Breaking assassin Jonathon Decker out of a maximum security prison on Trakis One seemed like a good idea at the time. Now, pursued across space by the two most powerful factions in the universe, the crew of El Cazador are having second thoughts. They’d like to give him back. Unfortunately, that no longer seems an option.
Jon is used to working alone. Now, he’s stuck on the space cruiser El Cazador until he can work out just what he’s supposed to know that puts him on everybody’s most-wanted-dead list. He s not happy that the crew includes a runaway priestess with designs on his virtue such as it is. Jon likes women, but he gave up the role of protector a long time ago, and Alexia, High Priestess of the Church of Everlasting Life, is an accident waiting to happen.
After twenty-four excruciatingly boring years of doing her duty, Alex is finally having some fun. She never meant to run away it was a rash impulse and she means to go back eventually. But first, she’s going to squeeze enough excitement out of the situation to last her a lifetime. And what could be more exciting than a stunningly gorgeous werewolf?
Meanwhile, the Church are chasing their missing priestess, and the Collective are pursuing their escaped assassin. Being hunted has never been more deadly…or more fun.
Deadly Pursuit (Blood Hunter #2) by Nina Croft
Firefly with a paranormal twist. Better than Break Out, Deadly Pursuit continues from where BO we left off.
Al, the small teenage boy, turns out to be Alexia High Priestess of the Church of Everlasting Life, the 24 year old woman. Suffocating from boredom and lack of control over her high profile life she escapes, disguises herself as a boy and ends up on the spaceship El Cazador.
Both the Collective (people who’ve taken the expensive immortality treatment Meridian) and now the Church (believe in immortality of the soul which goes to heaven when they physically die) are chasing the crew for the recapture of Jon the werewolf assassin and the return of the High Priestess.
Despite her deception, the crew immediately defend Alexia. She’s one of them and they’re not going to hand her over if she doesn’t want to go. Jon, on the other hand, is wanted for an unknown reason, pointing to a conspiracy so they’re not giving him up after they were hired to risk their lives breaking him out of prison until they get some answers.
Alexia is instantly attracted to Jon. Unfortunately her disguise worked only too well, looking like a scruffy child. Her innocence is compounded by the fact that she’s a virgin who’s lived a sheltered life, and Jon doesn’t do virgins. He’s a rough, tough, manly 6ft 4 werewolf to her doll-like 5ft 1. He’d break her. But she knew what she wanted and was determined to experience as much of life as could before she was forced to return to her duty so the predator became the prey. Poor man, he had no chance. At least he has a new pack now i.e. the crew and a buddy in Rico despite him being a vampire.
Similarities to Firefly (Rico is Mal with fangs and a lust for blood) and the introduction of shapeshifters, my favourite supernaturals, meant I quite liked this. However, I’m slightly uncomfortable with how Alexia, seconds after being almost raped and killed on two occasions, jumped her mate-to-be’s bones. That struck me as wrong since she was beaten and manhandled. I doubt I’d feel up to it if I was in her shoes.
Tannis is next to be matched up with her crush Callum Meridian, the man who first took the immortality treatment and has been transformed by it. They’re hired as his bodyguards in the next book.
There can only be one alpha.
Bryn is finally settling into her position as alpha of the Cedar Ridge Pack—or at least, her own version of what it means to be alpha when you’re a human leading a band of werewolves. Then she finds a teenage boy bleeding on her front porch. Before collapsing, he tells her his name is Lucas, he’s a Were, and Bryn’s protection is his only hope.
But Lucas isn’t part of Bryn’s pack, and she has no right to claim another alpha’s Were. With threats—old and new—looming, and danger closing in from all sides, Bryn will have to accept what her guardian Callum knew all along. To be alpha, she will have to give in to her own animal instincts and become less human. And, she’s going to have to do it alone.
Bryn faces both the costs, and the rewards, of love and loyalty, in this thrilling sequel to Raised by Wolves.
Trial by Fire (Raised by Wolves #2) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
I’m disappointed by this sequel. I don’t feel I should be. Objectively speaking, the plot is a good one. It’s based on an ethical dilemma with no obvious answer and where gaining advice is problematic. The struggle, Bryn’s journey as alpha is what this is about but I just couldn’t seem to care. It was slow for the most part and I became bored.
Despite Lucas’s situation being a sympathetic one, I didn’t like him. I didn’t necessarily want to see him dead but I needed a reason other than his ultimate death to care about Bryn helping him at the possible detriment of her pack.
I’m also disappointed that Barnes didn’t use this sequel as an opportunity to bring depth to certain characters, Chase in particular. He was the main reason I didn’t give Raised By Wolves a higher rating i.e. 5 stars, simply because he was an unknown. We knew nothing about him and I was hoping his story would unfold here. It didn’t. I know little time has passed between books and Bryn is busy caring for the pack but they still spend time together, mostly in silence which was maddening.
The part of the book that I found intriguing was the ending simply because it meant Bryn was forced to make a life and death decision, and she chose death. It was the right choice but it was a painful one which resulted in the loss of a valuable pack member.
Callum’s warning in the form of a horse carving meant nothing until the end so I understood Bryn’s frustration with him even though his hands were tied by fate and politics to do more than he did to help.
I am glad the Bryn has acknowledged the need to one day become wolf because even though she is strong as human, she’s vulnerable, too.
Overall, I believe the writing lets this book down. Trial By Fire could’ve easily been a five star read if the writing had been tighter, faster paced with more character development. I’m not eager to read the next book but if my library order it I probably will in the vain hope these problems will be addressed.
Able to wield thunder and lightning, wyr sentinel Tiago Black Eagle has ruled the skies for centuries. His massive build and thunderous power make him one of the wyr’s best weapons. And he’s the one sent to protect Tricks, heir to the Dark Fae throne, when she’s almost assassinated in Chicago. Soon Tiago and Tricks will fall prey to the stormy hunger that engulfs them-a passion that will shake the very foundation of all the worlds.
Storm’s Heart (Elder Races #2) by Thea Harrison
After falling in love with Dragon Bound I didn’t want to read this one because nothing could live up to that first book. Nothing. And it didn’t. Not even close.
I liked Tricks before this book but here she was a bit irritating here. Irritatingly perfect at times. Everyone falls in love with her. And the one person who doesn’t is the villain. A villain I identified very early on. I was unhappy to be proved right. I was hoping for it to be someone I’d never considered.
Tricks and Tiago together didn’t quite feel right. Sure they had some funny flirtatious times but they were thrown together out of need. Tricks needed to be protected, from assassins and from herself (she doesn’t know when to stop working and look after herself), and he needed a new challenge because he’s easily bored if he’s not out fighting. They both got what they needed but did they love each other? I can’t answer in the positive because I wasn’t convinced. They never really got to know each other. Character development was poor in this book compared to Dragon Bound. We barely got to know the supporting cast, even characters that were introduced in book #1 weren’t given much page time.
Old habits die hard. And I plan on murdering someone before the night is through.
Killing used to be my regular gig, after all. Gin Blanco, aka the Spider, assassin-for-hire. And I was very good at it. Now, I’m ready to make the one hit that truly matters: Mab Monroe, the dangerous Fire elemental who murdered my family when I was thirteen.
Oh, I don’t think the mission will be easy, but turns out it’s a bit more problematic than expected. The bitch knows I’m coming for her. So now I’m up against the army of lethal bounty hunters she hired to track me down. She also put a price on my baby sister’s head. Keeping Bria safe is my first priority. Taking Mab out is a close second.
Good thing I’ve got my powerful Stone and Ice magic — and my irresistible lover Owen Grayson — to watch my back. This battle has been years in the making, and there’s a chance I won’t survive. But if I’m going down, then Mab’s coming with me…no matter what I have to do to make that happen.
Spider’s Revenge (Elemental Assassin #5) by Jennifer Estep
A novella’s worth of content in a full-length novel. What was done with the rest of the pages, I hear you ask? Were they blank? I would’ve preferred them to be.
My name is Gin Blanco…
I know! I’ve been reading about your life for four books now.
…and I’m an assassin
Yes, you’re a hitwoman, we know this, can we get on with the killin’ now?
This is Finn. He’s my foster brother.
I do have a memory, no matter how dysfunctional it sometimes is, it’s never THAT bad.
And this is Bria…
You can see where I’m going with this, can’t you? Every character is reintroduced to us along with their backstory and history with Gin. Lots and lots of repetition. And yet more repetition. Ironically, eye colour-love, the most repeated thing in the first few books was toned down.
Character histories aside, the plot is a wash, rinse and repeat too.
1) Gin gets in a bind.
2) It gets worse.
3) Her friends rally round to do anything to keep her alive because they’ve all benefited from Gin’s talents in the past.
4) Gin gets in huge fight which she barely survives.
5) Jo-jo heals her.
6) Some happy stuff happens then we learn of what Gin plans to do next. The End.
The trouble with #6 concerning this book: the drawn-out story arc is now complete. Am I willing to stick around for another? I’m not sure. One positive about this one, it was skim-city so it took only a couple of hours to read. On the other hand, I shelled out hard cash for the privilege. Venom and Tangled Threads were good reads. I like the characters, the way elemental magic is used, the pretty gory fight scenes and Gin’s unapologetic violent ways but based on the pros and cons, By a Thread is likely to go unread unless I see some stellar reviews.
There is a question Claire has long been asking: why do vampires live so far out in a sunny desert when they’re sensitive to sunlight? The reason doesn’t have to do with sunlight but water – and an ancient enemy who has finally found a way to invade the vampires’ landlocked community. Vampires aren’t the top predator on earth. There’s something worse that preys on them …something much worse. Which means if Claire, and Morganville, want to live, they will have to fight on to the last breath.
Last Breath (The Morganville Vampires #11) by Rachel Caine
**Warning: This review contains SPOILERS!**
Gelatinous vampire goo. Gelatinous vampire goo. I can’t get over it. This is so…wrong. I’m hoping this new enemy is part of Caine’s endgame. We’ve had 11 books and perhaps she’s running out of ideas even though the final book, #15 is due out in November 2013. It certainly feels like the end run.
A type of ultimate vampire, the Draug have a seductive call like sirens, need water to survive and breed, can reduce themselves to vampire goo which if you get any on you, will suck the blood/life out of you. They can remain invisible to the naked eye and easily traps their prey, human or vampire, storing them in water until they’re dead. On top of this, these guys are hard to kill.
Due to past encounters, Morganville’s vampires are so scared they plan to abandon the town and run. Of all things, I did not expect them to run from something they’d spent decades building. I understand a new foe was needed after the long awaited and much required death of Bishop but I did believe they’d learned to stand and fight rather than to submit to fear and flee. I was severely disappointed by Amelie’s response.
Amelie + Oliver
A kiss between them was to be expected though I didn’t expect Amelie to lose IQ points in the process. Killing Claire and Shane -not a good idea. I can’t believe Oliver had to step in and change her mind. Her manipulation of Myrnin when it came to this was appalling. Her actions destroyed previously strong relationships. Shane and Claire have been huge assets and her fear of this new enemy has turned her into a coward. That’s not what we’ve come to expect of her.
Oliver has always been in favour of fighting and in that respect he’s very like Shane (they wouldn’t react kindly to that comparison) but he balances out Amelie’s need to protect and retreat. They make a good ruling pair. I hope Amelie gets a magical cure for her fatal Draug bite because Oliver as sole ruler of Morganville would be terrifying.
Oh, the melodrama. Why do they have to get married right this minute? I understand the tenuous nature of their relationship due to Micheal’s undead status: unable to give Eve children and will most likely outlive her, remaining 18 forever but no one is stopping them from “living in sin”. I really didn’t care about the drama and political fallout from this mixed marriage between a human and a vamp. It ate up too many pages, boring me so much I kept putting the book down and avoiding picking it back up. If anything I’d have preferred someone kidnap Eve to try and turn her to end the prejudice, arguments and tears.
Main Character Death
I instantly knew this was a temporary predicament. A cheap move. A quick and quiet death with no one around to witness it. A few character’s reactions were notable though. Shane’s reaction was the most extreme but also quite understandable. He’d lost everyone he’d ever loved and he was tired of fighting when there nothing left to fight for. Claire was a reassuring presence in the Glass House, she ensured everyone kept their heads and made sound decisions, her diplomatic clout with the powers-that-be also ensured the Glass House members’ survival so her death would leave a huge hole in their lives.
It also became obvious why we get multiple POVs in this book which I think was done to better effect when it was just Claire and Shane in Bite Club. Here it added little in terms of character development but is required in order to get every side of the story.
Claire + Michael
Michael admits he once thought about Claire in a…romantic sense.
Claire + Myrnin
Claire discovers Myrnin does feel more than just friendship. It may or may not be love but he wants her as a permanent companion.
Claire + Shane
We leave them in a strong position. I can see these two marrying and spending the rest of their lives together. They have staying power. They work at their relationship, really work at it, and I think this makes them good role models for the teenage audience this is aimed at. Too many couples these days are only too willing to walk away when things get tough. However, I’m not a fan of the cringe-worthy mushiness Caine keeps shoving in our faces. They love each other, it shows. Please, don’t go overboard.
The Usual Humour, Excellent As Always
Myrnin pumping a sawed-off shotgun ‘with unsettling enthusiasm’ and calling “Let’s go hunting, shall we?”
Michael to Shane: “And you know if you screw it up with Claire, I’ll rip your throat out and drink you like a juice box.”
I admired Eve’s willingness to cut a bitch (i.e. Monica): “Micheal is missing. He may be dying. I am not in the mood for your shallow bullshit right now. If you get in my way, I will cut you, because you are nothing but a speed bump on my way to saving him. Are we clear?”
Although I am a long term fan of this series this is the lowest rating I’ve given and the closest I’ve come to DNF-ing one of these books. I find this troubling considering we have four more books before the end.
I believe Caine’s heavy reliance on Bishop as a villian to bring ultimate fear to the residents of Morganville has left me distinctly unimpressed by this new foe despite their obviously lethal attributes.
For me, I think perhaps a threat from within would’ve provided more intrigue because we’ve done the “invasion by outsiders” thing with Bishop and to be honest it was done to death. Magnus appears to be Bishop with a new name.
In my opinion, Caine has taken the easy road by using predictable devices such as killing off a main character and magically reviving them, taking past situations and reusing them. If an author can’t come up with fresh stories then it’s time to stop producing them.
I still love the series. I’m determined to see it to the end but I hope Caine can inject fresh ideas into Black Dawn.
Included Short Story
In my UK edition there was a short story, “Anger Management” set between Bite Club and Last Breath from Shane’s POV, detailing Shane’s mandatory counselling with Dr. Theo Goldman, where he’s challenged to refrain from becoming angry and use non-violent methods whenever possible for 24 hours. It’s not a necessary read but it was enjoyable, especially his encounter with Monica.
Sample chapters available HERE.
“Marriage is a big word for all guys,” Shane said. “You know that. It’s kind of an allergy. We get itchy and sweaty just trying to spell it, much less do it.”
In a world where magic is real and the supernatural is almost normal, bodyguard Celia Graves has survived a vampire attack which made her a half-vampire and awakened her latent Siren abilities. She’s battled a Siren Queen to the death and twice faced down a demon that wants to kill her–slowly. She’s also had her heart broken–twice–by her old flame, magician Bruno DeLuca.
Perhaps the worst thing was the discovery that Celia’s life has been warped by a curse laid on her during childhood–the cause of everything from the death of her little sister to the murder of her best friend the same night that Celia became an Abomination.
An ancient rift between the demonic dimension and our own–sealed during the destruction of Atlantis–begins to open, threatening to loose all the demons of hell on humanity (including the one personally bent on destroying Celia). Celia’s hellish recent experiences have given her the unique combination of abilities needed to close the rift. But to overcome the curse, which nearly guarantees her failure, she’ll need to join forces with people she no longer trusts…and put people she has come to care about directly in harm’s way.
Demon Song (Blood Singer #3) by Cat Adams
Demon Song, the 3rd book in Cat Adams’ Blood Singer series, finds Celia still coping with her fight to not go full vamp, while also dealing with the demon that just won’t leave her alone and her recently discovered heritage. Troubles a brewin’ and she finds herself smack in the middle of it.
The action in this series is non-stop. Trouble follows Celia around, but the girl carries some major weapons, many hopped on magic and always gets the job done. This edition to the series has a bit more romance than the previous books, although not like you’d expect. As with everything in this series, it’s fresh, unique ~ just like Celia herself. For the first time, she finds herself in the midst of a hottie triangle. Neither mage seems anywhere near close to backing down and each one of the men evoke different emotions for Celia. Unlike most triangles, this one proves to be interesting. I look forward to seeing how it plays out in future editions.
This is definitely one of my favorite urban fantasy series to date. I continue to be impressed with each book, each better than one before it. I am anxious to read The Isis Collar in March 2012.
This series is hard to review without spoilers, but I believe I blocked the only one I’ve included in my Goodreads review. Please note that each book’s blurb tends to provide spoilers for the previous books in this series. So, it’s best to read only the blurb for the next book in your TBR list.
Series Reading Order:
Doubletake (Cal Leandros #7) by Rob Thurman
Chris is the cover artist for many of our favorite series, in addition to Rob’s Nightlife series.
Release date: 6 March 2012 | Publisher: Roc