Thursday, November 24, 2011

Ascension by Sable Grace

Synopsis from
The gates of hell have opened, and one woman will stand in the crossfire as the Dark Breed—vampyre, demons, shape shifters—and mankind fight their last battle for survival.

Kyana is half Vampyre, half Lychen . . . and the last of her kind. Determined, dangerous, and damned, she has no love for the mortals who have imprisoned and misused her. But when the Order of Ancients entrusts her with a mission—to find the key that will send the Dark Breed back into Hell for eternity—Kyana has no choice but to accept.

She is furious to learn her assignment comes with an escort . . . Ryker, a demigod and fierce warrior who long ago found a way under her skin and stayed there. In a shaky alliance, they discover an ancient cult with dangerous motive and a god who seeks to destroy all others. And as Kyana begins to feel the heat that threatens to bind her to Ryker, she knows she has to resist. For it could only mean the undoing of them both.

My review:
This book was a new twist on the usual UF books I read and I really loved it! Kyana is a Dark Breed with a difference to all others - she is half Vampyre and half Lychen (or werewolf), which makes her the best tracer the Order of the Ancients have as she can go a-hunting when others can't. The Order of the Ancients is a group set up to work for the Greek gods and goddesses and the likes of Ares, Artemis and the Three Fates or Moriae make regular appearances too. At first I wasn't totally sure how the Greek gods and goddesses would mix with the usual UF characters of vampire, werewolves and witches, but it worked so well.

Kyana has been given the ultimate test of her life - find out who has opened the gates of Tartarus and let all the evil Dark Breeds into the world Above. This world is divided into 3 areas - Below, where the Dark Breeds generally live, Above where the humans live and Beyond where the gods all live. To aid her on her hunt is the one person she was rather not be with - Ryker, a demi-god who spurned her advances 10 years ago and whom she has never quite forgiven for his rejection.

With the aid of her friends, Geoff, another vamp tracer and Haven, the only human Kyana can abide, Kyana and Ryker manage to find several clues, although none completely revealing, as to who opened the gates and why. They are using the opportunity to kill off all the Chosen, the humans chosen to take over from the gods and goddesses as they start to weaken, but who would want to destroy the Chosen and kill off all the gods?

Kyana was a strange heroine for me. She was almost an anti-heroine in that she didn't especially like working with others, enjoyed the glory she had, was a bit big-headed at times and showed a clear dislike for the humans she was sent to save, but I grew to love her as she showed her caring nature eventually. She was willing to give herself over to whatever punishments the gods were willing to give her, because had wanted to save her best friend in the only way she knew how.

I really enjoyed watching the tension build build Kyana and Ryker and it was clearly obvious from the beginning that while they might both act as if they would rather kill each other than work together, they did really feel something for each other. Eventually they mutual dislike faded and changed into respect and like for each other. I do hope their relationship develops a bit more through the next book.

I did also like the little surprise Geoff had in store for Kyana at the end too. The huge cliffhanger at the end of the book got me as well and immediately I went out hunting for the next one! Can't wait to read this one next!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Rampant by Saskia Walker

Synopsis from
Possession is only half the fun…

The moment she arrives at her rented vacation cottage nestled in Scotland, Zoë Daniels feels it—an arousal so powerful she's compelled to surrender to the unusually forceful carnal desires…with nearly anyone who crosses her path. Crawford Logan, the boat builder with the wayward grin. The devilish restaurateur Cain Davot, who seems to know more about Zoë than he lets on. And even her sexy neighbor Grayson Murdoch, whose eyes delve deep into her soul as he explores every inch of her body.

Yet there's something unsettling about the way the locals watch her, something eerie about these overwhelming encounters. Zoë knows she's not quite in control of herself and begins to wonder if there's any truth to the legend of Annabel McGraw, a powerful, promiscuous eighteenth-century witch who once owned the cottage, and whose spirit t is rumored to affect anyone who stays there. Zoë doesn't t believe in anything that even hints at the occult, but t now strange visions are turning frightening…and only y one man's touch can bring her back to earth.

My review:

I think this must be my first proper erotica read ever (unless you count the later Anita Blake books, which were pretty much all sex and no action!). Not that I'm a prude but I prefer the kick ass, blood and gore type of books that this one was, but still a fairly enjoyable read.

Zoe takes a much deserved break from her high flying job as a PA in a lawyer's office and heads up to Scotland to a little seaside village, which her sister found for her. Just as she drives up to the village, she starts to get hot and not just temperature hot either. And soon enough she meets a rather handsome biker bloke who she wants to do naughty things to - not her usual reaction to a man she's just met!

The house she has rented gives her a funny feeling that someone else is there with her, but there is no one to be seen - only a feeling! Her neighbour ends up being the hunky biker and the other village menfolk (and one of the women too) take an interest in her as well, but it turns out that they are all witches of one kind or another. Being a complete non-believer in magic it takes her a while to accept what is happening to her.

There is a coven trying to invoke some very powerful, forbidden spells and unfortunately for her, Zoe is dragged into it all, whilst her hunky neighbour tries to save her from a fate worse than death. A lot of the power uses sex to aid it along the way so we are treated to lots of hot, steamy sex scenes as well.

The actual plot, without all the sex scenes, was a good one and I enjoyed the idea of what the dark witches were trying to achieve and the power struggles the coven were experiencing at times. Just wish there had been much blood and gore in it :P

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Last Archangel by Michael D Young

Synopsis from
Xandir has been exiled to earth until the end of time. But when his cherub trainee disappears, Xandir makes a deal with rogue angels and giants that could restore life to the mortal woman he loves and end his assignment as a destroying angel in exchange for helping them bring about the end of the world and all of mankind.

My review:
I was intrigued by the synopsis on NetGalley for this book so requested and am quite glad I did. I really enjoyed it.

As other reviewers have stated, there are two storylines that eventually merge together, but the main story focuses on Xandir, a destroying angel, who must wield the swords of Justice and Mercy.

I enjoyed Xandir's story the most and loved his trip through hell to complete his side of the bargain with the Giants, a race created when humans and angels came together. Along with Jarom, his little cherub apprentice, he has to retrieve something that no-one has done before in order to get back that which he lost many centuries ago. A few nasty and a few funny situations arose and oh how I felt for poor Jarom after spending some time in the Pools. Despite Jarom's inexperience in the world of men, he proves to be a fabulous ally to have in the world of hell.

The other storyline involved Eden, a seemingly ordinary woman whose husband has just left her after weeks of rather bizarre behaviour. She attempts to kill herself only to be saved and then decides her time is not now, so plans to work out what has happened to Deren, her husband. She enlists the help of her professor friend Judy and together they encounter some rather strange and demonic goings on.

At first it wasn't totally clear how these 2 storylines would merge together, but when they did it was an easy merge, but not quite explained. Xandir was made to be Eden's guardian angel, after being told he would be a destroying angel until the end of time and the end of time was not just yet. He abandons his charge quite quickly in order to pursue his own goals - not much of a guardian angel is he? - and Eden soon finds herself in a rather difficult situation. Another group of angels come to her rescue, which I can only presume were sent by Xandir, but he didn't receive any sort of punishment for his deflection despite being told he would. Maybe being an angel lets you off the hook sometimes...

There were a few biblical references, which didn't overly bother me - I just took them to be part of the story about angels. I guess you can;t have a story about angels without some biblical parts, but they definitely didn't seem too preachy to me.

Overall this book was really good and thanks to Michael Young and NetGalley for letting me review it.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison

Synopsis from
The underground population of witches, vampires, werewolves—creatures of dreams and nightmares—has lived beside humans for centuries, hiding their powers. But after a genetically engineered virus wipes out a large part of humanity, many of the "Inderlanders" reveal themselves, changing everything.

Rachel Morgan, witch and bounty hunter with the Inderland Runner Services, is one of the best at apprehending supernatural lawbreakers throughout Cincinnati, but when it comes to following the rules, she falls desperately short. Determined to buck the system, she quits and takes off on the run with an I.S. contract on her head and is reluctantly forced to team up with Ivy, Inderland's best runner . . . and a living vampire. But this witch is way out of her league, and to clear her name, Rachel must evade shape-changing assassins, outwit a powerful businessman/crime lord, and survive a vicious underground fight-to-the-death . . . not to mention her own roommate.

My review:
I loved this book! I have had this series on my to-read list for so long and finally got round to reading it.

Rachel Morgan is a witch working for the I.S - Inderland Security and decides she has had enough of being given the crappy jobs as a runner so quits her job. However no-one just quits the I.S and walks away without a bounty being put on their heads. But lucky for Rachel, the I.S actually wants to get rid of her so her boss Denon is willing to let her go until Ivy Tamwood, the best runner in the I.S and a living non-practising vampire, decides to quit alongside Rachel.

Together they move into a church and, with the help of Jenks the pixy, try to keep Rachel alive after several attempts on her life are made, courtesy of her old boss. Rachel also finds out that one of the big wigs in town is doing some very illegal activities and has a plan to get some evidence which should in turn get the I.S off her back. However, not everything goes to plan (as it never does and how boring would that be?!) and she gets caught. Several times!

I totally loved the characters in this book. The friendly banter between Rachel and Jenks was hilarious. Ivy was a strange one - I could never quite decide if she was going to go after Rachel or not after the first time, but she ended up being the kind of person you could rely on in a bad situation. (not quite sure why Rachel was so freaked out about Ivy attacking her even before the first situation, especially when she knew what Ivy was though). I have inklings over who I think Keasley really is, but no idea why. He could just be an old warlock, but I do think there's more to him than was revealed in this book.

I loved the way that magic was portrayed in this book as well - the need for mixing up potions to create spells and charm amulets is something I haven't read about in a while. Almost took me back to what I think magic is all about.

I'm looking forward to buying the next ones in this series, although I have a fair few to catch up on!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Queen of Shadows by Dianne Sylvan

Synopsis from
Overwhelmed by her uncanny ability to manipulate people's emotions through her music, Miranda Grey comes to the attention of vampire lord David Solomon. Believing he can help bring her magic under control, David discovers that Miranda's powers may affect the vampire world too...

My review:
What a fantastic book this was - totally loved it.

Miranda Grey is a budding musician with a difference - she's an empath - she feeds on people's emotions to make them feel her music, but she has no idea what she is and all the constant feeling of others' emotions is slowly driving her mad. On one dreadful night after a gig at a local bar, she is attacked by a group of men and consequently saved (if not a bit late) by a tall, dark and handsome man, who just happens to be the Prime vampire of the city.

He helps her to heal and helps her to develop and control her gift, whilst at the same time fighting against another band of vampires. The vampire war takes a turn for the worse and Miranda is sent away from David for her own safety, but she doesn't stay safe for long...

I love the images created in this book of Miranda, who started out as an almost crazy bag lady looking kind of woman, who simple cannot take care of herself at all. She eventually evolves into a stronger character, determined to not let the past destroy her very soul. David is the cool, calm, collected vampire leader you expect, with a passion for protecting those under his wing. I totally loved Faith as well - David's second in command - she was a light hearted, blunt character you needed to hear from when everything looked so bleak.

At first I was not sure about this book after the events of the first chapter, but they were handled so very well by the author and I was glad to see that Miranda didn't just accept them and move on immediately either. It was obvious that Miranda and David were going to fall for each other, but it was a longer process that you would expect and when they finally did get together it felt right.

Loved the ending too - so glad Ariana got what she deserved from the person she least expected!

Can't wait to read the next one and see what happens next between Miranda and David especially and how Kat (Miranda's best friend) reacts to everything that has happened too.