good thing? Samnult said war with the humans was coming.”

“Uniting the clans is vital if we want to save ourselves from extinction. But your father wants more than allied clans. He wants the allied clans under his control.”

“Like a king? That’s crazy.” But was it really? Kars had always been power-hungry, and she’d often wondered why he spent so much time digging into the affairs of rival clans. “You know, now that I think about it…remember I told you about the competitions ShadowSpawn has been holding? We’ve had more than usual, and clans have been coming from farther away than ever before. JaggedSky from Montana and BoneSworn from New Mexico. They’d never been to one of my father’s competitions before, but they’ve both been twice in the last three years. He’s even arrange for truces with sworn enemies. Like you.”

“Damn,” Hunter breathed.

For some reason, she pictured him saying the same thing, just as softly, against the skin of her throat. Her breasts. Her inner thighs.

As if he knew, his dark gaze sparked. He swore again and inhaled raggedly. “You okay? How have you been?”

“Do you really want to chitchat?”

A low, pumping growl vibrated the air and rumbled through her in an erotic wave. “What I want to do is strip you, throw you onto the counter, spread you thighs, and lick you until you scream. That’s what I want to do. I want to be the male who takes you for the first time. And every time after that. The thought of you being with someone else tonight is killing me, to the point where I’m tempted to have Riker lock me up so I don’t do something stupid. I don’t understand it, and frankly, it’s pissing me off. But there it is.”

His stark, raw honesty stole her breath. She wanted all of that too, could relate to everything he’d said. Here he was in front of her, and she couldn’t have him. And in this moment, she was ashamed to admit that if he offered her even the smallest scrap of his attention, she’d take it. Without thinking, she reached for him, but he stepped back with a hiss, his massive fangs bared.

“If you touch me, I’m lost.” His big body trembled as he continued backing up. He took panting breaths and his eyes were as wild as a cornered cougar’s. “I…have to go.”

“Hunter, wait.” She moved toward him. He stopped, and she had a feeling he was fighting a battle with himself deep inside. Good. Now he knew how she felt every time she saw him. “Don’t have sex with her. Not tonight.”

He barked out a laugh. “Really? Just yesterday you told me to get it over with. Now you get jealous?”

“This isn’t about jealousy,” she said. Okay, it was, but there was also the fact that Rasha mentioned getting pregnant. “You can’t…” You can’t trust Rasha.  Aylin didn’t say it.  She couldn’t.  As true as it was, she would sell out her sister like that.

“Can’t what?”

Aylin closed her lids. “Nothing. Just trust your instincts.”

“I got news for you,” he said roughly.  “I can’t trust myself right now.”

He took off in a rush, and something told her he was heading straight for Rasha.

Hunter had always been one to play with fire, had never minded the burns. But Aylin burned hotter than any flame, and if he hadn’t left when he did, he’d have turned to ash.

Holy Spirit, she tested his self-control. Samnult’s trials were a piece of cake compared with the challenge of keeping his hands off Aylin.

The Cage King by Danielle Monsch


ORDER A COPY: The Cage King: A Novella of the Entwined Realms

Publisher: Romantic Geek Publishing
Publishing Date: August 11, 2014
eBook: 135 pages

Rating: 5 stars


USA Today Bestselling author Danielle Monsch invites you back to the magic of the Entwined Realms with The Cage King. Esh is the undisputed ruler of the underground fight scene, but five years ago a decision not to fight cost him his best friend and the woman he loves. Now Nalah is back, a member of the Guild and in need of his help to get into the greatest cage match in the New Realms. Oh he’ll help, but it will be on his terms, and Nalah had better get ready because when Esh fights for something, he always wins.


Esh, Nalah and her brother Jac were three street kids who banded together and created their own family. They took care of each other and protected each other.

But Five years ago Nalah walked away from Esh. He refused to fight in her brother’s place and her brother lost his life. Esh let her down and she walked away from him and was found by The Guild. They trained her to build mental shields and helped her control her abilities.

Now The Guild needs her to find one of the artifacts stolen from their vault. And in order for her to find it, she needs the help of the one man who she never expected to see again. Nalah needs to get to the underground fights and the Guild wants her to get Esh, The Cage King, to accept his invitation to the Underground Tour and take Nalah with him.

Esh knows that Nalah will find a way to get there without him, but she walked away from him once. He’s not allowing her to walk away again. Especially not into a dangerous situation without him to protect her. He’ll help the Guild recover their missing magic treasure and the only thing he expects is return is Nalah. She was everything to him…she still is and he won’t lose her again.

THOUGHTS:
I love the Entwined Realms series. The Cage King is like a magical Mission Impossible. The Guild always seems to be two steps ahead and even though it seems like things are going wrong, they end up exactly where the Guild wanted them to be.

Nalah and Esh are definitely a couple meant to be together, and although it is heartbreaking that Jac had to died, I think Nalah and Esh needed that time apart in order to grow and to appreciate each other. They wouldn’t have gotten to the place they ended if they had just continued together from kids to teens to adults.

We can understand Nalah pain and heartbreak at losing her brother and her feeling that Esh could have done something to prevent it and she feels he failed her.  Then we see the same scenario with Esh’s view, trying to protect Nalah and Jac, losing Jac and Nalah disappearing and him not knowing what happened to her and it is heartbreaker to see what Esh went through.  Nalah (and the readers) are given a good shake up after Esh has been portrayed as being to blame for everything.

Although this is only a novella, it is all part of the build up of the items stolen from the Guild and all the baddies who are trying to get their hands on everything.

Great series. Great characters. Can’t wait to read more.


Favorite Scene:

Those gorgeous dark-brown eyes were wide with surprise as he rolled her under him. No reason why they should be. He told her this was where she was going to be for the duration of the Tour.

“Esh,” she started, and in response he pushed his hips against her pelvis, rubbing hard against her.

Her mouth parted. A long, deep breath met the movement while her eyes went half-lidded. Her hands went to his shoulders, her fingers half digging into the muscle, her arms both pulling him closer and pushing him away.

His Nalah was conflicted? Well, he was going to put an end to that real quick. By the end of the Tour she was going to be back in his bed and standing by his side, where she belonged now, and where she’d belonged these last five years before she’d run away.

To the Guild. Of all fucking people, she had gotten involved with the Guild. He growled, the need to mark her as his and not theirs growing in him, and he lowered his mouth to her throat.

She panted and moaned as his lips and teeth ravaged the sensitive skin below her ear, the sounds tightening his belly and ratcheting up his arousal. He wanted her to make those sounds all night, he wanted her hoarse tomorrow and embarrassed because everyone would give her a knowing look each time she spoke. He sucked the dark skin into his mouth, wishing the small bruise would show.

How had he lived without this these last years? She even smelled the same, summer nights on the beach. He told her that after their first kiss, and she laughed, saying they’d never been near the ocean in their lives.

Didn’t matter. That was what she reminded him of. Her scent was always a mix of citrus and salt where her eyes and skin glowed under moonlight. She was wondrous, his escape from a shitty life, and always had been. Her eyes alight with pride as he fought in the ring, making him a hero and a warrior instead of a thug. Or how she never stopped teaching him or acted like he was too stupid to be bothered with.

He nipped her, a little harder, teeth a little deeper into her velvety skin, and her answering moan had his cock beating against the zipper of his jeans, demanding to be let out.

“Esh, let go,” she whispered, those long fingers still digging into his upper arms.

She wasn’t saying anything he wanted to hear, so he concentrated on licking the tang from her skin and listening to that tiny hitch in her breathing.

“Warned you.” And before his brain processed, Nalah shifted, using her leg to dislodge him while those fingers twisted his body and had him on the floor.

She got off the bed and now stood above him, hip cocked to the side and fists on them, her eyes sparking in an all-too-familiar way, one that used to mean he was sleeping on the cough that night. “Damn, woman, who taught you that?”

“Who do you think? I might not be a warrior, but do you think I’d let myself be totally vulnerable?”

She was vulnerable. Any of Beylor’s men could have her on her back with either a sword in her belly or them crawling on top of her in five seconds flat. But right now, with her foot that close to his balls, he wasn’t going to point that out. Instead he rolled and got to his feet, watching her watch him the entire time.

There was appreciation mixed with the earlier anger, the way she followed the bunching of the muscles in his thighs and his arms. Nalah wasn’t immune to him any more than her was to her. “Why’d you stop me?”

“Again, why do you think? I’m not here to be your personal amusement. Already told you.”

He snorted. “When have you ever been that? If that’s all I considered you good for, do you think I’d be here?”

That stopped her, her mouth closing, her face scrunching up in a V of confusion. She collapsed on the nearest chair, her arm draped across the table. “You and I need a little clearing of the air. Cards on the table?”

Yeah, that didn’t promise a good time. He shrugged, going to sit across from her.

She waited until he was settled before she began. “Why did you agree to do this?”

Talk about denial. He met her gaze, held it, until she was near fidgeting but still didn’t look away. “You aren’t stupid. You know why. I’m not changed.”

At that, Nalah did look away, out a window that overlooked the nearby forest. “It’s been five year,” she said, her voice as low as he’d ever heard from her.

“So? Fuck does five years mean? You’re it for me, always have been. Knew it as soon as you looked at me with those big brown eyes and I told you so back then. Told you the same before we came here, though you wanted to pretend that wasn’t what it meant. If it won’t change in fifty years. why do you think five years is some magic number?”

She swallowed the movement doing little to hide the slight quiver of her chin. “‘Cause I haven’t been around.”

He snorted. “Yeah, like that changes shit.”

Souls of the Damned by E.S. Moore


ORDER A COPY: Souls of the Damned

Publisher: Kensington
Publishing Date: June 19, 2014
Paperback: 240 pages

Rating: 4 stars


Kat Redding would love to take a break from the gruesome, dangerous work of hunting down rogue vampires and werewolves, battling for innocent lives. But there’s no peace for Lady Death. Until Kat’s young charge, Sienna, appears on her doorstep, escaped from the shadow-paradise of Delai. Sienna is weak, confused, desperate–human in the utmost. If Kat is going to have any hope of breaking the hold of Delai, she’ll have to infiltrate the walls around the false sanctuary. And the only way she can do that is to trade in her battle-hardened, bloodthirsty vampire’s body–for Sienna’s human form.

With no weapons but her wits, Kat has to trust a demon, defeat an angel, and wrestle with her own rebel soul–because with all the fear and death she’s conquered, no one has ever offered her another day under a warm yellow sun.


Kat has tried several times unsuccessfully to find Delai. She promised Sienna that she wouldn’t leave her there to the mercy of Levi. Sienna doesn’t even know that Levi isn’t a man.  He’s an angel. But angels are not the heavenly, kind of creatures we have all been brainwashed to believe they are. Levi is no better than the demon Beligral who has marked Kat and her human friend, Ethan.

So imagine how surprised Kat is to come home one night to find Sienna sleeping in her bed. Beligral helped break Levi’s bond long enough for Sienna to escape Delai, but what Kat can’t figure out is why?  The only thing she is sure about is that Beligral wants Kat to send Levi back to his own realm, and he’s willing to make Kat human in order to accomplish that.  But then again when negotiating with a demon, there is always a catch, to make her human, Beligral will swap Kat and Sienna’s souls.

Kat isn’t willing to make Sienna suffer vampire hunger and rage no matter how much Kat would like to be human. But she didn’t count on Levi being able to call Sienna and the only way to keep Sienna from running back on her own would be to lock her in a cage for the rest of her life.

With no other way to save Sienna from returning to Delia, Kat agrees to the soul swap. If she can make it back out alive, will she have the strength to give Sienna back her body, or will the lure of once again being human be too much of a temptation for Kat to resist.

THOUGHTS:

**Some spoilers***
I knew when I picked this book up that it was a storyline focusing on the Twilight Zone town of Delai. I didn’t enjoy that storyline when it was presented in Book 2, but I understand and the author (1) isn’t writing just for my personal pleasure, and (2) he has to wrap up this loose thread since Kat isn’t the type of character to abandon an innocent young woman after promising to come back for her.

E.S. Moore left us reeling at the end of Book 4 with an ending which will bring big changes, but we couldn’t really get into what’s going to happen yet because we had to wrap up the Delai storyline.   Kat’s character had improved in Book 4 and she was continuing with her personal growth in Book 5. Kat hates being a vampire and wants to be human again, but even with how tempting it was to take Sienna’s body, she didn’t give in until she had no other choice. Sienna was being force back to go back and she wasn’t strong enough to have been able to stop Levi herself.  Once she takes Sienna’s body and becomes human again, Kat comes to realize how much weaker humans are, how much slower, eyesight, etc. So maybe the time spent in Sienna’s body will help her re-think her deep desire to be human again.  Kat has made many enemies and becoming human again would make her too weak to protect herself and her friends for the powerful Supes who would be gunning for her.

Now that the Delai storyline is dead, Kat still has to deal with the new threat by Countess Basset who wants Kat to walk away from her old life and move into her House and for Kat become her full-time assassin. She also has creepy, gross Adrian, the psycho werewolf Alpha, who wants Kat to mate with him (ewww) still stalking her.  He wants Kat to pass on a message of Jonathan that he wants Jonathan to join his House. I think he just wants to keep on eye on Jonathan because he knows that there are feelings between Jonathan and Kat.

(Little more spoilers)  The big positive in this story was that we got some Jonathan and Kat (as Sienna) action. What do I mean by that? After Kat switches bodies with Sienna, she realizes she might not come back and she goes to see Jonathan for possibly the last time.  They have sex (Yay!) and Jonathan is suddenly out of his funk (not surprising).  He doesn’t know what Kat is up to, but obviously he wants to see more of her when she comes back. Knowing she won’t be keeping Sienna’s body if she survives, Kat starts with the “we can’t mix vampires and werewolves” BS fear she keeps falling back on, and Jonathan pleads that they not go backwards in their relationship now that they finally have taken a step forward.

Now I don’t know if this was intentional by the author or not, but Jonathan and Kat/Sienna have sex.  I’m gonna guess that no condom was used since Jonathan is currently displaced and in a funk and probably not thinking about sex.  I am sure Kat/Sienna didn’t show up with one and since Sienna has been living in Delai, I’m gonna guess she isn’t taking birth control to control her cramps which is the lame excuse in several books.   Is the author just glancing over this oversight or will Sienna start the next novel suddenly feeling out of sorts or nursing a case of the “flu” and asking Kat what she was doing with Sienna’s body while she was out? Additionally, Kat’s BFF Ethan has a crush on Sienna.  I don’t think he’s gonna be happy to find out Kat got his new love knocked up with a half werewolf baby.  That would make awkward breakfast conversation.  We’ll have to see if that turns into something in the next book.

I’m still in on this series for now and since we’ve gotten rid of the Delai storyline, we can concentrate of Kat extricating herself from the clutches of both the vampire Countess and Adrian the creepy werewolf.   I must admit that I fear for my beloved Jonathan now that he and Kat have upped their relationship.   I said all along she should mate with Jonathan since she was so attached to him and that would get Adrian off her back.  Now that there is a relationship between them (including sex) will Adrian kill Jonathan or simply threaten Jonathan’s life to get Kat to mate with him (ewww!).   If Jonathan’s gone, I’m out.  :(  He’s my favorite character here.

Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Favorite Scene:

The sound of birds chirping woke me. I stretched and sat up in bed, somewhat dazed. Sometime during the night, I’d been moved so that when I woke, my head was on the pillow and a blanket covered me. I’d somehow slept through it, which wasn’t like me at all.

With a yawn, I rose and sludged my way across the dark bedroom, into the bathroom. I flipped on a light and jumped back in surprise when I saw my face.

Sienna stared back at me. It was strange knowing I was looking into a mirror and yet, not recognizing the face as my own. I ran my fingers down my cheek, stretching the skin as if I thought it might slough off, revealing the same old face I was used to.

“This is fucking weird.” Even my voice didn’t sound right.

I turned away from the mirror with a grimace. Smells and sights were muted from what I knew. I couldn’t hear as well as before either. It made me feel as if I was wrapped in cotton, or crippled, perhaps.

And then there was the whole washing thing. I really didn’t want to see Sienna naked, but if I was stuck with this body for any length of time, there was no helping it. I doubted I’d be able to go to Delai, find the summoner, kill him, and then get back to switch bodies before I started to stink.

I quickly stripped out of Sienna’s clothes, stepped into the shower, and tried to wash her body without actually touching anything. It’s my body now, I reminded myself. I needed to start thinking of it that way so that if I came across a situation where I need to react quickly, I didn’t try to act like the vampire I once was. That would only get me killed.

Once I was clean, I dried off and hurried into my room to get dressed, pointedly not looking in the mirror as I passed. There wasn’t much that fit me right, but I managed to find an old T-shirt in the back of my closet that wasn’t too big and a pair of shorts that worked well enough once I strapped on a belt.  I felt like a little girl playing dress-up with her mom’s clothes.

The sound of birds continued. My eyes were drawn to the sound.

My heart in my throat as I crossed the room to the window. The blinds were taped to the wall so that no light could penetrate them. Heavy curtains hung over them for added protection. Ever so slowly, I pushed the curtains back and pulled the blinds away from the window.

Light struck me square in the face. I cringed back, expecting to feel burned and weak, but instead, the sunlight on my skin felt warm and comforting. I opened the blinds wider and looked out on a sunlit world I never thought I’d see again.

Tears sprung suddenly to my eyes, so I closed them. The sun warmed my flesh, sent my heart soaring. While I couldn’t see it directly, the sunlight lit up my eyelids so that they seemed to glow bright pink.

With a cry of pure joy, I spun and ran out of my room. I was crying hard now and couldn’t make myself stop. I didn’t know if it was the body or if I was just that overjoyed about what I’d felt. Either way, my emotions were getting the better of me. And right then, I didn’t care. All I wanted to do was feel the sun directly on my skin, revel in the light of day for the first time in a very, very long time.

I threw open the front door and ran out into the yard, heedless of anyone that might be lurking in the surrounding trees. I spread my arms wide as I raised my face to a sun that shone so bright, so strong, it was a wonder the entire world didn’t burn. A breeze played across my skin, warm and reassuring. I fell to my knees and cried.

“Could you remember what it was like before now?”

Jeremy’s voice startled me, but I refused to rise. I shook my head and smiled into the sun.

The world smelled different during the day. Even with my weaker sense of smell, I could tell. It was as if I’d walked into another reality entirely. Everything was so strange, and that included myself.  It was all I could do not to be overwhelmed.

Jeremy didn’t move from where he stood a few feet back. I had a feeling I’d woken him with my shout before I’d run from the house. He was probably out here making sure no one took advantage of the idiot girl.

I finally rose and turned to face him. He looked tired, but oddly happy. The sun did strange things to his face, made him look older somehow. I’m not sure if it was that the shadows were thinner here or if it was how the lines of worry were more defined in direct sunlight.

“I’m glad you got to see this,” he said, scanning the trees. “I think if vampires could actually come out and spend sometime in the sun, they wouldn’t be so goddamn pissy all of the time. That big orange ball up there has a soothing effect on people, you know?”

I nodded, but didn’t trust myself to speak just yet. The waterworks had shut off, but I still felt full to bursting. I wanted to scream and run naked through the trees, to feel the grass beneath my toes. If it wasn’t for the fact that there might still be werewolves camped out there and that it wasn’t my body I’d be exposing to the world, I very well might have done it.

Night Broken by Patricia Briggs

Night Broken (Mercy Thompson, #8)


ORDER A COPY: Night Broken (A Mercy Thompson Novel)

Publisher: Penguin Group
Publishing Date: March 11, 2014
Hardcover: 352 pages

Rating:  5 stars


An unexpected phone call heralds a new challenge for Mercy. Her mate Adam’s ex-wife is in trouble, on the run from her new boyfriend. Adam isn’t the kind of man to turn away a person in need—and Mercy knows it. But with Christy holed up in Adam’s house, Mercy can’t shake the feeling that something about the situation isn’t right.

Soon, her suspicions are confirmed when she learns that Christy has the farthest thing from good intentions. She wants Adam back and she’s willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen, including turning Adam’s pack against Mercy.

Mercy isn’t about to step down without a fight, but there’s a more dangerous threat circling. Christy’s ex is more than a bad man—in fact, he may not be human at all. As the bodies start piling up, Mercy must put her personal troubles aside to face a creature with the power to tear her whole world apart.


Mercy has fought vampires, grey lords, demon-vampires, river devils, fae queens, government mercenaries, but this time she might be facing the one enemy she has no power to fight – Adam’s ex-wife.

Adam receives a call from his ex-wife, Christy. Her new lover has turned out to be a psychotic stalker and she thinks he killed a man she had dated. She needs Adam’s help and protection and she wants to come ‘home.’

Not all of Adam’s pack has welcomed Mercy with open arms and now the line is drawn between those who support Mercy and those who would rather see Adam take Christy back. Christy is demanding and manipulative. She knows when to use tears to get the protective wolves in her corner, and if Mercy fights back, she will come off as jealous and petty. Mercy might be losing the pack to Christy’s half-truths and gourmet cooking, but she’ll be damned if she’ll let Christy try to take Adam back. Christy walked away and now Adam is Mercy’s, for better or for worse.

When Christy’s stalker can’t get to her, he arrives at Mercy’s shop ready to take away Adam’s love since Adam is responsible for keeping him from his. In a fight for her life, Mercy learns that there is nothing human about Christy’s stalker and there just might be nothing that Adam and the pack can do to protect either Mercy or Christy.

THOUGHTS:
I have spent the last few weeks immersed in the world of Mercy Thompson-Hauptman and I am heartbroken that I have caught up with the series. It will be a year before I will be back again with Mercy, Adam, Stefan and the gang. *sob*

Here Mercy have to deal with Adam’s ex-wife (Jesse’s mom) who comes racing back to Adam for protection, a man she divorced because she couldn’t deal with his being a werewolf.   Now that werewolves are out in the open, Christy is happy to shout that she was the ex-wife of pack Alpha, Adam Hauptman, and even without the stalker, she might come back so she could share the spotlight with Adam since he has become such a familiar face.   Poor Mercy is avoiding her own home because can’t stand Christy and she can’t even hit her with the walking stick.   Speaking of the walking stick (who is making an appearance on this cover), the fae have come looking for the walking stick that Mercy gifted to coyote after  it seemed to be getting a little blood thirsty.  Opps…now she has a week to try and find coyote to get it back.

In this story Mercy finds out she has a half-brother, another one of coyote’s children, and Gary Laughingdog is no fan of coyote. In fact, he tells Mercy not to do anything interesting which will catch coyote’s attention and she might just be able to live a long and healthy life. Since trouble always finds Mercy, we know that’s not going to happen. Like Mercy, Gary turns into a coyote and sees ghosts, but he also is cursed with ‘seeing’ and foresees what is coming for the pack.

The fae are still on lock down and the reservation is still ‘missing’ after the fae confrontation with the government, so Mercy can’t get any help from Zee or Uncle Mike.

Mercy once again escapes death, but as the only non-immortal in the group, she takes a hell of a beating. Since she has had one in every book, there soon won’t be a bone she hasn’t broken. We do learn that half-brother Gary is much, much older than he looks so Mercy can look forward to a long and happy life with Adam if she can stop getting her ass handed to her by more powerful preternatural creatures.

We do learn for certain that Stefan has been hiding the fact that he still has a bond with Mercy, which we find out from creepy vampire-boy, Wulfe, who wants just a taste of Mercy’s blood in exchange for some information that the pack needs.

I do have several questions about the series, but I haven’t been able to finagle an interview with Patricia Briggs. One of those questions would be ‘How the hell did Adam ever wind up married to Christy?’ That pair just doesn’t go. She is manipulative and maybe before she realized Adam was a werewolf, his looks and money were enough of a draw.  She hates that he is werewolf and I haven’t figured at what point in their relationship she found this out.  And how did an alpha werewolf have a wife who wasn’t his mate? Questions, questions, questions, but not enough to detract from the enjoyment of the story.

I still think Olivia Wilde would make an incredible Mercy, but I haven’t been able to pin down the perfect Adam.  If anyone reads this series can think of a perfect Adam, let me know. :)

We will have to wait another year to find out what else Patricia Briggs has planned for Mercy and the gang.

This is a definite must read series for the paranormal lovers out there.

Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Favorite Scene:

Christy went right for Adam as if none of the rest of us were there.

“This is your fault,” she said viciously. “I felt so horrible, bringing my troubles here, and it was your fault.”

“Careful,” I murmured, but she didn’t pay any attention to me–which was foolish of her.

“I should have known when Troy was killed.” It took me a second to figure out who Troy was, I’d never heard the name of her boyfriend who’d been killed. “The only time bodies start appearing around me is when there are werewolves involved,” she continued.

“Juan Flores isn’t a werewolf,” I said, but again I spoke quietly, and she didn’t appear to have heard me.

Adam didn’t say anything. He took a deep breath and just–accepted what she said. It was the first time I’d ever seen a real fight between them. Watching him as she spewed guilt all over him, I realized that he enjoyed our fights almost as much as I did. When we fought, he roared and stalked and fought back. He didn’t let his face go blank and wait to be hit again. Being willing to accept responsibility for the well-being of others was part of being Alpha, part of who Adam was, and she was very, very good at using that against him.

Tears leaked artfully down her face. “I tried. I tried, then I had to run. But I can’t get away from you, can’t get away from the monsters. They follow me wherever I go, and it is your fault.”

Adam wasn’t going to defend himself. Honey wrapped her arms around her stomach and turned away. Honey believe herself to be one of the monsters, too, and so Christy’s venom spread over Honey as well.

Enough.

“Adam didn’t make you go sleep with some complete stranger because he was handsome and rich,” I said coolly, but this time at full volume. There wasn’t a wolf in the house who hand’t heard Christy, so they could listen to me, too.

“Stay out of this,” she snapped at me, wiping futilely at her cheeks. “This isn’t your business.”

“When you blame Adam, whose only fault that I can see is that he has poor taste in wives, you made it my business,” I told her.

Honey cleared her throat. “You do know you are one of his wives, right?”

I raised an eyebrow. “Happily, he doesn’t know how bad off he is with me–and I intend that he never will.”

Life came back into Adam’s eyes with a wicked glint, and I saw a hint of his dimple. Better, I thought, better.

Christy knew she’d lost control of the scene. Her eyes narrowed at me, and she lost the tears. “Juan came after me because of Adam.”

“You slept with a complete stranger,” I said. “Not Adam’s fault you”–Jesse had come down the stairs, with Ben and Darryl trailing behind her, so I didn’t call Christy a slut–”made a poor choice.”

“He was a friend of my best friend,” she said. “Rich, charming, and handsome, he wasn’t a ‘complete stranger.’ I had no way to tell that he was monster.”

“You didn’t know enough about him for Warren to find him. You didn’t know where he lived, what country he was from. I bet you didn’t even check to see if he was married or not before you chased after him. How long did you know him before you hoped into bed with him? An hour?”

It probably wasn’t fair to use what Jesse had told em about her mother’s dating habits against Christy, but she hadn’t been playing fair, either. The tears had been cheating, and when she’d realized just how many of the pack had started to filter into the kitchen behind her, she would doubtless use them again.

“He approached me,” she said defensively–not to mention falsely.

“Are you stupid? How long did you live with the wolves?” I asked her incredulously. “You do know that most of the people in this room can tell that you are lying, right?”

Stupid. She wasn’t stupid, just self-absorbed and unwise. She didn’t like people thinking badly of her, so she lied.

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

Moon Called (Mercy Thompson, #1)


ORDER A COPY: Moon Called (Mercy Thompson, Book 1)

Publisher: Penguin Group
Publishing Date: January 31, 2006
Paperback: 288 pages

Rating: 4 stars


Mercedes “Mercy” Thompson is a talented Volkswagen mechanic living in the Tri-Cities area of Washington. She also happens to be a walker, a magical being with the power to shift into a coyote at will. Mercy’s next-door neighbor is a werewolf. Her former boss is a gremlin. And she’s fixing a bus for a vampire. This is the world of Mercy Thompson, one that looks a lot like ours but is populated by those things that go bump in the night. And Mercy’s connection to those things is about to get her into some serious hot water.


Mercy is a “walker” who can turn into a coyote, but who was raised by werewolves, and not just any werewolf, by Bran, the Marrok (or leader of all the werewolves).

Mercy lives an ordinary life, well, sort of…she owns her own garage which she bought from a retiring Fae named Zee, and she is friends with a vampire named Stefan who has a VW bus painted to look like the Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo.

She also shares a property line with the local Alpha of the Columbia Basin pack named Adam Hauptman and his teenage daughter, Jesse.  Adam keeps a powerful Russian witch on retainer for hiding the werewolf’s presence from the humans. Pretty much an average, ordinary life.

When a runaway teen shows up at her garage, she quickly smells that he is a werewolf and this young werewolf is not part of a pack. Mercy offers him a job so she can keep an eye out for him. When a werewolf and a human come looking for him, Mercy is forced to help him defend himself. After blood is shed, Mercy calls Adam in to take care of the young Wolf and introduce him to pack life.

But things aren’t that simple. The people who are looking for Mac are daring, or just stupid enough to attack Adam in his home. Mercy helps Adam defeat the intruders, but not before Adam is seriously injured and his daughter, Jesse, is kidnapped. Mercy needs to find a more dominant werewolf fast because once Adam regains consciousness, his injured wolf will be uncontrollable until he is healed. The only ones Mercy knows that are strong enough to control a powerful Alpha like Adam is Bran and his sons.

Mercy might not be part of Adam’s pack, but she is now embroiled in what might be a pack war. She has to find out who attacked Adam and who would have taken his daughter.

THOUGHTS:
I was recently offered a review copy of the upcoming Night Broken (which is Book #8 in this series) so I did a search of the Mercy Thompson series and it sounded right up my alley.  I decided to take some time to catch up and get to know some of the characters.

This is a much better Sookie Stackhouse type of story plot, meaning she is not part of any specific group, but she keeps getting dragged into pack or vampire business. In this series, Mercy is a preternatural creature since she is half human/half walker. She is immune to some magic and she can shape shift into the form of a coyote. She is not a part of Adam’s pack (even though Adam told his pack Mercy was his) but she gets drawn into pack business when Adam is badly injured, and something makes her afraid to call in his pack for fear that there is a traitor in the pack. Who else would try to attack an Alpha in his own home?

She has several preternatural connections who she contacts to assist her in helping Adam heal as well as tracking down who would abduct his daughter.

I like that although Mercy is brave, she is not stupid. She doesn’t just jump into a fight unprepared. For example, when Mac is tracked down by a werewolf and a human. Mercy knows she can’t out power the werewolf and the human has a gun. She watches and observes and it isn’t until Mac is being attacked that she jumps in, using the element of surprise and getting the werewolf to chase her while using her brains to outmaneuver his bulk.

This story wasn’t non-stop action since it was the first in the series and involves a lot of introduction of characters, including explaining the dangers of the werewolves and the vampires in general, and how the Fae have been forced into the public eye and how the werewolves are considering joining them. We are also introducing the base characters of the story: including Mercy, Adam, Jesse, Zee, Stefan, Bran, Samuel, several members of Adam’s pack as well as Bran’s pack, and Mercy’s relationship with each of these characters.

It was good storytelling and interesting world building and it held my interest throughout. I have already started Book 2 where we start by Stefan asking Mercy to make good on the favor he did her helping find Jesse.

Personally, I think Olivia Wilde would be a perfect Mercy Thompson.  Can someone get casting on the phone?


Favorite Scene:

“What happened?” he asked, his voice softer than the first snowfall in winter.

“It’s complicated,” I said, holding his gaze for two full seconds before I turned my head and gestured toward the body. “The dead one is there. If he belongs to you, he is new—and you haven’t been doing your job. He was as deaf and blind as a human. I was able to take him by surprise, then he was too ignorant to realize that the wound wouldn’t close as fast as usual if it was given by a preternatural creature. He let himself bleed out because he was too caught up in the chase to—”

“Enough, Mercedes,” he growled as he strode over to the dead wolfman and knelt beside him. He moved the body and one of the corpse’s arms flopped down limply on the ground.

Mac whined eagerly, then bowed his head and pressed it against my thigh so that he couldn’t see.

The sound drew Adam’s attention from the body to the boy at my feet.

He growled. “This one isn’t one of mine—and neither is that.”

“So gracious,” I said. “Your mother should be complimented on your manners, Hauptman.”

“Careful,” he whispered. It wasn’t a threat, it was a warning.

Okay. He was scary. Really scary. He’d probably have been scary even when he was just a human. But it wouldn’t do to let him know he intimidated me.

“Adam Hauptman,” I said politely to show him how it was done. “Allow me to introduce you to Mac—that’s all his name I know. He was attacked by a werewolf in Chicago about two moons ago. The werewolf killed his girlfriend, but he survived. He was taken by his attacker and put in a cage. A man who sounds a lot like the Chicago Alpha Leo sold him to someone who held him inside a cage in a semitrailer and used him for what sounds like some sort of drug experiments until he broke free. Last Friday he showed up at my door looking for work.”

“You didn’t inform me that you had a strange wolf on your doorstep?”

I gave him a put-upon sigh. “I am not one of your pack members, Adam. I know this is difficult for you to fathom, so I’ll speak slowly: I don’t belong to you. I am under no obligation to tell you anything.”

Adam swore harshly. “New werewolves are dangerous, woman. Especially when they are cold and hungry.” He looked at Mac, and his voice changed completely, the heat and anger gone. “Mercy, come here.”

I didn’t look down to see what he’d noticed in Mac’s face. I took a step, but Mac was wrapped around my left leg. I stopped before I fell. “Uhm. I’m a little stuck for the moment.”

“For a smart girl, you’re pretty stupid sometimes,” he said, his voice rich and gentle so as not to startle the werewolf by my side. “Locking yourself in a garage with a new wolf and a dead body isn’t the smartest thing you could have done. I don’t have a connection with him yet. It would help if you have his real name.”

“Mac,” I murmured. “What’s your name?”

“Alan,” he said dreamily, coming up to his knees so his face was pressed against my belly. “Alan MacKenzie Frazier after my grandfather who died the year I was born.” The friction of his movement rucked my shirt up and he licked my bare skin. To an outsider it might have looked sensual, but the abdomen is a vulnerable spot on the body, a favorite of predators. “You smell good,” he whispered.

He smelled like werewolf, and I started to panic—which wasn’t a very useful thing to do.

“Alan,” said Adam, rolling the name on his tongue. “Alan MacKenzie Frazier, come here to me.”

Mac jerked his head away from me but tightened his arms painfully on my hips. He looked at Adam and growled, a low rumble that caused his chest to vibrate against my leg.

“Mine,” he said.

Adam’s eyes narrowed. “I don’t think so. She is mine.”

It would have been flattering, I thought, except that at least one of them was talking about dinner and I wasn’t certain about the other. While Adam had Mac distracted, I reached behind me and grabbed my big crowbar from the shelf directly behind us. I brought it down on Mac’s collarbone.

It was an awkward hit because I didn’t have much leverage, but the collarbone, even on a werewolf, is not hard to damage. I heard the bone crack and wrenched myself out of Mac’s grip and across the garage before he recovered from the unexpected pain.

I didn’t like hurting him, but he would heal in a few hours as long as I didn’t let him eat me. I didn’t think he was the kind of person who would recover from murder as easily as he would a broken bone.

A Cursed Moon by Cecy Robson

A Cursed Moon (Weird Girls, #2.5)


ORDER A COPY: A Cursed Moon: A Weird Girls Novella (A Penguin Special from Signet Eclipse)

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.

THOUGHTS:
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.


Favorite Scene:

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! 

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-cursed-moon-cecy-robson/1115590116?ean=9780698144293

http://www.amazon.com/Cursed-Moon-Novella-Penguin-ebook/dp/B00DD76J0W/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1380909593&sr=8-1&keywords=A+Cursed+Moon

AUTHOR BIO:

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.

LINKS:

Website:          www.cecyrobson.com

Twitter:           https://twitter.com/cecyrobson

Facebook:        http://www.facebook.com/Cecy.Robson.Author

Goodreads:     http://www.goodreads.com/goodreadscomCecyRobsonAuthor


Under a Spell by Hannah Jayne

Under A Spell (Underworld Detection Agency, #5)


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?

THOUGHTS:
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. :)

The Underworld Detection Agency.

Received an ARC from netgalley.com courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Favorite Scene:

“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.”

“Otherwise?”

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.

“You’re funny.”

Death Takes a Holiday by Jennifer Harlow

Death Takes a Holiday (A F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad Investigation, #3)


ORDER A COPY: Death Takes a Holiday (A F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad Investigation)

Publisher: Midnight Ink
Publishing Date: August 8, 2013
Paperback: 280 pages

Rating: 5 stars


A supernatural love triangle + one indecent proposal Beatrice Alexander can crush a sixty-foot snake with her mind, but she can’t take any more of the drama that’s tearing apart F.R.E.A.K.S. Should she give it all up — her job as a secret agent and the possibility of a relationship with Will, the gorgeous werewolf? Bea’s hoping to get it all figured out on a trip home for Christmas. But soon her hunky ex-boyfriend wants to rekindle their romance. Then, a powerful (and super hot) vampire lord offers Bea an impossible ultimatum: leave San Diego and her family forever — or become his lover.


Beatrice Alexander thought life was hard being a schoolteacher, especially one with a deep dark secret. Beatrice is psychokinetic. At least back then she thought kids hopped up on sugar was the worse thing she had to face. That is until she was recruited by the FBI for the F.R.E.A.K.S. division (Federal Response to Extra-Sensory and Kindred Supernaturals). Now her days involve zombies, witches, vampires and werewolves.

As if the dangerous supernaturals they fight against aren’t enough to keep a girl busy, Beatrice also has her hands full with men in her life. Her vampire best friend, Oliver Montrose is gorgeous and flirty and has made more enemies than friends in his 500 undead years. Some of whom are working with Oliver and Bea at the FBI, including their boss, Special Agent William Price. The sexy werewolf stars in most of Beatrice’s fantasies, but her friendship with Oliver is causing Will to give Bea the cold-shoulder treatment, and she’s had enough! Enough of being surrounded by people who don’t support her ideas, of all the overprotective, alpha-male, testosterone-filled idiots who try and keep her in the background where it’s “safe”, and she has definitely had enough of being forced to choose between Oliver and Will.

Beatrice is going home to San Diego for the Christmas holiday…maybe forever. It is something she will have to think about while she is away. Running for her life on an almost daily basis has become a great exercise plan, but add to that the fact that she’s been chased by almost every deadly supernatural alive and undead to the tension around the office, most of which surrounds her, and Beatrice is starting to think about returning home to her family and to being a boring school teacher. And just when she starts thinking about boring…oh, here comes her old boyfriend, Officer Steven Weir. He is hoping Bea wants to rekindle their relationship. Oh, good God, no! Not only is he is definitely no Will, or even an Oliver, he was the epitome of boring which is the main reason she broke up with him the first place.

Although Beatrice came home to get away from the men in her life and the danger from her job, it appears men and trouble will seek her out. She’s been threatened–I mean, invited by the local Vampire Lord Connor McInnis to come to see him. He’s heard about Beatrice’s gift and her exploits with the F.R.E.A.K.S. and he will make an offer she can’t refuse–especially since he has vampire law on his side–she must leave San Diego and never see her family again or leave the F.R.E.A.K.S. become his consort for life.

Now Beatrice will have to suck it up and ask for help of the two men she left behind. Damn! Maybe there still time for her to enter the convent after all.

THOUGHTS:
I adored this story and these characters. This just such a fun story. I picked it up Sunday morning and didn’t go to sleep until it was finished. Then I picked up copies of books #1 and #2 in the series. Yeah, yeah, I know, “When the hell are you going to read them. We’ve seen your TBR list.” Hey–back off. I’ll get to them…soon…eventually…just shut up.

Beatrice was delightful, Will was sexy and overprotective and Oliver was such a flirt. Even vampire Connor was sexy and funny. I hope we’ll be seeing more of him in future novels.

I will definitely find the time to read the first two books (Stop it! I will!) and I will be watching out to see where she is taking us in book #4. (Cross your fingers for some naked, sexy time with Will.)

Received an ARC from netgalley.com, courtesy of the publisher. Thank you!


Favorite Scene:

Another book that was hard to choose a favorite scene.

“Pat her down.”

Great. Getting felt up twice in two days. A new record. Rolling my eyes and sighing, I lift up my arms and spread my legs. As Pippin pats me down, and Cockney rifles through my bag, the yummy bartender watches with a smirk and raised eyebrow. The others could care less.

“Nothing,” Pippin says.

“Not here either,” Cockney says.

“Why would I bring weapons to a friendly sit-down?” I get my purse back. “Besides, I’m on holiday. I don’t usually pack my Uzi. So if you could get your boss, please? I’m missing It’s a Wonderful Life.

The bartender full on smiles, his blue eyes crinkling. I am a sucker for crinkly eyes. Footsteps above draw my attention away from the eye candy. A red headed man with short hair, goatee, charcoal gray slacks, white dress shirt, and gray vest steps into view.

“Matilda, can you bring me up last night’s receipts?” he asks with a clipped British accent.

That must be him. He merely glances at me as the female bartender stops chopping.

“They should be in the safe,” Yummy says with an Irish accent. I almost melt inside. Irish accents are my Kryptonite. I’ve watched all of Colin Farrell’s movies and interviews a dozen times just to hear him talk. Liam Neeson’s too. And I wore out my copy of Once. I really hope I don’t have to kill him now.

“Everything fine down here?” Connor asks the Irishman.

“Yes,” he says with that voice. I really must be hard up if my G-spot is tingling now. I’ll be rubbing up against trees in the middle of gunfights pretty soon. “We shall be up in a minute.”

Matilda the bartender locates the receipts and walks upstairs behind the departing Connor. He doesn’t look like much. The three bodyguards will be hardest, especially the vamp one.

“Care to sit?” Irish suggests, motioning to the bar. I glance around the room, but nobody seems to care about me except my escorts, so I sit. As I get closer, I notice I was wrong about his eyes. They’re violet like Liz Taylor’s. I’ve never actually met anyone with real violet eyes. He smiles again reassuringly. “May I pour you a drink?”

“No, thank you. I’m fine.”

He tsks. “You obviously have no Irish in you.”

Is he flirting with me? “Why is that?”

“We Irish will accept a drink even from our worst enemies.”

“Are you guys my worst enemies?”

He puts both hands on the bar and leans in toward me. “If we are, Special Agent Alexander, then you must not be doing your job well.” His eyes meet mine, and he smiles. Flirtatiously. And yes, a sliver of lust rushes through me.

I mask it by looking away. “Are you trying to capture my mind, Danny Boy?”

“I would never presume to do that, Special Agent. Why mar perfection?”

I swear this guy and Oliver must have studied under the same seduction teacher, Mr. Casanova de Cheesy. “Rein it in, Danny Boy,” I warn. “I’m here to meet your boss, not participate in Flirting 101.” Heck yeah! Go, tough Bea!

The vamp frowns. “I apologize if I offended. It is not every day I can enjoy a conversation with a woman of your caliber and beauty, and I mean that with sincerity. I simply could not help myself.”

Okay, maybe I could stand to hear a little more, but I don’t let him know that. “It’s okay, I’m used to it. I live with a vamp. I know if your mouth is moving, you’re flirting.”

He cocks one of those violet eyes. “You live with a vampire? Who is this fortunate man?”

“Special Agent Oliver Montrose. My partner.” Not technically true partners but close enough.

“And you live together?”

“Not like that.” I say. “We live in the same house. Separate bedrooms, though.”

“But it is true you walked unarmed into a room of twelve vampires to save him from true death?”

“I wasn’t unarmed, and it wasn’t twelve. More like eight.”

“But you were almost directly responsible for the death of the Lord of Dallas.”

“I didn’t kill him,” I say quickly.

“You may as well have wielded the sword yourself,” Irish says. “And is it true you dispatched, in a single twenty-four hour period, fifteen vampires including two of whom were over three hundred years old?”

My spidey sense is tingling. “You know, for a lowly bartender, you seem to know a lot about me.”

“It is my job to know these things, Agent Alexander.”

Ugh. I’m an idiot. I fell for a classic bad guy move that anyone who’s watched a Bond flick should have seen a mile away. Now I’m really glad I kept the drooling to a minimum. I lean back in my chair with a crooked smile. “Lord Connor I presume.” He bows his head and all the other vamps in the room chuckle at my stupidity. There goes my credibility. I am so going to die. “Nice one.”

“I am afraid you caught me on my night off,” Connor says, “Otherwise I would have greeted you in proper attire.”

“What? A tuxedo and cape?”

“I was thinking more along the lines of body armor and shotgun.”

“You’re cuter this way,” I say with a sly smile. “Shotguns don’t really do it for me.”

“And what does, pray tell?”

I lean in a little. “Irish accents and crinkly eyes.”

He grins back. “In that case, we should continue our conversation upstairs? With a bit more privacy?”

I lean in more so we’re close enough to kiss while meeting his eyes. “Thought you’d never ask, your Lordship.” And the Golden Globe for acting cool while really wanting to run screaming from the building goes to…the corpse of Bea Alexander.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 803 other followers