***A complimentary copy of this read was furnished by the author in exchange for an unbiased review***
After ten years of captivity and constant torture, an almost feral Cort shows specks of civility thanks to his roommate, Theya. Trading surreptitious glances and accidental touches skirts the edges of their platonic relationship. Their domesticity is marred by fairies and carvers trying to arrest Theya and Jeri’s determination to force Cort into the pack Alpha role Jeri abandoned.
While Dar hosts a ‘come to Jesus’ meeting with Jeri, Trish and Mikhail make decisions about their relationship as our intrepid rebel species pack plan a rescue mission when Theya is captured causing Cort to surge toward his humanity. A glimpse in Fairyland and a visit to the traditional carver camp leads to someone valuable ending up with the rebels and insinuates battles to come.
Meanwhile pack member Mikhail’s familial issues are highlighted after he locates his missing younger brother, Soren. Rescued by alone in the world earth carver, Trish, Soren’s been living as her pet. Returning to pack land, Mikhail, Soren and Trish’s reception mirrors Dar and Beth’s giving this reader a sense of deja vu and a wonder on the quick resolution of some conflicts.
For this reader’s taste this outing had a case of sophomore slump. Lacking was a sense of urgency tying the installments and seamless transitions between two sets of major characters smoothing the flow. However, easily accessible characters, rapid pacing and the battles quickly exposed blatant bigotry and power mongers along with their insidious betrayals as a bit more this corrupt world is revealed.
***A complimentary copy of this read was furnished by the author in exchange for an unbiased review***
The supernatural community wasn’t very fond of the unique powerful, multi-blooded Carvers, but they’d defeated them once, changing their fates and would do it again. Carvers were forced to give up their children to be raised by humans until they were 18 in hopes that delay in learning their magic would keep them from realizing the full potential of their power.
When young Carvers Shane and Beth were taken to spend time with their biological families neither were receptive to hearing that they were the future of Carver domination and should seek out their carver mates and join the fight. Having learned bits of magic on their own, Beth and Shane decided on tamping down their powers and masquerading as human in the world they knew.
Bartender Shane looked forward to seeing a shy, tiny, dainty, human every Friday at the Amber Line but not her take no prisoners sister, Beth. Uncomfortable that Cory’s drawn the attention of a swaggering wolf and Beth has drawn his ire. With a clientele of fairies, werewolves, witches, vampire and a smattering of humans, Shane’s even less pleased when the sisters become his new workmates.
Beth is annoyed at having to bartend weekends at the Amber Line to protect Cory, Beth had pledged her heart to high school crush, werewolf Dar, while he healed from an accident. Afterward, Dar acted like Beth didn’t exist and the years hadn’t brought change. Dar still acted like Beth didn’t exist even while forcing the wolf’s attention from Cory and ignoring her.
Their human boss and customers are oblivious to the supernatural influx during sisters first weekend. Dar upsets Beth’s equilibrium by coming both nights, Cory’s infatuation with Shane may be coming to an end as she’s assigned to work the closed door vampire area and Shane’s off-kilter after seeing the fae police, his father’s emissary, an obsessed werewolf and learns Beth’s a carver too.
Readers will find an intriguing tale of supernaturals positioning for a species war, where enemies stand shoulder to shoulder, secrets and deception reign and no one can stand on the sidelines. The characters and the well paced story are easy to invest in and the multi-layered, exciting world had this reader saluting this author’s heady debut.
*** Complimentary copy of this read furnished by Sourcebooks Casablanca through NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review***
Ah, Victorian Days are upon Silver Town again! Green Valley wolves are visiting and the McTire cousins are chasing a new ghost for an upcoming show. Brett and Ellie seem headed for a dream mating until Brett makes a suggestion that’s taken all too seriously. When Brett gifts a family heirloom to the sisters for the inn in time for the celebration, the last thing Ellie and her sisters expect is a new ghost!
Unfortunately, Victorian Days this time around wasn’t the best time this reader ever had in Silver Town. The meandering mystery and unsteady romance complete with pseudo obstacles as the couple figured it out felt like so much filler. Though Brett and Ellie are likeable, sparkled as secondary wolves and have chemistry, for this reader’s taste this outing missed out on any real heat between them.
LAPD Witch Consultant Sophie Ross’ convinced there’s nothing quite like psychically seeing a hot immortal kill someone while you’re interpreting your morning runes to put you on edge. Fretting the interrupted vision only left snippets signaling travel, impending danger and bad news, Sophie wondered if they were connected to her meeting with a prominent NY surgeon that travelled so far to meet her.
Sophie learned how she ended up with a foster family of witches and was shocked the surgeon had been charged to ensure Sophie received a chance at her inheritance. Sophie could be the proud owner of an enchanted English medieval fortress and land, if she can break its spell. Taking up the challenge, Sophie’s floored to see the hot immortal she’d linked to was less than an arm’s length away.
The hounds of hell on his tail are the least of wyr Nikolas Sevigny’s problems. He’s more concerned about the dwindling number of half fae Daoine Sidhe knights fighting at his side, harried with no respite under the relentless pursuit of his enemies. Plus Nikolas isn’t completely sure the unknown but unforgettable woman had magic and could easily be colluding with the Light Court in hunting him.
The entire relationship between leads Sophie and Nikolas was built on and fueled by snark that worked for this reader and the story by giving them good chemistry. For my taste, the pacing, multiple early slow burning threads and an inability to appreciate Sophie kept this Elder Races spinoff foundation tale firmly as a likeable but not lovable outing while it tried to gain solid footing.
This collection of shorts contained new to me authors (Hieber and Taylor) and a series I’ve been enjoying (McDonald)
A Christmas Carroll by Leanna Renee Hieber (Strangely Beautiful 2.5) (3stars)
One holiday season at the Luminal in Victorian London, the spirits responsible for weaving memories through time and space are concerned that without a respite or spirit intercession, their headmistress and vicar could be lost forever to grief. For this reader’s taste, getting through the flowery, overwritten descriptive phrases given to Dicken’s, A Christmas Carol was hard work.
The Worth of a Sylph by L. J. McDonald (Sylph 2.5) (3.5stars)
Lily ‘The Widow’ Blackwell has caring for the valley orphans for years, at 82 she’s thinking it’s time to get her affairs in order. She advises Mace to shop for a new mistress. Meanwhile Jayden, Lily’s youngest charge, a very emotional teen runs away to a nearby town to try to rule the battle sylph by becoming a swordsman.
The Crystal Crib by Helen Scott Taylor(Magic Knot 3) (2.75stars)
Sonja goes to broker a deal in Iceland and inadvertently reignites the feud between her father and Vidar, a guardian angel. Unfortunately, this reader was adrift through most of this read and couldn’t get past the middle-ish feeling. It seemed to strongly depend on the reader’s familiarity with the series.
Archaeologist Beth Carter easily locates Celtic tombs. Frank, Beth’s ex, built his reputation and career on her talent, he betrayed and discredited so Beth can only obtain funding by partnering with him. On a Irish dig, Frank’s obsessed with his career and filling his pockets with portable treasures from the lavish ancient tomb and Beth’s fascinated by a body that should be there but isn’t.
Awakened in his Druid prison by the dig, immortal, cruel, wicked, soulless Fae Warrior King, Conn is immediately and acutely aware of Beth and decides to own her. Though he senses familiarity in Beth, Conn isn’t deterred by Beth’s future as a husk after she succumbs to his power and he moves on. But there’s an unforeseen problem when Beth exhibits immunity to Conn’s powers.
Safe in her life and museum position in Boston, Beth lets her best friend convince her Conn’s a prank by Frank. Beth’s incensed when several elaborate pieces from the dig are in her luggage and that Frank’s spread rumors to further discredit her also Beth spies Conn charming her boss before she can expose Frank’s deceits.
Beth’s unsure if Conn and Frank are working together and she angers Conn by thwarting his attempt to glamour her companions. Conn renews his vow possess Beth, he promises to exact vengeance on her for Frank’s theft of artifacts and raiding of his tomb and for Beth daring to interfere with him as he toyed with his latest prey.
Feelings of protectiveness and the need to avenge the wrongs done to Beth blossom in Conn’s chest as he sees past Beth’s looks and becomes enamored of her strength, intelligence, resourcefulness, cunning and bravery, so reminiscent of what he admires and once had and wants for himself again. This layered game of cat and mouse, brinkmanship and daring definitely heats up.
Events from the last outing come to fruition in this outing. DJ’s still homeless and more fashionably challenged than ever but doesn’t skip best friend mode when consequences of Eugenie’s dalliance with Quince are undeniable; Alex is reverting to butt-holery with the car situation, Jean is off healing and plotting, Quince is crowing his union with DJ. Plus there’s a little matter of a council meeting or a trial.
As the trial portion of the council meeting begins, there’s a surprise waiting for DJ… besides Alex, Jean and Quince eyeing her as she belongs to each of them. The first elder throws blame on DJ for the failed assassination attempt on her life but DJ turns the tables and the meeting falls into mayhem, murder and interspecies posturing.
With vampyres, fairies, elves, witches and all other of manner of pretes not only loose in New Orleans, the species are not getting along well after the horrendous meeting, they’re in a cold war. As the plots for DJ’s assassination and two species planning a secret alliance, the council needs realignment, the men still think they can lay claim to DJ and the council assigns DJ to babysit Jean.
The humorous writing style and the fast pace kept this read moving and exciting as it tended several threads and adjusted characters to get their just desserts. The convoluted political power struggle held enough intrigue, back-stabbing, half-truths and manipulations to keep one up reading the whole thing at one sitting!
Varian du Fey has been serving Merlin as a knight of the round table as an assassin for Merlin, though he was born to Lancelot du Lac and Narishka, an Adorian that sits at Morgen’s right hand. Due to the circumstances of his conception, Varian wasn’t shown kindness or love and was kicked out of his home and away from Morgen’s court.
Varian dislikes the work he’s given, he isn’t mistreated but he isn’t well liked or trusted because of his parents. Reluctantly taking his latest assignment to take part in Morgen’s court and find the identity of the grail knights and get the information to Merlin so she can finally defeat Morgen.
Merewyn bargained away her beauty for temporary servitude but circumstances changed the cost to eternally serve Narishka. Though the castle inhabitants aren’t kind to her, Varian sympathizes and shows compassion. Narishka sees Varian’s compassion as a weakness to be exploited and uses the opportunity to trap him and get him to join Morgen and help her finally defeat Merlin. He has to choose.
This outing presumes you’ve read its predecessor leaving the reader to fill in many blanks. Such as the time travel which is done off page so the modern slang and conveniences really seem and feel out of place; another is that Camelot has been overrun with the evil, dark magic of Morgen le Fey and that the reader is aware that both Morgen and Merlin are female.
Having read both books of this dark duology and noted Blaise’s appearances in Dark Hunter series this is still not a favorite series. With such a convoluted tale, including unnecessary idiosyncrasies (i.e. time travel) it might have been less confusing to layer the story more evenly between the realms of Camelot and man.
When Roland steals Saiman, it’s a challenge to Kate’s hold on Atlanta. Caution and care are needed to keep things from becoming an all out war. With the wedding two weeks away Kate not only isn’t prepared, she’s summoned by the witch oracle. The witches tell Kate war is inevitable and the outcome has her sacrificing her future. Once again the root of Kate’s present and future misery is daddy issues!
Amid wedding planner-zilla details Kate and her loved ones worry she’s becoming as magically mad as Roland, over Julie falling under his influence, abusing her own power, a break in a friendship and betrayal. Drunk with the illusion of his own power, tyrant Roland gloats over his accomplishments, domain and insists Kate needs him while belittling her wedding and inviting her to join his world domination.
Kate shares shocking details along with her family history and the floodgates to Christopher’s memories are unlocked and his secrets confound and Roland continues his psychological warfare against Kate. In a deft use of power, our intrepid and resourceful heroes make surprising alliances and cobble together a plan to stop him no sane person thinks will work. Good Times!
Though sneaking into the daemons lair to rescue an enemy might not work, he is the last of his line and Bastian an Morgaine is determined to break a curse that has plagued his family for generations. Betraying a friend to nurse said enemy to health puts Bastian in a precarious position when Cat (Catriona) MacInnes comes for the family reunion and affects Bastian like a head-on collision.
Sharing the shock of collision, Cat’s unsure why Bastian seems to be in such a hurry to get away from her but takes heart that she has a little time and opportunity for him to see her as she sees him. In the meantime, Cat and her sisters will learn how to be werewolves from their uncle while Bastian’s curse becomes more blatant and aggressive in its attacks against him.
Their accidental mating not only shares their pasts it entwines the futures of the virtual strangers, realigns family dynamics and alliances as Cat and Bastian look for hope in their hopeless situation as the danger increases rapidly. This exciting wrap to the trilogy is the most fantasy driven of the three and references the past installments well.