Posts Tagged ‘Vampires’

Archangel’s Heart

June 21, 2017 - 12:24 pm No Comments

Archangel’s Heart
Guild Hunter Book 9
Author: Nalini Singh
Publisher: Gollancz
Page Count: 381pp
Release date: 2nd Nov 2016
Tweet if you like it: @NaliniSingh, @Gollancz, @StevieFinegan
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin


Right, things are a little complicated if you don’t know the series or haven’t read the previous books, but Singh drops in pieces of exposition during the first couple of chapters. So, I’m going to summarise the gist of it here for you.
This is the ninth book in the Guild Hunter series, a series in which an Archangel named Raphael is betrothed/mated (call it what you will) to his consort Elena. Raphael is in charge of New York, a city where angels, humans and vampires roam. Vampires are created by Archangels/angels, who repay the debt of saving their life and making them immortal, with a 100 years of servitude. Some angels can be brutal towards their ‘property’ indulging themselves in sexual torture, physical abuse and downright nastiness. But in the main, they are treated well, for instance, Montgomery was made by Raphael and works happily for him as a kind of butler/organiser/PA. He is also happily married to his partner of choice. Raphael is madly in love with his Elena (Guild Hunter-turned angel) who is the equivalent of a toddler in terms of angelic power. She returns his passion in spades. As for the Guild Hunters, they basically hunt ‘naughty’ vampires who runaway from their masters.
At this stage of the series, Elena is coming into her powers. This book is set two years after the events of the last book. Archangel Alexander awoke from ‘Sleep’ claiming back half of his lands from the current ruler Favashi. Cue tension and possible war. At the same time two years ago, after making zombie-ish creatures to try and take power, Lijuan was last seen disappearing into the distance (presumed not-dead due to her age) and there was the ‘cascade’, causing untold destruction and changes in the world hierarchy. Now, as Lijuan has been missing/dead for two years, a mysterious and ancient order of angels, the Luminata, call the Cardre of Archangels together to discuss the fate of Lijuan’s territory. But if she is not in ‘Sleep’ and is in fact alive, there will be eleven Archangels awake at the same time; with possibly deadly and disastrous consequences.
Elena is allowed to accompany Raphael to the compound but only as consort, so bringing her faithful guards with her is out of the question. So death is a very real possibility. Especially as her best friend Bluebell (Illium) will remain on duty in New York. He, too, is becoming a staggering angel in his own right. Thankfully though, she can take one of Raphael’s other ‘Seven’, Aodhan. Still bearing the dual scars from his time in hell, Aodhan has finally returned to art. Yet his creative side belies a clever, dangerous angel.
So, the trio set off in the skies to meet with the Luminata and the other Archangels and co.
When they get there, the architecture is stunning, as is the Morrocan scenery, bringing back all manner of memories for Elena about her mother. But something is not right at their lair. And lair is probably the best word for Lumia; for it feels more like another Archangel’s refuge than a pseudo-religious/mystic and peaceful land it pretends to be. The angels at Lumia ring alarm bells for Raphael, Elena and Aodhan. Secrets abound. Adding to this is the evidence of bloodlust attacks and the possibility that it could worsen, and the need for proof as to what has indeed happened to Lijuan.
When Elena visits the local town, it’s clear the villages are scared to death of angels – the question is ‘why?’.
Between various mysteries and story threads, Singh delivers an intricate sometimes confusing world build. If you’re new to the series, this isn’t the best book to start with, as it’s heavy on the politics and world build.
I love that Singh delivers multicultural societies in her novels, reflective of the world in which we live (without the mythical creatures that is) and she is brave enough to deal with Aodhan’s PTSD among other issues. However, I have to confess, of the series, it wasn’t my favourite, though it did give us a glimpse into Elena’s history, and the relationship between Raphael and his mother Caliane was explored.
Enjoyable, romantic and lots going on.
A solid 3.5/5

Kinship: The Uncertain Life of a Vampire Hunter by Caroline A Gill

February 22, 2017 - 9:44 pm No Comments

Kinship: The Uncertain Life of a Vampire Hunter by Caroline A Gill

Published by St Helena Press on 26th October 2016

174 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

Valen is a vampire hunter, going from city to city, clearing the nests of vampires. As the battles with the vampires become more and more difficult, Valen knows that he is losing the war. With other hunters keeping secrets and a mysterious light source at one scene, Valen does not know who to trust, but when he came across an enigmatic woman playing darts, he knew that he had to put his faith in someone.

The way the author describes Valen, you can sense he is a man on a mission, but that it took its toll. He took every death and every failure to heart.

As this is a story about vampire hunters you can expect action from the moment you start reading. At the start of this book, I did feel sorry for Valen as he had no one to watch his back or to talk to when he was feeling really depressed.  However, after he joined up with a partner his whole demure changed and he did start to feel more confident with himself and his actions.

Running through the story is the mysterious light source and whilst some fact about it come out, I hope more is explained in book 2.

This book is different to others that I have read about vampire hunters as this shows the loneliness of a vampire hunter. A good read full of vampire kills



The Shifter Romances the Writer by Kristen Painter

January 18, 2017 - 2:51 pm No Comments

The Shifter Romances the Writer
Nocturne Falls Book 6
Author: Kristen Painter
Publisher: Independent
Page count: 364pp
Release date: 24th May 2016
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

Realtor Pandora Williams returns in this book as supporting cast member, helping writer Roxy St James (currently going through a divorce) to find the right new home. She has moved to Nocturne Falls, a town where every day is Halloween and Supernaturals roam free. Hidden in plain sight, as it were. Though hiding is something Roxy can relate to. She is desperate to shake off her ex; her “awful, controlling soul-crushing ex.”
Roxy is friends with Delaney Ellingham, now pregnant with Sebastian’s baby. And she is delighted love is working out for them, though can’t help noting the irony that she, a romance writer, has somehow got it wrong. So, better to say she was done with men. She would remain single and get a cat, or a fish.
Of course the house is perfect, especially with its added bonus of a spacious shed/tree house at the back that she can use as a writing room. So, decision made, she takes it.
Elsewhere in the town, deputy and shifter Alex Cruz is being lectured in Spanish by his Mom on the same subject as always! When will he find a good woman and give her grandbabies? For Alex, there’s plenty of time. After all he’s only 59 and shifters live a long time. But Carmen (aka Mom) doesn’t think so. She’s addicted to romance novels and can’t help it that romances dance in her vision. And she just happens to be a fan of Roxy. It’s a pity that for Alex, romance means a soul mate and unless he finds that, he’ll stay alone. It had to be better than little brother Diego though, who’d turned up again looking for somewhere to stay after another relationship breakdown. Three weeks later and little bro still has no job and is getting on Alex’s last nerve.
There are some great characters here and relationship dynamics. Roxy is struggling to escape her ex and set up her new life. But amidst the drama, and the budding romance, is the usual comedy. Painter loves a good pun (Undrea Seely who I’m betting is some sort of mer-creature) runs a fish pet shop called Tanks A Lot. Baddum. Ching.  For me, I found the irony aimed at PNR writers, which Painter partly is, very humorous, but as a writer myself, I got Roxy’s frustrations as well as her joy. And her fears. Deadlines loom, but life gets in the way. Yet writing this stuff is extremely satisfying as well.
This series never gets old. I’m on my sixth book and I find something new in every one.
My only bug bear in this one is the baddie. It came out of the blue and wasn’t the one I’d expected from hints in Howlers. Of course I can’t say any more without spoiling the ending. One other thing, was Alex’s issue with a human as a potential partner. Whatever way you want to look at it, it’s a form of racism or xenophobia, despite Alex’s rationale behind it. Whilst his Mom does pull him to task on this, I don’t feel it was given enough attention. Otherwise, it was a fun read, with a solid character line up and emotional punch. What I particularly like about this series is the multitude of other supporting characters within the Nocturne Falls universe. It bodes well for future books. Great fun.

Immortal Nights Lynsay Sands

December 12, 2016 - 11:39 am No Comments

Immortal Nights (Argeneau vampires 24)
Author: Lynsay Sands @lynsaysands
Publisher: Gollancz
Page count: 346pp
Release date: 29th September 2016
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin


At the end of Argeneau vampires book 23, ‘Runaway Vampire’, Dante Notte is ecstatic to have found a life mate who loves him, but is incredibly worried about his kidnapped brother Tomasso.
In the previous book, both twins were abducted by a mysterious group, apparently led by Dr Dressler, who is performing experiments on immortals (vampires) for some unknown reason. After Dante’s mate Mary remembers the name Dressler, and a connection to Venezuela has already been made, Dante, Mary and head of the Argeneau family Lucian, hop a plane intent on tracking down the missing vamps and the culprits behind it all.
In the meantime, Abigail (Abs) Forsythe is having a tough time; having given up medical school to care for her mom, (she has recently lost her to cancer), managing to clear the medical bills, but eating into her college fund to do it. All she has to her name is $200 and a best friend named Jet. Part girlfriend/part brother, Jet (or Jethro) is a lifetime pal who offers her the chance of adventure. A plane trip carrying ‘cargo’ to Venezuela. At a loss, feeling miserable, overweight and full of low self esteem, Abigail agrees. After all, what could possibly go wrong?
Ah, yes, that would be two shady looking men joining the flight and Abigail having to hide in the dark, in the cargo hold. With a naked man. In a cage. Who turns out to be a sexy Italian vampire from the Argeneau group.
Tomasso Notte is Dante’s kidnapped brother from Argeneau book #23 and I’ve been very much looking forward to his story, having encountered him in other books in this enjoyable series.
When Abigail sees him in trouble, she can’t resist helping, taking out the IV of drugs keeping him unconscious and rescuing him. Of course, trapped on a plane and meeting Abigail, Tomasso’s instincts tell him to grab Abigail, his potential life mate who he can’t read, and jump out of a flying plane!
So, like a bad episode of ‘I’m a Celebrity Get me Out of Here’, Tomasso and Abigail land in a Caribbean jungle and bond as they fight their way to civilisation. The chemistry and humour, as always, is spot on. But what I particularly like about this book, is Abigail’s (and possibly Sand’s) attitude to weight and ‘skinny’ vs ‘fat’ women.
It is clear Abigail is no supermodel; but she is curvy, sexy and all you would want to be, and even after her experiences in the jungle, she remains curvy. As Abigail notes later on in the novel, about two thirds in; ‘Models were not a healthy weight. If a person had to starve themselves or throw up to get the desired weight, it probably wasn’t a healthy weight to be.’ And ‘models were a terrible role model for young girls, and they just made healthy women feel fat.’
Way hey! Well said. I applaud these sentiments. Such thoughts make Abigail a real, believable woman.
As usual, we have a mix of adventure, intrigue and romance. Jet, the brother-figure, remains a solid character throughout the book, and I really hope we get his story later on. He deserves a life-mate. We also get to see two of my faces again; Lucian and Bricker.
After the group are reunited, they face challenges ahead. The story behind the kidnap pigs and Dressler is set to continue.

Runaway Vampire (Argeneau Vampires 23)

November 19, 2016 - 9:27 pm No Comments

Runaway Vampire (Argeneau Vampires #23)
Author: Lynsay Sands
Publisher: Gollancz
Page count: 368pp
Release date: 25th Feb 2016
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin


Recently widowed Mary Winslow (62 years old) is driving her RV down back roads at night, with her dog Bailey for company, when she hits something, or someone in the road. But when she gets out to investigate, there’s nothing in the road. Oblivious to the extra passenger hidden in her RV, Mary continues on her journey.
In the meantime, her secret passenger, Dante Notte, (vampire) is in pretty bad shape, mangled in fact, having been run over by the RV in his attempt to flee his pursuers. So now, he’s lying half in the bedroom, half in the bathroom, bloody and bashed, unable to move or call for help. He attempts to enter Mary’s mind to control her and get help, but he’s far too weak.
When Mary finally pulls the RV over, on a mission to find a pay phone and call the police to tell them she may have run something over, she gives in to Bailey’s whimpers, opening her bedroom door to let the dog jump up and sleep on the bed. But as Mary turns on the light, that isn’t what she sees.
Instead of curling up on her bunk, her dog is busy licking blood off the naked man sprawled on the floor; and it’s a sight for sore eyes.
After feeding on the locals at a truck stop diner, Dante is mostly healed, but still distractingly naked, as he sets off in the RV taking Mary with him (for her own safety). He explains that he and his twin brother were kidnapped, and while Dante had escaped only to be run over by Mary, his brother Tomasso is still held prisoner. The brothers, he explains, are part of a task force investing the disappearance of young men and women in the San Antonio area. To Mary, this translates as “Oh God, I’ve run over a Fed.”
At this stage, Mary has no clue that Dante is a vampire, and a member of the Argeneau family either, one of the strongest vampire families in the world. And though she may be a withered, old 62 (in her opinion) she’s still aware of Dante looking at her in a certain way and can’t figure out why. But for Dante, the reason is obvious; Mary is his life mate.
What I really like about these characters and this burgeoning relationship, is that whilst Mary underrates herself, as unfortunately most women tend to do, Dante sees her as we, the reader see her; young at her core, passionate, curvaceous, intelligent and brave. As well as beautiful.
The romance is handled perfectly and believably.
Dear Reader, yes, it is possible to have feelings about another person and/or sex past the age of fifty! They way Dante describes Mary is wonderful –  when she worries about him finding her attractive ‘at her age’ he responds “The scars and marks left by time, show that you have lived life.”
As always, Sands has an excellent sense of humour, particularly with some of the love making scenes. I won’t spoil all your fun, but I do have to mention the condom scene. That is all!
Between the sex, the lighthearted narrative, the intrigue and emotional aspects of the book, this is another hit from the Argeneau vampire series.
Twenty three and still going strong!