Hellsbane Hereafter, (Hellsbane 3) , Paige Cuccaro
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre: Romance, Fantasy/Paranormal
The final book…and what a fun trilogy it’s been. Poor Emma Jane – it seems like she’s been used by both Heaven and Hell. Though she started off believing it was a simple good v evil battle, and knowing she was on the side of good, recent events have made her look differently at things. She’s lost so many friends to the battle and now she’s working for her father she’s made friends among his side too, and can’t bear losing any of them.
I’ve always found that the way the Nephilims were treated as strange – the Bible tells us they were evil, some were monsters etc and they all needed to be killed, and would go straight to the Abyss. Well, how that ties up with the God is Mercy and Suffer Little Children to come unto Me etc I’ve never understood. Children can’t help who their parents are, and it seems wrong that if the angels who fathered them simply gave up them and their mothers and repented they could return to Heaven, while they who’d done nothing except be born were punished and their mothers, who did nothing but fall in love – or were raped – were left literally holding the baby….Double standards and certainly not Merciful.
Archangel Michael here epitomises how I feel about these stories. so much for being Angelic, he and his brothers are judgemental, will torture and are horrifically cruel to get what they want, twist the truth to suit their needs, and want Emma Jane ( and others like her) to do their dirty work as they can’t possibly soil their own hands, and yet they call her and the others “it” and an abomination….Now she’s unable to return to human, as her father isn’t an ordinary angel, and has seen the supposed “good” side arrange some awful things she’s doubting herself. Her love for Eli though is true, and she’s feels so sad about his Falling, she knows he misses his brothers and they will have no contact with him. That’s what I mean about judgemental, he’s worked for them and for Heaven for centuries, and yet fall in love and all is over, he’s doomed, shunned by all his former angelic friends, except those that have also Fallen. Why did God make them capable of loving humans if he won’t allow it to continue? Jakar, her father wants her working for him, and Michael wants her spying on Jakar. Both sides make her promises, and all she really wants is for Eli to be able to return to the Grace she thinks he wants, to be able to be back with his lifelong friends. That’s true love when you’ll give up someone to ensure their ultimate happiness, and it was heart-breaking seeing her try to arrange it, knowing all the while Michael would find some way to weasel out – he and the others of the Seven really were two faced. They infuriated me in earlier books and this one they really are shown in their true colours..She’s keeping a lot of secrets and struggling, trying to work out what’s best to do, and then finds out that humans are being used in the latest theatrics from both sides. who can she believe? What can she do? Its clear do nothing isn’t an option and yet whichever way she turns people are going to get hurt.
I so feel for her, she’s been ( in my eyes) betrayed by her father, and by Heaven and the angels. All she’s ever done is try to do right, to help people, and yet its as if the two sides are just playing and care nothing about people dying, whether supernatural or human. Its a real struggle and I was as puzzled as Emma Jane much of the time. I kept thinking “what would I do” when she’s faced with some awful choices, has to decide who she can trust and how far, and what she can do to save people. When the final battle comes – that was so sad….I felt really tearful and gutted. That just couldn’t have happened could it? but yes it did…I was heartbroken along with her. Paige manages to pull off one final event though, and just when I was thinking how on earth could it end, as I couldn’t see how either group could win, without destroying humanity somehow she pulls off the perfect finale.
Stars: Five, loved it, was swept along with the story and characters and it’s a perfect ending.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers
A Touch of Darkness, Key 1, Tina Moss and Yelena Casale
Review from Jeannie Zelos Book reviews.
I love paranormal romance, but have had problems with Angelic ones. Some, such as Nalini Singh I love, can’t praise enough, but others I’ve found just don’t cut it for me. Sadly this is one of those…Not everyone likes everything, the sample sounded fun, but I found while reading that the romance angle just wasn’t really feeling right to me, and I was waiting for the story to develop more. It felt like a YA almost with the fallen angels/prophecy connection – that seems to crop up a lot in YA 🙂 and though I enjoy some in that genre, with Cassie being older I was hoping for more, and that this was going to have a stronger story line. It felt almost superficial to me, that I was expecting developments that just weren’t there. Somehow it seemed anti climactic when the big reveal and battles were reached.
As always this is just My view and doesn’t mean you wont enjoy this book. Its well written, its just that the story failed to pull me in, and I didn’t connect with the characters. I have to feel I’m there in the story with them, have to care about what happens to them but I just didn’t. I read thoroughly to 60% then skim read to see what happened so maybe I missed something essential, but I felt I’d given enough time to decide that this story wasn’t one I’d love. Doesn’t mean I’ll not be happy to try something else by the authors – I’ve found before that though I love some of an authors stories that doesn’t mean I’ll love all of them. Of course the fact we have readers with so many different needs means books will always fit some people and not others, regardless of how good the actual writing style is. That was perfect here, its just the way the story played out that didn’t work well for me. It’s priced at £1.86 for 258 pages.
Stars: Two and a half, a good book but just not my style of story.
ARC received via Netgalley .
Gifts of the Blood (Angel’s Edge 1) Vicki Keire.
Review from Jeannie Zelos Book reviews.
I’m not usually a reader of YA novels but sometimes I see one which appeals and that’s how I came to request this. It’s unusual in the way Vicki portrays the angels, and it takes some though to get my head around the way she describes their wings and the way they move, but its good, something different and that’s hard to come up with in today’s market with millions of books out.
So, Caspia? Well, what can I say about her? Coffee addict that’s for sure, and I could see that she was a loving sister, bogged down by responsibilities and looking after her dying brother. Their parents and family are dead, and all they have is each other. That’s heartbreaking and I could feel her pain from it. The drawings she does of the future were interesting, and I could see where her parents were, frankly, freaked by it and preferred to ignore it, but that’s a huge burden too for her now that her gran, the only person she could talk to about it, was gone. She had a best friend but she couldn’t confide in her about her drawings for fear she’s react like her parents. Caspia seemed lonely at times, and I felt for her but…at times she was just odd. Odd in her reactions to events, people, places and I couldn’t understand her motives for what she did. That made it more difficult to feel close to her and to worry about her. I need to feel empathy with the main characters to really enjoy a book, and maybe id I was a YA I’d have been better able to understand her.
Then there’s Logan, poor lad, knows he’s dying and feels he’s a burden to Caspia while still worrying about her after he’s dead…what a terrible thing to have to carry, and yet most of the while he was cheerful and upbeat. Also in the novel there are others who live in the town, who seem perfectly normal, and yet as the tale continues we see they’re holding secrets. Of course I couldn’t help but like the delicious Ethan, who’s something of an enigma even when we learn what he is, and the mad at times, sane at others Asheroth who both play major parts in the book. Again I found these two somewhat confusing in their actions and motives, but they were a fresh and fun take on the angelic genre.
As the story unfolds and we learn more about Caspia and her drawings, the mysterious Ethan and the others similar to him, and the people around Caspia who are more than they seem the action gets hotter, secrets come out but rather than giving answers they open up more questions. Poor Caspia is confused – her life in danger, and she needs to find out more about the mysteries that surround her.
I enjoyed this novel, first of a trilogy, but felt a little detached from the characters and their actions much of the time. The story was well written and flowed easily, its just that I didn’t always understand the reactions the characters had. Maybe that’s because I’m too far from the YA audience and looking at it with a different perspective? I’m sure for teens and early twenties this series will be a must have, but for me, well, an enjoyable one off read, but I’m not invested in reading further into the series. Its priced at £2.99 for 222 pages.
Stars: three and a half.
ARC supplied via Publishers
Black Heart. Christina Henry.
Review from Jeannie Zelos Book Reviews.
I loved this series to begin with, Maddy was a likeable person, Beezle made me laugh, Gabriel made me swoon….and there were other people that added to the mix, her friend Patrick , other agency staff and her cross to bear and boss JB!, her father, grandfather and Nathaniel. Things have changed though over the course of the books, Maddy has become harder, less prone to looking for a peaceful solution and using a “let them all burn, heh heh heh …” approach it seems to me. She does have a bit of conscience when she thinks about those who are being killed, but mostly a pragmatic –“ it had to be done, well at least I think it did, ah well too late now” view it seems to me. Black Heart describes how she’s becoming, and I’m bothered that she’s becoming accepting of her darkness. Patrick was killed, Gabriel was killed, she’s no longer with the agency, JB has become a fan of hers now..her father is dead and Nathaniel – well he’s become someone unrecognisable. When Gabriel died that was it I said – I can’t read Maddy without Gabriel – their relationship was a kingpin of the books, so I ducked out on the last book, then decided maybe I was wrong so tried the series once more.
I can’t believe what’s happened to Maddy though – she’s not someone I really like any more 😦 She’s pregnant with Gabriel’s child, but it seems he’d only been dead a couple of weeks when she picked up into a relationship with Nathaniel of all people – that’s right, the one who was so uncaring, so horrible and cruel etc….how could she? She loved Gabriel, they’d been through so much and to just move on to someone else so soon….
Anyway this book brings more of that plus the usual slew of dangers that Maddy has to sort. It was good to see Beezle again, and he’s at least a voice of sanity and advice for her. Once again though she doesn’t really have any plans, but rushes headlong blasting everything with fire it seems. It’s action packed, she’s just out of one crisis when she’s plunged into another. It seems to be a book that relies on constant action and dangers, and more and more people and powers are introduced, and its become quite a muddy, murky mix for me. Without the Maddy/Gabriel spark though this series has lost its attraction for me and become just an OK one when it began as a solid five star for me. Still, as always we all have different tastes and I’m sure there’ll be others that love it. Its the end of the “black” road for me though 😦
NB: ARC supplied via Netgalley
ARC supplied by publisher.
I love paranormal romance, and was eager to read this book. What I hadn’t realised though was its the second in the series. I had some trouble with the different groups and how they interacted, which if I’d read book one I’m sure I would have picked up sooner, but never the less I really enjoyed this book and would love to continue reading the series. Its one of those that’s deep enough to carry a lot of different plots within one overall arcing big plot, and I love those. Fabulous characters too – boyfriend Dan, sweet man and he represented the normalcy that Emma Jane missed and wanted to get back. Trouble was the only way she could do that was to find and kill her Angelic father…then she’d be human again, but wouldn’t be with Eli her angelic mentor. And he’s someone that’s become very close to her….though a romance is not allowed or he will become one of the Fallen, the ones she was born to kill.
Its one of those novels full of people that have their own agenda, backstabbing, jealousies, and where the heroine wonders just what it is she’s doing, and what should she be doing. All seems clear cut to begin, she’s on the side of Heaven and therefore killing the baddies for the sake of Good, and then things slowly gel and make her wonder – just why are the Fallen bad? Is it right to assume they’re all the same, becoming evil with their Fall. And what about Demons, she’s told they’re all evil and yet one saves her life, and continues to help. She wants black and white answers ( well, that does make life easier, ) but is learning that maybe its not so simple and there are shades that edge onto each other and lines that blur. With the angels referring to her as “it”, and making it clear that she’s like something they’ve trodden in, not even speaking to her directly if they can avoid it, and being so different from Eli why is it she’s fighting for them? Are they really telling her the truth? And what about the way they say the Father loves humans, and yet they seem to see them as disposable for a greater good?
It’s a novel that makes you think just who is classed as evil? And why? And what about the means they use to fight evil? Like Emma Jane I began to question what was going on. I loved Eli right from the start – even not knowing what happening in the first book I could see how close they were, and just why her boyfriend Dan was jealous. Some parts like that were clear, and yet others full of surprises, jolting me along a ride where I had no idea what was going to happen. Now at the end I’m uncertain just which side is good and which is bad, yet started off assuming it was clear and I knew who was good and who was bad… poor Emma Jane, she now has to choose and if she’s like me, puzzled and confused how the hell will she make that choice?
Its not a romance totally but more a suspense/thriller type with romance under-laying it, so don’t expect sex, sex and more sex…though when there is some it is Hot! I think maybe that side may develop more in later novels, its definitely a series for my keeper files, one that will bear re reading over again – its got so much content I think I’d get even more from it on second reading, especially now having a greater understanding of the characters and how they fit together.
Priced at £3.79 for 400 pages/593kb it is excellent value for money.
Stars: loved it – full five.
Arc supplied by publisher.
I really enjoyed the first in this series The Demon’s Song, so was keen to read this follow up. Sadly I’ve mixed feelings about it. Overall I did enjoy it, just not quite as much as the first. I found it hard to engage with Meresin, he’d been through some traumas that were unimaginable and horrific even by the usual cruelties immortals face and commit, but he was just so surly, unpleasant, rude to everyone including Dru. Then there’s Dru, she’s fixated on him, she’s intelligent, loving and caring and has the balance immortals need in their lives. I liked her immensely, she was looking for the best in everyone and she was so strong and supportive to Justin, her brother the vampire king. I guess she was in a special, privileged position, and yet she used her power sensibly and fairly. She and Meresin have a strange relationship, he wants her but thinks he’s not good enough and so won’t even admit it to himself. She’s taken with him on first sight two years ago. They’ve had little interaction with each other since the one time she kissed him, to shock him in a situation where he was – as usual – causing problems, and no-one able to talk him down, and she can’t get that kiss out of her head.
Anyway – its business as usual, Meresin taking offence at something a vamp has said and in danger of killing him, and Dru to the rescue as the only one who can stop him. Its the last straw for the Angel top brass, and Meresin is sent on a journey which he is unlikely to survive. Through a series of incidents Dru ends up going with him, and his life is caught up with hers so they both face an uncertain future. Once in Purgatory I began to enjoy the novel – when they were there I mean, not me 🙂 – and the relationship began to go somewhere. Dru isn’t one to give up, and gradually wears Meresin down and his personality starts to come out rather than just the irritable, surly, belligerent mad we’ve met so far. Once they get together they are Hot too!! and there was some subtle humour to help the flow – Duct tape in purgatory. Dru’s right, that stuff turns up everywhere..I tell my grandkids they only need two things for DIY, duct tape and W.D.40 🙂
Stars: just tips in at four. Overall three-quarters of the novel was a good five stars from me, but the early part barely three. I liked the interaction with other angels and vamps (and Levi) but Meresin was so grumpy I wanted to kick his ar*se, and his actions and moods seemed to overly dominate this section. I wasn’t really sure at that point what on earth Dru saw in him to put up with his insults, he was hot true but so rude, so what did she see? I really wanted to rate this book higher, but the start was so slow to get me hooked I can’t.
ARC supplied by Netgalley.
I love fantasy romance – and this time its angels, fallen ones as opposed to vampires, though there are vampires in the novel.
Human Sofia and her flatmate sneak into an elite nightclub in search of their missing friend. They haven’t seen her for some time and they and her parents are worried. Knowing she worked in the kitchens here they thought it would be a good place to search. What they don’t know is that the club is really a haven for vampires and other supernatural creatures…..
They find their friend, but at deaths door in the arms of a feeding vampire. Sophia attacks him ( loved that bit, crack across his throat and a good kick in the balls!) and screams, and the person whose attention she’d caught earlier comes to the rescue. Turns out Phenex is a fallen angel – his real title is The Angel of Song – and the other person involved, Justin, is the vampire king. Phenex kills the bad vamp, and Justin uses his vamp powers to make the other flatmate Amy forget she was there and had seen anything. They allow Sophia to go home – what she doesn’t know is Phenex is going to be shadowing her as she’s bait for the corrupt vamps Justin wants to root out. She finds out Phenex is her shadow when he kills a vamp about to attack her and he then stays openly with her.
There a real attraction between the two that comes across with sizzling tension. They get very close to the edge and Sophia pulls back asking herself what the heck she’s doing. That seemed so real, she feels like she’s been in a dream but then presented with what seems to be a super-hot attentive man its easy to forget that he’s so much more than that. Phenex has a typical supernatural disregard for humans, and doesn’t always understand why his actions annoy Sophia. Their romance seems to travel along shakily, there’s some really hot steamy sex between, them but though she feels she loves him she’s unsure of how he feels – and he’s unused to actually caring about someone and not sure about how he feels over that.
I enjoyed this book – nice to see the vamps behind the scenes and angels to the fore for once. The characters were very well depicted, I could understand Sophia’s caution over getting involved with someone supernatural, after all its only been a few days since she discovered they existed. I felt Phenex’s confusion after hundreds of years of feeling nothing for humans to find one that touches him. They learn a lot from each other about passion and emotions. The side characters too – Justin the king of the vamps, the other angels – can’t recall all the names – each had their own quirky personalities that fitted their place in the novel.
The basic plot was quite simple – really no more than an attempt at a vamp takeover – but the way heaven and hell keep the balance, and how and when the angels were allowed to intervene were interesting and kept the novel flowing well. I do like a happy ending in my romances and Kendra delivers it here in a way that’s believable.
Its a well written and edited novel and priced at £2.16 for 310kb – no page info but I’d guess around 150 from how long it too to read. If you want a fantasy romance with a different slant to the usual then Kendra’s book is for you. I’d like to see this world taken further with stories from some of the other characters. I think the world Kendra has created can take it and as I said some of the side characters were very “real” feeling and I’d like to see more from them.
Stars: I’d have liked it a bit longer and more complex for my taste, then it would have been 5 star but for an easy to read fantasy its fits the bill. I’m giving it four stars.