Oct 142010
 

After a series of gruesome murders take place in Alaska, Elena Michaels agrees to investigate as they could be the work of a rogue werewolf.  Joined by her husband and pack enforcer Clay Danvers, they arrive to find all is not as it seems, and that there are things stranger than werewolves hiding in the icy wilderness.  Elena is already on edge due to a letter regarding her childhood and the mutts they have to deal with threaten to push her over the edge and render her incapable of action.  Her beast is something she worked hard to tame but unleashing it could be the difference between life and death, and they have to survive.

As I’ve noted before, Elena is probably my favourite heroine of Kelley Armstrong’s Otherworld series.  She’s just one of those characters that strikes a chord with me; her strength, compassion and love shine through in spite of the ordeals she has been through in life.  It was great to have another novel based on the werewolves and the Danvers pack.  They are always entertaining and while the book may not feature many of them other than Clay and Elena until later in the story, they don’t disappoint when they arrive.

I love how the relationship has evolved between Clay and Elena, especially now they are parents to twins.  Elena’s past rears its head in a sense and causes a lot of internal struggle for her.  It affects how she reacts to events going on and causes her to doubt herself and could cost her her life as well.  I admire the way Armstrong handled it to be honest, it was tactful but realistic and the way she resolved it led to a much greater understanding for Elena, to gain strength from it rather than let it diminish her.

The plot was actually very simple in this book, easy to understand but it suited the style, anything more complex and it would have detracted from the characters and what they have to do.  It was also brutal at times, but never gratuitously so.  There are a couple of  twists towards the end which were quite sad and as I was totally gripped by the story by this point, I felt the outrage along with Clay and Elena.  The odd spurts of humour and banter between the two even at the most dire of times were great and spoke volumes about how they feel about each other.  They are quite possibly one of Urban Fantasy’s most Kick-Ass couples.

All in all, this is a book I enjoyed a lot, and a great addition to the Otherworld series and the Danvers Pack ‘section’ of it.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Kelley Armstrong
  • Series: Women of the Otherworld (10)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Feb 122010
 

Sherrilyn Kenyon is one of the pioneers of supernatural romance.  I’ve loved her work right from the first book I read and she remains one of my absolute favourite authors.  Her characterisations and stories are amazing and I have no idea how she keeps the plotline running through 19+ books but she does and and the results are outstanding.

So what do you do when you have devoured everything she has written?  Here are some recommendations for other authors in the same genre or with a similar style who I also love, and hopefully you might too!

J. R. Ward

Another author with a long running series, who has an amazing ability to bring her characters to life and into your hearts.  Features vampires, hot men and sassy women, who could ask for more?

The following authors also write supernatural romance/urban fantasy but they are not quite as epic in scope as Sherrilyn Kenyon or J. R. Ward.

Keri Arthur

Keri Arthur’s ‘Riley Jensen’ Series are a great addition to the genre, with a gutsy, sexy heroine who is half-werewolf, half-vampire.  The ‘Nikki and Michael’ vampire series has action as well as romance and the ‘Damask Circle Trilogy’ are definitely recommended reading too.

Patricia Briggs

For some werewolf love, Patricia Briggs brings the ‘Mercy Thompson’ Series to life and  is an excellent, engaging, action packed read.  Recently she has started on the ‘Alpha and Omega’ series from the same world, with two great characters who started out in a short story and are proving just as engaging.  Lighter on the romance side than Kenyon but the story makes up for it.

Karen Chance

The ‘Cassie Palmer’ clairvoyant series has a bit of mystery going on, even with the numerous supernatural elements and makes for an exciting, sometimes heated mix. In addition to the main series, Karen Chance has recently begun a spin off series featuring the daughter of one of the main cast, which is shaping up to be a good read.

Kelley Armstrong

The ‘Otherworld’ series is going from strength to strength and Kelley Armstrong has a great way of telling stories through different character’s viewpoints.  It starts with werewolves in Bitten and goes through several great characters who are witches, demons, sorcerors and necromancers.  I love how she crosses their paths with other characters and often sets up the scene for following books as minor plots in the current one.

Rachel Caine

Two excellent series so far – ‘The Weather Wardens’ and their abilities to control the elements along with the enigmatic Djinn and her Young Adult series ‘The Morganville Vampires’.  Both are excellent reads and highly recommended.

Kim Harrison

Witches, vampires, pixies oh my!  The ‘Rachel Morgan’ series is a  good solid read, inspired titles, humerous at times yet has its extremely poignant moments.  Fast paced, full of action and definitely one to read.

Karen MacInerney

‘Tales of an Urban Werewolf’ are an easy, interesting and fun series to read.  Doesn’t take itself too seriously but packs a punch when it needs to.

Carrie Vaughn

The brilliant ‘Kitty’ series (a misnomer since it’s about werewolves) just keeps getting better and Carrie Vaughn brings kick ass Kitty to life with style and panache.


If you have any other authors or books you feel would be enjoyed by people who loved Sherrilyn Kenyon, feel free to comment on this article with your recommendations.

Feb 052010
 

Being accused of murdering your new boss isn’t the best way to get ahead in business.  Innocent but unable to prove it, Robyn Peltier has no idea what to do.  When it seems the murderer thinks she knows something and is after her too, she calls on best friend Hope Adams for help.  Along with Hope comes her boyfriend Karl, who Robyn finds a little creepy.  When it starts looking like the murder was supernatural in origin, Hope tries to help but keep Robyn unaware of the other side of her life.   Unfortunately, with Hope’s demon side revelling in all the chaos, a detective that can talk to ghosts, and Karl being a werewolf, Robyn quickly finds herself embroiled in a world she never knew existed.  She can fall apart or come out fighting and with the murderer on her heels everywhere she goes, falling apart is not an option.

I find Hope Adams an intriguing character.  Being a half-demon of chaos, she lives with her two natures, trying to keep both halves satisfied and controlled, but struggles to find a balance.  I’ve seen her grow through two previous books from a scared young woman afraid of her demon half to a bold, confident reporter and it’s been a good journey.  I liked that the mundane and supernatural world meet with the characters of Robyn and Finn, who I liked a great deal and both were great additions to the cast.

The book itself was a good, smooth read with enough tension and twists to keep you turning the pages.  This is something I’ve come to expect from Kelley Armstrong and her easy to read style of writing.  Happily, she delivers once again.   I also love the cameo appearances of characters from different Otherworld books, something that happens across the series and I hope that continues!

I found Living with the Dead quite poignant, the relationship between Hope and Karl was bittersweet and while I found the end quite sad, I also realise the necessity.  I look forward to Hope’s next book to see how she matures even further.

A great addition to the Otherworld series and a treat to read.

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Kelley Armstrong
  • Series: Women of the Otherworld (9)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Jan 262010
 

I caught Kelley Armstrong’s Twitter announcement that her Teen Paranormal book ‘The Summoning’ is available to read online for free.  You can check it out at http://bit.ly/6OjAbg.

I still read young adult fiction if it appeals and being a fan of Kelley Armstrong’s, this is a series I wanted to check out so I’m happy I can now!

You can follow Kelley on Twitter and you can check out her other books in her author page on Bookthing, as well as the reviews of her books we have here.

Please note, only the first ten chapters are available to read online now at Harperteen

Apr 172009
 

Nadia Stafford, with her dual lives of hitwoman extraordinaire and outdoor pursuits lodge owner, gets worried when one of her employees, a young girl with a baby goes missing.  Neither the local police nor the girls own mother seem to care.  Jack comes to stay at the lodge after breaking an ankle following a job and he wants to help.  Quinn comes on board confusing Nadia further where he is concerned and then Evelyn invites herself into the mix, hinting at a vigilante organisation she thinks Nadia would be perfect for.  As always with Evelyn, is her help worth the cost.

This book progressed much more slowly than the first one but I think given the investigative nature of the plot, it needed to be much less frenetic than the first.  I still love the character of Nadia and her principles, and the chemistry between her and Jack continues to cloud how she feels about Quinn.  I think I preferred the first book more but it was definitely enjoyable, the plot solid and I was disappointed to find that there aren’t more books in the series forthcoming.  I hope that changes in the future!

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Kelley Armstrong
  • Series: Nadia Stafford (2)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Apr 092009
 

Nadia Stafford is an ex-cop with a tarnished reputation, forced into retirement after she shot a child-killer.   Needing money to survive, she is recruited by a local mafia family to carry out hits on criminals that cross them.   A serial killer starts leaving calling cards on innocent victims, carrying out the murders in the manner of a professional and suddenly the authorities are focusing too hard on Nadia and her colleagues.  Nadia, her mentor, and a few others decide to go after the killer and mete their own justice while trying to maintain their anonymity from the world, and each other.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book.  I loved Kelley Armstrong’s Otherworld series but wasn’t sure how well she could cross genres.  I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed Exit Strategy.  It’s extremely well written, engaging and the story flowed smoothly.  The characters of Nadia and Jack I particularly liked, you come to understand their ethics and morale compasses.  Their histories are well rounded, you can empathise with them easily and they become people you care about in very short order.  All in all a very enjoyable book and I look forwards to reading the next one in the series.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Kelley Armstrong
  • Series: Nadia Stafford (1)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Feb 242009
 

About Kelley Armstrong

Kelley Armstrong lives with her husband and three children in Ontario, Canada. She is a full time writer and is not afraid to have a photo taken by her youngest child as her author picture!

http://www.kelleyarmstrong.com

My comments

Dime Store Magic was the first book I picked up, thinking it was the first of the series and I fell in love instantly. The vibrancy and humour of the characters was very attractive, their world so different yet so similar to our own. It was a complete surprise when I picked up Bitten believing it to be the next book and found it was from the perspective of a completely different character. I realised then that Kelley Armstrong had a unique way of writing. She created the ‘Otherworld’ universe and then chose key characters from within it to narrate their stories, sometimes crossing paths with the others, often fighting their battles alone. She has quite a few stories published in anthologies which fit in with the series, along with the treat of several original stories on her website – which is well worth having a look at.

Bibliography

Otherworld Series (in chronological order)

Otherworld Anthologies/Contributions

Free Online Fiction by Kelley Armstrong

http://www.kelleyarmstrong.com/free-online-fiction/

Darkest Powers (Young Adult Otherworld Series)

Nadia Stafford (Crime)