Sunday, November 5, 2017

Review: The Merworld Trilogy (#1-3)

This review covers three novels in the Merworld trilogy by B. Kristin McMichael: Water and Blood; Songs and Fins; and Scales and Legends.

Water and Blood is the first novel in the Merworld series. Whitney Mallory moved across the country from the Pacific Northwest to the sunny beaches of Florida to get a fresh start outside the paranormal world she grew up in. Losing her night human side in an attack that killed her parents, she was ready to be a normal day human. She wouldn't have to worry about drinking blood or fighting that happened often in that world. After one year of getting used to her new reality, Whitney discovers that maybe she was never meant to leave the night human world after all. Deciding to take swimming lessons, she is paired with high school hottie, Prince Sam as her friends called him. Sam was a perfectionist--he protected his family and friends as he swore he would as the guardian leader of the sirens, an outlawed mermaid race banned by the night human council and hunted if caught. He held jobs to help everyone survive while they hid in plain sight. He even taught swimming lessons. His life was perfect, at least until Whitney showed up in his town. Without thinking of the consequences, Sam makes a choice to follow his heart for a change. That choice changes everything. That one decision changes her life, and she's quickly thrown right back into the night human world she thought she was getting away from. The only question is: Can she survive going back?

Songs and Fins is the second novel in the Merworld series. Whitney's entire life changed the moment Sam changed her into a siren. She was part of a new night human race that she had not consented to but she had a lot of learning to do that was not like the skinwalker clan she was born into. More shockingly, Whitney was amazed to finally have a boyfriend. And the fact he was a lead singer in a rock band in his free time wasn’t bad, either. Too bad having a boyfriend didn’t mean she was going to see him, as his father’s punishment included separating them. Whitney is certain she can handle it, but sure enough, that isn’t the only wrench thrown into her new life. There’s a new threat in town, a scarier one than the backstabbing siren clan she’s part of now. They are night human hunters in town, and Whitney is now an outlawed night human breed. Could her luck get any better?

Scales and Legends is the third novel in the Merworld series. Whitney and Sam share a romantic bond that together got them through setbacks and triumphs. Now the siren are on the brink of war. Other mer clans have joined together to kill off the siren. Whitney has been through night human wars before, yet she’s nowhere near ready to deal with this one. It’s not just her life or the life of her mate on the line, either. Everyone she knows in the mer world is in jeopardy. But there’s one last hope: the siren must quickly come to depend solely on their newest member, Whitney. The only catch is she might not be a siren after all. Whitney was thrown into the mer world without her consent, but now she wants to stay. Her siren friends stuck on the mainland are in grave danger if they cannot be rescued in time. But she keeps running into the problem that she’s playing a game she doesn’t know all the rules to. As the only siren on the outside of the barrier surrounding their island, Whitney is the only chance to turn the balance for her clan. As the other clans gather to attack the siren, she just has to figure out how before it’s too late.

Kristen McMichael did it again! She has built a captivating world of day humans and night humans that is easy to grasp for young adult readers. I loved the protagonist -- Whitney was brave, caring, intelligent, and free-spirited. As Sam said best, her strong personal convictions to save and protect the innocent won me over. Whitney wasn't seeking leadership or titles yet she was exactly what the sirens needed in order to save the merworld. While the editing could be better, I believe this series ranks among the top mermaid series. I highly recommend that you first read the opening series, The Blue Eyes Trilogy, which describes in great detail this unique supernatural world. This series, and other previous series (Day Human Hunter and Skinwalker Witchling), have reoccurring cast members that appear in the Merworld Trilogy. In other words, read the Blue Eyes Trilogy first!!

Stay tuned for my next review in McMichael's night human world, Night Human Hunter.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Review: Midnight Jewel (The Glittering Court #2)

The Selection meets Reign in this dazzling trilogy of interwoven novels about three girls on a quest for freedom and true love from #1 internationally bestselling author Richelle Mead.

Midnight Jewel, by Richelle Mead, is the second installment in The Glittering Court series. Mirabel Vaina (henceforth Mira) is not like the other Glittering Court girls. She is a war refugee, cast out of her home country and thrust into another, where she has learned to fight against the many injustices around her. For some, the Glittering Court offers a chance at a life they’ve only ever dreamed of, one of luxury, glamour, and leisure. But for Mira, it’s simply a means to an end. She learns that her older brother, Lonzo, is a bondsman an ocean away. Seeking to reunite with her brother in the new world, she plans to earn off her marriage contract price, and finally be free.

Mira pitches herself as an asset to one of the passengers on board the ship: the sardonic and aloof Grant Elliot, whom she’s discovered is a spy for the prestigious McGraw Agency—and her ticket to buying her freedom. His cover blown, Grant has little choice but to take her on. Mira applies herself by day, learning the etiquette and customs that will help to earn her anonymity. By night, she dons a mask and slips into the city, fighting injustice and corruption on her own terms—and impressing Grant with her extraordinary abilities and insights into a brewing rebellion. But the rebellion isn’t all they’re fighting…

Neither of them can ignore the attraction burning between them—an attraction so powerful, it threatens to unravel everything Mira’s worked so hard for. With freedom finally within her grasp, can Mira risk it all for love?

I thought Adelaide and Cedric's romance was breathtaking. Midnight Jewel exceeded my expectations in every way. I loved the romantic relationship between MIrabel and Grant. A minor character in the first novel, Mirabel turned out to be a brave young woman with inner strength and an adventurous streak to fight injustice that comes her way. Grant, a undercover agent of Balanquan and Osfridian heritage, seeks to reclaim his citizenship and social status in the Balanquan Empire. He has enough Osfridian features to mingle among the colonists and spy for the McGraw Agency, an investigative crime unit of the Crown. Grant's secretive and cynical personality annoys Mirabel at first, she can't help how handsome and strong he looks. The two slowly come to realize their feelings for each other and together work to rescue their friends and loved ones. I will admit that Mirabel and Grant work well together as a team!

Although I wished Mead had provided some kind of map or pictures to illustrate the historical period of the series, I could haphazardly guess that the background mirrors life in the 18th century American colonies prior to the Revolutionary War. Cape Triumph, Adoria would be somewhere in the Middle colonies (present-day Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York). Osfrid would be Great Britain, Lorandy would be France, and the Balanquans would be similar to the Iroquois Federation. Sirminica, where Mirabel hails from, is somewhere in Southern Europe (Spain, Italy) or North Africa. Keep in mind this is my estimation of the plot so I could be wrong with my geography. Overall, I enjoyed this installment in the Glittering Court and cannot wait to hear the fiery, practical-minded Tasmin's point of view in the final installment!

Stay tuned for the third and final novel in the Glittering Court, The Emerald Sea.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Reiew: Archangel's Enigma (Guild Hunter #8)

Naasir is the most feral of the powerful group of vampires and angels known as the Seven, his loyalty pledged to the Archangel Raphael. When rumors surface of a plot to murder the former Archangel of Persia, now lost in the Sleep of the Ancients, Naasir is dispatched to find him. For only he possesses the tracking skills required - those more common to predatory animals than to man.

Archangel's Enigma is the eighth installment in the Guild Hunter novel series. This story focuses on Naasir, one of archangel Raphael's Seven, who have pledged loyalty to serve him. Naasir is unique in that he is neither a vampire nor human. He is an other--born out of an abominable experiment that combined different animal species without consent. His kind shouldn't exist - a human body with tiger-like features and a vampire's blood thirst. But Raphael and the angels found him and raised him in the Refuge, teaching him how to behave around people and angels despite his feral (animal) abilities. Several centuries later, Naasir feels that it's the right time to find his soulmate, whom he believes is hiding from him.

When rumors surface of a plot to murder the former Archangel of Persia, now lost in the Sleep of the Ancients, Naasir is dispatched to find him. For only he possesses the tracking skills required - those more common to predatory animals than to man. Enlisted to accompany Naasir, Andromeda, a young angelic scholar with dangerous secrets is fascinated by his nature - at once playful and brilliant, sensual and brutal. Andromeda is the only grandchild of Charisemnon, ally of Lijuan, archangel of China. She fled the abuses and depravities of his court for the Refuge when barely more than a fledgling to pursue her dream of becoming a scholar. Her main area of study is the Ancients for the wisdom they can offer, and the study of mythological creatures because she is fascinated by them. It's her knowledge of the Ancients that causes Raphael to send Naasir to protect her while she searches for the Sleeping Ancient whom they believe Lijuan is also seeking. Lijuan is determined to exterminate anyone who is a threat to her rule of destruction.

As they race to find the Sleeping archangel before it's too late, Naasir will force her to question all she knows...and tempt her to walk into the magnificent, feral darkness of his world. Andromeda has a big secret that she vowed not to tell anyone. But first they must survive an enemy vicious enough to shatter the greatest taboo of the angelic race and plunge the world into a screaming nightmare...

Singh delivers another brilliant story from an underrated character that I had no idea would be so fascinating to hear in his own voice. Naasir is a chimera born out of an angelic experiment that defied the laws of nature. Although his Creator is deceased, Naasir is allowed to live because he had no choice in the matter. Over the centuries, Naasir has learned to control both his feral abilities around people though it is no easy feat. He thins like a man and like a tiger which presents an interesting case. Readers also learn that Naasir is a brilliant spymaster who can get in and out of dangerous situations. And for the first time in his life, he has learned what love feels like with Andromeda, who does not see him as a freak of nature but as a mysterious creature that excites her scholarly instincts. Andromeda will later reveal that she has the fighting skills to defend herself, which impresses Naasir even more so. I thought Janvier and Ashwini's romance was amazing, but Naasir and Andromeda take it to another level that I didn't think was possible. Singh continues to outdo herself in ways that I thought were impossible with this series. I highly recommend this novel.

Stay tuned for the next novel in the Guild Hunter series, Archangel's Heart.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Review: Into the Fire (Night Prince #4)

In this explosive finale to Jeaniene Frost's Night Prince series, Vlad is in danger of losing his bride to an enemy whose powers might prove greater than the Prince of Vampires. In the wrong hands, love can be a deadly weapon.

Into the Night, by Jeaniene Frost, is the fourth and final novel in the Night Prince series. For nearly 600 years, Vlad Tepesh (famously known as Dracula but do not dare mention that name in his face) cared for nothing. Essentially, he had nothing to lose. His brutal reputation ensured that all but the most foolish stayed away from him. However, falling in love with Leila has put him at the mercy of his passions. His enemies see his love as a weakness worthy to exploit. As a result, one adversary indeed has found a way to use Vlad's new bride against him in the most tormenting way possible.

A powerful spell links Leila to the necromancer Mircea. If he suffers or dies, so does she. Magic is forbidden to vampires. While this spell backfired for the necromancer, it also means that Vlad cannot torture the man who tried to hurt his bride. Worse, Vlad has no idea where the necromancer is hiding. So Vlad and Leila seek the most unlikely guide (fans of the Night Huntress series with Cat and Bones will get a kick out of this character) to search for a way to break the spell. But another ancient enemy is upon them, capable of turning Vlad and Leila's closest friends against them and finally tearing the lovers apart forever.

This novel concludes the NIght Prince series. As the previous novels mentioned, Vlad and Leila’s man mission is to find Mircea and break the bond that is between him and Leila. When either one is cut or inured, the other feels that pain too. Mircea has been nothing but a thorn in Leila and Vlad’s side and now the overprotective Vlad is determined to find a way to break the bond so that he can kill Mircea. The hunt kicks into full gear once they learned that Mircea has been kidnapped by an ancient cult of magic users. Vlad turns to Mencheres and--shocker--Ian! Much to his dismay, Vlad does not have a choice as his usual ruthlessness does not work in the magical realm. Ian! Much to Ian’s own dismay, his love for Mencheres has him doing his bidding. Unfortunately for Vlad, the trio run into unexpected guests (and tragedies) that makes the journey even more dangerous. It also doesn't help that Vlad continues to harbor secrets and do things without consulting Leila. Whatever Vlad does is always out of love for Leila Still, the humor and cameo appearances are the main highlights of this novel. However, I felt like Frost did not define any resolution between Vlad and Mircea. Besides the cliché fatherly talk, I wonder if Frost is saving this cliffhanger for a future story.

Stay tuned for the next likely series on more side characters in the Night Huntress Universe, especially Ian! He played a large role in this book, and I am thrilled he's finally going to get his own story! He's hard to ignore once he opens his mouth and spews his raunchy sense of humor. He does something drastic in pure Ian fashion and the consequences are dire. And we also get to see who will be starring alongside him in his book, a fact that is confirmed at the very end of the novel! Which only makes me more excited for Ian’s book, something I’ve been longing for ever since Jeaniene ventured to Mencheres' and Spade’s books! I also highly recommend the entire Night Huntress series, which has been covered previously on this blog, starting with the exciting first novel, Halfway to the Grave.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Review: Magic Binds (Kate Daniels #9)

Mercenary Kate Daniels knows all too well that magic in post-Shift Atlanta is a dangerous business. But nothing she’s faced could have prepared her for this...

Magic Binds, by Ilona Andrews, is the ninth novel in the Kate Daniels series. Kate Daniels is a mercenary who makes her living cleaning up magical problems. She knows all too well that magic in post-Shift Atlanta is a dangerous business. But Kate and the former Beast Lord Curran Lennart are finally making their relationship official. But there are some steep obstacles standing in the way of their walk to the altar.

Kate’s father, Roland, has kidnapped the demigod Saiman and is slowly bleeding him dry in his never-ending bid for power. A Witch Oracle has predicted that if Kate marries the man she loves, Atlanta will burn and she will lose him forever. And the only person--her mentor--Kate can ask for help is long dead. The odds are not in her favor. The future even looks grim. But Kate Daniels has never been one to play by the rules. And she will show Roland that nothing is impossible.

Another impressive novel by Ilona Andrews in the Kate Daniels series. Just when you think Kate has reached her greatest, she continues to outshine her previous records. Her persona, magic and abilities are unbelievably kickass. Kate and Curran continue to be the most intriguing pair of characters in urban fantasy fiction. These lovers work well as a team. While they are very strong alone, they become incredible together. That is what makes these series so fascinating to read. Not only the kind of trouble Kate Daniels gets herself into in the worse way possible but how she continues to outdo herself through courage and care for others. This is definitely one of the best female warrior protagonists to follow. I don't want this series to end, but from what happened in this novel, I have no doubt that the series finale is very close.

Stay tuned for the tenth novel(and possibly the finale) in the Kate Daniels series, Magic Triumphs. In the meantime, check out the other novels/novellas in the Kate Daniels Universe: Gunmetal Magic (2012), Magic Steal (2016), and Iron and Magic (2017).

Monday, July 24, 2017

Review: Grave Ransom (Grave Witch #5)

Grave witch Alex Craft is no stranger to the dead talking. She raises shades, works with ghosts, and is dating Death himself. But the dead walking? That’s not supposed to happen. And yet reanimated corpses are committing crimes across Nekros City.

Grave Ransom, by Kalayna Price, is the fifth novel in the Grave Witch series. Grave witch Alex Craft can speak to the dead, but that doesn’t mean she likes what they have to say. In addition, she learns about her fae ancestry and her unexpected nobility as a Sleigh Maith in previous novels. With this revelation about her origins, Alex's life changes in drastic ways--she discovers her planeweaving ability and must live like a fae (for example, fae are allergic to iron and cannot thank another person or they risk inheriting a debt). Nonetheless, she is determined to live an independent lifestyle with no court allegiance so that she can continue her private investigation business in the human world. On the positive side, it doesn't hurt to have your own castle in Faerie.

Alex’s investigation leads her deep into a web of sinister, forbidden magic. Deceased people who appear alive are walking about which is both strange and unprecedented in Alex's professional experience as a grave witch. Worse, her grave senses reveal that the soul piloting the deceased body do not match. How is that possible? When Alex When Briar Darque of the Magical Crimes Investigation Bureau gets involved, Alex finds herself with an unexpected ally of sorts. But as the dead continue to rise and wreak havoc on the living, can she get to the soul of the matter in time? Alex must race against time to find the culprit or she becomes a target herself.

I have enjoyed the Alex Craft novel series very much. Kalayna Price (who is an underappreciated brilliant writer) introduces her readers meticulously to the world of Nekros City where normal humans live in a society where magic exists. Those who are sensitive to magic attend a boarding school to hone their abilities (in Alex's case, she becomes a grave witch). What Alex did not realize that she was born fae. As a result, her encounters with the alternate realm of Faerie has presented new challenges for her both as a grave witch and as a a private investigator. Although I won't spoil the details in Grave Ransom, I will say that Alex has become a more confident protagonist both in her fae abilities and empathy towards others. She listens to her gut feeling in cases which is a very strong trait when dealing with mysterious magical phenomenon. Her cases may become more bizarre and dangerous but she has a strong support network to help her in need. Her personality is attractive in her desire to protect her friends and provide assistance to the police--even if she's easily misunderstood. I recommend this series.
Stay tuned for the next Alex Craft novel, Grave Destiny.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Review: The Heir and The Crown (The Selection Series #4-5)

Twenty years ago, America Singer entered the Selection and won Prince Maxon’s heart. Now the time has come for Princess Eadlyn to hold a Selection of her own. Eadlyn doesn’t expect her Selection to be anything like her parents’ fairy-tale love story. But as the competition begins, she may discover that finding her own happily ever after isn’t as impossible as she always thought.

The Heir, by Keira Cass, is the fourth novel in The Selection series. The Heir is from a new perspective, Maxon's and America's daughter, Princess Eadlyn. Many known characters and new ones appear in the story. Eighteen-year-old Princess Eadlyn has grown up hearing endless stories about how her mother and father met. Twenty years ago, America Singer entered the Selection and won the heart of Prince Maxon—and they lived happily ever after. Eadlyn has always found their fairy-tale story romantic, but she has no interest in trying to repeat it. If it were up to her, she'd put off marriage for as long as possible. But a princess's life is never entirely her own, and Eadlyn can't escape her very own Selection—no matter how fervently she protests. Eadlyn doesn't expect to find true love. But as the competition begins, one entry may just capture Eadlyn's heart, showing her all the possibilities that lie in front of her--and proving that finding her own happily ever after isn't as impossible as she's always thought.

Kiera Cass’s #1 New York Times bestselling Selection series has captured the hearts of readers from its very first page. Now the end of the journey is here. Prepare to be swept off your feet by The Crown—the eagerly awaited, wonderfully romantic fifth and final book in the Selection series.

The Crown, by Keira Cass, is the fifth novel in The Selection series. A sequel to The Heir, it is the final full-sized novel in The Selection Series and the end of Eadlyn's Selection. Eadlyn didn’t think she would find a real partner among the Selection’s thirty-five suitors, let alone true love. But sometimes the heart has a way of surprising a person. Eadlyn must make a choice that feels more difficult—and more important—than she ever expected. Follow Illéa’s royal family into a whole new Selection—and find out what happens after happily ever after.

I looked forward to learning what happened in these next installments of the Selection series. The last two books follow the journey of Princess Eadlyn Schreave. The book begins with Eadlyn explaining that she was born seven minutes before her twin brother, Ahren. Previously, it would be his right to be the heir to the throne of Illéa, but their parents King Maxon Schreave and Queen America Schreave changed the law and made it possible for Eadlyn to be the first female ruler of the country, something that often overwhelms her, but also makes her feel powerful. Maxon and America have two more sons: Kaden (14) and Osten (10). Yeah, I know what you're thinking -- the novel not only promotes women empowerment and women in leadership roles but also tries to hype up the possibility of the first female U.S. president--which, to this day, is still a dream rather than reality. Her father has eliminated the castes, but although people were initially relieved, many citizens begin to riot all over the country due to post-caste discrimination. To distract the attention of the public until they can figure out a way to fix the situation, her parents suggest that Eadlyn should go through her own Selection. In this way, public support will focus less on the social inequities since everyone will focus on the budding fairy-tale romance on their televisions and radios.

Overall, I felt somewhat disappointed with the story of Eadlyn. She came across as a pompous, irritable know-it-all. As a result, her world outlook is narrowed within the confines of the castle with a general understanding of the people in her kingdom. She knows that she has to appear confident in front of the camera, but she has no clue how the people live or struggle outside the halls. What was so refreshing about the America character was that she was outspoken and realistic to the prince. She wanted positive change for the people. While the novel implicitly highlighted reforms under King Maxon, the couple realize how much harder it is to change the hearts of conformists and enact policy reforms. I also thought the finale was rushed because everything was crammed into the fifth novel. Sadly, the couple--America and Maxon--that fans adored in the first three novels appeared stiff and exhausted--even though they were in their early 40s! While the twist was innovative (I wasn't spoil the ending), I wasn't rooting for Eadlyn the same way I felt optimistic for America. This series was in general very good but the last two books could have been hit-or-miss novellas given the lukewarm reaction from fans.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Review: Blade Bound (Chicagoland Vampires #13)

The thrilling final installment of Chloe Neill’s New York Times bestselling urban fantasy series sees a sinister sorcery advancing across Chicago, and it may usher in the fall of Cadogan House

Blade Bound is the thirteenth and final installment in the Chicagoland Vampires series featuring Caroline Merit and Ethan Sullivan. Since the night of her brutal attack and unwilling transformation to vampire in the first novel, Merit has stood as Sentinel and protector of Chicago’s Cadogan House. In her former human life, she was a graduate student working on her PhD in English literature and languag at the University of Chicago. Having accepted her new role as a vampire, she set aside the academic life and transitioned into her guardian role. She has saved the Windy City from the forces of darkness time ’s and again with her liege and lover, Ethan Sullivan, by her side. They have proven to be inseparable time and time again. At long last, there is a happily ever after.

But that romantic atmosphere was abruptly interrupted. When Cadogan House is infiltrated and Merit is attacked by a vampire seemingly under the sway of dark magic, Merit and Ethan realize the danger is closer than they could have ever imagined. As sorcery from the past spreads throughout the city of Chicago, Merit must go to war against supernatural powers beyond her comprehension. It is her last chance to save everything—and everyone—she loves. It becomes an apocalyptic nightmare with a stunning finale that will excite fans and even the vampire couple.

I am so elated that I picked up these series years ago. As a native Midwesterner, I love to read paranormal romantic novels that take place in my home region. What's even better--Chicago is where I went to college. Chloe Neill is a fantastic under-rated writer who took her fans and audiences through a riveting and adventurous journey of vampires, angels, shapeshifters, and wizardry. If you have not checked out this series, I highly recommend it for the older young adult crowd (over the age of 21). I will miss this couple tremendously. Merit becomes such a captivating protagonist and her lover, Ethan, becomes a even better leader of his people. But I look forward to future spin-off novels and novellas that feature Team Merit and Ethan.

Stay tune for more information about the next series in the Chicagoland Vampires universe, Heirs of Chicagoland. I won't reveal any spoilers, but if you are anxious for information, it will be similar to the surprising ending in the season finale of Grimm (2011-2017). In the meantime, check out this exciting new novella, Slaying It, that takes place right after Blade Bound. A description is provided below:

Merit, the Sentinel of Chicago's Cadogan House, is pregnant. She's ready to meet her daughter, but also excited to see her feet again. While out on an evening walk, Merit stops to help a man in need, only to find herself the victim of a kidnapping attempt. Someone with a serious debt to some very serious people thinks Cadogan House will pay a rich reward for Merit's return.

Jonah, the handsome captain of Grey House's guards, is on his way to a meeting at Cadogan--and if he's honest with himself, to drop in on Cadogan's gorgeous and brilliant chef, Margot--when he stumbles on the aftermath of the attack. He'll stop at nothing to help the Cadogan vampires, including Margot, face down the threat.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Review: Archangel's Legion and Archangel's Shadow (Guild Hunter #6-7)

Yet even as they fight desperately to save the city, an even darker force is stirring, its chill eyes trained on New York…and on Raphael. Rivers of crimson and nightmares given flesh, the world will never again be the same…

Archangel's Legion, by Nalini Singh, is the sixth novel in the Guild Hunter series. It is the brink of an arch-angelic war. Angels are falling from the sky in New York, struck down by a vicious, unknown force. Vampires are also dying of an unknown disease. Guild hunter-turned-immortal Elena Deveraux and the archangel Raphael must discover the source of the wave of death before it engulfs their city and their people, leaving New York a ruin and Raphael’s Tower under siege by enemy archangels. As they fight desperately to save the city, an ancient dark force is also stirring with its attention directly on Raphael.

This hunt must be undertaken with stealth and without alerting their people. It must be handled by those who can become shadows themselves…

Archangel's Shadow, by Nalini Singh, is the seventh novel in the Guild Hunter series. Archangel Raphael and his hunter consort, Elena Deveraux, are dealing with arch-angelic politics and the people of a battered but not broken city. The last thing their city needs is more death, especially a death that bears the eerie signature of an insane enemy archangel who cannot—correction should not—be walking the streets.

Meanwhile, the plot centers on two Guild hunters who work strikingly compatible as partners to defeat the evil that lurks the night. Ash is a gifted human tracker cursed with the ability to sense the secrets of anyone she touches. But there’s one man she knows all too well without a single instant of skin contact: Janvier, the dangerously sexy 200-year-old Cajun vampire who has fascinated and infuriated her for years. Now, as they track down a merciless killer, their cat-and-mouse game of flirtation and provocation has turned into a profound one of the heart. And this time, it is Ash’s dark family secret that threatens to destroy them both.

Singh drops a bomb in Archangel's Legion when an ancient evil awakens that even stuns our hero Raphael. I will not spoil the news but it is news worth finding out. Singh does an excellent job building the world of archangels that makes their politics both intriguing and amazing to read. Additionally, I absolutely adored this couple, Ash and Janvier! I was initially reluctant to read Archangel's Shadows because I had never heard of their names in Singh's previous novels. Much to my surprise, they worked well together seamlessly as a team and as lovers. Javier knows how to cherish Ash in ways she has never imagined, which is a positive attribute in a soulmate. I hope to encounter them more in future novels and short stories (novellas) because they are now one of my favorite couples in the Guild Hunter universe. I recommend the Guild Hunter series to the older young adult crowd (over age 21) because the brutal dystopian aspects can be bit nerving for younger readers.

Stay tuned for the next novel in the Guild Hunter series, Archangel's Enigma.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Review: Black Knight (Witch World #2)

Jessica Ralle thought the worst was over. The mindblowing revelations. The terrifying danger. The heartbreaking loss. Turns out, discovering Witch World was just the beginning.

Black Knight, by Christopher Pike, is the second novel in the Witch World series. New witch Jessica Ralle thought the worst was over. The mind-blowing revelations. The terrifying danger. The heartbreaking loss. But it tTurns out, discovering Witch World was just the beginning. Before Jessie can get the hang of the parallel-world–hopping double life introduced in Witch World (2012), she’s tossed into a paranormal version of The Hunger Games.

In the real world, Jessie prepares to start her freshman year at UCLA. In the witch world, she deals with witch politics following her defeat of Syn. The mysterious Alchemist leads Jessie to believe Syn might not be as dead as presumed. Meanwhile, Jessie has dreams of a handsome, young jewel thief named Marc and his heists. She has no idea why she is connected to Marc. Suddenly, she’s abducted in the real world and taken to the Field, an ancient testing ground on which six selected witches lead teams in a sole-survivor-wins contest—and Marc’s on her team. While her real-world days are spent battling opponents and making alliances to keep her team alive, during the reprieves offered by her witch-world days, she trains for the Field and seeks answers about it. In a race against time, Jessie must figure out the importance of the Field and how to stay alive to the finale.

Legendary thriller writer Christopher Pike takes on The Hunger Games in this exhilaration adventure of mystery, suspense and paranormal. Many questions are left unanswered in Black Knight to lure readers toward the inevitable third book that the ending sets up. When Pike announces the release of the third book, I will write a review on my thoughts of this dual-universe concept. Jessie’s so unlikable (especially in her treatment of her boyfriend since Red Queen) and foolish (she constantly holds back from finishing off opponents who are trying to kill her, enabling them to regroup and try again) that readers will be baffled that so many characters instantly love her. I am still curious on the role of Marc and his importance in the series. Those overlooking its heroine will enjoy the plot’s new spin on the familiar tropes.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Review: Silence Fallen (Mercy Thompson #10)

the coyote shapeshifter has found her voice in the werewolf pack. But when Mercy’s bond with the pack—and her mate—is broken, she’ll learn what it truly means to be alone...

Silence Broken, by Patricia Briggs, is the tenth novel in the Mercy Thompson series. Attacked and abducted in her home territory, coyote shapeshifter Mercy Thompson finds herself in the clutches of the most powerful vampire in world, taken as a weapon to use against alpha werewolf Adam and the ruler of the Tri-Cities vampires. Mercy manages to escape in coyote form—only to find herself without money, without clothing, and alone in the heart of Europe. Unable to contact Adam and the rest of the pack, Mercy has allies to find and enemies to fight, and she needs to figure out which is which with little time to waste. Ancient powers stir, and Mercy must be her agile best to avoid causing a war between vampires and werewolves, and between werewolves and werewolves. And in the heart of the ancient city of Prague (Czechoslovakia), old ghosts rise. Mercy has no time to waste! With tensions brewing, she needs to be at her best mentally and physically to survive this nightmare.

This novel is beyond epic proportions. Briggs has exceeded her own previous novels! Mercy Thompson is kidnapped and taken across the ocean where she meets a powerful vampire master. This situation tests not only her husband Adam's endurance but also her own survival skills in a strange land. What I loved about this novel is that Mercy is at her most vulnerable away from her comrades in the Tri-Cities area. Yet she courageously escapes the clutches of the vampires to seek shelter with allies. Her strong will to live and survive against the odds is what makes her such a great protagonist and heroine. Old world meets new world. Mercy and friends make new friends in Europe while they uncover more dark secrets that could threaten the supernatural world. More importantly, Adam and Mercy's deep love for each other is strengthened in this ordeal. I enjoyed this addition to the series. 

Stay tuned for the next Mercy Thompson novl, Storm Cursed.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Review: Ruby Red ~ Sapphire Blue ~ Emerald Green (Books #1-3)

This is a review of German author Kerstin Gier's young adult science fiction novel series, The Ruby Red Trilogy.

Ruby Red is the first novel in the Ruby Red Trilogy. Gwyneth Shepherd has always admired her beautiful, sophisticated cousin Charlotte, who has been preparing her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth who inherited the time-traveling ability. At one moment, Gwen, sitting in class, finds herself spinning to a different era! Gwen must now uncover the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her time-traveling ability. Suddenly, Gwen is introduced to a secret society where she must brush up on her history and work with a partner named Gideon―the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.

Sapphire Blue is the second novel in the Ruby Red Trilogy. Gwen's life has turned upside down ever since she discovered that she was the Ruby, the final member of the secret time-traveling Circle of Twelve. Of course there is Gideon, the Diamond, whom she has not figured out completely. He praises and criticizes her ways. In between searching through history for the other time-travelers and asking for a bit of their blood, she's been trying to figure out what all the mysteries and prophecies surrounding the Circle really mean. Fortunately, she has plenty of help. Her best friend Lesley follows every lead diligently on the Internet James the ghost teaches Gwen how to fit in at an eighteenth century party. And Xemerius the gargoyle demon offers advice in a humorous manner.

Emerald Green is the third and final novel in the Ruby Red Trilogy. Gwen realizes that she has a destiny to fulfill but she has no clue what it is. Additionally, the secret of her birth start to unravel at the most stunning She has only recently learned that she is the Ruby, the final member of the time-traveling Circle of Twelve. But she has a bad feeling on what she will discover. She suspects the founder of the Circle, Count Saint-German, is up to something nefarious, but nobody will believe her. The secret of her birth also begin to unravel in this stunning finale. Confused about her feelings for Gideon and the dangers that lie ahead in her journey to the past, Gwen must learn the truth about her fate before she is lost forever in time.

This was a remarkable and adventurous series! After hearing rave views about these novels, I made the decision to check out these books from the local library. It is not often that authors can write a good time-traveling tale that combines romance, mystery, and suspense. The last time I've read a time-traveling book was the Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness (another series I highly recommend and a review is available on this blog). Gier exceeded my expectations. While the chemistry between Gideon and Gwen seemed a bit rush, it felt more natural in the second half of Emerald Green. I hope that Gier decides to publish short stories (translated in English of course) on the two lovebirds' adventures after the Circle of Twelve.