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.
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!
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.
From “smoking-hot talent”* Marcella Burnard comes a dangerous and captivating new novel that will get under your skin. With her art and magic, Isa Romanchzyk has the power to create or destroy. In her tattoo shop, Nightmare Ink, Isa helps those in need by binding the power embedded in their Live Ink—the magical tattoos that can enhance the life of the wearer, or end it. But binding tattoos has earned Isa the contempt of her fellow artists—including her former lover Daniel. When a friend comes to the shop with a tattoo on the verge of killing him, Isa can’t turn him away. For the first time in years, she works Live Ink—something she swore she’d never do again. But a broken vow soon becomes the least of her problems. The real nightmare begins when she’s abducted and inked with a Living Tattoo against her will. Now, saddled with a powerful, amoral entity willing to do anything to win his freedom, Isa must fight to keep her Living Tattoo from consuming her completely...
World building is a funny thing, and it seems hard to find a good balance in series openers. Too much, and it can make the start of a series feel overly slow and sluggish to get through as you are inundated with all the different elements. Then on the other side of things, too little world building, and it really cripples the story. Unfortunately NIGHTMARE INK falls firmly into the latter category. I had a really hard time staying focused on this book as I couldn't figure who was who, and what was really going on. There was very little explanations nor even character introductions, and the opening cast of characters is pretty big. It almost felt like this should have been the second book in the series where the reader already knew the characters and the rules of the world. Frankly it really baffles me just how much a complete lack of world building there was for the majority of the book. Granted, now after finishing, I think I mostly have a handle on what's going on, but some things still are a bit hazy. It's a shame, because this has the potential to be a really interesting and complex world, I just hope the next book fleshes things out a bit more.
I have to admit that if it wasn't for Isa being such a strong character I probably wouldn't have continued on with this much past the first few chapters due to my frustration with the lack of world explanations. But luckily Isa drew me in enough to stick around, and I'm glad because after finishing I'm pretty intrigued. Isa's strong, but has a haunted past, and it's crippled her relationships with others. Of course that starts to change in NIGHTMARE INK and it was interesting to see her start to come out of her shell and learn to allow the other characters in. It's ironic that it happened at the same time she was dealing with something trying to take her over that she found herself rather than lose herself, but I'm not complaining.
Stilted world building aside, I'm pretty intrigued by this new series. I'll definitely be diving into the next book soon to see where things go after that whopper of an ending. I recommend this to fans of Urban Fantasy who are looking for something a bit different, but just be prepared to overlook the world building issues.
There is no rest for the damned in this thrilling follow-up to Emily McKay's The Lair and The Farm, in a series New York Times bestselling author Chloe Neill calls, "Equal partsResident Evil and Hunger Games."
In a world where vampires rule and teenaged humans are quarantined as a food source, there is only one choice—resist or die. But fighting the vampires comes at a terrible cost to twin sisters Mel and Lily and their best friend Carter . . .
With Lily exposed to the vampire virus and lying in a coma, it’s up to Mel and Carter to search for the cure. Time is not on their side. With every passing heartbeat, Mel is becoming more and more purely vampire.
Desperate, Carter and Mel decide to split up. Carter will recruit human rebels from the Farm in San Angelo to infiltrate the guarded kingdom of the vampire Sabrina and steal the cure. Mel will go back to her mentor, her friend, her betrayer, Sebastian, who is the only one who can access an underground vault that may house the secret to the cure.
That is, if he’s still alive after she staked him to the ground. Now her worst enemy may be their best hope for curing Lily—and saving the human race.
Typically I'm not the biggest fan of rotating narrator perspectives, but in this case, it really worked well for me. I said the opposite about the previous installment as the rotations were a bit much for me, but this time around. I felt more attached to the characters than I would have otherwise. It really kept me sucked well into the story, and considering how intense things were, it made for a heck of a ride. I also really enjoyed how it upped the emotional aspects as it allowed to see multiple angles and sides, and gave me more than plenty characters to really root for. And honestly, aside from the romance that's the biggest thing I really ask for in a book, to be sucked into the story, and attached to the characters. And this one had it in spades.
Speaking of the romance. I loved how Lily and Carter's romance was still incredibly strong despite the almost insurmountable odds the book starts off with. There's just a really strong and believable connection between the two and I enjoyed it immensely. That being said, there's another budding romance that I won't go into specifics on to avoid spoilers, but suffice it to say that it stole the show for me this time around. My only complaint is that as this may be the final book, I won't get to see more of how it plays out, but I'm still largely satisfied with how it all played out.
This was one heck of a whirlwind ending to the series. I enjoyed the previous two installments, and THE VAULT gave me just the ending I hoped for. Don't get me wrong it's not all roses and happiness at the end, but a more realistic outcome considering the world. And considering there were several points throughout the book that things were so bleak that I honestly wasn't sure how things would turn out, the ending has me more than pleased. Well worth the read for fans of the series, this one is not to be missed!
Stories from Nalini Singh, Ilona Andrews, Lisa Shearin, & Milla Vane
Four masters of urban fantasy and paranormal romance plunge readers into the dangerous, captivating world unearthed beyond the dark...
New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh delivers a smoldering story with Secrets at Midnight , as the scent of Bastien Smith’s elusive lover ignites a possessiveness in him that’s as feral as it is ecstatic. And now that he’s found his mate, he’ll do anything to keep her.
In #1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews’ novella,Magic Steals , when people start going missing, shapeshifting tigress Dali Harimau and jaguar shifter Jim Shrapshire must uncover the truth about the mysterious creatures responsible.
From Milla Vane—a warrior princess must tame The Beast of Blackmoor to earn a place among her people. But she quickly discovers that the beast isn't a monster, but a barbarian warrior who intends to do some taming himself.
It’s seer Makenna Frazier's first day on the job at Supernatural Protection and Investigations, and her first assignment is more than she bargained for when bodyguard duty for a leprechaun prince’s bachelor party goes every which way but right in national bestselling author Lisa Shearin’s Lucky Charms .
I don't typically read anthologies unless they are set in worlds that I already read, but I decided to give this one a shot. I'm really glad I did as I have a new series to read, and two of my favorite series have been expanded upon. Definitely a great read for fans of these series, or anyone looking for something new to try out.
Onto the stories:
Secrets at Midnight by Nalini Singh - I'm a huge fan of Nalini's archangel series, but I haven't read anything from her psy series. If this novella is any comparison to the rest of the series, then it seems I have been missing out. Boy is it hot! That being said, I don't think this was really the best place for a new comer to start in the series, because I was more than a little lost as to the world and what was going on outside of the main couple. Even so, an enjoyable read that makes me want to check out the full books.
Magic Steals by Ilona Andrews - THIS novella is the entire reason I wanted to read this anthology. I've been dying to see Jim and Dali's story since their attraction had been first hinted about a couple of books ago in the series. I absolutely loved seeing them together, and Dali is a really interesting character to see inside her head. Now I wish there was going to be a full length from her perspective. Even so, I'm really happy I got to read this story, and see another side to the mysterious Jim.
The Beast of Blackmoor by Milla Vane - This one was a difficult read for me. I just don't think barbarian stories are my thing as I couldn't really get into it. Don't get me wrong, it was sexy, but it was a bit too out there for my tastes.
Lucky Charms by Lisa Shearin - I have to admit that I completely spaced on what this story was until I started it. I absolutely loved the first book in this series, so it was really great to see this prequel story. Now I just can't wait to get my hands on book two as this fun story reminded me just how fun the book was, and how much I loved it. If you're looking for a new urban fantasy read, these are the ones to check out, lots of fun!
Meet the operatives of the Carnacki Institute—JC Chance: the team leader, brave, charming, and almost unbearably arrogant; Melody Chambers: the science geek who keeps the antisupernatural equipment running; and Happy Jack Palmer: the terminally gloomy telepath. Their mission: Do Something About Ghosts. Lay them to rest, send them packing, or just kick their nasty ectoplasmic arses…
In a quiet London suburb, four university students participating in an experiment inside a reputed haunted house hold a séance that goes terribly wrong. What—or who—ever they summoned has taken their minds away, leaving them empty shells.
Enter the Ghost Finders, ready to confront an enraged poltergeist for the students’ very souls.
All in a day’s work—except the team doesn’t know that in another part of the city, a different entity has also breached the threshold between worlds. And this time what is at stake is not four lives—but the very existence of all humanity.
Voices from Beyond, the fifth book in the Ghost Finders series by Simon R. Green has the dark humor and ghost-busting that is a hallmark of these novels. One aspect of these books worth noting is that while the characters may have paranormal abilities, they aren’t superhuman, and often find themselves in situations where they very nearly don’t escape in the nick of time. The stakes are higher in this sort of urban fantasy, and it keeps the story moving at a nice pace.
The Ghost Finders, a motley cast of characters are something close to the standard group of heroes, with a little variation as there is a telepath addicted to pills, JC, whose girlfriend Kim happens to be a ghost, and the requisite ‘techie’ character is Melody. Their job is to Do Something About Ghosts, whether that’s laying them to rest, doing their best to kick their butts - if such a thing is possible with spirits, or otherwise get creative.
This time, four university students have decided that holding a séance inside a haunted house is a somehow a good idea. The result is that, as expected, nothing good happens. Whatever they summon literally steals their minds, leaving behind empty shells. This puts the Ghost Finders on course to confront an unhappy poltergeist.
But, at the same time, in another part of London, something else has breached the threshold between worlds. In this case, there is more to worry about than a few students, as humanity itself is now under threat of being annihilated.
While this is definitely a fun series, it doesn’t take itself too seriously, and if readers are familiar with the previous books, or Green’s other books, they will enjoy this latest installment.
(Received a copy from the publisher)
Known as the wicked witch of Russian fairy tales, Baba Yaga is not one woman, but rather a title carried by a chosen few. They keep the balance of nature and guard the borders of our world, but don’t make the mistake of crossing one of them…
Though she looks like a typical California surfer girl, Beka Yancy is in fact a powerful yet inexperienced witch who’s struggling with her duties as a Baba Yaga. Luckily she has her faithful dragon-turned-dog for moral support, especially when faced with her biggest job yet…
A mysterious toxin is driving the Selkie and Mer from their homes deep in the trenches of Monterey Bay. To investigate, Beka buys her way onto the boat of Marcus Dermott, a battle-scarred former U.S. Marine, and his ailing fisherman father.
While diving for clues, Beka drives Marcus crazy with her flaky New Age ideas and dazzling blue eyes. She thinks he’s rigid and cranky (and way too attractive). Meanwhile, a charming Selkie prince has plans that include Beka. Only by trusting her powers can Beka save the underwater races, pick the right man, and choose the path she’ll follow for the rest of her life…
When it comes to paranormal romance, the most important thing by far in my book is the characters and their chemistry. And boy, let me tell you, Beka and Marcus had that in spades. I absolutely loved the antagonism between the two of them. Of course, it does help that enemies to lovers is my favorite trope, all that yummy tension really makes the book for me, and trust me these two had it. I absolutely loved seeing these two dance around each other and throw their barbs back and forth, all the while getting closer to one another. Trust me, it was perfect.
Moving along to the plot, it was pretty enjoyable as well. I like how these books mix mundane problems in with supernatural issues. I think it just makes things a bit more interesting to mix it up and raises the stakes a bit. Of course that the normal humans have no idea that their issue is also affecting the hidden supernaturals only makes it more interesting as some of their eyes get "opened." I also enjoyed how this plot set things up for the next book, making me really want to get my hands on it, and keeping me hooked.
This was another fun romp, and just the thing I needed. It's no secret that my first love is Urban Fantasy. I just love the recurring main characters and the fantasy/paranormal aspects. However, they can be a bit frustrating in the romance department as that takes several books. So books like WICKEDLY WONDERFUL serve as the perfect and fun palate cleanser for me, this one particularly so. I really enjoy the world Deborah Blake has set up, especially in that it's not the same old tried and true paranormal characters but a great mix and Baba Yagas that aren't old crones to boot! I really had a blast reading this book, and I think it's perfect for any paranormal romance fan who is looking to escape for a couple of hours.
For the past two months, Kitty Doe's life has been a lie. Forced to impersonate the Prime Minister's niece, her frustration grows as her trust in her fake fiancé cracks, her real boyfriend is forbidden and the Blackcoats keep her in the dark more than ever. But in the midst of discovering that her role in the Hart family may not be as coincidental as she thought, she's accused of treason and is forced to face her greatest fear: Elsewhere. A prison where no one can escape. As one shocking revelation leads to the next, Kitty learns the hard way that she can trust no one, not even the people she thought were on her side. With her back against the wall, Kitty wants to believe she'll do whatever it takes to support the rebellion she believes in—but is she prepared to pay the ultimate price?
While there seemed to be a lot of mixed reviews for the first book in this series, Pawn, I really enjoyed it, so I was hoping for a repeat performance in CAPTIVE. Unfortunately, while the book mostly kept my attention, I just wasn't swept up into the story as much as I would have hoped, making it an overall mediocre read for me. While CAPTIVE was enjoyable, I have to admit that both Kitty and Knox more than got on my nerves for most of the book. Kitty is purposely and obtusely immature, acting out against anyone and everyone because she can, not for any constructive purpose. Frankly I just didn't get it. She wants to support the rebellion, and yet she's so far stuck in distrust and stubborness that she sabatoges her own self at every corner. Very frustrating to say the least, and then you have Knox, who drove me every bit as crazy as well. He seems to be stuck on distrusting Kitty and purposely keeping her in the dark instead of trying to include her. He really looks down on her, and there were a couple times where I wanted to smack him.
Now onto the romance. Despite my issues with the way Knox and Kitty treat each other, I think a budding romance between those two would frankly have more spark and passion than what's going on between Kitty and Benjy. I just don't get the relationship between the two of them, as there just didn't seem to be any real passion or emotion there. Sure they say the love each other, and are desperate to be together, but I just don't feel it. It's almost as if there's a glass partition keeping the emotions from coming out. Frankly the entire time while I was reading CAPTIVE I kept waiting for Kitty and Knox to just start kissing during one of their numerous spats. It's just frustrating that that's when I felt real emotion rather than the scenes between Kitty and Benjy who are supposed to mean everything to one another. I'm still left scratching my head over this. I'm going to assume that since this is a trilogy, there's no shot at Kitty and Knox at this point, but only time will tell.
So all that being said, hopefully this one can just be chalked up to a sophomoric slump, and the last book will take the cake. That being said, despite being a medicore read for me, I think it's still well worth the read for fans of the series, and make you want to get a hold of the final installment to see how everything plays out.
There’s nothing worse than a cruel, cunning enemy with time to kill—and my murder to plan.
With wicked Fire elemental Mab Monroe long gone, you’d think I could finally catch a break. But someone’s always trying to take me down, either as Gin Blanco or my assassin alter-ago. Now along comes the Spider’s new arch-nemesis, the mysteriously named M. M. Monroe, who is gleefully working overtime to trap me in a sticky web of deceit.
The thing is, I’m not the only target. I can see through the tangled threads enough to know that every bit of bad luck my friends have been having lately is no accident—and that each unfortunate “coincidence” is just one more arrow drawing ever closer to hitting the real bulls-eye. Though new to Ashland, this M. M. Monroe is no stranger to irony, trying to get me, an assassin, framed for murder. Yet, as my enemy’s master plan is slowly revealed, I have a sinking feeling that it will take more than my powerful Ice and Stone magic to stop my whole life from going up in flames.
I have to admit I was a bit worried about this one as it seemed like we were in store for a Mab 2.0 showdown. However, MM is nothing like her mother. Don't get me wrong, she's a massive big bad, and tough as heck for Gin to go up against, but unlike Gin's previous foes, MM doesn't come at her straight on. There's all kinds of plotting and scheming and many different angles at play, making MM a mastermind at strategy and manipulation. This may sound strange, but I actually enjoyed seeing Gin fall right into the traps MM set, because it made things even more intense and edge of seat than the typical who's the bigger bad showdown. Don't get me wrong, of course there was a showdown by the end, but it was the lead up that made this one feel over the top, and I loved every moment of it. I can't wait to see who Gin faces next! Every single time I finish a Gin Blanco book, I'm amazed that everything that woman goes through hasn't become stale and old hat by this point. It's just incredible that after everything she's faced that the danger and risk still comes across full force. I really love how these books guarantee me an action packed ride that never feels stale, making them a treat in the Urban Fantasy genre. Seriously, 12 books, and this series isn't showing any signs of losing steam. Bravo Ms. Estep, Bravo! So, I'm happy to give this one the stamp of my approval. Highly recommended to fans of the series, BLACK WIDOW is one heck of a ride from start to finish that's sure to please!
(Received a copy from the publisher)