Review: Haunted Blade by JC Daniels

Reviewed by Jen

I was such a fan of the early books in this series, but the last Kit Colbana story was a bit of a train wreck. While this installment was head and shoulders above that one, it didn’t quite rise to the level I know these books are capable of.

I kind of expected this book to really bring Kit’s family and history to the forefront, and while it did advance that part of the story, it was not in the overt way I expected. Someone has orchestrated a master plan in the city to turn the supernatural community into chaos. The vampire houses are going nuts; it’s affecting the shifters. And it’s all tied somehow to a mysterious fae dude named Malcolm, who Kit is sure has ties to her grandmother. [Read more…]

Review: Shadowed Blade by JC Daniels

shadowed bladeReviewed by Jen

I know it’s hard to wait for a new book when you love a series. I’m right there with you, griping and wondering if that precious story I want is ever going to get here. This book, in particular, was one we had to wait on. And I hate to say it, but we should have waited a little bit longer. The story is a good one. As it unfolds, there are some major revelations. It unlocks secrets and it changes Kit’s life. It’s a big deal and the ideas are really good. But the book feels so unfinished. By that, I don’t mean that there’s a problem with the ending. I mean, it needed more work. It needed more time, and maybe as fans, that’s partly our fault for pushing so hard for it to come out.  It wasn’t ready, and you’ll be able to tell. [Read more…]

Jen’s Favorite Books of 2015

It’s hard to believe we’re leaving another great year of reading behind us. In 2015, I found it more difficult to find books that suit my taste. I don’t care to read about billionaire bachelors, rock stars, step-brothers, biker gangs, or BDSM. Take a minute and think about how many titles fell into those categories last year.  I did a lot of backlist reading to fill in the gaps.

There were some really good new releases that I did enjoy; they were just more scarce. Here’s a look at some of the 2015 releases that really satisfied. [Read more…]

Review: Misery’s Way by JC Daniels

miserys wayReviewed by Jen

There are actually two short novellas inside this ebook. Both are in the Kit’s Colbana world, but only one features Kit as the narrator and that one was previously released.

“Misery’s Way” takes place after the events of Edged Blade and is actually told from the POV of a pain eater and healer named Frankie. She isn’t human and she thrives on the misery of others. But she also feels the need to fix that pain. So she travels around as a faith healer, doing enough to make a difference, but nothing so flashy as to bring too much attention. When Kit and Justin walk into her tent, she senses all the pain Kit carries around and it calls to her. What happens next makes this story an absolute must read for fans of the series. [Read more…]

Review: Final Protocol by JC Daniels

final protocolReviewed by Jen

I went back and forth with myself about whether I wanted to read this after I saw the warning in the blurb about some scenes involving questionable consent. I appreciate the heads-up, but I am glad I decided to go ahead and jump in. As much as I love JC Daniels efforts in Urban Fantasy, I have to say she rocked Sci-Fi pretty hard as well. [Read more…]

Review: Edged Blade by JC Daniels

edged bladeReviewed by Jen

Every time I read a new book in the series, it leaves me wanting more. Sometimes, it’s because I’m left crying and broken-hearted; other times, I am just dying to find out what happens next.  This time, it was because there’s this great, fast paced story that was just over too soon. It felt short, but that may be because (A) it ended on a bit of a cliffhanger and (B) there was a six chapter short story that filled out the last 40 pages or so of my ebook. [Read more…]

Jen’s Most Anticipated Books of 2015

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Can you believe it’s already time to look ahead to 2015? Here are some of the books on my radar for the coming year:

burned 1Burned by Karen Marie Moning – I went back and forth with myself about whether to include this one. The date has been pushed back so many times — and I know the focus has changed drastically over revisions. But the truth is, I’ve inhaled every single book in this series so far. And whether it’s about Dani or Mac or, frankly, whoever, I know I am going to buy it the day it comes out.

Release Date: January 20, 2015 (or so they say) [Read more…]

Review: Broken Blade by JC Daniels

broken bladeReviewed by Jen

Kit Colbana considers herself broken.  What she endured at the end of Night Blade would break almost anyone.  But despite what she believes, her spirit is not beyond repair.  That’s what this entire book is about: her journey as she tries to find herself again and rebuild the inner core of strength she fears is gone for good.

The entire first half of the book is focused almost exclusively on Kit’s heartache and struggle. [Read more…]

Review: Night Blade

Reviewed by Jen

I knew something was up when I read the Dedication on this book:

Thanks to everybody who encouraged me to continue with Kit’s story. Be warned… she’s got a rocky road ahead of her. But I hope it’s worth it in the end.

I saw this and thought to myself, “Dammit.  Kit and Damon are going to break up.”  I dreaded it.  I steeled myself for it.  What I fool I was.  Suffice it to say, Shiloh Walker and I have a vastly different understanding of the words “rocky road.”

Let’s back up.  As the story begins, Kit and Damon are going strong, though they are both hard at work.  Damon is cleaning house in his pack, getting rid of the crazies who thrived under the old Alpha.  And Kit is solving cases for her investigative firm.  Things are actually kind of… good…. until Kit gets a call from her ex-boyfriend Justin.  The witch works for a powerful branch of law enforcement that is investigating Damon. They believe he is behind some unauthorized kills and if Kit can’t prove he didn’t do it, he’ll be slated for execution.  To make matters worse, Justin puts a spell on her that prevents her from talking about the case.  Kit has to work against the clock to clear the man she is falling in love with, while keeping her mission a secret.

I really, really like Kit.  She is tough, but she is also so very vulnerable. She endured so much as a child, and it’s clear we don’t even know the whole story. Entirely new atrocities are hinted at.  And the memories still plague her.  Still terrify her.  But she soldiers on. There is something like steel at her core. She will not break.  Her past makes her growing love for Damon even more poignant.  She’s always been afraid to love anything, for fear of losing it.  Damon shows himself worthy of her and makes me fall for him as she does the same.  The characters just strike such a chord.

And then it all goes to shit.  Not the book.  But everything in Kit’s life.

I won’t spoil it.  But I will tell you that dedication should have come with flashing yellow lights and perhaps a skull and crossbones.  This book gutted me.  Completely and utterly.  I cried.  I shook my head.  I talked to myself. And I cried some more.  As I write this, I still feel sucker punched and slightly hollow.

It was amazing, horrible, terrible, wrenching, and utterly consuming.  Worth reading, to be sure.  But have your Kleenex ready and a support group standing by. You’re gonna need it.

Rating: A-

*ARC provided by author for review 

Click to purchase: Amazon
Night Blade
by JC Daniels
Release Date: March 4, 2013

Jen’s Favorite Books of 2013

It’s never too early to start keeping up with the amazing books of the New Year! I am sticking with the tradition I started last year of running “Best of” post, so no great book slips through the cracks.

January
by Kim Harrison

Guys. This is the best installment in the Hollows series to date.  It’s not a book for new readers to jump into Rachel Morgan’s world.  But for established fans, it’s like hitting the jackpot.  The story is more of a continuation of Pale Demon than A Perfect Blood was.  It follows Rachel as she tries to repair the damage her ley line made in the ever after a couple of books back.  Ku’Sox is trying to get her killed.  Ivy is out of town!! It’s heavy on Trent and Al –and delivers the emotional kick to the gut that this series should be known for.  Sexy, funny, heartbreaking, and action packed… this one is a can’t miss read.

Click to purchase: Ever After

March
Night Blade
by JC Daniels
There is a difference, I guess, between saying, “this was one of my favorite books of the year,” as opposed to saying, “this was one of the best books I have read this year.” I can’t really call Night Blade a favorite, as it left me gutted and hunched over, rocking in the corner of the room. But what I can say is that it will be one of the most unforgettable books of the year for me. It affected me. It made me reach out to the book community to talk about it. I couldn’t put it down, and I now look at Shiloh Walker with a combined sense of awe and horror. You don’t want to read this second installment in the series without reading Blade Song first. You’ll probably find that first book a bit Kate Daniels-ish. But this second book takes us where Kate has never been. If you’re not afraid of some angst, I definitely recommend it.

Click to purchase: Night Blade

by Anne Bishop

This is the most unique feeling Urban Fantasy book I have read in ages.  The tone is so dark.  The monsters aren’t just sexy humans with super-powers… they are beasts.  They are killers.  And humans are little more than a food source.  The heroine, Meg, is woman of beautiful spirit.  She shows the “others” the best of what it means to be human.  With her simple kindness and goodwill, she begins to change how they view her kind.  I loved how Bishop portrays the supernaturals in this world; how they are so alien and she doesn’t try to humanize them.  I picked this book up and was glued to the pages until I was done.  Very cool.

Click to purchase: Written in Red

 

by Delilah Marvelle

You may have noticed that historicals don’t feature on my favorites lists quite as often as some other genres. But I really, really enjoyed this third installment in the School of Gallantry series.  (Don’t worry; it works great as a standalone.)  This book has one of my favorite romance tropes: a tortured hero who thinks he is not good enough for his heroine.  Caldwell and Caroline have been friends since she was only 13, but now she is all grown up.  Despite his best intentions, Caldwell can’t help the attraction he feels for her, but he doesn’t want to ruin the one good relationship he has ever had by bringing sex into the picture. There is great sexual tension; characters I felt I knew and I loved; and a romance that I could really root for. Plus, a delicious dollop of angst.  Good stuff.

Click to purchase: Lady of Pleasure

April
Touch & Geauxhttp://www.dreamstime.com/-image4206965
by Abigail Roux

Just when I think I can’t get any more emotionally invested in Ty and Zane, Abigail Roux writes another book and I only fall deeper.  I should have known that this book would take me through the wringer. After all, the last installment ended with everyone so happy. I was feeling so good, I should have known it couldn’t last.  This book takes our men to New Orleans to hook up with Ty’s Sidewinder team. There is big trouble with an old nemesis of Grady’s and it leads to danger and… Who am I kidding? The heart of this book is the giant wedge that slams down the center of our beloved couple.  It’s dirty and painful and I was a sniveling mass of raw nerves when it was over. And the ending. Killed me.  If you are not reading this series, you should be.  One of my favorite romance series of any subgenre.

Click to purchase: Touch & Geaux

June
Heart of Obsidian
By Nalini Singh

heart of obsidianIt’s so rare for a book to live up to the hype.  But this one did and then some.  For a year, Psy Changeling fans made their best guesses and predictions about who this book would be about and whether we would finally discover the identity of the elusive Ghost.  It turns out that this is Kaleb’s story –and he is everything we wanted in a hero and more.  It’s a book full of passion and deep emotion, with amazingly hot sex and a romance that grabs onto your heart and doesn’t let go.  It was absolutely worth the wait and satisfying in every way. Fans of the series won’t want to miss this one.  –And if you’ve never read the series, you could still enjoy it, though you are better off starting the series from the beginning.

Click to purchase: Heart of Obsidian

July
magic risesMagic Rises
By Ilona Andrews

There has yet to be an installment in this series that I didn’t enjoy, so I hesitate to call this a “comeback” book.  But I can say that this book really reinvigorated my devotion to this series.  Kate and Curran are as engaging as ever, maybe even more so, as the future of their relationship is put on the line.  What’s so awesome about it, is that I really had no idea how the conflict would be resolved –or if it even could be. That’s a tall order for a series with such an established couple.  The book is a road trip for the gang, but most of the core characters are still there.  And it continues to advance the overall arc concerning Kate and her father.  I am so excited to see where the series goes from here.

Click to purchase: Magic Rises

Rise of the Gryphon
by Sherrilyn Kenyon & Dianna Love

rise of the gryphonI know these books don’t have the same kind of following as Sherrilyn Keyon’s other series.  They are not PNR.  But this series is really good Urban Fantasy. It may not be for everybody. It’s complicated and you have to pay attention to the wide palate of characters, races, alliances, and feuds.  It’s totally worth it, though. This fourth installment is easily the best in the series to date.  Our heroine, Evalle, is finally learning the truth about what she is. She is moving forward in her fragile relationship with Storm.  The plot moves fast.  There is great action and ass kicking.  There is emotional resonance… good sex… and huge arc advancement. I was riveted from beginning to end. Evalle is growing so much.  And the ending left me begging for book 5.  Really good!

Click to purchase: Rise of the Gryphon

August
Guardian Demonguardian demon
by Meljean Brook

This book left me feeling so emotional. It was the perfect ending to the Guardian series.  The romance is exceptional.  Michael’s worship of Taylor is so lovely.  Meanwhile, her wariness and fear slowly morph into a tentative love, and it’s such an amazing journey to watch.  This story broke my heart and made it whole again, while keeping me on the edge of my seat with action and a fabulous master plan.  I loved it.

Click to purchase: Guardian Demon

archangels legionOctober
Archangel’s Legion
by Nalini Singh

This book got me excited for the Guild Hunter series all over again. Raphael and Elena still have so much fire.  But what I really loved about this book is the great pacing. The story just builds and builds until it explodes all over the page.

Click to purchase: Archangel’s Legion

 

 

Honorable Mentions:

One Good Earl Deserves a Lover by Sarah MacLean (historical romance)
Twice Tempted by Jeaniene Frost (paranormal romance)
The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa (YA urban fantasy)
Never a Hero by Marie Sexton (m/m contemporary romance)
How Beauty Loved the Beast
by Jax Garren (steampunk? sci-fi? romance)
Any Duchess Will Do by Tessa Dare (historical romance)
The Heiress Effect by Courtney Milan (historical romance)
Romancing Lady Stone by Delilah Marvelle (historical romance)
Secret Unleashed by Sierra Dean (urban fantasy)
The Last Hour of Gann by R Lee Smith (sci-fi with strong romantic elements)
The Sum of All Kisses by Julia Quinn (historical romance)
Long Time Gone by SE Jakes (m/m romantic suspense)

Check out Carrie’s, Shelly’s, Jaimie’s and Janell’s top picks of 2013.