Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Blood... on the Moon by D. Michelle Gent

A throwback kept hidden by his parents from the rest of wolfkind shows us why they are hunted down and killed when their existence is discovered. Jack is a major player in the story as we watch him succumb to madness inherent in being a throwback to become the infamous Whitechapel killer. His instability became evident in childhood, yet his parents protected him hoping he would both remain undiscovered and eventually be "cured."

Gent has a real talent for weaving multiple plots into a story so seamlessly that her work is a joy to read. Hazel not only has to ferret out hidden throwbacks, but decide whether her Sentinels should find the killer or risk Wolves being exposed by letting the Hume police find him. Add to the mix an event that only happens every 500 years.

I still find Red to be my favorite character, perhaps because I connected so well with her in Deadlier... than the Male. Gent's characters are believable, complex people. The atmosphere of the story pulled me right in. It was so easy to immerse myself in this story. I found this book, as in Deadlier... than the Male to be very well written and impeccably edited. A great read that anyone with an interest in werewolves would enjoy.

I was gifted a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 4 stars

This book is available from Amazon (US, UK, CA, AU), Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

Sold by Brad Lee Hayword

I enjoy a good horror story every once in a while. I'm a big fan of Stephen King, John Saul and a couple of others, so I'm not quite sure what was off about this book for me. The writing was there for the most part. There were places where it seemed to drag a bit. This story just never pulled me in, so I found reading this to be almost a chore. I'd get through a few pages and set it down, pick it up, read another page or so and set it back down again. It took over a month for me to get through this book.

This book has all the necessary parts of a horror story: a serial killer who falls under the control of a voodoo queen, haunted house, gullible people. Kate was not the most believable person for me, but then neither was her husband. Regretfully, I was never able to engage with the story and its characters.

I'm of the belief that if someone writes a story, there is a market for that book. Unfortunately, I'm not part of that demographic. Because I never connected with this story, I can only give it two stars.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Ashes (Book 2 The Kindred Series) by Erica Stevens

Having bought the other four books in the series as soon as I finished book one, I was anxious to dig into this one. Ashes picked up where Kindred left off, with Devon rushing Cassie to the hospital. The intensity was ramped up right from the beginning and didn't disappoint. In his stress for her to survive, Devon healed the worst of Cassie's injuries before they got to the emergency room. Now faced with questions from doctors that shouldn't be answered, he has to use powers he'd rather not on unsuspecting humans.

When the rest of her friends arrive, knowledge of what they all are hits each one of them differently. Chris immediately attacks Devon; Luther keeps his opinion to himself while Melissa falls apart. Devon figures out who Luther is not only to Cassie, but to Chris and Melissa as well. Now they each have to come to terms with that knowledge for the sake of their friendship and love for Cassie. (Quite the conundrum she's written here. I love it!)

I can understand why some people might think this is her personal take on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but aside from a few similarities, this is entirely her own work. There's only so many ways a vampire story (or any story for that matter) can be written, only so many ways to write the protagonist. Inspiration must come from somewhere.

Ever wonder where vampire slayers come from? Stevens answers that question in a way that makes complete sense to me. This part of the story really caught my attention. Stevens came up with an original way to answer that question. Kudos for that!

What ultimately brings Cassie's friends around to accepting him in her life is how alive she's become since meeting him. She's no longer going through the motions every day. Backed up by Cassie's grandmother, the teens have no choice but to stay close enough to Devon for him to protect them. Cassie gains a new friend and several new enemies as well as learns more about Devon's past. What she learns explains why he is so unique among vampires.

I bought this book immediately after finishing Kindred, the first book in the series. As soon as I got home from work, I promptly sat down and devoured this one. I had an incredibly difficult time setting it aside for anything; dinner, laundry, supper. Her characters have continued to develop from the first book, as did the plot that took me from one book to the next.

The reality of my reading this series is that I plowed through them like a person needing water in a desert. I just couldn't take time to write the reviews. I absolutely HAD to get to the next book to see what happens. Stevens likes cliff hangers. Me? Not so much. However, I was fortunate in being able to purchase the last four books at one time. So in this case, cliffhangers were no big deal.

I loved this book from start to finish. 4 stars

This book is available from Amazon (US, UK, AU, CA), Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

Kindred (Book 1 The Kindred Series) by Erica Stevens

I pretty much gave up reading vampire stories figuring I'd seen every plot that could be found in them. Not so. Stevens has changed everything I thought I knew about this aspect of paranormal books. I stumbled across this book two days ago through one of the websites I use to find books to read. Much of my reading lately has fallen into the YA category, and so did this one.

The story opens with two of our three main characters (Cassie and Chris) being spirited away right before their families are massacred in a plot by the elder vampires to eliminate all Hunters and their families. In the ensuing rampage, Cassie loses both parents and Chris loses his father. The kids spend the next several years living with her grandmother and moving around to prevent the elders from learning they are still alive.

The next pivotal event in their lives happens when Luther and his daughter, Melissa, move to town. The three teens begin their training as vampire hunters under their Guardian, Luther. Stevens excels at portraying three teens living a secret life.

Cassie is obviously just going through the motions with no apparent interest in life itself. She takes care of her schoolwork the same way she goes about killing vampires. It's just a job. She's stuck with it. There is no out-clause for her aside from the anticipated early death that is typical for Hunters. Things pick up when Devon is introduced to the story. All of a sudden, Cassie has an interest in something. They are both keeping secrets that if revealed, could bring danger to the other.

Stevens storytelling sets the bar incredibly high for the rest of her books and I wasn't disappointed. Her prose is heartfelt and punches deep to your very core. In part, I was reminded of what it felt like the first time I was attracted to a boy. Devon filled Cassie's dreams much like that boy did mine. She conveyed the angst and tentativeness of a new relationship so well, it was like reliving my first one.

This book grabbed me from the beginning and didn't let go even when I reached the end. So much so that as soon as I got off work and could get to a wi-fi connection, I scooped up the rest of the books in the series. Yeah, I had it that bad. As soon as I got home, I dug into the second book, grateful I wasn't at work where I would have the distractions of customers.

The editing, character development, tension, angst, absolutely everything was spot on. To date, I've only ever considered one author's writing to be of bardic quality. I am beyond ecstatic to add Erica Stevens name to that very brief list. If you enjoy vampire stories, you HAVE to pick up this book, and indeed, the entire series. If I ever get around to picking up the print books for home reading, they will have a place in the box of favorite authors for those rare occasions when I move.

This book was not gifted for review. 4 stars

Get your copy from Amazon (US, CA, UK, AU), Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.