Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Dangerous Games by Keri Arthur

Synopsis: In Melbourne’s urban underworld, there’s a nightclub for every fantasy and desire. But for Riley Jenson, one such club has become an obsession. Riley, a rare hybrid of vampire and werewolf, hasn’t come in pursuit of pleasure but of an unknown killer who’s been using the steamy nightspot as his hunting grounds. Leave it to Riley to find the only ticket into the heavily guarded club: Jin, a deliciously hot-bodied bartender who might just provide the key to unmasking a killer unlike any other in the Directorate’s experience. Taunted by a former colleague turned rogue, distracted by an ex-lover’s attentions, Riley follows Jin into a realm of pleasure she could never have imagined. And as danger and passion ignite, a shocking mystery begins to unravel—one where Riley herself becomes the ultimate object of desire....

My Thoughts: While not quite as engaging as the previous installments it still held my attention long past the time I should have gone to bed.

What Worked: I liked the introduction of demons and the Aedh beings in this book. Although we didn't get a whole lot of information about either it was nice to see something other than weres, shifters, vampires and lab creatures. The introduction of an interesting wolf shifter added to the cast of characters nicely and the bane of Riley, Sal, provided a measure of comic relief that the series needs to counter it's darker side. I thought the plot thread of Riley's investigation into the mutilated corpses was well done but a little less primary than I'd have liked.

What Didn't Work: As always I'm going to add the sex to what didn't work. The beginning had Riley acting like a petulant child after a tiff with her main squeeze. When she didn't get her way she responded by running to her second choice to hump like bunnies (or werewolves as it were.) I thought this was pretty ridiculous and immature. So far Keri Arthur has not fully convinced me that her werewolves HAVE to have sex...I concede that they do during the fully moon phase but the other 3 weeks Riley should be able to keep herself under control. She doesn't WANT to though. In addition to the sex I just didn't feel that there was as much action as in previous books. The mystery/thriller plot thread took a back seat to the sexual (dare I say perversions?) aspect. Mostly because the sadistic nature of the killer/s tied in with BDSM. So with so much sex and/or sexual situations I had a harder time setting them aside as I did with the three previous installments. Also, even though there was some recap on what happened in previous books, I don't think enough information was given to allow this book to stand alone or to be read out of order. Since I'm reading the books in order this wasn't an issue for me but as a reader, I should have the option to read a book in publication order or to just grab one off the shelf and start reading without worrying that things won't make sense. I really believe that if I'd started with this book instead of Full Moon Rising I'd have been lost and refused to read any more in the series.

In a Nutshell: With some positives and some negatives the book balanced out to an average read. However, I'm still enjoying the series and am looking forward to continuing on to the next one. I would recommend to new readers that they not start out with this book though. I'm finding with continuing story lines from book to book and not enough of a recap on past happenings a new reader would not find this book as enjoyable as I did. Read them in order people!

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tempting Evil by Keri Arthur

Synopsis: In a world of sorcery and seduction, the nights bring out the beautiful, the damned, and the desired. Here, Riley Jenson is on her own–half werewolf, half vampire, working for an organization created to police the supernatural races. Trusting her superiors and lovers barely more than she trusts her worst enemies, Riley plays by her own set of rules. Her latest mission: to enter the heavily guarded pleasure palace of a criminal named Deshon Starr–a madman-scientist who’s been messing around in the gene pool for decades. With two sexy men–a cool, seductive vampire and an irresistibly hot wolf–vying for her attention, Riley must keep focused. Because saving the world from Deshon Starr will mean saving herself–from the trap that’s closing in around her. . . .

My Thoughts: Jumped right into this book when I finished the second in the series because for some reason I just can't get enough of Riley.

Spoiler Warning: Due to a controversial scene in the book where many readers want to be told about it I'm including a spoiler within my review. I will not give away pertinent plot twists or anything like that but continue with caution.

What Worked: Even though I find Riley very flawed I'm enjoying her immensely. She rarely jumps into trouble without thinking first and I have yet to label her TSTL (if you've read any of my reviews in the past you know this is a major issue I have with many heroines.) Her abilities stemming from her being a Dhampir are notable as are her growing psychic talents. I can't wait to see what is in store for those! What also worked was the ending of a 3 book underlying plot thread. I don't think I would have continued on with a 4th book if the DNA/Cloning plot thread had not ended.

What Didn't Work: While undercover, Riley was given the choice to wear clothes or not while in the Starr complex. She opted to run around naked. As a werewolf she has very few inhibitions but as a reader I found it really weird. Perhaps if I were a nudist it wouldn't have felt so awkward but as I'm not I couldn't get that point to flow well while reading.  (((((SPOILER)))))In addition to the nudism what also didn't work was there is yet another instance of rape in this book. Poor Riley gets knocked out and finds the man she figured she'd have to sleep with to get info from has actually been having sex with her unconscious body for hours. Once again Riley is barely phased other than complaining about how sore she was. I really hope this isn't going to be a trend in these books because even though Riley isn't crying rape that is exactly what happened.((((((END SPOILER)))))

In a Nutshell: Despite what didn't work, I thought, once again, the positives outweighed the negatives. My recommendation, as with the other two books in this series, is to ignore the sex and focus on the action. That is really where this book shined for me. A kick butt woman and some serious nail biting action.

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Monday, April 28, 2014

Kissing Sin by Keri Arthur

Synopsis: From Melbourne’s gleaming skyscrapers to its throbbing nightclubs, Riley Jenson’s world is raging with danger and desire. A drop-dead-gorgeous werewolf–with a touch of vamp coursing in her blood–Riley works for an organization created to police the supernatural races. But when she wakes up naked and bruised in a barren alley, she knows only that she must run for her life. Within moments Riley collides with the sexiest man she’s ever seen: steely, seductive Kade, who is fighting a life-and-death battle of his own. With old lovers and enemies gathering around her, Riley knows she is being pursued by a new kind of criminal. Because in Riley’s blood is a secret that could create the ultimate warrior–if only she can survive her own dangerous desires….

My Thoughts: Originally I was going to review this second book in the Riley Jenson series along with the 3rd book all in one review because I read both books back to back making it hard to separate them. I ultimately decided to just go ahead with separate reviews. So.....

Spoiler Warning: While writing my review I decided that I was going to give away a spoiler. It does not effect the balance of the book. I will not give away anything like Col. Mustard in the Library with the Candlestick but this spoiler is necessary to know for many readers.

What Worked: The opening sequence was straight up thrilling. Reminded me of a mystery/thriller which was totally an awesome beginning. Also through the course of the book the lines between friends and enemies are crossed which makes for some really interesting situations. Riley, herself, is proving to be a strong stand up woman who takes no grief from anyone, even her boss. Although still struggling with her path towards becoming a guardian she is finding that it might just be inevitable.

What Didn't Work: Once again we are bombarded with the werewolf needing sex thing. Arthur's werewolves are sensual creatures who have no sexual hang ups what-so-ever. Meaning what we, as humans, might deem morally wrong (like sleeping with a man you just met 15 minutes ago or having sex with a different man every night) werewolves wouldn't. They are all about free love and sex is just sex. No emotional attachment except to their soul mate once they meet them at which point they would become monogamous. To tell the truth I thought about quitting this book 50 pages into it when I'd already read 2 sex scenes, one of which was with a stranger. (((((SPOILER))))))Speaking of sex, a deal breaker for many readers would be rape. More specifically in this book Riley finds out she has been date raped. Although Arthur never came out and labeled it, when a woman is drugged and unconscious and a man has sex with her anyway (or purposely I should say) this is rape. The only reason I was able to just gloss over this while reading was because Riley didn't seem to be effected overly much other than to be pissed off. I chalked it up to her being a werewolf but it nagged at me anyway. Speaking of the sex if you're looking for some sort of meaningful sex this book isn't it. (especially after a date rape...right?) ((((((END SPOILER))))))Since Arthur's werewolves have sex whenever and with whomever without an emotional attachment the sex is just unsexy. Nothing about any of the sex scenes could be considered sensual IMHO.

One more thing that I thought didn't work was the continuing storyline from book 1 to this one. That storyline still had no closure and will continue into book 3.  I prefer books with full and complete story lines only because many people don't read books in order. I actually prefer to read in order but I like the option of doing just the opposite. Continuing story lines make this not an option even though most authors do a decent job of recapping.

In A Nutshell: Despite some really negative points the awesome sauce of a heroine that I believe Riley to be outweighs the bad. I basically had to ignore all the sex and focus on the rest which really made this book a winner for me. Will I read it again? Eh...maybe. Will I read the next...already did. These books are compelling and addicting. Reader beware though on what I've outlined in the What Didn't Work area.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Raider by Monica McCarty

Synopsis: After consolidating his gains against the enemy English, King Robert the Bruce of Scotland sends his best soldiers to fortify the lawless borders. These legendary warriors of the Highland Guard let nothing come before king and country—except the calling of their heart.

Of all Bruce’s elite warriors, Robert “Raider” Boyd is the most formidable. A true patriot whose bare hands are a deadly weapon, Robbie is the fierce enforcer of the Guard, and his hatred of the English has been honed to a razor-sharp edge. But vengeance proves bittersweet when his enemy’s beautiful sister falls into his hands and he finds himself fighting temptation—a battle he badly wants to lose.

Lady Rosalin Clifford barely recognizes the rebel prisoner she saved from execution six years ago. Though her girlish ideals for fairness have matured into a passion for justice, Rosalin believes she betrayed her brother when she helped this dangerous man escape. Now her traitorous act has come back to haunt her. But she can’t deny the longing this tormented warrior ignites in her, or deny the passion that turns sworn enemies into lovers. Is the gentle love of a true English Rose enough to free Scotland’s most brutal warrior from a path of vengeance—before it’s too late?

My Thoughts: My second book by her and I'm wondering if Ms McCarty can do no wrong!

There is so much going on in my head about this book that I've started and restarted this review at least half a dozen times. All of a sudden I seemed to have lost my ability to put together something (anything) that truly makes sense. A review shouldn't be this difficult so I'm forgoing my usual paragraph review style and just doing bullet points.....

  • Robbie--an amazing hunka burning Highlander Love. The strongest man in Scotland and completely smitten with someone he should hate. A bit too pigheaded when it came to his hatred of the English.
  • Rosalin--a tad naive but in an endearing way, she quickly understood that the war between England and Scotland was not completely black and white. Her compassion for all, regardless of nationality or rank, was one of her greatest assets. She was smart and I never wanted to thwack her in the head because she did something to stupid to live.
  • The rest of the Characters--extremely real and well drawn. 
  • Rich in history--love McCarty's additional information after the Epilogue. She lets us know where she has taken liberties and why. Her usage of real places and people in her books add much more to the story than a typical historical romance. Those pale in comparison.
  • The Sensuality--I'd say through the 70% mark the sexual tension between the H/h was pretty amazing. There was one bath scene in particular that I thought was a whole lot of awesome sauce although it was not a typical sex scene as Rosalin remained fully clothed. However, once Robbie and Rosalin actually had sex they had so much of it during the last 25% of the book it no longer felt sensual but more gratuitous.
  • The Forever Be Thine Enemy shtick-- it made the book feel longer than necessary to be truthful.
  • Robbie's declaration of Undying Love--I would have liked to have seen him brought to his knees in a more literal way when trying to prove his love for Rosalin. As it is written, I think it's a bit lackluster.
  • Rosalin's acceptance of Robbie's declaration of Undying Love--she should have let him squirm more. 
  • The Ending--all resolved quickly with little fanfare. How did Clifford's and Robbie's negotiations effect the war? I'm not sure they did other than to help us get our HEA.
In A Nutshell: Such an enjoyable book despite some minor issues I had with it. I will 100% continue reading this series because I love me some Highlanders and Monica McCarty knows how to write amazing ones.
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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Touch of Darkness by Tina Moss and Yelena Casale

Synopsis: Cassie’s working for a tightwad boss at a pretentious NYC diner, dealing with paralyzing pain that doctors can’t diagnose, and trying to hide her hands that glow purple whenever she ...well, whenever.
So, when a mysterious stranger walks out of her dreams and into her life to spout some nonsense about her being a mythical creature, she chalks it up to one more crazy thing to add to her it’s-a-crappy-life list. Yet, when the stranger’s predictions start to come true, she discovers a world that could shake up her humdrum existence.

My Thoughts: Although the synopsis does have to do with the book it is almost misleading as the events highlighted, in most cases, are so underplayed that they are virtually non-existent during the course of the book.

The Good: An interesting concept based on the synopsis. Yep, I've used that "concept" line before but I truly mean it no matter how many times I say it when speaking about books. The synopsis pulled me in. I was intrigued by why Cassie's hands would glow purple and what exactly she was, if not human. The authors had some good ideas.

The Bad: The execution of the ideas could have been written better. The world building only appears to be halfway complete and the characters are poorly drawn. For example our *ahem* hero, Gabe, mentions that he and another "Fallen", Rafe, are bitter rivals yet the reasoning was never mentioned. In addition, the reason Gabe "Fell" was never covered even though he constantly talked about working toward his redemption. The addition of some over the top violence in the last half of the book that was completely absent in the first half made the sections a bit disjointed as if one author wrote the first half and the other wrote the last. Plus one torture scene appears to have been added just for shock factor. Gabe is tortured by the bad guys for information on Cassie. Yet the bad guys already HAD Cassie. Why they would have to torture him when they had her is beyond me. The lack of real romance within the book makes the H/h's devotion to one another towards the end of the book seem entirely out of place and a bit weird. And finally (not that this is the end of the issues but the end of what I'd consider "The Bad") the character's had an annoying habit of talking to themselves. Meaning, a book written in the third person narrative would utilize inner musings where we, the readers, would be able to see what they were thinking. This book had those thoughts spoken out loud as if the characters were in some weird soap opera.

The Ugly: These are more personal issues I have and might not be something another reader might find to be worse than those mentioned above. However, for me, they are deal breakers.....1)What looked like an interesting idea for a book based on the synopsis proved to be nothing more than an Angels against Demons trope. Been there. Done that. Cassie's "abilities" are so under explained that they barely had any significance within the story to make this book an original. 2)Basic editing errors are more than annoying. Any editor, no matter how seasoned, should have picked up the usage of "peak" instead of "peek" and "dear" instead of "deer". 3) Cassie was TSTL. She has demons trying to capture her and the Angels want her dead. So what does our *ahem* heroine do? She decides she is her own woman and purposely heads out to the Las Vegas strip on her own, without the man who has sworn to protect her from harm, just because she could. Ugh.

In A Nutshell: Unfortunately, this book has way too many issues for this to be a truly enjoyable read. For this reason I will not continue on with the series even though this is only the first book in what will be a series.

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Monday, April 14, 2014

A Vision of Murder by Victoria Laurie

Synopsis: Professional psychic Abby Cooper is planning to fix up an old house and make a killing in the real estate market--until she encounters a killing of another kind....
This Old Haunted House
When Abby gets roped into investing in a fixer-upper, she has no idea she'll go from real estate mogul to real-life ghostbuster. After the deal is closed, phantom inhabitants of the house replay a violent night from long ago that ended in the murder of a beautiful blonde. The only way to evict the house's spectral tenants -- and save Abby's handyman from flying drills -- is to uncover the dead woman's identity and solve her murder.
Aided by her boyfriend, sexy FBI agent Dutch Rivers, Abby discovers the key to the puzzle is a hidden treasure lost since World War II. Unfortunately, Abby's not the only one intent on finding it. As she gets closer to the truth, a madman shadows her every move. Now a race is on to find the treasure and solve the mystery -- and only the winner will survive. ...

My Thoughts: A disappointing cozy despite the addition of paranormal elements that I adore.

What Worked: I very much enjoy books featuring psychic phenomena. I love Jayne Ann Krentz's Arcane Society books. I love Christine Feehan's GhostWalker series. I will even read non-fiction books that talk about the subject! So, thank goodness for Psychic intuition and all things woo-woo because otherwise this book might have turned out to be a complete dud for me. Abby is a professional psychic and her abilities are pretty fascinating. I love her on board lie detector that sing songs the words "Liar Liar pants on fire!" In addition to the enjoyable woo-woo factor I liked the secondary cast of characters even though most of them were over the top caricatures of real people. I especially liked the inclusion of MJ Holliday, who is the star of Laurie's other series. Also, the added history about WWII, Jewish precious gem dealers from the 40s and priceless treasure were all very interesting.

What Didn't work: Abby. Period. She was one of the most, without a doubt, TSTL women I've read about. You'd think she would have a special insight when it comes to avoiding trouble but NOOOOOOO. Abby not only finds herself in trouble repeatedly but she purposely avoids listening to her intuition. She's a freakin' PSYCHIC here people! So why would she go barreling into her home knowing that the person who broke in is STILL THERE? Because she's Too Stupid To Live! Why would she, not only ignore her boyfriend's, (who is an FBI agent) insistence on having someone with her at all times, but purposely sneaks away to be on her own after being assaulted on two different occasions? Because She's Too Stupid To Live!!!!! Now, throw in a large amount of whining, a slur against her boyfriend's mother, vindictive behavior with the sole purpose of causing her boyfriend pain and childish argumental rebuttals (similar to "I know you are but what am I?") and you've got a big reason this book did not work. Now on a side note I did read the first 2 books in the series ages ago and liked them enough to get all the rest of the books in the series.

The Abby Issue aside, the plot also didn't work quite well in this book. Granted the background story about the gems and Nazi's and stolen treasure was all fun but the mystery aspect of who was causing Abby harm was pathetically obvious. There was only one suspect. Not even a red herring was thrown in to mix it up a bit. Not to mention the haunted house subplot that was wrapped up very quickly with no fanfare. In addition to that, I'm wondering if the business that Abby, her sister and her handyman went into together will continue into the next books or if it's sole purpose was to bring in the haunted house as a catalyst to the pathetic mystery within this book.

In A Nutshell: Despite my love of all things woo-woo I just couldn't like this book much more than 2 stars. I'm very character driven in my reading so a TSTL female lead just kills the book for me. BUT even if I were more plot driven this book would still fail. With all that said, I do plan to continue on with the series because I'm really hoping this was just one rotten nut in the mix.
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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Waiting On You by Kristan Higgins

Synopsis: Does being nobody's fool mean that you're nobody's love?
Colleen O'Rourke is in love with love…just not when it comes to herself. Most nights, she can be found behind the bar at the Manningsport, New York, tavern she owns with her twin brother, doling out romantic advice to the lovelorn, mixing martinis and staying more or less happily single. See, ten years ago, Lucas Campbell, her first love, broke her heart…an experience Colleen doesn't want to have again, thanks. Since then, she's been happy with a fling here and there, some elite-level flirting and playing matchmaker to her friends.
But a family emergency has brought Lucas back to town, handsome as ever and still the only man who's ever been able to crack her defenses. Seems like maybe they've got some unfinished business waiting for them—but to find out, Colleen has to let her guard down, or risk losing a second chance with the only man she's ever loved.

My Thoughts: My second book by Higgins and I'm totally a happy camper for reading it!

What Worked: It's well known that Higgins' trademark is the humor liberally peppered throughout her books and this one was no exception. I loved the banter between the characters so much. The situations within had me laughing out loud often. I was grinning like a crazy lady through most of the book! When a book can make me laugh it's a good one. When a book can make me tear up also, it's even better. This book did all of that and more.

The characters were so very real to me even though there were quite a lot of them. They were funny, attractive, petty, jealous, insecure, flawed and wonderful. I couldn't have asked for more from them. Although this was Colleen and Lucas' romance there were several different stories happening too. When a book has several different storylines happening and so many characters inserted there can be a possibility of upstaging, where the H/h might get over shadowed by the backdrop. I don't think this happened at all. I was able to keep up with all that was happening and had a good time while doing so.

Also, I should mention that this is book #3 in the Blue Huron series and the only one I've read (the other book I read by Kristan was a standalone.) This book stood up by itself nicely and although many of the characters were introduced in the previous installments, Higgins did a great job of introducing them to me for the first time in this book. I don't regret reading this one first but now want to go back and read the other 2 just to see if they were just as good. Oh and I particularly liked that Higgins chose to utilize the third person narrative with this series rather than the first person narrative she uses most of the time. I thought seeing the inner thoughts of both the hero and the heroine added a depth to the story that I think 1st person narrative sometimes misses.

What Didn't Work: At times I felt that the book had been going on too long but this truly didn't take away from my enjoyment. I was happy reading page after page after page but some readers may find the opposite. Which is why I mentioned it in the "What Didn't Work" section of my review. Other than that I couldn't find fault in this story at all.

In a Nut Shell: Ultimately what Waiting On You brings is a lovely complicated love story in the middle of a bunch of complex interwoven relationships. I loved every single minute of this book and I will go back and read the other books in the Blue Huron series without a doubt.

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The Reluctant Vampire by Lynsay Sands

Synopsis: Has this immortal finally met her match?
Rogue hunter Drina Argenis (from the Spanish side of the Argeneau family) has been many things in her years as an immortal, but bodyguard/babysitter to a teenage vampire is something new. There's an incentive, however: the other vampsitter, Harper Stoyan, may be Drina's life mate.
Trouble is, having just lost a life mate, Harper is resigned to being alone. He's completely unprepared when sexy and unpredictable Drina bursts into his life to reignite his passions. Can Drina, with a little matchmaking help from their teen charge, tempt this reluctant vampire to take a chance?
Or will a dangerous, unseen renegade kill Drina and Harper's one chance at happiness?

My Thoughts: An average installment of a series that has gone on for a long time...maybe too long.

What Worked: The females....Drina is an amazingly strong and independent woman with a complicated and intriguing background. Her history was the best thing about this book. Granted the romance was not bad but Drina really was the bright spot in this installment. How could you not like a woman who has been a Pirate for Pete's Sake? In addition to Drina, the teenaged Stephanie was also a bright spot in the story even though she should have a lot more traumatized than she appeared. I'm looking forward to seeing where her character will go from here. An honorable mention goes to Beth, who, even though she wasn't in the book in person, her story told from Drina's point of view was enough to make me want to see more of her.

What Didn't Work: Harper.....Not that he didn't work but I don't think Harper was as well suited for Drina as I would have liked. Perhaps it was more of him not having as much back story as Drina. Even with his past complicated tale of life mate gone wrong there just didn't seem to be enough to balance what Drina brought to the story.

The Mystery/suspense aspect of this story also didn't work. Although there is an underlying story-arc happening over the past few books involving a really bad Immortal which allowed Drina, Harper, Stephanie and a whole lot of other Immortals to come together, this book failed to bring closure to that storyline. As a matter of fact this book not only failed to bring closure, it failed to propel that storyline forward even an inch. While the threat of the big bad Immortal hung over their heads the seemingly kick butt Rogue Hunters forgot all their training while most of them hooked up with their life mates for some sexy time. Oh, and lets not forget life mates faint after having monkey sex together. Nothing like naked, incapacitated Immortals who are supposed to be guarding one little teenager while someone is actively trying to kill them all. Really?

In a Nut Shell: Although I didn't care for the mystery aspect and thought Harper was a bit to vanilla for Drina the book balance out to be an average read for me. With some really good female characters that I'd like to see more of in the future the book was not a waste of time but it could have been oh-so better.

Oh and by the way, this book brings in a second branch of the Argeneau family, called the Argenis family from Spain. Drina also mentions a 3rd branch but I can't remember the name she gave them (Argen-something). The only purpose of this, in my eyes, is for Sands to be able to continue this series indefinitely. Personally I think she should have stopped the after Vampire Interrupted but maybe that's just me.

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Darkness Watching by Emma L Adams

Synopsis: Eighteen-year-old Ashlyn is one interview away from her future when she first sees the demons. She thinks she's losing her mind, but the truth is far more frightening: she can see into the Darkworld, the home of spirits- and the darkness is staring back. Desperate to escape the demons, Ash accepts a place at a university in the small town of Blackstone, in the middle of nowhere - little knowing that it isn't coincidence that led her there but the pull of the Venantium, the sorcerers who maintain the barrier keeping demons from crossing from the Darkworld into our own world. All-night parties, new friendships and a life without rules or limits are all part of the package of student life - but demons still stalk Ash, and their interest in her has attracted the attention of every sorcerer in the area. Ash is soon caught between her new life and a group of other students with a connection to the Darkworld, who could offer the answers she's looking for. The demons want something from her, and someone is determined to kill her before she can find out what it is. In a world where darkness lurks beneath the surface, not everyone is what they appear to be...

My Thoughts: A book with some really good ideas but bogged down with a slow pace, tedious dialogue and poor world building.

What Worked:  Ms. Adams' idea of a girl going into her last year of high school all of a sudden starts seeing demons had great potential. As did her constant feeling of coldness overtaking her. I thought the character of the Fortune Teller was interesting and I wished she had more parts within the book. Unfortunately this is about the extent of the positives.

What Didn't Work: The incredibly slow pace of the book had me setting the book aside more than a half dozen times for something more exciting. When Ash started seeing Demons, the author grabbed my attention but quickly lost it when I realized Ash just thinks she is crazy and just lives with it. Thankfully the author fast forwards to Ash starting at the university. Yet despite her seeing more demons and something called a shadow fox the pacing never really picks up. Instead, we are bombarded with uninspired dialogue and sketchy world building. Ugh, the world building! After finishing this book I'm still not exactly sure who or what Ash is, what she can do and why, if the Venantium is good or bad, how her "game society" friends were as knowledgeable as they are about sorcery (did they go to a special sorcery school? did their parents spend evenings and weekends teaching them to throw fireballs? etc), why Ash suddenly started seeing demons that she couldn't accept but within minutes fully accepts that she can do magic, why why why?

World building aside the characters also suffered. For the most part all characters were interchangeable (minus the bad guy which was very predictable by the way). Since finishing the book I can honestly say that not even one of those characters stuck with me. I can't even remember most of their names.

Listed as a YA and a New Adult book it hovers between the two without committing to either. The University setting pushed it a bit beyond YA yet the characters were quite immature in their "love interest" drama which felt more junior high to me. Although this book does not contain any sexual encounters, sex is mentioned and the characters randomly spit out a curse word every so often (except when I'd expect them to....like when a demon like creature jumps out of  a shadow and tries to kill them). There were other things that I felt contributed to this book just not working but I'll end the Cons with that.

In a Nutshell: This wasn't a bad book but it wasn't that great either. I, for one, will not continue on with the series. There are far too many great books waiting to be discovered for me to setting with another mediocre one.

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