The Great Hunt (Eurona Duology #1) by Wendy Higgins
“Aerity…” Her father paused as if the words he was forming pained him. “I must ask you to sacrifice the promise of love for the sake of our kingdom.”
She could only stare back, frozen.
When a strange beast terrorizes the kingdom of Lochlanach, fear stirs revolt. In an act of desperation, a proclamation is sent to all of Eurona—kill the creature and win the ultimate prize: the daughter of King Lochson’s hand in marriage.
Princess Aerity knows her duty to the kingdom but cannot bear the idea of marrying a stranger… until a brooding local hunter, Paxton Seabolt, catches her attention. There’s no denying the unspoken lure between them… or his mysterious resentment.
Paxton is not the marrying type. Nor does he care much for spoiled royals and their arcane laws. He’s determined to keep his focus on the task at hand—ridding the kingdom of the beast—but the princess continues to surprise him, and the perilous secrets he’s buried begin to surface.
Inspired by the Grimm Brothers’ tale “The Singing Bone,” New York Times bestselling author Wendy Higgins delivers a dark fantasy filled with rugged hunters, romantic tension, and a princess willing to risk all to save her kingdom.
My issues with this book are small enough, but annoying and persistent, to the point that I can’t bring myself to read any further. The world building in THE GREAT HUNT is ambitious, a mix of modern attitudes with historical trappings, of circus acrobats with royalty. It gave me a Pride & Prejudice & Zombies vibe that I was excited about. This audacious melange made a critical misstep early on in the story (where a fully dressed woman swims across a river with no more than a passing notice of her “heavy clothes”). From there on out, every time detail is lavished on period dress, the petticoats and the corsets and the skirts, all I could think was, “Yeah, that woman definitely would have drowned.” It’s a single snowball that became an avalanche, the detail that made all other anachronisms grate on my nerves. – Julia
The Nightmare Stacks (Laundry Files #7) by Charles Stross
Alex Schwartz had a promising future – until he contracted an unfortunate bout of vampirism, and agreed (on pain of death) to join the Laundry, Britain’s only counter-occult secret agency.
His first assignment is in Leeds – his old hometown. The thought of telling his parents that he’s lost his old job, let alone them finding out about his ‘condition’, is causing Alex more anxiety than learning how to live as a vampire secret agent preparing to confront multiple apocalypses.
His only saving grace is Cassie Brewer, a student appearing in the local Goth Festival, who flirts with him despite his awkward personality and massive amounts of sunblock.
But Cassie has secrets of her own – secrets that make Alex’s night life seem positively normal . . .
I know the point of these books is to show the tediousness of working in an office for a large corporation, but I didn’t figure it would be so incredibly boring the whole time. I thought there would at least be a bit more humour considering that the people we were dealing with were scientists, wizards and vampires. More than anything, I was super annoyed at the characters being forced to do boring, boring things without being given an explanation from the higher ups. I get that everything was supposed to be wrapped up at some point, but I wasn’t willing to slog through to find out. -Kim
Winter of the Gods (Olympus Bound #2) by Jordanna Max Brodsky
Myth and reality collide in this sequel to The Immortals that sets Greek Gods against a modern Manhattan backdrop.
Manhattan has many secrets. Some are older than the city itself.
Winter in New York: snow falls, lights twinkle, and a very disgruntled Selene DiSilva prowls the streets looking for prey.
But when a dead body is discovered sprawled atop Wall Street’s iconic Charging Bull statue, it’s clear the NYPD can’t solve the murder without help. The murder isn’t just the work of another homicidal cult — this time, someone’s sacrificing the gods themselves.
While raising fundamental questions about the very existence of the gods, Selene must hunt down the perpetrators, tracking a conspiracy that will test the bonds of loyalty and love.
The premise of the Olympus Bound series is very interesting, and I enjoyed the first book. However, WINTER OF THE GODS didn’t live up to my expectations. I got about 25% in before I realized that Selene was going to remain closed off emotionally and her boyfriend was going to continue to seem like a puppy trailing after her, looking for a few crumbs of affection. The dynamic just didn’t do it for me, and the mystery wasn’t engaging enough to keep me interested. -Kate
Strangers of the Night: Touched by Passion by Megan Hart
When the lights go down, who knows what danger…and unspoken desires lurk in the dark?
Three young people with a shared tragic past that left them burdened as well as blessed with supernatural talents are now the target of forces determined to harm them. But their fate rests with the strangers that help them—a nurse at a mental hospital, a detective and a small-town librarian—strangers who must suspend their own disbelief to protect them. In this enthralling trilogy, these fearless, damaged souls are ready to embrace the unfathomable but are wholly unprepared for the passion they find in the arms of a stranger.
Love blooms best when the night falls, doesn’t it? Don’t miss this scintillating collection of novellas from New York Times bestselling author Megan Hart!
I couldn’t get into TOUCHED BY PASSION enough to finish it. I enjoyed the creepy vibe the story gave immediately from the first page which had me interested to read on at first. The plot (or what there was of it) felt disjointed and I didn’t like the quick and random cuts to the different POVs. If I can’t find some way to connect to a character or understand what their about by the first third of the story then I put the book down. Since we only got the one novella, TOUCHED BY PASSION might have been a set up to the other two…. -Kristina
Food of the Gods (Gods and Monsters: Rupert Wong #1-2) by Cassandra Khaw
Paying off a debt to the gods is never easy.
It’s not unusual to work two jobs in this day and age, but sorcerer and former triad soldier Rupert Wong’s life is more complicated than most. By day, he makes human hors d’oeuvres for a dynasty of ghouls; by night, he pushes pencils for the Ten Chinese Hells. Of course, it never seems to be enough to buy him a new car—or his restless, flesh-eating-ghost girlfriend passage from the reincarnation cycle—until opportunity comes smashing through his window.
In Kuala Lumpur, where deities from a handful of major faiths tip-toe around each other and damned souls number in the millions, it’s important to tread carefully. Now the Dragon King of the South wants to throw Rupert right in it. The ocean god’s daughter and her once-mortal husband have been murdered, leaving a single clue: bloodied feathers from the Greek furies. It’s a clue that could start a war between pantheons, and Rupert’s stuck in the middle. Success promises wealth, power and freedom, and failure… doesn’t.
I thought this would be a bit of wacky, fun and I like a good horror story. The wackiness was there but this was just too grotesque and chaotic for my liking and I could not get the hang of the mythology. I would have loved a brief glossary so I wouldn’t be completely lost trying to figure out what the non-human characters looked like and the reasoning behind some of their behavior. There was also just so much going on, I couldn’t keep track of everything. -Kristina
The Shadow Queen (Ravenspire #1) by C.J. Redwine
Lorelai Diederich, crown princess and fugitive at large, has one mission: kill the wicked queen who took both the Ravenspire throne and the life of her father. To do that, Lorelai needs to use the one weapon she and Queen Irina have in common—magic. She’ll have to be stronger, faster, and more powerful than Irina, the most dangerous sorceress Ravenspire has ever seen.
In the neighboring kingdom of Eldr, when Prince Kol’s father and older brother are killed by an invading army of magic-wielding ogres, the second-born prince is suddenly given the responsibility of saving his kingdom. To do that, Kol needs magic—and the only way to get it is to make a deal with the queen of Ravenspire, promise to become her personal huntsman…and bring her Lorelai’s heart.
But Lorelai is nothing like Kol expected—beautiful, fierce, and unstoppable—and despite dark magic, Lorelai is drawn in by the passionate and troubled king. Fighting to stay one step ahead of the dragon huntsman—who she likes far more than she should—Lorelai does everything in her power to ruin the wicked queen. But Irina isn’t going down without a fight, and her final move may cost the princess the one thing she still has left to lose.
This writing style couldn’t get me invested in the world and the characters fast enough, after a few chapters I still felt like I was slogging uphill. Perhaps in a different mood the plot alone could have carried me forward, but after two tries I gave up trying to get invested in Lorelai. – Julia
Christmas with a Bite by Patricia A. Wolf
A paranormal category romance from Entangled’s Covet imprint…
Sometimes the holidays totally bite…
This Christmas, Mara Livingston is determined to start over. But as she’s driving to her “new” home, a freak winter storm forces her off the road. Now she’s stranded in the middle of nowhere. Then he shows up. And there’s something strangely familiar about him…
Connor Reese never expected to see Mara again. Nor is he prepared for the onslaught of emotions―including an unimaginable rush of desire―she stirs within him. Now he has a chance to claim the woman he’s always wanted. Except, there are a couple of small details that Mara doesn’t know. The first is that Connor is a vampire. And the second is that if his family finds out about Mara, she will most certainly be killed…
I was uncomfortable with the power dynamic in this book from the very start. He remembers her, but she doesn’t. After less than 50 pages he was already “engorged” thinking of her dressed in his t-shirt, and she had already masturbated to him after “pooling” in her nether regions. It was all too much and not enough at the same time. I don’t know what was less believable: the “freak Texas snow storm” or the fact that she didn’t call him on his bullshit for not having a phone or internet in 2014. – Kim