Review: Night Resurrected

Reviewed by Jen

I’ll be honest.  I didn’t really want this book.  I didn’t like the idea of Remy with Wyatt, and frankly, I wasn’t ready for him to move on from his wife and kids.  I started grumbling about it when I saw the writing on the wall in the last book.  But while I did have some problems with the romance, I did eventually get to the point where I was ok with Wyatt moving on from his old life.  That doesn’t mean I still didn’t have some issues, but I enjoyed the book more than I thought I would.

The story begins with Wyatt tracking down Remy, who is making her way to Envy.  The stone her grandfather gave her is becoming a beacon for the zombies, so their journey is difficult.  The problems are exacerbated when Dantes the dog gets hurt and Ian the bounty hunter joins their party.  The story follows their trip as well as the continuing efforts of the Strangers as they try to get their hands on Remy and what we learn is the so called “mother stone.”

Let’s talk first about what I liked about the book.  It felt like a real return to the old vibe of the series.  It was more about the post-apocalyptic and zombie stuff than the dolphins and cultists and the Atlantis mythology that were so prevalent in the later installments.  I LIKE the zombies and the apocalypse stuff so that was a definite win.  It reminded me of the early books of the series in that way.  I also really liked revisiting the couples from the early books.

What I didn’t like… in a word… was Wyatt. I understand his angst. I really do. But he was such a dick to Remy.  It was not her fault that he was attracted to her, but he sure did make her pay for it.  Every time he felt a connection to her, every time he gave in to the temptation to touch her or kiss her, he would slap her down.  And that went a long way to sapping the large pool of sympathy I had amassed for him from the loss of his wife and kids.

Joss Ware did give me a great surprise that went a long way helping both him (and me) move on from his loss.  I liked how she helped ease his pain… and I liked the the emergence of his gift.  I thought Remy was a fairly good heroine, though even with the healing mojo she received, I felt like she got over her abuse a little easily.

The overall story arc is moving along, but it feels like it is drawing to a close. I am just hoping we get an Ian book before it’s all said and done. I still feel like there is a redemption story in there, even if it’s not with the woman I had envisioned.

Rating: B-

*ARC Provided by Avon

Click to purchase: Amazon
Night Resurrected
by Joss Ware (Colleen Gleason)
Release Date: February 26, 2013
Publisher: Avon

Review: Night Forbidden

Reviewed by Jen

It’s been 50 years since a near-Apocalypse changed the world forever.  Power hungry men and the rulers of Atlantis orchestrated the Change, each for their own ends.  Now a small band of survivors, the Resistance, is trying to rebuild and stop their ongoing schemes.

Fence is part of the Resistance.  But he is different than most because he actually lived in the time before the change and was in some kind of stasis, not aging for half a century.  He lost everyone he ever loved, but he is readjusting to his new life in his new surroundings.

Ana is a descendant of Atlantis. She wants nothing to do with her mother’s people, for she knows the brutality they are capable of.  Their one gift to her was in implanting the crystals into her body that allow her to breathe underwater. It’s beneath the surface of the sea she feels whole, unencumbered by the effects of a leg ravaged by injury.  It’s ironic that she would come to fall for a man who is utterly terrified of water.

When Fence and Ana meet, there is a fast attraction, but there are roadblocks.  Ana fears getting close to any man, because she doesn’t want anyone to see her crystals.  And Fence is the kind of guy who prefers a bit of fun to real romance.  He’s a smooth operator, a ladies man, and no one is more surprised than him when he begins falling for Ana.

I liked the love story well enough. A cocky player isn’t my favorite kind of hero, but Fence is charming enough.  Ana’s story isn’t shocking, but as we learn more about her secrets, it peels back more of the layers in the world-building surrounding the Change.

I have to say that the series has a very different feel than it did in the early books, where the zombie-like gangas were featured so prominently. In this book, the zombies barely exist and it’s all about the Atlantians as the nemesis in the story.  It’s less about a constant physical threat and more about the machinations of these powerful beings.  I miss the zombies. They were cool.  Everything is growing more and more complicated and I wish I would have reread the earlier books before I started reading this one. Most of it came back to me, but it took a little time.  I wonder how easy it would be for a new reader to follow at this point.

Though the lion’s share of the story follows Fence and Ana, we do see some familiar faces, like Quent, Zoe and Elliott.  And we get some very, very short scenes with Wyatt and Remy.  I guess we’re being set up for a love story between these two, which bums me out. I was really hoping for a redemption story for Ian with Remy… and frankly, I’m not ready for Wyatt to get over his wife and kids, but I am getting ahead of myself.

I liked it. I appreciated having a physically imperfect heroine.  There’s some pretty good banter and a couple of love scenes to heat things up.  But I wish we could have had more time for a relationship to develop between these two before they starting throwing around the L-word.  It was only a week! Come on!!

I’m hoping the next installment goes back a little more to the gritty side I know this series has to offer. More zombies and bounty hunters, less crystals and swimming with the dolphins.

Rating: B-

*ARC Provided by Avon

Click to purchase: Amazon
Night Forbidden
by Joss Ware (Colleen Gleason)
Release Date: July 31, 2012
Publisher: Avon

Review: The Vampire Narcise

Reviewed by Jen

It’s a rare thing for me to find a book that truly surprises me.  I read a lot of books from the same genre and they tend to follow patterns.  And though I enjoy many of them thoroughly and may find a minor surprise here or there, I’m rarely as wrong about a book as I was about this one.

I had lukewarm feelings for The Vampire Voss, but I forged on and found I really liked The Vampire Dimitri. The two books were similar in tone and seemed to set up a pattern I just expected the third installment to follow.  But it didn’t. I wasn’t even right about who the love interest was, much less how the story would progress.  Much to my surprise, this was the love story of Narcise and GIORDAN, not Narcise and Woodmore.  Beyond that, it was not a rehash of the events of the first two books, but rather was set mostly before and after those events.

I usually detail at least a set-up on the plot of the books I review, but I really have already said too much.  For those totally unfamiliar with the series, Narcise is a vampire held captive by her twisted brother. Giordan is the man who falls for her and risks everything to free her.  (…I will not spoil… I will not spoil… I will not spoil...) Seriously, I couldn’t believe the sacrifice he was willing to make. Nor did I ever expect the book to take such a turn!And the way Narcise responded to his selflessness made want to pelt her with rotten eggs!

I am so glad I didn’t stop after the first book. Or the second.  This book blew me away.  And I think part of it was the bait and switch from the first two installments. Brava, Colleen Gleason! I would definitely recommend the series. Just be prepared, this last book is far from sunshine and roses. There are some very low points for our characters here, some which include rape.  It’s a story about sacrifice, perseverance, and love. And definitely worth reading. 5 stars.*ARC Provided by NetGalley

Review: The Vampire Dimitri

Reviewed by Jen

Everything that was wrong with The Vampire Vossis made right in this sequel.  We’ve gone from a tepid love story featuring a hero I couldn’t care much about –to a fiery, passionate story featuring a charismatic couple that set the page on fire. This book reads as a clear companion to its predecessor. The events from The Vampire Voss are featured in the first half of this installment, but we see the scenes from the perspectives of different characters and very little dialogue is repeated.  That part of the book flies by and I didn’t feel like I was re-reading the first book.  In fact, in Voss, we’re set up to see only the negative interactions between our hero Dimitri and the bold, pushy Maia. But obviously, their fiery exchanges were only laying the groundwork for their explosive relationship.

Just a little backstory: Dimitri is a vampire who is playing guardian to Maia and her sister Angelica, while their older brother is missing. Another vamp is trying to get his hands on both girls to use them against their brother.  And though they seem like oil and water, and despite the fact that Maia is engaged to another man… Maia and Dimitri are drawn together.  Dimitri hates what he is, and denies his vampire tendencies. Before all hell breaks loose, Maia doesn’t even know vampires exist.  Add that to fact that Dimitri finds her overbearing and Maia finds him haughty and rude, their sexual tension is sky-high. And when they finally start to allow themselves to acknowledge it… Well, suffice it to say, there is a great scene in the carriage that left me fanning myself.

This one was so good, I’m almost afraid to read The Vampire Narcise. I just don’t see how it can live up to this one.  4 1/2 stars.

*ARC Provided by NetGalley

Review: The Vampire Voss

Reviewed by Jen

In his nearly 150 years on Earth, Voss has thought little of anyone or anything except himself. He is a smooth talking seducer, who spends his time making conquests and finding ways to best others. It was those very failings in his personality which led Lucifer to extend the offer to make him a vampire all those years ago.  And it’s what leads him to pursue Angelica as our story begins.

Angelica was born with psychic gifts that Voss hopes to use to his advantage.  But once he meets the young girl, he finds himself drawn to her.  Even though Angelica’s brother is a vampire hunter –and her new guardian is a vampire, she knows nothing of the supernatural beyond her own abilities.  Of course, once she meets Voss, that changes in short order.

Voss isn’t the only vampire who wants Angelica. Another vamp is after her too… only he is out for revenge against her brother. Voss quickly becomes her protector against the danger… and for the first time, he is fighting his own baser instincts to do right by the woman he is falling for.

It took me a little while to get into this book. My favorite supernatural books tend to be dark. And this one isn’t.  Voss isn’t a tortured hero. He’s a golden boy, who has to learn humility. And while he is charming, it was hard for me to get very emotionally invested in him.  That was even more the case as he continued boffing other women as he allegedly pined for Angelica.  About halfway through the book, I found myself growing more interested in the story. By that point, Gleason was weaving threads through several characters and storylines, which will no doubt set-up the next two books in the Regency Draculia series.

As for the sex. Well, there isn’t much to speak of. Don’t get me wrong, Voss is humping all over the place.  But most of what happens on-page is a lot of virginal pining as well as some kissing and a little wandering hands.  The book is nearly over when our couple seals the deal. And while that scene isn’t exactly chaste, it didn’t make me blush either.

In all, it was a good, light read, that got better the further I got into it.  I liked the world building and most of the characters. And I find myself looking forward to Dimitri’s book. 4 stars.

*ARC Provided by NetGalley

Series Reading Order: Regency Draculia

This is the reading order for the Regency Draculia series by Colleen Gleason:

Review: Night Betrayed

Reviewed by Jen

Imagine living 78 years; surviving a near apocalypse; seeing your world fall prey to zombies; watching your twin age… all while remaining an attractive version of your 30 year-old self.  That’s what happened to Theo. He’s a computer genius, one of the leaders of the Resistance against those responsible for ravaging Earth. And while surrounded by friends, he’s still alone, isolated by what makes him different.

But things change when he meets Selena. She is a strong and special woman, who doesn’t look her 50 years of age. But she is very aware that she is (or rather, appears to be) much older than Theo.  He is delivered to her, nearly dead from a gunshot wound. But instead of leading him to the other side, as she has done for so many, she manages to bring him back to life.  Selena can see death coming and guide souls to the beyond, but what most people don’t know is that she also feels she needs to save the souls of the zombies now roaming the land… even at great risk to herself.

I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about an older heroine. Frankly, it’s unusual enough to have a female lead that’s my age, much less one only a few years younger than my mom. But for Theo, it makes sense. He’s 78 for crying out loud.  And Selena is a great fit for him. Their sex scenes are steamy… and we manage to continue with the series arc detailing the planet’s “Change” and the orgins of the zombie gangas.

There are some upsetting parts of the book that I didn’t see coming…  namely, an unexpected death, which made me cry. And the rape of a female character, which was (thankfully) wasn’t too graphically detailed, but disturbing all the same.

A solid installment, one I enjoyed more than I expected. Check out the earlier books in the Envy Chronicles if you haven’t already.  4 stars.

*ARC Provided by NetGalley

Review: Abandon the Night

Reviewed by Jen

The post-apocalyptic drama of the Envy Chronicles continues in this third installment, featuring Quent & Zoe.  Quent is on a mission to find his father, who was one of the men responsible for the near-destruction of the Earth.  Quent and four other men are living 50 years in the future.  They had been trapped in some AZ caves in 2010 when the “Change” happened and spent five decades in stasis. When they emerged from the caves, they had not aged at all, but each of the men had developed a special ability. Quent’s skill is pyschometry,  the ability to be able to see the history of an object by touching it.

Zoe is on a mission of her own: to kill the bounty hunter responsible for the death of her family –and to take down as many zombies as possible while she does it. She’s lived a solitary existence for 10 years, but Quent brings her humanity back to life.  The pair teams up as their goals converge. And while the physical part of their relationship sparked from the beginning, the emotional connection was the payoff in this book.

While their romance progresses, we learn more about what led to the “Change.” And we get a better look some of the peripheral characters… here’s hoping for an Ian/Remy story in the future.  Overall, I enjoyed this one… maybe not quite as much as Simon’s story, but definitely worth the read.

4 stars.

Review: Embrace the Night Eternal

Reviewed by Jen

What a difference one book can make! After lukewarm feelings for Beyond the Night, I wasn’t sure I wanted to read this book… especially since the lead character, Simon, didn’t really spark much interest for me. But I’m really glad I did. Unlike the first installment in the Envy Chronicles, I felt real emotion for the characters –a connection I just didn’t have the first time around.

The concept for the series: the world is 50 years past a near-apocalypse. Many of the survivors are living in what was once Las Vegas, NV, which is now called N-V or Envy.  Creeping around at night are killer zombies called gangas… and pulling their strings are the nefarious Strangers, people who were once human, now made immortal by implanting special crystals in their bodies.  It is likely they were behind the “Change” that sent the Earth into near ruin.  Five men from 2010 now find themselves in this new world. They had gone exploring in an AZ cave and went into a kind of stasis for 50 years, awaking only 6 months before the events of the story. They had not aged, but instead came out stronger, each with a unique ability.

Simon was a crime lord’s bodyguard in his old life.  But he sees the Change as a chance to become a new man.  He is attracted to Sage, a quiet computer whiz and member of the Resistance, trying to bring down the Strangers. But he thinks she is in a relationship with another man, so he refuses to pursue his feelings. Sage is something of an outcast in Envy, because she comes from a settlement that’s like a breeding camp. She and Simon end up teaming up to infiltrate her old town to learn more about one of the leaders of the Strangers. While they’re there, it gets harder and harder to fight their growing attraction.

I really liked Simon. He’s one of those men with a dark past and hopelessness about the future –but deep down he is a really good guy, worthy of love.  I loved watching him fall in love with Sage and each time they get closer to acting on their feelings, the story gets hotter and hotter.  This was a huge improvement over the last book and I’m sorry to see it end.  Here’s hoping the next book will be as good!

4 1/2 stars.

Review: Beyond the Night

Reviewed by Jen

It’s 50 years in the future. And Earth has undergone a near-apocalypse.  Humanity’s numbers have dwindled –and there are killer zombies. OK, maybe not exactly zombies, but close enough; they’re called gangas.  And there are also sort-of immortal people called Strangers.  Thrust into this strange new world are five men from the past.  They were exploring an Arizona cave when the “Change” happened. And they went into some kind of stasis for five decades, waking only about 6 months before our story begins.  Now, they’re trying to find some kind of civilization and answers about what happened to the world.

One of the five men is Elliot. He is a doctor. And ever since the cave-thing, now he has some medical superpowers, where he can scan people like an MRI or something and heal them with his touch. Only problem is that he takes the illness onto himself or passes it on to the next person he touches.  Anyway, on their travels, the men run into a group of teens at the mercy of some gangas and they attempt to rescue them. But a mysterious woman also comes to their aid.  That woman is Jade. She has a tortured history that includes years of imprisonment and brutality at the hands of the Strangers.  Now she is part of the Resistance, fighting the mysterious immortals, that may or may not be to blame for Earth’s near destruction.

Of course, Elliot and Jade are our star-crossed lovers. It takes awhile for them to get over their skittishness and seal the deal.  Their romance was ok. I’m not sure why, but it didn’t hit the mark entirely for me.  Frankly, I was more interested in what was happening with side-character Quent and a mysterious archer woman.  I’m sure they’ll get their own book down the line.

The premise of the story is interesting and unique.  But I felt like we spent a lot of time with pop culture references back to “our time” and angst from our cave-guys that didn’t completely resonate for me.  I liked it enough that I’ll check out the next installment.  Maybe once we’re past the set-up,  I’ll be able to make a deeper connection to the characters.

3 1/2 stars.