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
Tempest
by Kelly Meding
Release Date: April 22, 2013
Publisher: Pocket Books

 

5 for Friday – October 12

Happy Friday everybody! I hope you guys are enjoying the Favorites feature.  It’s so hard to find the right amount of pimping to do. Too much and everyone gets sick of it. Not enough and the word doesn’t spread.  A big thank you to everyone who has helped promote the posts and everyone who has shared comments and feedback.  I love you bunches.

Next week is going to be a killer for me as I work a week of overnight shifts. I may not be around at my regular times, but I promise I will be checking in whenever I can.  Say a prayer that I don’t fall asleep in the control room or behind the wheel.  I think I’ll just stick a caffeine drip directly into my vein and see what that does.

5.  Everybody is talking about the cover reveal for Guardian Demon from Meljean Brook.

In this thrilling conclusion to the Guardian series, New York Times bestselling author Meljean Brook delivers another stunning page-turner, in which the fate of humanity depends upon a tortured warrior winning the trust—and heart—of the woman he wounded…

After a terrifying encounter in Hell destroys her trust in Michael, the Guardian’s powerful leader, former detective Andromeda Taylor is ready to call it quits as one of the angelic warriors and resume her human life again. But when demonic forces threaten her closest friends and she uncovers a terrifying plot devised by Lucifer, Taylor is thrown straight into Michael’s path again…

To defeat Lucifer, Michael needs every Guardian by his side—and he needs Taylor more than any other. The detective is the key to keeping his own demonic side at bay, and Michael will do anything to protect her and keep her close. And when Taylor manifests a deadly power, her Gift might tip the scales in the endless war between Heaven and Hell…or it might destroy them both with a single touch.

The response I have seen on this has been overwhelmingly positive.  My girl Brie at Romance Around the Corner tells me that one day I will read this series and understand why this is so very squee worthy. I trust her judgement and I swear this series is going on the TBR. Guardian Demon is out in May.

4. There is a huge giveaway going on at Supernatural Underground. A 24 pack of books is up for grabs in honor of Halloween.

Authors include Pamela Palmer, Jaime Rush, Jocelynn Drake, Jeanine Frost and more.  Click here to check it out.

3. Karen Marie Moning has posted the prologue for Iced.

I have not read it.  I WILL NOT read it.  I learned the hard way about reading her teasers when I read the first chapter of Shadowfever before it came out. HUGE mistake.  Iced releases October 30th.

2. Kelly Meding has posted a little snipped from Tempest, book three in her MetaWars series. If you’re not familiar with the series, let me tell you why I am excited about this book.  The overall premise is based on a group of young people with superhuman powers who lost their gifts in childhood, only to have them reappear several years later. Now they are stepping up to help humanity while facing mounting threats. Each installment focuses on a different “meta.”

Books 1 & 2 had female leads, both who found love.  Book 3, Tempest, features Ethan (“Tempest”) who is not only a man, but a gay man. Kelly says he, too, will have a romance in his book.  How refreshing to have a gay, male lead in a mainstream romance/ UF book!  Kudos, Kelly Meding!  Tempest is out in April, but if you want to give the series a try, start with Trance.

1. Before we all cracked down on copyrighted pictures on our blogs, I had a lovely post sharing My Free Pass List of men.  Mr. Red Hot Books and I each have a list of celebrities and assorted beautiful people where we get a “free pass” should the opportunity ever present itself. (If you don’t know what this means, click here.)

Anyway, we have agreed to add one new name to the list for every year we have been married.  Which means I can have 15 men on my list.  And somehow, my anniversary came and went without me adding #15.  I present for your consideration, Adam Levine.

The other men on the list include: Charlie Hunnam, Joe Manganiello, Jason Momoa, Jared Padalecki, Misha Collins (and nine other super-hot hotties.) Who is on YOUR free pass list? Share your favorites below.

Have a great weekend!

XOXO,
Jen

Review: Changeling

Reviewed by Jen

I don’t even know where to begin. I want to begin at the ending, because I am still shaking my head… kind of… stunned by how it all went down. I won’t spoil you, of course, but I will say that never in a million years did I expect what happened in those last few chapters.

This is book two in Kelly Meding’s MetaWars series, but the main character is no longer longer Trance. Dahlia, the newest member of the super-hero team has taken the lead role. The story is told from her first person POV.

It’s been six months since the events of book one and the heroes-formerly-known-as-Rangers are setting up shop in an old mansion they’re using as a home-base. Dahlia is still learning her powers and she still feels a little like an outsider in the group. They are trying to find their place in the world, helping the police where they can — keeping humanity safer. Their latest case is a gruesome one.  Someone is killing people and leaving only the husks of their victims behind.  Something Bad happens early on that forces the team to pursue the killer without Trance.

Over and over, this book shocked me with the way things unfolded. I was prepared for several deaths. In fact, I remember thinking to myself that the series would end once Kelly Meding has finally finished killing off all the characters.  But it really wasn’t that simple.  There is so much play about what makes a hero and what constitutes a villain. Doing the wrong thing for the right reason. Shades of grey.  It made it hard to know even where my own loyalties lie.  Meding made these characters straddle a very uncomfortable line, prompting me to feel both empathy and revulsion, along with my confusion, paranoia, whatever emotion makes your mouth hang open until you realize you look like an idiot.

There’s a bit of romance here, but it’s not as clearly defined as it was in Trance.  There are all of these big emotions between Dahlia and Noah, but 1) not enough time passes for it to be believable for me and 2) there is not much in the way of outward expression of these feelings.  (ie. No getting busy.)  Yet I found myself rooting for them… then rooting against them… then rooting for them again.  And then the end came and my head exploded.

I know you may be thinking to yourself, “Jen, this is the worst review you have ever written. It tells me nothing.”  At least, that is what I am thinking as I write it. Because I am so damn afraid of spoiling it.  All I can say is that it was good. It took me on a crazy ride.  I still have not recovered.  And I’m very conflicted about the ending.  I’d really like the circumstances to change in the next book.

Rating: B

Click to purchase: Amazon
Changeling
by Kelly Meding
Release Date: June 26, 2012
Publisher: Pocket Books

 

Review: Trance

Reviewed by Jen

Boy, Kelly Meding sure does love to kill her characters.  Seriously, no one was safe in this action packed Urban Fantasy that kept me guessing all the way to the very end.

The story centers on the title character, Trance. She was born a Meta, a human with super-powers.  She trained as a child to become a Ranger –one of the “good guys” who protected the world from the Banes (Metas who would use their powers for evil.) When she was only 10, nearly all of the Rangers were wiped out in a brutal war with the enemy. She and a handful of other children were the only Rangers who survived. But somehow, they lost their powers that day.  The kids who were once a team, were separated and placed into the foster system to grow up as “regular” kids.

15 years later, Trance is barely scraping by. She’s an ex-con.  She’s working three dead-end jobs and she can barely keep a roof over her head.  Then, out of nowhere, her powers return. Scratch that. She gets all new, super-charged, bad-ass powers that made her old abilities look like child’s play.  Trance realizes that if her powers are back, it stands to reason that the other Metas are probably charging up too… that includes the Banes imprisoned in New York all these years. She sets out to find her old team –and doesn’t get far before the old Bane leader attacks.

Trance survives, but not everyone is as lucky.  The villain is picking off the team, one by one. By the time they all get together, only half are left alive.  Then, it’s a race to see if they can track down the Big Bad before he manages to kill them all. I did say that a lot of people die in this book, right?

I liked the story a lot.  The characters were interesting and well-fleshed out.  The story was unpredictable and frankly, I had no idea who the villain was until Meding’s big reveal.  And then, it made total sense.  The world-building was fantastic and had kind-of a Watchmen-esque feel to it. But it was no copycat.

There is a romance too. (*sigh*) Gage, one of Trance’s fellow Rangers, has a connection with her from the very beginning.  Despite their emotional baggage, the spark turns into an all out flame. And honestly, I spent the whole second half of the book in fear that Meding would kill him off.   (I won’t tell you if she did.) I will tell you that we get a bit of sexy time which provided some much-needed distraction from the barrage of action.

The relationship moves a bit fast.  In fact, if I have one complaint, it’s that the whole story moves a bit fast.  I think the events all manage to take place inside of a week or so and it’s a lot crammed into a very small window of time. I guess the frenetic pace adds something to already overwhelming nature of what’s happening to Trance, but drawing it out a little would have made her personal growth, as a woman and a leader, more believable. Ditto for the relationship between her and Gage, and the one between William and Renee.

Overall, though, I enjoyed the story.  I can’t wait to jump into book 2, though, people have already told me that the shocks keep on coming. I’m scared.

Rating: B

Click to purchase: Amazon
Trance
by Kelly Meding
Release Date: October 25, 2011
Publisher: Pocket Books