Kirsten Reviews: Captive by A.D. Robertson

, by Kt Clapsadl

Captive: The Forbidden Side of Nightshade
Forbidden Side of Nightshade #1

The first adult novel set in the world of the New York Times bestselling Nightshade series, Captive delivers a steamy, forbidden romance between sworn enemies drawn together by an irrepressible desire.

Twenty-five-year-old Tristan Doran enjoys a life of incredible power and privilege. As a direct descendant of the Keepers—witches who have embraced dark magic—he defers to no one but his overlord, Lord Bosque Mar. For most of his life, Tristan has been kept out of the centuries-old Witches War, his bloodline too valuable to risk in battle.

But when a beautiful, young human Searcher named Sarah is captured and made a prisoner in his Irish castle, Tristan’s infatuation with her flings him headlong into the fray. Captive and captor, unable to contain their longing, embark on a passionate, forbidden romance together—only to learn that their love is at the heart of a prophecy predicting the downfall of the Keepers’ ages-old reign.

Captive explores the darker side of the richly imagined Nightshade universe, a fantasy world of powerful dark witches, shape-shifting wolf warriors, and fascinating history. The first of three erotic novels, Captive delves deeply into the fiery, illicit romance of two young lovers whose very desires invite their doom.

A.D. Robertson’s Captive: The Forbidden Side of Nightshade is the first book in a series that takes place in the same word as those written by the author under the pseudonym of Andrea Cremer, and which pits the descendant of witches against a human, in hopes of creating sparks and conflict - to only partial success.

Tristan Doran is the descendant of the Keepers, witches who have embraced dark magic, and has been excluded from a war that has lasted centuries because his bloodline is too valuable to lose.

Sarah, a human Searcher is the catalyst to push Tristan into the thick of things. When she is taken prisoner, he becomes infatuated, and the clichés are easy to see coming. It should not come as any surprise that it’s the attraction, and emotional bond between Tristan and Sarah that is the linchpin of a prophecy that predicts the end of the Keepers’ reign of power.

The book has a range of different beings and characters, including lupine warriors, witches, and humans somehow in the middle of everything and tipping the scales. This has been billed by some as a YA novel, but it’s more accurate to say that it’s the ‘adult side’ of the world of Nightshade, and has far more in common with erotic novels than most YA out there.

All told, Captive did more telling than showing, overused plot devices, and was full of scenes that felt overly dramatic, or underplayed things too much. It was, to put it mildly, very uneven. Fans of the author’s other books may enjoy seeing her branch out into a different direction, but new readers may not find it as palatable.
(Received a copy from the publisher)

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Other Reviews:
     Head Stuck in a Book
     Books-n-Kisses
     Bookish

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Release Day Review: Made for You by Melissa Marr

, by Kt Clapsadl

Made for You by Melissa Marr

Bestselling author of the Wicked Lovely books Melissa Marr’s first contemporary YA novel is a twisted southern gothic tale of obsession, romance, and murder. A killer is obsessed with Eva Tilling. Can she stop him, or will he claim her?

When Eva Tilling wakes up in the hospital, she’s confused—who in her sleepy little North Carolina town could have hit her with their car? And why? But before she can consider the question, she finds that she’s awoken with a strange new skill: the ability to foresee people’s deaths when they touch her. While she is recovering from the hit-and-run, Nate, an old flame, reappears, and the two must traverse their rocky past as they figure out how to use Eva’s power to keep her friends—and themselves—alive. But while Eva and Nate grow closer, the killer grows increasingly frantic in his attempt to get to Eva.

For the first time, New York Times bestselling author Melissa Marr has applied her extraordinary talent to contemporary realism. Chilling twists, unrequited obsession, and high-stakes romance drive this Gothic, racy thriller—a story of small-town oppression and salvation. Melissa’s fans, and every YA reader, will find its wild ride enthralling.

My goodness was this book a nail biter. It kept me literally on the edge of my seat, as it was engrossing, captivating, and horrifying all at the same time. Typically I'm not the biggest fan of seeing into the villian's POV as more often than not it either comes across as a cheesy with a "dastardly plan," or frankly, boring. That was no where near the case here as the villain's point of view brought chills to my skin, especially as the book went on, and it became more and more clear just how messed up he was. Frankly this just wasn't something I would have expected from a YA novel. Even though this is a bit out of my preferred genre as thrillers just don't quite do it for me, I found myself completely unable to put MADE FOR YOU down.

I absolutely loved Eva's character. The way she was portrayed was perfect. She comes from a privileged southern family and struggles with the constraints that involves. At the start she's trying to balance what is expected of her and what she really wants from life. You know, the normal teenage struggle to find who really are in life, and I really like the way it was done in this book. Eva won me over right away, which considering everything that happened right away this instant connection really helped to make the read un-put-downable for me. Then when you add in the fact that the rest of the cast of characters, specifically Grace, Eva's parents, and Nate were  every bit as well fleshed out, this one is a winner.

If you are a fan of YA thrillers with a little twist of paranormal, then MADE FOR YOU should be on your next to read list. Heck, even if you aren't a fan of thrillers, you'll still want to give this one a look.

(Received a copy from the publisher)

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Other Reviews:
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Review: Ghost Layer by Robin D. Owens

, by Kt Clapsadl

Ghost Layer by Robin D. Owens
Ghost Seer #2

Clare Cermak’s adjusting to a new man in her life—and a lot of ghosts. The passing of Clare’s aunt gave way to a sizeable inheritance of not only money, but also the ability to communicate with the dead. At the same time, she met Zach Slade, a private detective with a rough past, and just like Clare, he’s not yet ready to accept her gift—or his own.

But Clare has another matter to look into. A multimillionaire needs her help after relocating an old ghost town to his mountain estate. The bones of a murdered prospector are making nightly appearances in his guests’ beds. When the gold miner’s ghost contacts Clare, she promises to help find the name of his killer—but someone doesn't want the past revealed and might find her first…



Ghost Layer while enjoyable on the surface, suffered from some underlying issues that kept me from getting sucked into the story as much as I would like. The overall premise is interesting, but I don't think enough is being revealed or explained to really hold my attention. There's this outside influence that's controlling the strings, but it's rather infuriating to be honest. It threatens Clare despite her moving towards accepting her new fate of seeing ghosts, because she's not "progressing as she should" yet it doesn't give her any information either. I'm just a fan of hypocrisy like that. But on the flip side, Clare does seem to be overly obtuse in that she doesn't seem to learn from anything. It's the same actions and mistakes over and over, leaving me more than a bit frustrated. And yes, which she's moving towards accepting her fate, it is slow going, and at times she just seemed petulant, which just isn't an attractive character trait. 

I could have overlooked the frustrating world and heroine if the romance had been stronger. Sure there was plenty of heat in the bedroom aspects, but it just felt forced. Almost like it was missing a spark or that oomph to make it substantial. The chemistry just wasn't there, and it was a case of telling not showing to be honest. I just want more from the romance department in my books. I want to be swept off my feet right along with the characters, and that just wasn't the case here.

In the end GHOST LAYER was a a mediocre read for me. While it wasn't a struggle to keep reading, I was easily distracted and wound up putting it down more frequently as I wasn't sucked in enough to be consumed but the read. I think I'll give this series one more shot, and hopefully the next one will grab me more. 

(Received a copy from the publisher)

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Other Reviews:
     The Book Pushers
     Rabid Reads
     Caffeinated Book Reviewer

Previous Books:
     1. Ghost Seer
 

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Review: Wickedly Dangerous by Deborah Blake

, by Kt Clapsadl

Wickedly Dangerous by Deborah Blake
Baba Yaga #1

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…

Older than she looks and powerful beyond measure, Barbara Yager no longer has much in common with the mortal life she left behind long ago. Posing as an herbalist and researcher, she travels the country with her faithful (mostly) dragon-turned-dog in an enchanted Airstream, fulfilling her duties as a Baba Yaga and avoiding any possibility of human attachment.

But when she is summoned to find a missing child, Barbara suddenly finds herself caught up in a web of deceit and an unexpected attraction to the charming but frustrating Sheriff Liam McClellan.

Now, as Barbara fights both human enemies and Otherworld creatures to save the lives of three innocent children, she discovers that her most difficult battle may be with her own heart…

When I read the blurb for WICKEDLY DANGEROUS, I knew right away that I'd have to read this one. I mean come on, a story about Baba Yaga? And she's not an old hag? How awesome is that?!? Of course this means I went into the book with very high expectations, but I'm happy to report that those expectations were warranted. It's such a fun, sassy, and sexy book. I really enjoyed the blending of the worlds between the human realm and Otherworld, with Baba straddling both of them. It definitely made things more than a little interesting. 

Baba is such a fun character. She's definitely a fish out of water, and despite being pretty old (ages very slowly) she doesn't know anything about relationships or really how to deal with attraction and romance. So it was pretty amusing to see her stumbling all over herself for Liam, despite her hard act and exterior. It has that first love and new experiences feel to it, without seeming too young and naive. Liam is the perfect match for her as while he's a strong right side of the law kind of man, he has his priorities in order and didn't stubbornly hold onto the law. They are a bit of opposites so it was amusing at times to see them clash, but overall they really worked together for me. The romance in general left a smile on my face, and that's all I ask for. 

I will say that after finishing this one and reading the blurb for the next one, I was a bit bummed to see that things wouldn't be continuing on with this Baba, but onto another one. I just felt like there could have been so much more added onto this story. But regardless, I'm still eagerly anticipating the next story if this one is any indication of how much I'll enjoy it. So if you are looking for a fun and sexy paranormal story that's a different change of pace, WICKEDLY DANGEROUS is worth a look. Or two.

(Received a copy from the publisher)

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Other Reviews:
     Badass Book Reviews
     Urban Fantasy Investigations
     The Reader Girls


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Early Review: The Witch With No Name by Kim Harrison

, by Kt Clapsadl

The Witch With No Name by Kim Harrison
The Hollows # 13


At long last... The final book in the New York Timesbestselling Hollows series by Kim Harrison!

Rachel Morgan's come a long way from the clutzy runner of Dead Witch Walking. She's faced vampires and werewolves, banshees, witches, and soul-eating demons. She's crossed worlds, channeled gods, and accepted her place as a day-walking demon. She's lost friends and lovers and family, and an old enemy has become something much more.

But power demands responsibility, and world-changers must always pay a price. That time is now.

To save Ivy's soul and the rest of the living vampires, to keep the demonic ever after and our own world from destruction, Rachel Morgan will risk everything.


The blurb says it all "At long last... The final book." It's both so satisfying and yet utterly bittersweet to see this much loved and long running story come to an end. I have to admit that I was more than a little nervous to start this book as there has been so much build up and my expectations were so high. This series, probably more than any I've read, really need to go out with a bang to give true justice to the investment and attachment to these characters. I'm happy to say that THE WITCH WITH NO NAME doesn't go out with a bang. No, it goes out with a whole herd of fireworks and explosion bangs to light up the entire sky on the Fourth of July. 

It truly is amazing to see so many long running threads come together and work themselves out. The last couple of books have started pulling things together, but this final book was the final seal in everything, and I simply loved it. Never could I have predicted things to end up the way they have looking back to when I first read Dead Witch Walking. The character growth and change that the entire cast of characters have gone through is simply astounding. But of course Rachel most of all has stolen my heart with her changes. Who would have though that that reckless witch would have turned into the catalyst to changing all the different Inderlander groups for the better. 

THE WITCH WITH NO NAME proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Kim Harrison is an absolute master at her craft. I simply cannot express how much I have enjoyed this book and the series as a whole. These books will be on my re-read shelf for many many years to come. My hat goes off to you Ms. Harrison. Bravo!

(Received a copy from the publisher)

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Other Reviews:
     Fresh Fiction
     Unconventional Book Views
     Tome Tender

Previous Books:
     1. Dead Witch Walking
     2. The Good, the Bad, and the Undead
     3. Every Which Way But Dead
     4. A Fistful of Charms
     5. For a Few Demons More
     6. The Outlaw Demon Wails
     7. White Witch, Black Curse
     8. Back Magic Sanction
     9. Pale Demon
     10. A Perfect Blood
     11. Ever After
     12. The Undead Pool

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Review: Flight from Hell by Yasmine Galenorn

, by Kt Clapsadl

Flight from Hell by Yasmine Galenorn
Otherworld #15.5

Crossover from the Otherworld Series to Fly By Night Series.

New York Times bestselling author Yasmine Galenorn returns with another thrilling foray into Otherworld—introducing a new cast of heroes alongside the D’Artigo sisters…

When the half-demon Carter approaches Menolly and her sisters desperately asking for their help, they think he's just had a tiff with Shimmer, his blue dragon girlfriend.

But after talking to Alex Radcliffe, the owner of the Fly By Night Magical Investigations Agency where Shimmer works, they suspect that she has been kidnapped by an old enemy of Alex's.

Now, Alex must join forces with the D'Artigo sisters in a desperate race to find Shimmer before Julian, a powerful vampire from Alex's past with a grudge to settle, can use the dragon to wreak havoc on Seattle as revenge.

This is a really quick read, and the perfect introduction into Yasmine's upcoming spin-off world. I really love novellas like this that give a little extra in a series, as well as novella prequels to open a series. This one had the best of both of those worlds and really tied things together for me. And the fact that the new series is going to be about a dragon? I'm more than sold. While Shimmer isn't the focus of this story as it's told from Menolly's point of view, after reading this one I can't wait to get my hands on her book. Honestly based on the brief appearances she made in the Otherworld series, she seemed harsh and stand-offish, but if this book is any indication, she's more than a bit broken and had a very rough life. I love getting to see a character grow and come back from hard odds, so this series looks to be a winner. Now I just have to sit back and wait.

My excitement for Shimmer's series aside, I loved that this story was told Menolly's side, giving us a bonus story from the D'Artigo sisters. There's a whole lot going on and it was very fast paced, keeping me hooked throughout. I'll be interested to see just how closely these two series follow one another in the future. It should make for one interesting ride. Fans of the Otherworld books won't want to miss this treat of a novella and it's first foray into an exciting new series.

(Received a copy from the publisher)

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Other Reviews:
     Paranormal Haven
     Tome Tender
     Literal Addiction

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

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Early Review: House Immortal by Devon Monk

, by Kt Clapsadl

House Immortal by Devon Monk
House Immortal #1

One hundred years ago, eleven powerful ruling Houses consolidated all of the world’s resources and authority into their own grasping hands. Only one power wasn’t placed under the command of a single House: the control over the immortal galvanized....

Matilda Case isn’t like most folk. In fact, she’s unique in the world, the crowning achievement of her father’s experiments, a girl pieced together from bits. Or so she believes, until Abraham Seventh shows up at her door, stitched with life thread just like her and insisting that enemies are coming to kill them all.

Tilly is one of thirteen incredible creations known as the galvanized, stitched together beings immortal and unfathomably strong. For a century, each House has fought for control over the galvanized. Now the Houses are also tangled in a deadly struggle for dominion over death—and Tilly and her kind hold the key to unlocking eternity

The secrets that Tilly must fight to protect are hidden within the very seams of her being. And to get the secrets, her enemies are willing to tear her apart piece by piece.…

House Immortal started off as a bit of a slow read for me. Luckily after a while it really started to pick up. So, bear with me as I explain what didn't work in the beginning. I promise, the book turns around as the trade off of the unique world is more than worth the rocky start. That being said, the info dump beginning left me more confused and out of sorts than sucked into the story. Don't get me wrong, the world is very interesting and I love the concept behind it, but frankly it was rather complex and there was a whole lot going on. In fact, I'm still not really sure I grasp all of the different aspects, but looking back, I felt this same way after reading the first book in Devon Monk's Allie Becktrom series, disconnected and a bit overwhelmed, and that series is one of my all time favorites now. So, bottom line, what I'm saying is that even if the beginning of House Immortal is a rough read, it's more than worth hanging on and pushing through to get to the good.

So, negative stuff over, let's move on to Tilly. I really adored her. She's so strong and determined to take care of others despite her very very vulnerable position. And while she never rolls over quick to other's demands, she sacrifices herself over and over for others. It's really admirable, especially when you account for the fact that others don't even consider her to be human. I think one of the best parts of this book was how it made you question what it really meant to be human. Sure, Tilly was stitched together and "made" but she has a real human soul, and she shows more kindness and humility than most of the "real" people in this book. Some of their actions were atrocious, and yet they treat her as subhuman. Like I said, it really made you question the definition of humanity, and I love it for that. 

Now onto the good aspects of that world. The whole idea of eleven houses controlling the world, with each focusing on a different "trade" and immortal beings that were literally stitched together is absolutely fascinating. Add that to those immortal being selling themselves willing to the houses in slavery so many years to stop a war, and the rest of the structure and I was hooked. Again, the introduction into this world is a bit bumpy, but the uniqueness more than makes up for in my opinion. I love the urban fantasy world with a fierce passion, and this genre will probably always be my go-to books, but even so I still get tired of the same old same old from time to time. So it's so nice to read something completely fresh and unique like this. 

All in all, I'm rather pleased with House Immortal's start to this new series. A fresh and unique new world, House Immortal will appeal to fans of Urban Fantasy. Devon Monk once again proves she's a powerhouse in the genre. Major kudos!

(Received a copy from the publisher)

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Release Day Review: The Beautiful Ashes by Jeaniene Frost

, by Kt Clapsadl

The Beautiful Ashes by Jeaniene Frost
Broken Destiny #1

In a world of shadows, anything is possible. Except escaping your fate.

Ever since she was a child, Ivy has been gripped by visions of strange realms just beyond her own. But when her sister goes missing, Ivy discovers the truth is far worse—her hallucinations are real, and her sister is trapped in a parallel realm. And the one person who believes her is the dangerously attractive guy who's bound by an ancient legacy to betray her.

Adrian might have turned his back on those who raised him, but that doesn't mean he can change his fate…no matter how strong a pull he feels toward Ivy. Together they search for the powerful relic that can save her sister, but Adrian knows what Ivy doesn't: that every step brings Ivy closer to the truth about her own destiny, and a war that could doom the world. Sooner or later, it will be Ivy on one side and Adrian on the other. And nothing but ashes in between…

I feel like I should start off with a bit of a disclaimer, this is not a Cat & Bones replacement. It has a completely different feel and pacing. While I enjoyed The Beautiful Ashes, I have to admit that the tone confused me. The genre is listed as a New Adult, and while the character fits that age numerically, the tone seems much younger. Granted I haven't read very many New Adults, but I just was expecting something a bit different, older feeling perhaps. I guess I just wasn't expecting Ivy to sound and seem like every other YA aged character. Don't get me wrong, I read a lot of YA, but for this to be labeled something different, I was expecting to see that. This confusion plus my lingering attachment and hope for a Cat & Bones replacement, it did take me longer than I had hoped to get attached to the story and characters, but luckily that was only temporary. 

So, once I was able to put my preconceptions aside, I fell into the story and this new world. The world building was pretty incredible, and complex. Everything happened in a whirlwind, almost too fast, but it never tipped over that scale, which I loved. Once I fell into the story I was hooked, and I loved both the world and Ivy. She's both strong and yet so vulnerable at the same times. She makes the right choices over and over, and while they may not always be for the reasons the others want, she still grows and moves forward with each new step. Considering how much was thrown at her in such a short time, it's impressive that she wasn't a crumbling mess to be honest. That being said, she was dealing with so much, so I did appreciate how the romance was much more of a slow build. It just seemed more realistic that way. Even so, I really look forward to seeing more from her and Adrian in the next book.

The Beautiful Ashes is a whirlwind of a start to this new series from Jeaniene Frost. All indications point to this being one heck of a ride. I can't wait to see more of this world and how things will unfurl. If you enjoy a unique paranormal story with strong characters, then this one is for you. 

(Received a copy from the publisher)

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     Gizmo's Reviews
     The Nocturnal Library
 

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Book Feature: The Beautiful Ashes by Jeaniene Frost

, by Kt Clapsadl

the beautiful ashes

Title: The Beautiful Ashes

Author: Jeaniene Frost

Expected Publication: August 26th, 2014

  About The Beautiful Ashes In a world of shadows, anything is possible. Except escaping your fate. Ever since she was a child, Ivy has been gripped by visions of strange realms just beyond her own. But when her sister goes missing, Ivy discovers the truth is far worse—her hallucinations are real, and her sister is trapped in a parallel realm. And the one person who believes her is the dangerously attractive guy who's bound by an ancient legacy to betray her. Adrian might have turned his back on those who raised him, but that doesn't mean he can change his fate…no matter how strong a pull he feels toward Ivy. Together they search for the powerful relic that can save her sister, but Adrian knows what Ivy doesn't: that every step brings Ivy closer to the truth about her own destiny, and a war that could doom the world. Sooner or later, it will be Ivy on one side and Adrian on the other. And nothing but ashes in between…
Buy Links Amazon | BN

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Check out my review here:


  About Jeaniene Frost: Jeaniene Frost is the New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author of the Night Huntress series, the Night Prince series, and the upcoming Broken Destiny series. To date, foreign rights for her novels have sold to twenty different countries. Jeaniene lives in North Carolina with her husband Matthew, who long ago accepted that she rarely cooks and always sleeps in on the weekends. Aside from writing, Jeaniene enjoys reading, poetry, watching movies with her husband, exploring old cemeteries, spelunking and traveling – by car. Airplanes, children, and cook books frighten her. For information on Jeaniene's books, reading the first 20% of each book free, book trailers, deleted scenes, creature mythology, and more, please visit: www.jeanienefrost.com
Excerpt: 

A familiar song was playing, but I couldn’t remember the name. That bugged me enough to open my eyes. A wall of black met my gaze, slick and smooth like glass. I reached up to see what it was, and that’s when I realized my hands were tied.

“Silent Lucidity” by Queensryche, my mind supplied, followed immediately by, I’m in the backseat of a car. One that was well taken care of, going by that flawless, shiny roof. With those details filled in, I also remembered what had happened right before I’d passed out. And who I was with.

“Why are my hands tied?” I said, heaving myself into an upright position.

For some reason Adrian didn’t have a rear view mirror, which was why he had to glance over his shoulder to look at me.

“Does anything make you panic?” he asked, sounding amused. “You’re tied up in the backseat of a cop-killer’s car, but I’ve seen people get more upset when Starbucks runs out of pumpkin spice flavor.”

Anyone normal would panic, not that it would do any good. Besides, I ran out of “normal” a long time ago, when I realized I saw things no one else did.

Speaking of which, why wasn’t I in pain? The lump where Mrs. Paulson had whacked me was gone, and my shirt was red from blood, but aside from a mild kink in my neck, I felt fine. When I pushed my shirt up, somehow, I wasn’t surprised to see smooth, unbroken skin on my abdomen. Well, that and a bunch of crumbs, like I’d eaten a dessert too messily.

“Why does it look like I have angel food cake on my stomach?” I wondered aloud.

Adrian snorted. “Close. It’s medicine. You were injured.”

“You can tell me how I’m not anymore,” I said, holding out my bound hands, “after you untie me.”

Another backwards glance, this one challenging.

“You may be the calmest person I’ve ever been sent to retrieve, but if I tell you now what you want to know, that will change. So pick—the truth, or being untied?”

“Truth,” I said instantly.

He let out a laugh. “Another first. You’re full of surprises.”

So was he. He’d just admitted that he regularly kidnapped people—which was how I translated “retrieve”—so I should be trying my damnedest to get free. But more than anything, I needed answers. Besides, I still wasn’t afraid of him, and somehow, that had nothing to do with him magically healing me.

“Truth, Adrian,” I repeated.

He turned once again and his gaze locked with mine, those odd blue eyes startling me with their intensity. For a moment, I could only stare, all thought frozen in my mind. I don’t know why I reached out, awkwardly touching his arm to feel the hard muscles beneath that bulky jacket. If I’d thought about it, I wouldn’t have done it. Yet I couldn’t make myself pull away.

Then I gasped when his hand covered mine. At some point, he’d taken off his gloves, and the feel of his warm, bare skin sent a shock wave through me. The touch seemed to affect Adrian, too. His lips parted and he edged over the back of the seats—

He yanked on the steering wheel, narrowly avoiding another car. A horn blared, and when the driver passed us, an extended middle finger shook angrily in our direction. I leaned back, my heart pounding from the near collision. At least, that’s what I told myself it was from.

“Dyate,” Adrian muttered.

I didn’t recognize the word, and I was at a loss to place his accent. It had a musical cadence like Italian, but beneath that was a harsher, darker edge.

“What’s that language?” I asked, trying to mask the sudden shakiness in my voice.

This time, he didn’t take his eyes off the road. “Nothing you’ve heard of.”

“I picked truth, remember?” I said, holding up my bound hands for emphasis.

That earned me a quick glance. “That is the truth, but you don’t get more until you meet Zach. Then we can skip all the ‘this isn’t possible’ arguments.”

I let out a short laugh. “After what I saw on Detective Kroger’s face, my definition of ‘impossible’ has changed.”

Adrian swerved again, but this time, no other car was near.

“What did you see?”

I tensed. How did I explain without sounding insane? No way to, so I chose to go on the attack instead.

“Why were you in my hotel room? And how did you heal me? There isn’t even a mark—”

“What did you see on his face, Ivy?”

Despite his hard tone, when my name crossed his lips, something thrummed inside me, like he’d yanked on a tie I hadn’t known was there. Feeling it was as disturbing as my inexplicable reaction to his clasping my hands.

“Shadows,” I said quickly, to distract from that. “He had snakelike shadows all over his face.”

I expected Adrian to tell me I’d imagined it, a response I was used to hearing. Instead, he pulled over, putting the car in park but keeping the engine running. Then he turned to stare at me.

“Was that the only strange thing you saw?”

I swallowed. I knew better than to talk about these things. Still, I’d demanded the truth from Adrian. It didn’t seem fair to lie in return.

“I saw two versions of the same B and B earlier. One was pretty, but the other was old and rotted, and my sister was trapped inside it.”

Adrian said nothing, though he continued to pin me with that hard stare. When he finally spoke, his question was so bizarre I thought I’d misheard him.

“What do I look like to you?”

“Huh?”
“My appearance.” He drew out the words like I was slow. “Describe me.”

All of a sudden, he wanted compliments? I might have finally met someone crazier than me.

“This is ridiculous,” I muttered, but started with the obvious. “Six-six, early twenties, built like Thor, golden brown hair with blond highlights, silvery blue eyes…you want me to go on?”

He began to laugh, a deep, rich baritone that would’ve been sensual except for how angry it made me.

“Now I know why they came after you,” he said, still chuckling. “They must’ve realized you were different, but if they’d known what you could see, you never would’ve made it out of that B and B.”

“You can stop laughing,” I said sharply. “I get that it’s crazy to see the things I do.”
Lots of kids had imaginary friends growing up. I had imaginary places, though at first, I didn’t know I was the only one who could see them. Once my parents had realized that what I kept describing went far beyond childhood fancifulness, the endless doctor visits and tests began. One by one, diseases and psychoses had been crossed off until I was diagnosed with a non-monoamine-cholinergic imbalance in my temporal cortex.

In other words, I saw shit that wasn’t there for reasons no one could figure out. The pills I took helped a little, though I lied and said they got rid of all my hallucinations. I was sick of doctors poking at me. So whenever I saw something that no one else did, I forced myself to ignore it—until Mrs. Paulson and Detective Kroger had tried to kill me, of course.

Adrian did stop laughing, and that unblinking intensity was back in his gaze.

“Well, Ivy, I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is, you’re not crazy. The bad news is, everything you’ve seen is real, and now, it’ll be coming for you.”     
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Early Review: Shifting Shadows by Patricia Briggs

, by Kt Clapsadl

Shifting Shadows by Patricia Briggs
Mercy Thompson World

Mercy Thompson’s world just got a whole lot bigger…

A collection of all-new and previously published short stories featuring Mercy Thompson, “one of the best heroines in the urban fantasy genre today” (Fiction Vixen Book Reviews), and the characters she calls friends…

Includes the new stories…

“Silver”
“Roses in Winter”
“Redemption”
“Hollow”

…and reader favorites
“Fairy Gifts”
“Gray”
“Alpha and Omega”
“Seeing Eye”
“The Star of David”
“In Red, with Pearls”

I feel I should start off this review with two disclaimers. One, I'm a huge fan of both the Mercy Thompson series and Alpha and Omega series, so I'm excited to read anything that has to do with them. Two, I'm not the biggest fan of short stories, especially the ones that aren't directly tied to characters that are well established in a series. I just don't think there's enough of a word count to fully develop things enough for me to get sucked into things. So that being said, I enjoyed some of these stories much more than others. I'll touch briefly on each of them.


Silver - I'm one of those readers who have been dying to see more behind the man that Bran is, especially a look into his past. This story tells the very beginning of his and Samuel's lives as werewolves. It was an interesting addition to the series, but in true to character form, it left more than a few things secret, and I'm not sure if I truly know anything more about Bran from this story than before. Samuel yes, but Bran know. I guess he'll continue to remain a mystery. Oh and P.S. this one's pretty depressing, but I pretty much knew that going into things. Their past had been said to not be a happy one...

Roses in Winter - This was another one that involved a character I wanted to know more about. The young werewolf from early in the Mercy series, Kira. I wanted to see what became of her after she went to the Marrok, and this tells that story, along with a better look into Asil. Very enjoyable.

Redemption - This one's about Ben. While he's a rude and messed up werewolf, and has very little respect for women, I've always loved his character. From the point where he stood by Mercy after the terrible thing that happened to her, I was forever sold on him. This story shows a bit deeper look into this surly man, and also showed him moving on the path towards healing.

Hollow - A Mercy story. What can I say other than I simply loved it. And when Adam came in while Mercy was yet again hurt and in the thick of things, well that just summed everything up perfectly for them. Loved it!

Fairy Gifts - This one was a bit harder to me connect to as the characters weren't anyone I was attached to from the series, but it did show an interesting journey between a vampire and a fae. Just a little bonus story as it were.

Gray - This was another that I didn't quite connect to as it wasn't any characters on my list of favorites, but putting that aside, it was an interesting story.

Alpha and Omega - This is Charles and Anna's beginning, and the story that completely sucked me into their series. I've re-read this opening and the entire series multiple times, and I couldn't help myself but to read it again. I forsee another re-read of their books in my near future.

Seeing Eye - I loved Moira and Tom in the Alpha and Omega books, so it was nice to see how they met. I do wish the story had been a bit longer however, as all we got to see was the attraction between them. I would have loved to have seen the beginning of their relationship, but this story was enjoyable nonetheless.

The Star of David - I really liked David's character from Moon Called, and I always wished to have seen more from him. That wish came true in this story, and I especially liked the way it ended, making it a good outtake in my book.

In Red, with Pearls - Ah Warren, I really adore him. He's so strong yet vulnerable all the same, and I loved seeing this extra story from him. The moral is not to mess with his mate, and it's a lesson hard learned.


All in all, if you are a fan of the world behind these two series, then you definitely won't want to miss this compilation. If you haven't read either series yet, you don't know what you are missing, but that being said, I wouldn't recommend starting here (with the exception of the Alpha and Omega story), as these stories would be better enjoyed with the full knowledge of the rest of the books. So either way, yet again the Mercy Thompson world earns my stamp of approval, and are a must read for any Urban Fantasy fan.


(Received a copy from the publisher)

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Other Reviews:
     Stormy and Somnomancy

Previous Books:
     1. Moon Called
     2. Blood Bound
     3. Iron Kissed
     4. Bone Crossed
     5. Silver Borne
     6. River Marked
     7. Frost Burned
     8. Night Broken

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