In the Void by Sheryl Nantus

In the Void by Sheryl Nantus (Tales from the Edge #2)Released: October 6, 2014
Format: eARC
Publisher: Carina Press

Series: Tales from the Edge #2

Source: NetGalley

Excerpt: No

Book two of Tales from the Edge

Catherine Rodgers doesn’t like Mercy spaceships, or the courtesans who work on them—not after her husband left her for a Mercy woman. But after her luxurious transport ship gets blown up to prevent her from cracking the lid off a corporate scam that’s left hundreds dead and a few people very rich, the only vessel around to save her is the Bonnie Belle.

Sean Harrison has worked as one of the Belle’s courtesans for years, bringing happiness to countless women along the space lanes. When he’s asked to look after Catherine while the Belle brings her to safety, it should be just another job. Somehow it’s anything but.

Sean is captivated by Catherine’s sense of justice and responsibility. And Catherine finds a softer, more emotionally intelligent man in Sean than she expected. Drawn together in darkness under the threat of death, they find the beginning of something lasting. But with pirates after the Belle and a price on Catherine’s head, that beginning might be all they get.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

I was completely hooked by IN THE BLACK, the first book in Sheryl Nantus’ Tales from the Edge, so I was over the moon (yes, space pun intended) when I found out that the next story in the series was coming out so soon.

IN THE VOID takes up back to the Belle, but now we’re focused on Sean, one of the most endearing characters from IN THE BLACK. He and the rest of the crew get tangled up in some big-stakes industrial crime when they rescue Catherine, the only survivor of a shipwreck that looks extremely deliberate. Luckily for Catherine, the Belle is in the area and pick her up. Not so luckily, she’s forced to deal with her prejudices against courtesans (which are not at all baseless) and the crew of the Belle is also forced into a confrontation but it’s one with life-or-death consequences since they know that whoever was after Catherine will be sure to make more attempts.

The plot kind of reminded me of a western standoff because you have the Belle fighting against an unknown but definitely stronger enemy (she has no weapons), fighting because it’s right and the crew has no other choice.  It felt like a showdown but also a race against the clock as they try to make it to a safe haven so that Catherine can testify before her enemies can take her, and the ship, down. There’s a real sense of urgency to IN THE VOID and it gave the book a great sense of pacing.

Have no fear, though, because the blossoming romance between Sean and Catherine does get its due. Nantus once again delivers some steamy chemistry and strong personalities and it was great to see Sean and Catherine fall for each other. I found Sean’s side of the story particularly touching because we learn how he ended up on a mercy ship. I won’t tell you how (spoilers!) but I will say that it’s a tragic backstory and you can see how it’s shaped him into the person he is in the series. As I said before, Catherine also has a personal journey but it’s not as deep as Sean’s, in my opinion. Catherine had to re-evaluate her perceptions of mercy ships and their crews but this didn’t touch me as much as Sean’s.

I truly hope we’ll get another Tale from the Edge soon because this is one series I can’t get enough of!

**I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

Flesh and Blood by Kristen Painter

Flesh and Blood by Kristen Painter (House of Comarré #2)Released: November 1, 2011
Format: e-book
Publisher: Orbit

Series: House of Comarré #2

Source: Purchased

Excerpt: No

With the ring of sorrows still missing, and the covenant between othernaturals and mortals broken, Chrysabelle and Malkolm’s problems are just beginning. Chrysabelle still owes Malkolm for his help, but fulfilling that debt means returning to Corvinestri, the hidden vampire city neither of them is welcome in.

The discovery that Chrysabelle has a brother could mean reneging on her promise to Malkolm, something that might make him angry enough to loose the beast living inside him. And fulfilling her vow could prove devastating for Chrysabelle —- especially when you throw in power hungry witches, dead fringe vampires, and the Kubai Mata.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

It’s been a while since I’ve read the first book in Kristen Painter’s House of Comarré series but it was incredibly easy to get back into this amazing world. My best friend has been visiting this week so I’m way behind on reviews and in a hurry so this one’s going to be a quick post.

The one-line version:

If you want a series with strong, conflicted characters, evocative writing, and a mythology that keeps growing, you must read FLESH AND BLOOD (after reading BLOOD RIGHTS first, of course).

A bit more:

Chrysabelle is mired in self-discovery. She’s no longer comarré in the way that she was raised. Can she still keep her comarré values? How should she deal with Creek and Mal? She’s like a colt finding her legs in a lot of ways, but she happens to be an over-a-century-old fighting machine with newly discovered needs. There’s a lot going on with her. And Mal’s also got a heap of bagagge. Creek’s a breath of fresh air since he’s relatively light on this front but brings a lot to the table as a character and as a potential love interest for Chrysabelle. I’m also really intrigued by the introduction of the Kubai Mata. Can’t wait to see where that goes. There are also some neat developments for all of the other characters that I liked from the first novel so if you’re a fan of any of the secondary characters, you’ll come out of FLESH AND BLOOD feeling satisfied.

That’s it for now! You can always hit me up on Twitter if you want to chat more. 🙂

Celtic Moon by Jan DeLima

Celtic Moon by Jan DeLima (Celtic Wolves #1)Released: September 24, 2013
Format: e-book
Publisher: Penguin

Series: Celtic Wolves #1

Source: Purchased

Excerpt: Yes

Like father, like son…
Sophie Thibodeau has been on the run from the father of her son for more than fifteen years. Now her son, Joshua, is changing, and her greatest fears are about to be realized. He’s going to end up being just like his father—a man who can change into a wolf.
Dylan Black has been hunting for Sophie since the night she ran from him—an obsession he cannot afford in the midst of an impending war. Dylan controls Rhuddin Village, an isolated town in Maine where he lives with an ancient Celtic tribe. One of the few of his clan who can still shift into a wolf, he must protect his people from the Guardians, vicious warriors who seek to destroy them.
When Sophie and Dylan come together for the sake of their son, their reunion reignites the fierce passion they once shared. For the first time in years, Dylan’s lost family is within his grasp. But will he lose them all over again? Are Joshua and Sophie strong enough to fight alongside Dylan in battle? Nothing less than the fate of his tribe depends on it….

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Don’t let the cover dissuade you: CELTIC MOON is an interesting book. It’s not the best werewolf book I’ve ever read but it has some strong points.

First, I enjoyed the mythology that DeLima brings to the table. It’s Celtic, as you can probably guess from the book and series titles, which is something we don’t see too much in the genre. The author has created a novel history for her shape shifters (which is how the characters self-identify, as opposed to werewolves) and I really liked the details that are included. The main one, of course, is that there are basically two factions of shape shifters: those that follow the Guardians (there’s a long Welsh name that goes here) and those who are opposed to the Guardians, like our protagonist Dylan and his people. The Guardians are very prescriptive and dogmatic, which is why not everyone is enthused by their rules, which lead to the killing of children who can’t shift or who are born as animals, for example. They aren’t nice people so it’s easy to get on-side with Dylan and his people.

Another aspect of the mythology is that these shape shifters live for a very long time. Dylan is thousands of years old and remembers growing up in Wales back when it was called Cymru. Some of his followers and guards are his contemporaries while others are younger. Sophie, his wife, is a regular old human but I found her to be much more interesting because of the transformation she goes through to become the woman she is in present day in CELTIC MOON. We get some flashbacks to when she met Dylan and she was a much softer, naive version of herself. I liked tougher, warier Sophie a lot better, because she was more secure in herself and because she’s more equal to Dylan in strength of personality and conviction (even if she can’t match him for brute strength). You can see why they’re drawn to each other. I also really liked their son Joshua and I hope he’ll get his own book once he’s a bit older.

On the negative side, though, some of the plot/characters are a bit predictable. There are definitely moments where I was surprised, which I loved, but CELTIC MOON does have its more typical moments. Nothing distracted me from my reading — which I did in a single sitting — but you’ll be able to guess where certain plot strands are headed.

I’ve got the second book in the series, SUMMER MOON, for review so look for that to post over on Team Tynga’s Reviews some time in September or October!

The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires by Molly Harper

The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires by Molly HarperReleased: July 31, 2012
Format: online book
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Series: n/a

Source: Free read on

Excerpt: No

“The thing to remember about a ‘stray’ vampire is that there is probably a good reason he is friendless, alone, and wounded. Approach with caution.”

Iris Scanlon, Half-Moon Hollow’s only daytime vampire concierge, knows more about the undead than she’d like. Running their daylight errands—from letting in the plumber to picking up some chilled Faux Type O—gives her a look at the not-so-glamorous side of vamps. Her rules are strict; relationships are purely business, not friendship—and certainly not anything more. Then she finds her newest client, Cal, poisoned on his kitchen floor, and her quiet life turns upside down.

Cal—who would be devastatingly sexy, if Iris thought vampires were sexy—offers Iris a hefty fee for hiding him at her place. And even though he’s imperious, unfriendly, and doesn’t seem to understand the difference between “employee” and “servant,” she agrees. But as they search for who wants him permanently dead, Iris is breaking more and more of her own rules . . . particularly those about nudity. Could it be that what she really needs is some intrigue and romance—and her very own stray vampire?

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

THE CARE AND FEEDING OF STRAY VAMPIRES is set in the world of Harper’s Jane Jameson novels but you don’t need to be a fan of that series to read this novel. (Proof: I’ve never tried those books but I followed along well enough. I may have missed an inside joke or two but I still enjoyed reading THE CARE AND FEEDING OF STRAY VAMPIRES.)  It’s very much a Molly Harper book, characterised by a light tone, some slapstick humour, and a sweet romance.

I don’t know if this is Iris’ first appearance in a Molly Harper book or if she was a supporting character in the Jane Jameson series but I thought she was just great. I love her business idea — working for vampires by running daytime errands while dodging them as much as possible —  and the way she take care of her sister Gigi. She’s a very nurturing woman but, at the same time, she’s really tough and practical. She’s an interesting character with a lot of depth, and she’s more than a match for Cal.

The two are thrown together after a failed assassination on Cal’s life. Iris is very reluctant to help him but the promise of cash money sways her to help him against her rules. It’s not the most romantic beginning but it doesn’t take long for the sparks to start to fly between Iris and Cal. They’ve got some good chemistry and it doesn’t take long for the reluctant attraction to kick in. The assassination and Cal’s investigation are rather interesting, though not terribly complicated. There’s enough meat to the story to hold your attention but it’s not the most compelling mystery: you come to THE CARE AND FEEDING OF STRAY VAMPIRES for the humour and the characters, not the complex storylines.

If you’re looking for a light paranormal romance, THE CARE AND FEEDING OF STRAY VAMPIRES might be for you. Sadly, it’s no longer available as a free read on xoxoafterdark (I try to stay a few weeks ahead with my posts) but you can always see if your local library has a copy since I couldn’t find an excerpt link. I do hope you enjoy it!

Another great Ilona Andrews quote

As part of my re-read of the Kate Daniels series, I dove back into MAGIC GIFTS and came across this awesome description of Jim, one of my favourite characters in the series:

Tall, his skin the color of rich coffee, and dressed all in black, Jim looked like he was carved from a block of solid muscle. Logic said that at some point he must’ve been a baby and then a child, but looking at him one was almost convinced that some deity had touched the ground with its scepter and proclaimed, “There shall be a badass,” and Jim had sprung into existence, fully formed, complete with clothes, and ready for action.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

IlonaAndrews-MagicGiftsA dinner date after a hard day at work sounds heavenly. Of course, when that date is between the Beast Lord and Kate Daniels, things don’t go as planned. Before you know it, undead are running amok, heads are being chopped off, lawyers are deployed and used with extreme prejudice, and drunk vikings are calling people out.

My review

Cursed by Angela Addams

Cursed by Angela Addams (The Order of the Wolf #1)Released: July 29, 2014
Format: e-book
Publisher: Samhain

Series: The Order of the Wolf #1

Source: NetGalley

Excerpt: Yes (click on Excerpt tab)

Her biggest mistake comes with fangs…and a nose for tracking her down.

The Order of the Wolf, Book 1

Wherever there’s a lying, cheating scumbag who’s broken a woman’s heart, Vengeance Dealer Darcy Wells is there. So what if she isn’t the most skilled witch around? She’s only using one spell, which leaves the hapless male suffering tormenting lust for one woman. Her.

The beautiful part? This curse comes equipped with a blinding agent, allowing her a clean getaway. Unrequited lust, coming right up! As far as Darcy is concerned, it’s justice served. Her next target: Raven Glock, rock band bassist and drop-dead-gorgeous sex god.

When Raven lays eyes on the luscious Darcy, he gives her what he promises all the starry-eyed groupies who toss their panties at him—one unforgettable night in his bed. Sex with Darcy is so epic that he forgets his cardinal rule: to get her out before morning.

At the crack of sunrise, Darcy serves Raven a face full of cursed ash. But something goes horribly wrong…and she finds herself magically tethered to one pissed-off werewolf.

Worse, breaking the spell could cost her everything…maybe even her life.

Warning: Sexually explicit language, tattoos, piercings, and giant…um…feet. Wet panties are a given. Author assumes no responsibility for spontaneous ravishment of significant others, pool boys, or local pizza delivery personnel.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

CURSED is an interesting read. It starts off as a witch vs. werewolf story but it evolves into something more, which I wasn’t expecting. Reading the cover copy you expect a fairly typical paranormal romance but Addams used CURSED to set the stage for The Order of the Wolf series, which has a mythology beyond a witch vs. werewolf showdown. I won’t say anything else since this is a relatively new release but I will say that it was a pleasant surprise. It meant that I had to pick up the second book in the series (review coming soon). But I’m here today to talk about CURSED so I’m going to get back to it.

The other neat thing about CURSED — besides the groundwork it lays — is the blending of the rockstar genre with the supernatural. Rock star romances seem to be on the rise — even Nalini Singh is putting one out soon — and I do enjoy a good contemporary romance but this is the first time I’ve read a PNR that blends the two together. I’m pretty sure there are other series out there that have a similar vein but I haven’t read them so CURSED felt rather unique in this respect. Because it’s a novella, we don’t see much of the band’s rockstar life but we do get a pretty clear understanding of how Raven enjoys his fame and fortune: groupies. This means, of course, that sex is a major factor in the novella so you probably shouldn’t pick this one up if you’re faint of heart. It’s not the most explicit thing out there but there’s no fade-to-black either, so be forewarned!

There are some downsides to CURSED, the foremost being the flatness of the characters. I really didn’t like Darcy or Raven that much. They’re not interesting individuals but I got past that because I liked the pace of the novella, the mythology that gets built, and the question of how to break the curse.

If you’re looking for a character driven story, this probably won’t work for you but, if you don’t mind a little lack of character development, you could enjoy CURSED. It’s a quick and easy read and there’s definitely something to be said for that. CURSED is a mixed bag in my opinion so you should check out the excerpt linked above and see if it’s for you.

**I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**


Claws Bared by Sheryl Nantus

Claws Bared by Sheryl Nantus (Blood of the Pride #2)Released: January 21, 2013
Format: eARC
Publisher: Carina Press

Series: Blood of the Pride #2

Source: NetGalley

Excerpt: Yes

Book two of Blood of the Pride

Rebecca Desjardin, a P.I. and cat shifter, doesn’t normally find herself in strip clubs. But a popular male dancer has been murdered in Pennsylvania, and it looks like the work of a shifter from the local Pride. Rebecca has a duty to help protect her kind—and she needs to find justice for the dead.

Her impromptu trip leaves her boyfriend, reporter Brandon Hanover, unhappy. He’s only just come to terms with the fact that she’s a Felis, and their relationship is still so new… Rebecca is determined to deal with the murder first, then deal with their future.

As her investigation unfolds, she’s met with grudging cooperation and half-truths. Does the Pride want her to find justice, or help them hide a killer? Frustrated and 
unable to shake the sexy local shifter who says he’s on her side, Rebecca can’t seem to scratch out the truth—at least not on her own. But when Brandon shows up, is he there to help or to mark his territory?

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

In keeping with last month’s resolution to finally review more Sheryl Nantus, I’m going to talk about CLAWS BARED, the second book in her Blood of the Pride urban fantasy series.

In CLAWS BARED, Rebecca goes on a road trip to the States, to investigate the murder of a male stripper. She’s been called in as a neutral party — one of the apparent perks of being an outcast with investigative skills. It’s a great scenario because it puts Rebecca on the outside on multiple levels and I really enjoyed seeing how she would cope with everything. Nantus has crafted a nice and somewhat unpredictable mystery for CLAWS BARED and the pages flew by as I watched Rebecca get closer and closer to the killer.

There’s also some momentum on the romance front. Rebecca and Bran’s relationship is still a bit unsettled: the feelings are there but Rebecca has commitment issues. Rather than dithering about them for book after book, though, Nantus sets the question up as fairly central and there’s some good exploration of their feelings for each other and Rebecca’s feelings about being with a human rather than a fellow Felis. In fact, the latter are confronted rather dramatically thanks to one of the local Felis, which was a nice touch of temptation.  This also shows us a new side to Bran, which was very cool. He’s a wild card in the Felis world but I’m so happy that he’s not fumbling around all the time. Bran’s secure in himself and wants to be secure in the relationship, which earns him a lot of respect in my books, and in CLAWS BARED.

The benefit of being behind in my reviews is that I have two more Blood of the Pride novels waiting for me so I think it’s time to dive into the next one, but not until I encourage you to give this series a shot. It’s written by a fellow Canuck and I’m pleased to be able to throw 100% of my support behind this great writer. CLAWS BARED is a great story but you should read BLOOD OF THE PRIDE first so that you’re properly immersed in the Felis world.

**I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Authors I Own The Most Books From


I’m back on the meme this week! How it works: The lovely folks at The Broke and the Bookish post a list of topics, bloggers do their own posts, and then link back. They even created this lovely button, which I’ve borrowed (with full credit).

This week’s topic is:

Ten Authors I Own The Most Books From

I’m doing this one from memory since I left most of my books in Canada but here it is, to the best of my knowledge. I’m not counting anthologies with multiple authors because it makes my head hurt:

Laurell K. Hamilton – 35 books

Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: Guilty Pleasures, The Laughing Corpse, Circus of the Damned, The Lunatic Cafe, Bloody Bones, The Killing Dance, Burnt Offerings, Blue Moon, Obsidian Butterfly, Narcissus in Chains, Cerulean Sins, Incubus Dreams, Micah, Danse Macabre, The Harlequin, Blood Noir, Skin Trade, Flirt, Bullet, Hit List, Beauty, Kiss the Dead, Dancing, Affliction

Merry Gentry: A Kiss of Shadows, A Caress of Twilight, Seduced by Moonlight, A Stroke of Midnight, Mistral’s Kiss, A Lick of Frost, Swallowing Darkness, Divine Misdemeanors, Shiver of Light

Other: Nightseer, Strange Candy

Jennifer Estep – 23 books

Elemental Assassin: Spider’s Bite, Web of Lies, Venom, Tangled Threads, Spider’s Revenge, By a Thread, Widow’s Web, Deadly Sting, Heart of Venom, The Spider, Poison Promise

Mythos Academy: Touch of Frost, Kiss of Frost, Dark Frost, Crimson Frost, Midnight Frost, Killer Frost

Bigtime: Karma Girl, Hot Mama, Jinx , A Karma Girl Christmas, Nightingale

Kelley Armstrong – 21 books

Otherworld: Bitten, Stolen, Dime Store Magic, Industrial Magic, Haunted, Broken, No Humans Involved, Personal Demon, Living with the Dead, Frostbitten, Waking the Witch, Spell Bound, Thirteen, Angelic, Counterfeit Magic, Becoming, Hidden, Forbidden, Amityville Horrible

Cainsville: Omens

Nadia Stafford: Exit Strategy

Nalini Singh – 19 books

Psy/Changeling: Slave to Sensation, Visions of Heat, Caressed By Ice, Mine to Possess,  Hostage to Pleasure,  Branded By Fire, Blaze of Memory, Bonds of Justice, Play of Passion, Kiss of Snow, Tangle of Need, Heart of Obsidian

Guild Hunter: Angels’ Blood, Archangel’s Kiss, Archangel’s Consort, Archangel’s Blade, Archangel’s Storm, Archangel’s Legion, Angels’ Flight

Keri Arthur – 18 books

Riley Jensen: Full Moon Rising, Kissing Sin, Tempting Evil, Dangerous Games, Embraced by Darkness, The Darkest Kiss, Deadly Desire, Bound to Shadows, Moon Sworn

Dark Angels: Darkness Unbound, Darkness Rising, Darkness Devours, Darkness Hunts, Darkness Unmasked

Harri Phillecky, PI – Who Needs Enemies

Spook Squad: Memory Zero, Generation 18, Penumbra

Ilona Andrews – 17 books

Kate Daniels: Magic Bites, Magic Burns, Magic Strikes, Magic Bleeds, Magic Slays, Gunmetal Magic, Magic Rises, Magic Breaks

The Edge: On The Edge, Bayou Moon, Fate’s Edge, Steel’s Edge

E-books: Clean Sweep, Silent Blade, Silver Shark, Questing Beast, A Mere Formality

Jim Butcher – 14 books

Harry Dresden: Storm Front, Fool Moon, Grave Peril, Summer Knight, Death Masks, Blood Rites, Dead Beat, Proven Guilty, White Night, Small Favor, Turn Coat, Changes, Side Jobs, Ghost Story

Michelle Sagara – 14 books

The Chronicles of Elantra: Cast in Shadow, Cast in Courtlight, Cast in Secret, Cast in Fury, Cast in Silence, Cast in Chaos, Cast in Ruin, Cast in Peril, Cast in Sorrow, Cast in Flame

The Books of the Sundered: Into the Dark Lands, Children of the Blood, Lady of Mercy, Chains of Darkness, Chains of Light

Faith Hunter – 12 books

Jane Yellowrock: Skinwalker, Blood Cross, Mercy Blade, Raven Cursed, Death’s Rival, Blood Trade, Black Arts, Cat Tails, Have Stakes Will Travel

Rogue Mage: Bloodring, Seraphs, Host

Patricia Briggs – 11 books

Mercy Thompson: Moon Called, Blood Bound, Iron Kissed, Bone Crossed, Silver Borne, River Marked, Frost Burned, Night Broken

Alpha and Omega: Cry Wolf, Hunting Ground, Fair Game

I have a lot of books…

What would make your Top Ten list?

A favourite quote from MAGIC BURNS

I’m re-reading the Kate Daniels series in anticipation of MAGIC BREAKS and here’s a great quote from MAGIC BURNS, the second book in the series. It’s Kate’s description of Derek in Chapter 2. My favourite part is the last line:

He had a fresh, clean-cut face and velvet brown eyes framed in embarassingly long eyelashes. If it wasn’t for the promise of a masculine square jaw, he would be bordering on “pretty.” On the plus side, if he ever had to fight through a room full of adolescent girls, he only needed to blink a couple times, and they would all faint.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews (Kate Daniels #2)As a mercenary who cleans up after magic gone wrong, Kate Daniels knows how waves of paranormal energy ebb and flow across Atlanta like a tide. But once every seven years, a flare comes, a time when magic runs rampant. When Kate sets out to retrieve a set of stolen maps for the Pack, Atlanta’s paramilitary clan of shape shifters, she quickly realizes much more is at stake. The stolen maps are only the opening gambit in an epic tug of war between two gods hoping for rebirth, and if Kate can’t stop the cataclysmic showdown, the city may not survive.

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