Review: Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay

princess-of-thornsReviewed by Shelly

I don’t like it when a blurb compares its story to another (my expectations will be set) and I’m glad I didn’t read the blurb for this before I dug in. The cover is what drew me in. I’ve been around the bend listening to audiobooks and a friend told me that a good genre for listening is PNR. So here I go.

The first chapter drew me in. It’s from Aurora’s 7-year-old point of view. She, her mother, and brother have been slated for death by the evil ruler. Her father’s already dead so they’re without his support. Aurora’s mother knows of a way to help save her children and she doesn’t hesitate. She gifts her daughter with her fae powers; this gift is by no means without consequences and Aurora’s mother gives the ultimate sacrifice. Even at 7, Aurora feels different after her endowment. There’s a different energy about her and with fervent determination, Aurora is fixed on vengeance for her mother and to regain the kingdom of her father. [Read more…]

Review: Blood on the Bayou

Reviewed by Jen

Iam one of those people who judges a story based on how I feel when it’s over.  Yes, I value the journey, but if I’m not satisfied with the destination, the whole thing is damn near ruined.  This book is a perfect example of a story destroyed by an unsatisfactory conclusion.  I really enjoyed it. I was invested 100% in the characters and the outcome.  And then the last chapter happened, prompting me to curse out loud and then stalk Twitter for someone to listen to me vent.

I’ll start at the beginning.  The book picks up precisely where Dead on the Delta left off.  Annabelle is on suspension from her job with the Fairy policing agency and she has agreed to help her ex-boyfriend Hutch solve the murder of an FBI agent.  She is on a break from her relationship with Cane. And she is trying to get a grip on her new-found powers.

As the story progresses, we learn that there is a lot more to Hutch’s case than he first revealed.  He has his own reasons for the investigation, but they’re honorable.  Working together, Hutch and Annabelle grow closer.  Especially once he learns how badly he misjudged her when they first broke up.  Just like in the first book, I found myself torn between Hutch and Cane.  Annabelle clearly loves them both, but in different ways she can’t even admit to herself.  And they both love her. The complications are compounded by Hutch’s pregnant fiancee and Cane’s secrets and ultimatums.  But regardless, I waited patiently to see where Annabelle’s heart would eventually land her.

In the meantime, the danger is growing and so are Anabelle’s new gifts.  Suddenly, she can communicate with the fairies and their message is deadly. Add that to the constant threat from the Big Man and Hutch’s undercover mission, and I was on the edge of my seat. For the first 3/4’s of the book, I didn’t want to put it down.

But things started to go awry toward the end.  And I swear to you that someone else came along and wrote the last chapter, because: It. Makes. No. Sense.  Annabelle makes bizarre choices.  This quasi-epilogue thumbs its nose at everything we’ve been building towards.  It doesn’t make sense for Hutch, given what he learns during the climax. And it doesn’t make sense for Annabelle, who can barely keep a cat alive, to take on a responsibility she has no business accepting. The answer to her love life… is insulting.  Insulting to anyone who has given a damn throughout the course of the past two books.  Not to mention, it makes our heroine look like a completely selfish horn-dog.

I think I’d be less upset if I didn’t enjoy the early parts so much. It had so far to fall and it crashed and burned spectacularly.  I don’t know how to rate it.  The first half was a B+. The last chapter was an F.

*ARC Provided by Pocket Books

Click to purchase: Amazon
Blood on the Bayou
by Caridad Pineiro
Release Date: March 27, 2012
Publisher: Pocket Books

Review: Dead on the Delta

Reviewed by Jen

Why on earth did I wait so long to pick up this book?  I enjoyed it so much!  It’s a fresh Urban Fantasy with a wonderfully flawed heroine.  And two potential love interests that I can’t seem to get a fix on… but I’ll come back to the guys in a minute.

Annabelle Lee is one of the rare humans immune to the bites of fairies.  And that is a very big deal in a world where fairies have mutated and enjoy the taste of human blood. Fairy bites can kill or drive a person insane; and only iron can keep the little monsters away.  Few people venture out of the iron-infused cities.  So when there is a problem that involves the fairies, only one of the immune can deal with the situation.

Annabelle works with law enforcement, helping them with fairy-related cases –or those crimes that require someone to leave the protection of the city.   Her job is hard on her.  She sees and deals with horrors and deaths which drive her to drink every day.  She finds comfort in a small group of friends and her lover, Cane, a police officer in the Louisiana town where she lives.

The book centers on the investigation in the death of a little girl whose body was dumped outside the city limits.  It turns out that she may be the latest victim of a serial killer, which draws the attention of the FBI –and Annabelle’s former lover, Hutch.  And so begins the love triangle.

I really enjoyed Annabelle’s character.  She’s not a superwoman, or an ass-kicker. She is vulnerable and conflicted and damaged.  Part of it is her job. Part is the trauma of losing her sister in a deadly fairy attack. And part of it is the fact that she was so heartbroken when she lost Hutch years ago, that she never really recovered.  But despite her emotional handicaps, she tries to do the job she is so uniquely capable of doing.  It beats her down, but she does it.  As the book progresses, she puts her own safety and feelings on hold to solve the case and save a friend.  But she doesn’t exactly do it with style and, frankly, she makes a terrible investigator. She struggles and she drinks and she screws up, which makes me want her to find happiness all the more.

I went back and forth and back and forth in my head over who is really the right man for her.  At times, I felt sure it was Hutch, the man who never really let go of her heart. The man who left her over a misunderstanding that she never explained.  Then, he would be cruel or piss me off and I’d be sure Cane was the HEA. After all, he loves her with quiet strength and understanding. But then, he would piss me off or I’d wonder if Annabelle could ever really get over Hutch… and around and around I would go. One of them or the other. Both. Neither. I still don’t have the answer, which bothers me a little.  I like to have someone to root for.

I was very emotionally invested in Annabelle.  Not only in her love life (which felt like a punch in the gut once or twice) but the action and the danger she found herself in.  As if the fairies and a killer weren’t enough, something more is happening to our heroine –something that’s changing who she is.  I can’t explain or I’ll spoil it.  But I definitely didn’t want to put this book down. The world-building is so, so good. It’s different, but easy to understand and believe in.  The story is sexy and nail-biting and has some really funny one liners. Plus a crotchety cat named Gimpy. I can’t wait to start book 2.

Rating: B+

Click to purchase: Amazon
Dead on the Delta
by Stacey Jay
Release Date: May 31, 2011
Publisher: Pocket Books