Review: Nobody by Sarah M. Anderson

nobodyReviewed by Jen

Nobody is the kind of tortured hero I love.  He is strong and powerful, yet painfully vulnerable. He knows how to cherish and to protect, but he doesn’t know how to be loved.  He has been through hell and back, and he thinks that survival is the best he can hope for.  But we know better.

Even Melinda was intimidated the first time she saw him. All of those muscles; all of those scars; his silence; his stealth.  But it took her next to no time see beyond all that.   She asks him questions no one has ever dared. She looks at him when no one else does.  He barely knows what to do with that. He can’t wrap his brain around the idea that someone could want him. It pushes all my happy buttons. [Read more…]

Review: Time Untime

Reviewed by Jen

Time Untime is sort-of a companion piece to Retribution.  If you enjoyed that one, you’ll probably like this one.  The thing is, Retribution was one of my least favorite books in the Dark Hunter series.  I think I have reached maximum capacity on large-scale additional mythology in this already complicated universe.  I felt very disconnected to the Native American elements featured so heavily in that book and I knew that same thread would continue into this one.

Some of the problems I had with Retribution did pop up again here. But not all of them. The Native American mythology is central to the story, but the familiar Greek pantheon is woven in.  Add to that a healthy dose of familiar favorites, like Acheron, Nick, Uriel, Sundown and Sasha, and it made it much more palatable.

The hero of the story is Ren, who we got to know during Sundown’s book.  He is one of those trademark Kenyon tortured heroes.  Descended from a goddess and thrust into the care of the father who never wanted him, Ren was an outcast among his people. He was ridiculed and ostracized for his lineage, his stutter, and anything else that made him different.  His back story was very reminiscent of Acheron’s.  The degree of torture was nowhere near the same, but they were both rejected for the circumstances of their birth, while their over-entitled brothers were groomed as princes.

When a woman finally showed Ren some attention, she turned out to be an agent for evil, leading him down the wrong path.  He made Bad Choices and while possessed by The Grizzly Spirit, he was an evil and deadly weapon.  Now, thousands of years later, he is still trying to right the wrongs of his past. Made immortal by Artemis, he’s had plenty of time to try, but he has lived a solitary existence focused on his duties as a Dark Hunter.  All of that changes when he meets Kateri.

The latest in a line of Native American women with mystical powers, Teri is tasked with keeping closed a portal between humanity and hell dimensions.  She never really believed the fanciful stories her grandmother told her as a child, but once a slew of bad guys started coming for her, she realized just how wrong she was to disbelieve.  Thankfully, Ren and a handful of other Dark Hunters come to her aid, both to protect her and help her with her mission.  That’s when she recognizes Ren as the man she has had visions of since her childhood.

The visions of Ren continue as she gets to know him better, giving her a keen insight into his past and his true character.  She falls for him quickly, wanting to right the wrongs done to him his whole life.  This is where the story really gets that old, familiar feel.  The one where the hero is shocked that someone so good and pure and beautiful could ever love someone as wretched as him. Where he is stunned when she looks at him like he mattered.  Kenyon fans know what I’m talking about.  On one hand, it’s a little overdone. On the other, it’s what Kenyon does best.   It’s hard not to root for such a underdog… to want to witness him learning his own worth.

In the end, it was a mixed bag of the old and the new.  I liked it better than Retribution.  It’s kind of like an old, warm sweater you pull out of your closet every autumn.  Not pulse pounding or flashy, but familiar and comfortable.

Rating: B-

*ARC Provided by St Martin’s Press

Click to purchase: Amazon
Time Untime
by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Release Date: August 7, 2012
Publisher: St Martin’s Press

Review: Killing Time

Reviewed by Jen

I loved this book.  It was fresh; It was poignant; It was action packed and sexy.  And I’m so sad that it’s over.

Sephti is bittern, a living weapon, genetically engineered by the Fae.  Her kind was designed to kill, to follow orders.  But somehow, Sephti is different. She is self-aware and she has only one goal: to defeat the Fae that created her.

To reach her objective, Sephti hopes to ally herself with a powerful vampire named James.  But she is intercepted by Koda, a Native American… well, let’s just call him “more-than-human.”  He views her with animosity and distrust, thinking at first that she is Fae.  But in time, the two of them come to realize they share the same goals.

Slowly, they begin to acknowledge their attraction to one another.  Working together, they forge a mutual respect, which eventually leads to much, much more.  One of the things that was done so well in this book was the evolution of their relationship.  It was lovely.  Sephti thinks so little of herself, beyond her capabilities as a killer.  But it’s through Koda’s eyes, she begins to see herself as more.  For a being who doesn’t know what love is, she manages to feel it… to show it… in a way that leaves no doubt in your mind.  And Koda (**sigh**) –what a fantastic hero.  He is loyal, sexy, stalwart and strong.

The love scenes are sexy, but not tawdry.  But it’s more about the journey of the relationship than the consummation.  And as awesome as the romance is, the action is just as good… as Sephti and Koda fight the growing threat from a vampire who has exposed supernaturals to the world and the Fae army he’s in league with. There is great word-building at play.  I loved the background on the bittern and the Fae.  It was all clear and easy to understand.  I do not have a single complaint.

This is the second book in Elisa Paige’s Time series.  The events of Stealing Time are referenced and the main characters do appear, but this works just fine as a stand alone.  I may go back and read the first book anyway. If I enjoy it half as much as I liked this one, it will be worth it.  5 stars.

*ARC Provided by NetGalley
Click to purchase: Amazon
Killing Time
by Elisa Paige
Release Date: August 22, 2011
Publisher: Carina Press

Review: Retribution

Any fan of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter books, can tell you that this is a series that requires you to pay attention.  Sure, on the surface, each book is a romance featuring a different couple with some preternatural connection. But from the very beginning, these books have had an ongoing story playing out in the background. First it was just the battle between the Dark-Hunters and the Daimons; Greek mythology played a big part. Then we had some Atlantean lore thrown in the mix.  Beyond Acheron’s book, demons began to play a bigger role and by the time we got to Bad Moon Rising, we had a new subplot that Kenyon is calling the Hellchasers, featuring Thorn and his bad-boy gang. I made a real effort to try to connect to that because I thought that’s where the series was going next. I was wrong.

Sundown’s story is, in some ways, a throwback to the old books.  It features characters we haven’t seen much of in a long time.  Characters like Sundown, himself… Zarek, Sin, Sasha, and Talon.  But in other ways, it’s dramatically different.  Kenyon put almost everything she’s been building on pause for this one to introduce an entirely new Pantheon of Native American gods and mythology.  There are Dark Hunters and Daimons in the books, but at times I felt like it was unrecognizable from the books preceding it.  Ash is just a mention (other than a “bonus scene” at the end.)  Artemis & Nick each have a cameo.  No Savitar. No Stryker, Jaden or Jared.  It just felt disconnected.

That’s not to say it was bad. It wasn’t.  The romance features Sundown and Abigail.  It begins with the heroine trying to kill the hero because she thinks he murdered her parents.  After their deaths, she was raised by Apollites. When she was grown, they gave her demon blood to make her strong enough to kill Dark Hunters. In her quest to get to Sundown, she kills someone important in the Native American pantheon, which sets the stage for an apocalypse.  As the book progresses, she must overcome her misconceptions about Sundown and work with him to try to avert the disaster she has set in motion.  And they fall for each other in the process.  Kenyon is at her best when she does romance. And while this relationship isn’t my favorite of hers, I did enjoy it.

(I could have done with a couple less pop culture references, though. I enjoyed the first few, but after about the 10th one, I was ready for her to reign them in.)

It seems Kenyon plans to continue with the Native American storyline in the next book.  It will feature Dark Hunter Ren, who was a major player in this story.  I don’t know how I feel about that. The bonus scene at the end, featuring Ash & Tory really brought home for me how much I missed the New Orleans gang and the mythology I know.  But I have no doubt I’ll be there next year, to follow where Kenyon leads. It’s never a dull ride. 3 1/2 stars.

Retribution
by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Release Date: August 2, 2011
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press