Pure Blood – Melissa Pearl

It is only a matter of time before Gemma’s parents find out she traveled through time to bring Harrison back into existence. The fear of being found out is a heavy weight on her shoulders, but she refuses to give up on everything she’s fought for. Harrison is worth the risk. 

The couple draws closer together as they battle opposing forces from all sides. They stay strong until Gemma’s parents welcome an exchange student into their home. Simeon, a gorgeous Californian, is as smooth as coffee and, supposedly, a fellow time spirit. Gemma’s parents expect her to take him everywhere and, of course, fall in love with him. After all, he is the boy they have chosen for her. 

No longer able to sneak off alone, Gemma must watch every step as she waits for the inevitable nightmare to catch up to her. Her parents ultimate goal is to get that last necklace and open the box hidden in their safe. If they do, Gemma knows her entire world will unravel. 

As the danger mounts, Gemma must decide if she has the courage to make the ultimate sacrifice to save the ones she loves and stop to her parents’ destructive plans.

Pure Blood (Time Spirit Trilogy) is the third and final (for now) book in the series, which finally answers the question that has been threaded throughout books one and two – what are Gemma’s parents up to?

I have to say that I was surprised! I’m not sure what I expected, but it wasn’t this – it’s fabulous when an author can surprise the reader, and I felt like Melissa did. The escalation of violence and erratic behaviour from her parents, and the exchange student they planted into Gemma’s life made things very difficult for her, but those were not the only challenges faced in this book, because Harrison’s mother suddenly goes cold on Gemma, and neither her, or Harrison, can figure out why. The two struggle to figure out who they really are, and what that means for themselves as individuals, as well as a couple.

There were a lot of threads to be tied up in the book, and while some of them were obvious, there were plenty of surprises – not everything is as you might suspect. I don’t really want to say too much, because I would hate to give the ending away, but this is a great finale to the series, and I was really satisfied with how it was wrapped up. Gemma is an amazing girl, and my heart broke for her several times during this book. Still, she stayed true to herself, and pushed on despite the odds. If you’ve read the first two books in this series, then you NEED to read this one. You won’t be disappointed.

I’m looking forward to seeing what Melissa Pearl puts out next, and you can be sure I’ll be grabbing a copy, whatever it turns out to be.

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Dead Harvest

Meet Sam Thornton. He collects souls. 

Sam’s job is to collect the souls of the damned, and ensure they are dispatched to the appropriate destination. But when he’s sent to collect the soul of a young woman he believes to be innocent of the horrific crime that’s doomed her to Hell, he says something no Collector has ever said before. 

“No.”

I love a good ‘damned souls’ novel, so I couldn’t help but be intrigued by this one where Sam is a soul collector. One thing that I really enjoyed was that he has no set body – he nabs those of the recently departed (for the most part) and inhabits them in order to do his job, making him slightly abnormal on the undead scene, who typically jump into the skin of the still living.

It was really interesting to follow a character whose form changed several times throughout the novel, but I really appreciated the way Holm wrote this, so that without being over the top obvious, the reader, and other characters in the novel, could tell who was possessed at any given time.

Sam is a great character, far more moralistic than you would think a denizen of hell should be, and over the course of the novel we find out what it was he did to become a Collector, and how the decisions of his past are impacting on his current job. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, he never sways in his conviction that the girl is innocent, even though he has angels and demons alike coming after him, and everyone else is sure she is guilty.

This is an action packed book with a story line that powers along. The secondary characters are well written and unique and I really had no idea how this one was going to pan out. Well written, and well paced, this was a book it was easy to lose myself in. Dead Harvest is being released this week, and a second in the series (The Wrong Goodbye) is scheduled for later in the year – I will be picking it up!

Dead Radiance – available now!

Sick of vampires and angels? Why not try Dead Radiance with VALKYRIES, and Norse mythology – a nice change from your standard YA paranormal fare.

Meet Bryn, the kick ass leading lady in this debut novel from NZ/South African writer T.G Ayer. Bryn has been in the foster system for years and struggles to trust others, so fearful about appearing crazy that she has to hide the things she sees from everyone else. Until she meets Aidan, that is, and finds it impossible to stop him from getting under her skin.

Conflicted about her budding romance, and freaked out by the reality that those who appear to glow seem destined for death, Bryn struggles to find the answers she needs. It seems like Aidan might be the key to cracking the mystery, until he disappears, leaving her heart broken and confused by the clues he has left behind.

Bryn’s journey takes her to places she had never imagined existed, where she discovers that myths are real and she is marked for a task that seems more impossible than her newly grown wings.

This is a strong first release, and a great start to a series exploring new territory. If you are looking for something new, definitely check this novel out. Available now in both print and digital formats.

Cover Reveal – Bare Naked Lola

The latest installment in the Lola Cruz mystery novels is coming out in May, 2012, and today we’re participating in Entangled’s cover reveal for it. It looks like a fun read, right?

The series has been likened to Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum novels, and if that’s anything to go by, this should be a great book to curl up on the couch with. Here is the blurb for Bare Naked Lola:

Going undercover is second nature for Private Investigator Lola Cruz, but she’s out of her league when the case of a murdered Royals Courtside Dancer leads her to a local nudist resort. Parading around the sidelines of Sacramento’s professional basketball scene in a barely-there cheerleading outfit is one thing—but parading around in nothing but smile? If she has any chance of hiding this from her traditional family and on-again/off-again boyfriend Jack, she’s going to have a lot more than her duct tape bra and killer dance moves to keep under wraps….

I don’t know about you, but I’ll be checking it out!

Fallen – Traci Slatton

I really, really liked this book. I’ve read an awful lot of YA this year, so it was a lovely change to read something that is more for adults than teens.

When the world ends, all that is left is love…. 

As chaos descends on a crippled Earth, survivors are tormented by strange psychic gifts. In this time of apocalyptic despair, love is put to the test.

One woman with mysterious healing power guides seven children to safety. Charismatic Arthur offers her a haven. Slowly Emma falls for him. But at the moment of their sweetest love, his devastating secret is revealed, and they are lost to each other. Will Emma stay with him? 

The first in a romantic trilogy set during the end times.

Right from the very beginning of this book I was transported from the modern world into Slatton’s post-apocalyptic vision of the future. A future that could happen, you just never know. Right from the beginning, you also can’t help but connect with the main character, Emma, as she watches a situation unfold which, one way or the other, looks like it will lead to the death of her youngest daughter.

Thankfully, Arthur arrives and saves Emma’s daughter, but that doesn’t mean that danger has passed – this new world is rife with risk, and Emma, like everyone else, is doing her best to navigate her way through it with the least amount of trauma possible. There is so much emotional impact in this story, with many characters drawing you in and forcing you to see the world through their eyes. There is action, violence, romance. It’s raw, beautiful and compelling reading.

I loved the way that Emma developed over the story, but most of all, I think I enjoyed the way she lied to herself throughout. And I loved the way that Arthur called her on that, until the point she knew he was right when he called her a liar. Emma refuses to believe the truths in front of her, as she clings dearly to the beliefs and goals that have kept her safe so far. I think Slatton did a wonderful job of portraying this, as it could have been easy to mess up – frequently in books where the truth is evident to the reader, the reader can get frustrated with the main character for their stupidity in not seeing what’s before their eyes. That was not the case in this book.

I don’t know what else to say without giving too much away, other than – read this book. I can’t wait for the next novel in the series. I can’t wait to see what happens next for Emma, and Arthur, and everyone else. Can the mists be stopped? Can Emma find happiness?

Play Dead – Anne Frasier

No one understands the dark side of Savannah better than homicide detective Elise Sandburg.

As an infant, she was thought to be the daughter of a famous root doctor-and was abandoned in an ancient Low Country cemetery. Growing up, she was haunted by her possible connection to the local Gullah culture-with its spells and voodoo. 

Now, however, there’s a twisted killer on the loose, and the city is gripped by terror. Someone is using a substance that leaves its victims in a state that mimics death. As their bodies slip into an irreversible paralysis, their minds remain fully, shockingly awake. Before you wake up dead.

Step by step, Elise’s relentless chase for the killer draws her straight back into the world she most fears. And now, to stop a murderer, she must confront the truth about her own past in ways she never could have imagined…

I’m pretty sure that I picked this up from the Kindle Free Bestseller list awhile back, as I really liked the premise. I love these kind of books and the combination of crime and the occult always appeals. I very quickly got hooked and this one did not disappoint.

I really liked Elise as a character – she’s flawed, strong, has an interesting past and a mystery to her origins which comes directly into play with the main plot line. She has a teenager daughter who is reluctant to have anything to do with her, and a partner who is the odd one out on the force, and has a mysterious history of his own. The story is told from several points of view, one of which is that of the killer – Frasier manages not to give it away who that is though, and when it was finally revealed I was most surprised!

The atmosphere is fantastic, and the level of occult nicely played. It’s a creepy, fast paced read and certainly worth picking up. I gave it four stars and will be checking out other titles from the author because this was right up my alley.

Roil – Trent Jamieson

Where once there were twelve great cities, now only four remain, and their borders are being threatened by the growing cloud of darkness. The last humans are fighting back with ever more bizarre new machines. But one by one the defences are failing. And the Roil continues to grow.

With the land in turmoil, it’s up to a decadent wastrel, a four thousand year-old man, and a young woman intent on revenge to try to save their city – and the world.

Publisher: Angry Robot
Release Date: 30th August, 2011

I picked this book up via NetGalley as it sounded like an interesting read. While a little confusing to begin with, it didn’t take long to get a picture of what was going on. The author really does throw you in the deep end, though it is well worth sticking with because even if you feel like you’re playing catch up, it’s an exciting place to be in!

It’s been a long time since I’ve hit upon such a richly imagined world. It was so alien, so new, so fascinating, and so beautifully described. I easily lost myself in it, and look forward to having that opportunity again in the second book in the series.

The Roil – the rolling, hot, massive darkness that seems intent on devouring the whole world – is a character in it’s own right. Populated with scary and intriguing creatures, we learn throughout the book the ways in which is has evolved. I particularly enjoyed the ‘witmoths’, beautifully creepy critters which infest humans to bring them to the Roil’s side.

The other characters are all unique and interesting as well. The heroes of the tale are a drug addicted guy, an Old Man (who is creepy and dangerous), and a young woman who has escaped a fallen city and is intent on getting revenge against the Roil, which took her parents. Initially their story lines are individual, but they all meet up eventually, and find that they are walking the same path. Cadell, the Old Man, in particular is a fantastic character. I really loved learning more about the Old Men, they are so creepy, and horrific in some instances, but definitely working against the Roil.

Wound throughout this are secondary characters with their own back story and motivations – a lot of those political – which add to the depth and richness of the story. It’s a complex world, with a lot going on it it. Over the course of the novel we learn a fair bit about the history of the cities, the Roil, the world and the different groups of people that populate it.

This is a pretty dark book, with lots of unpleasant things happening in it – LOVED it. If I had to say a few negative things it would possibly be that while I enjoyed reading the characters and found them unique, I didn’t really connect with any of them on an emotional level. Also, while you are thrown into action initially, it takes a little while for the story line to really get moving. By the time I hit half way I was well and truly caught up in it, but if it’s not up your alley, you might struggle a little to begin with. I lost track of how far through I was and the end hit me pretty quickly. When I read it, I didn’t realize it was the first book in a series so that came as a bit of a shock – I really can’t wait for the next book to come out so that I can immerse myself in this world again.