Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night – Immortals After Dark #4 – Kresley Cole

Bowen MacRieve was briefly introduced in the second book of the series, A Hunger Like No Other. We, the readers, learned that he was the cousin of Lachlain MacRieve, the king of the Lykae. He lost his mate over a century ago when she ran from him on the full moon and she died. In the last book, No Rest for the Wicked, he was one of the competitors in the Hie, a contest for immortals similar to the Amazing Race but more brutal and bloody. Bowen was ruthless in the game but I found myself feeling bad for him at times because I knew that he was fighting to get the one thing that could bring his mate, Mariah, back but some of the things that happened to him were his own fault for being so ruthless.

This book begins in one of his first competitions of the Hie. A lot of the books in this series run concurrent with the other books. We get a lot more details on what happened to Bowen because he is the protagonist in this book. Bowen chose to go for the prize of a Mayan headdress in the Guatemalan Jungle which would get him a fair amount of points in the contest He was in a giant tomb or temple along with a few other creatures from the Lore. He ended up behind the witch, Mariketa the Awaited. Bowen absolutely hates witches because an evil witch had played a horrible trick on his father. His father had wished that he could be the strongest of his brothers. She killed them all which made him the strongest. For this reason and more, he does not trust witches at all.

He and Mariketa are in the lead to get the headdress but come across a small tunnel where they must crawl through to get to the prize. Mariketa wears a red cloak to hide herself from the world. She also uses a glamour over herself to disguise her appearance because of a prophesy that foretells of a creature locking her away because he believes she is his mate. Of course, she and a handful of others know this is why she wears the cloak. Bowen has to crawl behind her and gets frustrated because the cloak is slowing her down so he reaches beneath her body and cuts off the cloak. Then he tells her there is a scorpion in her hair and tosses it in front of her which freaks her out so she backs up against him which makes him get aroused.

They end up in a room at the end of the tunnel and they make out. This pisses Bowen off because he thinks she has enchanted him. It is the only thing that makes sense to him since he has always been true to his mate and he is in this contest for the prize, Thrane’s Key, which will allow him to go back in time and save his mate from dying. Bowen snatches up the talisman and puts it up to his heart. It disappears and goes to the Riora, the goddess who is sponsoring the Hie. He then races to get out of the tomb. Mariketa isn’t too far behind but he reaches the portcullis first and closes it, sealing her and the other competitors into the tomb. Before Bowen closes the portcullis all the way, Mariketa threw a curse at him that would make it impossible for him to regenerate without coming back and getting her so she could reverse the spell.

What Bowen doesn’t know is that Mariketa has not yet frozen into her immortality. She is in transition but she is mortal. He saw the other competitors before he sealed them in and believes they will all be able to get out sooner than later but he will still have a head start to get to the next event. He did not know that Rydstrom and Cade, the two Rage Demons no longer had their ability to teleport due to some punishment for something they did long ago. He figured they would get everyone out of the tomb.

Mariketa is stuck in the tomb with Rydstrom and Cade who are brothers and three elves. They ask her why she can’t just use her magick to open the door and she tells them the truth. Ninety-nine times out of one hundred times when she uses her magick, she blows things up and that is when her magick works at all. If she tries to use her magick, the whole tomb might explode. The spell she used on Bowen was a simple spell that even a baby witch could accomplish. One of the elves starts reading the markings over the portcullis where they notice ominous looking scratches dug deep into the rock. It says that this tomb has been the prison of some evil ancient incubi for 11,000 years. And the incubi are still there.

The incubi, who used to be beautiful, are now hideous creatures with rotting skin. They fly over the competitors and aim right for Mariketa. The others try to fight them off but one of the incubi grabbed Mariketa by the ankle and flew up to their nest a hundred feet above, knocking her head against the side of the tomb as they went. Mariketa is scared to death of heights so when the others tell her to jump down and they will catch her, she just can’t bring herself to do it. She spends the next two weeks in the nest of the incubi where they forced her to drink their blood and eat things she couldn’t identify. She becomes weak and can barely function to stay alive.

Meanwhile, Bowen goes on in the competition. He gets minor injuries that won’t heal and realizes that Mariketa’s curse worked. He goes up against Kaderin the Coldhearted and ends up landing on a mine which blew off one of his eyes and part of his forehead. A rusted piece of metal went through his ribcage and he won’t heal but he keeps on with the competition. He ends up in the final against Sebastian Wroth. Sebastian’s Bride had just died in the fiery pit below so he needed the prize as bad as Bowen but the only way to get to the tunnel where the final prize lay, was to have Sebastian trace him there. Sebastian’s arm was stuck under a boulder so Bowen agreed to lift the boulder if Sebastian would trace him to the tunnel. Sebastian traced him but grabbed the prize first. Bowen used his whip to stop try to get the prize from Sebastian but Sebastian cut off Bowen’s hand and traced away, effectively winning the contest and stranding Bowen for two weeks. This all happened in the last book so I’m not giving anything away.

When Bowen is rescued, he learns from Nix, the Valkyrie soothsayer, that a lot of people want his head for stranding Mariketa, the Rage Demons and the elves in a tomb where only Bowen knows the location. Riora knows it but she won’t be heard from for another 250 years when she hosts the next Hie. Nix tells him that Mariketa is not doing well because she is mortal and has been without food and water for three weeks.

One of the reasons Bowen entered the Hie was because Nix told him that through the Hie, he would have his mate. He asks her why he didn’t get his mate. She tells him he will. She also tells him that he was ensorcelled and that Mariketa would remove that from him. He believes she is talking about the curse Mariketa put on him and the spell that she enchanted him with to believe that she is his mate. She tells him that he has until the full moon to retrieve Mariketa and have her call to tell her coven that she is okay or the factions will go to war and take his head.

Bowen barely gets to the tomb in time to save Mariketa. She’s barely breathing when he gets to her but when she hears his voice, she gets some sort of adrenaline rush to try to kill him. She floats up and pushes him against the outside of the tomb and would have killed him if Rydstrom wouldn’t have interfered. She does, however, annihilate the tomb, killing the incubi inside. Then she loses consciousness again. They all run uphill when trees and rocks start sliding towards the tomb. The tomb held so much power that it created a vacuum when it blew up, sucking everything into the void.

This is where they start a long journey to get out of the jungle. They must avoid the two warring groups of guerilla soldiers in the area and try to get Mariketa to safety.

Mariketa takes the curse from Bowen and he heals immediately. But he still wants her to lift the enchantment spell that makes him believe she is his mate but Mariketa doesn’t believe she enchanted him. She can’t say for sure because her magick is wonky but she is pretty sure she did not enchant him.

Rydstrom asks Bowen if he’s sure that Mariketa isn’t his mate, maybe she has been reincarnated. Bowen takes this into consideration. He strikes up a bargain with Mariketa that in exchange for his protection and the comforts he can offer, (he had gone back to her wrecked vehicle and got her suitcase full of clean clothes and toiletries) she would allow him to treat her as he would his mate. She agreed as long as there was no sex. Oh, and she couldn’t use magick.

There were so many things that seemed off about certain things happening to Bowen and to Mariketa that they just seemed to ignore or not get like when Mariketa saw a reflection in a pool that handed her an apple and told her to take a bite. Then it told her that she is the Queen of Reflections and could use mirrors to help her with her magick. I kept thinking that something was up with this especially since she seemed to have a little addiction to using her compact mirror. Then there was Bowen’s mate, Mariah. Bowen’s memories of her are of a spoiled Fey princess who didn’t like that he was a Lykae or his personality. It struck me as odd and I kept wondering if a witch had made him think Mariah was his mate or maybe that Mariah was a witch.

I wanted to shake Bowen half the time for how stubborn he was but I liked him at the same time. I loved Mariketa. She made me laugh quite a few times.

Nix confirmed that the Accession has begun. The Accession occurs every five hundred to six hundred years in the Lore. It is a war between factions where allies will be chosen and enemies will rise up to fight for power. Power of what? I have no clue except for to be on top of the food chain in the Lore.

I’m off to read the next book in the series.

Eighth Grave After Dark – Charley Davidson #8 – Darynda Jones

Charley Davidson is nine months pregnant, living at an abandoned convent because she has to live on hallowed ground so the hellhounds who are after her can’t get to her.

Special Agent Carson brings Charley a case of a missing teenager and asks Charley to work her magic to try to find the girl.

Cookie, Charley’s best friend, is getting married to Charley’s Uncle Bob on the lawn of the convent.

There are hundreds of ghosts gathering on the front lawn of the convent but none of them are talking to Charley. They just stand there like they are waiting for something.

Duff, a ghost who Charley used to think was adorable for his stutter and shy ways, is starting to creep her out with the weird things he says like wondering what would what would happen if someone pushed Charley outside the boundaries of the sanctified grounds and how he loses his stutter at times.

Mr. Wong, the ghost who used to hover in the corner of Charley’s apartment, is now hovering in a corner at the convent.

Charley’s father who is a ghost now covertly tells her there are spies for Satan watching her and now she has to figure out who are the spies while making sure Cookie has a wonderful wedding and trying to solve the missing girl case.

As always, I loved this book. There was a lot going on and there were a few surprises near the end of the book…some good for Charley and some not so good. You’ll have to read it to find out.

Seventh Grave and No Body – Charley Davidson #7 – Darynda Jones

Ugh! More dead children! I wish this author would try to refrain from having awful things happen to children. It is my biggest complaint about this series. In almost every book, she has small children ghosts who have died in some horrendous manner. It irks me beyond belief.

In this book, Charley is working on a cold case with Special Agent Carson. It seems like a five-person murder until Charley sees more ghosts around the murder site, all little girls. When Charley follows one little girl into the woods, she hears a blood-curdling growl. Charley knows it is a hellhound even before the little girl tells her that they were summoned and to run. Charley hightails it out of there.

Charley is the Grim Reaper but learning that she is way more than just a portal for souls to pass through and because of this Satan wants to kill her. Her friend, Garrett, is working on translating a prophesy that is written not only in an ancient language but also in code but the one thing they do know is that twelve hellhounds are after her and she has no idea how to kill them.

Her Uncle Bob has a case for her where people have been writing suicide notes but there is no body. They have just up and disappeared.

A frantic ghost named Lacey pleads with Charley to help her find her missing body which is no longer in the grave.

Charley can’t get ahold of her father. He won’t return her calls which is starting to worry her.

And Reyes, who never pays attention to other women, just put his back to her and blocked her from seeing the newswoman who was shamelessly flirting with him.

Oh! And I almost forgot. Charley is pregnant! We found out at the end of the last book.

Reyes gets mad at her at one point in the book because she keeps charging into dangerous situations without thinking about the consequences and she keeps trying to ditch him which is stupid because he is the one who saves her from 99% of the dangerous situations she gets herself into. He thinks her priorities are messed up and I had to agree with him.

I love how even though Charley is facing dangerous situations, she can still be sarcastic and funny. I especially like how she and her best friend, Cookie interact. The cast of characters are also lovable or despicable and fascinating. The story just keeps getting better.

Sixth Grave on the Edge – Charley Davidson #6 – Darynda Jones

Charley Davidson has a lot on her plate in this book. Her father has left her stepmother which was long overdue but he has decided to go live on a sailboat even though he has never sailed a boat in his life. Her stepmother tells her that her father is up to something but Charley only half listens to her.

The naked elderly dead guy is still riding around in the passenger seat of her Jeep but he won’t talk so she doesn’t know how she can help him.

She has to try to get the soul of her client back from a demon called The Dealer who is an expert out of making deals and tricking people out of their souls.

Reyes, her lover and the son of Satan has asked her to marry him and she has to give him an answer soon. It drives me nuts that she is making Reyes wait for her answer.

She has to figure out a way to get her uncle and her best friend together since they are obviously into each other but both too stubborn to ask the other one out.

She is investigating a 30-year-old child abduction case for Special Agent Carson of the FBI but she already knows where the child is because he happens to be her boyfriend, Reyes. The case is turning out to be more complicated than she originally though.

Two guys in ski masks woke her up in the middle of the night and told her they have one of her friends and will kill them if she doesn’t find where a woman is who is witness protection. She can’t figure out which friend they are talking about. You would think that Charley would get better security for her apartment since she has had so many break-ins and was actually tortured once in her apartment.

There’s also the prophesy and some evil beings called The Twelve who are out to kill her.

And last but not least, she finally takes an interest in Mr. Wong, the ghost who has been hovering in the corner of her apartment since before she moved in. A couple of people have mentioned that he is powerful so she started looking at him closely like under his shirt where he is tattooed with strange symbols. Who or what is Mr. Wong really?

I’m loving the cast of characters in this series and this book introduces a demon called The Dealer who sounds intriguing. The story is also getting more complicated and complex. It is obvious that the author writes each book as a stand-alone because she gives a recap of the events which I find a little annoying but I understand it is necessary for new readers. But why do people start reading a book from the middle of a series when they can just start from the beginning?

This series has me hooked.

Fifth Grave Past the Light – Charley Davidson #5 – Darynda Jones

Fifth Grave Past the Light

By Darynda Jones

Charley Davidson #5

 

Charley’s apartment is full of blonde female ghosts from all different ethnic backgrounds. Some of them looked like they may have died in the 1980s from the way they are dressed but none of them are talking. They are just scratching at the ground and the walls and scared out of their wits. They appear to be the victims of a serial killer. She doesn’t know why they have all shown up at once but she intends to find out.

I have a huge complaint about how the author always uses departed children. In almost every book, there is a child who died of some horrific crime or abuse. It’s heartbreaking and yet creepy at the same time. One of the blonde ghosts in Charley’s apartment is a seven-year old girl who is scratching under her bed. Charley is able to sleep with her doing that.

Chapter Three begins with a quip that says…667 The neighbor of the beast. I thought it was cute until I realized that 667 would be across the street not next door. Just had to point that out.

Charley suspects her boyfriend’s sister, Kim Millar of being the arsonist who has been burning down buildings because all of the buildings are addresses where Kim and Reyes lived with their abusive father, Earl Walker. Charley thinks Kim is burning down these buildings because Earl used to take humiliating pictures of Reyes and put them in the walls for some reason and Kim wants to get rid of the evidence to protect Reyes from any further humiliation.

The captain of the Albuquerque Police Department, Captain Eckert, has taken it upon himself to start following Charley around. She is afraid he will deem her to be a loon once he figures out that she speaks to dead people and block her from being a consultant with the department.

Another departed woman pops into her apartment and tells her where to find her body but this woman is a brunette. After investigating, Charley discovers the woman is actually alive but has dreams about people dying and those dreams come true.

Charley is also working a cheating husband case. Charley is always busy and she drinks lots of caffeine to get through her days.

Her friend Garrett who died for a few minutes before being brought back to life is researching a prophesy about Charley. When Garrett died, before he was resuscitated, he was sucked into Hell where Satan told him all kinds of things about Charley and Reyes. Of course, the devil lies so he has to sort the fiction from the truth but he thinks Reyes could be a danger to Charley. He’s found an old prophesy that says that Charley will amass an army and among them will be a warrior, a prophet, a scholar, a gatekeeper and a warden.

As always, this book was highly entertaining. Charley’s sarcastic attitude keeps me liking her even though I think she is off her rocker most of the time. Hopefully, the books continue to keep me interested. I think they will.

Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet – Charley Davidson – Darynda Jones

Charley has a serious case of PTSD from being tortured in her own home by Earl Walker. Reyes saved her and she has healed but she is afraid to even go outside of her apartment building. She has taking up extreme shopping from a shopping network on television and it has gotten out of hand…so much so that Cookie, her best friend and assistant, has cancelled all of her credit cards and bank cards and has started to dig through the boxes filling Charley’s apartment to return them.

With nothing else to do, Charley stares out the window and sees Reyes leaning against the building in front of her apartment, her father’s bar. Reyes was there one moment and gone the next like he dematerialized. Reyes is her love interest and the son of Satan but he’s not really evil. He has protected Charley her entire life even when she wasn’t aware of it. She decides to investigate what he is up to.

Outside, she meets a woman who wants her to investigate some bazaar events that have happened to her. The woman’s family says she is crazy but that only makes Charley believe the woman is telling the truth.

She finds Reyes illegally cage fighting in a Warehouse in a shady part of town. She also finds that he is living with Elaine, a woman who relentlessly stalked him while he was in prison. Charley is extremely hurt over it but tries not to show him. After all, she was the one to push him out of her life after she was tortured because Reyes used her as bait to catch Earl Walker.

While at the warehouse, a man possessed by a demon comes after Charley, trying to kill her. Reyes broke his neck but he just kept coming until Charley’s guardian, a departed Rottweiler named Artemis, attacks and kills the demon. Then another one comes after her. This one had possessed a young teenager.

This series has accumulated quite a large cast of characters and ongoing stories so if I don’t write up a summary of events as soon as I complete it, I get a little confused at what happened in which book. It’s a good thing I keep notes.

Sister Mary Elizabeth hears the angels talking. She keeps Charley up to date on what they say. Hedeshi is a demon inhabiting a human’s body who tells her things about Reyes, trying to get her to join Satan’s team. Yeah…right…like that is going to happen. Rocket is a ghost who died in the 1950s who inhabits an old mental asylum. He knows the names of everyone who has died and he writes them down on the walls. Charley uses the information in her detective work. Donavan is a leader of a biker gang who lives next door to the asylum. They get Charley caught up in their drama which causes a lot of problems. Charley is attracted to Donavan which pisses me off because she knows Reyes lives and breathes for her. The cast of characters are interesting and ever-growing.

Oh…and Charley’s dad seems to have gone off his rocker. Charley hasn’t spoken to him because he had her arrested while she was in the hospital recovering from her torture. He does something in this book that is even crazier.

As the saying goes, “the plot thickens.”

First Grave on the Right – Charley Davidson #1 – Darynda Jones

I did not realize that I had not posted this review until I was going through my site. Oops.

I think I just caved to pressure and decided to finally read this series but I am glad I did. There are several reasons that I steered away from this series. Although many people recommended this series, I have read some really bad reviews on Goodreads. I try to go down the list and read some of the good reviews and some of the bad reviews and for some reason the bad won over…too bad because I was missing out. The second reason was because I don’t really like 1st person POVs because the characters tend to be a little narcissistic and that grates on my nerves. The final reason is because I don’t like to follow the same person throughout a series. I get a little bored or irritated with it. I prefer series that have a bunch of characters and each book is dedicated to a separate character. We’ll see how this goes.

I have been reading too many books and watching too many shows where the main female character is too wrapped up in herself to care about anyone else yet everyone seems to love them and I can’t understand why. An example would be the show Weeds. While I think Nancy is funny in the first season, she starts to just look like a narcissistic basket case who cares about the excitement of selling drugs over the well-being of her own children. To me, she is a loser. It was refreshing that, while Charley is a little wrapped up in herself, she genuinely cares for her friends and family.

Charley Davidson juggles 3.5 jobs. She is a private detective, specializing mostly in domestic cases. She bartends sometimes at her father’s bar. She is a consultant under for the Albuquerque Police Department under her Uncle who is a cop and she is the grim reaper which she doesn’t get paid for so she isn’t sure she can list that as an actual job.

She sees ghosts. Most of the time, she helps them solve whatever the problem is that is keeping them from crossing over and then helps them cross over but there are ghosts that are just permanent fixtures in her life like her Great-Great-Aunt Lillian who pops in every so often and makes pretend coffee that Charley then has to pretend to drink.

In this book, Charley is juggling a lot of things. She helps a woman escape her abusive husband by stalling him at a bar while his wife gets on a plane but the husband ends up beating Charley up. She also has to help her uncle solve a case where three lawyers from the same firm were murdered in the same night. The ghosts are hanging around, trying to help her solve the murders but they didn’t see who shot them. The case gets pretty complicated.

She also has been having some steamy dreams involving a gorgeous man who might be a supernatural being. She’s been seeing a blur of movement in her peripheral vision and thinks this is the same being that has helped her out many times in her past when her life was threatened. This was probably the most interesting part of the story for me. This being was mysterious and interesting. As his story developed, I just became more absorbed into it. I love a mystery…as long as the author does it right and doesn’t hold out too long lest it become just a ploy to hold on to the reader’s attention. Luckily, this author didn’t do that or leave it for the next book.

Speaking of the next book…I am getting ready to read it now.