Friday, 30 November 2012

Review: Trapped by Kevin Hearne ★★★

Trapped by Kevin Hearne
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Iron Druid Chronicles #5
Publication Date: November 27, 2012
ISBN: 978-0356501970
Page Count: 368
Rating: ★★★
Review Copy: ARC
Reviewed by: Lynsey

 

Synopsis: After twelve years of secret training, Atticus O’Sullivan is finally ready to bind his apprentice, Granuaile, to the earth and double the number of Druids in the world. But on the eve of the ritual, the world that thought he was dead abruptly discovers that he’s still alive, and they would much rather he return to the grave.

Having no other choice, Atticus, his trusted Irish wolfhound, Oberon, and Granuaile travel to the base of Mount Olympus, where the Roman god Bacchus is anxious to take his sworn revenge—but he’ll have to get in line behind an ancient vampire, a band of dark elves, and an old god of mischief, who all seem to have KILL THE DRUID at the top of their to-do lists.

Review:

12 years later...

I love the cover for this; it's so nice to see Granuaile on there. And it was great to be back with the trio again (adding in Oberon, of course) but I have to say this was probably my least favourite book in the Iron Druid Chronicles so far.

I don't know if maybe it was me not paying close enough attention or if it was just a bit all over the place, but I spent much of the book a bit lost and confused, if I'm honest. Just sort of letting the words wash over me rather than fully comprehending them. And whereas I usually like Hearne's little sojourns off into different mythology stories, this time they felt more self-indulgent and a bit teacher/student-y... if that even makes any sense. I felt like I was being taught mythology rather than living it through the characters. Still incomprehensible? Oh well, I tried.

I'm also somewhat confused about Granuaile and Atticus. At one particular point I'm not sure if I was meant to read something between the lines, or...what. And that's annoying because that's what I was hoping for most of all—development between those two. I mean, it's been twelve freakin' years, people!

Anyway, the plot follows Atticus, Granuaile and Oberon as they try to find a safe a quiet and place to bind Granuaile to the earth as a new Druid. The ceremony will take three months to complete (it involves extensive tattooing), so it's important to find somewhere they won't be interrupted. Easier said than done as people seem to have cottoned on to the fact that neither of them are, in fact, dead as they led everyone to believe, which is something a few people would like to swiftly rectify.

I was nice to see Granuaile's badassery on display. She's going to make an awesome druid— she's had an awesome teacher, after all— I just still wanted more in terms of character relationship development. I've been saying this same thing since book one and now at book five I'd really got my hopes up that it might happen, but was ultimately left unsatisfied again. So that may well be another reason I'm slightly underwhelmed by this instalment.

But, hey, it's got Oberon. The only mind-speaking druid ninja dog in existence. So what more do you want?
3 Stars ★★★
ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Reviewed by:

Review: On Demon Wings by Karina Halle ★★★★★

On Demon Wings by Karina Halle
Genre: Horror/Romance
Series: Experiment In Terror #5
Publication Date: 2012
ISBN: 9781475079371
Page Count: 454
Rating: ★★★★★
Review Copy: Own Purchase
Reviewed by: Lynsey



Synopsis: When the life you wanted has crumbled beneath your fingers, there’s nothing left to do but pick up the pieces and soldier on. You’ve done this before.

But what happens when you no longer feel like yourself anymore? When fires spontaneously start-up around you, when you hear growling coming from underneath your bed, and you no longer recognize your face in the mirror. What happens then?

Ghost-hunter Perry Palomino doesn’t have much time to find out. Now, the evil she used to hunt is a lot closer to home. It’s inside of her, taking over her life bit-by-terrifying bit, and there’s only one person who can help her.

If part of her doesn’t kill him first.
Review:

This book was like an endurance test - in the nicest possible way.

This is really going to put my no spoilers policy to the test because there's a certain thing you're waiting to happen in this book, and anyone who's read it will know exactly what that something is, and so you find yourself racing towards that point (if such a point even exists;)), and I wouldn't blame you for doing that too. But I think it's worth actually slowing down a little and just examining the rest of what's going on. The changes in Perry that are in evidence for starters, and the development—for better or worse—of other returning characters. They're quite significant.

There are certain events in life that are powerful enough to actually affect your personality and change your character to a degree, whether temporarily or permanently. Having undergone just such a shocking change, Perry is in a...weird head space. I don't want to say she's in a "dark place" because she's actually trying really hard not to be dark. She's silently berating and encouraging herself to be positive, get out there, meet new people, and absolutely, positively NO DWELLING under any circumstances! But it's so hard.

It's also hard to be around people that don't understand. Her parents, for example, have never made a secret of the fact that they don't believe her about the whole ghost thing or that they think her show is a bunch of bull****. But someone who's always been on Team Perry (even if it took her a while to realise it) is her kid sister, Ada. I've liked Ada in the past books but my high opinion of her grew exponentially in this one. She's supportive but not coddling, and at times it felt like a role reversal—who's the 25-year old and who's the 23-year old? She just rocks.

Even with all this going on, though, it's not long before people start to realise Perry is acting strange above and beyond what might be expected under the circumstances. Giving us, and them, even more reason to keep a close eye on her. Some of the changes just might not be as natural as they seem...

I'm so looking forward to being able to read the Dex Files after this! It's meant to be read between books 5 and 6. I can't wait to see his take on, well, everything!

5 Stars ★★★★★


Reviewed by:


Review: Lying Season by Karina Halle ★★★★★

Lying Season by Karina Halle
Genre: Horror/Romance
Series: Experiment In Terror #4
Publication Date: 2011
ISBN: 978-1467948258 
Page Count: 348
Rating: ★★★★★
Review Copy: Own Purchase
Reviewed by: Lynsey



Synopsis: Ama­teur ghost-hunter Perry Palomino has bat­tled ghosts, fought off skin­walk­ers and skirted the fine line between life and death. But can she sur­vive bunk­ing down in Seat­tle for a week with her partner (and man she secretly loves) Dex and his perfect girl­friend, Jennifer? And can she do so while being tor­mented by a mali­cious spirit from Dex’s increas­ingly shady past? With love and life in the bal­ance, Perry must dis­cover the truth among the lies or risk los­ing every­thing she's ever cared about.
Review:

Another fabulous tale from Karina Halle.

My first thoughts upon reading the synopsis for this one were "Oh. Dear. You are kidding me, right?"

I mean, we've heard about Dex's girlfriend Jenn a few times in the first three books. We've heard how hot she is and how much everyone lusts after her blah blah blah, including Dex (gag). But that was kind of okay because it was only talk; she wasn't right there in the picture. She was removed, vague, indistinct, abstract...

Then comes this book, and suddenly shit just got a whole lot more real. And a lot more painful!

I don't know about you, but when I read I really, really get absorbed in my books; especially ones as well-written and evocative as these. I live vicariously through the characters, I identify with them, empathise and in some cases, I am that character. I particularly connect well to Perry because I share some of her insecurities. And I can tell you that because of that, this book seriously hurt my feelings. I mean, it literally HURT.  I could feel my chest squeezing in jealousy and anguish and I had to blink hard more than once. So in that respect, it was not a 'fun' read, and yet there were other moments of it that I wouldn't swap for the world. I was such a wreck afterwards as well; it really took me a while to process everything. In fact, my husband kept stumbling upon me in a trance-like state after I'd finished and he'd be all "what is up with you today?" And I'd be like "Wha? Um, uh, book, thing, Dex, why did he, I don't...uh...."

So it could only be a five star read after that, lol.

It's impossible to say more without getting into spoiler territory, but just make sure you have a couple of days free of interruptions when you start this one because you will not want to put it down!

As for the rest of it, Perry and Dex are in Seattle to investigate an alleged haunting at a Mental Institute. There were some great spooky scenes as you'll have come to expect by now. There were also some really nice new secondary characters introduced in the form of Dex (and Jenn's) friends. I really liked them and can't wait to see them again, hopefully.

And lastly, my final top tip would be to have the next book to hand for when you finish this one. It's not a cliffhanger, but I defy anyone not to want to know what happens next RIGHT FREAKING NOW!

5 Stars ★★★★★

Reviewed by:

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Feature: Dazzling December!

New Releases for December 2012

Here are just a few of the books to look forward to in December. Click the series titles for more information via Goodreads.

Saturday, December 01, 2012


Nameless (Tales of Beauty & Madness, #1)
When Camille was six years old, she was discovered alone in the snow by Enrico Vultusino, godfather of the Seven—the powerful Families that rule magic-ridden New Haven. Papa Vultusino adopted the mute, scarred child, naming her after his dead wife and raising her in luxury on Haven Hill alongside his own son, Nico.

Now Cami is turning sixteen. She’s no longer mute, though she keeps her faded scars hidden under her school uniform, and though she opens up only to her two best friends, Ruby and Ellie, and to Nico, who has become more than a brother to her. But even though Cami is a pampered Vultusino heiress, she knows that she is not really Family. Unlike them, she is a mortal with a past that lies buried in trauma. And it’s not until she meets the mysterious Tor, who reveals scars of his own, that Cami begins to uncover the secrets of her birth…to find out where she comes from and why her past is threatening her now.

New York Times bestselling author Lili St. Crow thrilled legions of fans with her dark paranormal series Strange Angels. Now she has crafted an evocative update of Snow White, set in a vividly imagined world and populated by unforgettable new characters.


Wed to a Highland Warrior (The Warrior King #4) by Donna Fletcher
Wed to a Highland Warrior (The Warrior King, #4)
The fourth and final book in the Warrior King series, set in the thrilling Scottish Highlands, continues the story of four brave men destined to return the legendary king of Scotland to his throne

Trey MacAlpin knows they're close to the moment when the true king will finally be able to reveal himself. Until them, it is imperative that he and his brothers stick to their mission--a task that would be much easier if his three brothers hadn't lost their heads and fallen in love! Trey thought he was safe from that trap--until he finds himself accidentally married to Bliss, a woman whose power isn't only over his heart.

Bliss knows she has a duty to her people to use her power to warn them of danger. But if this power keeps bringing her into contact with handsome Highland warriors, it must mean something. Her visions didn't show her that she would end up married to one of them! Trey MacAlpin is everything she would want in a mate, but his duty to his clan clashes with hers. Can they find a way to bring their two lives together--or will forces from beyond this world finally manage to break them apart?
The Damnation Affair (Bannon & Clare, #1.5)
The West is a wild place, where the poison wind blows and the dead walk. But there is gold, and whiskey, and enough room for a man to forget what he once was--until he can no longer can.

Jack Gabriel's been the sheriff in Damnation almost since the town grew out of the dust and the mud. He keeps the peace--sort of--and rides the circuit every dawn and dusk with the chartermage, making sure the wilderness doesn't seep into their fragile attempt at civilization. Away from the cities clinging to the New World's eastern rim, he doesn't remember what he was. At least, he tries not to. Good enough.

But Damnation is growing, and along comes a schoolmarm. Catherine Barrowe is a right proper Boston miss, and it's a mystery why she would choose this town where everything scandalous and dangerous is probably too much for a quality lady like her. Sometimes the sheriff wonders why she came out West--because everyone who does is running from something. He doesn't realize Cat may be prickly, delicate, and proper, but she is also determined. She's in Damnation to find her wayward older brother Robbie, whose letters were full of dark hints about gold, trouble...and something about a claim.

In a West where charm and charter live alongside clockwork and cold steel, where hot lead kills your enemy but it takes a blessing to make his corpse stay down, Cat will keep digging until she finds her brother. If Jack knew what she was after, he could solve the mystery--because he was the one who killed Robbie.

The thing is, Cat's brother just won't stay dead, and the undead are rising with him...
Tuesday, December 04, 2012
Alien vs. Alien (Katherine "Kitty" Katt, #6)
Jeff and Kitty Katt-Martini and the rest of the American Centaurion Diplomatic Corps are still recovering from their introduction to Washington D.C. politics, parties, and conspiracies. So when compromising pictures arrive, no one’s too surprised. They’re also the least of anyone’s worries.

Evil androids running amok, birds of all kinds and from all places creating havoc, a Senator trapped in an ever-tightening web of intrigue, and escalating international tensions all seem tough but manageable. But the disappearance of Jeff Martini and Charles Reynolds during the International One World Festival signals more than the usual nastiness — and it looks like even ACE can’t help them.

Then new trouble arrives in old packages and even with the best hackers in the world, beings from near and far, the full might of Earth’s military, and the Wonder Twins on their side, Centaurion Division’s outmanned and outgunned.

Now Kitty’s racing against the clock to find not only Jeff and Chuckie, but to keep the peace between Middle Eastern countries, all while searching for the bases of super-soldier operations — to stop them or die trying.
Edge of Sanity
Brace yourself for cutting-edge suspense in the scorching third novel of Shannon K. Butcher’s new action-romance series...

“I NEED TO KNOW IF ANYONE WAS KILLED LAST NIGHT.”

In his years working for the private security firm The Edge, Clay Marshall has seen it all. But the recent blackouts he's been having are new. So is waking up with blood on his hands and clothes, with no memory of where the blood came from—or who he might have killed. He hates to admit it, but he needs help.

Dr. Leigh Vaughn has treated other Edge employees before, but from the moment she sees him for the first time, Clay strikes her as a special breed of man. She knows he’s dangerous, and distrustful of doctors, but she finds herself drawn to him even as his own steely exterior gives way to his growing desire for her.

Neither knows, however, that Clay is being used as a pawn in a larger experiment, and that his blackouts are only the first step toward a terrifying goal. And both Leigh and Clay will put themselves in harm’s way to stop an unseen enemy—and to save one another.

Knight Awakened (Circle of Seven, #1) 

In AD 1331, warlord Vladimir Barbu seizes control of Transylvania. But in spite of his bloody triumph, his claim to the throne remains out of reach. The king of Hungary opposes his rule, the Transylvanian people despise his brutal ways, and the high priestess needed to crown him has vanished without a trace. But Barbu hasn’t come this far only to be thwarted by a woman. He unleashes his best hunters to track her down and bring her to him—dead or alive.

For Xavian Ramir, killing is the only life he has ever known. Torn from his family when he was a child, he was trained from an early age to be an elite assassin. But now he longs for something more, vowing to start anew after one last job. The bounty on his target’s head is enough to set him up for good—if he can resist the long-dead conscience that stirs to life when he meets his beautiful mark.

Afina Lazar never wanted to become high priestess, but the brutal murders of her beloved mother and sister leave her no choice. Now she is running for her life, desperate to protect the magical amulet entrusted to her care. But when Barbu’s assassin comes for her, she realizes her only chance of stopping the warlord’s rise to power is to convince this enigmatic—and handsome—hunter that she is more valuable alive than dead.

Dramatic and fast-paced, Knight Awakened is a stirring love story between two people searching for a second chance in a magical world of assassins, warlords, unearthly beasts, and nonstop adventure.

Guardians of Stone (The Relic Seekers, #1) by Anita Clenney
Guardians of Stone (The Relic Seekers, #1)
Kendall Morgan is a human bloodhound. Spending her childhood hunting relics with her ambitious archeologist father, she knew the two of them shared a sixth sense for the history and location of objects—sometimes even people. What she didn’t know was that their paranormal gift could ultimately be their undoing.

After the tragic plane crash that killed her father as well as her childhood best friend, Kendall dedicated her life to finding and protecting relics. When mysterious, sexy billionaire Nathan Larraby hires her for his latest expedition—the search for four powerful relics —she’s thrown into a world of high-octane danger. He sends brooding mercenary Jake Stone to watch Kendall’s back, but he may have created danger of a different kind.

As the team chases down clues, a man called the Reaper makes a play for the artifacts and will stop at nothing to put them to his own sinister use. What’s worse is that Nathan hasn’t told the whole story, and the dark secrets he’s keeping could cost them the mission…and their lives.

Deliver Me from Temptation (Paladin Warriors #2) by Tes Hilaire
Deliver Me from Temptation 
Logan Calhoun is the last full-blooded Paladin, the future leader of a race of immortal warrior angels. The heavy responsibility of continuing the Paladin line falls to him, and the last thing he should do is get involved with a human. Then fate throws Jessica Waters, a homicide detective who doesn't believe in fate or divine intervention, into his path. Her devotion lies in her Glock and a good set of handcuffs. Like Logan, she's a warrior for her people, and she awakens within him something he'd never thought he'd feel. But she's also as human as they come...








Radiant (Unearthly, #2.5)From New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Hand comes a riveting original novella (available only as an ebook) set in the world of the Unearthly series.

Clara is desperate to get away—from the memories that haunt her in Wyoming and the visions of a future she isn't ready to face—and spending the summer in Italy with her best friend, Angela, should be the perfect escape. . . .

For as long as she can remember, Angela has been told that love is dangerous, that she must always guard her heart. But when she met a mysterious guy in Italy two years ago she was determined to be with him, no matter the costs. Now she must decide whether she can trust Clara with her secret, or if telling her the truth will risk everything she cares about.

Alternating between Angela and Clara's perspectives, Radiant chronicles the unforgettable summer that will test the bounds of their friendship and change their lives forever.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms, #1)
In a land where magic has been forgotten but peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest is simmering. Three kingdoms grapple for power—brutally transforming their subjects’ lives in the process. Amidst betrayals, bargains, and battles, four young people find their fates forever intertwined:

Cleo: A princess raised in luxury must embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of a magic long thought extinct.

Jonas: Enraged at injustice, a rebel lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country impoverished—and finds himself the leader of a people’s revolution centuries in the making.

Lucia: A girl adopted at birth into a royal family discovers the truth about her past—and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield.

Magnus: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, a firstborn son begins to realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword...

The only outcome that’s certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?
Foretold (The Demon Trappers, #4)
In the fourth Demon Trappers novel, Riley faces the final battle for humanity and Beck's heart—and Hell is the least of her problems
Now that Riley’s managed to (just barely) fend off Armageddon, everything’s changed. Well . . . most things. After their passionate kiss before the big battle in the cemetery, Beck is back to treating her like a little girl, as if nothing ever happened. While she’d love to just tell him off and move on, Riley vowed to take care of Beck the way he’s taken care of her since her father’s death—but she’s about to get a whole lot more than she bargained for. When she’s commissioned to go with Beck to his hometown and help him care for his dying mother, they stumble too close to a dark and murderous secret, one that Beck fears will drive Riley away from him forever. As chaos breaks loose, Riley may be Beck's only hope for redemption . . . and survival.

Meanwhile, up in Atlanta, it’s quickly becoming clear that Heaven may have won a battle, but the war is far from over. Riley and Beck face a stormy future, as Lucifer's ex-right-hand-man, Sartael, proves himself to be more resilient than anyone thought. He has Atlanta in his grip and is about to begin a brutal war with the prince of Hell. As the seconds tick down toward a final confrontation, it's up to Riley and the man she loves to finally defeat their old enemy, or lose everything they've fought for.
Opal (Lux, #3)
No one is like Daemon Black.

When he set out to prove his feelings for me, he wasn’t fooling around. Doubting him isn’t something I’ll do again, and now that we’ve made it through the rough patches, well... There’s a lot of spontaneous combustion going on.

But even he can’t protect his family from the danger of trying to free those they love.

After everything, I’m no longer the same Katy. I’m different... And I’m not sure what that will mean in the end. When each step we take in discovering the truth puts us in the path of the secret organization responsible for torturing and testing hybrids, the more I realize there is no end to what I’m capable of. The death of someone close still lingers, help comes from the most unlikely source, and friends will become the deadliest of enemies, but we won’t turn back. Even if the outcome will shatter our worlds forever.

Together we’re stronger... and they know it.
Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Scent of Magic (Healer, #2) 
Hunted, Killed—Survived?

As the last Healer in the Fifteen Realms, Avry of Kazan is in a unique position: in the minds of her friends and foes alike, she no longer exists. Despite her need to prevent the megalomanical King Tohon from winning control of the Realms, Avry is also determined to find her sister and repair their estrangement. And she must do it alone, as Kerrick, her partner and sole confident, returns to Alga to summon his country into battle.

Though she should be in hiding, Avry will do whatever she can to support Tohon’s opponents. Including infiltrating a holy army, evading magic sniffers, teaching forest skills to soldiers and figuring out how to stop Tohon’s most horrible creations yet; an army of the walking dead—human and animal alike and nearly impossible to defeat.

War is coming and Avry is alone. Unless she figures out how to do the impossible ... again.

Leashing the Tempest (Arcadia Bell #2.5) by Jenn Bennett
Leashing the Tempest (Arcadia Bell, #2.5)
Dating a demon, defeating evil, running a tiki bar: Arcadia Bell is a great occult mage in many respects. But then there’s the challenge of her boyfriend’s precocious teenage son…

Arcadia "Cady" Bell may have saved the Hellfire Club’s children from a local bogeyman, but she and her Earthbound demon boyfriend, Lon Butler, now face a more disturbing problem: his teenage son’s new demonic abilities. Jupe Butler can persuade you to do anything—or so he thinks. To test the limits of his newfound power, Cady invites the co-owner of Tambuku Tiki Lounge to be the teen’s guinea pig during an afternoon boat cruise. But when an angry storm whips the Pacific into a frenzy and Jupe puts them all in serious danger, will Cady's magick trump a teenager’s excess confidence?




Wednesday, December 26, 2012
A Love Untamed (Feral Warriors, #7)
The newest member of the elite Feral Warriors brotherhood, Fox is eager to prove himself on the frontlines of battle against the Daemons. When paired with the legendary Ilina warrior, Melisande, he expects the fierce beauty to quickly fall under the spell of his quite considerable charm. Instead, he finds himself spellbound by a woman who's his match in every way.

Beneath Melisande's brittle exterior lies centuries of pain and a violent hatred of all shape-shifters—a hatred that slowly crumbles after they're caught in a deadly and cunning Mage trap and she glimpses a surprising depth in her far-too-seductive partner. Their survival demands unconditional trust—and their salvation surrender to a wild, untamed love.




Gilded
The second book in Karina Cooper's stunning steampunk series featuring fearless heroine Cherry St. Croix, in which she is faced with two men after her heart—and one killer out for her blood.

In the gleaming heights of Victorian London, a world of deception awaits an unconventional Society lady whose taste for adventure makes her a most formidable adversary . . .

Though Society demands that I make a good marriage, I, Cherry St. Croix, have neither the time nor the interest. I am on the trail of a murder with no victim, a mystery with no motive, and the key to an alchemical formula that could be my family's legacy.

Yet the world is not so kind as to let me pursue simple murder and uncomplicated bounties. Above the foggy drift, an earl insists on my attention, while my friends watch my increasingly desperate attempts to remain my own woman. From the silken demands of the Midnight Menagerie—to whose dangerously seductive ringmaster I owe a debt—to the rigorous pressures of the peerage, all are conspiring to place before me a choice that will forever change my life.
Blood Winter (Horngate Witches, #4)
Set in apocalyptic America and featuring a magically enslaved heroine who is “a riveting mixture of guts, compassion, and furious anger as she struggles with a world coming apart at the seams” (Romantic Times), the fourth in a dynamic dark urban fantasy series unlike anything you’ve ever read before.
Winter is coming to Montana and Shadowblade warrior Max is expecting trouble. People are hoarding everything. They are banding together, many flocking to the congregation of Sterling Savage, a fire-and-brimstone preacher. A charismatic cult leader who claims to be the Hand of God, he’s determined to create a human utopia and destroy all magic, starting with witches.

Unbeknownst to him, the “divine” voice he’s been hearing isn’t God but a demon that feeds on hate, death, and destruction. Savage is the perfect puppet for the demon’s ambitions. Max and her people at Horngate are all that stand in its way, and they are woefully unprepared.

Conducting terrible, bloody ceremonies to boost his own power and that of the demon riding him, Savage starts a war between his congregants and two other powerful gangs in the city, fighting for food, fuel, clothing and territory. When he manages to capture Max’s niece, brother, and several teenagers from Horngate, Max tries to free them but finds that Savage has twisted their minds. They worship him—even her brother, who is a witch and whom Savage intends to burn at the stake. Going undercover in the cult compound, Max swiftly realizes just how seductive Savage is. His charisma is reinforced with magic. His followers adore him and will do anything for him. Anything.

But courage, loyalty, and friendship are powerful forces—and Max doesn’t like to lose.
Monday, December 31, 2012

Touch of the Demon (Kara Gillian #5) by Diana Rowland
Touch of the Demon (Kara Gillian, #5)
Kara Gillian is in Seriously Deep Trouble.
She's used to summoning supernatural creatures from the demon realm to our world, but now she's the one who's been summoned. Kara is the prisoner of the demonic Lord Mzatal, but quickly discovers that she's far more than a mere hostage. He has his own plans to use Kara and keep her from Rhyzkahl-the demonic lord she is sworn to serve. However, waiting for rescue has never been Kara's style, and she has no intention of being a pawn in someone else's game.

Yet intrigue and treachery run rampant amongst all lords, and Kara is hard pressed to keep her wits about her. Her abilities as a homicide detective are put the the test as she seeks the truth about FBI Agent Ryan Kristoff, Rhyzkahl, and herself. But, the answers she finds only raise more questions. She soon discovers that she has her own history in the demon realm-one that goes back farther than she could have ever imagined. But that history may yet spell her doom as she’s faced with a peril beyond mortal comprehension.

She’s going to need all the strength and tenacity she’s developed as a cop and a summoner, or the hell she endures may well last forever.

Sealed with a Curse (Weird Girls #1) by Cecy Robson
Sealed with a Curse (Weird Girls, #1)Celia Wird and her three sisters are just like other 20-something girls—with one tiny exception: they're products of a backfired curse that has given each of them unique powers that make them, well, weird…

The Wird sisters are content to avoid the local vampires, werebeasts, and witches of the Lake Tahoe region—until one of them blows up a vampire in self-defense. Everyone knows vampires aren't aggressive, and killing one is punishable by death. But soon more bloodlust-fueled attacks occur, and the community wonders: are the vampires of Tahoe cursed with a plague?

Celia reluctantly agrees to help Misha, the handsome leader of an infected vampire family. But Aric, the head of the werewolf pack determined to destroy Misha's family to keep the region safe, warns Celia to stay out of the fight. Caught between two hot alphas, Celia must find a way to please everyone, save everyone, and oh yeah, not lose her heart to the wrong guy—or die a miserable death. Because now that the evil behind the plague knows who Celia is, it’s coming for her and her sisters. This Wird girl has never had it so tough.

So what will you be reading? 

Review: Dead Sky Morning by Karina Halle ★★★★★

Dead Sky Morning by Karina Halle
Genre: Horror/Romance
Series: Experiment In Terror #3
Publication Date: 2011
ISBN: 9781466208179
Page Count: 358
Rating: ★★★★★
Review Copy: Own Purchase
Reviewed by: Janice



Synopsis: With the Experiment in Terror show finding some success, amateur ghost hunters Perry Palomino and Dex Foray embark on their most terrifying investigation yet. A tiny, fog-shrouded island in the rough strait between British Columbia and Washington State has held a dark secret for decades. At the turn of the century it was used as a leper colony where over forty souls were left to rot, die and bury each other. Now a functioning campground, Perry and Dex spend an isolated weekend there to investigate potential hauntings but as the duo quickly find out, there is more to fear on D'Arcy Island than just ghosts. The island quickly pits partner against partner, spiraling the pair into madness that serves to destroy their sanity, their relationship and their very lives.
Review:

An intense, chilling read

It's no secret I LOOOOOOOVE this series. I've read all the books twice and will sing the praises of author Karina Halle to anyone and everyone I meet. Fangirl? Darn straight I am, and with very good reason! Halle's writing is a wicked cocktail of humor, horror, and romance unlike anything I have read before or since.

Dead Sky Morning, the third book in Halle's Experiment In Terror (EIT) series, picks up not long after the events of the previous novel, Red Fox. Perry is still living at home and keeps herself busy blogging and promoting the EIT webshow. She and Dex have completed a few investigations now, and slowly but the surely, the show is building a loyal internet following. Small as it is, Perry clings to that success, because quite simply, the show is all she's got going for her. The rest of her life is a mess, and things are about to get a whole lot worse.

For starters, Perry's parents discover the truth about her job situation and angrily demand she quit the EIT show...or else. Dex arrives just in time to save the day and sweep Perry out of the house before things get too ugly, but the damage is done. Trust has been broken and it won't be repaired anytime soon. There is also the problem of Perry's feelings for the mysterious Dex - who still has a girlfriend - and, oh yeah, some really personal, hateful blog comments aimed straight at Perry, which she can't help but be hurt by.

But even all that, as bad as it is, is nothing compared to what awaits Dex and Perry on D'Arcy Island.

Have you ever been to a place that just didn't feel right? A place that makes you so uncomfortable, you just had to get out of there? Now take that feeling and multiply it by 10 - no, by 100 - and you will get an idea of what D'Arcy Island is like. If that's not enough to freak you out, try to imagine what it would be like to be there alone, just you and your partner, completely cut off from the world, for days.

From the moment Perry and Dex set foot on the island, they are beset by trouble. Anything that can go wrong, does. Weather, boat issues, possessed animals, multiple ghost sightings - and that's just the tip of the iceberg. The island, it seems, is out to get them. Tension mounts, and tempers flare. Suddenly, investigating and filming for the show is no longer their top priority. All they care about is getting out of there alive, with their sanity intact.

Dex and Perry are really put through the wringer in this book, and trust me, you will be too. It's an intense, emotional read filled with thrilling highs and crushing lows. Karina Halle isn't just challenging her characters, she is challenging you as a reader. Do you really love Dex and Perry? Okay, how about now, after this twist or that turn? I hope so, because there's a lot more where that came from! Dead Sky Morning is just the beginning. You've been warned.

DSM is more than merely creepy; it's a bone-chilling thriller that will send shivers up your spine and have you hanging on the edge of your seat right to the very end. I wouldn't have it any other way.

5 Stars ★★★★★

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Friday, 23 November 2012

Review: The Benson by Karina Halle ★★★★

The Benson by Karina Halle
Genre: Paranormal Mystery/horror
Series: Experiment in Terror #2.5
Publication Date:
ISBN: N/A
Page Count: 31
Rating: ★★★★
Review Copy: Own Purchase
Reviewed by: Lynsey


Synopsis: A short, sexy and scary read.
The Benson hotel in Portland, Oregon might look like your ordinary, swanky turn-of-the century hotel, but deep in the heart of this historic icon, lie a few restless souls with secrets that won't stay buried.
Amateur ghost hunters (and your favorite "will they or won't they" pair) Perry Palomino and Dex Foray spend an evening exploring the hotel for their Internet show "Experiment in Terror" - but this is no ordinary hotel and this is no ordinary episode. There's someone here in the Benson, someone dead, who will push the boundaries of what the duo know about ghosts and challenge Perry's very notion of the truth.
The Benson is a short novella in the Experiment in Terror Series. It occurs between books #2 (Red Fox) and #3 (Dead Sky Morning) but can also be read as a standalone and is the perfect primer for anyone interested in the best-selling series.
Review:

A tiny treat for Dex and Perry fans.

And it is truly tiny—just 31 little pages. But enjoyable.

I read it directly after finishing Red Fox but I notice that it's touted as being suitable to read as a sample of Karina's work for new readers as well. Which is tricky since it's set between books 2 and 3 and Spoiler Town is just a hop, skip and a jump away at any given moment. And I think that may explain why it felt to me like quite a step back after the massive progress Perry and Dex made in Red Fox. They seemed to have regressed right back to awkward and uncomfortable which was a shame but understandable given what I just said. Still, it was enjoyable and definitely worth a glimpse while it's free.

4 Stars ★★★★
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Review: Red Fox by Karina Halle ★★★★★

Red Fox by Karina Halle 
Genre: Paranormal Mystery/ Horror
Series: Experiment in Terror #2
Publication Date: 2010  
ISBN: 9780451412768  
Page Count: 422
Rating: ★★★★★
Review Copy: Own Purchase
Reviewed by: Lynsey

With Book Two of the Experiment in Terror Series, Perry Palomino and Dex Foray trade in the stormy Oregon coast for the unforgiving deserts of New Mexico.

In the for­got­ten town of Red Fox, a Navajo cou­ple is tor­tured by things unseen and by motives unknown. Wild ani­mals slink through their house in the dark, a bar­rage of stones pound their roof nightly, and muti­lated sheep car­casses are turn­ing up on their prop­erty. Armed with a cam­era and just enough to go on, Perry and Dex travel to the des­o­late locale, hop­ing to film the super­nat­ural occur­rences and add cred­i­bil­ity to their flail­ing web­cast. Only their show has a lot more work­ing against them than just grow­ing pains. Tested by dubi­ous ranch hands, a ghost from Dex’s past, and shapeshift­ing decep­tion, the ama­teur ghost hunters must learn to trust each other in order to fight the most ancient of myths…or die trying.
Review:

I love this series. It's now official.

I think I'm going to have a problem here because I already gave book one, Darkhouse, 5 stars because I thought it was awesome on toast with a side order of shamazeballs. But this one was undeniably, unquestionably and indisputably better in almost every sense. So where do I go from here? I do not have 6 stars, people! Everyone knows all books have to be rated out of 5 and that half stars are against God's plan, so how can I express the, the...betterness of this one? Yes, I am aware betterness isn't a word. But it should be!

In my first joint review with Janice I said that I suspected there may end up being more to the series than just ghosts and ghost-hunting. And I was right! There's so much more. I really, really loved the storyline for this book. And the setting. And all the extra paranormal elements. And the fact that it was more mystery based - almost a whodunnit. And most especially, I loved the developments between Perry and Dex!

I'm just flabbergasted at how much they both seemed to change before my very eyes in this book, and in each other's. They say that scary, life-threatening events will form an emotional bond between two people, and I certainly think that was part of it. But I also think Perry and Dex are two people who just fit together anyway. Like slightly broken puzzle pieces, they each may not be completely whole, but they still fit.

I have to admit to a certain amount of fangirl squeeing when it became apparent they would have to feign a higher level of closeness during the case they were working on down in Red Fox. Anything that might have forced them to be in the same room where they could get to know each other more would have made me happy, but the deception they had to maintain made it even better!

There were some really interesting secondary characters in this book including a blast from Dex's past who provided us with some much-needed back story on him. I loved all that but I'm not yet convinced I like the person who delivered it. His motives are highly questionable.

So, to sum up, in case you missed your cue—yes do I recommend this series! If book one was awesome on toast with a side order of shamazeballs, then book two was spaghetti bloody marvellous with Parmesan genius.

5 6 Stars ★★★★★★

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