Anthology, 21Shades of Night

 

click image for amazon link

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.

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About jeanniezelos

I'm an avid reader, love my kindle and I have my head in a novel for hours daily : ) Mum used to say I'd read toilet paper if it was printed- it wasn't, so i had to contend myself with the back and sides of the cereal packets. I've always Needed to read and we had few books when i was a child hence my penchant for reading anything including adverts then... I review mainly contemporary, erotic and paranormal romance books though dystopian and urban fantasy also appeal. I'm currently rated around the 300 mark on amazon.co.uk for my reviews. I try to keep them structured and to say what I do and don't like about a book so other readers can use my review as a guide to whether they may enjoy the book.

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