Review: Serpentine by Laurell K. Hamilton

Serpentine by Laurell K. Hamilton (UK edition)

MY NAME IS ANITA BLAKE AND I’VE ALWAYS OVERCOME ANYTHING I’VE FACED. BUT THIS TIME, THERE’S A MONSTER THAT EVEN I DON’T KNOW HOW TO FIGHT . . .

A remote Florida island is the perfect destination for my fellow U.S. marshal and best friend Edward’s wedding. And for me, it’s a welcome break as it’s the first trip I’ve ever taken with just wereleopards Micah and Nathaniel for company. But it’s not all fun, games and bachelor parties . . .

In this tropical paradise, Micah has discovered a horrific new form of lycanthropy, one that has afflicted a single family for generations. Believed to be an ancient Greek curse, it turns human bodies into a mass of snakes.

The last thing I need is more drama, but when women start disappearing from the hotel – and worse – my own friends and lovers become the prime suspects. A strange power is afoot, a force that’s rendering those around me helpless in its thrall. I can’t face this alone and am willing to accept help from even the deadliest places – help that I will most certainly regret. If I survive at all . . .

Series: Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter 26
Genre: Erotica, Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: HEADLINE PUBLISHING GROUP (7th August 2018)
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)

The twenty-sixth novel in Laurell K. Hamilton’s brilliant Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series, Serpentine follows Anita, Micha and Nathaniel to Florida for Edward’s wedding. Life has been busy for Anita and her beaus, so romance and even sex have been on something of a back burner. The wedding is their chance for a break in tropical paradise; only like most things in Anita’s life it’s just not that easy. Micah has discovered a horrific form of what appears to be lycanthropy. And then women start disappearing from the hotel they’re staying at.

I was really looking forward to getting my hands on this book. I know a lot of people are disappointed with the later books in the series, and whilst I can understand why I’m just really invested in the characters and actually really enjoy the reading experience. So I’ll just straight out say it – if you are looking for a more plot based story, like the early Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter books, then you are going to be disappointed. Hamilton has again gone back to focusing more on Anita’s relationships than on the plot. Having said that, there is a plot that whilst small is interesting and I wish it could have been explored more.

A lot of the drama of this novel comes from interpersonal relationships. Things are not all sunshine and roses for Anita and her family, or for her friends. Getting caught up in a case when she’s supposed to be on vacation certainly doesn’t help matters, but Anita wouldn’t be Anita if she didn’t. The case is actually rather interesting. Hamilton drops little hints about what’s going on, but although I had some guesses it wasn’t until the big reveal that I actually knew what was going on. It would have been nice if the book had been a little more case focused, but I think it does work well the way it is and it does fit in with the style of Crimson Death .

Although Serpentine is not in St. Louis we do get to meet a lot of familiar faces – there’s even a namedrop of a character from near the beginning of the series – and we are introduced to some new faces. As you can tell from the blurb, the main focus of this book is Anita, Micah and Nathaniel’s relationship. I enjoyed catching up with them. I also really liked seeing Edward and his family again – and it was nice to see how different he is in this book from when we first meet him. I wasn’t that impressed with the new faces that are working for Anita and Jean Claude. Most of them felt like you’d blink and you’d miss them, and the ones that got the longer page time just seemed a little flat to me – though to be fair this might have been because Anita is the narrator and she’s dealing with the aftermath of the events in Crimson Death. Fans of Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter will not be disappointed with Serpentine as long as they have enjoyed the more recent additions to the series.

Review: Crimson Death by Laurell K. Hamilton

Crimson Death by Laurell K. Hamilton (UK edition)

Crimson Death by Laurell K. Hamilton (UK edition)

Title: Crimson Death (An Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, Novel, #25)
Author: Laurell K. Hamilton
Genre: Erotica, Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Headlines (11th October 2016)
Blurb:

MY NAME IS ANITA BLAKE.
I’M A VAMPIRE HUNTER AND NECROMANCER, AND I’M ABOUT TO LEARN THAT EVIL IS IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER . . .

I’ve never seen Damian, my vampire servant, in such a state. The rising sun doesn’t usher in the peaceful death that he desperately needs. Instead, he’s being bombarded with violent nightmares and blood sweats.

Damian is at his most vulnerable, but now is the time I need him most. The vampire who created him, who subjected him to centuries of torture, might be loosing control, allowing rogue vampires to run wild and break one of their kind’s few strict taboos.

Some say love is a great motivator, but hatred gets the job done, too. I’m joining forces with my friend Edward to stop the carnage, and Damian will be at our side, even if it means travelling back to the land where all his nightmares spring from . . . a place that couldn’t be less welcoming to a vampire, an assassin and  a necromancer.

Ireland.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️(4 stars)
Review:

CRIMSON DEATH by Laurell K. Hamilton is the twenty-fifth novel in her excellent Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series. This book sees Anita travel to Ireland at the request of her friend Edward, to deal with vampires running rogue – they may even been breaking one of the strictest taboos within their culture. However, traveling to Ireland means going to the one place Damian does not want to return to – the home of the vampire that made him – but Anita desperately needs his help. It doesn’t help that Damian is being bombarded with violent nightmares and blood sweats, as the rising dawn no longer appears to grant him peaceful death.

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Review: Lover Unleashed by J. R. Ward

Lover Unleashed by J. R. Ward (UK edition)

Title: Lover Unleashed (Black Dagger Brotherhood, 9)
Author: J. R. Ward
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Piatkus (3rd November 2011)
Blurb:

IN THE DARKEST CORNERS OF THE NIGHT IN CALDWELL, NEW YORK, A CONFLICT LIKE NO OTHER RAGES. THE CITY IS HOME TO A BAND OF BROTHERS BORN TO DEFEND THEIR RACE: THE WARRIOR VAMPIRES OF THE BLACK DAGGER BROTHERHOOD.

Payne, twin sister of the Vishous, is cut from the same dark, seductive cloth as her vampire brother. Imprisoned for eons by their mother, the Scribe Virgin, she finally frees herself – only to face a devastating injury.

Manuel Manello, MD, is drafted by the Brotherhood to save her as only he can – but when the human surgeon and the vampire warrior meet, their two worlds collide in the face of their undeniable passion. With so much working against them, can love prove stronger than the birthright and the biology that separate them?

Rating: *** (3 stars)
Review:

LOVER UNLEASHED by J. R. Ward is the ninth book in her Black Dagger Brotherhood series. This book tells the story of Payne, twin sister to Vishous who is a member of the Brotherhood. Payne has spent the last several centuries imprisoned by their mother, and has only been recently reunited with her brother whom she watched from afar. After she frees herself, Payne is injured and requires the help of a surgeon. Jane ropes in an old friend to help in the form of Manuel “Manny” Manello. Payne and Manuel share something more than doctor and patient, and the lines between them quickly become blurred.

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Review: Lover Mine by J. R. Ward

Lover Mine by J. R. Ward

Title: Lover Mine (A Black Dagger Brotherhood Novel, 8)
Author: J. R. Ward
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Piatkus (3rd February 2011)
Blurb:

In the darkest corners of the night in Caldwell, New York, a conflict like no other rages. The city is home to a band of brothers born to defend their race – the warrior vampires of the BLACK DAGGER BROTHERHOOD.

John Matthew has come a long way since he was found living among humans, his vampire nature unknown to himself and to those around him, and taken in by the Brotherhood. No one could have guessed his true history – or his true identity. Indeed, the fallen Brother Darius has returned, but with a different face and a very different destiny.

Xhex, a symphath assassin, has long steeled herself against the attraction between her and John. Having already lost one lover to madness, she will not allow a male of worth to fall prey to the darkness of her twisted life. When fate intervenes, however, the two discover that love, like destiny, is inevitable between soul mates.

Rating: *** (3 stars)
Review:

LOVER MINE by J. R. Ward is the eighth book in her Black Dagger Brotherhood series. This time the story focuses on John Matthew and Xhex, who have both appeared as minor characters in previous books. John Matthew struggles to deal with the repercussions of the events at the end of the previous book, and also to gain justice for Xhex.

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Review: Lover Avenged by J. R. Ward

Lover Avenged by J. R. Ward

Title: Lover Avenged (A Black Dagger Brotherhood, 7)
Author: J. R. Ward
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Piatkus (4th November 2010)
Blurb:

As the vampire warriors of the BLACK DAGGER BROTHERHOOD defend their race from their slayers, one male’s loyalty to the Brotherhood is about to be tested – and his dangerous mixed blood revealed.

Caldwell, New York, has long been the battleground for the vampires and their enemies, the Lessening Society. It’s also where Rehvenge has staked out his turf as a drug lord and owner of a notorious nightclub that caters to the rich and heavily armed. His shadowy reputation is exactly why he’s approached to kill Wrath, the Blind King, and leader of the Brotherhood.

However, Rehvenge has always kept his distance from the Brotherhood. He’s a symphath and the revelation of this deadly secret will result in his banishment to a colony for sociopaths. And as plots within and outside the Brotherhood take their toll against Rehvenge, he turns to the only source of light in a darkening world: Ehlena, a vampire untouched by the corruption that has taken its hold on him – and the one thing standing between him and eternal destruction.

Rating: **** (4 stars)
Review:

LOVER AVENGED is the seventh book in J. R. Ward’s intriguing Black Dagger Brotherhood series. This book tells the story of Rehvenge – brother of Bella – who is a symphath, something that is supposed to be cast out by the Brotherhood and the Blind King.

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Review: Rock Hard by Nalini Singh

Rock Hard by Nalini Singh

Title: Rock Hard (A Rock Kiss Novel, 2)
Author: Nalini Singh
Genre: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Publisher: TKA Distribution (10th March 2015)
Blurb:

In New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh’s newest contemporary romance, passion ignites between a gorgeous, sinfully sexy man who built himself up from nothing and a shy woman who has a terrible secret in her past . . .

Wealthy businessman Gabriel Bishop rules the boardroom with the same determination and ruthlessness that made him a rock star on the rugby field. He knows what he wants, and he’ll go after it no-holds-barred.

And what he wants is Charlotte Baird.

Charlotte knows she’s a mouse. Emotionally scarred and painfully shy, she just wants to do her job and remain as invisible as possible. But the new CEO – a brilliant, broad-shouldered T-Rex of a man who growls and storms through the office, leaving carnage in his wake – clearly has other plans. Plans that may be equal parts business and bedroom.

If Charlotte intends to survive this battle of wits and hearts, the mouse will have to learn to wrangle the T-Rex. Game on.

Rating: *** (3 stars)
Review:

ROCK HARD by Nalini Singh is the second book in her self-published series Rock Kiss. This book tells the story of Charlotte Baird, Molly’s best friend, and her boss Gabriel Bishop – who Charlotte refers to as T-Rex. ROCK HARD takes place almost simultaneously with ROCK ADDICTION (review), though ROCK HARD starts a little later.

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Review: Lover Enshrined by J. R. Ward

Lover Enshrined by J. R. Ward

Title: Lover Enshrined (A Black Dagger Brotherhood, 6)
Author: J. R. Ward
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Piatkus (7th October 2010)
Blurb:

In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there’s a deadly war raging between vampires and their slayers. And there exists a secret band of brothers like no other – six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Now a dutiful twin must choose between two lives . . .

Phury has sacrificed himself for the good of the race, becoming the male responsible for keeping the Black Dagger Brotherhood’s bloodlines alive – he is to father the sons and daughters who will ensure that the traditions of the race survive and that there are warriors to fight those who want all vampires extinguished.

As his first mate, the Chosen Cormia wants to win not only his body but his heart for herself – she sees the emotionally scarred male behind all this noble respobsibility. But as the war with the Lessening Society grows more grim, Phury must decide between duty and love.

Rating ***** (5 stars)
Review:

LOVER ENSHRINED by J. R. Ward is the sixth book in her Black Dagger Brotherhood series. It tells the story of Phury, Zsadist’s twin brother, and how he copes with the fallout from the choices he has made. This book leads directly on from the previous book, LOVER UNBOUND (review).

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Review: Lover Unbound by J. R. Ward

Lover Unbound by J. R. Ward

Title: Lover Unbound (A Black Dagger Brotherhood Novel, 5)
Author: J. R. Ward
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Piatkus (7th October 2010)
Blurb:

In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there’s a deadly war ragin between vampires and their slayers. And there exists a secret band of brothers like no other – six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Now, the cold heart of a cunning predator will be warmed against its will . . .

Ruthless and brilliant, Vishous, a member of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, possesses a destructive curse and the frightening ability to see th future. Tormented and abused while growing up in his father’s war camp, he now has no interest in love or emotion, only in the battle with the Lessening Society.

But when a mortal injury puts him in the care of a human surgeon, Dr Jane Whitcomb compels him to reveal his inner pain and taste true pleasure for the first time – until a destiny he didn’t choose takes him towards a future that cannot include her . . .

Rating: *** (3 stars)
Review:

LOVER UNBOUND by J. R. Ward is the fifth instalment in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. It tells the story of Vishous, a member of the Black Dagger Brotherhood who played a large part in the previous book in the series, LOVER REVEALED, as he formed a close bond with Butch. In LOVER UNBOUND Vishous has to deal with a few issues that have been building-up in the last book, he also has a chance encounter with a Dr Jane Whitcomb.

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Review: Dead Ice by Laurell K. Hamilton

Dead Ice by Laurell K. Hamilton (UK edition)

Title: Dead Ice (An Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, Novel, #24)
Author: Laurell K. Hamilton
Genre: Erotica, Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Headlines (4th June 2015)
Blurb:

MY NAME IS ANITA BLAKE AND I HAVE THE HIGHEST KILL COUNT OF ANY VAMPIRE EXECUTIONER IN THE COUNTRY.

I’m a U.S. Marshal who can raise zombies with the best of them. But ever since master vampire Jean-Claude and I went public with out engagement, all I am to anyone and everyone is Jean-Claude’s fiancée.

It’s wreaking havoc with my reputation as a hard ass – to some extent. Luckily, in professional circles, I’m still the go-to expert for zombie issues. And right now, the FBI is having one hell of a zombie issue.

Someone is producing zombie porn. I’ve seen my share of freaky undead fetishes, so this shouldn’t bother me. But the women being victimised aren’t just mindless, rotting corpses. Their souls are trapped behind their eyes, signalling voodoo of the blackest kind.

It’s the sort of case that can leave a mark on a person. And my own soul may not survive unscathed . . .

Rating: **** (4 stars)
Review:

DEAD ICE is the twenty-fourth instalment of Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter novels. Anita is dealing with the chauvinistic attitudes of those around her, since her engagement to Jean-Claude. This book also has Anita trying to track down someone who is raising zombies for porn, as well as the return of characters we haven’t seen on the page in a while.

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Review: Lover Revealed by J. R. Ward

Cover of the fourth book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood by J. R. Ward

Lover Revealed by J. R. Ward

 Title: Lover Revealed (The Black Dagger Brotherhood, 4)
Author: J. R. Ward
Genre: Erotica, Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Piatkus (3rd February 2011)
Blurb:

In the Shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there’s a deadly war raging between vampires and their slayers. And there exists a secret band of brothers like no other – six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Now, an ally of the BLACK DAGGER BROTHERHOOD will face the challenge of his life and the evil of the ages.

Butch O’Neal is a fighter by nature. A hard living ex-homicide cop, he’s the only human ever allowed in the inner circle of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. And he wants to go even deeper into the vampire world – to engage in the turf war with the lessers.

Fate curses him with the very thing he wants. When Butch sacrifices himself to save a civilian vampire from the slayers, he falls prey to the darkest force in the war. Left for dead, found by a miracle, the Brotherhood calls on the beautiful vampire Marissa to bring him back, though even her love may not be enough to save him . . .

Rating: *** (3 stars)
Review:

LOVER REVEALED by J. R. Ward is the fourth book in her brilliant Black Dagger Brotherhood series. This book tells the story of Butch, the only human to fit in with the Brotherhood and know their secret, and Marissa, the former shellan of the king of the vampire race.

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