Review: Stray Moon by Kelly Meding

Reviewed by Jen

If you’ve followed my reviews for a while, you know I am a fan of Kelly Meding. In fact, I finally sat down and read the 2013 Carniepunk anthology recently just to read the short story that sparked this series. And overall, I liked this book. But someone needs to sit down and have a chat with the editor.

No one should have given the green light for this much repetition. I mean, yes, it’s very important that Shiloh has forgotten Jaxon. In book one, I remember being so perplexed about who the love interest in this series would be. And then, at the very end, when she agreed to lose her memories of the person she loved most… boom! Jaxon appeared to be the guy. Add to that, I understand that coming to terms with her feelings despite the missing memories was the big emotional arc here. But for the love of Pete, this must have been reiterated at least once per page. If I didn’t already have a history with this author and an investment in the characters, I would have put the book down. I almost did anyway. And that’s a shame because, otherwise, it was a good book.

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Review: Carniepunk

Reviewed by Jen

I’m a little late getting around to reading this 2013 collection of carnival themed short stories, but I learned it included a prequel to a series I am reading now and I wanted to check it out. I found the stories to be very uneven, both in tone and in how much I enjoyed them. But there were enough engaging entries, I found it worth the read.

Painted Love – This is the first thing I have ever read by Rob Thurman and I have to say, it was a bit odd. It follows the observations of Doodle, an enigmatic traveler who attaches himself to a man named Bart, a sociopath working at a carnival. The story is told entirely through Doodle’s eyes, though he does not participate much in the action. To be honest, I thought he was a dog until his true form was revealed at the end. Didn’t get much out of this one.

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Review: Stray Magic by Kelly Meding

Reviewed by Jen

I have been a fan of Kelly Meding since her Dreg City days. So when I saw she had a new urban fantasy series starting, I was super excited. And I am happy to report that Stray Magic didn’t disappoint.

The heroine, Shiloh, is a US marshal who works with a special paranormal unit. She is half human, half djinn, and as the story begins, she is just looking forward to a little R&R with her boyfriend, Vincent. Unfortunately, before they can get too cozy, she is called away on a case. A group of vampires has taken a trailer park hostage. The thing is, though, it is just an entry point into a larger mystery. Someone has been snatching vampires and werewolves… and master vampire Tennyson orchestrated the hostage situation it to get the help of Shiloh’s team in finding out who is behind the kidnappings and stopping them. This, as Shiloh’s own boss goes missing. She must work with Tennyson and the remainder of her team in a race to find the bad guy as it seems he is closing in on her at the same time. [Read more…]

Review: The Night Before Dead by Kelly Meding

night before deadReviewed by Jen

This is a totally a satisfying conclusion to a series that has taken me to some really dark places. The main character, Evy, has been put through almost every horror you can imagine. She’s been raped, murdered, and tortured. She’s been experimented on. She’s watched her loved ones die. She’s even had to pull the trigger, herself. But with her trials have come triumphs. With her suffering has come the kind of personal connections she never thought possible. She has become more than anyone ever believed she could be. [Read more…]

Review: White Knight by Kelly Meade

white knightReviewed by Jen

This is the story I have been waiting for since the first book in the series and I am happy to say that it satisfies. Poor Knight was really put through the wringer in the earlier installments.  He was kidnapped by the hybrid triplets, who raped him and forced him to father a baby. His pack was betrayed. His father, murdered. He nearly lost himself to a forced shift. And now, his mate has been kidnapped.  The events of the past two months are taking their toll, but all he can think about is getting Shay back from the hybrids. [Read more…]

Review: Gray Bishop by Kelly Meade

gray bishopReviewed by Jen

Kelly Meding Meade continues her Cornerstone Run trilogy with the story of oldest McQueen brother and future Alpha, Bishop.  I found this book to be very consistent with the style and tone of book one, so if you liked Black Rook, I think you’ll like this one too.

As we begin, the pack is still reeling from the carnage in the last story.  The brothers have all survived, but at a cost.  Rook is scarred physically from an attack, Knight is a hot mess emotionally from his rape, and Bishop is internalizing everything, because he wasn’t able to keep his family safe.  It also doesn’t help that he is overwhelmingly attracted to a woman he can never have. [Read more…]

Review: Black Rook by Kelly Meade

black rookReviewed by Jen

I enjoyed this first installment in Kelly Meding Meade’s new shifter series, Cornerstone Run. It straddles the line between PNR and UF and I’m not one of the people who is bothered by that. In fact, I kind of dig it.  The story doesn’t exactly tread the kind of creative new ground that, say, Meta Wars or Dreg City do. It’s pretty straightforward werewolf stuff, although with minor tweaks, like calling the wolves loup garou and classifying them by the color of their fur.  But there’s a reason that so many authors go back to this tried and true premise: it works. [Read more…]

Review: Chimera

chimeraReviewed by Jen

I enjoy this series and I look forward to the new installments, but this one wasn’t my favorite for a few reasons. The book is called Chimera, straying a little from the tradition of naming the story after the title character.  Chimera is the love interest, but Renee is the main character.  I guess the Powers That Be didn’t want a book named Flex.  But I digress.

Flex is the blue chick whose powers make her kind of like Plastic Man, or at least they did before terrible burns ravaged her body, severely limiting her abilities.  As a result, this became more of a story about how an almost powerless Meta could stand in the face of all that is happening, surrounded by others who could crush her with a thought.  [Read more…]

Review: Requiem for the Dead

requiem for the deadReviewed by Jen

It’s been awhile since the last Dreg City release, but this one brought me right back into the world and made me feel like I never left.  With this book, Kelly Meding takes the series from traditional to self-published, and I assure you that you cannot tell the difference. At all.  I reread Wrong Side of Dead immediately before I began this one, and tone and quality were completely the same.  It’s dark and action packed, with rich characters and equal parts heartbreak and hope.

As the story begins, it’s been 5 weeks since the events of the last book and Evy is dealing with the aftermath.  [Read more…]

Review: Tempest

Reviewed by Jen

I must say, I am impressed.  Kelly Meding has written a book about a gay male superhero, that manages to treat the lead character like any other hero in any other book.  It’s not about the fact that he is gay, yet she doesn’t shy away from it. He has a love interest and a romance that receives no more and no less attention than main characters have in previous books.  It’s not a m/m romance.  It’s just an urban fantasy with a romantic subplot.  It shouldn’t be a big deal, but as I read it, I realized just what a rare find it is.

This is book three in the Meta-Wars series and it picks up a few months after Changeling.  These books are complicated and nowhere is that more obvious than when Meding attempts to bring everyone up to speed in the early chapters.  I did read the first two books and even I had to sit and think about it for a minute.  I shudder to think about how confusing it would be for a new reader.  With that in mind, I say, start with Trance if you haven’t read these books already.

Anyway, as public opinion continues to sour on the Metas, Ethan (Tempest) volunteers to take a trip to Manhattan to track down a band of rogue Banes.  If there is any hope for some of the Metas living on the prison island to be freed, everyone needs to be accounted for.  Among the group of rogues is his father, who killed his mother years ago. He can’t pass up the chance to see the man face-to-face for the first time.  Joining him on the trip is Aaron, one of the Changelings we met in the last book.

A ton of stuff is going on here. From Ethan’s search for his dad, to getting to know the Metas on the island… from a brand-new threat to our superheroes to a romance for Ethan.  It’s action-packed and hard to put down.  Meding does a great job of getting us inside Ethan’s head… showing us so much of what he has been through. But she also made me feel like I knew Aaron for the first time.  I never thought I would be able see him beyond his previous actions, yet as Ethan fell for him, I found myself seeing the Changeling in a new light.

If you’re wondering about the sex… it is off-page. But this has never been a series about sex.  There is, however, a few kissing and build up scenes that were just enough to satisfy me.

The new villains give the storyline an interesting twist and I am interested to see how it all plays out in future books.  I will definitely keep reading –and holding out hope that Meding finally “fixes” poor Noah and Dahlia.  That whole thing still really bothers me.

Rating: B

*ARC Provided by Pocket Books

Click to purchase: Amazon
by Kelly Meding
Release Date: April 22, 2013
Publisher: Pocket Books