Kirsten Reviews: Half-Resurrection Blues by Daniel Jose Older

, by Kt Clapsadl

Half-Resurrection Blues by Daniel Jose Older
Bone Street Rumba #1

“Because I’m an inbetweener—and the only one anyone knows of at that—the dead turn to me when something is askew between them and the living. Usually, it’s something mundane like a suicide gone wrong or someone revived that shouldn’ta been.”

Carlos Delacruz is one of the New York Council of the Dead’s most unusual agents—an inbetweener, partially resurrected from a death he barely recalls suffering, after a life that’s missing from his memory. He thinks he is one of a kind—until he encounters other entities walking the fine line between life and death.

One inbetweener is a sorcerer. He’s summoned a horde of implike ngks capable of eliminating spirits, and they’re spreading through the city like a plague. They’ve already taken out some of NYCOD’s finest, leaving Carlos desperate to stop their master before he opens up the entrada to the Underworld—which would destroy the balance between the living and the dead.

But in uncovering this man’s identity, Carlos confronts the truth of his own life—and death…


Half-Resurrection Blues by Daniel José Older is the first book in the Bone Street Rumba series, and gives readers the first full length novel featuring the character of Carlos Delacruz, previously introduced in a story collection from the author.

For those who haven’t heard of Carlos before, he’s what is known as an ‘inbetweener.’ This means he’s both alive and dead, quite possibly the only one of his kind, has virtually no memory of who he was before he crossed over to the other side, however briefly, and consequently has a few issues.

In the course of working for the the New York Council of the Dead, Carlos is usually called in when the dead need help dealing with issues like unwarranted revivals, or a suicide gone wrong. This time, he’s tasked with taking out a man by the name of Trevor, who is somehow threatening the stability of an ‘entrada,’ aka an entrance into the underworld. What Carlos doesn’t know is that this assignment will result in him finding out more about his past, and also crossing the path of Sarco, a sorcerer who is looking to obliterate the barrier separating the living and the dead. To do so, he’s summoned a horde of implike ngks who have the ability to eradicate spirits, and as is their nature, these imps are spreading quickly throughout the city.

Carlos has to figure out both Sarco’s identity, and figure out a way to stop him, but he will also have to confront his life, and death, which is something of a tall order.

The author has a lyrical writing style that lends itself well to this version of New York City, often taking the twisted path in his storytelling, which makes for a highly readable first installment in a promising series.
(Received a copy from the publisher)

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Early Review: Panther Prowling by Yasmine Galenorn

, by Kt Clapsadl

Priestess Dreaming by Yasmine Galenorn
Otherworld #17

We’re the D’Artigo sisters: savvy half-human, half-Fae operatives for the Otherworld Intelligence Agency. My sister Camille is a wicked-good witch with three gorgeous husbands. Menolly is a vampire married to a werepuma. And me? I’m Delilah, a two-faced werecat and a Death Maiden. While the war in Otherworld is expanding, so is my newly renamed PI business. And my next case is about to make life very interesting…

While waiting for Shadow Wing’s next move, I decide to revamp my ragtag PI agency into the Cat’s Eye Investigations firm. My first client turns out to be our cousin Daniel. During the grand reopening for the Wayfarer, he shows up while being chased by a rampaging ghost. Daniel has procured a rare and valuable sword, and a ring of ghostly warriors comes attached to it. Protectors of the soul trapped within it, the spirits are out to stop anybody who threatens the weapon. As my sisters and I unravel the history of the sword, we quickly realize that the entity locked within the blade is a dangerous king from times gone by—and he’s about to break free and try to recover his crown…

I've noticed a pattern with this series. I enjoy Camille's installments by far the most, and Menolly's are pretty enjoyable as well. However, Delilah's seem to be very hit or miss for me. I just don't identify with her at all, and despite how long this series has been running, she seems to have made very little progress in character growth. No matter what happens, she just wants to turn tail and hide, and while she doesn't actually do so, the constant inner debate about it has become tiresome and tedious. It seems that any mention of responsibility or "growing" is met with an inner (or outer) debate on how she wishes they could just all escape this. The other two seem to have better accepted their lots in life, so it just rubs me the wrong way that Delilah still has not.

As I said, Delilah's books are largely hit or miss for me, with the "hits" being dependant on a great plot. Unfortunately this time around, the plot just didn't suck me in enough. A rouge sword spirit? It just didn't work as a real threat. Frankly, that's a shame as the result of this showdown may have cost one of the main characters more than any other threat has before. I won't spoil it, but the danger/consequence had the worst lasting impact of anything they had faced, and yet despite all that it barely affected me. Considering what happened, I should have been devastated alongside the characters, but it felt two-dimensional rather than three, and frankly I felt cheated by this. Perhaps it's because they were wishy washy and vague about what actually happened and how permanent it would be. So, I'm left wondering if it's a real consequence or not, overall lessening the impact.

I have to wonder if this series just has been running too long. Granted most times I'm the first to be upset when favorite series end, but this time around I think it might be past due. I just feel like the books have departed so far from the original series ARC, and no longer focus on the spirit seals and the real war that each new installment feels more and more like filler material. Maybe I'm wrong, and once things get back to Camille and Menolly, and hopefully the spirit seals quest I'll enjoy the reads more, but for PANTHER PROWLING, it just didn't work enough for me.

(Received a copy from the publisher)

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Other Reviews:
 

Previous Books:
     1. Witchling
     2. Changeling
     3. Darkling
     4. Dragon Wytch
     5. Night Huntress
     6. Demon Mistress
     7. Bone Magic
     8. Harvest Hunting
     9. Blood Wyne
     10. Courting Darkness
     11. Shaded Vision
     12. Shadow Rising
     13. Haunted Moon
     14. Autumn Whispers
     15. Crimson Veil
     15.5. Flight from Hell
     16. Priestess Dreaming

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Review: Forsaken by Kelley Armstrong

, by Kt Clapsadl

Forsaken by Kelley Armstrong
Otherworld Stories #13.3

Being Alpha of the North American Pack is like being a small-town sheriff — nobody wants the job, but someone’s gotta do it.

For the most part, Elena Michaels likes it just fine, even if it means dealing with arrogant misogynists in the werewolf world who are convinced that a woman isn’t up to the job.

That she could handle. What she never expected was a deadly threat to her eight-year-old twins. That her little girl could go missing in the night.

The enemy thought he was dealing with a hysterical mother.

Mother, yes. Hysterical, no.

Elena was Alpha for a reason. And nothing would stop her from getting her child back.

I absolutely love getting my hands on a Clay and Elena book. Their stories are like coming home, and FORSAKEN was no exception. These novellas have been a truly great addition to the series allowing it to grow past the ending back in Thirteen. This time around shows Elena dealing with the repercussions of taking over as Alpha in a misogynistic werewolf world. It's made her and her family a target, but her enemies quickly learn that it's the females you need to watch out for when their family is threatened. Suffice it to say Elena sees the trap and machinations well in advance and proves the "boys" need taught a lesson. I really enjoyed seeing her kicking butt and taking names.

Simply an enjoyable and full read despite being a novella. My only complaint would have to be the open ended nature of the ending. Granted that probably means more novellas to come, but it just caught me off guard as I had thought these stories to be bonus ones rather than a continuing storyline, but it appears I was wrong. So I'll be looking to see where that twist of an ending leads next.

(Received a copy from the publisher)

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Previous Books:
     1. Bitten
     2. Stolen
     3. Dime Store Magic
     4. Industrial Magic
     5. Haunted 
     6. Broken
     7. No Humans Involved
     8. Personal Demon
     9. Living With the Dead
     10. Frostbitten
     11. Waking the Witch
     12. Spell Bound
     13. Thirteen
     13.1. Brazen
     13.2. Bounty Hunt
     

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Kirsten Reviews: The Winter Long by Seanan McGuire

, by Kt Clapsadl

The Winter Long by Seanan McGuire
October Daye #8





Toby thought she understood her own past; she thought she knew the score.

She was wrong.

It's time to learn the truth.







The Winter Long by Seanan McGuire is the eighth book in her October Daye series, which means it is not definitely not the best place for a new reader to pick up the story. There’s a whole lot of history between the characters now, and the conflicts and world building have built up to this book, in which a number of truths are revealed. Going into specifics would spoil several important twists, so without delving too deeply, it’s suffice to say that this book shakes up Toby and many other characters.

To sum up: Toby thought that she understood her own past, but it turns out that she had no clue, and it’s time for the truth to be told.

As readers catch up, Toby and Tybalt are having some much-needed rest and relaxation. Sadly, these two should accept that making any plans to relax basically guarantees trouble will come knocking and drag them kicking and screaming back into the thick of things. In this case, Toby gets a visit from Simon Torquill, twin brother of Sylvester, and the fellow who turned Toby into a fish, to name but one of the deeds which has made him somewhat unpopular. Although he tries to tell Toby something important, he’s under a geas, and so can’t spill the beans. Toby and her friends decide that going to The Luidaeg is the best way to get answers, but she is only able to get a little bit of information before things get more complicated. All the elements which have made these books engaging reading are present, and the author tosses in a surprise or three to keep the plot moving at a brisk pace, and it all comes together impressively, considering this is bringing together so large a story.

The truth is out there in this book, and it is shaking up Toby’s life in a big way, as her past comes up more than once, and ties up a few plotlines, while weaving many more for further books in the series. This isn’t the end of Toby’s journey, but it is a great point to take a breath, look back, and then prepare for what’s coming next.
(Received a copy from the publisher)

Rating:



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Other Reviews:
     My Bookish Ways
     All Things Urban Fantasy
     Bea's Book Nook

Previous Books:
     1. Rosemary and Rue
     2. A Local Habitation
     3. An Artificial Night
     4. Late Eclipses
     5. One Salt Sea
     6. Ashes of Honor
     7. Chimes at Midnight


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Review: Blood Assassin by Alexandra Ivy

, by Kt Clapsadl

Blood Assassin by Alexandra Ivy
The Sentinels #2

They are the outcasts of humanity. Blessed with power. Cursed by fate. Driven by passion. The Sentinels have returned. . .

Out Of The Shadows

At six-foot-three and two-hundred-fifty pounds, Fane is a natural born guardian. A flawless mix of muscled perfection and steely precision, he has devoted years of his life to protecting a beautiful necromancer. But after she found love in the arms of another, Fane has been a warrior adrift. He swears allegiance only to the Sentinels. And no woman will ever rule his heart again. . .

Into The Fire

Not only a powerful psychic, Serra is that rare telepath who can connect to minds through objects. When the daughter of a high-blood businessman is kidnapped, Serra agrees to help. But when she stumbles onto a conspiracy involving secrets sects and ancient relics, her life is in mortal danger--and Fane is her only hope. Is the warrior willing to risk his body, his soul, and his heart, for Serra? Or will one last betrayal destroy them both?

After seeing the build up of tension between Serra and Fane in the previous book, I couldn't wait to get my hands on this one. There's just something to be said about strong sexual tension that leaves the characters in opposition. While I wouldn't say these two were quite enemies to lovers (my favorite trope), the way they interacted had the same feel, so I loved it. I especially enjoyed the flip flop in roles once Serra gives up on chasing Fane, and he in turn realizes that he has to have her after all. She sure gives him a run for his money and I couldn't help rooting for her.

In addition to the steamy and addictive romance aspects, BLOOD ASSASSIN has one heck of a plot. So many times the romance in a PNR will overshadow the plot, and while I still enjoy those books, there's just something to be said about a really strong plot as well. It kept me completely hooked to the story right from the start, making for an addictive read. Speaking of addictive, it really says something when you enjoy the villain as much as the hero. In fact, as the next book looks to feature him, I'm sure it's going to be every bit as good.

This series is shaping up to be a really impressive addition to the genre. From strong romance with a great main couple, strong characters, and one heck of a plot, BLOOD ASSASSIN is sure to please fans of Paranormal Romance, especially those who like just as much action as romance. Seriously a great read!

(Received a copy from the publisher)

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Other Reviews:
     Vampire Book Club
     Delighted Reader
     Tome Tender

Previous Books:
     1. Born in Blood

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Kirsten Reviews: Chimes at Midnight by Seanan McGuire

, by Kt Clapsadl

Chimes at Midnight by Seanan McGuire
October Daye #7

Things are starting to look up for October "Toby" Daye. She's training her squire, doing her job, and has finally allowed herself to grow closer to the local King of Cats. It seems like her life may finally be settling down...at least until dead changelings start appearing in the alleys of San Francisco, killed by an overdose of goblin fruit.

Toby's efforts to take the problem to the Queen of the Mists are met with harsh reprisals, leaving her under sentence of exile from her home and everyone she loves. Now Toby must find a way to reverse the Queens decree, get the goblin fruit off the streets--and, oh, yes, save her own life, since more than a few of her problems have once again followed her home. And then there's the question of the Queen herself, who seems increasingly unlikely to have a valid claim to the throne....

To find the answers, October and her friends will have to travel from the legendary Library of Stars into the hidden depths of the Kingdom of the Mists--and they'll have to do it fast, because time is running out. In faerie, some fates are worse than death.

October Daye is about to find out what they are.

Chimes at Midnight is the seventh book in Seanan McGuire’s October Daye series is perhaps not as wild a ride as some of the previous installments in the series, but it does give the titular character the opportunity to wrap up some plotlines and set others into motion.

There is a callback to the first book, and Toby must confront the dangerous and addictive fae fruit - goblin fruit. Toby must discover who is spreading goblin fruit and stop them, both of which would be difficult on their own, but combined, bring her into the path of a lot of trouble. She finds that the path of the fruit leads back to the Queen of the Mists, who has no love for Toby, and seeks to punish Toby for accusing her and interfering in her business. It is up to Toby to prove that this is not the true queen and replace her with the rightful fae heir, and she only has a few days to do so, or suffer the consequences.

This book sees Toby enjoying some happiness with her friends and loved ones, including Tybalt, May, and Quentin, but that peace does guarantee her an easy time of it. As someone who is more fae than human, she enjoys the benefits of her nonhuman skills, and when she loses her advantage, she has to rely on her intelligence, sneakiness, and allies to win her fights. This character thrives when she has to think on her feet, and the new obstacle prevents fae abilities from being the easy answer they might be in another series.

Several new characters are introduced, and a number of favorites return, making for a good mix of interactions and conflicts. With that, and the evolution that Toby has undergone still in progress, this book reveals a few things, and tosses a few more questions out there for future books, which will doubtless complicate Toby’s life, and keep things vibrant and interesting for readers.
(Received a copy from the publisher)

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Other Reviews:
     Ranting Dragon
     Badass Book Reviews
     Paperback Wonderland

Previous Books:
     1. Rosemary and Rue
     2. A Local Habitation
     3. An Artificial Night
     4. Late Eclipses
     5. One Salt Sea
     6. Ashes of Honor
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Happy Holidays!

, by Kt Clapsadl

We'll be on a holiday hiatus until 1/5. Here's wishing you and yours a very Happy Holidays and New Year!

&

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Review: Bound by Ink by Marcella Burnard

, by Kt Clapsadl

Bound by Ink by Marcella Burnard
Living Ink #1

National bestselling author Marcella Burnard’s first Living Ink novel, Nightmare Ink, was an “outstanding series starter.” Now she continues her “truly mesmeric and heart-stopping” story of magical tattoo artist Isa Romanchzyk…

After being kidnapped and forcibly Inked with a Living Tattoo named Murmur, Isa thought she’d survived the worst her enemies could throw at her. She was wrong. Murmur is walking around her world in someone else’s body, and without him, Isa is losing control of her magic.

Then, in the middle of rush hour, a Live Tattoo comes off its host, killing over a hundred people. Isa discovers that Murmur’s nemesis, Uriel—a demon she believed defeated—is responsible. He’s seeking the power to force his way back into Isa’s world. If he succeeds, everyone Isa loves will be destroyed. There may be a way to stop him, but it will mean sacrificing Murmur—or herself…

Boy am I glad I gave this series another shot. The previous book was a rather frustrating read for me due to the excessive lack of world building and overall confusion. However, this time around, I have a much better handle on things, and I was able to enjoy the series and the great characters a whole lot more. Isa started to really "find" herself in the previous installment, but in this one, she's hit her stride. I really loved how strong she was, and that despite everything going so wrong around her and being stuck in some pretty horrid conditions, she never once faltered, and I loved her for it. On a side note, I have to say that the world behind this series is rather insane, and after the events of this book, I'm very anxious to see what happens next and how Isa handles it.

While the world building and overall flow of the story improved from the previous installment, unfortunately the romance took a turn for the worse. To be honest I just did not feel any connection at all between Isa and Steve. There seemed to be so much more between her and Murmur and yet she's supposed to be madly in love with Steve. I just didn't get it. Sure there's the complications of Murmur being her "ex" tattoo, and really a demon, but again there was no spark on the Steve side of things, and there was more than plenty on the Murmur side. It frankly left me scratching my head throughout, but perhaps this whole romance debacle will play out more in future books.

As I said before, I'm really glad I continued on with this series after its rocky start. Unique worlds and storylines like this are hard to come by, and I love having something completely new and fresh to read. There's nothing predictable here, and it made for a rather interesting read. I'd recommend this to fans of Urban Fantasy that are looking for a fast paced and action pack series that's completely out of the box.

(Received a copy from the publisher)

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Previous Books:
     1. Nightmare Ink


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Early Review: Revenant by Larissa Ione

, by Kt Clapsadl

Revenant by Larissa Ione
Lords of Deliverance #6

HELL HATH NO FURY . . .

For five thousand years, Revenant believed he was alone in the world, a fallen angel beyond any redemption. Now he finds he has a twin brother who had all the light and love Revenant was denied. Caught in a tug of war between Heaven and Hell, he must weigh his thirst for revenge against his desire for a mysterious female named Blaspheme—a female whose very origins could deliver him into salvation . . . or destruction.

LIKE AN ANGEL SCORNED

Blaspheme has a deadly secret: she's the forbidden offspring of an angel and a fallen angel. Hunted by both heavenly and satanic forces, she has survived only by laying low and trusting no one. When Revenant claims he can save them both, how can she possibly believe him? But the powerful angel is persistence incarnate and for Blaspheme, there's no place she can hide in Heaven or Hell where he won't find her . .

Oh my goodness did I love this book. In fact, as I'm writing this review I have a strong urge to re-read both Reaver's and Revenant's books. They are by far my favorites in the series, and that's saying something as I've really enjoyed all the books. There's just something so yummy about these two brothers who are at opposite ends of the spectrum yet so similar at the same time. I'll be honest, earlier in the series it took Reaver a while to grow on me because he was kind of a jerk. But then Revenant came around, and jerk had a whole new meaning. I wasn't sure how he could possibly be redeemed, but Larissa made his story steal my heart, even when he was being a jerk. He snuck up me and made me both love and hate him somehow at the same time. Any time a character can instill such strong feelings is a great one in my book, and Revenant sure fits that bill.

I don't think Blaspheme could have been any more of a perfect match for Revenant. She takes what he throws at her and dishes it right back despite knowing that at any moment if he found out her secret, she was worse than dead. I have to admit that the mystery behind her really intrigued me when she was introduced a few books ago. So it was a bit disappointing for the big secret to have been revealed in the blurb for this one rather than actually in the book as it kind of took the impact away from the reveal. But that's only a small complaint that I quickly forgot while reading. The tension her secret creates not only in the danger of the plot, but also between her and Revenant. I'm a huge fan of yummy sexual tension, and this one has it in spades. Trust me, the fireworks going off between these two is something not to be missed!

I still cannot believe this series is over. Over the past eleven books so much has happened, and I honestly loved every minute of it. I have to say though REVENANT ends it out with a pretty spectacular bang. And there always is the chance to go back and re-read from the start. So, all in all I want to thank Larissa Ione for creating such a spectacular series. Major kudos, and I can't wait to see what she has in store next!

(Received a copy from the publisher)

Rating:





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Other Reviews:
     Oh My Shelves
     Tome Tender
     Tynga's Reviews

Previous Books:
     1. Eternal Rider
     2. Immortal Rider
     3. Lethal Rider
     4. Rogue Rider
     5. Reaver


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Kirsten Reviews: Daring by Elliott James

, by Kt Clapsadl

Daring by Elliott James
Pax Arcana #2

THE WEREWOLVES HAVE A NEW LEADER...AND HE CANNOT BE STOPPED.

Something is rotten in the state of Wisconsin.

Werewolf packs are being united and absorbed into an army of super soldiers by a mysterious figure who speaks like an angel and fights like a demon. And every Knight Templar—keepers of the magical peace between mankind and magickind—who tries to get close to this big bad wolf winds up dead. No knight can infiltrate a group whose members can smell a human from a mile away...no knight except one.

John Charming. Ex knight. Current werewolf. Hunted by the men who trained him, he now might be their only salvation. But animal instincts are rising up to claim John more powerfully than ever before, and he must decide if this new leader of wolves is a madman...or a messiah.

Daring, the second book in Elliott James’ Pax Arcana series finds John Charming, who is one of those Charmings, but definitely not a prince, nor is he a Knight Templar - anymore, caught between a werewolf and a knight.

Werewolves are organizing into an army, which has the Knight Templars worried. Every attempt they’ve made to get close to the mysterious new leader who has the werewolves working together on a grand scale, has been foiled, and the knight ends up dead. There’s no knight alive who can infiltrate a group like this, no one that is, except for John Charming, who happens to be a werewolf.

He’s also a man who is avoiding Sig, the woman he might have fallen in love with, who happens to be a Valkyrie who can communicate with the dead - neither of them are well-versed in talking about their feelings, so they tend to hurt one another in order to protect the other, which in turn doesn’t make either of them more trusting. To make things even more complicated, all Knights Templar are under a geas which compels them to protect the Pax Arcana, which is the ‘see no magic, and mortals don’t freak out’ sort of barrier that keeps a lid on all the magical activity that people don’t notice. That means that sometimes, John is literally under the magical gun to do something he may think isn’t right.

To get the ball rolling, in typical self-sacrificing fashion, John surrenders to the Knights Templar in order to protect Sig and his other friends, which leads to him becoming a one of the pack, and he has to confront the question of whether the Knights Templar or the werewolves have the right idea, and it’s not as simple as one would think. John also has to deal with the werewolf instincts that he had to confront in the last book, and decide who he is, and what lines he will and won’t cross.

The new werewolves are a mixed bunch, some are more fleshed out than others, and at times the story moves a little more slowly, but most of that is spent in world building, and it largely pays off nicely in the end. Whereas Charming had very clearly defined villains, this second book muddies the waters, and by introducing such gray areas, promises interesting things for further books in the series.

(Received a copy from the publisher)

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Other Reviews:
     Rabid Reads
     All Things Urban Fantasy
     The BiblioSanctum

Previous Books:
     1. Charming

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