5 of 5 stars to “The Barrier Between” by Stacey Marie Brown

The barrier between

 

Tension, danger, betrayal, and romance

Zoey’s life has been irrevocably changed by the unnatural storm that has devastated Seattle and taken the lives of the only two people in the world she loved. Zoey discovers that Daniel, her DMG partner and the man she has loved for years, has left behind a devastating message for her, unraveling the truth behind the DMG and the experiments they have been conducting, not only on the Fae they hunt but even on their own hunters. Zoey discovers that as a result of one such experiment, she is dying. Now, it is a race against time to find someone who can help transfer the Wanders Fae powers back to Ryker before Zoe takes them with her to the grave forever.

Stacey Mari Brown takes her fantasy world to another level in this installment of the Collector series. The workings of the Fae world and the back stories are nicely fleshed out. The focus of the story remains the relationship between Ryker and Zoey. Brown has a definite talent for hiking up the tension as the attraction between them grows. Then, to the already boiling pot, Brown throws in the third point of a love triangle, creating a delicious conflict.

The story arches are neat, with some danger, intrigue and betrayal brought in with various supporting characters. The changes in setting and location also add some variation to the story and broaden the scope of possibilities. I’m thoroughly enjoying my immersion in this wonderful world of Fae.

5 of 5 stars to ‘City in Embers’ by Stacey Marie Brown

City in embers

Chemistry, fantasy, humor

Just when it seems as if everything in her hard life is finally coming together, Zoe Daniels is stripped of everything. A freak storm robs her of the only two people she cares about and forces her into the path of the ruthless Wanderer, Ryker. Once a collector of fae, Zoe becomes the hunted, and the only person she can trust is the one she has been taught to despise, to fear and to hunt.

If there’s one thing Stacey Marie Brown got right in his novel, it’s the chemistry! She is a pro at creating sizzling conflict between the main characters that starts out as animosity and slowly morphs into attraction.

But there’s more to this novel than just the heat. Brown has cleverly brought in humor and tenderness with the creation of Sprig, the mischievous, strange monkey-sprite. He relieves the tension at times and always seems to appear and disappear at the most inopportune moments. He’s just wonderful!

The fantasy world itself is masterfully created, with plenty of back-story, adventure, danger and reality. The character arcs are perfect, especially since there is no ‘love at first sight’. The attraction is gradual and more realistic. I haven’t been this drawn into a fantasy series in a while and I can’t wait to find out what happens to Ryker, Zoe and Sprig!

5 of 5 stars to ‘Captured’ by Erica Stevens

Captured

Emotive writing

Aria sacrificed herself to save a child. Now, she has been taken as blood slave to none other than the Prince of darkness himself. Raised on tales of the cruelty of the vampires, Aria has first hand knowledge as daughter of the leader of the resistance. But The Prince is nothing like she expected…

As far as plot go, this one is relatively simple in structure. It’s a paranormal Beauty and the Beast story – and yet so much more. There is something so raw and poignant in this author’s writing. Not many authors have this kind of ability to rip into a reader’s emotions and turn a simple plot into a deep, passionate love story.

I loved the vulnerability of Aria’s character. She is strong without being perfect. She challenges the traditional mold of heroine because her beauty is much more of the soul than of the body. The world is which the characters live is a dark and well constructed one, without overly complicated details to leash the imagination.

Beautiful start to the series, can’t wait to read the next book!

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!

 

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!

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.