Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Violet Midnight by Lynn Rush

Blending in with her college co-eds proves difficult for vampire Hunter, Emma Martin, considering the mystical tattoo on her wrist glows whenever Vamps are near. And after three months of silence, the glow is back with a vengeance. 
Jake Cunningham witnesses Emma, a violet-eyed beauty, using unimaginable powers to fight off a fanged creature. Finally, after two years of searching, he may have found out what he's become--a Hunter, like Emma. 
Thankful for an ally in the fight against the Vamps, Emma finds hope and comfort in Jake's arms. As she learns more about her new love's family and its dark heritage, she may be forced not only to hunt them but to sacrifice her life to save Jake's soul. 

I'm a little biased, because I already liked Lynn Rush's writing long before I picked up this book. I'm not sure how she does it, but there is never really a point in any of her books I've read where the story lags. The pace is always right on point and they suck you in to the point where you want to read the book in one sitting, and then get made you don't have the next book in the series in front of you to read. 
This book is no different. Once again, the pacing is really great. It felt like every scene in the book, every POV, was necessary and compelled the story forward. It was really easy to take a liking to Emma. I really like strong women who are protective of those around her but don't let men control them. In fact if anything Emma is the last person on earth who would let a man control her. 
I do have to admit I did take a bit longer to like Jake, and it wasn't really anything against him, he's a good guy, it just took me longer in the book to really identify with him and start pulling for him as a character. I think maybe part of it was how strong his instant connection to Emma was, but when you get further along in the book everything starts to click and make sense. 
But back to Emma and her amazing kick-butt attitude. Like I said I love when the chick is the one kicking butt and taking names. And what I really loved about Emma is that she was actually the one training and pushing Jake to be a better Hunter. Another thing I really liked about Emma is that no matter what she was true to herself and her beliefs. She has a great head on her shoulders. 
I like Ava, Emma's roommate, and there were a couple of other good secondary characters along the way. But I really liked Ava the most, I can totally see how she and Emma are such good friends. And I really hope she continues to play a role in the coming books for this series. 
I don't want to be too spoilery so I don't want to talk to much about the bad guys, but I am guessing if you read the synopsis you know they are Vamps. And of course the big bads in the book aren't going to be your everyday Vamp, oh no, they pack a bit of a punch, and they have quite the history behind them. Although by the end of the book you (as well as Emma and Jake) get the feeling that there is something more going on behind the scenes that they just don't know about yet. 
For some readers, I know you are a bit vampired out. I get it. I myself have suffered from vampire fatigue syndrome. But I do love a good vampire book, and what makes a good vampire book is when the author takes the run of the mill vampire lore and makes it into something unique, just for their books. And I felt like Lynn did a good job with this. From mysterious mystical tattoo, to prophecies, to their various strengths and weakness, it all makes for a good book; not to mention Emma isn't a Vamp she's a Hunter who is going to take down every Vamp she finds. I get the feeling there aren't going to be any warm and fluffy "misunderstood" vampires in this series. 
Long story short, I think this a great read. For anyone who likes Urban Fantasy, this is a great and fast paced book load with action. For anyone who is a big fan of Paranormal Romance, to say the chemistry between Emma and Jake is hot would be a gross understatement. So if you are looking for a book or a new author to try out, I seriously recommend this one and anything written by Lynn Rush! 

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Weird Girls by Cecy Robson


Celia Wird and her three sisters are just like other 20-something girls-with one tiny exception: they're products of a backfired curse that has given each of them unique powers that make them, well, a little weird… 
The Wird sisters are different from every race on earth-human and supernatural. When human society is no longer an option for them, they move in among the resident vampires, were beasts, and witches of the Lake Tahoe region. Could this be the true home they've longed for? Um, not quite. After the sisters accidentally strip a witch of her powers in a bar brawl, they soon realize the mistake will cost them. Because to take on a witch means to take on her coven. And losing the battle isn't an option. 

I like these preview novellas, they give great insight into what the next books are going to be like. There are a cheap and easy way for prospective readers to try out characters before a series really starts. And in my experience with preview novellas, they have never let me down and always gets me super psyched about the upcoming books, and this novella was no different. 

The pacing in the novella was really good, and full of action. Celia was a likable character for me, she is beyond ready to do anything to protect her family. And she has the inner "beast" to back it up too. If I had to have one complaint about the entire thing it would be the intro scene at the bar, the bar brawl that starts it off, the action happens so quickly that sometimes I had to re-read a couple of sentences to make sure I got what was going on. But at the same time the scene was so chaotic that it makes sense that it would be a little chaotic for the reader too. 

I like the trials that Celia had to go through, they were insane, and I was sitting on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen next. I don't want to really tell you about the trials because not knowing what they were up front made it all the more suspenseful. 

I do have to say that I really hope one of the witches from the coven makes it into the next book, I would love to see if there ends up being a relationship between Celia and her family and that of the coven. 

Overall, I think the book was really a fun read, one I totally enjoyed and I can't wait to read the next book in the series. The next book out is Sealed with a Curse so look for it to come soon! And in the meantime you should really check out this novella! 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Welcome to Demos by Jonathan Lister

Demos City is a typical urban American town on the East Coast. The city has restaurants, politicians, schools, corruption, and werewolves-just like every other city. Resident werewolf Leon Gray only wants to raise his daughter Shauna away from a traditional pack structure and the criminal past that forces him to make a living as a bar bouncer. 
When he winds in the same cell as investigative reporter David Hastings, Gray may never get his life under the radar back. Hastings, up to his neck in Izods and dreams of winning a Pulitzer, has irritates the nerves of powerful figures in Demos. Leon agrees to provide security for Hastings as her attempts to uncover corruption in Demos City politics. 
Leon's rewards? Enough money to provide Shauna with an education the werewolf could never afford on his own. The catch? Hastings has a pair of hired killers on his trail. These murderous professionals have experience, a varied weapons arsenal and one of them even knows how Hastings takes his espresso in the morning. 
To make matters worse, Nathaniel Poole, Alpha to the pack Leon left behind, has returned to Demos City to introduce himself to his long-lost niece-Shauna. Gray Suspects Poole has an ulterior motive in reappearing in Shauna's life. If only Leon knew just how right he is. 
Even as Leon tries to protect his daughter, he may unknowingly damn them both. 

I have always liked shifter books, when I was first venturing into the urban fantasy field I found vampires first and then I found the shifters. I enjoyed the books with shifters more than vampires (with some exceptions of course). It's been a while since I have read a really good werewolf book so I had high hopes for this book. 

There are a lot of good elements within the book, so i am going to go over those first. I thought the author had a pretty good command of being able to paint pictures for the reader, the descriptions were really good. 

I also thought the amount of effort, which is clear from reading the book, on developing the backstory was pretty good. You can honestly tell that the author went to a lot of effort to give the characters depth and enough backstory to make them really interesting and pop out to the reader. 

While there were somethings that I really did appreciate about the book there were also so elements within it that needed a bit of work. I think the most difficult thing for me to deal with was the different POVs. I think the POV shifts were not cohesive to the story and sometimes were jarring enough to through me off and make me want to reread to make sure that I was sure about what was going on. 

Another problem, and it's a common one with self-publishing, is editing. I think the author could have seriously done with another set of eyes to go through the manuscript and pick up on the typos and missteps. That being said every book has at least one typo, but in books like this when there are enough of them for you to notice, that's when it gets annoying.

Even with the not so good elements, the book wasn't a bad read. The pacing was pretty good and it was good enough for me to keep reading. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Summit at Sunset by Jaz Primo

Powerful vampire Katrina Rawlings and her human mate, Caleb Taylor, are once more drawn into dangerous circumstances. Representatives of the most powerful and influential vampires from around the world converge upon a scenic mountain retreat located in Slovenia's Upper Bohinj Valley for a summit of historic proportion. Mystery leads to treachery, and events quickly spiral out of control. With the fates of both vampires and humans in jeopardy, Katrina desperately struggles to reconcile the balance of worldwide vampire power against honoring her commitment to the love of her life. Unwilling to be rendered helpless, Caleb initiates a desperate gamble that leads to a mortal decision. Meanwhile, the sexy and sassy vampire, Paige Turner, spearheads her own mission involving both surprising revelations of heart and grave circumstances for those around her. 

I had a hard time deciding on what to rate this book, teetering between good and great on my scale, so as with baseball, tie goes to the runner. There are a lot of little elements in this book that make me appreciate it so much as a whole. 

First, I love that Caleb is always getting into things her shouldn't be getting into. I can't tell you how many stories I have read where the woman is always sticking her head in places it shouldn't be and then big bad man comes and saves the day. It's so refreshing to see the tides turned a little, and see Caleb to be the one who isn't always following the rules and ending up where he shouldn't be. 

Paige is a great character as well. Honestly she provides for a lot of the comic relief in the book. Kat is very much the hard ass, and knows how to get her scary on more than most. So with Paige you have kind of a balance since Paige isn't nearly as serious. The two of them make for a great dynamic in the story and it's a lot of fun for readers too. 

I like books like this that kind of get the supernatural community together for a pow wow, it always makes for a fun time because there is always so much more going on beneath the surface, and you get to experience the culture of the supernatural society. Both things are great experiences for the reader. 

Overall, I think this is a really good book. I think anyone who enjoys urban fantasy is going to really enjoy this book. I think paranormal romance readers will enjoy it as well, but it doesn't have a lot of the more graphic scenes that some of the PNRs have. That being said I would still recommend it! 

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Sidhe World Part 2 Review by S.A. Archer


Champion of the Fey
The fey are Fading, Extinction is inevitable. Lugh, one of the few fey to survive the Collapse, is already beginning to suffer the effects. Only a long shot quest to recover the artifacts might be able to restore the source of fey magic. And the first artifact Lugh seeks is dead in the heart of wizard territory. 
Suffering from the addiction to the Sidhe Touch, London is obsessed with finding a source of magic that can ease her curse. Unfortunately, premium magic like the Touch comes with one heck of a high price. Working off the debt she's racked up to the dealer may well terminate her addiction once and for all, because nothing's more dangerous than doing a Changeling's dirty work. 
Scars of Silver
Malcolm is Sidhe, the only race that possesses the coveted magic of the Touch. He's also an untrained teenage runaway who only just discovered that he's fey. He though the fey would have each others' backs. That's what he honestly thought…until he met a Changeling. 


First off it's hard to review these without giving a lot a way of the prior stories. So much of what is the basis of these stories comes from the others, and so I obviously don't want to ruin them for you. Each one of these little short stories, is a super easy and fast read, I think they are all around 20 pages, so it's not a bad read if you are short on time. 

The world is pretty complex so if you are jumping into the stories in the middle you may need some time to catch up with everyone, or you may be slightly confused, although the author does a good job of contextualizing. 

Each story tackles on small subplot of the bigger picture, and you quickly notice how interconnected they are. For instance, London has the Touch, and Malcolm being an Earthborn Sidhe would be highly desirable to people who have the Touch. And that is just one example. 

The characters are coming more and more into their own, each with their own paths to take and growing into themselves more and more as things progress. I think this series is a fun read and it will be interesting to see how things evolve in the next round of stories. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Dream Catcher by Stephanie Smith

Displaced in a strange and hostile city with no memory of her previous life, Breena finds a friend and savior in music shop co-owner Ciaran. Caught in a relationship he can't seem to end, Ciaran's whole life is upheaved by the arrival of Breena and mystery of her origin. Yet neither Ciaran nor Breena can shake the feeling they've met before; and as Breena finds her place in the city and begins a new life the two find their easy friendship growing into something more. But as the truth of Breena's otherworldly origins comes to light, she soon finds that the very nature of what she is could make it impossible to ever truly be with Ciaran. 

Self-publishing has done great things for a lot of people, and the vast majority of the books that I review on this site are self-publishing. You hear a lot of stories online about how books that are self-pubbed are in need of editing, and this is so the case for Dream Catcher. This book has an interesting premise, and could have been a very good book, but in it's currently form, it is more of a draft than a novel. 

The characters are interesting, and the love story going on Breena and Ciaran could be compelling, but there was lot left undeveloped or worked out. I think part of the reason this is is because the story has a tendency to jump around a bit too much. It leaves the reader with a sense of disjointedness. Another issue with the character development is that the POV doesn't really give much insight into what the characters are thinking/feeling as the story goes on. I think if you the reader had more insight into the characters the story would work a lot better. 

Overall, I think this is a good premise, and the beginnings of what could be a good story, but the execution needs work. This story feels like a first draft, and the reader will definitely be able to pick up on it. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Inhale by Kendall Grey

After years of suffocating under her boss's scrutiny, whale biologist Zoe Morgan finally lands a job as director of a tagging project in Hervey Bay, Australia. Success Down Under all but guarantees her the promotion of a lifetime, and Zoe won't let anything-or anyone- stand in her way. not the whale voices she suddenly hears in her head, not the ex who won't take no for an answer, and especially not the gorgeous figment of her imagination who keeps saving her from the fiery hell of her dreams.
Gavin Cassidy hasn't been called to help a human Wyldling in over a year, which is fine by him. Still blaming himself for the death of his partner, he keeps the guilt at bay by indulging in every excess his rock star persona affords. That is, until he's summoned to protect Zoe from hungry Fyre Elementals and learns his new charge is the key to restoring order in the dying Dreaming. He never expects to fall for the feisty Dr. Morgan…nor does he realize he may have to sacrifice the woman he loves to save an entire country. 

Since I was a little girl I have always been a huge fan of whales, I find them to be fascinating creatures, so I like that this book has something to do with whales as well as having profits donated to whale education. I have to say that of all the books with paranormal elements in them that I have read, this one has a really unique premise, which is always refreshing to me. 

I have to say in terms of the world building, I think it might be too complex for some people to grasp onto right off the back. There is a lot of information that goes into explain how the word works within the book, and in a couple of spots I felt like the author was guilty of a couple of info-dumps. There are a lot of things people might need to reread a couple of times to make sure they got the meaning. I think the world building aspect needs a bit of work in that respect, although it is a unique world, so props to the author for their imagination. 

The romance level is very heavy in this book, there is definitely some hot and steamy sex scenes within the book. That being said they didn't feel forced, like they were just their for the sake of having them. They felt organic for the characters, and I think it is easy to really enjoy the character both separately and even more when they are together. 

The pacing in the book is really good, so it's an easy read in that respect. I would have enjoyed the book more if the world building had been better fleshed out, but overall I think it was a solid book. I think anyone who is looking for a unique take on urban fantasy would enjoy this book, especially the people who love paranormal romance, this book would be right in their wheelhouse. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Last Car to Annwn Station by Michael Merriam

Mae Malveasux, an attorney with Minneapolis Child Protective Services, is burnt-out, tired, and frustrated. Passing on an invite from Jill, her flirtatious coworker, Mae just wants a quiet night in. Leaving the office late, she's surprised to find the Heritage Line streetcars up and running and hops aboard, eager for a trip home. 
But this is no ordinary streetcar. Death is one of its riders, and Mae is thrust into Annwn, a realm of magic and danger. 
Mae's life is turned upside down as human and fae worlds collide. Her budding relationship with Jill takes a perilous turn when they are hunted by mythical beats, and Mae is drawn into a deadly power struggle. With Jill at her side, Mae must straddle both worlds and fight a war she barely comprehends, for not only does the fate of Annwn rest in her hands, but the lives of both a human and fae child… 

I have to say this is a very interesting story. I always find it interesting when a man writes from a woman's point of view, sometimes its done really well and sometimes it just rings as a man saying what he thinks women think about. I have to say that this was a pretty good women's point of view, especially since the man author wrote a book with mostly women main characters. 

This to me felt more like a romance set in a paranormal/fantasy setting. There is definitely romantic intent on Jill's part toward Mae, and I personally think they are pretty cute as a couple. I think Jill is a solid character, much more sure of herself than Mae. She is more the aggressor in the relationship, but also she is a stanch fighter for those she cares about, especially Mae. 

Mae I think is a highly inquisitive person, she wants to get to the bottom of thing, even when people try and shoo her away from them. This is how she finds herself in the middle of two worlds, the human world, and the fae world. She takes this newfound knowledge and ends up embroiled in more than even she bargained for. But Mae is a good person at heart, so she tries to do the best she can under the circumstances, and help as many people/worlds along the way. 

I think this is a pretty decent book. I think anyone who enjoyed paranormal romance will enjoy this book. Also is you are looking for a romance that is a lesbian romance, then this is your book, it's a solid romance, with good foundation. The paranormal elements are also interesting and intriguing, and keep you turning the page.