Review: A Trace of Moonlight

Reviewed by Jen

I have mixed feeling about this book. After the massive cliffhanger on A Sliver of Shadow, I was practically foaming at the mouth to see what would happen to Abby once she lost her memory.  But I was put on edge from the very beginning.  I felt like Abby developed real feelings for Talivar in the last book, but here it seemed like he was set up to lose from the very start.

As the story begins, Abby doesn’t remember anything, but she is betrothed to Talivar.  She views him warmly, but when she overhears him talking with Moira about her memory loss and her true identity, she feels betrayed. She runs… straight into Maurice… who does Something Really Bad to her and steals her amulet. She tries to leave the Fairy Court, but the Queen stops her, putting a geas on her that keeps her away from the Crossroads.  To escape her, Abby agrees to marry Talivar on the spot and escape with him.

In the meantime, Brystion has visited her in her dreams, leaving her with a special gift that makes her more powerful. It’s also a massive sacrifice on his part. Abby can’t get to him, though. She remains with Talivar as he takes over the Unseelie Court and continues his pursuit of Maurice who is now using Abby’s amulet to further his nefarious schemes.  When an attack from his mercenaries clears the way for Brystion to pull Abby through the veil, it also nearly kills the Tree of Life that feeds the Crossroads.  And from then on out, it’s a race to both track down Maurice and save the tree before it is gone forever.

I liked the action arc of the story. The part with the Fae and the scheming. The fighting, the tree, the subsequent search for Melanie.  All of that is very cool. But the love triangle is a different story. I felt like Abby strung me these two men along for virtually the entire book.  She says she loves Talivar. She sleeps with Talivar.  She sleeps with Brystion. She loves Brystion.  At first, it seems like Ion has it in the bag, due to the nature of his sacrifice. Then those circumstances change and we go round and round. She “can’t” choose between them. Poor Talivar even offers to share.  And then, it feels like an external factor solidifies her choice. Is that why she picked who she did? She did pick someone, right?

Oh, and don’t get me started on the ending!! Not the resolution to the Maurice/ tree/ Fairy thing. That was good.  But the relationship ending… I really didn’t like it.  I’m not going to spoil it, but it felt so out of place in the story.  Not to mention, I was left with so many questions. What really happened to the character who returns at the very end?  Will they have a future together? What kind of future will it be?  I can’t even list all the questions without spoiling the plot, but if this is the end of the series, I want clear resolution.  Don’t ask me to draw my own conclusions. Especially since Abby’s heart was so hard to read throughout.

It felt… unfinished.  I understand that Allison Pang could end up with more books in the series. And if she gets them, I will keep reading.  But if this ends up being the end of Abby Sinclair, I am just not satisfied with how she left things.

I would, however, love a book on Melanie and Nobu.

*ARC provided by author for review

Click to purchase: Amazon
A Trace of Moonlight
by Allison Pang
Release Date: October 30, 2012
Publisher: Pocket Books

Review: A Sliver of Shadow

Reviewed by Jen

OK. I have to start out by telling you that this book ends on a massive, hairy cliffhanger. I want to get this out of the way because it’s the only thing that did not absolutely rock about this story. I loved it from beginning to… well, ALMOST the very end.

The action picks up about six months after the events of the last book. Brystion is still gone. Abby is working to become stronger in the Dreaming. And Moira has left again. This time, she is in Faery, taking care of her sick mother, the Fae Queen. Abby is watching over the baby and maintaining her job as the Touchstone of the Protectorate.

All that is plenty to deal with –but things get more complicated when a Fae woman shows up, claiming to be Moira’s replacement. And then it really hits the fan when the Queen shuts down the paths between human and Faery realms, leaving many Fae trapped on the wrong side of the doors. Abby joins forces with Moira’s brother Talivar and those closest to her –to travel to Faery, hoping to convince the Queen to re-open the paths.

There is so much going on, this is just the tip of the iceberg. I love the world-building in these books, which are heavily steeped in the Fae. But even more than that, I love the rich and fleshed out characters at the heart of the story. Allison Pang does such a fantastic job, I feel like I know them. Abby: the woman trying to learn her place in the world and striving to do the right thing by everyone, while struggling to know her own heart. Talivar: the crippled prince with vulnerability and a nobility that extends far beyond his royalty. Brystion… OK, I still don’t know what the deal is with Brystion, but he does come back. And the spark is still there.

Speaking of which, we’ve got a love triangle all of a sudden. I understand why Abby is torn (though if my vote counts, it goes to Talivar.) There is great chemistry with both men, though their relationships are very, very different. I still feel like the reason Brystion left at the end of the last book was lame; and it’s made worse that he seems to change his tune for no tangible reason at all. Whereas, Talivar is broken. But his role in Abby’s life –and their blooming relationship– are healing him. He is a good man and he is good to her.

There’s satisfying sex, family drama, action, danger, legend, blossoming love and sacrifice on a massive scale. And somehow, during it all, it still manages to make me laugh. Frankly, who doesn’t love a cantankerous, horny, miniature unicorn? There’s so much more that I want to say, but I already feel like I am rambling. I’ll leave you with this: I have no idea what is going to happen next, but I can’t wait to find out. Almost 5 stars.

*ARC Provided by Pocket Books

Click to purchase: Amazon
A Sliver of Shadow
by Allison Pang
Release Date: February 28, 2012
Publisher: Pocket Books

Review: A Brush of Darkness

Reviewed by Jen

Allison Pang has created an interesting and unique world with the Abby Sinclair series. It’s one dominated by the Fae, but features an array of supernatural species from angels to demons and everything in between.

Abby is a human, but she’s special. She serves as a Touchstone to the Fae Protectorate, Moira. Her job is essentially to anchor Moira to the human plane, help her cross between worlds, and to assist with disputes and problems Moira helps settle. In exchange, Abby will not age for the seven years of her contract with Moira; and when she is done, she gets one wish. Unfortunately, Moira has gone missing and Abby has to hold down the fort in her absence. She keeps the disappearance a secret as long as she can, but things are becoming more complicated than she can handle alone.

A sexy incubus named Brystion shows up, needing help to find his missing succubus sister. Abby agrees to work with him, which lands her in the thick of danger. The succubus is one of several of her kind who has disappeared –and it all may or may not be tied to what happened to Moira. Tensions run high as Abby is blamed for her boss’ absence. And all of this is happening as she deals with her own internal demons that have been plaguing her ever since the car accident that killed her mother.

It took me awhile to connect with the book because the world building was revealed so slowly. Often in the early chapters, I felt lost or like I had missed something. But once the basics were laid out and the romance started to build steam, I got more invested. (Didn’t I mention the romance? Come on! The hero is an incubus. What did you expect?) I found myself going back and forth with how I felt about the relationship between Abby and Brystion. There were times, in his softer moments, that I really rooted for these two. But then, I’d find myself questioning how real it all was and how much it had to do with the fact he was an incubus. Does he want her for who she is or for the juice she can give him?

The questions, the sex, and action really got me wrapped up in it all. Not to mention, a healthy dose of humor, some really engaging secondary characters –and a talking, horny miniature unicorn. I was really enjoying it all until I slammed into the brick wall of an ending, going about 90 miles per hour. Don’t worry, I’m not going to spoil the end. But I will tell you that I didn’t like it. And I didn’t understand a single good reason why it had to go that way, except to set the stage for the next book. And that kind of ticks me off.

So I am conflicted about how to rate the book. For the most part, it was really great. It made me laugh out loud. It surprised me with its twists and turns and unexpected betrayals.  But it also confused me occasionally and it made me mad. Mmm… 4 stars.


*ARC Provided by Pocket Books

A Brush of Darkness
by Allison Pang
Release Date: January 25, 2011
Publisher: Pocket Books

Review: Banshee Charmer

Reviewed by Jen

Mac is a cop who investigates cases involving the supernatural. She, herself, is half-banshee. Her latest case involves what appears to be an incubus killing a string of women… and when someone close to Mac becomes his latest victim, the investigation gets personal.

The sexy Aidan is working by her side to solve the case –and of course, it’s only a matter of time before the two of them get horizontal. Aidan is the best thing the book has going for it: he’s hot and sort of mysterious. And the sex is good. There is nothing wrong with Mac, necessarily, but her character wasn’t given much depth and all of her actions were pretty much in reaction to the events in the book.

The story was entertaining, but very predictable. Not only was Aidan’s identity transparent from the first time we saw him, but I even figured out his relationship to the killer early on as well. This book is clearly the first in a series, but the ending felt abrupt. Yes, the murder arc was solved, but the stuff between Mac and Aidan was left wide open. It didn’t end so much as it just stopped.

I think the series has potential, especially if the author is not quite as heavy handed with the hints on the next go around. Perhaps future installments will give us bit more character development –and hopefully, more of that hot sex. 3 stars.

*ARC Provided by NetGalley

Banshee Charmer
by Tiffany Allee
Release Date: January 24, 2012
Publisher: Entangled Publishing

Review: Heart of the Incubus

Reviewed by Jen

Oh Cresso, your story is every bit as delicious as I hoped it would be.

This novella is kind of a detour in the Demons of the Infernum series. All the main novels feature one of four half-demon brothers. But here, we get the love story of a secondary character, Cresso. He is the incubus who came up with a way for sex demons to mate outside their species without killing their partners. And that’s mighty convenient, since he has fallen in love with a human.

Genevieve is a scientist in the lab where he works. Not only does she seem to be immune to Cresso’s charms, she appears to actively dislike him. Of course, that’s just a mask for the deep attraction she feels toward him. Genevieve was deeply betrayed in a past relationship and fears that an incubus would never be able to be faithful. Which means Cresso is off-limits. But when Genevieve starts receiving threatening letters and packages, Cresso can’t help but step in to protect her. And from there, he begins to slowly break down the walls she has built around her heart.

I really enjoyed this short story. At about 120 pages, it was long enough to give me a real feel for both main characters. (Though I was honestly already intrigued with Cresso in Touch of the Angel.) I could easily understand Genevieve’s reservations about beginning a relationship with a playboy. But at the same time, Cresso’s refusal to feel off other women goes a long way to show just how much he feels for her. The sexual tension was good and the payoff did not disappoint.

I really enjoyed this one –and the bonus appearances from Maya and Taeg. 4 1/2 stars.

*ARC Provided by Entangled Publishing

Heart of the Incubus
by Rosalie Lario
Release Date: January 3, 2012
Publisher: Entangled Publishing