Eleventh Grave in Moonlight – Charley Davidson #11 – Daryinda Jones

I love the sarcastic humor in this series. Even in the direst situation, Charley either has a hilarious thought or something smartass to say which has me cracking up a lot.

As usual, Charley is juggling many things at once. She’s the Grim Reaper so she has to deal with the departed who cross over through her but now that she learned she is a god, she has even more to deal with. It doesn’t help that she got in an argument with the Archangel Michael and now angels are watching her every move. She thinks it has to do with her threatening to take over the world or it could be that her husband Reyes is from down under—not Austrailia—the other down under.

When Reyes was born on Earth, he was kidnapped from his birth parents by a creepy couple, the Fosters, who then handed him over to a monster of a man who abused him for most of his life. Charley had investigated the couple and found out that they had another son name Shawn who she was pretty sure they had abducted aslo but they raised him until adulthood. Charley was surprised when Shawn walked into her office and asked her to investigate the Fosters. He told her that he had secretly tested his DNA against theirs and knows they are not his real parents. He also admitted to her that he saw her parked near their home and had run her license plate so he knew who she was. She wasn’t as stealthy as she thought she was.

Charley and Reyes’ still have their daughter in hiding since so many dark forces are after her like Satan and Eidolon, the evil god from another realm. It’s hard for Charley to live apart from her baby but she knows she has to do it to keep her safe.

She also is dealing with a stalker who is stalking her best friend’s daughter and trying to figure out what her Uncle Bob is up to because he has been acting strange.

The one thing that bothers me about this series is the small children who are either ghosts or get killed by either accidents or evil people. I mean, I know this kind of thing happens in the world but this author seems to be obsessed with having creepy children ghosts and having bad guys kill children. For this reason, this will probably be my last Charley Davidson book. It just rips out my soul to see bad things happen to children and to see it over and over again is just too much for me to handle. In this book alone, there was a ghost of a toddler who had died because a dresser fell on top of him, a ten-year-old boy ghost, bones of a child that were found and the little creepy girl who is a regular in the series…and one more near the end of the book. That is the one that made up my mind about booting this series from my reading list. It’s too bad because this is an impressive series that I would have really like to continue but the excessive abused and dead children thing ruined it for me.

 

Crooked Kingdom – Six of Crows #2 – Leigh Bardugo

This book was packed full of action just like the first book but this book let us get to know the characters a little better. It tells how each of Kaz’s crew members ended up joining his gang which I’m not really going to get into here.

Hopefully, no one will try to read the second book without reading the first book because the following will spoil the ending of the first book.

At the end of the last book, Kaz and crew had just pulled off the impossible job but were double-crossed by Jan Van Eck, a member of the Merchant Council who run Ketterdam. He had promised them thirty million kruge (dollars) if they handed over the scientist who was responsible for inventing jurda parem, a drug that gives a certain race of people, Grisha, who wield magic super powers but has devastating side effects for the Grisha who ingest it. One dose will addict the Grisha and it is almost impossible to kick the habit. Two doses and the Grisha will never beat the addiction and they’ll do anything to get another dose so their masters can ask them to do anything and they will do it. So far, jurda parem is not something that is widely known and there is only a small amount available since the scientist has kept his formula a secret.

Luckily, Kaz had the foresight to know that Van Eck might try to betray the deal so he hid the real scientist when he met him to get the money. Van Eck kidnapped one of Kaz’s crew members, one that Kaz has a soft spot for, and told Kaz that he had a week to hand over the scientist or he would start torturing Inej.

Van Eck is rich and powerful. He had originally told them that the entire Merchant Council wanted the scientist to keep him safe and out of the hands of anyone with nefarious inclinations but he lied. The Merchant Council had no idea about jurda parem or the deal he made with Kaz…and Jan Van Eck was just the kind of evil person who should never have the formula for jurda parem. Kaz can’t go to the Merchant Council without proof or without Van Eck killing Inej.

I love how Kaz schemes and how he does things that seem unimportant at the time but then we find out later that is was something ingenious. Unfortunately, the odds are stacked way against him this time so I was not sure if things would end up good or bad.

I think this was the conclusion to the story. The author has written a trilogy called The Grisha Trilogy that sounds interesting. I might have to read it.

Wicked Abyss – Immortals After Dark #18 – Kresley Cole

Kresley Cole’s female characters are the best! They are badass, wicked and flawed which is so much more exciting the typical virgin do-gooders who only want to do the right thing and make the world a better place. Kresley Cole’s females will kick a jerk while their down and maybe even break their arm just for kicks. I know that awful but in the world of the Lore, it is the only way to survive.

Calliope was exiled from Silvan, the Fey realm, when she was just thirteen years old by her fiancé, King Saetthe, because her parents had plotted against him. At least she wasn’t beheaded like they were. She has lived in the human real ever since. She has been hiding from her mortal enemy Rune and his alliance, the Møriør, all of her life. Sylvan has wards against the Møriør so she was safe there but in the human realm, she was vulnerable. She adapted well and hid in plain sight, working at Disney World as one of the princesses.

She hadn’t heard from Saetthe in over a decade when he showed up with Nix, the Valkyrie sootheayer, to tell her to go to hell…literally. They wanted her to go to Pandemonia, a hell realm, to spy on a demon named Abyssian, one of the Møriør. Rumor had it that the Møriør were going to invade this universe and take over. Saetthe told her that she could come back to Sylvan if she made this sacrifice. Nix told her it would be easy because Calliope or Lila as her friends called her was Abyssian’s mate and she would need to seduce him. When she asked Saetthe if that would bother him, he told her he was above those sort of feelings.

Lila agreed so Nix told her she would set the plan in motion. She would have her captured and taken to Abyssian. Later that night, two Sorceresses captured her and opened a portal into Pandemonia and handed her over to a monster.

Abyssian used to be physically flawless. The ladies fought each other to get to him but when his twin brother was killed, Abyssian aka Sian had to take over Pandemonia as the king and had to take the curse that went along with it, turning slowly into a monster. He already had red skin, wings and huge horns but knows that it will only get worse.

Thousands of years ago Sian had found his mate. She was a Fey princess from Sylvan but she broke his heart and betrayed him then married another Fey. She had died shortly afterwards but he had always wanted to get his revenge on her. So, when the sorceresses opened a portal into his dimension and handed Lila over, he was elated to finally get his revenge on her.

Lila was surprised when Sian put her in a tower with no physical comforts. She realized that Nix and Saetthe had duped her by not telling her the whole story. Sian played games with her like making her spin spider webs into thread before the sun came up lest the gigantic spiders come for her. He believed they were impossible tasks but Lila was smart and crafty and outwitted him in a lot of his cruel games. Some of the things she did were hilarious. She hated him yet was somehow drawn to him at the same time.

Sian could not seem to separate Lila from Kari and made her suffer for crimes she didn’t commit. He had lots of cruel plans for his mate but he couldn’t help feeling for Lila. He was hot and cold but Lila was up for the challenge.

This book was fantastic! I loved all their antics. There was a lot of humor yet some heart-wrenching moments too. I had just re-read this whole series so I was ready for this book and had everything from the previous books fresh in my memory. I am not sure exactly what Nix, the mastermind of everything happening in the Lore, is planning but I can’t wait to find out.

Six of Crows – Six of Crows #1 – Leigh Bardugo

I was hooked from the first paragraph. It took a little while to get to understand the terms and expressions of the world this was set in but once I caught on, I flew through this book.

All of the main characters are teenagers around the age of seventeen but none of them had the mind sets of regular teenagers, probably because they all had grown up in a harsh world and had to fight just to survive.

It starts out with the POV of a kid named Joost who has recently become a city guard. He thought it would be exciting but he has mainly just been guarding one wealthy merchant’s estate because there was a recent assassination of the Trade Ambassador so the Merchant Council, the people who run the city, thought the wealthy merchants needed extra protection. The one good thing about it is that he gets to see the girl he likes on his rounds. She is an indentured servant and a Grisha. Grishas are magic wielders and it seems that all Grisha are indentured servants unless they somehow hide who and what they are from others. In this world, slavery is supposedly illegal but indentured servants are not but everyone knows that the Grisha never volunteered to be indentured servants.

Joost is called to the boat house to help guard an experiment that the merchant is testing. The girl Joost likes is sitting in a room with a young boy from the streets. She’s a healer so a man who was with the merchant cut the boy, she healed it. Then they gave her a drug called Jurda Parem. The Grisha instantly changed from being a sweet and scared girl to looking cold and evil. The merchant told the man to cut off the boy’s thumb but the Grisha commanded the merchant to come into the room. She was controlling his mind, something that no Grisha should ever be able to do. When the guards tried to save the merchant, she commanded everyone to wait. The entire room stopped in their tracks. Joost’s mind went from free will to blissful and only wanting to do what the Grisha ordered.

Kaz is the leader of a gang called the Dregs in a city of Ketterdam in a country called Kerch. His neighborhood is called the Barrel which sounds like a dangerous place to live. He’s clever and is always five steps ahead of any rivals. When he is caught off his guard by what seems to be a ghost who can walk through walls, he is more than surprised. No one gets the upper hand on Kaz. He wakes up chained to a chair in an opulent office. He recognized his captor as Councilman Van Eck.

Van Eck offers Kaz a deal he can’t refuse. He offers him thirty million kruges, their monetary unit, for a seemingly impossible mission. Van Eck tells him about the new drug called Jurda Parem that a scientist named Bo Yul-Bayur has invented that can turn Grisha into mighty magic yielders who can do unimaginable feats like walk through walls and control minds. Some can even fly. He tells him that the Merchant Council is worried about this drug getting into the wrong hands because it could change the whole world. Whoever controls the Grishas controls can control the world. Jurda Parem is highly addictive to the Grisha. The first dose addicts them and they’ll do anything to get another dose but it also kills the Grisha after a short period of using the drug. Van Eck showed him the scene where the other merchant had conducted his experiment. It had been six days since the event and there were guards standing with blank stares, some had dropped to the floor and died. Joost was one of them. The merchant had died a gruesome death and the Grisha had escaped out to sea but because she needed the drug, she had tried to come back to shore but had drowned.

Bo Yul-Bayur is currently in Fjerda, a far-off land, at the Ice Court which is said to be impenetrable. Kaz selects five people to go with him on the mission. He has to break one of them out of a prison and then he discovers that Van Eck had hired another team for the same mission, a rival gang. He’s putting his life on the line for this job which could change his life but he knows the odds are against him.

It has been a long time since I have been wowed by a new author and series so I was impressed with this book. It kept me on my toes wondering what Kaz was going to do next and getting to know his crew members was fascinating too.

I immediately bought the next book in the series. I’m not sure how many books will be in the series so I am not sure if the second book will be the conclusion or if it will be a trilogy. I vote for a really long series!

Scorpius Rising – The Scorpius Syndrome #0.5 – Rebecca Zanetti

Try as I might, I could not finish this book. I usually like Rebecca Zanetti’s books so I tried really hard to keep reading this book but just could not relate to the characters who had been previously married. The man was a typical alpha military man and she was a goody-two-shoes educated perfect female. Barf!
What made this so unbearable though was all the detailed in-depth medical jargon. It was like watching an episode of House without the interesting personalities but I don’t think House even went into so much detail. It was painful to read.
I got to 26% before I just had to give up.

Born of Vengeance – The League #10 – Sherrilyn Kenyon

I had a feeling when I read the last book of this series that this book would be about Bastien Cabarro and I was right.

Bastien was the youngest child of three of the emperor of the Kirovarian empire. Since he was not expected ever rule, he had a reputation of being a spoiled womanizer.

Ember had just caught her boyfriend in bed with her youngest sister Alura so she lit her boyfriend’s fighter craft on fire. As punishment, she had to take on Bastien as a wingman. She had never met him but had heard about him and after just breaking up with a player, she was not looking forward to having to work with him.

When she went to go meet him, their station was bombed and her sister Alura was caught underneath a bunch of rubble. Bastien saved Alura and was hurt in the rescue but he managed to ask Ember out on a date anyway. At the hospital, with her other sisters and her parents Alura told her parents that she was going to marry him because she liked that he was a prince. Alura has a nasty habit of sleeping with her sister’s boyfriends and it pisses Ember off so she tells her that she has already accepted a date with Bastien even though she hadn’t.

A year later, Ember and Bastien were still dating. His family hated that she was a pleb and not of royal blood. His father met with her one day and told her that Bastien was planning on asking her to marry him but he would rather see Bastien dead than married to her. Just after the meeting, Bastien had called her in the middle of a battle in his fighter craft. This was not unusual but the timing seemed odd since she had just left his father who had threatened to have him killed if he married her. She decided to break it off with him rather than see him die. She had him moved out of her unit and into his sister’s unit.

Bastien had no idea what had happened. Not only had Ember turned down his proposal, leaving him on bended knee in a restaurant, she also had moved him to his sister’s unit where she knew he hated it. His sister treated him like a moron and was always berating him. Ember had told him she needed time to figure things out yet she wouldn’t even return his calls.

A month or so later, Alura asked him out to dinner so he called Ember to ask permission. He thought she would yell at him and tell him he couldn’t which would prove to him that she still cared about him but instead she told him she didn’t care who he went out with or slept with. He went out with Alura but ended up taking her home and dropping her off at her apartment before the date ended because she annoyed him so much that he couldn’t stand being around her. When Ember found out that he had actually gone on the date, she walked up to him and kneed him in the crotch.

That night, he went out to a bar and got drunk. He woke up in bed naked next to Alura. He couldn’t remember anything though. Five weeks later, Alura announced she was pregnant in front of a dinner party where his parents and other important people of society were attending. The only thing he could do to prevent a giant scandal was tell everyone that he was going to marry her.

Alura, of course, was not pregnant. She was just a scheming bitch. She was actually scheming with Bastien’s uncle Barnabas who wanted the throne for himself.

Bastien married Alura which broke my heart because there are slight hints about Ember thinking that she will never tell him her secret now and her getting sick which makes me believe she is pregnant. Alura faked a miscarriage later.

Bastien and Alura’s marriage was not a happy one. He tried to avoid her as much as possible so he stayed with his parents at the castle a lot. One night, he was in the shower and heard a noise. When he went to check it out, he found his entire family slaughtered. The League, the police force for the whole galaxy, showed up and he was arrested and convicted for murdering his family. Alura went around to media outlets and lied about how horrible Bastien was and she testified against him at the trial.

Bastien was sentenced to death but a letter arrived just in time from the Emperor of the Triosan, his Uncle Aro, asking for leniency. The Overseer or magistrate said she wouldn’t sentence him to death but would make him a Ravin and if he survived fifteen years, she would set him free. Ravins rarely live past six weeks. They are implanted with a tracking device and used as practice prey for The League. They hunt them down and assassinate them. So, the Overseer basically handed him a death sentence anyway. He promised her that he would survive and come back for the real killer’s head.

Barnabas took over the throne and declared Ember’s family traitors except for Alura who made statements against them to save her own skin. Ember and her family went into hiding.

Throughout the book, we read about events that we already saw through the eyes of other characters in previous books and since I had read those stories, I knew that Bastien had made it for at least a little while.

My heart ached for both Bastien and Ember for the things they endured.

This series has become very complex so there are a lot of characters and events that I have forgotten some of it so I got a little lost but I enjoyed the cameos from the various characters who we have come to love in the series. I have no clue who the next book will be about but I really want The League and their allies to be destroyed.

 

Lothaire – Immortals After Dark #12 – Kresley Cole

The Lore – Immortal creatures from folklore such as vampires, Lykae, Valkyrie, ghouls, demons, Centaurs and so on. The more human looking creatures live right alongside humans without ever revealing themselves.

The Accession – A war that occurs every 500 to 600 years where factions pick sides and alliances. It is a sort of population control for the Lore since a lot of creatures will die but also it is when a lot of creatures find their mates.

Pravus – an army of evil creatures all over the Lore made up of Horde Vampires, evil sorcerers, snakelike creatures called Cerunnos and more

Vertas – an army of not evil but not so innocent immortals made up of Valkyrie, Lykae, Witches, Fae and some vampires.

 

This is the book that I have waited for since Lothaire’s first appearance in this series which I believe was in book #2, A Hunger Like No Other. At first, we just had brief glimpses of him doing odd things like tracing in during a fight and just watching instead of helping his fellow evil vampires but we got to know him better as the series progressed. Lothaire often helped out his enemies out of an impossible situation for an open-ended vow to help him at a later date but then later, we would find out that Lothaire often had carefully manufactured the entire situation in the first place. Evil yet brilliant!

We got to know him better in the last few books where he followed one couple down the Amazon and swooped in at the last moment to break a finger off La Dorada to get to a golden ring, causing the tomb that she was in to implode and almost kill the couple. Then he was imprisoned along with a lot of other Lore creatures in a facility on a mystically concealed island run by the Order, a human run operation intent on studying, torturing and destroying all immortals. The facility was impossible to escape but Lothaire always seem to know something no one else seemed to know and he was right. La Dorada came for the ring, somehow bypassing all the security measures. She magically unlocked all the torques for the Pravus but not for the Vertas and not for Lothaire who she wanted to kill. Two evil sorceresses broke out and helped others break out and then chaos ensued with Pravus and Vertas killing their human captors and the Vertas trying to escape without dying since they still had the torques around their necks which blocked their powers so they were weak compared to the Pravus who were taking this opportunity to kill any Vertas they could find.

Lothaire managed to knock La Dorada down a huge crevice in the earth and ended up making a temporary truce with a ragtag team made up of a Valkyrie, two Beserkers, a half-vampire half-phantom teenager and a dark fae. But Lothaire no longer had the ring. The commander of the Order took it off the island as La Dorada showed up. We, the readers, learned that Lothaire, The Enemy of Old was not always lucid because he had drunk so much blood from so many victims that he saw their memories and it all got to be too much at times. He always is ten steps ahead of everyone else except for Nix, the soothsaying Valkyrie. Although he betrayed the group at one point, he ended up saving them in the end. Of course, he did this all for his own Endgame not out of the goodness of his heart. Yet, I fell in love with him.

In this book, he has found his Bride. Vampires have one true mate who they call their Bride. Horde Vampires like Lothaire grow up with a beating heart until it stops in their late twenties or early thirties. They also stop being able to have sex. It just won’t work until their Bride comes along and their heart starts beating again. It is called blooding. He had found his Bride before he had been captured or even stole the ring. He needed the ring for a specific reason. You see, his Bride is an ancient evil goddess of death and destruction named Saroya who was cursed by her sister to inhabit the body of mortals. Her godhood was taken away and she has traveled from one body to the next. She possesses the person and most of the time, the human recedes into the background and lets Saroya rule but this new human who she has possessed is too strong and fights Saroya. Saroya can only surface when her host is sleeping or weakened.

Lothaire had been foretold by his seer that a young hillbilly girl was his Bride but she was only fourteen at the time. He kept an eye on her here and there but refused to believe she was his Bride was human, a species he loathed. Since his heart never beat when he spied on her, it made his belief stronger. But then one night, he came upon her at an altar surrounded by blood and gore from her recent killing of humans. He was instantly blooded. Saroya instantly knew she was his Bride and used it to her advantage because she knew that a vampire needs relieve himself sexually when he is blooded or he will go crazy. She made him vow to the Lore that he would expel the human soul from the body and make her immortal before she let him lick the blood from her while he relieved himself. She told him she couldn’t have sex with him because he might hurt her weak human body.

Elizabeth Pierce aka Ellie was possessed by Saroya when she was eighteen years old. Before then she had a poor but happy life. She lived in the Appalachian Mountains in a trailer with her mom and toddler brother. Her father had died in a coal mine collapse. She had big plans to go to college, marry and have two children but Saroya ruined her life. Whenever Ellie went to sleep she would wake up to carnage. Saroya loved to kill people just to kill them. Her family figured out that she was possessed so they called for an exorcism but it went terribly wrong with Saroya killing all the decans trying to help her. Her mama had called the cops because she was so desperate and Elizabeth decided to end the nightmare by blazing out with her daddy’s rifle…suicide by cop. She did but Lothaire showed up and blocked the bullets. She thought he was a demon. He told her that he was going to allow the police to take her to jail where she would be safe and where she couldn’t hurt Saroya while he searched for a way to make her immortal. He told her he would come for her in about two years.

Five years later, Elizabeth lay on a table awaiting execution. She had not fought her fate legally and just wanted to rid the world of Saroya but once again, Lothaire showed up and traced her away to his New York apartment. He had just escaped the island. He was furious that she had tried to get herself killed again. He told her that he would kill her mother and brother if she ever tried to kill herself again.

Lothaire treated Elizabeth poorly by always berating her and telling her how superior he and Saroya were to her. Saroya only surfaced long enough for Lothaire to buy her tons of clothes and jewels and then she told him that if he had needs to use Elizabeth not her. Lothaire hated that he found himself drawn to Elizabeth and Elizabeth was just as frustrated that she was attracted to a vampire who wanted to extinguish her soul. At one point, she asked him how he knows that Saroya and not is his Bride. Lothaire told her that fate would not be so cruel to him.

I got a kick out of Elizabeth’s personality. She did not care that she was a hillbilly and she knew Lothaire could not hurt her so she pushed his buttons constantly. I loved it. Lothaire was not used to anyone challenging him ever.

Lothaire kept trying to locate the ring which would grant him wishes for his Endgame which was to make Saroya into a vampire and to win his two thrones to which he was the heir.

This was one of those books that you read where you only put it down because you have to do something like sleep or go to the bathroom. I wanted to get to the end yet I didn’t want it to end. Luckily, there is more to the series so it really doesn’t end here.