Novel Review: Retribution by Sherrilyn Kenyon

I remembered that I stopped reading Dark-Hunter novels because the superpowers Asheron had took away the challenge. I picked up this book anyway. I figured I’d been out of the reading scene for so long that I’d be able to give this book a bit more of a fair chance than I would have years ago. Before I force my opinion on you, let’s start with the blurb.

Retribution by Sherrilyn Kenyon - CoverHarm no human…

A hired gunslinger, William Jessup Brady lived his life with one foot in the grave. He believed that every life had a price. Until the day when he finally found a reason to live. In one single act of brutal betrayal, he lost everything, including his life. Brought back by a Greek goddess to be one of her Dark-Hunters, he gave his immortal soul for vengeance and swore he’d spend eternity protecting the humans he’d once considered prey.

Orphaned as a toddler, Abigail Yager was taken in by a family of vampires and raised on one belief—Dark-Hunters are the evil who prey on both their people and mankind, and they must all be destroyed. While protecting her adoptive race, she has spent her life eliminating the Dark-Hunters and training for the day when she meeting the man who killed her family: Jess Brady.

A gun in the hand is worth two in the holster…

Jess has been charged with finding and terminating the creature who’s assassinating Dark-Hunters. The last thing he expects to find is a human face behind the killings, but when that face bears a striking resemblance to the one who murdered him centuries ago, he knows something evil is going on. He also knows he’s not the one who killed her parents. But Abigail refuses to believe the truth and is determined to see him dead once and for all.

Brought together by an angry god and chased by ancient enemies out to kill them both, they must find a way to overcome their mutual hatred or watch as one of the darkest of powers rises and kills both the races they’ve sworn to protect.

____________________

This book is a bit different than I expected. It still had the Dark-Hunters and all. However, the mythology was more Native American than Greek, as is the common style I’d expect from a Dark-Hunter book. The fusion definitely gave it a different flavor and a more unique quality than the older books. I’m not quite sure if I’m into the new style though. Different, but with change, it takes time.

I felt this book was more centered around the character relationships than action… apocalypse. I honestly don’t remember the style of the other books. Were they more character driven or more action driven… were they balanced? I don’t know. I just can’t remember. Being that this seemed more like character driven, the apocalypse seemed less urgent than it should have been. After all, we were facing the end of the world in this book. Shouldn’t we be a bit more panic stricken? 🙂

It might have been the comedy also, which brings me to the characters. They characters took very little seriously. Everything seemed like a bit joke… even when they were obviously damaged. I suppose it was there way of dealing with life. In a way, I can relate. I have a tendency to smile when I’m nervous. I hide behind my smile. I don’t know if it looks genuine, but the smile makes me feel better, so I go with it. I’ve been known to smile in the most awkward situations. One time, I had my smile on as I listened to a guy I hadn’t seen for awhile catch me up to date on his happenings. Out of the blue, he hops into how his parent died of cancer. I didn’t even know what to do with my face. Anyway… that’s the feeling I got with all the comedy. Making jokes about life was equivalent to my nervous smile.

This time around, it seemed like the cast of a thousand characters. Who wasn’t there? I don’t know. I don’t remember most of them, so the reintroduction was nice. I even got to see Nick, who I did remember. I would love to see more of him. He’s rather surly. I suppose with good reason. Really, it’s time to patch up Nick though. I’d like to see him get his own story, if he hasn’t already. Maybe if I keep reading the series, I’ll catch up to his story. After all, I am behind a few.

The main characters… Jess Brady (Sundown) and Abigail Yager. Hmmm… They didn’t strike me as anything significant. It was odd to see Jess dating the great granddaughter of his fiancee. In fact, it was a bit creepy, if you ask me. But hey… I suppose they weren’t technically related.

My favorite part of the entire book was the bonus chapter. I know it wasn’t the main story… but it actually had me excited in a way the rest of the book didn’t. Over all, I give this book a 3.5 out of 5.

*I picked up this goodie from the library. I’ll have to check to see if the next one is available.

Novel Review: A Mate to Cherish by Laylah Roberts, Eliza Lee

It’s the last day of Spring Break for me, which means my time for reading is whittling down. One thing for sure, I’m glad I managed to squeeze A Mate to Cherish into the mix. Before I get into my review, how about a blurb?

A Mate to Cherish CoverThey are fallen from grace. A race once worshipped that had grown arrogant and greedy. Now they are few and spend their lives hunting the guilty and bringing them to justice.
A sexy dream. Two hot, sensual lovers. More pleasure than she’s ever felt before. What more could a girl want?

Um, maybe for it to be real. Lauren has hit rock bottom. After fleeing Earth, she ends up penniless and homeless. Before she can even begin her new job, she’s arrested for prostitution and thrown in jail.
Could things get any worse?

Well, yes, actually. They could.

Try getting horribly ill, ending up on the auction block, and being sold to two gorgeous, domineering, stubborn men who intend to return her to the very place she fled.

Malik knows the female in their dreams is their mate. He wants her, craves her, but he can’t bond with her without Tarin, and convincing Tarin she’s theirs will be an almost impossible task.

Tarin is always in control. Always in command. But when the hunt leads them to Lauren, he finds that very control tested. She intrigues and annoys him. Brings him both joy and terror.

But most importantly, she makes him feel.

_____________________

The Stars of the Show

I think today, I’m going to start with the characters. First, Laylah Roberts identified pretty much every one of the good guys from the onset of the book. It was interesting to have all the characters briefly introduced at once. I didn’t remember most of them, since only a few had any significant part in the book. However, I liked the idea of having finite characters. It gives me the impression we’ll receive at least 4 more books, where the other packmates find their bonded ones.

Lauren was a our heroine. She had a bit of a false bravado, yet she was also courageous. Truly, I think she only survived because she was the main character. If not for being the heroine and with the folks she got into trouble with, her mouth would have surely gotten her killed if she were a side character.

Malik, our second. If you’re familiar with the characters on the Orville, he kind of reminds me of Bortus’ mate Klyden. He’s more of a peacemaker/caretaker, but not at all feminine. He’s 100% male, through and through. I rather liked him. There was something about his tentativeness that I found rather charming.

Finally, there’s Tarin, the first. He’s supposed to be the protector. However, I don’t see him more protective than Malik. I’d say he’s more of a leader than anything… and a provider. At times, his boldness surprised me. I found him very demanding. I tend to dig in my feet when I feel like someone’s controlling me, so I’m not quite sure how I feel about him. He definitely wasn’t a kick to the curb type of guy, and I certainly saw his appeal. Just not sure I’d mesh well with him.

Most romances I read have one heroine and one hero. This one had two heroes, which worked well. I’d say when it comes to multiple sex partners, two guys is more than enough. The author wrote the roles so none of the characters ever seemed excluded. I always hate when there’s not enough people to go around and one of the characters gets forgotten, left out, playing the voyeur or something odd. One gal and two guys sounds just right. Pulled directly from the book, Roberts described their of this species as:

There were always three. A first who guided and protected, a second who calmed and cared for them all, and a female. An elika. The female was always the center, always the most important, the most cherished.

I love that! I could see this in the way the males acted toward their female. And it wasn’t weird. I’ve read a lot of novels where the female is never let out of the male’s sight once they’ve been claimed. This wasn’t at all the case. They had a bond, but it was reasonable… kind of the way one would expect a normal male to act. Plus, they had great chemistry.

The Storyline

This novel started hot and heavy. From page one… no… the first line, the heroine was getting hot and heavy. It gave me a pretty good feeling that tis book was made for me. I have to say, I wasn’t disappointed.

The stakes were high and believable. At first, I couldn’t understand why her bounty was worth so much labor. As the story progressed, it all became clear and added believability to the story. I liked that the main characters had something significant to lose (their life, each other, their livelihood).

The style of writing was different than I’m used to. It had a bit of a cheese factor. In fact, it was so cheesy at times, I had my doubts. Slowly, I got a feel for it. It was kind of cheesy in the way Guardians of the Galaxy is or The Orville… quirky in an enjoyable way.

I would say there was only one time toward the end, when Tarin cooked up a hair-brained scheme that was the stupidest and most suicidal idea ever, that I had an are you kidding me? moment.

Other than that one hiccup when the pack let Tarin think for them, I thought the book was well laid out. I got the impression Laylah Roberts knew exactly where she was planning to take the story because everything wrapped up extremely neatly in the end. I was highly satisfied with the conclusion. I’d definitely read another of her paranormal romance stories. I give this one a 4.5/5.

Favorite Lines

  • “Asswipe?” the same voice asked. “I do not wish to wipe your ass.”
  • “That would’ve been a bad investment if we had,” Alam told her. “So far you have taken a lot of care and attention.”
  • So this is her pleasure spot? It was on the outside. Unusual.
  • “Sanitary? Honey, you have been having sex incorrectly if you think it is supposed to be sanitary.”

*I received a free copy of this book through Netgalley.

Novel Review: Consort of Secrets by Eva Chase

Yesterday, I finished all my homework for the week (a day ahead of schedule). As a reward, I decided to take on a book. I had my first request to Netgalley in over 5 years approved and got granted Consort of Secrets by Eva Chase. The cover was nice and sparkly, as you can see below. What attracted me was the potential for hot, steamy sex. Oh… and it was also paranormal. You know how I love the combination. Before I get on with the review, let’s get a little blurb action:

Consort of Secrets CoverA steamy new gothic-flavored reverse harem paranormal romance from bestselling author Eva Chase.

Every witch knows the rules: Stick to your own kind. Never reveal your powers to outsiders. Take a consort from the witching families or kiss your magic good-bye forever.

For years I’ve been quiet, obedient Rose Hallowell. I accepted the man my stepmother chose for me. But I never stopped missing my long-ago friends.

Now we’re back on my childhood estate to arrange my marriage. The boys I grew up with? They’re still in town—and they haven’t forgotten me either. And damn if they haven’t grown up well.

They’ve got no magic, no place in my life. But they’re charming and sweet and infuriatingly hot, and I can’t seem to stay away. The more I try to resist, the more secrets I uncover about my family, my betrothal, and everything I thought was true about the witching world.

I’ve been lied to. I’ve been betrayed. So to claim my magic and my happiness, I’ll break every rule there is—and then some.

Don’t mess with this witch. Every rose has thorns.


The Story Line

As I mentioned, I was looking for a steamy romance… hopefully something that leaned toward erotica. To be honest, I thought I’d picked out the wrong book when I started reading Consort of Secrets. The book had a definite young adult feel to it. You see, Rose Hallowell seemed to be completely controlled by her father and step-mother. In fact, the opening scene had her riding in the car with them, heading into the driveway of her old family home… and not because they picked her up from the airport either. Rather, she seemed to be living with them, family style.

Rose’s “boys,” a she called them also had a young feel to them. They climbed trees, talked about getting into trouble with her parents, snuck around, things I’d expect from high schoolers and younger. I found early in the story that Rose and the “boys” were actually 24/25 years old adults.

Rose, I could attribute her immaturity to culture. After all, I didn’t know what the typical witching life was like. The “boys,” not so much. I got the impression they were in the United States or possibly even Canada. Rose talked a lot about Portland, which I assumed was Oregon. That being the case, at least one of them would have behaved like North American boys, right?

If Eva Chase took out the sex completely and just left some light kissing and a bit of high school sexual tension, I think this would have made a decent young adult book. It really had that feel to it, even the story line ran in the direction of young adult. The characters seemed more investigative in a kid detective mischievous kind of way than the way I’d expect adults to uncover oddities.

Overall, I think the story line was okay. It didn’t really fit into to the adult genre (style-wise), in my opinion. On the other hand, the sex excludes it from the young adult genre. I think if the stakes were steeper and it’d been a young adult book, I would have been more receptive of the book and liked it a lot more. My expectations were hot and steamy adult romance and I feel like I got a young adult story line with some sex thrown into the mix.

The Major Players

Let’s talk characters. 🙂

Rose was our heroine. I think I missed the part in the description that it’d be a reverse harem. I thought Rose’s personally worked well with the concept of a reverse harem. I honestly didn’t get the impression she was that invested in the boys. Rather she seemed to be the type of gal who simply wanted the attention of men. After all, she’d been MIA over 10 years without any contact with her boys but wanted to step into her old role. She also seemed to view other witching men as tools to accomplish her purpose. It gave her a bit of a shallow feel. However, I think it worked, particularly if she was leaning toward having a harem of men.

At first, I thought Ky was her leading male. This was before I realized it was a reverse harem. He entered the story first and even had his own chapter early on. It wasn’t until later that I caught on that each of the boys would have their unique role in the story. Of all the guys, Ky seemed the most generic. I found him easy going, with a bit of generosity and practicality. He seemed to set a baseline, where all the other boys deviated.

Seth, Ky’s brother, was the stick in the mud… a naysayer, really. He had a ready counter to anything that was suggested. I think his apprehension and inability to take a step forward really made him miss out in some situations. It gave him a bit of a lackluster feel.

Damon was our resident bad boy. I wanted to like him. I have a thing for underdogs, particularly when they have a story behind their rough edges. In the end, he didn’t draw me the way I’d have liked. I also found him sloppy, careless, and inconsiderate when it came to sex.

My favorite was Jin. He was thoughtful, caring, and selfless, not just in his actions but also his thought patterns. It seemed like Eva Chase left his personality for the last when finally giving detailed introductions of the boys. I think this was an awesome strategy. If she’d given us Jin first, I’d have had a hard time accepting any of the other boys into the picture. Jin’s tender devotion was beautiful.

Favorite Lines

This book wasn’t as witty as some books I’ve read. However, I did pull out a couple of lines I liked.

  • “She didn’t leave her ribbon on the gate because she figured it needed some air.” (The ribbon on the gate was Rose’s way of contacting her boys.
  • Rose by mid-morning sunlight was my favorite Rose. (Like this thought, Jin had a wonderful way of showing his emotions.)

Overall, I’d say this was a middle of the road read. I think it could have used higher stakes and a more adult themed story to match the reverse harem concept. Even so, it kept me engaged enough to want to learn how the storyline panned out. I give Consort of Secrets a solid 3.

*I received a free copy of this book through Netgalley.

Novel Review: Wicked Abyss by Kresley Cole

After reading 3 books in the last 4 day, I’m trying to convince myself to pace myself… to slow down. Then again, I won’t have as much time next week as I do this week, since I’m in a spring break session. 🙂 It’s been almost a full 24 hours sense reading Wicked Abyss. I’ve set reading aside a bit so I can catch up on homework. I’m enrolled in a different college in a different state than I’m teaching. Spring break for college was last week. Spring break for teaching is this week. Go figure. 🙂 I never really got a full break, but having a lighter load definitely has relaxed me. So, about this Wicked Abyss. Again, I didn’t take notes. I didn’t think to do reviews until after I finished this book. Next time around though… for sure. The blurb first.

Wicked Abyss coverThe terrifying king of hell…

As a boy, Abyssian “Sian” Infernas had his heart shattered by a treacherous fey beauty who died before he could exact vengeance. Millennia later, a curse has transformed him into a demonic monster–just as she’s been reincarnated. Sian captures the delicate but bold female, forcing her back to hell.

Meets his match.

Princess Calliope “Lila” Barbot’s people have hated and feared Abyssian and his alliance of monsters for eons. When the beastly demon imprisons her in his mystical castle, vowing revenge for betrayals she can’t remember, Lila makes her own vow: to bring down the wicked beast for good.

Can two adversaries share one happily-ever-after?

As Calliope turns hell inside out, the all-powerful Sian finds himself defenseless against his feelings for her. In turn, Lila reluctantly responds to the beast’s cleverness and gruff vulnerability. But when truths from a far distant past are revealed, can their tenuous bond withstand ages of deceit, a curse, and a looming supernatural war?

____________________

Lila, our heroine was a spunky one. She definitely had spice to her, and I loved it. She could not be cowed. Kresley Cole tends to write such strong lead female characters. I think that’s why I love her books so much… well, that and the men are big teddy bears to their mates, while being hardcore kickass and sexy as hell.. I love that too. Lila fit right in with the other female characters. In fact, I’d say she was more daring then some of the others… and smart. Brains and beauty. I love it. Unlike some of the other female characters, she couldn’t fight (physically) at all. Or at least, I don’t recall her even trying. She used her strengths (knowledge and intelligence) to her advantage.

Our demon boy, Sian was like a lot of Kresley Cole’s other men…. a bit broken in side. Not so much broken, but his self-esteem had been destroyed. However, he was all-powerful in his dominion. Interestingly, he seemed to cater a lot more easily than most of Kresley’s other male leads. He was the biggest pushover ever when it came to Lila, even when it didn’t seem like that to Lila. I’m torn… I’m not sure how well I liked him overall. He wasn’t awful. Rather, he just didn’t stand out as Kapow! in my mind.

The storyline was okay. When I think about it, there didn’t seem to be a lot at stake. This book seemed to build on the Morior… introducing characters and really giving a chance to know the other side. I like getting to know the Morior. However, I think it would be nice to push the story toward the Ascension also. This series has REALLY stalled. Ever since the characters ended up on Torture Island, I don’t feel like this series has really gone anywhere. Love the stories, but I’m eager to see some action that’ll rock the boat.

I’ll give this one a 4 also. The chemistry between the two was great and I’m still in the reading mood. Oh… I feel so me… the way I should be.

The next story in line is Shadows Seduction. However, I’m thinking I might skip it. It’s a M/M romance. I read the sample, and it doesn’t really pique my interest. I’ve read a few M/M romances and they can be hot. I’m not in the mood for now. Maybe another time. It looks like Kresley Cole has been releasing books in the Immortals After Dark series every year about this time. Hopefully she’ll have her next release soon. Fingers crossed!