4 of 5 stars to ‘Fury of Obsession’ by Coreene Callahan

Fury of obsession

 

Fun-filled cliche

Venom craves touch and longs to find a mate to call his own and share his life with. Life has never been easy for him though, especially when his very touch is lethal to all others. So when he stumbles across Evelyn Foxe, Venom can’t believe the turn of events. She is his perfect match in every way. The only person who is immune to the toxins of his touch.

The connection is instant and strong, but Venom is terrified of losing Evelyn if he reveals too much too soon. He plans to woo her before he unveils the truth of their fated connection and introduces her into the Night fury world. But then someone unleashes a biological weapon in Evelyn’s hometown and Venom knows he must act or risk losing her.

There’s an easy cadence to this series that overrides the romance formula writing and hooks you. This novel is rife with cliche metaphors, redundant clauses and cheesy alliteration and yet it remains enticing. It’s an easy read and the fantasy world created by Callahan is rich and fun-filled, with a huge dose of masculinity. The female lead in this novel was very one dimensional and cast as a typical female in distress, but the formula still worked well, making this a fun read.

First series I’ve ever re-read (It’s that good!)

One foot in the grave

Scorching romance

Vampire hunter Cat left the man she loved behind years ago to ensure his safety. Now she’s working for the secret homeland security division as their secret weapon, using the skills her undead lover, Bones, taught her to protect the human world from unscrupulous vampires. But there are rumors flying around in the underworld and more than one contract has been put out for the capture, dead or alive, of the vampire killer known as the ‘Red reaper’. Only one man can help Cat now. Can she overcome the feelings she still has for him and keep it professional?

Cat and Bones are by far two of my favorite fiction characters ever. I first read this series four years ago, and decided to re-read (or listen with Audible to be exact because narrator Tavia Gilbert is amazing!) the series because I haven’t been able to forget the memorable characters Frost created. Arguably, the second ‘read’ is even better than the first! Frost has written into life such a rich world of fantasy, populated by vampires, ghosts and ghouls. Just when you think she can’t possibly come up with something more imaginative, she stretches the limits by introducing yet another plot twist or complex character. The romance in this story is both sweet and scorching, with this being the hottest novel in the series. One of my favorite things about this series is the witty humor. Frost has a definite talent for sassy, quick and dirty humor, and this makes Bones, in particular, a character that will creep under your skin and stay there for years after reading the Night Huntress series.

One of the best adult paranormal romance series of all time!

Halfway to the grave

Character-driven perfect plot

Catherine knows that she’s a constant, bad reminder to her mother of the vampire who raped her. She spends her days trying to convince her mother that she’s more human than other and her nights trying to atone for the sins of her father by killing his kind. Then she meets Bones. The powerful Master vampire captures the young hunter, but instead of death, he offers her a deal: partner with him as a vampire bounty hunter… or die. Cat chooses survival but soon finds that working with the arrogant, sexy undead bounty hunter is far different from what she’d imagined.

This is the second time I’ve read this novel and that, in itself, speaks volumes. In fact, this is the first book I’ve ever re-read in my entire life from cover to cover. Frost’s characters are rich and sassy. Their lives are full of adventure and dangerous from one unexpected plot twist to the next. At first glance, Bones, with his English accent and ruthless strength is a bit of a bastard, but as Frost unravels the story, his character takes on new depths. He is arrogant, fierce, protective, incredibly funny, sexy and romantic. Cat is an equally fascinating character. She’s fiercely independent, prejudiced and talented. Throw them together, and you have a perfect example of character-driven plot, riddled with sexy conflict and adventure. This is hands down one of the best adult paranormal series ever written!

 

Possibly one of the best books ever written

The raven King

Best books ever

Gansey and his court of friends are nearing the end of the search for the fabled Raven King. They are excited and yet fearful for the end of the search may mean death, and along the way, new friendships will be forged, secrets unravelled and dreams unmade.

There is something darkly magical about this series that marks it as one of my all time favorites. Reading a Maggie Stiefvater novel is an experience unlike any other. There is nothing straight forward about Stiefvater’s writing. She doesn’t tell. She doesn’t even show. She feels and makes you feel along with her. So much of this story is not woven into the plot or even into the characters, but rather, Stiefvater delves deeper into the very heart of the reader. She teases and tempts with her descriptions but never quite fully explains, preferring rather to stretch the imagination of the reader to impossible heights. She thrills, excites and terrorizes with her magical, lyrical prose and leaves you wanting more of something more…

Amazing, fantastic, frightening, dreamy…one of the best books ever written.

5 of 5 stars to ‘Mark of the demon’ by Diana Rowland

Mark of the demon

CSI meets fantasy

There’s a serial killer on the loose and detective Kara Gillian knows there’s more to the case than meets the eye. She can see the otherworldly energy on the bodies that nobody else can. She knows that the killer is planning something big, something that could have devastating results for many. Can she solve the case in time and can she do it without the help of the demon lord Rhyzkahl? Or will she have to risk bringing him into this realm in order to save it?

Rowland has taken two very unusual genres and paired them in a surprisingly harmonious way. There’s a definite CSI feel to this novel. The crime scene intricacies were fascinating and realistic. I loved the clinical detail of the investigation. Then there were the fantasy aspects. Rowland’s demon realm is not your typical romantic fantasy world. It’s dark, dangerous, beautiful and uniquely spun around its own set of rules and regulations.

Kara’s character is strong, independent and not afraid to take risks. The demon lord Rhyzkahl is as mysterious at the end of the novel as he was in the beginning. The reader is constantly reminded that he operates according to a code of honor that doesn’t exist in this world. I kept thinking this was going to turn into a paranormal romance at some stage but there’s very little romance in this story, only the slightest suggestion. This paves the way for a thrilling, focussed, investigative plot-line that resolves itself neatly, but still leaves room for more adventures. Overall, a fascinating read.

Action-packed ending to amazing series

Rogue

Best fantasy series!

Nikolas is determined to hide Sara away in an impenetrable fort following the attack on Westhorne. He will keep his mate to be safe, even if it means taking away her freedom. Sara has other ideas. She’s tired of being underestimated and coddled. She’s not going to sit back while the Master vampire ravages the country in his search for her.
With the help of her werewolf friends and one Mohiri trainee warrior, she runs away from the Mohiri compound and the man she loves, in search of her estranged mother to get some answers. But no matter how fast and far she runs, trouble will always find her – and keeping two steps ahead of her Mohiri warrior mate may prove to be even harder than staying our of the hands of the enemy.

What an action-packed ending to one of the most brilliant fantasy series I’ve ever read! Lynch keeps the reader on the edge of your seat. Just when you think you’ll hit a lull in the story, she thrusts Nikolas and Sara into escalating danger.
The fantasy element is even more magical than ‘Refuge’ with the introduction of many more species of demons and fae. Lynch explores the powers of the various species and slowly unravels Sara’s own abilities in a perfectly paced plot. New characters fall in seamlessly with the old and each has their own quirks and powers to make a gripping mix.
The relationship between Nikolas and Sara smolders throughout the story, bringing the romantic element of the series to a fiery pinnacle. The ending is an amazing amalgamation of the many threads woven throughout this wonderful series, leaving the reader sated but eager to climb into another Lynch fantasy world! Wow!

Earning a spot on my best series ever list…

Refuge

Best series list material

With a Master Vampire searching for her, Sara knows she’s a danger to everyone she loves. In a bid to keep her family and friends safe, she gives up her entire life and goes with the warrior Nikolas to live in a Mohiri compound. There, she will train with others like her, form friendships, make new enemies, and discover the truth about the man who saved her.

It’s been a long time since I got so immersed in a series, but this is one of those rare books that make you forget the real world exists. Nikolas’ absence from the first part of the story was not what I expected. I was a little disappointed at first because I wanted to see how their relationship would progress, but it ended up being just perfect for this story. His absence paved the way for a focussed journey of self discovery for Sara. I absolutely love the fantasy aspects of this series, and Sara’s training and her honing of skills broadens the fantasy elements. Lynch introduces even more unbelievable magical creatures and once again, she manages effortlessly to make them believable!

The relationship between Nikolas and Sara is taken to a whole new level, and yet their interaction does not detract from Sara’s own journey or her character’s independence. I love the intensity between them. This is pure, innocent and yet passionate romance, artfully inserted to compliment the main storyline.

So the real world can just wait because I’ve already started ‘Rogue’ and I won’t put it down until I know what happens to Nikolas and Sara!

5 of 5 stars to ‘Relentless’ by Karen Lynch

Relentless

Magical, dangerous fantasy

Sara Grey’s been to hell and back already. After discovering the body of her father, brutally murdered, at the age of seven, Sara goes to live with her Uncle. She begins a new life, but soon finds herself drawn into a fantastical world, populated by mythical creatures she never imagined existed alongside her human friends.

But Sara refuses to forget her father and vows to get to the bottom of his strange murder. Her search draws attention from a number of unsavory characters though, and she soon finds herself in over her head. Thankfully, she’s also caught the attention of the Mohiri warrior Nikolas, who knows more about Sara’s heritage and talents than even she does, and who is determined to keep her safe.

From the very start, I was completely drawn in by Sara’s character. Independent, confident, kind and savvy, she is the perfect heroine. The character developmental arc is clearly defined as she uncovers aspects and talents of herself throughout the story. Lynch demonstrates the art of ‘show don’t tell’ expertly, especially in the first few chapters as she introduces Sara to her readers.

Many of the fantastical creatures Lynch has included are particularly difficult to believe in the context of the human world, and yet from page one, I never once questioned their authenticity. This world is amazing, believable, magical and dangerous – all the ingredients for a gripping young adult fantasy.

The romance element is a subtle hint, which I suspect will develop as the series progresses. There’s a fierce protectiveness in Nikolas that makes him a swoon-worthy hero, although I must admit that he still seems very shrouded in mystery. I’m definitely looking forward to learning more about this character!

The ending was a perfect blend of anticipation and resolution. One chapter of Sara’s life is closed and she stands at the precipice of an exciting new adventure. I can’t wait to dive off the cliff with her!

3 of 5 stars to ‘White raven’ by J L Weil

White raven

Mildly entertaining

The murder of Piper’s mother is still a very recent, fresh scar for the three family members left behind. Piper’s father, in an attempt to work through his own pain and to restore some sense of normality to his children’s lives, sends Piper and her brother to the island of Raven Hallow to spend the Summer with their estranged grandmother.

At first, Piper is furious. How dare her father dump the two of them with a grandmother she’s never even met? Then she meets blue-eyed Zane Hunter. The attraction is mutual and instantaneous. But there’s more to Zane than meets the eye. As Piper strives to uncover the truth about Zane, she discovers that there are more than a few family secrets hiding in her own closet – secrets that could kill her.

The fantasy world of Raven Hallow is intriguing, although I’m still unsure exactly how the powers and hierarchy works. Some of the fantasy elements could have done with more explanation. The characters were also mildly interesting, but I found them hard to pin down. Piper and Zane both came across as inconsistent and lacking motivation, and I struggled to find the developmental arc. Rose’s character was a pivotal one in the story, but I felt she was side-lined and many of her actions didn’t make sense when it came to Piper. It was entertaining, but not gripping enough for me to continue the series.

4 of 5 stars to ‘Frostfire’ by Amanda Hocking

Frostfire

Great expectations

Half Kanin, half Skojare, Bryn Aven is pretty much an outcast in a class conscious society. Yet nothing will keep her from working toward her dream of joining the prestigious King’s guard. Then she runs into Konstantin, the man who tried to kill her father. Bryn becomes embroiled in a dangerous mystery as Konstantin begins kidnapping the Kanin changelings. Part of her wants revenge against Konstantin, but other part can’t help wondering if there isn’t a bigger game at play.

I’m a huge fan of the troll fantasy world that Hocking has created. Every aspect of their society, politics and physics intrigues me. This novel is no exception as Hocking delves deeper into the stark differences between the Kanin and Skojare tribes. Hocking gets five stars for her believable, magical fantasy world creation. I had great expectations following the Trylle trilogy, but have to admit that this one didn’t quite live up to those expectations.

The characters were interesting, but not riveting. They lacked the passion of the Trylle characters, and seemed a little too reserved in many respects. Character development was not clear cut. There was one particular scene where Hocking switched from past tense to present tense, and I found this quite jarring. The ending too, was not fulfilling. While I personally enjoy cliff-hangers, I felt that there needed to be some kind of resolution, either personal or plot-related to round off the novel.

I was entertained and am still an Amanda Hocking fan, but I’m on the fence about continuing this series…