Anthologies are a great way to try out new-to-you authors, and come at a bargain price. Looking down the list of books included here I can see three I’ve already read and enjoyed, Close Liaisons, Anna Zaire; Night Hawk, J E Taylor and Rook, J C Andrijeski. Both Night Hawk and Rook were ARCs received via Netgalley and Close Liaisons one I got when it was free a few years back. I’d forgotten about the Night Hawk series, and seeing the next is on KU I’ve downloaded it though will have to skim NH first as its so long since I read it. Rook – well the Allie’s War series is one of my all time favourites and I’m desperately anticipating the final book later this year… You can find a list f the individual books if you click the image and look inside.
I’ve added my reviews for Night Hawk and Rook below, I didn’t ( I think ) leave a review for Close Liaisons but remember it’s a book I really enjoyed and bought follow up novels.
Rook. Allie’s War, Book One. JC Andrijeski
Review from Jeannie Zelos Book reviews.
Edit: Since beginning this series it’s become one of my favourites and I’ve recently just finished rereading it. From this first review I understand the world and the characters so much better now, so rather than redo my review I’ve amended it and added new comments.
I love fantasy/paranormal romance, and the premise of this book intrigued me. I’d read the sample and wanted to know more. I’ve mixed feelings though, I loved the sample but that’s the simplest part of the story, its get more and more complex and involved, with panic stricken journeys in this world and a parallel one, with people being more than they are, and sometimes more than one person…. When I could keep up with the story I really enjoyed it, but found I was skipping much of the book, as frankly I just didn’t understand what it was about, and many of the scenes seemed to be long and drawn out. I suspect that’s because JC is setting a complex novel in a world very different to what we are used to, and that’s a lot to ask of any first book in a series. I suspect, as I’ve found before, that further on in the series I’ll understand far more about the sections and story lines I’ve skipped. Edit: I was right, after reading further books and the novellas I’ve been gripped by this series, and watching desperately for the next one out. Its great value too as even the novellas are longer than many so called full length reads, and the main books are all very long. great for quick readers such as myself. Its not necessary to read the novellas to enjoy the series, but each focus mainly on one character or event/timeline so they do help understand the main books and characters. I’ve really enjoyed them.
I enjoyed the people and the settings, its complex but yet once I could grasp the structure it makes sense, more or less.. I liked Allie, felt for her, she seems to have had a somewhat troubled childhood, and just when she thinks life is settling, along comes the delicious Revik. Oh I really felt for both of them over the misunderstandings about what was said and implicated, where Allie didn’t know the consequences of her actions, and he was trying to spare her in the best way he could.
I’m still somewhat confused over others in the novel, apart from her friend and brother, as I’m unsure of who was on what side, and sometimes forgot who someone was and how they fitted in. There’s a lot of accidental and deliberate confusion, intentional double dealing, governments and organisations putting a different spin on past and present events. Like I said – its complicated…and to be honest juts a bit too complicated for me. I’m mulling over reading more – I love the idea that Allie and Revik can work things out and be together, and the storyline is exciting and unusual, its just that I’m really not sure that I want to spend time on the next books in case I don’t enjoy them – like I said, I think I will, and maybe they settle down into less complex works now the world setting is done, but I just don’t know, hence my mixed feelings. Edit: Well, I did take the plunge and have now read everything so far, and in fact reread all novels more than one while waiting for the next books! It gets easier to work out what who and what’s going on once the novels progress and the novellas really help with this. Going back to this book after getting to book eight I found it so much clearer and really enjoyed it – its now a five star read for me. The storyline is complex but gripping, and it feels like it could be a real possibility. The Revik/Allie romance is incredibly strong though has some heart aching moments. They are both very strong willed characters and that makes for some steam and friction. Revik – wow that man gets more and more delicious….
Stars: Three and a half, touching on a four. I think if I go on to read more and once I’ve got the world setting and people fixed better in my mind I could probably come back and re rate this at a five. Its that good, well written, unusual, its just that at present I’m a bit lost. Edit: And as I said, having re read its a solid five star plus read now.
ARC supplied by Netgalley.
Night Hawk. J.E. Taylor
ARC supplied by Netgalley
Well, its straight in with the action for this book, with us meeting Naomi as she’s at the mercy of a demon, on the roof of an eighty storey tower block. She’s been sold out by her loser boyfriend to Lucifer, and one of his demons is about to take her. She falls and….is rescued by Damien, a vampire. Out of the frying pan into the fire but as Damien takes her blood she fights back and ingests some of his blood in the action turning her into a vampire. Damien has by then realised there’s something special about Naomi, that she’s a child of Light, a certain coveted bloodline. Damien had attacked her as he’s been out for revenge against Lucifer and anything Lucifer wanted, such as Naomi, he was determined to prevent. However now he knows her bloodline he has another reason to protect her. He’s been fighting for 2.000 years and until he met Naomi he hadn’t realised how lonely he was. They’re both very sexually attracted to each other and there are some pretty spicy sex scenes.
Its a great love story wrapped up in a riveting adventure when they try to hold out against Lucifer who is keen for Naomi’s blood and long been trying to kill Damien. Together though they are a formidable force, with Damien being able to become a giant Hawk, and Naomi also having gifts above the norm for a vampire.
I really enjoyed this story except for one thing. Something I mentioned in another recent review where the female lead had similar extraordinary talents on changing from human to supernatural. Damien is over 2,000 years old, been fighting demons and Lucifer all that time ad yet…along comes new vamp Naomi, only two days old and she’s saving his life. Not once but twice and she’s telling him what to do and how they’ll do it. I know J E Taylor gave her superpowers, I love a strong female lead, not a whining, weak, squealing one (can’t stand those!) but this was a step too far for me. Fantasy requires us to suspend belief and have an open mind but it was too much for me to believe that she could be stringer physically and mentally than Damien – who has been fighting these demons for 2,000 years without dying – the within two days she saves his life twice? It would have been more credible for me if Damien had been the lifesaver and organiser, not Naomi.
There’s a couple of appearances by archangel Michael and I did love Naomi’s sark, puncturing his pomposity 🙂 There were some great, quick fire humorous dialogue threaded among the action and drama, and in all it made for a great mix. Its left open ended, but tied up for this adventure and not left as my pet hate Cliffhanger ending! I assume its going to be a series, hope so anyway as they make a great team despite my grumblings about her being stronger than Damien.
Its well written and edited, all endings either wrapped up or leading the way into future novels and Its one for my keeper files. Priced at £2.75 for 317 pages in kindle and I’m giving it a star rating of 4.5 – would have been 5 if not for that irritation about her being “super-vamp” and stronger than Damien.
Luc, J.M. Stewart
Odd isn’t it how no-one bats an eye-lid when a man is 10 – or more – years older than a woman but when its the other way round its all nudges and winks, and sly insinuations of Cougar…and I hadn’t though I was age prejudiced until Joanne asked me if I’d like to read this.
It shocked me TBH, I didn’t realise how ingrained social mores were, and that I felt that way instinctively…Still, knowing the problem means watching out for it, so I determined to treat Luc as a hot and sexy man, not by his age, and Liz as a gorgeous attractive and sensual lady that she was, not as just an older lady.
Well, it wasn’t hard to see Luc in that light – both he and his brother Nic feel incredibly fabulous, sensual and yet the kind of guy that’s not slick and sleazy, but who loves women and respects them. I soon forgot about the age gap except when Liz thought and worried about it.
Its got great characters, they feel so real, I adored Nonna, and Luc’s little daughter Alyssa, loved Sam, Liz’ friend/sister in law and Luc’s employee. I understood why Liz and Luc were both upset over the blind date, its not something either wants to walk into and yet it was the only way Sam could get them together.
Luc sees in Liz an attractive woman who he wants to know better – he needs to take care though for Alyssa, isn’t interested in a quickie, doesn’t want to introduce her to ladies that will be in and then out of her life, he wants the whole thing, a proper relationship, a good role model for her, wants what Nonna and Nonno had.
Liz is still grieving, though its two years since Daniel died. Sam promised her brother to help Sam move on and not stay lonely and grieving, but she’s resited her attempots so far, hence the sneak approach. Its tough for Liz to even think about though, there’s not a limit on losing someone, no timeline on when to start looking again. She’s lonely without Dan, and yet thinking of anyone else seems like a betrayal.
I can understand that, she loved him and is lost without him, imagining some one else where he should be just doesn’t feel right. Luc though – her reaction to him shocks her, and his to her. They’re like a pair of magnets sparking and pulling towards each other, drawn into each others circuit.
And that’s how it goes, they both want different things and yet they can’t seem to keep their hands off each other. There’s some ups and downs, times when you think its going to work and then…but that’s what makes books so much fun, the unpredictability of just how and when things will work out. Even though we know they will get together I need to feel there’s a chance within the story that perhaps they won’t, for their romance not to be straightforward. That’s exactly what I got.
The only reason its not a five star is that somehow the romance felt a little rushed to me, they didn’t really go through the whole dating thing, really get to know each other but seemed to be mainly lust filled ( and sensual, erotic and real!! ) sleepovers and hot, against the wall sex moments. It felt like first they were on that blind date, then suddenly after shying away they’re in a passionate romance, but without any real indications how they got there, apart from that hot against the wall sex 😉
Stars: four and a half, a great read, a romance that’s different, and thought provoking
ARC supplied by author