Category Archives: Vampires

Under the Final Moon by Hannah Jayne


ORDER A COPY: Under The Final Moon (Underworld Detective Agency)

Publisher: Kensington Books
Publishing Date: August 5, 2014
Paperback: 352 pages

Rating: 3 stars


It’s not the end of the world–until it is. Sophie Lawson may be a mere human with no special abilities except a strong immunity to magic. But the havoc she’s wreaked on the supernaturals who come up against the Underworld Detection Agency have earned her plenty of enemies. Still, a girl can’t freak out every time a horribly barbecued corpse is found with her business card in its hand. Or see a sudden glut of earthquakes, wildfires and three-headed dogs as just another day in California. But Alex Grace, her favorite fallen angel, is concerned–or saying he is to see more of her. Getting Sophie to see all the signs of the Apocalypse is an interesting way to heat things up. Or maybe what’s making everyone hot under the collar is the fact that all Hell is about to break loose. . .


Arsonists are lighting up San Francisco and they all have one thing in common, they all appear to be trying to bring forth Satan. When a vampire lights himself up, and just happens to be holding onto a card belonging to one, Sophie Lawson, Det. Alex Grace comes knocking to find out of Sophie knows anything about Daddy-Dearest trying to get in touch with her. Oh yeah, did we mention that Sophie’s Dad is Satan himself, and that as some celestial joke, the Vessel of Souls holding all the souls that haven’t traveled on to heaven has been hidden inside Sophie.

There is also a group known as the Grigori who are trying to kill Sophie before Satan can get the Vessel of Souls from her.

As if Firestarter vampires, three-headed dogs, Grigori and a home visit from Satan isn’t enough to keep Sophie snacking on chocolate pinwheels, she still hasn’t made any decision on her choices of men…Will or Alex?

Armageddon is coming is something you say, not something that’s actually happening on Tuesday, but as the signs start added up, it appears that Dear Old Dad might just be trying to come for a visit, but is he looking to spend time with his little girl, get Sophie to join the family business or just do a snatch and grab of the souls hidden inside her?

THOUGHTS:
This was the last book of the series and I can’t tell you how absolutely disappointed I was while I was reading it.

Poor Sophie, being the only human in a bunch of paranormals, usually ends up being beaten up and crying. Sophie had so many breakdowns in this story and a lot of them a constant pity party of “Why didn’t my Dad love me and come to the Father/Daughter dance” or “to my play” or “come to my graduation” or “what does he want from me now.” Most of her crying jags were with Alex and she ended up crying in his arms. This happened so many time that if I was listening to an audiobook, I would have assumed I messed up the download and was repeating scenes.

We also kept having scenes where someone was attacking Sophie and then they disappeared, never to be heard from again, and then someone else would attack her and again, that storyline just disappeared.  The story starts with fires, fires, fires everywhere…and then suddenly there are no more fires mentioned again. There were also several of the usual scenes where everyone was there to protect her, and then they all just stepped away giving the bad guy time to attack. “We’re here to protect you.” “No, I’m okay.” “Alright, see you tomorrow.” Knock, knock, Bad guy calling.

There was also many, many references to Satan being “a trickster” and I kept waiting for the big trick Sophie would do to fight him at his own game, but the ending happened so fast and ended up being pretty anticlimactic.

After listening to Sophie constantly bounce back and forth between Alex and Will for five of the six stories, in the end Sophie doesn’t pick one over the other so much as one leaves town, leaving her choosing the other by default. I think it would have been funnier after all these books of her lamenting which hottie will I choose, if they both left her at the end.

Although the humor was still there, the story itself seemed to just circled around and the plot was not very cohesive. For the last book in the series where she could have done anything that she wanted with the characters, it was totally disappointing.

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


Favorite Scene:

I heard the murmurings and a few stepped forward to pat me on the back or touch my arm gingerly, and I was basking in the warmth of this weird, horned, extended family that cared, and gave a damn whether I lived or died.

And then, the elevator dinged.

Alex was standing there and it was like the first time I’d ever seen him: his shoulders were thrown back, chin hitched one lock of wavy hair impishly falling over his forehead. His chest looked impossibly broad, Greek-God like, and when his badge winked from his hip, I felt my mouth water.

Once again, I was: Sophie Lawson, turned on in the face of danger.

Alex’s icy eyes cut across the waiting room until he saw me. I saw him suck in a breath, and I was ready to shimmy out of my panties—all the demons cared and Alex, toowhen the other elevator dinged.

We all waited, no one breathed, until the doors slid open.

Then I had to pick my jaw up off the floor.

Will was in the second elevator, leaning against the back wall and looking relaxed and comfortably cool, as though he were in an Abercrombie ad just awaiting his scantily clad co-model. His hazel eyes were slightly hooded in that “hey, baby, I’m holding a kitten” kind of way that made my heart bloom and ignited something low in my belly. Between the two of them I was a pile of supercharged horny goo while the whole of the world trembled on the precipice of holy hell.

As I clamped my knees together and gritted my teeth, I was fairly certain that my inappropriate sex drive was half the reason the city was vaulting toward our brimstony demise.

Both Alex and Will stepped out at the same time, each with a set of eyes fixed on me for a brief second before they glanced at each other. Then each seemed to get an inch taller. Suddenly, chests were puffed out and, I’m not entirely sure, but I’m fairly certain that arms were flexed. I would have paused to scrutinize further, but both made a beeline for me, talking at the same time.

“Wanted to make sure—”

“—you were okay down here.”

They stopped talking at the same time, too, glared at each other, then swung to face me and my army of Underworld associates.

“We’re all okay down here,” I said, feeling suddenly overwhelmed with domestic love and nearly throwing my arms around the armless zombie and the troll who had kicked me out from under the coffee table.

Vampire Trouble by Sara Humphreys


ORDER A COPY: Vampire Trouble (Dead in the City)

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publishing Date: July 1, 2014
Paperback: 320 pages

Rating: 4 stars


Shane Quesada, a four-century old vampire sentry, is known for cold, unemotional precision when hunting rogue vampires.

Maya Robertson is a youngling vampire who will not be controlled—and to prove it, she rejects Shane’s protection—only to find herself in over her head with an alpha werewolf.

Soon, a war between the coven and the werewolf clan ignites, and Maya and Shane flee to Louisiana, where their passion for each other grows—as does Maya’s power. When she finds herself at the center of the conflict, will she finally trust Shane with her life—and her heart?


Maya Robertson has been a vampire of only five years. She is a young vamp by immortal standards and like any other youngster, she has a problem keeping herself out of trouble. She does exactly what she is told not to do, she gets angry when she is told to behave by her maker and she likes to play with her food.

On the night of her turning, she was raped, beaten and left for dead in an alley. Since Olivia turned her, she has been plagued with nightmares of the night of her death. The constant feeling of powerlessness makes her seek out some control of her life. She often feeds from the type of men who would take advantage of a weaker female and then she toys with them. She is not happy when Olivia gives an order that they are not to hunt for awhile. Werewolves have come to town unannounced and uninvited and that can only mean trouble.

Of course, the first thing Maya wants to do is get a closer look at these werewolves. When she is almost attacked by one, it is 400-year-old Sentry, Shane Quesada, who steps in to take Maya by the hand to help the baby vampire grow up.

He knows that Maya’s best defense against the dreams is to fight off her attacker in her dreamscape, and in reality, to be able to fight off the werewolves who are now seeking her out. He takes Maya away to train her in self-defense and weapons. He know that once Maya feels confident enough that she can take care of herself,  she will finally be able to move beyond the past which still haunts her.

THOUGHTS:
This is an enjoyable series and a quick read for anyone who likes paranormal romance. Understandably, Maya has issues with men when the story begins. We know from the first book that Maya likes to glamour and play with the human men she feeds from. We learn in the beginning of this story exactly why she does it. Still you do want to shake Maya in the beginning because she makes emotionally motivated decisions without thought. She is told to stay away from the werewolves, so of course she takes a new job at a club where they are hanging out. She is told not to trust them and to stay away from them, so of course she agrees to go to their hotel suite alone with the pack. *shake, shake, shake*

I liked Shane a lot until he starts to have the “I’m getting too obsessed with Maya to do my job” talk with himself, just after Maya starts to trust him, and we see her start to mature. Then it is our turn to start shaking Shane for being stupid.

This is the second story of the series and brings the second pair of Bloodmates to the series.  The supernatural world is already having a summit to discuss Olivia and Doug who are the first Bloodmates in forever.  The supe world is concerned about the fact that they can walk in the daylight, and have also created a child. Tensions are high as they await the birth of Olivia’s child, and with the supernatural world up in arms about what their bond could mean to the future of the supernatural world, a second pair is going to ratchet that concern way up.

Overall it was an enjoyable story and a good addition to the Dead in the City series.

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


Favorite Scene:

“I knew you like to watch.” Her voice, quiet and edged with bitterness, cut into the silence of the night. Maya spun around and stormy, dark blue eyes latched onto his. “Do you get off on that?”

“You are the one who challenged me to follow you.” Perplexed by her obvious anger at his presence, Shane knit his brows together. He inched closer, his gaze wandering over her face, memorizing every curve. “Or did you forget?”

Maya’s eyes widened with every inch of personal space that he invaded, yet she didn’t retreat. “I remember telling you and everyone else that I’m tired of having my every move monitored.” She placed her hands on her hips and met his challenging stare. “You’re a sentry and supposedly some badass warrior, but you’re spending the last hours of your night spying on me? What’s your deal? Are you trying to get brownie points with Doug and Olivia? Do you get some kind of bonus for following me around and messing with my life?

“Hardly.”

“Then what’s your damage, dude?”

“Actually”—Shane tilted his head slightly to one side and folded his arms over his chest—”that was going to be my question for you.”

“What?” Maya blinked and took a step back. “Me? What are you talking about?”

“Yes, you.” Shane leaned closer and his voice dropped low. “Why do you insist on hunting but barely feed on your prey?” Maya said nothing and took another step backward, but Shane persisted. He dropped his hands and continued moving toward her, even though she moved farther away.

“You only hunt men, and from what I’ve observed over the past few months, your taste in human men is…Well, let’s just say it’s questionable. You don’t just hunt, Maya. You court, seduce and lure them in much the way one would with a lover, and yet you clearly don’t love them. In fact, I’d say it’s quite the opposite.”

“I like the hunt.” Maya tilted her chin defiantly but gasped when she backed right into the trunk of a massive oak. “What’s wrong with that?” she whispered through trembling lips. “Besides, what would a stodgy old vampire like you know about love?”

“Nothing.” Shane place his hands against the tree on either side of Maya, caging her in. He leaned in so his face was just inches from hers. “I know little of love but I’m well schooled in hunting, whether it’s to feed or in battle. It’s not what you’re doing that intrigues me, Maya, but why you’re doing it.”

“I-I’m hunting, like any other vampire does.” Her voice lowered to a whisper, but the anger and defiance had been replaced by fear and uncertainty. “For the blood.”

“No.” Shane shook his head slowly. Brushing a lock of blond hair off her face, he ran his thumb along her jaw. Her skin was warm and smooth beneath his. Although vampires felt cool to the touch to humans, they felt warm to other vampires because their body temperatures were the same. Although Maya’s flesh seemed hotter and more enticing than any Shane had encountered.

He tiled her chin, forcing her to look him in the eye, and to his surprise, she didn’t resist. “If it were only about blood, youngling, then you would simply glamour a human, feed, and release him. No.” Shane traced the line of her full lower lip with the edge of his thumb, and sadness tugged at whatever was left of his heart. “We both know there is much more at play here than the need for blood.”

“Then spill it.” Maya’s features hardened, and her hands balled into fists at her sides. Dark blue eyes glittered up at him with fierce determination. “What is it that you think I’m after?”

Memories of Maya being dragged into the alley and the look of pure terror and helplessness in her eyes came roaring back—and in that instant he knew. He felt like a fool for not realizing it the moment he’d woken from the dreamscape. When the realization dawned, something deep inside him shattered into a million tiny pieces.

“Power,” Shane whispered. His fangs burst free, and Maya let out a gasp of pleasure. “Control.” He placed a gentle kiss at the corner of her mouth. “Domination.”

Hunger by Felicity Heaton


ORDER A COPY: Hunger (Vampires Realm Romance Series Book 8)

Publisher: Felicity Heaton
Publishing Date: May 10, 2014
eBook: 223 pages

Rating: 4 stars


Betrayed by one of her own and turned into a vampire, hunter Eve is consumed by her hunger for vengeance and has spent five years surviving hell, driven to take the life of the man she once loved. But just as she is about to close in on the hunter-turned-vampire, an event is set in motion that threatens to see him slip beyond her grasp forever—the leader of her bloodline has sent an escort to bring her to the family’s mansion. To a nest of the very creatures she once hunted and loathes.

A vampire assassin hardened by centuries of service, Tor is a man of discipline and loyalty, never straying from his mission or the rules set out for him, and has purged all his weaknesses, including his emotions.

But the moment he meets the broken, fiery female he is to escort to Oslo, something dangerous awakens in him, something possessive and powerful, and when he is pulled into a deadly game of cat and mouse with the man who betrayed her, Tor discovers he will do anything to protect the woman slowly claiming his heart and give her the vengeance she desires—even break all the rules.

Can Eve embrace her new vampire nature in order to have her revenge and find a reason to live again in Tor? Can Tor and Eve stop the man who betrayed her and the deaths of thousands of innocents? Or will he succeed in creating a new army of hybrid vampires who will rise up against the purebloods?


Eve was a Hunter. A hunter of vampires until she was betrayed by the one man she thought she could trust. Because of him she is now everything that she hated. She refuses to drink from humans and will only drink enough animal blood to survive because she has one thing she has to do before she throws herself into the sun—kill Adam for his betrayal.

Tor is an assassin for his House and he has never failed in a mission. When his Lord Vincent sent him to retrieve his love’s sister and bring her home so she will be safe, it was a simple assignment although babysitting seemed a bit below his skill set. But Tor understands revenge and for this first time in hundreds of years, Tor will not be fulfilling his mission without first helping Eve get her revenge against Adam.

When Tor meets Eve, she is not alone, several weaklings are trying to kill her. As a pureblooded vampire, Eve should have dispatched them easily, but her refusal to drink from a human is making her weak. Tor wants to convince Eve that vampires aren’t evil and that she would live a long and happy life if she will only come to accept her new life. And for the first time in centuries, Tor wants more in his future as well.

THOUGHTS:
I receive a daily newsletter from Felicity Heaton and with the exception of Manday Monday, I try not to read them. Why you ask? Because most of them contain scenes from one of her many books and when I read them, I always get caught up in what’s going on. It is my ever growing TBR list that keeps me from buying a copy and finishing the story. In fact, I have several of her free books already downloaded. I just don’t have the time to read them. But when I read the first chapter scene and book information for Hunger, I was hooked and had to have it.

As much as I like the friends to lovers stories and my damaged heroes, I also love the dark, dangerous hero with the soft-gooey inside. Tor fit this bill well. As a long-time assassin, he doesn’t speak much. He walks in, kills who he needs to and goes home. He doesn’t seem to have many friends, but he is unflinchingly loyal to those he does. He falls quickly for Eve, but as the sister of Lilith, who is Lord Vincent’s mate, Eve is marked to be the successor or Chosen Daughter. As an assassin, Tor is treated as a servant by the vampires of his House. Once they get to other vampire, he walks behind Eve and tries not to be seen alone with her. I love that Eve will have none of that, and she is adamant that Tor stands by her side and that “things will be changing around here” and that the vampires will give Tor respect he deserves for the work he does to keep them all safe.

Although it was Book #8 of the series, it worked well as a stand alone. There wasn’t a flurry of past characters stopping by beside Vincent and Lilith, and you really didn’t need to know all her world building. The only other book I have read by Felicity Heaton was Vampire for Christmas, which I had also liked very much. Her stories are interesting and they are quick reads. I wish I had more time to start her series, and she is not available in audiobook yet which is how I usually catch up.

If vamps are your thing, try one of Felicity’s books. I would definitely recommend giving Hunger a try.

And yes, I actually bought this one myself.


Favorite Scene:

I’m giving you the scene that sucked me in —

A bolt of awareness shot down Eve’s spine and she stiffened. Oneiric tensed too and lifted his head. Crimson fire flickered around the edges of his dark irises.

“We have company.” The note of warning in his deep voice said it wasn’t her escort.

Eve grabbed the two large hunting knives on the round black table close to her and reached out with her senses, scouring the area around the club. People were coming. Close to a dozen of them.

Vampires.

The double doors of the main entrance burst open, the heavy steel panels crashing into the walls on either side, allowing a rush of cold damp air to bring tangled unfamiliar scents to her. Behind her, another bang sounded as the back door of the club shot open. Male voices poured into the darkness.

Four ahead of her and seven behind.

She took a deep breath to steady herself and flexed her fingers around the grips of the short blades to stop them from trembling. It wasn’t fear making her hands shake. It was hunger. It gnawed at her insides and clouded her mind, dampening her senses and stealing her strength. She almost started to wish she had taken the animal blood Oneiric had offered her on waking tonight, but she had been so angry about being shipped off to Oslo that she had refused.

“I will handle the back,” Oneiric said and then he was gone and she was alone in the dimly lit room, only a dozen tables and chairs between her and the four advancing men.

Eve cursed her weakness and shifted her booted feet, adopting a stance that was second nature to her, preparing for the fight ahead.

The vampires emerged from the darkness, golden eyes flickering with hunger as they landed on her and lingered.

Weaklings.

The same breed of bastard that had killed her.

A growl curled up her throat and she launched herself forwards, leaped up onto a table and pushed off from the top. She clutched both blades and brought them down as she descended, aiming straight for the man leading the charge. He reacted in an instant, strafing to his left, avoiding her attack. Eve landed in a crouch and immediately twisted towards him, lashing out with the knife in her right hand as she hurled the one in her left at the next man. That one embedded itself deep in his shoulder before he could evade it and he hissed in agony.

She shot to her feet and slashed across the first man’s biceps, cutting deep enough to feel her blade scrape bone, and ducked as he swung at her with his claws, growling low in his throat. Eve kicked forwards, rolled and came up behind the vampire with her other blade embedded in his shoulder. He snarled as he pulled the knife free of his flesh.

She didn’t give him a chance to use her own weapon against her. She swept her hand out, catching him across his throat with her knife, and he howled in pain and dropped the weapon in favour of slapping his hand over the wound on his neck and staunching the river of blood flowing down it.

Eve exhaled hard and blocked the wild swing another of the men threw at her. The first male’s fist slammed into her back at the same time and propelled her forwards, into another of her attackers. He grabbed her by the arm she held the blade in and hurled her into the black bar. Her head connected hard with the brass rail around the edge of the curved bar and pain ricocheted through her skull.

One of the men chuckled as she tried to get her bearings and fought to stop her head from spinning. Her senses reached out to monitor the men and her head cleared. She took her time pretending to gather herself and pinpointed each of her opponents. The one she had cut across the neck was still down, muttering black things to himself, detailing all the ways she was going to pay.

Nothing he came up with was any worse than what she had already endured at the hands of vampires.

The other three men were waiting. How very chivalrous. She pushed against the bar and grimaced as her head ached, the deep throbbing pain the result of more than her collision. Her hunger was growing, roused by the heavy scent of blood in the air. It pressed her to feed, every dark instinct she possessed demanding she take blood from the men behind her.

Eve shook her head and struggled against that dark desire.

She turned to face the three men waiting for her. The dark-haired one who had made her intimately acquainted with the bar stooped and picked up her knife. She palmed the one she held and calculated her chances of survival.

Slim at best.

With her head pounding and dampening her senses, hunger riding her mercilessly and weakening her, she wasn’t up for a fight against one strong vampire, let alone three. If the fourth chose to join the fight, she was definitely dead.

Again.

Eve inched to her right, towards the open space where she had been speaking with Oneiric before the intrusion. The sounds of his fight carried through the darkness and her dull senses said that he had already dealt with three of his foes. She had yet to dispatch one.

It marked the vast difference between them. They were of the same pure bloodline and she should be strong enough to fight these weaklings, but she wasn’t. She was weaker than these men before her, and it was her own fault. She could have easily dispatched them if she had been feeding. If she had been strong.

Her stomach turned at the thought of taking human blood and she kept edging away from the men, buying herself space and time. A fourth vampire disappeared from her senses. Oneiric was down to three. If she could keep her four occupied while not giving them a chance to kill her, Oneiric could make it back to her. She hated having to rely on him to fight her battles, and knew he would use it to illustrate his point about her need to feed, but she had no choice. She couldn’t die here. She wasn’t ready to go to Hell yet.

The three vampires tracked her and the fourth stumbled to his feet. He pulled his hand away from the deep slash across his throat. It had stopped bleeding.

Eve turned with them, her back to the dance floor now.

She readied her knife and called on her senses, allowing them to stretch out and encompass the men. Silver lines shimmered over their bodies, forming ghost versions of each of them. Those ghosts moved, her senses predicting the paths they would take, giving her a shot at taking at least one of them down. Three of them had multiple paths, a blur of motion that made it dangerous to act on.

The path of the fourth, the one with the neck wound, was as clear as night and he was about to make a grave mistake.

He disappeared from behind the other three vampires, a shadow of movement through the tables. Eve waited for the critical moment and then thrust her right hand in a sharp diagonal arc at her side, burying her knife to the hilt under his chin. He gagged and cold wet gushed over her hand and trailed down her arm.

Eve pulled the blade free and swept it across his throat, throwing all of her strength into the blow. The knife cut deep, severing his spine, and he dropped hard.

The remaining three weakling vampires snarled and launched themselves as one at her. Eve did her best to block each blow they threw, her forearms taking the brunt of their wrath, and tried to get some attacks of her own in. They were relentless, driving her backwards, crowding her and making it impossible for her to escape.

She bit her tongue to silence her cries as claws cut and fists slammed, each blow weakening her a little more.

She couldn’t die yet. She needed peace. She needed to make the bastard pay.

It couldn’t end here. Now.

A cry escaped her as sharp talons sliced through her right biceps and she dropped her only weapon.

A deep male voice rolled over her like a storm, his foreign tongue dark and sinister.

The three vampires crowding her eased back and turned as one to face the newcomer. Eve withdrew, clutching her arm. Blood spilled from between her fingers and the ever-present hunger grew worse, bringing out her fangs as it demanded she taste the sweet, coppery liquid.

A fifth male melted out of the shadows at the entrance of the club, a six-foot-five wall of lethal muscle and deadly grace, his face obscured by the hood of his oversized black sweatshirt. Calm laced with malice rolled off him and she felt his gaze flicker to her.

A hot shiver went through her in response to the intense feeling, the incredible awareness that shot an arrow straight through her heart and made the rest of the room fall away in an instant, drawing every shred of her focus to him.

He calmly set his black duffle down on the bar and strode forwards with purpose, his black army boots loud on the wooden floor. She felt his eyes leave her. The room crashed back into existence and air rushed into her lungs again.

The low lights flickered over the lower half of his face, giving tantalising glimpses of firm, sensual lips and a defined jaw. The corner of those lips quirked, a split-second shift that she would have missed had she not been staring so intently at them.

Panic began as a low thrumming in her belly, a turbulent swirling that made her take another step back for each one he advanced, placing more distance between them. The malice and darkness he emanated grew stronger and her instincts warned her away, screamed that she stood no chance against this newcomer.

He was stronger than the other four combined.

Stronger than Oneiric.

Her panic exploded into outright fear as the man reached behind his back, whipped out a black pistol and fired off a round, nailing the vampire she had tagged as the leader between his eyes. His head snapped backwards, blood spraying from the gaping wound in the back of his skull, and he fell into a table, crushing it under him.

The other two rushed the man.

They didn’t stand a chance.

He took the first out with lethal efficiency, kicking him hard in the balls and then catching him with a diagonal uppercut as he doubled over, snapping his neck.

Eve stood frozen to the spot, unsure what to make of the deadly new combatant, and unsure whether he was friend or foe.

She hoped to God he wasn’t foe.

She wasn’t even sure he was a vampire. Her scrambled senses said that he was but he didn’t fight like any vampire she had ever met. None of them had used guns for a start, and none of them fought dirty as this man did.

The remaining male bravely faced off against him, brandishing both of her fallen knives.

It didn’t help him.

The huge male cupped his hands and stepped forwards, nothing more than a blur as he closed the distance between him and the remaining vampire. He slapped his hands over the vampire’s ears, the crack as they connected startling her into moving, placing even more distance between them. The vampire unleashed an agonised snarl and thrust with one of the blades. The man sidestepped, caught his arm and twisted it hard, bringing his other hand down in a devastating blow that shattered the bone.

The vampire’s agonised snarl became a scream.

The man calmly grabbed him by his throat, pressed his free hand against his face, and shoved forwards, snapping his head backwards and breaking his neck.

Eve took another step backwards, towards the door to the back rooms. Maybe she should have made a break for the exit while the man had been occupied with neatly defeating three vampires in under three minutes.

He advanced on her, the sense of malice coming from him not abating. If anything, it was getting stronger.

Vampire’s Thirst by Cynthia Garner


ORDER A COPY: Vampire’s Thirst (The Awakening Series)

Publisher: Forever Yours
Publishing Date: May 6, 2014
Paperback: 224 pages

Rating: 3 stars


Starting where Book 1 left off, Duncan MacDonnough has assumed leadership of the local vampire conclave and changes are being met with resistance.

Kimber Treat, the necromancer everyone (including her) blames for starting the zombie apocalypse in the first place. Duncan and Kimber are new in their love and the complications of zombies and hungry vampires puts stress on an already shaky relationship. Duncan wants to keep her safe, but Kimber still believes she can end the Outbreak. Will the cost be too great?


In the continuing story from Vampire’s Hunger, we find that the vampires, now lead by Duncan, have moved several humans into their compound. The humans can stay in the safety of the compound, protected by the vampires, in exchange for blood to feed the vampires.

Safety is still a concern especially since they need to get food to feed all the humans staying in the compound and scavenging is becoming more difficult. Duncan is working with other vampires leaders to wall off corridors between compounds to travel between cities.

Kimber is still focused on trying to use her power as a necromancer to try and push the Unseen out of the zombies but she is finding the strain to much to handle this by herself. While running from zombies, Kimber trips and grabs onto Duncan’s second in command to keep from falling inadvertently draining the Unseen (which also reanimates the vampires) from him and using it to push the Unseen out of the zombies. Although Kimber is excited about the boost of power, she almost killed Duncan’s second. Now the vampires not only blame her for starting the apocalypse, but now they are afraid to get near her, including Duncan.

As a last attempt, Kimber locates other necromancers among the saved humans and attempts to combine their strengths to send the dark power back to the Unseen. If this works, Kimber might just put an end to the zombies, but even if it works, what will the vampires do the Kimber, now that they know she could kill them with just a touch?

THOUGHTS:
I was terribly disappointed in this Book 2 of the story.

Warning: some spoilers here!!!!

We find out at the beginning that Kimber is now pregnant by Duncan which is not unheard of but it is still just short of a miracle baby between human and vampire. Instead of telling Duncan (for most of the story), she first needs to risk lives to get a pregnancy test at the pharmacy in zombietown, using the excuse that she needs tampons. Now, I’m gonna guess that basic hygiene products like tampons should be part of the pharmaceutical/first aid raids and stocked up on along with food stuff so you don’t have to risk lives each time one of the many females in the compound starts their period.  Duncan falls for this because deep down he is a guy and doesn’t ask tampon questions.

It is during this pregnancy test raid that she finds out that she can use the power inside of the vampires to help destroy the zombies (almost killing the vampire in the process), obviously none of the vampires want to touch her, including Duncan, which puts a strain on their relationship. Kimber is also experimenting with the other necromancers to see if they can work together. Kimber feels the power of the baby while she is working to push out the Unseen.

It is only after she finally tells Duncan about the baby, that he confronts her that maybe she is stealing the life from their baby when she does this.   Now, by the time she finally confesses about the baby to Duncan, Kimber has gone on several raids, worked her body to stroke levels to push out the Unseen from the zombies and was possibly stealing power from the baby…the miracle human/vampire baby. I am unsatisfied that Duncan, the strong and powerful vampire leader, didn’t have a stronger reaction to the fact that Kimber not only hid his child from him, but was risking herself (and the child) over and over again. There should have been anger, yelling, screaming, threatening, betrayal. There should be been a nuclear blow up fight between them, but he just took it in stride and continued to let her risk herself and his child to destroy the Unseen. What??? What kind of alpha male vampire doesn’t go bat shit crazy when he finds out (1) he is going to be a father, (2) she’s neglected to mention it, and (3) she’s been risking her life for awhile now without discussing those risk to the baby with him? It just doesn’t make sense.

There was also several secondary characters that showed promise in Book #1, and we started Book #2 with a possible love triangle between Kimber’s friend Natalie, the fae Aohdan and Duncan’s second, which fizzled out quickly, when the vampire (previously drooling over Natalie) declares her returned desires for him as just a side effect of the feedings and would disappear in a few days.

I can’t find any information about whether this Book #2 was the end of the story line or not. There are several things settled, yet several questions left unanswered.  Except I don’t believe that I even care anymore to continuing reading if there is a Book #3. This was a very unsatisfying story.  :(

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

Tamed by Rebecca Zanetti


ORDER A COPY: Tamed (Dark Protectors)

Publisher: eKensington
Publishing Date: May 15, 2014
ebook: 115 pages

Rating: 4 stars


Caleb Donovan was never meant to be a prophet. At heart he’s a conqueror, his appetites far more carnal than spiritual. He’s not inclined to repress his passions and surrender to fate. After all, that’s what cost him Lily—three centuries ago. She married another, because it was ordained. Now that he’s in the same benighted calling—and forced into proximity with her—all the old desires are roaring back to life. . .

After widowhood and centuries of celibacy, Lily is eager to explore the wild side of life, except now she’s vulnerable to another forced relationship, with an enemy. But this time she’s determined to choose her own path. And if hot, furious Caleb comes charging to the rescue, it might just change both their destinies.


Caleb Donovan has been hated by the demons for backing his relative who had forsaken an intended demon bride. When Dage Kayrs, the King of the Realm, decided he would no longer go along with the demon’s demands that he shun Caleb, his decision drew the demons into the war which was already raging between the Realm and the kurjans. Dage needs the Realm Rebel on his side if he has any hope to ever win this war.

Fate has given Caleb the mark of a prophet but Caleb is a warrior, not a peacemaker. The kurjans and the demons are declaring that they want to sit down and discuss an end to the war. As one of the other prophets, Lily Sotheby is willing to do anything to broker peace between the nations, but Caleb and Dage are more wary of the olive branch being offered.

Caleb might believe that the offer for peace is just a ruse but he is happy to spend time with his lost love, Lily. Centuries ago Lily chose duty over love and mated with the prophet Miles, it was at his death that Lily received the mark of the prophet. Although her mate was dead, vampire mating bonds are forever and any male who tried to even kiss her would fall ill. That was before Lily was infected with the kurjan’s weapon, Virus-27, which breaks the mating bond. Now for the first time in centuries, Caleb has hope that he can once again claim the only woman who has ever held his heart.

Except Caleb isn’t the only one delighted by a chance to claim Lily. The kurjan leader has had his eye on Lily as well. To bring peace, he wants the one thing that Caleb is not willing to give…Lily.

THOUGHTS:
Caleb and Lily were great characters who have appeared throughout the series. Lily is a prophet but she is also a counselor who has helped Jase to work through his PTSD from the torture he received at the hands of the demons.

Caleb joined right in with the fighting with his men to protect the King and the Realm, and he has been a great help to the Kayrs in planning strategy and keeping our vampires and their mates safe.

Although this novella wasn’t huge in pushing the Dark Protector storyline forward, it was a passionate story which gives Caleb and Lily a second chance at the love they didn’t get to explore in their youth. Lily chose to follow duty rather than her heart and mated with Miles who is killed shortly thereafter. The mating bond in this series is very strong and is permanent, and as romantic as that is, it does pose a problem in cases like Lily who is a lonely widow. She has been alone and celibate for centuries because the bond keeps females safe from other males. Unlike the shifter Katie and Talon’s mate Cara who were adversely effected by being infected with the Virus-27, to Lily being infected is a almost a blessing and it gives her a chance to be Caleb which would never have been able to occur without her broken bond.

This unexpected second chance is the reason I feel the characters are so exciting. Caleb is all in for a second chance from the beginning and Lily really doesn’t need too much convincing. Lily just wants to be treated like a woman and not like a lady so Caleb shows her the difference between making love and hot sex. Sizzle!

These were great characters and I love putting them together for a HEA.

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


Favorite Scene:

They emerged into the chilly night. She shivered in the night air, and he quickly shrugged out of his jacket to drape it around her. The darn leather covered her almost to her knees.

The woman looked small, fragile, and definitely kissable.

He turned and pressed her against the worn brick building, startled yet again by the delicacy of her petite frame. He stood at least a foot and a half taller, but the woman had such a presence he often forgot her stature. Slowly, he slid his hand up to cup her chin. Curiosity and need glimmered in the depths of her mysterious eyes.

Even so, he allowed several seconds to pass in case she wanted to move away.

She didn’t twitch.

Her chin held a delicate stubbornness that tempted him far more than he’d ever admit. Would she still taste like strawberries?

He lowered his head, giving her plenty of time to stop him. His lips met hers, and heat slid through his veins. The rightness of the connection clicked somewhere deep inside him.

Then she sighed, and his head spun.

He pressed harder, his tongue sweeping inside her mouth.  Fire, need, and strawberries became the center of his world. The leash he constantly kept on himself snapped. He stepped into her, his body caging her, his erection brushing against her warmth.

He tangled his hand in her silky hair, tethering her taking all he could. She sighed and kissed him back, a soft sound of surrender emerging with her breath. Fisting her hair, he angled her so he could go deeper, invading her mouth. Possessive and fierce, he wanted all of her.

A car alarm went off blocks away, dragging him back to the present.

The woman might kiss like the devil, but she was a lady, and he wasn’t going to take her the first time on a street corner. So he broke the kiss and slowly released her.

Her perfect blond hair was mussed and her lips were swollen from his. Rosiness covered her cheeks, and desire burned bright in her eyes. He bit back a groan at the need to bury himself in her. Even so, he couldn’t help running his knuckles across the breasts pushed high by the underclothing. The softness almost dropped him to his knees.

She breathed in, her entire body shuddering, a vulnerable look of surprise flashing across her face. “Caleb.”

His body rioted with the need to finish what they’d started. But his brain kicked into gear. One kiss, and reality had slapped him upside the head. He’d never be able to walk away this time, and the last thing he wanted was a mate–even one who couldn’t wear his mark because of the virus. Lily was a sweet, kind, gentle woman who deserved protection. Right now, he was needed on the front lines, peace talks or not.

How to Seduce a Vampire (Without Really Trying) by Kerrelyn Sparks


ORDER A COPY: How to Seduce a Vampire (Without Really Trying) (Love at Stake)

Publisher: Avon
Publishing Date: April 29, 2014
Paperback: 384 pages

Rating: 3 stars


Vampire Zoltan Czakvar is on the hunt for the truth about his father’s death. He’s been searching for a very long time—since 1241, in fact. And he is not about to give up, even when he’s attacked by a woman with striking blue eyes and a hell of a right hook!

Neona is also on the hunt. She’s looking for a mate, and she thinks muscled Zoltan will work just fine. After all, men are good for only one thing. Soon, though, she realizes there’s more to this handsome vampire than just sexual prowess. But she’s keeping a secret from Zoltan, something so big that it will rock the vampire world.

Can their new found love survive . . . even if their passion means the destruction of her world?


Zoltan Czakvar has been a vampire and Coven Master for over 800 years, and his day to day has become so routine…meetings, castle tours. The only excitement in his life right now is Howard’s wife, Elsa and her crew are renovating some of the more rundown areas of his castle in Transylvania.

Even though he has always known about vampires (it is Transylvania, after all), Zoltan never aspired to become one. It was only after his mother died, and his father was killed, that Zoltan sought out his sire. He needed to find who had killed his father, but after years of searching, he hadn’t found any answers and he needed to stay strong, young and healthy until he had some answers. That was in 1241. Zoltan is pretty sure whoever the assassin was is long dead, but he still stares at the arrow on his wall and dreams he would someday find an answer.

When Russell shows up at Zoltan’s castle carrying an arrow that has the same markings on it, Zoltan follows Russell back to Asia. But Tibet was the last place, he expected to find his father’s killer. Zoltan spent his time searching most of eastern Europe, but never expected someone to come halfway around the world to kill a man in Transylvania.

What he finds in the small village in the hidden valley in the Himalaya creates more questions than answers, including why do some of these warriors have the ability to talk to animals just like Zoltan and his mother could. This small group of warrior women are protecting some secret. Something important enough to kill anyone getting close enough to their valley to protect. When Zoltan tries to approach Neoma outside of the village walls to get some answers, she attacks him, but not with plans to kill him…at least not right away. Neoma wants Zoltan to father a child for her, and then she promises to release him after he gets the job done. As a vampire, Zoltan can’t father children, but he is not sure that this is a good time to mention that little bit of information. Not if he wants to live another day.

And Zoltan needs to survive if he wants to solve the mystery of what these women are protecting and what they had to do with his father’s death. As Zoltan starts to lose his heart to Neoma, he is begins to fear that she might have had been responsible for his father’s death…800 years ago.

THOUGHTS:
I can’t explain to you how much it pains me to say bad things about one of my favorite authors, but I didn’t like this story at all. I read several glowing reviews of the story so maybe it is just me.  Once I thought about the series, I find that the stories I don’t like as much involved other mythical creatures rather than just the vampire/human, vampire/shifter and shifter/human romances. Among my non-favorites are Connor’s story with the fallen death angel; Howard’s story and although I like Elsa’s job on the renovation show, I wasn’t into her and the Aunt’s and their mystical powers, and now Zoltan and his warrior girlfriend.

Things I found distracting about the story included the fact that although Neoma was taught English at some point in her life, it has been decades since she spoke English with anyone, and yet she had no problem jumping right into a conversation with Zoltan.  Plus, she was born and lived in this hidden valley for a long, long time, but she had no problem following slang and not being freaked out by Zoltan’s sat phone, etc. They still cook over an open fire in a single clay pot but she didn’t question him making a phone call? I know that I am reading a vampire book, but characters and the story plot need to be conceivable within the world she created.

Without ruining the plot for anyone, I was bothered by a big “what comes first: the chicken or the egg” problem with the story plot and the ending leaves some big questions for the future of the series.

So after weeks holding onto my ARC copy until this popped to the top of my TBR list, I was so disappointed in this story. So after I have a good cry for saying mean things about Kerrelyn Sparks’ hard work, and I am going to sneak in a re-read of Roman’s or Gregori’s story (my favorites) to remind myself why I like this series so much.

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


Favorite Scene:

He eyed the woman. She was sitting quietly beside him, biting her lip. Nervous. That was a good sign. He didn’t want to think that she did this sort of thing often. “Did I hear you correctly? You want my seed?”

Her cheeks flushed slightly, but she looked him in the eye. “Yes.”

“Was this your plan all along? Knock me out, tie me up, and rape me?”

She winced. “It’s not rape.”

“What else would you call it when you forcibly plan to take my seed?”

“I figured you would be willing.”

“To be raped?”

She grimaced. “It’s not rape as long as you agree.”

“What if I don’t agree?”

She looked dumbfounded for a moment. “I thought men always were agreeable.”

His hands fisted tightly around the rope as an unexpected surge of anger skittered through him. How many agreeable men had she found over the years? Probably plenty. What red-blooded male wouldn’t agree to letting a beautiful woman ravish him in the woods? Dammit.

He took a deep breath. Stay in control. “Before I can consider your offer, I have to know exactly what you expect of me.”

Her gaze drifted to his groin. “I thought it was obvious.”

“On the contrary, there are numerous issues that must be addressed.” Thankfully, her gaze returned to his face. He didn’t want her to notice the growing bulge in his pants.

She frowned. “Issues?”

“Yes. For instance, how long will I be required to performed? Will I receive compensation for any injuries incurred during the act?”

Her eyes widened. “Injuries?”

“It happens. I’ve been known to get terribly wild. Fortunately, you appear to be in excellent health, so you should survive the ordeal. Do you mind signing a waiver?” He enjoyed the growing expression of horror on her face. “Which position do you want to use? Or do you prefer multiple positions? How many times to you wish to climax?”

Her mouth dropped open. Then she shook herself and glared at him. “Ten.”

He blinked. Was she calling his bluff? “Ten what? Positions or climaxes?”

She hesitated a second, then lifted her chin. “Both.”

He stifled a laugh. She wasn’t letting him get the better of her.

Jerk, the leopard grumbled. Stop playing cat and mouse with her.

Zoltan glanced up and spotted the cat lounging on the branch of a nearby oak tree. You were supposed to leave.

It thumped its tail on the branch. I’ll leave when I feel like it.

Does she jump men like this every night? Zoltan asked.

What do you think? The leopard narrowed its eyes. Look who’s jealous now.

I’m not— Was he? Zoltan pushed that thought aside and turned back to the woman. “Are you sure you can handle ten climaxes?”

She shrugged. “Are you sure you can deliver?”

He smiled, enjoying the way she stood up to him. “I’ll do my best. But it might take an hour or so, depending on–”

“Oh, no!” We must be quicker than that. No more than five minutes at the most. In fact, we had better start right away before Freddie and the others find us.”

Another jab of anger shot through him. “Freddy? Who the hell is he?”

“Freddie’s not–”

“Not tied to a tree, is he? Was he last night’s five-minute conquest?”

Her mouth dropped open.

How jealous can you get? The leopard eyed him with disdain.

I’m not! Shit. He was. Jealous of the unknown lovers of a woman he’d barely met. He must be going insane.

Vampire’s Hunger by Cynthia Garner

Vampire's Hunger (Awakening, #1)


ORDER A COPY:

Publisher: Forever Yours
Publishing Date: April 1, 2014
Paperback: 240 pages

Rating: 4 stars


In a post-apocalyptic wasteland, civilization no longer exists, and only the strongest survive. The few remaining humans must band together with supernatural beings to battle unspeakable evil—or all hope will be lost.

Kimber Treat is an ordinary woman with an extraordinary gift: she can raise the dead. As a necromancer who works with the police, she communicates with murder victims to bring their killers to justice. But after a normal session goes horribly wrong, Kimber realizes she’s summoned something dark and sinister. She’s unwittingly unleashed the apocalypse, and everyone blames her . . . except Duncan MacDonnough, the devastatingly handsome vampire she can’t stop fantasizing about.

As society shuts down and flesh-eating hordes close in, Duncan vows to protect Kimber. He can keep her safe from others—but not from the insatiable carnal hunger he feels for her. Now racing to reverse the chaos she’s unleashed, Kimber can’t afford any distractions. But even as she succumbs to Duncan’s seduction, she fears that he has a hidden agenda. And with the line between life and death starting to blur, his secrets might kill her-or worse.


In Cynthia Garner’s new Awakening series, the police use necromancers in their murder investigations to question the deceased.  Kimberly Treat has been brought in to see who murdered Richard Whitcomb. This time when she taps into the magic of the Unseen, something dark takes a ride with Whitcomb’s soul. Before she returns his energy to the Unseen, Whitcomb bites the M.E. and begins an outbreak of a zombie virus which takes over the world.

Our story fast forwards to six months later where Kimber, her friend Natalie, are hold up in an apartment building with Duncan and his fey friend Aodhán. Supplies are running low and Duncan’s vampire Queen will offer safety to Kimber and her friends in exchange for Kimber raising her murdered vampire lover from the dead. Kimber has no desire to live in a nest of vampires, even if it is more secure and lush than her current space. Especially not after Maddalene sent her vampires to kill Kimber’s parents.

Even if Kimber wanted to help the Queen, the Unseen hasn’t acted right since that fateful day six months ago. Kimber has tried again and again to pull the zombie virus from the infected and each time she feels the pull of something dark and evil when she touches the Unseen.

When Madeline threatens the life of her friends unless Kimber comes to her compound, Kimber might just be stuck between a zombie hoard and a hungry vampire army.

THOUGHTS:
This was a quick story that draws you in and before you are ready, it’s over. Worse, when you think about it you still have questions. The good thing is that there is a Book 2, Vampire Thirst, coming out next month.

I also realized once we got to the end that there was probably as much sex as there were zombies in the story. When Kimber and the gang stayed in their apartment and kept quiet with the windows covered, they didn’t seem to be bothered by the zombies. We never saw them scouting for supplies, only traveling between the vampire compound and their apartment. There were a few zombie fights, but I never felt tension of any real danger.

There was also the added interest in blending vampires, fey, magic and zombies (but so far no sign of werewolves). Kimber and Duncan were interesting characters and we get a hint of sexual interest and snarkiness between Natalie and Aodhán.

It was a light read and I am interested enough to see where Book 2 takes us.

Received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.


Favorite Scene:

And that was the other thing that had changed. The two-bedroom apartment where she used to live with Natalie now housed four people from time to time—two humans, one fey warrior and a vampire who was thankfully absent for the moment. With only half a cup of coffee she wasn’t sure she’d be able to put up with bossy-pants Duncan MacDonnough.

Even if his bossiness made her want to roll over and do whatever he wanted.

She’d thought about suggesting they all get a place of their own. It wasn’t as if there weren’t plenty of empty apartments available. And she’d sure as hell thought plenty about telling Duncan to stay at his own place at Maddalene’s complex. But while having people living with her was aggravating at times, she could still recognize there was safety in numbers. If for no other reason, she and Natalie could sleep while Aodhán or Duncan kept watch, and vice versa.

From where he sat on the sofa, Aodhán said, “I know I don’t need to remind you to keep your voices down.” The lovely Irish lilt did nothing to mask the slight ring of condescension in his deep voice.

“No, you don’t,” Kimber muttered. She finished her coffee and placed the mug on the table. “Although it does sound quite lovely when you don’t remind us.”

He turned his head and looked at her. She only knew it because the light from the candles on the table glinted in his eyes.

“Oh, for crying out loud.” She picked up one of the candles and carried it carefully into the living room. She set it on the coffee table and sat down on the other end of the sofa. “I can’t even see you from in there.” Curling her legs beneath her, she rested her head against the back of the sofa and stared at him. He picked up a soft cloth and stroked it along the sword blade. She frowned. “You cleaned that thing yesterday, and you haven’t used it since.”

“A sharp, clean sword is a warrior’s best friend.” He lifted a brow. “It also makes it much easier to lop off heads. Or, if you’d prefer, I can let it get dirty and dull and then hack away at the hordes when we face them. Take five minutes to do a job that should only take a few seconds.”

“Are you sure that’s it?” Natalie asked as she walked over to them. “Or do you just like fondling your sword?”

Kimber pressed her lips together, her gaze going from Natalie to Aodhán. These two had struck sparks from the moment they’d met, and it had only gotten worse with their close living quarters. She wasn’t sure if she should fix some popcorn or take cover.

“Oh, I’m like any other man, lass,” he rejoined with a smirk. “I’m not averse to fondling my mighty sword. Of course, I’m also highly inclined to allow those of the feminine persuasion the opportunity to wrap their hands around it, to stroke along the hard shaft all the way to the tip.” He gave a lecherous waggle of his brows.

Natalie rolled her eyes and shook her head. Kimber snorted back a laugh.

Without taking his gaze off Natalie, he asked, “Do you have something against fondling a man’s sword, then?” He stretched his long legs out under the coffee table.

“I like fondling plenty. With the right weapon,” Natalie added without missing a beat. “But that’s something you’ll only find out in your dreams, fairy boy.”

Rather than be incensed by her derogatory name calling, Aodhán grinned, his teeth flashing white in the dim room.

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.

To Catch a Vampire by Jennifer Harlow

To Catch A Vampire (A F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad Investigation, #2)


ORDER A COPY: To Catch a Vampire (A F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad Investigation)

Publisher: Midnight Ink
Publishing Date: September 8, 2012
Paperback: 288 pages

Rating: 5 stars


Mission #2 brings sizzling kisses and deadly vengeance.

Beatrice Alexander is still adjusting to life as a secret special agent, wiping out zombies and other supernatural threats. Now, a new case requires partnership with her annoying and gorgeous vampire co-worker Oliver. To infiltrate the goth vamp scene in Dallas, Texas, they must go undercover as a married couple and, Oliver’s convincing public affection has Bea swooning in her bustier and fishnets. Clubbing with the undead turns bloody when Oliver’s old enemy, the vampire lord of Dallas, turns up.


Beatrice has been working for F.R.E.A.K.S. for a few months and she’s enjoying learning investigation from her fellow agents…ok, she likes spending time with hot, sexy Team Leader/werewolf Will Price. But Will is on vacation spending time with the some werewolf alphas doing who know what: marking trees, killing deer…hmmm, let’s not think to much about that. Bea misses him and although he calls her to get updates, it’s just not the same.

When the boss, Dr. George Black, calls her into his office to tell her she’s being sent on a special assignment…just her and the annoyingly flirty, vampire pain-in-the-butt Oliver Montrose, Bea isn’t too certain she is ready for undercover work, especially being alone with Oliver. She is really starting to wonder when she is told they are going undercover as husband and wife and the bustier and fishnet stockings which make her look like an Elvira reject are part of her disguise. Not only is the hotel one that caters exclusively to vampires and their friends, and which is run by a gorgeous (of course) vampire Marianna, an old friend of Oliver’s, but she’s getting really suspicious of his motives and his need for Beatrice to be the one to accompany him when she sees the four poster bed they will have to share.

She agrees to stay on the mission because she wants to help find out if there really is a vampire cabal who are responsible for all the missing people, and put a stop to them. At least she thought the cabal was her biggest concern until she finds out Will knows she’s missing from the mansion and she’ll soon have to face an angry, jealous werewolf who thinks she snuck off for a vampire tryst with her co-worker. She’s just not sure who’s fangs she needs to be more concerned about: Marianna, the cabal, Oliver or Will’s.

And just when they think the danger is past, the local Lord is holding a centuries old grudge against Oliver and thinks Beatrice is the perfect lure for his trap.

THOUGHTS:
These characters are so much fun. I love the fact that every time Beatrice calls the mansion with an update on the case, the others are saying odd things like “do us all a favor and be careful.” We find out this because Will has found out Beatrice was on a mission with Oliver and no one will tell him where they are and he is furious. He gives a dozen excuses for why he’s unhappy, but you know it boils down to jealousy since Will and Oliver don’t get along and both want Beatrice.

This is also the mission where Oliver and Beatrice eventually bond and Oliver goes from being an annoyance to Beatrice to their being best friends (which also annoys the hell out of Will).

It also shows that although Oliver is sexy and flirty with Beatrice, Beatrice does finally get a look at true vampire nature which is cold and brutal although Beatrice does hold her own.

I do so hope there will be a Book 4.


Favorite Scene:

“What do you want, Freddy?”

“You seem a clever woman. I believe you already know the answer to that.”

I do. “He’s not that stupid. It’s obviously a trap. He won’t come.”

“You do not think he cares enough for you to risk his life?”

I don’t know. “He’ll know what you have planned. He’ll send someone else, most likely one of my fellow federal agents. If you let me go right now, maybe the men with guns won’t storm this place and shoot you on sight.”

“I am well aware of your affiliation with the F.R.E.A.K.S., Agent Alexander,” he says with another smile. “However, if you recall your vampiric law, by assaulting me last night during a legally sanctioned duel, I can by all accounts shoot you on sight and your organization could not lay a finger on me. I have no desire to harm you, mind you, but I will if your lover does not show his cowardly hide here this evening, Once again, I ask: Do you think he will?”

The exhaustion isn’t strong enough to mask the fear anymore. My heart rate doubles. “I really don’t know.”

He’s satisfied with the answer, giving me a half smile. “He was always selfish. Never gave any thought to others, your lover.”

“For the nine hundredth time, he isn’t my lover,” I say through gritted teeth. “We’ve never even really kissed, okay?”

Freddy pulls up a chair to sit beside me. He crosses his legs and holds his hand on his knee. “And yet he showed such devotion last night.”

“We’re friends. That’s what friends do for each other. You should get some.”

“I learned the heart-wrenching way what closeness with others brings,” he said coldly. “Misery. Contempt. Even those we hold above all others, whom we never thought could harm us, are not above betrayal. I choose mine carefully now. And as this current situation shows, you should have as well.”

“They really hurt you. Oliver and Jules.”

“Oh, yes,” he says, eyes haunted. “More than words can express.”

“Oliver told me a little about it. They ran off together?”

“Yes. He swanned in and seduced the love of my life in less than a fortnight. I thought I could trust them, my blood brother and lover.” He wrings his hands. “Jules paid for that betrayal at the hands of executioners, and now two hundred years later, so will Oliver.”

“It was forever ago,” I say. “How can you still be—”

“If you knew the first thing about true love, you would not make such an asinine statement. I ache for Jules every day. Part of my soul died when Jules did,” Freddy says, as if each word physically hurts.

“I’m sorry,” I say, meaning it.

“Thank you,” he says, patting my bound hand. “I would have understood if they were truly in love, but Oliver just used him as he does all. Poisoned him against me. He—”

Huh? What? Did he just… “Wait,” I say, holding up my hands as high as they would go, being tied down and all. “Whoa. Did you just say him? Who is him?”

“Jules. Julian.”

If this were a cartoon, my head would spin around with steam coming out of my ears. “Jules is a dude?” I ask, flabbergasted. “Oliver stole your boyfriend? A man? With a…” Holy heck.

“You seem surprised,” Freddy says, puzzled.

“Um, yeah! He hits on anything with boobs! I’ve never seen him even look at another man that way Women, yeah, like…all the time. Non-stop. It’s just…huh.” Oliver’s bisexual. Didn’t see that one coming, and I’m from Southern California.

“He always favored women over men. That was why I thought nothing of a minor flirtation between them. The many times I have looked back on it, I suppose I should have suspected, especially after the night we were all in bed together. He and Jules–”

“Wait! Whoa. You two slept together? All three of you? At the same time? How does that even work? Where does everything go? Who—”

Freddy chuckles. “How innocent you are, Agent Alexander.”

“Stop laughing! I just found out one of my good friends is bi and into threesomes! It’s a lot to take in!”

Freddy continues chuckling. “You know, I finally do believe you and Oliver have not made love. Quite a shame. I will say one thing in his favor, he was quite a lover. Tender, yet rough all at once. I am sorry you will not have a change to experience it before I gut him.”

Freddy stops smiling, as do I. Vivisection is a terrific mood killer.

Mind over Monsters by Jennifer Harlow

Mind Over Monsters (A F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad Investigation, #1)


ORDER A COPY: Mind Over Monsters (A F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad Investigation)

Publisher: Midnight Ink
Publishing Date: October 8, 2011
Paperback: 280 pages

Rating: 5 stars


Beatrice Alexander is no ordinary schoolteacher–she can move objects with her mind, an embarrassing skill she hasn’t yet mastered or embraced. After nearly killing her brother by accident, she joins the F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad, the Federal Response to Extra-Sensory and Kindred Supernaturals. This top-secret branch of the FBI combats ghosts, ghouls, and other monsters threatening humanity.

With her teammates–among them a handsome former-detective werewolf and an annoying Don Juan vampire who’s dead-set on seducing her–Beatrice investigates her first case. Disgustingly dismembered bodies have turned up, bearing bite marks of the undead. Someone–or something–is raising a horde of hideous, bloodthirsty zombies. Armed with Bette, her trusty machete, Beatrice takes on the master of the flesh-devouring corpses, who’s guarding a horrifying secret.

Featuring a team of monster hunters with unique paranormal abilities, the F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad Investigation series combines humor, suspense, and supernatural crime-fighting.


Beatrice Alexander is an ordinary elementary school teacher, that is normal and ordinary for a teacher who is psychokinetic and can raise the furniture in her room during a bad dream. Two things have happened that will change Beatrice’s life. First, she saved a student from being run over by knocking him down,…and lifting the car over their heads (no one noticed, right?) and she almost killed her brother during an argument. Her brother—half-brother—may have been the first person to call her a freak, but that doesn’t mean she really wants him dead.

Now she has been approached by the FBI branch, F.R.E.A.K.S. (Federal Response to Extra-Sensory and Kindred Supernaturals). They want her to come train to focus her ability and join their squad which investigates unusual occurrences—which usually involve attacks by vampires, werewolves, ghouls, witches, zombies or some other nasty that goes bump in the night.

Her team mates include a blind man who can see ghosts, a teenager teleporter who can walk through locked doors (especially helpful when her parents used her for heists), a pyrokinetic who looks like a supermodel, and Carl, a psychometor. But the two men who are making Beatrice crazy is the hot and sexy team leader, former detective now werewolf, William Price, (Is it too soon to ask if we can name our first child, Elizabeth?) and flirty vampire, Oliver Montrose (If he’s talking, he’s flirting.) It appears that Will and Oliver can’t get along, and when both men set their sights on Bea, the tension between them escalates.

Beatrice’s first assignment is a suspected animal attack, but when she accidentally links her powers with Carl, they relive the victim’s last few moments of a zombie attack. But someone has to be pulling the zombie strings, and they need to look for a necromancer who is raising the dead. The first thing to do is to try to connect the victims and see who had a grudge against them both.

As they get closer to their killer, he raises the whole cemetery and attacks the Town. Beatrice grabs a machete and starts hacking. Ok, maybe it would have been better to ease into the job more slowly.

THOUGHTS:
I really love these characters. I had an opportunity read Book 3 last year and have been waiting for an opportunity to read the first two of the series.

Beatrice is adorable and she fell for Will from the first moment she saw him. I love that the hot, sexy werewolf blushes when they are alone and they both start getting a little nervous. Although the hotter choice for Beatrice is Will, Oliver is hysterical with his flirty banter with Beatrice. In this first story, Beatrice is more annoyed with Oliver than friendly toward him. Their deep bond of friendship develops towards the middle of the second book. So in this first story, Oliver is intrigued by Beatrice since he has slept with all of his teammates and Beatrice is immune not only to his flirtation, but to his vampire persuasion. This is what allows a connection to grow between them instead of Oliver’s usual “wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am, it’s time to move on” approach.  Even if his original purpose was simply to sleep with the woman that Will obviously wants, once he gets to know Beatrice, his own love for her grows.

As much as I like to see Beatrice and Will’s relationship grow, Beatrice spending time with Oliver is just so much funnier.

Last year’s review of Book #3, Death Takes a Holiday


Favorite Scene:

“What should we look for?” I ask.

“Evidence of a ritual,” Will says. “Most necros need to perform a ritual to raise the dead. A salt circle, dead animals, blood, charms.”

“There is no evidence of anything like that at the fresh crime scene,” Oliver says. “Do you honestly believe there will be anything at a two-week-old one?”

“Just look,” Will commands. “And make a list of the corpses you think were raised. There could be a pattern. Two teams. I’ll—”

“I will take Agent Alexander,” Oliver cuts in.  Oh, goody.

He glances at me, but I just glare. “Fine,” Will says, looking away. “Stay in radio contact. We’ll meet back here in half an hour. You take west, we’ll take east. Any trouble—”

“We will scream like little girls,” Oliver finishes. “Come on, Trixie.” He begins towards the cemetery.

Will grabs my arm before I can take a step. “If he gives you any trouble…”

I yank my arm away. “I can handle him, thank you very much.”

His lips purse. “Listen, I’m sorry I didn’t wait for you. I just wanted to—”

“Can we have this conversation later?” I click on my flashlight, pointing it right into his eyes. “I have to follow the bloodsucking vampire into the dark, creepy cemetery.”

So I do. My partner waits by a black tombstone with that smirk on his face. “Lover’s quarrel?”

“Shut up, and let’s get this over with.”

“For you, Trixie dear, anything.”

I trudge down the small hill, sweeping my flashlight over the graves as I pass. Grass, grass, grass, grass. I walk and sweep in silence for a few minutes, Oliver is staying a short distance behind me. I swear I can feel his eyes on my butt. Grass, grass fresh dirt. “Found one.” Putting the flashlight under my arm, I find my pad and scribble down her name and date of death. Jane Etheridge, dead three months. “No signs of salt or dead animals. Do you smell blood?”

“No. And I would not bother looking for any type of ritual. I do not think our necromancer has need of one.”

“All the books say a blood sacrifice has to be performed.”

“My dear, when you have been alive as long as I have, you come to learn there is no such thing as ‘always.’ People are never predictable. I believe that our necromancer is one of the most powerful puppet masters living today.” He walks to the next grave, then the next. “More times than not, a necromancer requires power and focus to animate the dead. The blood adds power and the ritual helps him focus on the task. The one we are pursuing has all the focus and power he needs, hence no salt circle to protect him and no dead chickens laying about. Here is another one.”

I jot down the name and date. Another recent corpse. We start walking again. “Then why are we looking for signs of one?”

“William has no imagination. His mind is placed squarely in a box with no use for the outside. All black or white. Not an ideal characteristic for a lover. I, on the other hand, live in a world filled with gray, blues and especially reds.”

I stop walking but he strolls on. “Eww. Are you really hitting on me in a cemetery? Because that is wrong on so many levels.”

“Some find cemeteries highly erotic.”

“And some people sleep with sheep.”

“Touché. I will try to contain myself until we reach the parking lot.”

“You can try afterwards too.”

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