Publisher: Penguin

Review: The Cursed by Alyssa Day

Posted October 23, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: The Cursed by Alyssa DayReviewer: Holly
The Cursed by Alyssa Day
Narrator: Xe Sands
Series: League of the Black Swan #1
Publisher: Berkley, Self-Published
Publication Date: May 7, 2013
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Fantasy
Pages: 282
Length: 8 hours and 1 minute
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
two-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

New York Times bestselling author of the Warriors of Poseidon series Alyssa Day returns with a thrilling new series of paranormal romance and a heated battle between good and evil fought to the death on the streets of New York…

Bordertown private investigator Luke Oliver’s beat is the dimensional fold in Manhattan between the human and supernatural realms. But now a secret from his past—the League of the Black Swan—has surfaced. Because Luke isn’t any ordinary P.I. He’s the Dark Wizard of Bordertown, and he never backs down from a fight.

But this time the fight threatens his life and his heart. Rio Jones, the only woman he loved, needs his help against a deadly menace. Luke pushed her away once before, so she’d never fall prey to the curse that threatens to destroy him. He swore he’d never let her go again.

Luke and Rio, with the help of the newly reformed League, must keep evil forces from taking over Bordertown—all the while battling a passion on the razor’s edge between danger and desire. And going to take everything they have just to stay alive.

I discovered The Cursed by Alyssa Day while browsing Audible Escape and decided to give it a go. Shortly after I checked the author’s website to see the series had been cancelled by the publisher and no follow up book has been released. The description says this does not end in a cliffhanger, so I continued on with it. While there isn’t technically a cliffhanger, the story is left open and I’d have liked answers to some of the questions left open.

When Rio Jones witnesses a young girl being kidnapped in Bordertown – a place full of magical beings between the Realm and San Francisco – she knows she needs help. She goes to Luke Oliver, the Dark Wizard of Bordertown. The PI is sexy as sin, but has made it clear he isn’t interested. She doesn’t want to go to him, but she knows he’s the only man who can help. Luke turned Rio down for her own good, but he knows he isn’t strong enough to walk away from her twice. When she requests his help, he knows he’ll do anything he can to keep her safe – and to keep her around.

The world was interesting and the early chapters really pulled me in. I enjoyed Rio and Luke, both, as well as the secondary characters. As the story wore on, I became more and more frustrated with the way Rio and Luke both put their heads in the sand and refused to deal with all the questions concerning Rio’s past. Everyone but her seemed to know who she was and what was coming, but rather than follow up they both just sort of ignored everything. Plus, the way things were glossed over about Luke’s “curse” and how quick both of them were to storm off in a huff was annoying.

I really liked certain aspects of the book, and I would have read another had it been available, but overall this was a pretty underwhelming listen.

Rating: 2.75 out of 5

League of the Black Swan

two-half-stars


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Review: Archangel’s War by Nalini Singh

Posted October 10, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Archangel’s War by Nalini SinghReviewer: Holly
Archangel's War by Nalini Singh
Series: Guild Hunter #12
Also in this series: Archangel's Kiss, Archangel's Kiss, Archangel's Consort, Archangel's Blade, Archangel's Consort, Archangel's Storm, Archangel's Storm (Guild Hunter #5), Archangel's Legion, Archangel's Legion (Guild Hunter #6), Archangel's Shadows, Archangel's Shadows, Archangel's Enigma (Guild Hunter, #8), Angels' Blood (Guild Hunter #1), Archangel's Heart, Archangel's Heart, Archangel's Heart (Guild Hunter, #9), Archangel's Kiss, Angels' Blood, Archangel's Viper (Guild Hunter, #10), Archangel's Viper, Archangel's Prophecy, Archangel's Consort (Guild Hunter, #3), Archangel's Prophecy, Archangel's War
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: September 24, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 400
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Wings of silver. Wings of blue. Mortal heart. Broken dreams. Shatter. Shatter. Shatter. A sundering. A grave. I see the end. I see. . .

The world is in chaos as the power surge of the Cascade rises to a devastating crescendo. In furiously resisting its attempts to turn Elena into a vessel for Raphael’s power, Elena and her archangel are irrevocably changed. . .far beyond the prophecy of a cursed Ancient.

At the same time, violent and eerie events around the world threaten to wipe out entire populations. And in the Archangel Lijuan’s former territory, an unnatural fog weaves through the land, leaving only a bone-chilling silence in its wake. Soon it becomes clear that even the archangels are not immune to this deadly evil. This time, even the combined power of the Cadre may not be enough. . .

This war could end them all.

Archangel’s War picks up shortly after the events of Archangel’s Prophecy leave off. Like everyone else, I was dying to know what became of Elena and Raphael after the quasi-cliffhanger of the previous book.

It’s difficult to review this book with no spoilers. I’ll attempt to avoid them, but be warned that spoilers from previous books are unavoidable.

When we last left Elena and Raphael, they were cocooned in a chrysalis made of pure golden energy. In an effort to save Elena from certain death, Raphael took his immortal heart and gave it to Elena, while taking hers for his own chest. When Archangel’s War begins, they’ve been in the chrysalis for 9 months. Dmitri has been holding Raphael’s territory with the help of troops from Caliane, Raphael’s mother, and the Archangel Elijah, Raphael’s closest ally. The world is holding its breath, waiting to see what the Cascade will bring next. When Raphael and Elena finally emerge from the cocoon, it’s an explosive moment – literally. They blow a giant crater in the Earth. It’s too soon, Elena isn’t ready to be awake, but the world needs them now more than ever as War looms on the horizon…

The question of who and what Elena will be when she emerges from the cocoon is well answered here. She’s the same, yet not. Her bond with Raphael is as strong as ever, and her connections to his Seven and her friends and family are still tight. I loved the early parts of the novel where she reconnected with them. Even her strained relationship with her father is revisited.

The majority of the book is focused on the Archangels’s War. As battle rages on, loyalties are tested and the very fate of the world hangs in the balance. I enjoyed the battle and felt it was as epic as one would expect from Archangels, but it did drag on a bit. I struggled to stay focused during a portion of it, but Singh eventually pulled me back in again. I loved seeing Raphael and his allies stand together against an ancient evil, and I was very satisfied with the way things ended (though it did feel a bit anticlimactic).

I can’t wait to see what happens now. I’m anxious for the next book, and thrilled we’ll get at least 3 more.

This novel is full of action, intrigue and underlying it all, a love so strong nothing can break it. Archangel’s War was everything I needed it to be. Oh, and the Legion? <3 <3 <3

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

Guild Hunter Series

four-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Hidden Currents by Christine Feehan

Posted September 26, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 4 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Hidden Currents by Christine FeehanReviewer: Casee
Hidden Currents by Christine Feehan
Series: Drake Sisters #7
Also in this series: Turbulent Sea, Hidden Currents, Magic in the Wind, The Twilight Before Christmas, Oceans of Fire, Dangerous Tides, Safe Harbor, Turbulent Sea, Hidden Currents
Publisher: Jove
Publication Date: June 30, 2009
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 441
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
five-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

From afar, Sheriff Jackson Deveau has always loved Elle Drake, the youngest telepath of seven sisters. After a long time away she’s finally returning home to the small coastal village of Sea Haven. But someone has been following Elle, someone who doesn’t want her to make it back. And when Elle fails to arrive, her disappearance strikes fear in the hearts of everyone who loves her. Now it’s left to Jackson to uncover the mystery of Elle’s vanishing, and rescue her from an unseen danger. But Sea Haven is no longer safe for anyone, and it’ll take the powers of all the Drake sisters and their men to survive the coming storm.

*** Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy! ***

This review was originally posted on June 6, 2009.

This is the book that I’ve really been looking forward to the last few years. In the last two books, Elle Drake became even more enigmatic that she was in the first four books. The connection that she has with Jackson Deveau also becomes more perplexing and left me wanting their story, like, now. Not to say that Elle’s character hasn’t been interesting from the beginning. She always has been. As the seventh daughter of the seventh daughter, her legacy is to carry on the Drake line with seven daughters of her own. That is no little thing to have hanging over you your whole life.

Elle has stayed away from Sea Haven, but knows that she’s eventually have to return and face her destiny as the seventh daughter of the seventh daughter. What is expected of her has always weighed heavily on her shoulders, but no more than it does when she realizes that Jackson is “The One” for her. Jackson is everything she doesn’t want in a mate. An overbearing, arrogant, alpha male that she feels wants her to be someone she’s not.

Since the moment Jackson first heard her voice when he was being held prisoner by terrorists, he knew she was the one that could pull him out of the darkness. He travels to Sea Haven at the request of his friend, Jonas Harrington, knowing that Elle lives there. When he finally comes face-to-face with her, he is poleaxed. At the same time, he’s deathly afraid of what is now expected of him. Over the years, he does his best to protect her, but Elle is nothing if not stubborn.

Elle has always been confident of her ability to take care of herself. When she finds herself in serious trouble, she reaches out to the person she knows will be there; Jackson. Her hope for help is short lived. The man that Elle has been tracking for an undercover assignment has taken an unnatural interest in her. He takes her to his island, against her will. What she endures over the following weeks is almost too much to bear. Not only that, but all the gifts she’s had her whole life are unavailable to her. The only thing that is keeping her alive is Jackson’s voice whispering in her head.

Jackson is frantic when Elle is taken. He goes crazy when he finally psychically locates Elle and realizes what is being done to her. I have to say, that I was almost shocked at the depth of the torture that Elle went through. I think Christine Feehan really pushed the envelope with this one. It was definitely unexpected, but it really worked.

When Jackson finally finds Elle and takes her home, Elle knows that Stavros won’t let her go as easily as that. After years of independence, Elle is now so dependent on Jackson that she barely recognizes herself. She refuses to let her sisters come to her, for fear that they will sense what she went through; what she feels she let happen.

I believe that Christine Feehan did a credible job of writing of Elle’s recovery. When Holly and I discussed this, she said that it seemed like Elle recovered almost too fast. I didn’t see it that way. These are the Drake’s after all and they have an amazing way of coming to the aid of the sister in need. Not only that, but Jackson is almost feral in his desire to protect Elle. I think Jackson, even more than any of her sisters helped her on the road to recovery; the road to rediscovering her trust and confidence in herself.

The obsession that Stavros has for Elle is most definitely unnatural. Psychic himself, he is confident that he will find the woman he knew as Sheena. Stavros is one crazy mo-fo, that’s for sure. It takes all seven sisters and their husbands/finances to take this crazy bastard down. I loved how the book ended. It was somehow perfect. The only thing I didn’t really like was that instead of finishing the series on a good note, CF left it open to continue. Or continue on into another new series.

That aside, I still have to give this a…

4.75 out of 5.

Drake Sisters

five-stars


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Review: Archangel’s War by Nalini Singh

Posted September 23, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Archangel’s War by Nalini SinghReviewer: Casee
Archangel's War by Nalini Singh
Series: Guild Hunter #12
Also in this series: Archangel's Kiss, Archangel's Kiss, Archangel's Consort, Archangel's Blade, Archangel's Consort, Archangel's Storm, Archangel's Storm (Guild Hunter #5), Archangel's Legion, Archangel's Legion (Guild Hunter #6), Archangel's Shadows, Archangel's Shadows, Archangel's Enigma (Guild Hunter, #8), Angels' Blood (Guild Hunter #1), Archangel's Heart, Archangel's Heart, Archangel's Heart (Guild Hunter, #9), Archangel's Kiss, Angels' Blood, Archangel's Viper (Guild Hunter, #10), Archangel's Viper, Archangel's Prophecy, Archangel's Consort (Guild Hunter, #3), Archangel's Prophecy, Archangel's War
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: September 24, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 400
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
five-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Wings of silver. Wings of blue. Mortal heart. Broken dreams. Shatter. Shatter. Shatter. A sundering. A grave. I see the end. I see. . .

The world is in chaos as the power surge of the Cascade rises to a devastating crescendo. In furiously resisting its attempts to turn Elena into a vessel for Raphael’s power, Elena and her archangel are irrevocably changed. . .far beyond the prophecy of a cursed Ancient.

At the same time, violent and eerie events around the world threaten to wipe out entire populations. And in the Archangel Lijuan’s former territory, an unnatural fog weaves through the land, leaving only a bone-chilling silence in its wake. Soon it becomes clear that even the archangels are not immune to this deadly evil. This time, even the combined power of the Cadre may not be enough. . .

This war could end them all.

This book is everything. Everything I love about the Guild Hunter series. Everything I love about Raphael and Elena. Everything. It had me on the edge of my seat, biting my nails, sighing, tearing up, smiling. I went from one emotion to another in the blink of an eye. That is Nalini’s superpower. She pulls you in and doesn’t spit you out until the last page. Maybe not even then.

Spoilers from the series will be abundant in this review, though I will try to keep spoilers from this book to a minimum.

Archangel’s Prophecy ended on a cliffhanger. A cliffhanger for real. I almost divorced Nalini for that. Okay, that would never happen, but still. A cliffhanger like that? The last year has been hard, not knowing if Raphael and Elena would come out of the chrysalis alive, if Elena would be herself, the possibilities were endless with the Cascade working to do a hard reset on the world.

The Cascade is organic. It is always changing. It has been around before now and it will be around again (assuming everyone survives). The Cascade has made it clear that Elena is to be sacrificed. It is clear she is to be an instrument to be used to manipulate Raphael. The love that Raphael and Elena have for each other and the strength of their bond can’t be manipulated. It is put to the test to be sure, but nothing can tear these two apart.

Elena went into the chrysalis with her wings cut off by Raphael himself. They both knew that it was unavoidable. They both could only hold onto hope that her wings would grow back. When they do emerge from the chrysalis, View Spoiler ».

While they were in the chrysalis, Dmitri has been holding New York together with the help of Archangel’s Caliane and Elijah. Raphael emerges at just the right time; vampires are starting to run rampant in the city without their Archangel to remind them who’s da boss. One thing I adored about this book was that it showed the bond that Raphael had with his Seven. It’s always been there, yes. We’ve always been able to see and feel it. This book just showed it a little more. It will get to you more than it has before. If it doesn’t, I worry about you.

The showdown between Raphael and Lijuan finally arrives and holy hell, Nalini does it justice. The battle is long and bloody and fucking awesome. I loved how real she made it. It was phenomenal. It just did their feud justice. This book, the title, the cover? Everything is so well done that I can hardly find anything wrong with it. Except View Spoiler ». That almost made me cry. I’ve come to expect this when reading Nalini’s books. I get all the feels.

I know this review was all over the place. I’m okay with that. I felt the exact same way while reading this book. You’re welcome.

Rating: 4.75 out of 5.

Guild Hunter Series

five-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: Archangel’s War by Nalini Singh

Posted September 22, 2019 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 5 Comments

Sunday Spotlight: Archangel’s War by Nalini SinghArchangel's War by Nalini Singh
Series: Guild Hunter #12
Also in this series: Archangel's Kiss, Archangel's Kiss, Archangel's Consort, Archangel's Blade, Archangel's Consort, Archangel's Storm, Archangel's Storm (Guild Hunter #5), Archangel's Legion, Archangel's Legion (Guild Hunter #6), Archangel's Shadows, Archangel's Shadows, Archangel's Enigma (Guild Hunter, #8), Angels' Blood (Guild Hunter #1), Archangel's Heart, Archangel's Heart, Archangel's Heart (Guild Hunter, #9), Archangel's Kiss, Angels' Blood, Archangel's Viper (Guild Hunter, #10), Archangel's Viper, Archangel's Prophecy, Archangel's Consort (Guild Hunter, #3), Archangel's Prophecy, Archangel's War, Archangel's War
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: September 24, 2019
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 400
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

Wings of silver. Wings of blue. Mortal heart. Broken dreams. Shatter. Shatter. Shatter. A sundering. A grave. I see the end. I see. . .

The world is in chaos as the power surge of the Cascade rises to a devastating crescendo. In furiously resisting its attempts to turn Elena into a vessel for Raphael’s power, Elena and her archangel are irrevocably changed. . .far beyond the prophecy of a cursed Ancient.

At the same time, violent and eerie events around the world threaten to wipe out entire populations. And in the Archangel Lijuan’s former territory, an unnatural fog weaves through the land, leaving only a bone-chilling silence in its wake. Soon it becomes clear that even the archangels are not immune to this deadly evil. This time, even the combined power of the Cadre may not be enough. . .

This war could end them all.

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

After Archangel’s Prophecy left us hanging, we’ve all been dying to read Archangel’s War. Soon, my pretties. Soon. In the meantime, here’s a little snippet for your enjoyment.

Sunday Spotlight: Archangel’s War by Nalini SinghArchangel's War by Nalini Singh
Series: Guild Hunter #12
Also in this series: Archangel's Kiss, Archangel's Kiss, Archangel's Consort, Archangel's Blade, Archangel's Consort, Archangel's Storm, Archangel's Storm (Guild Hunter #5), Archangel's Legion, Archangel's Legion (Guild Hunter #6), Archangel's Shadows, Archangel's Shadows, Archangel's Enigma (Guild Hunter, #8), Angels' Blood (Guild Hunter #1), Archangel's Heart, Archangel's Heart, Archangel's Heart (Guild Hunter, #9), Archangel's Kiss, Angels' Blood, Archangel's Viper (Guild Hunter, #10), Archangel's Viper, Archangel's Prophecy, Archangel's Consort (Guild Hunter, #3), Archangel's Prophecy, Archangel's War, Archangel's War
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: September 24, 2019
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 400
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

Wings of silver. Wings of blue. Mortal heart. Broken dreams. Shatter. Shatter. Shatter. A sundering. A grave. I see the end. I see. . .

The world is in chaos as the power surge of the Cascade rises to a devastating crescendo. In furiously resisting its attempts to turn Elena into a vessel for Raphael’s power, Elena and her archangel are irrevocably changed. . .far beyond the prophecy of a cursed Ancient.

At the same time, violent and eerie events around the world threaten to wipe out entire populations. And in the Archangel Lijuan’s former territory, an unnatural fog weaves through the land, leaving only a bone-chilling silence in its wake. Soon it becomes clear that even the archangels are not immune to this deadly evil. This time, even the combined power of the Cadre may not be enough. . .

This war could end them all.

Exclusive Excerpt

Exclusive Excerpt #2 from Archangel’s War by Nalini Singh

It had taken Montgomery a year. He’d asked if he could go to Neha’s court, to Titus’s, to Uram’s, to Lijuan’s, so he could see examples of an archangelic home and Raphael had sent him off with suave and sophisticated Trace as a guide.

Montgomery had come back with painstakingly knotted silk carpets from India, wall hangings from Africa, a hand-carved settee from the hinterland of Uram’s territory, artisan-painted screens from China.

He’d also returned with a statuette he’d found “abandoned” in Neha’s court.

It had taken Raphael two decades to realize that Montgomery had “rescued” the item because it wasn’t being appreciated. By then, the vampire was running his home with elegant efficiency and his tendency to rescue items now and then was a small peccadillo. Raphael quietly returned what needed to be returned, and Montgomery continued to ensure his house was a stunning showpiece in the formal areas—and a welcoming haven elsewise.

Emerging into the sunshine on that thought, he told both Illium and the Primary to clear the skies and to ensure no one had returned to nearby homes since their earlier evacuation. “I do not foresee a second explosion but let us not take any chances.”

Only once the two confirmed the area remained devoid of unauthorized life did Raphael drop back down into the chasm. Halting a quarter of the way up from the bottom, he began to surgically target the walls with his power. What emerged from his hands was a melding of vivid blue and lightning-shot gold.
The archangel he had been and the archangel he was becoming.

He had to recalculate after the first hit did more damage than good; his power was violently strong, more so than prior to the chrysalis. It took him three strikes to gain an accurate gauge of what was needed. The chasm began to crumple inward with slow grace below him as he flew up, continuing to weaken the walls as he went.

This time when he shot out into the fall sunshine, it was to turn and see the scar in the earth collapsing behind him. The rumble of sound was huge and dull, and it seemed that the soil moved in slow motion. But dust soon puffed into the air, the rumble ceasing as the earth settled. Loosened by his strikes, much of the compacted soil had released itself back into the chasm, but a significant dent remained.

© Copyright 2019 by Nalini Singh

Guild Hunter Series

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: September 2019

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About Nalini Singh

I've been writing as long as I can remember and all of my stories always held a thread of romance (even when I was writing about a prince who could shoot lasers out of his eyes). I love creating unique characters, love giving them happy endings and I even love the voices in my head. There's no other job I would rather be doing. In September 2002, when I got the call that Silhouette Desire wanted to buy my first book, Desert Warrior, it was a dream come true. I hope to continue living the dream until I keel over of old age on my keyboard.

I was born in Fiji and raised in New Zealand. I also spent three years living and working in Japan, during which time I took the chance to travel around Asia. I’m back in New Zealand now, but I’m always plotting new trips. If you’d like to see some of my travel snapshots, have a look at the Travel Diary page (updated every month).

So far, I've worked as a lawyer, a librarian, a candy factory general hand, a bank temp and an English teacher and not necessarily in that order. Some might call that inconsistency but I call it grist for the writer's mill.


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