Dark Calling – Arcana Chronicles #6 – Kresley Cole

Damn! That was good. I know there are all kinds of better descriptive words out there I could have used but that is what came to me as I finished the book.

It’s a post apocalyptic world. Evie survived the Flash, a solar flare that killed most of the population dried up the world, to discover she has supernatural abilities and is part of a recurring game where she is a character from a deck of Tarot cards playing for her life. The winner is the last one alive.

Throughout the series, Evie has learned the rules of this terrible game and struggled with her powers. She thinks she can find a way to end the game without having to kill all the other players, some with whom she has become friends, but the game doesn’t seem to want to play by her rules.

She fell in love with Jack but then thought he died so she fell in love with her former enemy, Aric he Death card. Players are reincarnated every few centuries to play over and over but Death has won the last couple of games so he is centuries old. He has killed the Empress, Evie’s card, twice before.

At the end of the last book, she found out that Jack might still be alive. She also found out she was pregnant by Death.

This book began with Evie fuming over being pregnant. She is sure that Paul, Aric’s medic/cook/housekeeper slash everything that needs done in the castle guy, lied to her hen giving her her contraceptive injection. She thinks Paul wanted her to get pregnant. Paul, of course, denies this and tells Aric that Evie refused the shot. Evie also thinks Paul accelerated her grandmother’s death. Evie won’t listen to anyone and wants Paul banished from the castle or worse. Banishment would mean certain death. If the cold didn’t kill him, something or someone else will get him like the Bagmen who thirst for blood, the cannibals, the slavers or just plain starvation.

I was not really liking Evie at first because of her insistence on Paul’s guilt which seemed a little blood thirsty but also because she didn’t tell Aric that the Fool card contacted her telepathically to tell her that Jack was still alive.

I can’t tell you what happened without spoiling the book but I can tell you that my feeling warmed towards Evie a tad. She’s growing up and isn’t so self-centered but she still grates on my nerves sometimes.

The love triangle rages on. I, personally, want Jack and Evie to end up together but would feel bad for Aric since his touch kills anyone his skin comes into contact with except Evie so he would never be able to be with anyone else. But in the end, only one Arcana can live so either Aric or Evie will have to die. If Evie has the baby, would Aric even be able to touch it? Would it be better for Evie to live to raise it? Maybe they’ll be able to beat the game and stop it forever.

Who knows?

Darkness Dawn’s – immortal Guardians #1 – Dianne Duvall

I was pleasantly surprised by this book I’m not sure why I have not read or even heard of this series before now since I have been reading paranormal romance books for over a decade. I think I need a better place to get recommendations than Goodreads and Amazon because their recommendations are getting to be way off base, almost as bad as the suggestions Netflix gives. “Because you watched The Exorcist, we recommend Elmo’s Playhouse.” It makes no sense. I found this series through Facebook when one of the authors I follow asked what everyone is reading.

Sarah was thrown into the bazaar world of vampires and Immortal Guardians one morning before dawn. She couldn’t sleep so she decided to get an early start on a vegetable garden. She witnessed a few men attacking another man and staking him to the ground. She rescued the man and ended up in danger from the men she rescued him from who turned out to be human minions of a vampire.

I liked Sarah but thought she was too good to be true. She was way too nice and a goodie two shoes. She even ate organic foods and didn’t drink alcohol. Anyone who knows me or reads my reviews knows that perfect people both bore and irk me. I like flawed characters who have made mistakes and have struggled to become better for it. Sarah was just too perfect.

The author did a great job of introducing characters who will probably be featured in future books and setting up the ongoing plot by keeping an interesting background story going. I look forward to the next book.

Rogue – Sons of Sangue #4 – Patricia A. Rasey

On the romance side, this book was the best of the series so far. Two people who weren’t anything alike yet they have chemistry that you could feel it through the pages. I was rooting for Anton and Kimber to get together since the previous book when we got a peek at their budding romance. It’s the only thing I can say that was good about this whole series.

The plot is what I had problems with. It just had so many unbelievable and unrealistic scenarios that just couldn’t be overlooked. I’ll try to explain as I go along without spoiling too much.

Anton aka Blondy was a Sons of Sangue Motorcycle Club member until he went undercover in a rival club called the Devils after Cara, the mate of the co-president of the Sons and a detective of the local sheriff’s office, asked him to do it.

The owner of the nightclub where the Sons of Sangue hang out and get their blood (they’re also vampires) was under DEA scrutiny for dealing ecstasy so the DEA went through Cara and her partner to get Draven, the club owner to help them catch his dealers who are the Devils who are backed by a cartel.

The Sons have an ongoing beef with the Devils because ten years ago, the Devils killed the president’s adult son on an order from the head of the cartel. The president is also now the mate of Cara, the cop.

That’s all somewhat believable. What’s not believable is how the DEA sends in a captain from the Oregon State Police as their representative to head the investigation. This man happens to be a creep who has plagued Cara throughout her career. Why would the DEA go through so many channels? The author just needed an excuse to put this man back in the tiny Town of Pleasant.

Cara also seems to call all the shots on this federal investigation. She has Anton, who magically and immediately gets accepted by the Devils as a member, spy on them. She makes him keep it a secret from the Sons so that their reactions look real to the Devils. Then she sends a small town reporter down to Santa Barbara (across state lines) to question the Devils to see if she can get them to confess to her that they murdered a member of the Sons of Sangue. That is the most ridiculous plan ever! No way the DEA would allow something this stupid.

I could never stand Cara’s character but now she has a list of things any other outlaw motorcycle club would have, at the very least, kicked her ass for. She kept a secret from them except for her mate but she made him keep it a secret which just puts him more at odds with them. He had just earned their trust back. She puts Anton in with a murdering gang and then she sends in the reporter who is the mate of the vice president of the Sons of Sangue and makes her keep it a secret from her mate and the MC. Cara is a stupid B-word. I was hoping she’d get banned from the club property and business.

I think I’ve suffered enough. This series is too ridiculous for me to continue reading. Why do I always do this to myself? I hold on for way too long, hoping things will get better but, deep down, I knew from the start it wasn’t going to happen.

Gypsy – Sons of Sangue #3 – Patricia Rasey

Ugh! The men in this series are so utterly misogynistic and disrespectful towards women that it turns my stomach. So far, in each of the three books, the male protagonist has treated the female protagonist like crap for at least half of the story so when they finally decide that they can’t live without the woman, it’s too late for them to redeem themselves. In my opinion, unless a woman has done something horrible, there’s never a reason to demean or disrespect her.

This book is about the Vice President of the Sons of Sangue, an outlaw motorcycle club who also happen to be vampires. Grayson aka Gypsy is a womanizer who often takes two women at a time to bed and he never has relationships with them outside of the bedroom so when a woman traps him into mating with her, he is furious.

Tamera knows what the Sons of Sangue are because she is one of their blood donors. She has had a thing for Grayson since the first time she met him. One night when she was drunk and high on ecstasy, Grayson chose her to feed off of and have sex but when he finds out she’s on ecstasy, he backs out and tells her to get dressed. Somehow, a glass gets broken, Grayson gets cut and Tamera latches on to his arm and drinks his blood which automatically mates her to Grayson and starts the process of transforming her into a vampire. It’s something all blood donors know that they can never do.

Grayson has every right to be pissed. He thinks she planned it. He takes her to the clubhouse and refuses to help her through her transition. The male vampire can absorb some of the excruciating pain into himself if he holds the female. I thought that he should have helped her even if she had done it on purpose. Instead, his best friend, Anton did it for him. Instead of feeling gratitude, Grayson gets all territorial and tells Anton it wasn’t right for him to touch his mate. It made me think of an abusive male who leaves his wife but won’t let anyone else have her.

Vlad Tepes…yes, that Vlad (cue the huge eye rolls)…tells Anton that Grayson has one year to claim Tamera as his mate. If he doesn’t, Anton gets her. You know, because women in the twenty-first century are property.

I could not stand Tamera. At first it was because of the way she pined after Grayson even though he treated her like crap and later because she was just a loser deluxe.

Although there are a lot of negative things about this series, there’s an ongoing background story that is pretty interesting. Actually, there are two background stories going on and these save the series. One is the evil primordial, Rosalee, who is trying to destroy the Sons of Sangue by any means to get back at the former president for dumping her. She’s powerful and strong and has already killed a couple of them. The other is about how the Sons want to take down a rival motorcycle gang and the cartel who backs them because they killed the former president’s son ten years ago. These stories save this series from being tossed in the garbage.

I already had the first three books so it wasn’t hurting my pocketbook to read them. I struggled with myself about if I should continue with the series or not but my curiosity about Anton’s plight won out so I bought the next book in the series.

Hawk – Sons of Sangue #2 – Patricia Rasey

I’m still not sold on this series but it’s growing on me. I can’t stand the macho bullshit or how misogynistic the male characters are and how they treat the females like dirt. I just cannot respect any man who treats a woman like crap ever.

I thought Kaleb aka Hawk was a giant dickhole for the way he treated Suzi and his attitude towards all women which was they are only good for sex and feeding. He’s a vampire.

Ten years ago, Kaleb took Suzi’s virginity and walked away from her because he was frightened about how she made him feel. He flaunted tons of women in her face. She turned to his nephew as a friend but he thought they were lovers so when he told Suzi that his nephew, Ion, was murdered and Suzi hadn’t reacted like Kaleb thought she should, he began to hate her. He thought she was cold-hearted.

What Kaleb didn’t know was that Suzi just pretended to date Ion so he could hide the fact that he was gay. She kept his secret after he died.

Suzi is a blood donor for the Sons of Sangue who are all vampires but she retired herself and hid out for six months after Kaleb kissed her one night. Kaleb, who has feelings for her but also hates her demands that she become his personal blood donor to torture her.

I liked Suzi because she had spunk and didn’t make it easy on him at first but she still had feelings for him which bugged me because if someone treated me like that, I could only resent them.

Meanwhile, we still have Rosalee, the primordial vampire with a grudge against Kaleb’s brother Kane. She thinks killing Kaleb will hurt Kane enough that he’ll turn to her. She really has messed up thinking.

I already have the first three books of this series because I purchased them a year or more ago so I’m going to read the next book even though, from the background story, I will probably like the next male protagonist even less because he’s a womanizer.

Blood Fury – Black Dagger Legacy #3 – J.R. Ward

This was another beautifully executed story by J.R. Ward. She brought out a hundred and fifty emotions in me during this book. Those are the best kind for me.

I don’t even know where to begin because there was so much going on in this book.

I guess I’ll start with Novo and Peyton. Both are in the Black Dagger Brotherhood training program. Novo is from a medium income family and Peyton is filthy rich. Both are totally promiscuous and emotionally detached or stunted.  Novo is driven while Peyton is more of a quitter or maybe he just gets bored with things.

In a previous book, Novo seemed attracted to Peyton but he seemed to only have eyes for Paradise, another trainee who is already mated to one of the other trainees. Paradise is oblivious to it but everyone else sees it. Peyton propositioned Novo but she didn’t feel like being a substitute for Paradise so she turned him down.

In this book, Peyton starts to realize he’s attracted to Novo but they both have a really bad way of relating to each other. I got so frustrated with them that I just wanted to knock their hard heads together to wake them up.

Then there’s Ruhn and Saxton. Saxton has been around in the series for a while but I never knew quite how I felt about him. He was just always so formal and polite which seemed a little stuffy and off-putting to me but he has always been loyal to the King and Brotherhood. Ruhn is a new character who was introduced in Blood Vow. He’s quiet and polite but you just know he has some kind of past he’s not proud of so it peaked my interest.

I was more interested in Ruhn and Saxton’s romance than Novo and Peyton’s because of the way things developed and the way they handled Ruhn’s past. They just seemed so much more mature than Novo and Peyton who caused most of their own problems by the way they behaved or misbehaved.

I think this series might be winding down but there are still stories to be told and questions to be answered like, What the hell is going to happen with Assail? Everyone hears him screaming non-stop somewhere in the medical clinic. What is going on with the Omega? Does Boone get a love story? And then I have a brain hiccup. I remember something happening to Throw but was never really sure what exactly happened. Can anyone explain that to me?

Anyway, I thoroughly lost myself in this book. I don’t know how I’m going to wait another year for the next book.

Viper – Sons of Sangue #1 – Patricia Rasey

I decided to give this series a second chance, mostly because I already have the first three books in the series and because money is tight right now. I started reading this about a year ago but was turned off by the oversimplification of the characters or maybe just how she went with the stereotypical characterization of bikers and vampires. There was also a serious lack of any kind of humor and I was disconnected from any of the characters. I had quit at 21% of the book. I read the entire book this time and my opinion has improved somewhat.

The book is about biker vampires. The setting was the best part of all because it is in Lane County, Oregon near the coast which I’m familiar with since I live near there. Yay Oregon!

Kane aka Viper is the president of an outlaw motorcycle club called the Sons of Sangue. I immediately thought he was a selfish pig by his thoughts on how women are not good for anything except for drinking blood from and having sex. When his blood donor and sometimes sexual partner of three years ends up being the third victim in a string of murders, he doesn’t waste a thought about her except that it is an inconvenience. Sociopath came to my mind.

Cara is the detective looking into the murders of the three blonde women who fit Kane’s type of women he prefers. She and her partner have no leads so they do what all unprofessional police officers do and goes to harass the local motorcycle club.They do this repeatedly in the book.

Cara has her own history with Kane. Ten years ago, she saw him in the bathroom of a club having sex with a blonde. She saw his fangs come out as he bit into her neck so she ran. She moved out of the little town to Eugene, Oregon where she became a cop but has now moved back to Pleasant to work for the local sheriff’s office.

Cara and Kane have the hots for each other.

I never really warmed to either of the protagonists but I did like one of the characters, Suzi. I thought she was need at first but changed my mind later. She had a little spunk to her.

I didn’t hate this book. The plot, while simple, was interesting but I can’t say I loved it either. I have the next two books so I will go ahead and read them but after that, who knows.