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Mistress of The Dark Path "Suzie" (The Otherworld)

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Elemental Magic
Elemental Magic
Price: £3.04

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm ready for more!, 25 Nov. 2011
This review is from: Elemental Magic (Kindle Edition)
Aileen Donovan is a woman with a few special skills regular humans don't have. As a water elemental, she can manipulate water and communicate with the creatures in the sea. This made it ideal for her to become an oceanographer and work with her father and brother (who are also water elementals) at their research center in Westport, Washington. Though there is a whole society of people with skills like theirs, it is a heavily guarded secret. Aileen is fine with that, but it does become tricky to cover up when paranormal occurrences begin happening in their area. She is good friends with one of the local Coast Guardsmen, Colin, who gets his hands full with a suspicious ship wreck. What she can't tell him is that there is a lot more going on that normal science can't explain. This is further complicated by an attraction she is beginning to have for him.

Aileen finds herself caught in the middle of solving the mystery behind the wreck and why this one is so different from any others. It begins with a simple job of plotting possible locations for where the ship may have sunk, but quickly escalates into so much more. As it turns out, a sea creature thought to be nothing more than a fable has risen from the depths of the ocean and is causing mayhem and destruction. Not only this, but there appears to be key players who want a strange object that was on board the sunken ship. Based on gathered clues, Aileen realizes that the item could be extremely dangerous if it gets into the wrong hands. She and her fellow elementals must find it first before any more innocent people are hurt. This means lying to a man she is falling for and it makes her job all that much more difficult.

Elemental Magic is a light urban fantasy full of intrigue, paranormal, and action packed scenes. The main character, Aileen, is not your typical UF heroine. She isn't fearless and doesn't normally fight bad guys through physical confrontations. Rather, she is a down to earth woman that is driven to help keep the human population and sea animals around her safe. If that means putting herself in harm's way, then she is willing to take the risks. Despite her lack of combat skills, she does have a few tricks up her sleeve. She can manipulate water to use in attacking her foes and her father taught her how to shoot handguns rather well. This means she isn't completely inept in a dangerous situation, but simply lacks experience in fighting. She does manage to be resourceful and that gets her out of a few messes.

Aileen also has a few insecurities that affect her behavior. She believes her magical capabilities aren't as perfected as other member of her family and she tends to be somewhat introverted, which has resulted in a lack of social graces. It makes for some rather interesting confrontations that she gets into. This also means she doesn't know how to handle her feelings for Colin who is showing obvious signs of attraction to her. It makes for a sweet romantic story set in the midst of action packed scenes occurring throughout the novel. There is rarely a dull moment to be found.

I found the world building and character development to be well done with this debut novel for the series. There is still a lot more to learn, but a clear picture is drawn and the story has a realistic feel. I would have liked to see a bit more about Colin's background outside the coastguard but I'm sure that information will come out in future novels. The romantic scenes in this novel will not go beyond some hot kisses, but that was enough to satisfy me. Overall, Elemental Magic was a great story to read and I will certainly be following the series closely as it continues. I highly recommend those who read paranormal romance and urban fantasy check this one out!

Something Secret This Way Comes: Secret McQueen, Book 1
Something Secret This Way Comes: Secret McQueen, Book 1
Price: £3.84

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This series should really take off!, 19 Nov. 2011
Secret McQueen is one woman who is unlike any other. Her life didn't start out under the best of circumstances and hasn't gotten much better since. She was born half werewolf and half vampire. In her world, that is unheard of, making her one of a kind. Unfortunately, Secret's werewolf mother wanted nothing to do with her from the beginning which meant her human grandmother raised her instead. It wasn't all bad growing up, but she certainly had to adapt to both sides of her heritage that gave both strengths and weaknesses. She can't handle the sunlight and needs blood to survive, but also has some werewolf urges. Now, as an adult, it makes for one very interesting woman. One that isn't happy about her outcast status. She doesn't quite belong anywhere.
So at sixteen Secret set off on her own, bitter about her identity and wanting a bit of revenge. If it hadn't been for the vampire attack that nearly killed her mother while pregnant with her, she wouldn't have many of the problems she does. This made her become a bounty hunter for the vampire league after they realized she had no qualms about killing them. At least that way they had some control over who she took out. She has been working the job ever since under the guidance of another vampire hunter who has been a close mentor.

Now at 22 years old, things are about to take a drastic change in her life. A vampire nemesis of hers is determined to finally finish her off and he has grand plans once she is out of the way. Secret must stop him before it is too late. That isn't all that is thrown at her, though. She also discovers that she is mystically bonded with not one, but two werewolves, one of them being the king of the East Coast Pack. They don't know about her vampire half and that is the way she wants to keep it. Yet it isn't going to be easy hiding her werewolf half from the vamps while hiding the vampire half from the weres. Secret has a lot on her plate if she wants to stay alive, not to mention manage some kind of romantic life.

I must say this book turned out much better than I expected. Secret is a woman with a lot of conflict in her life, but she handles it fairly well, despite the occasional stumbles along the way. This isn't a woman who just came into her powers, but rather one who was born to them. She has been mastering them ever since, even if she has been suppressing the werewolf half for most of her life. She is brave, tough, and smart. Yet unlike many other heroines in Urban Fantasy, she isn't full of snark. Something I appreciated since that seems to have become almost too standard for the genre. She knows her weaknesses and does get scared when things get too dangerous, but she also gives as good as she gets. Secret is a solid, well-developed character that seemed more realistic than may others do.

There are some who may find her love life somewhat objectionable. It was one of the things I worried about as I prefer heroines to be monogamous. She has two werewolves that are bonded to her (both being close friends) and I'm not sure how this is going to play out. The triangle problem didn't fully develop in this first book, but I'm guessing that she might be able to pull it off. The only trouble being that there are hints another man of a different species may come into the picture as well. That causes some worry as to how far this is going. Those who have read the Anita Blake series or Riley Jenson understand the significance. So far, though, she hasn't actually "fallen" for anyone so the outcome remains to be seen. There were a couple of hot sex scenes, but they weren't ménage. The prospect of a character getting into multiple relationships normally bothers me, but doesn't feel awkward in this series. Somehow, the author is pulling it off and I'm willing to keep reading to see what happens next.

For those of you who enjoy Urban Fantasy/Paranormal books with tough heroines, you might want to check this one out. It has a unique world that isn't just a copy of the many others out there. I believe it could become one of the next big series for followers of the genre to get into. It is full of action, suspense and drama, grabbing your attention from the beginning and not letting go. I enjoyed it so much I plan to grab the next novel right away.

Drink Deep: A Chicagoland Vampires Novel (Chicagoland Vampires Series Book 5)
Drink Deep: A Chicagoland Vampires Novel (Chicagoland Vampires Series Book 5)
Price: £3.95

4.0 out of 5 stars I'm not really buying the ending on this one but still enjoyed the story, 10 Nov. 2011
Life in Cadogan House has not been easy since Ethan's untimely death. Merit is having a hard time getting over her feelings for the Master Vampire and isn't even sure she wants to. Dreams have begun to plague her where Ethan plays an important part in them. She knows she needs to let him go so they will end. This seems particularly important because many other problems are cropping up that she can't ignore. First is the receiver sent by the Greenwich Presidium (GP), Frank Cabot, has begun to institute unreasonable rules on the house and has done all he can to make the vampires in it feel miserable. Merit suspects his true motives and believes his intentions are not as honorable as he claims. Yet she has no idea how to stop him, and Malik (the new Master Vampire for Cadogan) is hesitant to upset the GP. This leaves everyone vulnerable to Frank's whims and tyranny.

To add to these difficulties, very strange occurrences begin to happen around Chicago. The first being the lake and rivers within the city limits have turned black and no longer move. It appears to be a bad omen which alarms the human population and brings greater pressure on the vampires, as they are given the blame. It is left up to Merit and her occasional partner, Jonah (from the Grey House), to work out what is happening and try to stop it. The problem being they must first figure out who is causing the trouble and then also deal with the other effects that follow. It appears to be magic of some sort, but it is unclear as to who's. Merit attempts to contact her sorceress in training friend, Mallory, but their relationship is becoming rather shaky. Mallory is caught up in her final testing, and due to extreme stress, takes it out on anyone who disrupts her studies. Merit's attempts to be there for her friend and get information from her fail from the beginning. This only makes all the other problems going on seem that much more difficult. Between Ethan's death, the GP receiver, the city being turned upside-down, and Mallory's unfriendly behavior, Merit has a full plate which is going to push her to the edge of her endurance.

*Some small spoilers follow*

I have some mixed feelings about this latest novel. The action was intense and the plot was complicated and mostly unpredictable (except maybe the end result). Everything tied in well, yet it felt a little too convenient to me. I was mourning Ethan's death just as much as anyone who loves this series and certainly felt his absence throughout this latest book. Yet I didn't really buy the ending, even if I was happy to have a certain character back in the game. It just felt forced to me, as if he should never have been gone to begin with. The entire rest of the plot could have still happened and some other scapegoat used for the magic's purpose. It seems to me that the ending of the last book was done just to jerk people's emotions and make them buy the next books to find out how it would be resolved.

Despite all this, I did enjoy this latest novel for its continued world building and for the stronger relationships that were built throughout it. The author has a talent for making you feel like you're right there with Merit as she goes through the city conducting her sentinel business (or eating). I can almost taste the food, smell the smells, and picture the sights. Yet it is all done without bogging the story down. For that alone, I enjoy the series. All the characters were well developed and had their place in the scheme of things. My only disclaimer to that being the reunion at the end was not quite what I expected, but still bittersweet and somewhat satisfying.

If you are like me and have been waiting for this novel to release with impatience, it is definitely worth reading (if for no other reason than getting closure). I only warn that the set-up for Ethan's death in the last novel didn't feel quite right in my mind as to how it got resolved in this one. Others, of course, may feel differently and that is okay. The ending is such that I am looking forward to the next book when it releases. I'm not about to let a few reservations stop me from continuing on with the series, as it is still one of my favorites!

Love is Darkness: Valerie Dearborn Book 1
Love is Darkness: Valerie Dearborn Book 1
Price: £0.00

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This series has potential, 9 Nov. 2011
Love is Darkness begins in the past, rather than present. It takes the reader to an important scene among some key vampires that will affect the main character, Valerie Dearborn, even if she doesn't know it yet. From there you will follow brief periods of Valerie's life until reaching the present. This helps give more background to the story, but also slows down its progression. You learn that the death of Valerie's mother to vampires changed everything in her life. Her father became a stranger bent only on revenge, so she has little emotional support. She gained a "foster brother" of sorts, named Jack, who she slowly falls in love with as they grow up together. The main reason they don't become more is Jack's parents were murdered by a vampire (just as Valerie's mother was) and he has turned cold, bent on revenge. That makes him a better companion for her father, as they work together in hunting down vampires. Yet she wants no part of it.

All the while, the most powerful vampire on earth, Lucas, has been watching over Valerie with future plans in mind. He is dark, sexy, and enigmatic. She is drawn to him, and though she cares for Jack, it is the vampire who calls to her in ways she has never felt before. Lucas teaches her new things and gives her a purpose, even if it is one she resents. Their personalities clash, but the sparks fly between them. This leaves Valerie confused, as she knows she loves Jack, but doesn't know if there can ever be anything more with him. Now that she is an adult and on her own, she must decide what is best for her life and whether she should let anyone force her into doing things she doesn't want to do. Whether those dictates come from the humans or vampires in her life.

I have mixed emotions about this book. From the beginning, Valerie came off as young, immature, and weak. You give her a break because she is a teenager and this is somewhat expected. The only problem is once you reach present day, she still acts the same way, even though she is now twenty-one and in graduate school. Eventually, part of the reason for this is revealed. Her being an Empath means she is affected by the emotions of others around her. Without knowing what she is or receiving training in her abilities, it has made her emotionally vulnerable. Despite this, her personality annoyed me. Yet for some reason, I enjoyed the way she clashed with others. Valerie wasn't just some girl who let people walk all over her, she had great moments where she really stuck up for herself, no matter the opposition. That made her endearing.

This book doesn't have an early plot problem that gets resolved at the end. After moving to present day, Lucas gives Valerie a job, but she doesn't complete it and will obviously have to continue with it later in the series. One problem does crop up around the middle of the book that is a major issue and it gets resolved by the end, but it might have been nice if the "problem" could have been moved forward and made into a bigger deal in order to heighten suspense throughout. That bothered me as nothing really got accomplished aside from this one thing except the world building and some character development. A ton of questions got raised and few answered. There were moments of action and danger, but they pretty much involved Valerie's life being threatened and Lucas saving her, though in a couple instances she did help herself as well.

Though I have a lot of complaints with this book, I actually did like it, for all its flaws. The characters were endearing. I felt genuine interest in what would happen next and I was completely sucked into the ending. I wasn't happy it came as a cliffhanger, but the next book releases in December so I don't have to wait too long to see what happens next. One thing I will warn is though this book would be considered an adult paranormal, it reads a lot like YA. Plus there were some occasional errors that need to be cleaned up. These things may bother some readers, but I believe the potential for this series is great and have every intention of continuing it. I'm curious to see where everything goes and have high hopes for Valerie maturing over time. For the purpose of this review, I give it 3.5 stars with the hopes of a greater rating on the next one. If you like fairly dark vampire tales with (mostly) human women as main characters, then you might try this one out. It isn't a bad read and certainly has the prospect of getting even better.

Sleepy Willow's Bonded Soul (The Narcoleptic Vampire Series Vol. 1)
Sleepy Willow's Bonded Soul (The Narcoleptic Vampire Series Vol. 1)
Price: £2.14

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The main character might have problems nodding off in the story but you won't!, 5 Nov. 2011
Willow is a two-year old vampire with a history of narcolepsy that dates back to her childhood. She had hoped to get rid of it by getting turned, but immortality didn't help. Not only this, but she got stuck being one of hundreds of brides bonded to a Maistre vampire, Max. She managed to get away from him and start a life of her own, but it hasn't been easy. One thing her undead life has given her is some nifty abilities to please patrons at a fetish fantasy club she works at. Those who watch her regularly don't know many of her acts are real, rather than fake, but that works to keep her identity a secret. This is especially important because vampirism is illegal and anyone who is discovered to be a vamp receives an immediate execution. Willow has to work particularly hard to avoid that fate, especially because her narcolepsy tends to put her asleep at some rather inopportune moments.

Though things have gone fairly well since leaving her maistre vampire, problems of all kinds are starting to crop up. First, a man she holds some affection and interest for, Remi, wants to take their relationship to the next step. She likes him, but doesn't want to commit herself to anyone. His being human and not knowing what she is only makes the prospect more difficult. Second, someone attacks Willow at the club but gets away before she can find out who they are or why they tried to kill her. She also has to deal with a vampire hunter/executioner who suspects her true nature. Like a good hound dog, he refuses to give up, no matter how hard she tries to act human. If this isn't enough, her maistre vampire wants her to come back to him and he is jealous of Remi, but she doesn't want to give up her new life. Willow likes her independence and doesn't want to be part of a large vampire clan. Luckily, she discovers friends along the way who are willing to help her so that she just might survive all the new obstacles in her life.

I wasn't sure what to expect with this novel. It had an interesting premise, which made me want to try it. The book turned out to be a good choice because I felt drawn into the story almost immediately. Willow isn't some heroine that has impressive fighting skills and no fear. She does try to fight her battles and stand up for herself, but isn't always successful, so she learns to call for help when it's needed. It was also rather comical to see how Willow, who was raised in a religious family, dealt with being cursed as a vampire. She had a pretty good idea her soul wouldn't go to heaven, but that didn't stop her from trying to live the right way, even if she couldn't step into a church and holy objects burned her. Yet when it came down to it, she dropped her morals if they got in the way of survival. This made her practical, yet it was funny to see her inner thoughts on how she just blew another one of the ten commandments. It initially bothered her before she gave up worrying after awhile. I liked that she wasn't perfect and had faults. Her character felt real and sincere to me.

The world building for this novel is also well done. Pieces are revealed as needed to form the whole picture but it isn't done in some long, boring narrative. Instead the author tried to "show" how things work and rarely relied on using lengthy back story. This kept the pace of the novel comfortable. I would warn potential readers that there is a lot of sex (including implied rape scenes), violence, and gore in the story. Those things didn't bother me, as they are carefully done, but may be a problem for some. The only actual problem I had with the book is the plot. This is very much a character driven story. Various issues come and go throughout the novel. Most get resolved before the end, but not all of them. Yet I wouldn't exactly say there was one overarching plot that the heroine dealt with the whole time, unless you counted Willow's reservations in dealing with Remi as a lover. The book might have been slightly better if there was more focus on a problem outside of Willow's love life, but that is just a small complaint and honestly didn't affect my enjoyment of the book.

For those who want a typical paranormal romance, this one may not be for you. If you want to try something new and different, then you should give Sleepy Willow's Bonded Soul a chance. It isn't going to be a perfect romance, if that is what you are looking for, but it will be highly entertaining and unique. All the characters involved have serious issues, yet you enjoy seeing how they deal with them. Dysfunction is key in this book, but it all works to enhance the story. I am assuming there will be a second novel, based on the ending, and have every intention of picking it up. Dicey Grenor's writing style is enjoyable, humorous, and entrancing. Not a combination you can find often!

Price: £0.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good can come from the worst of circumstances and this story proves it, 31 Oct. 2011
This review is from: Under-Heaven (Kindle Edition)
"Under-Heaven" follows the paths of two boys' lives. You first meet Jesse, a five-year-old boy who lives in Boston with his mother. He comes from a troubled home and his parents have split up recently. This isn't easy on him as he has fond memories of the three of them as a family. Unfortunately, his father has become a drunk and drug addict which has caused a lot of problems. Jesse wants his parents to reconcile, as he loves his father a lot and misses him, but also knows his mother can't handle his dad under the current circumstances. In the boy's young mind, he doesn't understand why things have changed so much and he is willing to try anything to fix them. Unfortunately, it may be a task too great for his small shoulders to handle alone.

The other boy, Nate, also has a strong presence in the novel. He died at the age of nine in the 1940s and went to a place called "Under-Heaven". This isn't necessarily a bad place, more of a transition point for most souls. Yet Nate can't resolve the tragedy that happened in his past life to move on. For awhile, he can't even allow himself to remember it, but knows that unlocking the mystery behind his death is key to knowing what step he must take next in his afterlife. It is not something he is capable of for a long time, though, and the novel follows his experiences in "Under-heaven" and the other souls and angels he meets there who try to help him.

I must say this book was difficult for me in the beginning. It starts in a dark place for both boys and felt rather depressing. The multiple points of view also caused me some trouble until I got into the flow of the story, but I stuck with it believing it would get better. As it turned out, I was right. Somewhere around the fifteen percent mark, the novel picked up speed and the suspense became intense. I found myself getting attached to both boys and needing to know what would happen to them. They came alive for me and I knew at some point the author would entwine their stories together, despite the time difference. How exactly this happens, I won't say, but it wasn't in the way I anticipated. The depth of the novel is far greater than one can even predict.

For those considering this book, I would say that if you are like me, it may be tough to get through at first. Do not let that deter you, because the story progresses and once you reach a certain point, it will be nearly impossible to put down. So many unexpected events happen and you meet some very interesting characters in addition to the main two boys. The way the author gets inside these kids heads is amazing and you will feel like you are right there with them, suffering through the hard times and smiling through the good. When the conclusion came, I found myself misty eyed as all the pieces came together, even parts I hadn't considered as significant.

If you are interested in alternative versions of the afterlife and enjoy stories where something good comes from tragedy, this is the perfect story to read. "Under-Heaven" will touch you in ways you cannot even imagine and bring a whole new perspective to how you view the world. I certainly enjoyed it and plan to read the novel again!

Better Off Undead (Bloodhound Files)
Better Off Undead (Bloodhound Files)
by D, D Barant
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Bloodhound is back and her humanity is at stake!, 31 Oct. 2011
Imagine waking up one morning to be told you were going to an alternate earth, in a different dimension. Your earth being much like the one we know, but the other having some glaring differences. Oh, the countries and cities of this other earth appear much like our own, but other things are very different. The most obvious being the fact humans only make up one percent of the population. The other ninety-nine percent are vampires, werewolves, or golems. In other words, humans are a protected species that may not last much longer. Yet you come from an earth that doesn't have any of these mythological beings, which makes you feel rather out of place. Well, that is how Jace Valcheck feels when this happens to her, and she did not get a choice in the matter. Those who brought her over made a deal so as to gain her cooperation. All she had to do is use her FBI profiler skills to catch a human serial killer (virtually unheard of on this version of earth) and after he is safely dealt with, she could go back home.

If you haven't noticed, this is book four of the series and that agreement began in book one. Nothing has gone quite right for Jace, as other problems keep getting in the way. She came close a couple times, but hasn't had much luck lately. In the intervening months since her arrival, she has adapted and even made friends, but this adventure may ruin her plans to ever get home. Dr. Pete, a werewolf friend whose identity was altered earlier in the series from some nasty magic, could be saved and brought back to how he once was. Unfortunately, before the solution can fully work, he bites her. This exposes Jace to the lyncanthrope virus which will change her on the next full moon. If a method to counteract the virus isn't found in time, she will turn into a species she has no desire to become. There is a possible way to stop it, but it could result in deathly consequences. Jace has a lot of choices to make, on top of her usual job to do, which includes hunting down a mafia werewolf who has become a dangerous threat to society (well, more so than a usual mafia guy). Nothing will be easy until all her latest problems are resolved.

I must admit, this series seemed to be diverting off its course a bit since book one (which had been my favorite). Yet "Better off Undead" brought back all the original characters and excitement I remembered from before. I really enjoyed the humor, brief emotional moments, and action that ensued. It was what I had been hoping for and more. Jace didn't get much progress made on the hunt for the serial killer, but that might have ended the series, so that was okay for me. In this one she focused on trying regain her old friend Dr. Pete, who had become Tair- an evil, alternate version of the man she knew. As for whether she was successful, I can't say since you'll have to read the novel to find out. She also had to deal with the idea of becoming something other than human. This brought her down a bit, but she bounced back quickly, ready to fight for her life. Just like the Jace that has shown a remarkable determination to overcome the odds of all the other adversity she has faced since arriving in the alternate dimension.

For those who have read all the previous novels, you will find "Better Off Undead" to be the best yet. It has the tough heroine that we have seen throughout the series, all the main characters we have grown to love, and the action stays in the Seattle area where it all began. It is not a novel you want to miss. For those who are new to the series, you may want to start off at book one, if you really want to understand the dynamics at work for later books. The author does take time to explain some of the past events, which could make it possible to read this one alone, but it would still be better to go to the beginning.

I highly recommend The Bloodhound Files for those who enjoy a mix of paranormal, fantasy, and sci-fi adventure. The world building and character development are excellent, as well as unique. The next book, Back from the Undead, is set to be released in April of 2012. I will certainly be picking it up! For those who would like the series reading order, here it is:

Dying Bites
Death Blows
Killing Rocks
Better Off Undead

Darkness Unbound: Number 1 in series (Dark Angels)
Darkness Unbound: Number 1 in series (Dark Angels)
Price: £3.95

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The potential for this series gives me hope..., 31 Oct. 2011
Risa Jones is a half Werewolf/half Aedh who is trying to live a normal life, despite her supernatural background. Her family has money and connections, as well as power, but it doesn't stop her from working hard to find her own way. Yet everything is about to change. She has inherited Aedh abilities from her absent father which allow her to travel into the spirit world and see things others can't. Many people begin seeking her because of this. Using her powers is not pleasant, though, and she isn't happy about having to use them now. Despite her reservations, she is drawn into a major power play after seeing things she can't ignore.

Risa also finds herself being sought after by a number of supernatural groups. These include unidentifiable shape-shifters, a grim reaper and Aedh like her. All with their own agenda. Some of them want the use of her skills, others want her death. It is only her closest friends and family that she can trust, but even they will try to hold her back from doing what she feels is right. Despite this, she refuses to back out of what she feels is her obligation to protect innocent humans and the people she cares about. To be successful, though, there is a lot she'll have to learn and not much time to do it.

Darkness Unbound is the first book in the new Dark Angels series. It is set in the same world as the Riley Jensen series by the same author. I have not read any books by Keri Arthur before now, but the storyline for this one caught my eye. Readers certainly don't need to have read the other series to find this novel enjoyable. The main character, Risa, is strong and holds her own in the story. She gives as good as she gets. The plot is engaging and suspenseful, though it could have been better. Very little gets resolved in this first book, which is a bit frustrating. I'm not a big fan of cliffhangers, but the ending didn't leave me too bereft like some series manage to do. That could be considered a good or bad thing.

Risa's love life is another factor readers may or may not like. The werewolf side of her has sexual urges that need to be fulfilled regularly and she takes care of them in ways that are not the norm for other books in the genre. Yet there is a good chance she could settle down later. I am rather suspicious of the man she began a relationship with in this first book, as he most likely has his own agenda based on small hints the author drops, but it is unclear how things will go. There is another man who has strong potential and looks to be a better candidate, but very little happened with him so far. Regardless, readers should know that casual sex is not taboo in this world setting. There are some rather steamy scenes that occur. I wasn't bothered by it, but some may be.

It isn't easy finding a good Urban Fantasy/Paranormal series, once you've read all the popular ones. It was nice to discover Darkness Unbound since it is certainly better than some of the others I've seen out there (though not the best). This opening book has a good beginning and excellent world building. Hopefully, it will get even better as time goes on. The potential is certainly there. The next book is set to be released soon and I plan on reading it when it comes out.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 1, 2012 5:57 PM BST

One Grave at a Time: A Night Huntress Novel
One Grave at a Time: A Night Huntress Novel
Price: £2.48

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good novel but not the best in the series, 31 Oct. 2011
One Grave at a Time is the next book in the Night Huntress series following vampire couple Cat and Bones. In this latest installment the couple has a new supernatural problem that doesn't involve vampires or ghouls. Cat and Bones could ignore it, since the threat isn't directed at them, but they feel an obligation to help. Innocent women will be tortured and killed on Halloween by a very old ghost named Heinrich Kramer if they don't. That is something they can't ignore. The problem is this particular ghost is unlike any they have dealt with before. Kramer is far more powerful than others of his kind and they have no means to kill him. That will not stop them from finding a way, though, as they have faced impossible odds before and managed to overcome them.

Another major issue comes to the forefront as well. With Cat's uncle Don now a ghost and no longer running her old military supernatural unit, he can't provide them with the support he once did. A new man, Madigan, has taken Don's place and he clearly has a problem with Cat. He seeks to spy on her and undermine her current activities. Madigan also seems to have a hidden agenda that no one can discern. Cat must deal with his interference into her affairs while also trying to capture a difficult ghost. The obstacles her and Bones face this time may be just as deadly as any they faced before.

I had mixed feelings on this latest novel. This is by far my favorite series, but this installment didn't quite live up to my expectations. It had suspense and certainly kept me guessing throughout, but perhaps lacked some of the intensity others had. Cat and Bones get along almost too well which means their relationship is no longer an issue. Seeing them strong without being at odds is great, but it means the story must focus far more on outside issues, rather than their personal struggles. For some readers this is fine, others will miss the old sparks that once flew from the couple. There is one really good romantic scene that is different from anything seen before, but it didn't rate quite as high as previous ones. In addition to that, there are some issues left unresolved that could have been dealt with better.

A few previous characters are seen in this installment and have important roles. Ian finally reveals a small hint about his human past, which has been rather murky up to this point, and he has several good lines that are rather humorous. Spade and Denise show up to help. Her new abilities once again prove useful. Most of Cat's former buddies from her old unit have little or no visibility, which was a bit disappointing. The most frustrating of all, though, was not seeing Vlad. He may be getting his own series next year, but I had hoped to see him one last time before his bachelorhood comes to an end. Mencheres and Kira aren't around either and they could have been helpful.

This isn't a bad book and was quite entertaining. The old humor still found its way in the storyline, which did make a difference since that is one of my favorite elements to the books. It is just that I have come to expect a lot from Jeaniene Frost in her Night Huntress series and this didn't seem to be at quite the same level as before. It will not make me give up reading the series. I just hope future books will bring back the passion and intensity seen in earlier novels. If looked at as a romance series, it rates three to three and a half stars. If viewed simply as an Urban Fantasy, it is four stars. I wish I could give it a five, but the story just wasn't up to par this time.

One thing I will say about this book, by the end you will be grateful if you have a pet and may want to get one if you don't!

Blue Car Racer
Blue Car Racer
Price: £1.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A novel that anyone can enjoy!, 31 Oct. 2011
This review is from: Blue Car Racer (Kindle Edition)
The story "Blue Car Racer" begins with a fourteen year old boy starting his first day back in school. As with any kid that age, Colin has a lot of issues to deal with. Yet some of his problems aren't exactly average. He is dealing his father's death which occurred a few years before in the Persian Gulf War. The idea his Dad isn't coming back is not something he wants to accept. This has caused him to become extremely introverted with no friends to draw him out of his shell. Bullies pick on him regularly and his relationship with his mom is strained. It seems nothing is going well for him.

Then one of the bullies, Eric, suddenly wants to become friends with him. Colin likes the idea of actually having someone to hang out with, but is suspicious of Eric's change in attitude. At first things do go well, but then he realizes some things aren't quite what they seem. His new friend, and other people in his life, are keeping secrets from him, and they aren't trivial. While he really wants to know what they are, the discovery of them will result in life altering events.

I'm not much of one to read YA or "coming of age stories". They aren't my preferred type of books. Yet I took a chance and tried this one anyway. I'm glad I did. From the beginning, this story hooked me. It is told in first person through the eyes of a troubled boy. He speaks just as any kid his age would and yet the dialog feels smooth and natural. I could really empathize with what Colin was going through, even if I couldn't relate to all of it. His experiences in the story are tough, but his reflections on them are insightful. It will take you back to that period in your own life, seeing those times with fresh eyes. As the story progresses, Colin grows from being an introverted boy to a mature young man. It amazed me how well this author captured the essence of all the characters and brought them to life. Also, the secrets revealed are not exactly what you expect. The ending is surprising and will leave you to reflect on the story long after it is over.

Blue Car Racer is an excellent novel that can be read by anyone of a mature age. It is a poignant tale that ends with important life lessons learned and a future with possibilities. This is truly a story you don't want to miss, as it is well worth the time to read.

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