Archive for October, 2012


Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

Published September 25th, 2012 by Harlequin Teen

Synopsis and picture from the Goodreads book page
Buy this book at B&N / Book Depository / Amazon

Synopsis: She won’t rest until she’s sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.

Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right. The monsters are real….

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies….

I wish I could go back and do a thousand things differently.
I’d tell my sister no.
I’d never beg my mother to talk to my dad.
I’d zip my lips and swallow those hateful words.
Or, barring all of that, I’d hug my sister, my mom and my dad one last time.
I’d tell them I love them.
I wish… Yeah, I wish.

Rating (out of 5):

Review:

I have long heard wonderful things about Gena Showalter, and so many people raved about her journey into YA.  I was interested in the title and the little “Off with their heads” on the cover.  But the synopsis is rather vague about exactly what this book is.  You vaguely get something about the undead, a bad boy, and losing her family.  I started to see some mixed reviews and got a little nervous about just what I was getting into.  I had hoped for great things with this book, and I was disappointed.

The first 200 pages of this book were completely mind boggling to me.  I was expected Alice in Wonderland retold with zombie greatness!  And yet the first half of this book was cliche, stereotypical, and over used YA romance.  You have Alice, who is blond haired, blue eyed, a good student, sweet to just about everybody, and thinks that she is completely average and mediocre at everything.  Yet somehow in being totally “average” she attracts the attention of the entire school AND the two hottest boys in said school.  Now hold on, this is all sounding terribly familiar.  Oh yes, I’ve read this in about 30 other YA novels recently!  Then you have Cole, or as I like to call him the controlling *******.  Gotta censor that if I want to put this on Amazon.  He scowls at Alice every chance he gets, snaps his teeth at her (seriously), and tries to control her in every way.  At one point he demands that she get into his car and give him her phone number.  Um most normal people would have said, “No pal, I don’t know you.  You might be planning on raping and killing me.  Back off or it’s a restraining order for you.”  But no, Alice fawns at him like he’s the best thing that ever appeared on earth.

This book is also the absolute top of the mountain with the insta-love crap.  Alice has visions of getting it on with Cole when she looks at him!  I wish I was joking, but I’m not!  Also throw in another love interest to create an unnecessary love triangle that was really never mentioned after the first 200 pages.  The first half of this book was devoted exclusively to this horribly cliche romance angle.  Oh and one last note, if you have “violet eyes”, you may want to see a doctor.  I found myself screaming at this book, stop with this lovey dovey garbage and show me some zombies!!

I almost wish I hadn’t begged for zombies so much once I actually got them.  Now, let me be clear, I have nothing against reinventing and reimagining monsters that we are all familiar with.  But in order to be successful at doing so, you must have two things.  1. You have to have a good story to back up your new and improved monsters.  2. You have to explain the new rules of your monsters enough so that people understand.  This book had neither.  The only story to back up these monsters was a godawful romance.  And it explained things plenty in typical info dump fashion.  But then other things were mentioned specifically and repeatedly only to never be mentioned again.  These zombies are not really even zombies either.  I kept thinking, okay so they’re like ghosts.  No, maybe vampires.  Ghost vampires!  No, these are not zombies, that is one thing I know for sure.

What switched this to two stars for me, instead of one, was the last half of the book.  For the most part we abandoned the stupid romance that we started with and got down to the meat of the story.  I wasn’t too fond of the twist in the plot, mostly because there was absolutely no hints or clues to it and that was frustrating.  If there’s going to be a twist, at least let me be able to look back and think “oh yeah, I should have seen that coming”.  But I couldn’t do that because it came totally out of left field.  If it had been hinted more it would have been amazing.  Some of the information at the end and a few of the fight scenes were also pretty interesting.

I can’t rate this book a one star because I can see that there is promise there and that some people will really love it (as evidenced by the very mixed reviews).  I had hoped that I would love it since it seemed to be exactly my cup of tea.  But alas it was just not good and I didn’t like it really at all.  I liked a few things at the end but it wasn’t enough to salvage my dislike of the majority of it.

 

 

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Announcement: Blog Hop on 12/17

Hey everyone!  I just got confirmation that this blog will be part of a blog hop for the book The Protectors.  The date this blog will be the feature is December the 17th.  As more information becomes available, I will make sure to post it.  For now, you can click on the book title to read the synopsis, and here is the author’s information:

Author Bio: Bernard Lee DeLeo

 

I’ve fixed cars and trucks for over three decades in my one man shop in Oakland, CA. I write adventure novels and have contracted two of them out to E-book publishers. I served four years in the US Navy, three aboard the Aircraft Carrier USS Ranger. After my discharge in 1972 I graduated from Chabot College with an AA degree in Auto Technology and a BA degree in English from Cal State Hayward. Wild Child Publishing released my writer/assassin novel COLD BLOODED in November of 2011. I’ve also self-published eleven novels, all of which are available on Amazon, including my new release, THE PROTECTORS. I love writing of all kinds, and have just begun writing in the very different genre of screenplay writing. In addition to new projects I hope to adapt some of my novels into screenplays. At this time I am completing a YA/Paranormal trilogy, I plan to release in the next year, and I have a fantasy paranormal titled LAYLA which I will release in the coming months.

 

I am looking forward to reading this book, and I hope you’ll enjoy my feature and the participation in this blog hop!

And All the Stars by Andrea K. Host

Published October 1st, 2012 by the author

Synopsis and cover picture from the Goodreads book page

Buy this book at B&N / Amazon / Smashwords

Synopsis:

Come for the apocalypse.
Stay for cupcakes.
Die for love.

Madeleine Cost is working to become the youngest person ever to win the Archibald Prize for portraiture. Her elusive cousin Tyler is the perfect subject: androgynous, beautiful, and famous. All she needs to do is pin him down for the sittings.

None of her plans factored in the Spires: featureless, impossible, spearing into the hearts of cities across the world – and spraying clouds of sparkling dust into the wind.

Is it an alien invasion? Germ warfare? They are questions everyone on Earth would like answered, but Madeleine has a more immediate problem. At Ground Zero of the Sydney Spire, beneath the collapsed ruin of St James Station, she must make it to the surface before she can hope to find out if the world is ending.

Rating (out of 5):

Review:

Allow me a moment to sound like a lovestruck teenager please.  I love this book, cue sigh.  No, I lurv this book!  Cue more dramatic sighing.  Okay, lovestruck fangirl moment has passed, let’s get on with this reviewing business.  I admit that the synopsis of this book made me think long and hard about if I wanted to read it or not.  But I do love apocalypse novels and the idea of potential alien invaders was fantastic.  It piqued my interest enough that I requested a copy for review.  Part of me wants to rave about this book from the rooftops all night, but first let’s get the things that got on my nerves out the way.  Don’t worry, it’s short.

The descriptions of the dust coming down from the sky and covering everything was interesting at first, but I thought that it went on a little too long.  After awhile I found myself thinking, “Okay, I know, the violet dust is EVERYWHERE!  Now please talk about something else.”  I found that this happened a few other times as well, where I just felt that some things went on a bit too long and I was skimming for a few pages until we moved on.  For example when Maddie was looking through empty apartments that was rather cumbersome and when they were planning their attack on the invaders I wanted to get to the actual attacking sooner than I did.  These were minor annoyances and frankly didn’t really impact how much I enjoyed the book but I thought it should be mentioned.

Now for the good parts, Maddie was fantastic.  She is the YA heroine I have been searching for for months!  She is strong, smart, kicks ass when she needs to, and knows when to step aside and let someone else take charge when necessary.  I love this heroine so much.  All of the female characters in this book were like her in a lot of ways.  In general, the characters were very genuine and authentic and not stereotypical or cliche at all.  Oh, and we also have a lesbian couple in the book…you don’t see it until near the end but there is.  That is rare in YA as well, putting in any LGBT characters.  Tyler, I am not quite sure if he was transgendered or a crossdresser but he is in there as well.  There are Asian characters and white characters, and lesbian characters, and transgendered characters and NONE OF IT SEEMED FORCED.  All of the characters were natural and fit in this world and that was so refreshing to see.  No token “a black man walked down the street” moments in this one!

The plot was also very unique and interesting.  I loved the idea of it and also the way it was written.  Everything was explained without feeling like the information was just being dumped on me.  I liked the way the plot played into social structures in our society without hitting you over the head with it.  It was a statement about our society but was never preachy. And the ending was a cause for celebration and also sadness.  It made me cry, and I rarely shed tears at a book.  I felt the emotions of these characters very clearly and my heart broke for them.

I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t enjoy this book.  It is a worthy book to buy and I doubt it would disappoint.  Give it a try, even if the synopsis doesn’t seem like your thing.  It just might turn into one of your favorites by the end.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest and thoughtful review.  No monetary compensation or promise of a positive review was given.

 

 

The Rook by Daniel O’Malley

The Rook by Daniel O’Malley

Published January 11th, 2012 by Little, Brown and Company

Author’s website: http://www.rookfiles.com/

Buy this book at: Amazon / B&N / Book Depository

Synopsis:

“The body you are wearing used to be mine.” So begins the letter Myfanwy Thomas is holding when she awakes in a London park surrounded by bodies all wearing latex gloves. With no recollection of who she is, Myfanwy must follow the instructions her former self left behind to discover her identity and track down the agents who want to destroy her.

She soon learns that she is a Rook, a high-ranking member of a secret organization called the Chequy that battles the many supernatural forces at work in Britain. She also discovers that she possesses a rare, potentially deadly supernatural ability of her own.

In her quest to uncover which member of the Chequy betrayed her and why, Myfanwy encounters a person with four bodies, an aristocratic woman who can enter her dreams, a secret training facility where children are transformed into deadly fighters, and a conspiracy more vast than she ever could have imagined.

Filled with characters both fascinating and fantastical, THE ROOK is a richly inventive, suspenseful, and often wry thriller that marks an ambitious debut from a promising young writer.

Rating (out of 5):

Review:

I was very excited about this book before I read it.  It has an interesting and exciting premise.  Someone “waking up” in the middle of a bunch of dead bodies with no idea who they are, how they got there, or just what the hell is going on.  Then they discover a letter to themselves saying “Yes, I knew this would happen…someone is trying to kill you, you need to find out who and why.”  THEN you add into that, this woman works in the high rank of Rook for an organization that investigates supernatural occurrences.  Anyone who knows even a little about me would know that at this point I’m practically drooling over the thought of this book.  Unfortunately I failed to enjoy anything in this book past about chapter six.  This book’s main problem was an inexperienced author who had no comprehension of knowing how to structure a story well and an editor who fell asleep at the wheel.

My first sticking point with this book was the main character’s name.  The author shouldn’t have to tell me that MyFawny rhymes with Tiffany.  Which isn’t even the proper pronunciation of the name, which the character even says more than once!  It’s just a weird name.  Every time I saw it the same thought ran through my head, my fanny.  Every single time!  It always just made me give a little snort of laughter and I couldn’t get over it.

Then there was the letters and communications from “Thomas”, which is what MyFawny calls her personality from before the amnesia.  At first this information was interesting and I thought we were edging closer to figuring out who tried to kill her.  But after awhile the information was not interesting anyone.  I found myself yelling at the book about how much I didn’t care and could we please get back to the plot!  It only got worse when the author started interrupting action scenes with these info vomit sections. Quite literally the battle is going on, bodies are falling, people are being attacked, and we get treated to 10 pages about dragons that proved to be related to the main plot…well not at all.  I literally fell asleep 4 times in the middle of this information vomiting.

I also had a problem with the female point of view.  It was just off and wrong and felt awkward.  For example, right after the wake up to amnesia MyFawny stands in front of a mirror assessing the quality of her breasts and showing appreciation at her lack of cellulite.  Now, being a woman and knowing a lot of women, I can tell you that women do not behave this way!  In another circumstance MyFawny gains control over someone’s body who is trying to stab people and her first thought is “oh she’s on her period.”  Again, really?  Then we also had a huge problem with MyFawny CONSTANTLY belittling and passively aggressively attacking women who she thought were attractive.  Referring to them as bitchy or hoping they slept their way to the top and were really idiots.  Most women don’t feel that way.  I started to wonder if the author had ever even talked to a woman because he can’t write one.

Now we have the fact that this is set in London, but half the book sounded entirely American.  For example, MyFawny orders blueberry pancakes.  Now, my fiance lives in England and I asked him about this, and he has never really ever seen pancakes at all on a menu unless it was a restaurant that sported an American menu.  Other Americanisms abound like couch instead of sofa, lunch instead of dinner, dinner instead of tea, cell phone instead of mobile, sidewalk instead of pavement.  It just was terribly obvious.  It was even written with American spellings.  The author is Australian so there’s no reason the spelling couldn’t at least be more accurate.  Then about halfway through the book it turned into “Bloody hell where did I put my mobile!?”  It was such a shocking change I actually did a double take.

Finally, the plot was a mess.  The main point, according to the synopsis, was to find MyFawny’s would be assassin.  That was largely ignored and the plot didn’t progress at all until it miraculously got solved in the last 50 pages.  Instead we had this totally different plot entirely, which frankly wasn’t very interesting.  By the time we got to the ending I just wanted it to be over, I wasn’t looking forward to anything and then it just got more depressing.  The ending was so cliched that I just started to laugh hysterically and couldn’t stop myself.  The bad guy kidnaps MyFawny just so that he can have her explain how she found him out and so that he can gloat about his evil deeds.  Then she miraculously turns the situation around and saves herself!  Excuse while I wipe a tear from my eye, the hysterical laughter is back.

This book was just bad, there is no other word for it.  It has a fascinating premise and a few really good characters but all of that amounted to nothing.  Right now this is not planned for a series, and I think that is the right move to make.  Please, I beg you, just let it end here.

 

Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

Published September 27th, 2011 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Synopsis and Cover photo from Goodreads book page

Buy this book at: B&N / Amazon / Book Depository

Synopsis: Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”; she speaks many languages–not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When one of the strangers–beautiful, haunted Akiva–fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

Rating (out of 5):

Review: I really want to try to review this without sounding like one of those Twihard fans who think they might have spotted Robert Pattinson in a crowd.  Alas, I don’t think I can do that, because I just loved this book so much.  I was entranced by it.  I found myself sitting at the table for a half hour after I finished eating because I just couldn’t stop reading.  When I didn’t have the book in my hands I was thinking about the book, wishing I had brought it with me wherever I was.  I had to force myself to put the book down when I needed to go to sleep.

 
The thing that first attracted me to this book was the cover.  It is spectacular and gorgeous.  I saw this cover from the aisle in the bookstore and it drew me to the book immediately.  Then when I read the blurb I thought to myself, well this sounds interesting and unique.  But I had no idea how unique and entrancing it would be.

 
When I first started the book I wondered if I had made a mistake.  I was having a hard time connecting to the characters and to the writing.  I was interested in the story but the writing was throwing me off and I grew concerned that I may not like the book after all.  But after about 50 pages I was drawn into it and started breezing through the pages at a rapid pace.  Parts of the story were familiar to me, like the hamsa tattoos.  But the way they were used in the story was new and different and very creative.  I really connected with Karou for a lot of reasons.  She was a strong, smart, self sufficient, kick ass heroine (which we don’t see often in YA).  But she also felt like she didn’t fit.  She didn’t completely fit in the world of Brimstone but didn’t completely fit in the normal world as well.  She was stuck in between and didn’t know which way to go.

The romance in this book was refreshing and real.  You could call it insta-love but it doesn’t feel that way.  I mean, let’s face it, they start the book by trying to kill each other.  That’s not really the mark of an insta-love relationship.  Now, once they started exploring their attraction to one another everything moved quickly after that.  But it felt natural to me.  They had real reasons to fall in love!  That was so nice to read.

I am frothing at the mouth for the sequel, it cannot get to my house fast enough so I can devour that one too.  This was by far one of the most creative and unique books I have ever read.  It was one of my favorite books of the year, and I think Ms. Taylor has a hugely successful career ahead of her.

Revealing Eden By Victoria Foyt

Revealing Eden by Victoria Foyt

Published January 10th, 2012 by Sand Dollar Press Inc

Synopsis and picture from the Goodreads book page
Normally, this is where I would put the links to buy this book, but I can’t bring myself to do it this time.  I beg you, please don’t buy this book for your own good.

Synopsis:

Eden Newman must mate before her 18th birthday in six months or she’ll be left outside to die in a burning world. But who will pick up her mate-option when she’s cursed with white skin and a tragically low mate-rate of 15%? In a post-apocalyptic, totalitarian, underground world where class and beauty are defined by resistance to an overheated environment, Eden’s coloring brands her as a member of the lowest class, a weak and ugly Pearl. If only she can mate with a dark-skinned Coal from the ruling class, she’ll be safe. Just maybe one Coal sees the Real Eden and will be her salvation her co-worker Jamal has begun secretly dating her. But when Eden unwittingly compromises her father’s secret biological experiment, she finds herself in the eye of a storm and thrown into the last area of rainforest, a strange and dangerous land. Eden must fight to save her father, who may be humanity’s last hope, while standing up to a powerful beast-man she believes is her enemy, despite her overwhelming attraction. Eden must change to survive but only if she can redefine her ideas of beauty and of love, along with a little help from her “adopted aunt” Emily Dickinson.

Rating (out of 5):

Review:  First, I would like to make a few things clear.  I did not just read other reviews and form my opinion.  I did not just read a few paragraphs and form my opinion.  Yes I am aware of the controversy surrounding this book and I decided that I was going to read it myself and see what the fuss was about.  I read the book in its entirety, from beginning to end and this is what I discovered.

The first item on the agenda is the naming of the different races in this book.  You have Coals for blacks, Pearls for whites, Amber for Asians, and Tiger Eye for Hispanics.  Now, according to the author the names of semi-precious stones are racial slurs because in this post-apocalyptic world gems are worthless, but coals is not a racial slur because coal is of vital importance in this society.  I can’t buy this for a few reasons.  1. The main character, Eden, refers to coal as a racial slur several times. 2. Another main character, Bramford, has a bracelet with a gemstone in it.  So clearly they can’t be that useless. 3. This is a society that lives underground, can imbed sensors into everyone’s brain to connect them to the rest of society, and have doctors and scientists who are researching genetic manipulation.  So, you expect me to believe this society only values simple things and has no use for things or wealth and privilege.  I just can’t buy it.  Not to mention that coal and cotton are racial slurs that have been used against the black community many times in the past, so to use them in this manner is offensive.

Now I want to talk about how racism is portrayed in this book.  Be warned this might be long and get into ranting territory. The author supposedly wrote this book to flip racism on its head and help white people understand racism better.  Okay, I’m a white person, I can never understand what it is like to be oppressed and subject to racist hate.  But I can learn about its impacts and have sympathy and compassion for those that it happens to and disgust for those being hateful.  So in this book, Eden is the oppressed minority.  I fail to see how she is so badly oppressed and the subject of racist hate.  She has a cushy job working in a laboratory, she has her own quarters, she has a dog, she gets paid for her job, and she seems to have the freedom to move about whenever she pleases and do what she pleases.  At one point she even hurls an incendiary racial slur at someone of the majority race and nothing happens!  In such a racist society, she would not have gotten off the hook.  She also wouldn’t have a job, get paid, be allowed to move freely, or anything else either.  Fact, during the slavery period of America, it was illegal to teach black slaves how to even read…do you think they let them go to a dance?  But poor oppressed Eden can go dress shopping and go to the dance and yet be oppressed at the same time.  Also, why are the Pearls allowed to breed at all?  If they are such inferior human beings with inferior genetics, why let them breed?  Stick em outside in the sun and let them die and then the problem of inferior genes is solved.

As I was trying to figure out exactly how Eden was being oppressed, I also noticed something else.  The only person acting in a racist manner in this book…is Eden!  She’s also something of a sexist too.  I stopped counting after fifteen times of her calling another woman (no matter color) a bitch.  Pretty much every sentence and thought that Eden had was race related.  She walks down the street, convinced that everyone is thinking of attacking her because she’s white.  It doesn’t matter that no one actually does, she still thinks it.  She can’t describe a single person without mentioning their race or something derogatory regarding their race.

And please don’t make me relive how she insists on referring to Bramford (who is the majority race) as a “beast”, a “monster”, a “bastard”, and a “creature”.  That, all by itself, was offensive to the extreme.  And what were Bramford’s evil offenses that led to such animosity?  Oh you know, giving her water, saving her from blowing up, saving her from drowning, giving her food, saving her from an anaconda, and repeatedly helping her survive her own stupidity.  Oh the humanity!  How dare he do such kind things for her!  Seriously every time he was kind to her, her next thought would be “That selfish beast!”  At one she even rides him around the jungle like a freaking pony at the fair!  Seriously?  I just can’t get over it.

But with how oppressed Eden is, you would think that she would have compassion and be understanding of other oppressed minorities right?  Oh no.  She references another pearl as a bitch, a liar, a conniving bitch, and various other lovely things without ever even meeting the woman.  She sees a cotton (albino) boy, about 7 years old, and screams like she’s being hacked to death by a serial killer.  Well gee, that’s compassionate and sure to make that little boy feel loved and accepted!

This book, in the end, is exactly what you should not be calling a book about race relations.  It is racist, sexist, and wholly offensive.  If you want to see a good portrayal of racism and how poisonous hatred can be, go watch American History X.  That is a fantastic portrayal of just how toxic racism is on all sides, from the side of the perpetrators and the victims alike.  It is a story about how people can see the error of their ways and change their lives.  It is a story about how devastating this kind of hatred is to everyone involved.  I cannot recommend that anyone buy or read this book, if you want to learn about racism go buy that movie instead.  At the end of the day, perhaps it was misguided for a woman who’s only interaction with the African American community was that she had a black maid as a child should have avoided attempting a treatise on race relations.

 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest and thoughtful review.  No money or goods were exchanged.

Angels’ Flight by Nalini Singh

Angels’ Flight by Nalini Singh

Published February 28th, 2012 by Berkley Sensation

Synopsis and cover from the Goodreads book page

Buy this book at: B&N / Amazon / Book Depository

Synopsis:

In Angel’s Wolf a vampire becomes fascinated with the seductive angel who rules Louisiana. But all is not what it appears to be in her court.

In Angels’ Judgment a hunter must track one of her own gone bad, while surviving the deadly tests placed in her way by the archangels themselves. Unexpected backup comes from a stranger who might just be the most lethal threat of all…

Plus FIRST TIME IN PRINT

In Angels’ Pawn a vampire hunter faces off against two rival factions and the angel manipulating them both, and a vampire whose help is not entirely selfless…

And NEVER BEFORE PUBLISHED

In Angels’ Dance an angel trapped in the mountain stronghold of the Refuge finds herself under siege by a warrior angel from a martial court.

Rating (out of 5):

Review:  I loved this book almost more than Archangel’s Storm.  Almost but not quite, Jason is still my book boyfriend and I love him the most out of all the characters presented so far.  But that doesn’t diminish the fact that the characters presented in these stories are excellent, and these were stories that needed to be told even if I didn’t know it prior to reading it.  The best way for me to review this is to address each story individually.

First was Angels’ Pawn, this is a story set prior to the first Guild Hunter book and follows Ashwini and her connection and relationship with Janvier.  She is asked to help in the kidnapping of a vampire, she asks Janvier come along because he used to belong to the court of the angel she is visiting, Nazarach.  I had a huge fangirl moment over this story.  I have been hoping to hear more about Ashwini and this vampire she has a love/hate relationship with.  But we have also heard a lot of rumor and interesting tidbits about Nazarach, so I wanted to see him first hand too.  Not only was this story exciting because it introduced me to characters I have longed to meet more intimately but because the story surprised me as well.  The case of the kidnapping isn’t at all what it seems and it gets Ashwini into some hot water.  I was really happy with this story and it wet my appetite for more about Ashwini in the future, fingers crossed!

Next up was Angels’ Judgement, the story of Sara becoming the Guild Director so this was also set prior to the beginning of the Guild Hunter series.  This story was an unexpected enjoyment for me.  I never really thought that I wanted to know more about Sara and Deacon and how they met or how she became the Director.  But I enjoyed it tremendously and it made me ask a lot of fascinating questions.  It revealed how involved and concerned the Cadre of Ten is with the selection of the Guild Hunter.  It also reveals that the Guild has a Slayer, one who’s job it is to hunt down hunters who go rogue.  This is what brings Deacon and Sara together and it was fantastic to watch.  But it also made me wonder…who did Sara choose as the new Slayer now that Deacon is retired to being a weapons maker and daddy and husband?
Third on the list was Angel’s Wolf where we get an introduction to two new characters Noel (one of Raphael’s vampires) and Nimra (the angel who rules over Louisiana).  She is concerned that someone is trying to kill her and asks Raphael for assistance in trying to sort out who the traitor in her court is.  Noel has been viciously attacked and seeks to escape so Raphael asks him to go help Nimra with her problem.  Nimra is greatly feared about the other angels and vampires alike, so Noel is surprised and intrigued to discover that she has a softer side too.  I wasn’t expecting this story but I did like it.  If I was forced to choose a least favorite it would probably be this one, but that’s just in comparison to how passionately I loved the other three.

Last was Angels’ Dance, the story of Jessamy meeting the mysterious Galen and becoming intrigued with him despite her refusal to become romantically involved with anyone for centuries.  I have liked Jessamy and Galen both from the limited time we have seen them.  And I vaguely recalled mention (ok, someone reminded me of the mention) that Jessamy and Galen were romantically linked in one of the other Guild Hunter books.  Another great point was their early relationship.  They started out not really even liking each other that much, but then circumstances force them together and they discover that there is much more to the other’s character than they first thought.  It was a touching, sweet, and romantic story that I thought was a perfect addition to this collection of short stories.  Jessamy got her story and I loved it.