I completely agree with the criticism of some of the reviewers of Obsidian Son. Much in the way of the Paranormal Romances I have read, Obsidian Son has a bizarre view of looks and what attracts people to each other. Instead of big cocks, there are big racks. The main character is shallow, obnoxious and has few redeeming qualities. In addition, there is a lack of research. Finally, there are grammatical problems.
In spite of all that, I had fun. Imagine what Shayne Silvers could have accomplished with a better team. So many of the authors I read, or try to read, claim their stories have had editors and beta-readers. As does Silvers. Hmmm. Who are these editors and beta-readers?
I still had fun. This is an urban fantasy interspersed with mythological and magical creatures. The main character has magic, is wealthy and is extremely attractive to the opposite gender. Some of that attraction is because of out-of-control magic. There are dragons. They are the best part of the story. Really fun dragons.
Thaumatology 101is a mystery. Ceridwyn (Ceri) Brent has been hired as a research assistant to Dr. Tennant at the Metropolitan University in London at the High-energy Thaumatology Building. Thaumatology is the magic of Teasdale’s world. Dr. Tennant has been working for a couple of years on finding a solution for the containment of T-Null. It turns out her other assistant, Shane Walters, has hampered her work. After an accident occurs that almost kills Ceri, Ceri and Lily begin searching for an answer to why Shane is out to stop Ceri.
I like the way Teasdale introduces us to the world (and the house) both Ceri and Lily are part of. Thaumatology 101 is very much about the friendship between Lily and Ceri. Ceri experiences major changes in her life during the story and Lily is there to both support and hamper her. Thaumatology 101 celebrates sexuality without being preachy or crude. I found that refreshing. Not being a romance was also great. Violence in the story was toned down. Because of the toned down violence and joyful sexuality, I would call this an older Young Adult urban fantasy tale. The story is somewhere between a novella and a novel in length (137 pgs).
In my opinionDark Earth seems aimed at a younger Young Adult audience.
Jason Halstead starts off the story in modern US and then takes us to a parallel world set to a pre-industrial age. He describes this Dark Earth as meaner and greedier than our own. Perhaps that is due to the younger audience he is writing for and possibly a need to create a good and a bad world. I certainly know of plenty of people who are as mean and greedy on our side of the gates. Places that are more or less pre-industrial are in existence although these are becoming fewer by the decade.
Our heroes are Eric, who lost his wife 13 years ago, and his 13-year-old daughter Jessica. Eric is still caught in the grief of his wife being killed while in her 8th month of pregnancy. When a guy turns up at his house attempting to murder his daughter, Eric is understandably frustrated, angry, afraid and reminded of his previous loss. Then Eric and Jessica discover that they are part of a 2000-year-old legacy that reaches across to parallel world. Now the two will also have to deal with Jessica being kidnapped and Eric being bitten by a strange wolf.
I read Dark Earth a long time ago but had forgotten to write a review for it. That meant I had to read it again. Jason Halstead certainly writes well enough for me to also enjoy the second reading. Although Jessica was the person of interest to the various parties, Eric was the character that I saw the most of. He was the one that showed growth and development.
There was plenty of action and some violence. Only one short bit might be considered by some parents as too much for the youngest children. Other than that, Dark Earth must be one of the safer stories out there for a Young adult audience. There was no swearing, very little violence, some sadness and no romance (except in the memory of Eric and his late wife).
The Agency by Jessica Page is a paranormal romance with a mystery twist. The Agency is Ms. Page’s first published novel and is part of a series called Agency Hunger. Ms. Page provided me with a copy of her novel in return for a review.
We all know that I am a terrible romance reviewer but I will comment of the stuff that I understand about the concept.
Our male main character’s name is Reid. He falls into the cognitive trap of telling himself to “not think about thinking about a subject”. You know what happens then. The more you fight it, the more you think about it. Sure enough. The more Reid thought about not thinking about liking Harper the more she stuck out in his mind. Silly old vampire. Should know better by now. Especially since he discovers early one that Harper is able to read minds. I thought this was hilarious which is what romance is to me.
The other romance bit that I am able to understand is the sex part. For those of you who do not know yet, I am Norwegian. When Ms. Page told me that her novel had adult content I admit that made me curious as to whether this Viking would think so as well. Personally I think older young adults could read Ms. Page’s novel so they could learn about consensual sex. Because that was what it was. Nice, consensual sex that made me a bit horny. Well done Ms. Page – both on making me horny with your writing and for writing about kind sex. Nor was the violence especially violent.
Both Reid and Harper are extremely sexy and good-looking and that seems to be some sort of rule with romances.
We first meet Harper as she is on her way to and arrives on the subway platform. She has her first encounter with the supernatural world when a person sneaks up behind her wanting to “taste her”. Harper knows this because of what she thinks is a one-of-a-kind ability. To say that she is freaked out is putting it mildly. She turns around, sees sharp incisors and red eyes and thinks what any regular person would
“a fucking vampire standing right in front of me ready to kill me? That is not possible.”
Immediately she has her second encounter when the first vampire is pulled off her by another one – Reid.
Harper is dragged into the supernatural world disbelieving herself and who/what she meets yet finally feeling as though she fits in. Her mind-reading ability caused her adoptive parents to turn her over to a private research facility for testing and Harper had lived 8 years of her life in a laboratory being examined in all sorts of ways. Growing up is difficult enough to do under normal circumstances. Adding non-optional electric shocks and other invasive procedures has made her wary of other people’s reactions to her abilities. Discovering that she is a normal supernatural with an irregular ability must have been relaxing. Finally there is a place in this world where she belongs.
The supernatural members of Harper’s new world are werewolves, vampires and mages (Harper is a mage). You are either born or made a vampire or werewolf. Mages have to be born but do not begin manifesting their abilities until they are ten years old. Werewolves have controlled, painless transitions and they remain in charge of themselves after the change. Vampires are alive but depend on blood to feed the virus that gives them extra abilities. Both werewolves and vampires need to be coached while they are newbies so they do not allow their predatory sides to take over.
Reid is old enough that he has seen the consequences of letting his predatory side rule. His choice was to join up with the group of supernaturals that wanted to keep the community and themselves under control. He belongs to the Agency as one of their best trainers and agents. His responsibility will be to train Harper. Their job will be to help figure out why all the illegal turnings and the deaths that follow the unsuccessful ones are happening.
I liked Jessica Page’s first attempt at a novel. Sure, there is something that needs work. That is a tightening of the story. Sometimes her story falls out of the flow and she has to find her way back into the stream again. But she manages to make her text flow and that is a feat in and of itself. Her English is Canadian English.
I generally do some research before writing about a book. When the blurb began:
“What if Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf turned out to be the same person?”
I went off on one of my curiosity sprees. Roald Dahl has a wonderful version of Little Red Riding Hood (below) that resembles the version of Little Red Riding Hood that Jordan Summers writes about.
Red has three Riding Hoods that are eaten by the big bad wolf while their grandmothers are left alone. Our Were-theme is discovered in the first chapter when the murderer describes being wracked with the pain of being ripped apart and put back together again. Then he mauls and eats his murder victim. Summers’ description of the mauling and eating is just as descriptive as her description later on in the novel of sex and its prelude – pretty explicit.
The mystery part of Red is pretty straight-forward. As a reader I know everything long before Red and Morgan do. When Renee Forrester, Lisa Salomon and Moira Collins turn up dead, I draw conclusions faster than the couple-to-be. Embroiled as they are in the action and full of fear of being discovered, fear of the other not liking them, fear of the other person liking them, and being horny to the degree that the two of them are probably slows them down.
Red is full of the non-existent, exterminated Others. These people were supposed to have been wiped out. Instead they are turning up all over the place. Some of them do not even know that they are an Other. Discovering what they are might just mean the difference between life and death for themselves and others.
We are all Others of some sort. It isn’t my Asperger side that defines me as an Other but rather the Beast in me that might rear its head at some point in my life. We sure see a lot of the Beast types in the world without needing to genetically tinker one into us.
As soon as Wolf began to feel
That he would like a decent meal,
He went and knocked on Grandma’s door.
When Grandma opened it, she saw
The sharp white teeth, the horrid grin,
And Wolfie said, “May I come in?”
Poor Grandmamma was terrified,
“He’s going to eat me up!” she cried.
And she was absolutely right.
He ate her up in one big bite.
But Grandmamma was small and tough,
And Wolfie wailed, “That’s not enough!
I haven’t yet begun to feel
That I have had a decent meal!”
He ran around the kitchen yelping,
“I’ve got to have a second helping!”
Then added with a frightful leer,
“I’m therefore going to wait right here
Till Little Miss Red Riding Hood
Comes home from walking in the wood.”
He quickly put on Grandma’s clothes,
(Of course he hadn’t eaten those).
He dressed himself in coat and hat.
He put on shoes, and after that
He even brushed and curled his hair,
Then sat himself in Grandma’s chair.
In came the little girl in red.
She stopped. She stared. And then she said,
“What great big ears you have, Grandma.”
“All the better to hear you with,” the Wolf replied.
“What great big eyes you have, Grandma.”
said Little Red Riding Hood.
“All the better to see you with,” the Wolf replied.
He sat there watching her and smiled.
He thought, I’m going to eat this child.
Compared with her old Grandmamma
She’s going to taste like caviar.
Then Little Red Riding Hood said, “But Grandma,
what a lovely great big furry coat you have on.”
“That’s wrong!” cried Wolf. “Have you forgot
To tell me what BIG TEETH I’ve got?
Ah well, no matter what you say,
I’m going to eat you anyway.”
The small girl smiles. One eyelid flickers.
She wimps a pistol from her knickers.
She aims it at the creature’s head
And bang bang bang, she shoots him dead.
A few weeks later, in the wood,
I came across Miss Riding Hood.
But what a change! No cloak of red,
No silly hood upon her head.
She said, “Hello, and do please note
My lovely furry wolfskin coat.”
“That’s because pixies think with their hearts,” Quen said, ignoring Trent’s peeved expression. “This decision is already causing problems.”
“Most warriors think with their hearts,” I said, telling the mystics to back off and that I wasn’t angry with anything they could crush or explode. “It’s what keeps them alive through the crap they have to deal with to keep the rest of you safe.”
Quen smiled, deep and full. “Rachel,” he amended, then headed into the hall. “Jenks, a word?”
“What the hell is it with you people?” Jenks griped as he followed him out. “Can’t you make a decision without talking to the pixy?”
“Warriors build empires around the kernel of truth that others overlook,” came Quen’s soft voice …
Who are the warriors? Well, in the world of The Undead Pool the warriors are pretty much all of Rachel’s friends. They save the world from the chaos caused by others and sometimes themselves (unintentionally). Some of them crave the adrenalin that comes from the fight while others fight for what they believe even though they are frightened half to bits.
When you take away the trappings of fantasy, you quickly see that Rachel Morgan is like many of us.
She grew up a sickly child. Her father died while she was young and her mother lost it for a while after that. Rachel was an outsider and bullied for being different. As she grew up Rachel learned to keep to herself and was afraid of bonding with others. But her personality was of one that stands up for what she believes in and one that fights for the weak in society. In time the force of her personality drew people to her and because of Rachel’s willingness to sacrifice for others those bonds became strong. Due to her fear of intimate relationships, Rachel had a tendency to choose lovers who spoke to her self-destructive side. But eventually her choices and the choices of others opened her eyes to the fact that it is OK to choose a partner who will be just that – a partner.
What Rachel has learned is that life is about so much more than surviving our pasts. In letting people into her life and taking the chance of being hurt further, Rachel has opened up for possibilities that would not have been there otherwise. In her fight for the protection of the weak, Rachel now has support that enables her to do what has become her “job”. She is still an outsider, but no longer is she alone.
Then we add the trappings of fantasy and we have a rip-roaring yarn told by one of my favorite authors.
As you all know I loved the first installment of the Rune Alexander series, Shiv Crew. Talk about dark. I am going to state one major complaint about Blood and Bite. It was simply too short. Way too short. I was having this humongously fun time reading it and then it was over. Bummer.
So now you know. I liked Blood Bite. There were still the “baby’s” that I thought were weird. Norwegians just don’t go around throwing endearments at people we like. I kind of wish we did.
Shiv Crew is still adorable. I want to give them all a big hug. You’ve got this gang of huge (except for Rune and Lex) guys running around killing monsters in monstrous ways and I want to give them a group-hug. I must be messed up.
The characters that are the most fun in Blood and Bite are Rune and Ellis. I think that these two characters are the ones that kind of carry the story or maybe the idea of Shiv Crew. Ellis is Shiv Crew’s assistant but also their mascot and heart. At least that is the way Rune feels. Without him she thinks she would fall apart. And Rune might be right about that. For in spite of her stay with the shrinks at the rehab Rune is still messed up, although she is dealing more sensibly with her “monster”. Her mantra has become: “I am my monster, and my monster is me.” Rune’s monster loves fighting. Rune is not averse to it either. If there is one thing she excels at it is fighting. Along with the fighting Rune instills a sense of loyalty in those who work with her (nut-cases excepted).
There are a couple of nut-cases in Blood and Bite. Nicolas Llodra, the vampire master, and Tim Emerson, the Church of Slayers, are the worst ones in Rune’s life at the moment. Nicky has gone bonkers. Insanity seems to be the doom of all vampires. Whether Rune is one is kind of difficult to say. She believes that herself, but we as readers are given hints that there is something else in her blood. Insanity is the one thing that terrifies Rune and killing Nicholas seems a mercy-stroke to her. If only he wasn’t holding something over the heads of Shiv Crew.
Tim Emerson is a nut-case in a human manner. We all know that the worst monsters out there are humans. When we go bad we seem to go all out. Fanaticism just gives us that push to do what we might otherwise hesitate to do. My opinion is that Tim Emerson would have been a cold-blooded monster even without the Church of Slayers. But getting rid of Emerson without proof is difficult.
Raze, our rat-loving, Shiv Crew member is out of jail and Shad returns from Philadelphia with his wife and son. Gunnar the Ghoul is stranger than usual. Ellis is having trouble in his love-life. And – to top it all – Rune’s house is burned down. Hurrah, let’s just give the girl another challenge.
I think there are probably authors out there who love to make the lives of their main protagonists as difficult as possible, and I suspect Laken is such an author. But it makes for a fun time for the reader.
Anyways, have fun. Oh, and there is no sex but some explicit violence.
Wow. Just wow. The cover is gorgeous and so is the first story in the Rune Alexander series. I mean it – Wow. Cane practically had me bawling by the end of chapter 7. I had to put my tablet down, it was so sad.
I just had to say that before stating that I received a reviewer’s copy from Laken Cane a couple of days ago. Here is my review.
As you might have guessed, I loved this novel. There were a couple of “baby’s” that I could have done without but that is only because I’ve never used baby in my own vocabulary.
There is an adult content warning at the beginning of the novel that I felt was a bit extreme. Folks, Shiv Crew is dark, very dark. Other than that an older young adult would be perfectly safe reading it. I have read young adult novels with a lot more explicit violence (sad to say). As the sexual content is very low-tone in Shiv Crew there isn’t that to worry about either.
No romance. Can you believe it. A female hero and no romance. Oops, I lie. Toward the end there is a kiss.
What we do have is a lot of pain. My goodness is Rune Alexander, our protagonist, hurting. Cane’s description of Rune’s self-loathing and grief is amazing. Like I said, she practically had me bawling. All through the novel I carried that pain inside my chest and cheeks.
Enough about that. Action. Is there any action? Is there ever. Shiv Crew is a group of extremely dangerous individuals, of which Rune Alexander happens to be one. These guys have to kill Others (vampires, ghouls, werewolves and such) whenever they overstep the bounds humans have set for them. We are talking about seriously tough people. And huge. And protective. And sweet.
I don’t understand how Cane has managed to make Shiv Crew so adorable. Or maybe I kind of do – maybe. I think Ellis is part of the reason. He just so adorable and kind and GOOD.
Of course Rune has a huge secret she is hiding from her guys. Well two huge secrets. Both secrets will come back and bite her and the others in their behinds. But that is part of being a fantasy creature. Having one’s behind bitten is part of the game.
Humour. Yes there is humour. Dark humour, but humour. Enough to make me smile and chuckle at times.
Can you tell I loved Shiv Crew? If the next installment in the series had been out, I would have bought it already. I mean, WOW.
This story takes place seven months before Coveted begins.
These are our introductory words to the story of Collected. Collected is one of those easy-to-read fantasy tales with a twist. Our protagonist has OCD:
For a split-second, I was tempted to discard my shoes and track them on foot. That’s what any werewolf would do. But I didn’t operate that way, nor would I even entertain that idea, no matter how much I wanted that box. The very idea of ruining my pantyhose was enough to make me get in my car.
Imagine being a werewolf with OCD. What a pain. Here part of you wants to let loose and run in the forest but another part holds you back because you might get dirty. Dirty means ages in the bathtub trying to scrub all the filth off. What an impossible position to be in when you are looking for a thief who happened to run into the forest.
Natalya’s other oddity is her collection obsession. My guess is all collectors are a bit insane. I know I am when it comes to books. Whenever I buy a new one I feel kind of guilty. Whether I can afford it or not doesn’t matter because I know that I could go to the library to get something or try Kindle free. After all, I don’t need another book. So that part of me understands Natalie completely. I don’t know that I would agree to a dangerous mission to get ordered books back. I’m not quite that far gone. But Natalie is. What a bummer.
These oddities are what make Natalya an interesting character. That and the fact that she is so matter of fact about them. Kind of nice to have an author write about a condition as complex as OCD. Kudos to Madison for that. Shawntelle Madison writes well and has managed to create a werewolf with character. Good for her.
Angela of Troyis the story of an Amazon, necromancer and daughter of Cassandra of Troy and the god Apollo. Her job is to police the supernatural community and make sure that no unnecessary murders are committed.
A rogue werewolf has been on a killing spree and Angela is sent to stop him. To find out who the next victim is supposed to be she turns to a demon. Demons aren’t really Angela’s idea of fun – more like a necessary evil.
What she discovers is that the man she has been sent to hunt, Benjamin McConnell, is out to kill all who were associated with the man who cursed him. I can understand wanting to do that. McConnell has his own protection. If another tries to harm him that damage will be inflicted on the one trying to hurt him. Angela’s superiors must have known of this ability, yet they still sent her off to destroy McConnell.
All in all an interesting short story with a strange set of characters.
I love this cover. I agree with Humphrey-D’Aigle that Danielle Page is a great photographer and Rachel has done a cool job with the colors and fonts.
I think Bloodsucker Bay would be considered a novella as it is only 73 pages and 4 chapters long. It is definitely part of a serial as the ending leaves the reader hanging in loose air.
Bloodsucker Bay is a mystery – dead body and all. The thing about Demon Isle is that most of the inhabitants know of the weirdness of both the Howard family and the Isle itself. When a dead body turns up the Sheriff uses the Howard family as much as she can in solving the crime.
For the main part the story is about the Howard siblings and their vampire guardian William. Melinda, Charlie and Michael each have their strong and not so strong sides and we get to share in them. Melinda is a great potion maker and is prescient. One of the reasons William hangs around the witches is that Melinda makes a potion that helps him not bite humans. But he also acts as their guardian while they all try to come to terms with the death of their parents. Melinda feels guilt at not having prevented the death of her parents as her newly developed prescience had warned her of it.
Charlie is a werewolf. That gives him great strength but also urges that get stronger around full-moon. He is the big-brother and suffers from all of the big-brother symptoms.
Michael happens to be the one to feel the full force of Charlie’s big-brotherness. Charlie just cannot let Michael decide on his own what his future is to be. He feels that as fate made Michael a Howard and the Howards traditionally are caretakers of Demon Isle then Michael should just get his act together and do the job. Michael’s witchy side is being a death reader. That means he is very popular with the Sheriff when some unsolvable death occurs on the island.
There were a couple of scenes that I really liked. One was in an underwater cave and involved the brothers. The other was with Emily, Michael’s probable girlfriend. The pace in those two scenes was perfect and the way they were written fun.
Bloodsucker Bay has pretty good potential. Rachel showed the ability to hit the flow and with a little more tightening she could manage to stay there.
Moon Dance is the first novel in the Vampire for Hire series. Vampire for Hire is about Samantha Moon – a PI who used to be an FBI agent. Her career with the FBI ended when she contracted a “rare skin disease” otherwise known as vampirism.
Vampirism in A Vampire for Hire means that you are supersensitive to the sun but you can stay awake during the day. But it is at night that Sam really comes alive. Samantha seems to have good hunches, does not become ill any longer and is able to take on endure more pain than before. Longevity also seems to be one of the qualities Samantha has acquired along with extra strength and speed – if she keeps herself fed. Feeding isn’t Samantha’s favorite time and keeping her kids from finding out that the freezer in the garage contains bags of animal blood is a high priority for her.
In spite of being a PI, Samantha seems kind of clueless about the possibility of a super-natural community at large. Her case concerning the murder attempt on Kingsley Fulcrum opens Samantha’s eyes to just how blind she has been.
I liked Samantha. She showed an extreme talent for denial, one that I fear is all too common. People’s denial abilities never cease to amaze me, my own included. Like a lot of people she has stuck it out in a marriage she is unhappy in. Understandably, her husband has had issues with the whole “wife becoming a vampire” thing. Sam is afraid of losing her children if they divorce.
The people around Samantha are generally a little (or a lot) afraid of her without knowing exactly why. The few who do know what is going on in her life want to be there for her, but – you know – Vampires. Huge life-changes can do that to the people around us. Just ask any one who has contracted cancer.
Moon Dance is the kind of novel that leaves me undecided as to how I feel about it. I liked it. I mean, it was free – what’s not to like about that? It’s just that every once in a while I would shake my head at the sillyness (or maybe clicheness works better) of the story. On the other hand there were some really great scenes – like Samantha’s evening jog. So, good but not great.
I love it when an author gives me good details on their covers. A few include this on their copyright page, others on their websites and some again I have to contact. Thus far each author I have contacted has been kind enough to share the details for their cover artists. Yeah! to authors. In Amanda S. Green’s case I was just too blind to see the names on the copyright but she still gave them to me.
Below you will find three reviews for Nocturnal Origins that showed me what the rest of the world (well, three people) thought of this novella. They have a pretty good description of the contents of Nocturnal Origins.
My first impression of Nocturnal Origins was humour. We get it in the 5th paragraph on the first page. Mac describes her “unholy” miracle of coming back to life with these words: “Ask the poor attendant who’d run screaming from that cold, desolate room in the hospital basement, when Mac had suddenly sat up, gasping for breath and still covered with too much blood. He’d been convinced a demon from Hell had risen to come for him.” The visualisation with those words was excellent and hilarious.
Mac’s would-be murderer is insane. Completely and utterly insane. He just has to kill her and damn the consequences. Serial killer is what he is and a gory one at that. I kind of feel sorry for him because he is so lost to his own psychosis.
And then Mac has her whole world view blown apart. I mean shape-shifters and weres. Come one. They don’t exist. Except in Mac’s world they do and drumroll she is one of them.
Nocturnal Origins is meant for a somewhat adult readership. I had fun reading about Mac’s surprises and her reaction to them. Better her than me (or is it “better she than I”).
Moonshiftedis as delightful as Nightshifted. Moonshifted remains as dark and gory as Nightshifted and keeps on being just as fun to read.
Edie’s life has changed after all of the happenings in Nightshifted. Her perspective has widened and her prejudices have been challenged.
Due to an accident Edie witnessed during her lunch-break, she becomes involved in a battle between two were-wolf clans. Little does she know where her instincts will lead her.
Her vampire connections keep on popping up, and not in a pleasant manner. In a sense Edie seems rather self-destructive. However, once we get to know her, we find that it isn’t so. Yes, she is attracted to rather “interesting” men. Yes, she tends to run towards danger. But her motives are anything but self-destructive.
Like I said about Nightshifted: Edie is a wonderful character and someone I would have liked to have met.
Good job Cassie Alexander. You have done it once again!