Review: Bonds of Justice by Nalini Singh

A Psy-Changeling Novel (Book 8)

Bonds of Justice by Nalini Singh, UK edition cover.

Title: Bonds of Justice (A Psy-Changeling Novel)
Author: Nalini Singh
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Publication Date: 26th May 2011

Blurb:

Max Shannon is a good cop, one of the best in New York Enforcement. Born with a natural shield that protects him against Psy mental invasions, he knows he has little chance of advancement within the Psy-dominated power structure. The last case he expects to be assigned is that of a murderer targeting a Psy Councilor’s closest advisors. And the last woman he expects to compel him in the most sensual of ways is a Psy on the verge of a catastrophic mental fracture . . .

Sophia Russo is a Justice-Psy, cursed with the ability to retrieve memories from mrn and women so twisted even veteran cops keep their distance. Appointed Max’s liaison with the Psy, she finds herself fascinated by this human, her frozen heart threatening to thaw with forbidden emotion. But, her mind filled with other people’s nightmares, other people’s evil, she’s standing on the border between sanity and a silken darkness that urges her to take justice into her own hands, to be come judge, jury . . . and executioner . . .

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

The eighth book in Nalini Singh’s A Psy-Changeling Novel series, and the second book in a row to move away from the changeling world focusing on the relationship between a human and a Psy who is unable to leave the Net. The world is changing and the net around the Psys is getting tighter – soon they are going to have to choose to sink or to swim; to break the Silence Protocol, or to reinforce: either choice has potentially deadly consequences, and in this book lines are drawn in the sand.

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Review: Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris

Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Mysteries book 12

Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris, UK edition cover.

Title: Dead Reckoning
Author: Charlaine Harris
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publication Date: 3rd May 2011

Blurb:

There’s a reckoning on the way . . .

Sookie Stackhouse is a cocktail waitress in Bon Temps, Louisiana. It’s a job which has its own challenges, but now the vampires and the shapeshifters are finally ‘out’, you’d think the supernaturals would get on with each other. But nothing is simple in Bon Temps!

. . . and Sookie has a knack for being in trouble’s way; not least when she witnesses the firebombing of Merlotte’s, the bar where she works. Since Sam Merlotte is known to be two-natured, suspicion immediately falls on the anti-shifters in the area. Sookie suspects otherwise, but before she can investigate something else – even more dangerous – comes up.

Sookie’s lover Eric Northman and his ‘child’ Pam are plotting something in secret. Whatever it is, they seem determined to keep Sookie out of it; almost as determined as Sookie is to find out what’s going on. She can’t sit on the sidelines when both her work and her love life are under threat – but as their plans gradually become clear Sookie finds the situation is deadlier than she could have imagined.

Rating: *** (3 stars)
Review:

Dead Reckoning is the eleventh book in Charlaine Harris’s best-selling Sookie Stackhouse series, and it follow on pretty much from where the previous book in the series left off. This is not the place to start if you are new to the series. I have been a fan of this series for a while, and I really looked forward to reading this latest installment.

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Review: Hard Bitten by Chloe Neill

The 4th A Chicagoland Vampires Novel

Hard Bitten by Chloe Neill, UK edition cover.

Title: Hard Bitten (A Chicagoland Vampires Novel)
Author: Chole Neill
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Publication Date: 12th May 2011

Blurb:

Times are hard for newly minted vampire Merit. Ever since shapeshifters announced their presence to the world, humans have been rallying against supernaturals – and they’re camping outside Cadogan House with protest signs that could turn to pitchforks at any moment. Behind its doors, things between Merit and her Master, green-eyed heartbreaker Ethan Sullivan are . . . tense, to say the least. But they have to work together when the may of Chicago calls Merit and Ethan to a clandestine meeting: there’s been a violent vampire attack which has left three women missing. They mayor’s message is simple: get your house in order. Or else.

Merit needs to get to the bottom of this crime, but it’s not easy when she can’t tell who’s on her side. So she goes outside Cadogan House, secretly calling in a favour from someone who’s tall, dark and part of an underground vamp group which might be able to shed some light on this attack. It’s not long before Merit finds herself in the dark, heady heart of Chicago’s supernatural society – which seems to be full of vampires ready to fulfill the human’s worst fears. She’s about to learn that you can’t be a vampire without getting a little blood on your hands . . .

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

Hard Bitten is a rip-roaring read for any vampire lover.

It is the fourth book in Neill’s A Chicagoland Vampires Novel, and continues on from the plot of Hard Bitten. Neill has managed to balance the action and the romance plots in the series brilliantly, so neither overpowers the other and at times they seamlessly merge. Neill does however follow the conventions of the Paranormal Romance genre and have a first person narrator – everything is told from Merit’s point of view, and it works because Neill resists the temptation to tell the reader too much. Neill also follows the convention that Chicago is gangland, albeit with vampires and shifters and other creatures of myth instead of the usual gangster/mobster.

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Review: Blaze of Memory by Nalini Singh

Book 6 of A Psy-Changeling Novel

Blaze of Memory by Nalini Singh, UK edition cover.

Title: Blaze of Memory (A Psy-Changeling Novel)
Author: Nalini Singh
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Publication Date: 12th May 2011

Blurb:

Nalini Singh returns to the Psy-Changeling world and its breathtaking blend of passion, adventure and the paranormal, as a woman without a past becomes the pawn of a man who controls her future . . .

Dev Santos discovered Katya unconscious and battered, with no memory of who she is. All Katya can tell him is that she’s dangerous. Charged with protecting his people’s most vulnerable secrets, Dev is duty-bound to eliminate any and all threats against them. It’s a task he’s never hesitated to complete . . . until now, when he finds himself drawn to a woman who could prove to be the enemy’s most insidious weapon yet.

Stripped of her memories by a shadowy oppressor and programmed to carry out cold-blooded murder Katya Haas is fighting desperately for her very sanity. Dev is her only hope. But how can she expect to gain the trust of a man who could very well be her next target? For, in this game, someone is going to die . . .

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

This is the seventh book in Nalini Singh’s A Psy-Changeling Novel and you would be forgiven for thinking that it follows the precedent set by the previous five books; it doesn’t. In Blaze of Memory Singh moves away from the Changeling world that has dominated the previous five books, and instead gives us a peek into the world of the Forgotten – the descendents of the Psy who fled Silence, unwilling to give up their emotions, their humanity.

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Review: The Necromancer by Michael Scott

Book 4 of The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel

The Necromancer by Michael Scott, UK edition cover.

Title: The Necromancer (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel)
Author: Michael Scott
Genre: Young Adult (YA), Urban Fantasy
Publication Date: 5th August 2010

Blurb:

Trust no one . . .

Josh and Sophie Newman have finally made it home – but San Francisco is no longer a safe haven for the twins. They have not yet mastered the magics they desperately need for protection against the Dark Elders, and Dr. John Dee is still hunting them down. Worse still, they are no longer sure if they can trust Nicholas Flamel – or anyone.

Perenelle has escaped from Alcatraz and must now fight with Nicholas to protect Josh and Sophie. But she was not the only powerful weapon hidden on the island – an army of monsters is about to be unleashed on San Francisco. With their powers weakening by the hour, the Flamels know that this battle may kill them both.

Having failed to retrieve the missing pages of the Codex for the Elders, Dee is now an outlaw – and the new prey of all the creatures formerly sent to hunt down Nicholas Flamel. But Dee has a plan – to raise the Mother of the Gods from the dead. To achieve this, he must train a necromancer. And the twins of legend will make the perfect pupils . . .

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

Let me preface this review by saying that I am a fan of the series, and have been following it for a while. This is the fourth book in The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series. It continues the story-arc from The Sorceress and brings the end of the world ever closer. In this book, perhaps more than in any other in the series, there is a definite sense of battle looming in the background – it feels like the Apocalypse will occur within days of the events of the book. There is a very definite sense that the events of this book will set the stage for what is to come.

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Review: Branded By Fire by Nalini Singh

A Psy-Changeling Novel (book 5)

Branded By Fire by Nalini Singh, UK edition cover.

Title: Branded By Fire (A Psy-Changeling Novel)
Author: Nalini Singh
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Publication Date: 14th April 2011.

Blurb:

Though DarkRiver sentinel Mercy is feeling the pressure to mate, she savagely resists when Riley Kincaid, a lieutenant from the SnowDancer pack, tries to posses her. The problem is not simply that he pushes her buttons; the problems is that he’s a wolf, and she’s a cat, and they’re both used to being on top.

But when a brilliant changeling researcher is kidnapped in DarkRiver territory, Mercy and Riley must work together to track the young man – before his shadowy captors decide he’s no longer useful. Along the way, the two dominants may find that submitting to one another uncovers not just a deadly conspiracy, but a passion so raw that it could leave them both branded by fire . . .

Rating: *** (3 stars)
Review:

This is the sixth book in Nalini Singh’s A Psy-Changeling Novel series, and its plot follows pretty much the same plot arc as set out in the earlier books. So if you’ve read the previous books in the series (which is advisable, as the plots of the series are interwoven) then don’t expect a change in formula.

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Review: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Lithuuanian WW2 novel

Between Shade of Gray by Ruta Sepetys, UK edition cover.

Title: Between Shades of Gray
Author:
Ruta Sepetys
Genre:
Young Adult (YA), Romance, War
Publication Date:
7th April 2011

Blurb:
That morning, my brother’s life was worth a pocket watch . . .

One night fifteen-year-old Lina, her mother and young brother are hauled from their home by Soviet guards, thrown into cattle cars and sent away. They are being deported to Siberia.

An unimaginable and harrowing journey has begun. Lina doesn’t know if she’ll ever see her father or her friends again. But she refuses to give up hope.

Lina hopes for her family.
For her country.
For her future.
For love – first love, with the boy she barely knows but knows she does not want to loose . . .
Will hope keep Lina alive?


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

Below the blurb in my edition of the book is the following section of text:

Set in 1941, Between Shades of Gray is an extraordinary and haunting story based on first-hand family accounts and memories from survivors.

This is not the first fictional war story I have read, nor is it the first one based on a “true” account – for my A-Level (or was it AS?) English Literature I was obliged to devour several books and poems about World War II – nor is it even the first YA book with this theme I have read. What is new for me is the subject matter. This book is about the travesties that Russia under Stalin’s rule committed, particularly to the Baltic states – though the Lina and her family originate from Lithuania. It was an eye-opening read, as I honestly had no idea what happened in those states between 1941 and 1991 (it may have started earlier, I don’t know).

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Review: Tempestuous by Lesley Livingston

Sequel to Wounderous Strange & Darklight

Tempestuous by Lesley Livingston, US edition cover.

Title: Tempestuous
Author:
Lesley Livingston
Genre:
Young Adult (YA), Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Publication Date:
21 December 2010

Blurb:

“I don’t love Sonny Flannery.”

That’s the lie Kelley Winslow told to protect the boy she loves from a power he doesn’t know he possesses. Devastated, Sonny retreats – to a haven for Lost Fae that’s hidden deep underneath New York City.

But Kelley’s not about to let things end in heartbreak. To get Sonny back, she’s got to find out who’s after his magick – and how to use her own. She’s got to uncover who’s recruiting Janus Guards to murderously hunt innocent Faerie. She’s got to help rebuild the shattered theater company she called family. And she’s got to do it all without getting dangerously distracted by the Fennrys Wolf, whose legendary heart of stone seems to melt whenever he’s around Kelley.

The intrigue and romance that began with Wondrous Strange and Darklight comes to a stormy head in Tempestuous, the breathtaking conclusion to Lesley Livingston’s ravishing urban Faerie trilogy.

Rating: ***
(3 stars)
Review:
Let me preface this review by saying that I read both Wondrous Strange and Darklight before I read this book, and I liked the way Livingston handled both the plot and the world in both books – Livingston remembered when writing about this world that according to the old stories the Fae/the Fair Folk are not nice and not human, whatever they pretend.

Review: The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong

Darkest Rising Trilogy: Book 1

The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong, UK edition cover.

Title: The Gathering
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy
Publication Date: 7th April, 2011
Blurb:

Maya Delaney has always felt a close bond with nature. The woods around her home are a much-loved sanctuary – and the pawprint birthmark on her hip feels like a sign that she belongs.

But then strange things begin to happen in the tiny medical-research town of Salmon Creek. A young girl drowns mysteriously in the middle of a calm lake. Mountain lions appear around Maya’s home, and won’t go away. Her best friend Daniel starts experiencing bad vibes about certain people and things. One of those people is Rafe – the new bad boy in town. What is he hiding – and why is he suddenly so interested in Maya…?

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

I will preface this review by admitting that I am a huge fan of Kelley Armstrong’s, and I have read all of her books (though not many anthologies) which have so far been published in the UK. I was introduced to her through reading her book Bitten – the first book of her Women of the Otherworld Series which is aimed at an adult readership.

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