Jan 252013
 

Envy: Number 3 in series (Fallen Angels) Envy continues the story of Jim Heron and his brother fallen angels. The task? To try and save another pivotal soul that hangs in the balance between good and evil.

I felt Jim came into his own in this book which was really good.  The last two he was helped and guided a lot more by Adrian, Edward and Dog as he was still learning what he could do.  I don’t think he is yet fully aware but he is damn impressive!

I loved Tom ‘Veck’ Delvechio, he was a solid character that was really well created.  I must admit I found him very attractive, flaws and all!  Likewise with Sophia Reilly.  I liked that while she was good at her job, she lacked other skills that heroine’s in other books seem to have.  Mainly that she can’t cook!  It made her seem so much more human and more accessible by not being able to whip up a fantastic meal in a jiffy.

As a couple they were scorching, the dance they start was full of lustful frustration and it was one of the things that kept me turning the pages, even after they get together.  Love is never easy!  I have to say J.R. Ward writes amazing sex scenes, whether a threesome or male/female, there is just something about them that is exciting and fresh, even after so many books.

The plot was intriguing and really good, the bold statement at the start made me go “woah”, and it didn’t really stop from there.  There is fallout from the events in Crave, the previous book in the series, and it does affect Jim and the others.  I can’t help feeling for them though and there is one event in particular that just made me cry and choke up every time it was referred to.  I am still shaking a virtual fist about it!

There were a few twists and again, this is something Ward does very well but doesn’t drag them out too long in the build up.

I think Envy is a worthy part of the Fallen Angels series and packs as much of an emotional punch as the previous stories.  I can’t wait to pick up Rapture, the next book and one I happen to have right here!

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Book Information
  • Author: J.R. Ward
  • Series: Fallen Angels (3)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Nov 172011
 

Thanks to my lovely husband, I was excited to be able to pick up Slave to Sensation, the first book in Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling series.  After reading and loving Angel’s Blood and being told that this series was even better, I had been really wanting to get it.

Now having just finished it, I am astounded at Singh’s ability to write characters that affect me on such an emotional level.  She creates a world that is modern but moulded according to her rules, where the supernatural elements are the norm.  It’s believable and fascinating the way she weaves the two together, especially as complex as the Psy-Changeling world is.

The main characters were wonderfully portrayed and felt very real; I loved the interplay between Sascha Duncan and Lucas Hunter straight from the start even though they come from such different backgrounds.

I have to touch on the Psy network.  It’s intricately created, and very impressive that I understood the basis of it easily through the story without the author having to take time out to explain it.  I felt sad that they had drastically changed themselves so much through the removal of emotion, even with their minds being connected.  Sascha had an immediate impact on me because she did feel, even though she hid it and thought it was wrong.

The Changelings again were really well created, their history and their love of nature struck a deep chord in me and while it did take me a little while to warm up to Lucas, I ended up loving him completely.

Slave to Sensation is a wonderfully emotional story about not fitting into the world you were born into, or following the path you were expected to. It’s a tale of being allowed to dream. The mixture of intrigue, corruption, love and passion delivered with a fast paced plot, made this book an amazing and enjoyable read.

It was so good, I want to read it again immediately. I can’t think of any higher accolade than that!

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: Nalini Singh
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)

 

Oct 282010
 

Crave: Number 2 in series (Fallen Angels) Jim Heron, fallen angel and potential saviour of mankind is sent back to earth to try and help redeem his second soul.  Isaac Rothe, a fellow XOps member has been targetted for elimination for attempting to escape the clutches of the brutal black ops team, just as Jim had.  Jim had originally been charged with the mission but with his apparent demise, someone else had been assigned the task.  When Isaac gets into trouble with the law, he is assigned a public defender, both beautiful and compassionate and she feels compelled to try and save him from himself.  Just as Isaac fears, she becomes a target too and it’s up to Jim and his brother fallen angels to try and save them from Matthias, the boss of XOps who seems hellbent on revenge.

J. R. Ward has certainly raised the bar in Crave.  Her writing is just as emotional, gripping and passionate but I felt this book had a darker edge to it in comparison to Covet, the first book in this series.  The edginess is not a bad thing and it definately gave the story a richer feel.

Jim Heron returns as the fallen angel who has been chosen to try and save mankind.  I loved his character in the first book and due to that darker feel, he felt more solid, tangible and flawed;  I loved him all the more for it.

I was glad to see that the two other fallen angels, Adrian and Edward, returned to lend a hand here.  Both characters are just as complex as Jim’s and it was good to find out a little more about them.  I love the banter between the three of them and the times when things turned serious, it brought a lump to my throat.  I also have to mention Dog who we know isn’t just a dog, I’m just not sure quite what he is yet.  He’s a bit of an enigma and hopefully will be explained in later books.

I thought it was good, if a little bittersweet, to see the four ‘british’ gentlemen angels again.  They are integral to Jim’s mission and add some welcome humour but because their hands are tied and have to play by the rules they can be frustrating.  However, as frustrated as I felt at times, there is one point which was very well played and made me want to cheer.

There were a few twists in the story that I really didn’t see coming which I always like and while the ending turned out kind of how I expected, the cost was surprisingly high and quite sad.

All in all I couldn’t put it down and was thoroughly engaged right til the end.  It was wonderfully character driven and what action there was, was brutal.  One scene in particular was both spectacularly written yet horrifying at the same time.  The love scenes were very hot and, as I’ve come to expect and love from J.R. Ward, well written and emotional.

I honestly can’t wait for the next book, I NEED to know who the next soul will be!

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: J.R. Ward
  • Series: Fallen Angels (2)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Jul 032010
 

The first book I read by J. R. Ward was actually the start of a companion series to the Black Dagger Brotherhood books.  Covet impressed me in many different ways and I was curious about what her other more established series was like.  Having now finished the Black Dagger Brotherhood series for a second time and having enjoyed it even more, I can’t recommend this amazing series enough.

So why should you read J. R. Ward?

The characters Ward creates are just phenomenal.  The main cast are the Brothers and their individual stories are the focus for each book.  What makes the series truly outstanding is the presence of the other major players through each one.  You can’t have one Brother without having them all!  Sometimes those appearances are brief and often they are integral to another’s story.

The series begins with Dark Lover and you are introduced to a world of vampires living alongside humans in secrecy.  The Black Dagger Brotherhood are a group of elite vampires, engineered by breeding to be the most powerful and best warriors to protect the race not only from exposure to the humans but also from their unnatural predators – the Lessening Society.  I love Ward’s slant on the vampire mythos, that the traditional view is mostly hogwash spread by the human media with a few truths hidden within the fiction.  The truth is humans have nothing to fear from vampires.  They can’t sustain themselves from human blood so basically, they are just another race that share the planet but in ever decreasing numbers.  There is a war on, between the lessers and the vampires and the Brothers fight night after night to keep the remaining vampire population safe, often at personal cost to themselves.  They are powerful, larger than life and very very hot!

While the plot of each book might mainly be about a character unexpectedly finding their true love (they are romance novels after all), it’s the characters that make them as engaging as they are.  J. R. Ward has such a clear and vivid way of writing that you get to know them so well and the mere mention of a name conjurs up their image in your mind and how they might act and react in certain situations.  I also have to say not once in ten books have I read a scene and thought hang on, he wouldn’t do that!.

You can feel the love and sometimes exasperation Ward has for her Brothers and in turn, shares those things with the reader.   They are all so fundamentally different and you just can’t help falling in love with them, cry for them and your heart bleeds at the sacrifices they have to make for the good of the race.

The females of the series are just as much of a revelation and again so very different from each other.  Each has their own strengths and weaknesses that make them the perfect foil for the jaded and battle-weary Brothers.  Sassy, fierce, loving and brave, each one finds her way into your heart just as easily.

So if you love amazing and emotional stories with flawed yet solid warriors (did I mention they were also hot?) and the females that are more than a match for them then you should read J. R. Ward.  I dare you not to fall in love with them!

May 122010
 

Lover Mine: Number 8 in series (Black Dagger Brotherhood) Having grown up in the human world, a place he didn’t fit in nor understand, John Matthew is finally finding his place within the Brotherhood.  Trying to put his brutal and abusive past behind him, he finds brief comfort from an unlikely source.  Xhex, whose own troubled past haunts her and being half symphath drives her to keep everyone at arms length.  Being kidnapped by Lash, the vicious son of the Omega is the last straw and she wants vengeance.  Even though John’s brief relationship with Xhex had left his heart broken, he vowed to either find her and bring her home or avenge her death.  Fate has played a cruel hand in both their lives but was there a chance for both of them to find peace, or would they continue along their paths alone.

I had mixed feelings when I started Lover Mine.  John has been present in the series for a long time, starting before he hit his transition into full vampire and while his history was sad, his present was getting messed up through bad choices, bad memories and a whole lot of attitude.  Understandable but it still made me want to smack him upside the head.  The same with Xhex too.

Now having arrived at his own book, I was soon drawn right into the story and a lot more made sense about who he has become and why he made some of the choices he did.  He had started to feel whiny, sulky and annoying in Lover Avenged and I was really pleased to see him grow out of that.  Xhex was a much more layered character than I expected and it didn’t take long before she had claimed her own corner of my heart, along with the other females of the series.  She kicks serious ass too which I think makes her the perfect match for John!

I thought the flashes of the history of Darius and Tohrment were a really nice touch and I should have seen where that was going but it still came as a surprise, maybe because so much else was going on in the book.

I’ve probably said this in every review of the series but I still absolutely love that the other major characters from the series appear, which isn’t that surprising since it’s a tight knit group but it’s great (and sometimes painful) to see how they are doing.

I don’t know where to even start with Blay and Qhuinn.  They SO belong together but while Blay accepts who he is, Qhuinn is still in denial and thinks he should be doing the female and baby route that his lineage has programmed into him.  They are both so hot together and even though Blay might have moved on, I hope there is a future for them and their own book because they are brilliant characters.

The book as a whole was amazing.  I absolutely loved it and even with the often horrifying and disturbing events the characters have been through, the emotion, grit and sheer balls of all the characters mean I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I need more, now!

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: J.R. Ward
  • Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood (8)
  • 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.

Nov 132009
 

As the genre of Paranormal Romance has evolved, one of its pioneers has been Sherrilyn Kenyon.  She broke new ground with her Dark-Hunter series.  It appealed to the many readers who were growing bored with the bodice rippers and outdated euphemisms for male genitalia that had saturated the romance market.  That’s not so say it was bad fiction, just it had reached the point where something needed to change.  I applaud the agents and publishers who took a chance on a new slant of an already established and huge genre.

So why should you read Sherrilyn Kenyon?

I am continually astounded by her ability to tell not only a great story, but by the worlds and supporting characters she creates with the different series.  With each book, someone who might have been a minor character in a previous story becomes the focus.  You learn their history and ride along with them as their present unfolds and you genuinely feel part of it.  The characters are always compelling, interesting and flawed and it’s those three things that keep you reading and eager to pick up another of her novels.

The Dark-Hunter world is like a web with a different strand for each person but with one character in the middle who holds it all together.  He appears in most of the Dark-Hunter books and finally had his own story told in Acheron which was outstanding.

While Sherrilyn is (thankfully!) a prolific writer, I’ve never felt she churns out the same material for the sake of it.  I feel the love she has for her characters in every book and they are all emotional, very engaging and unique.  How she keeps all the characters straight when they cross paths continually I’ll never know but it amazes me.

Her male characters are hot, charismatic, dangerous, sensual but flawed and yes you’d expect that considering it is romance after all, but she also creates strong, determined and often ferocious women who you both love and can empathise with a great deal.  The mix is explosive and very exciting and it’s the superb characterisations of both that bring them to life in your mind and utterly hook you.

So if you want books that you will absolutely fall in love with, you should read Sherrilyn Kenyon and my favourite series of all, the Dark-Hunters.

Oct 222009
 

Devil May Cry tells the story of Sin and Katra.  Sin used to be a Sumerian god of fertility until Artemis and her usual thoughtless scheming ways, caused his powers to be removed and added to her own.  Cast out from his Pantheon he was helpless to intercede as their infighting destroyed them.  One small problem though.  The Sumerian Pantheon were responsible for the creation and control of the horrendous gallu demons and if that wasn’t bad enough, had entombed the Dimme, a vicious breed of demons and almost unstoppable.  The tomb has a clock and it’s running out of time.  Three Sumerians are needed to reset the clock and prevent them from escaping and Sin is the only one left free.  Artemis’ handmaiden Katra is sent to kill Sin because of his hatred, desire for vengeance and to see Artemis dead.  Expecting to find a monster, instead she finds an intriguing man, tortured and betrayed and trusting no-one, yet still doing what he can to protect humanity from the ravages of those that would prey on them.  Katra soon realises there is more to the battered but handsome Sin than meets the eye, and Sin fears this beautiful woman will betray him as all others have.

I’m not sure how I missed this in the series but I did!  I thought I’d read all of the current Dark-Hunter books and when a friend pointed out I was missing one I was very (and pleasantly) surprised.  It’s like finding something sweet and yummy in the back of the fridge when you were craving it and thought you had run out ;)

I’m always astounded by the world Sherrilyn Kenyon has created for her Dark-Hunter series.  How she keeps it all straight is mind-boggling and yet continues to slot in more history of characters and their place in her godverse.  I’d met Sin and Katra in other books and had wondered why they hadn’t had their story told.  Silly me!

The book is a good one, has Kenyon’s unique writing style and ability for bringing her characters to life and into your heart.  The story is engaging and the action only lets up for those brief, tender moments she writes so well.

Thoroughly enjoyable and a great addition to the series (even if it is book 13 of 18 and I missed it!)

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)

Oct 122009
 

As a child, trapped and tormented in a labyrinthe of ice caves, imprisoned and fed on by her father and grandfather, Lara Calladine saved her sanity by talking to her aunts, great dragons who were also imprisoned, encased in ice.  It was their sacrifice that allowed her to escape and find a life for herself away from those who tortured her so.  Now she returns, haunted by the memories that she isn’t quite convinced were real.  Half-Mage, half-Carpathian she wants to reclaim her heritage and her childhood.  Meeting the arrogant, dangerous and virile Nicolas De La Cruz was definitely not amongst her plans and especially not being his lifemate.

This is the first book by Christine Feehan I have read and I have to say my initial impressions were not good.  I found it hard to get past how incredibly mysogynistic and chauvenistic the male characters were.  I found it offputting and felt it was just an excuse for them to finally meet their soulmates after centuries of loneliness and then suddenly after being that way for hundreds of years would be a changed man, loving and giving and treat the female character as an equal.  I’m not sure what the underlying message was supposed to be, and it bugged me.

Having got that out of the way, the story was engaging, the characters interesting and the whole Carpathian society and ‘world’ is rich and diverse.  The plot was quite intricate leading to greater empathy with the major characters and a better understanding of their way of life and perhaps why the male Carpathians are the chauvenists they are.

There are quite a few steamy scenes which I felt were modern in setting but quite old fashioned in description and that does make it a change from your average paranormal romance.  It’s not a bad thing, just different and succeeded in creating an emotive experience for me as the reader.

The pace was good in general although there were a few parts where it felt slow.   I found myself wanting it to move along which it invariably did and I was swept up into the story again.

All in all it was well written and engaging, just the chauvenism I found hard to get past and while that won’t stop me reading more by Christine Feehan (this being the 17th in the series so I have a way to go once I read Book 1!), I will be expecting it next time.

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Christine Feehan
  • 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)