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.

Razr – Demonica #11.8 – 1001 Dark Nights – Larissa Ione

I love the covers of these 1001 Dark Nights books. They always have the most brilliant colors yet it is mostly words with just a few pictures which are usually in the zeroes of the 1001. I give kudos to the graphic artist who designs these covers.

This is Larissa Ione’s fourth novella in the 1001 Dark Nights series. The 1001 Dark Nights series is a collection of paranormal and contemporary romance stories by various authors. I only follow a few of the authors so I haven’t read that many of them. I have noticed, however, that Larissa works with a lot of other authors on different projects like the Rising Storm series which is a long story written by various authors and Blood Red Kiss which is a book that has stories by Gena Showalter and Kresley Cole, two authors in my top ten favorites along with Larissa Ione of course.

We, the reader, have met Razr before in the last book of the Demonica series, Z although he remained a mystery. He is an angel who was kicked out of Heaven, along with two other angels, for making the huge mistake of losing the Enoch Gems during a battle against demons. His wings were bound and he also must endure beatings at irregular intervals. He carries his own whip and hands it to the nearest person when the glyph on his hand starts to glow. If he isn’t whipped right away, he experiences excruciating pain. In order to get back into Heaven, he has to find the Enoch Gems but he works in the underworld in Sheoul-gra for Azagoth aka the Grim Reaper so he doesn’t have a lot of time to go look. He’s in luck though because Azagoth decided to give him time off to locate the gems. Razr can’t wait to kill whoever was responsible for stealing the gems.

Jedda is a Gem Elf who, along with her two sisters, stole the gems from Razr while he and his team were busy fighting demons. She and her sisters can sense gems and felt the powerful jewels so they stole them from their human keepers. Each one of her sisters absorbed the power of the gems so that their life forces are dependent on the gems and then hid the physical gems. Jedda hid hers in Scotland with dhampires guarding it. Her gem just happens to be Razr’s gem, the one he has to get back in order to get back into Heaven.

Razr found the dhampires who were guarding his gem but they told him without its current owner, they had no way to access it. That led him to Jedda.

Jedda lives in the human realm and works as a specialist with gems. She was at what she thought was a gem conference when Razr found her but she soon found out it was a trap. A fallen angel named Shrike used some evil power from some evil demon or deity that he worshipped to put a spell on Jedda. She will weaken and eventually die if she doesn’t hand over the gem and a crystal horn that Shrike needs for some evil purpose.

Razr agrees to help her only because he needs the gem himself but he also has an unexplainable attraction to Jedda. He wants to believe that she just acquired the gem from a gem dealer or collector after the initial theft but he isn’t so sure. He has no clue that giving up the gem’s power will kill her.

This was a quick and enjoyable read. I always like Larissa Ione’s characters because she makes both the females and males baddass…no innocent little miss perfects in her books. I look forward to her next book. I wonder who it will be about.

Shadow’s Claim – Immortals After Dark #13 – Kresley Cole

It’s crazy how I can re-read a book and hardly remember anything that was in it. I’m re-reading the Immortals After Dark series and, for the most part, I remember the main plot of each book and I know what happens in future books so I sometimes have an advantage over someone who is reading the book for the first time but I barely remembered the contents of this book. I mean, I vaguely remember the characters and some of the events but most of it was like reading it for the first time. Maybe It was because, while this book was good, there are others in the series that stuck out in my mind more.

We, the reader, briefly met Trehan Daciano in the last book of the series, Lothaire. He is one of the five cousins who had claim to the throne of Dacia but they had decided to give it to Lothaire to break a curse that Lothaire’s mother had put on the Dacian family thousands of years before that said they would fight each other until Lothaire was rightly put on the throne. This book’s timeline runs concurrently with Lothaire as do a lot of the other books in the series.

In the last book, we knew that something was up with Trehan. Lothaire suspected he had a Bride but didn’t know why he didn’t have his Bride with him so while I was reading this book, I kept wondering when the two books would meet up to the point where Trehan was unhappy and living back in Dacia.

Trehan is the tracker and assassin for Dacia which is a hidden kingdom from the rest of the world. Sometimes, Dacians will invite outsiders into the kingdom but once you are there, you can never leave. Leave it to me to start singing “Hotel California’ when I read this. His younger cousin had invited a Death Demon named Caspion into the kingdom but Caspion left back to his own kingdom of Rune. Now, it is Trehan’s job to track down Caspion and kill him.

Trehan uses a scrying crystal which he has hanging from his neck to find people. He just needs picture their face and he can trace to them or close to them. When he traces to Rune, he gets distracted for some reason by a lantern up in one of the spires of the castle. Trehan never gets distracted. He’s calm, cool and never lets emotions rule him.

Bettina is half Death Demon and half Sorceress and the princess of Rune. Her parents died when she was a small child and her godfather, Raum, rules the country until she is married which is soon. Raum and her godmother, the queen of the Sorceri, have decided to marry her off by hosting a huge tournament that anyone from the Lore can enter. Anyone includes disgusting creatures such as Cerrunos who have snake bodies, Puss Demons who have to wear rubber boots to catch their leaking puss and one huge froglike creature named Goürlav whose blood creates dangerous creatures called night terrors. Each drop of his blood creates one of these nightmarish creatures. Bettina decides that she will prevent the tournament by seducing her best friend Caspion who she has been in love with since forever. If she is no longer a virgin, the tournament cannot start but once the tournament does start and the creatures sign the contract in blood, it will be too late because she would be stoned to death if she lost her virginity.

She tells Caspion what she is planning but he wants nothing to do with it. Almost every species of demons has a fated mate and they wait hundreds of years to meet their fated mate so if Caspion devirginized Bettina, he would have to marry her and he would always wonder about his fated mate. He also tells her that the Prince of Shadows, the Dacian assassin, would kill him soon anyway because he had left Dacia and no one escapes the assassin.

Caspion is a notorious womanizer and humps just about any female he can yet he has no interest in Bettina because he thinks of her as a sister. It hurts her feelings but she tells him she will leave her lantern on just in case he changes his mind.

Trehan’s curiosity got the better of him so he traced up to the spire and watched Bettina while she slept. His heart started beating, something it hadn’t done in a thousand years. When a vampire reaches immortality, his heart stops beating and all his sexual desires and functions cease until he finds his Bride. He had found his Bride. The lantern went out but he could still see her with his vampire eyesight. Bettina woke up and knew someone was in the room and thought it was Cas. She was drunk from drinking with him earlier and her eyesight was little better than a human’s so she started making out with Trehan.

Trehan thought she could see him and she must know she was his bride so he was elated that she was making out with him but just before he was about to have sex with her, he found out that she thought he was someone else…his target.

Trehan decides to enter the competition which means he can never go back to his kingdom. Dacians have to stay in the mist and shadows and never reveal themselves. Trehan entered as the Prince of Shadows but did not reveal where he was from but he still gave up his home for a chance to win Bettina’s hand. All the other creatures were more interested in being king of Rune more than having Bettina as their wife.

Caspion entered the tournament at the last minute, having an unselfish moment…or maybe trying to live a little longer since all contestants are safe from anyone else during the tournament which means Trehan cannot kill him while entered in the tournament.

But neither Caspion nor Trehan have a chance against Goürlav who can’t be killed because one blood drop could cause a catastrophe. He is also super fast and super strong. The tournament will last for over a week but if Caspion or Trehan gets paired with Goürlav, they will be killed unless one of them figures out a way to kill him.

It was interesting to watch Bettina’s personality develop and get stronger as she became more confident. She had been attacked while she was in the mortal world at the beginning of the book by Vrekeners, creatures that hunt and kill Sorceri. They had taken her power from her and then beat and tortured her until every bone in her body was broken but just as they were going to kill her, she was summoned to Rune by her godfather which traces her automatically to the castle or wherever her summoning medallion is at. It took months to heal and she lived in fear that the Vrekeners would find her again. I liked how Trehan helped her with her fear.

There was also a couple of developing future stories going on in the background of this story. In a previous book, a Vrekener abducted another Sorceress named Melanthe. Both Bettina’s godmother, Morgana, and Melanthe’s sister were searching for her in this book. Also, a Lykae named Munro was seeking revenge against some evil warlocks for doing evil things to Lykae. I believe his story or his twin brother’s story is next.

So, I am off to read that book. See you when I come up for air next.

Dreams of a Dark Warrior – Immortals After Dark #11 – Kresley Cole

What a scrumptious read! My favorite so far. Do I say that about each one of these books in this series? I guess they just keep getting better as the story gets deeper and more complex. What is crazy is that I have already read this series once before and although I remember the basic story, I have forgotten details and even the endings of some of the books but because I recall enough of the plot, it makes it all the more exciting to me.

A lot of these books run concurrently alongside the other books so we sometimes know a lot more than what the characters know. For example, in this book Regin, the female protagonist, worries about her half-sister Lucia but Lucia’s book was #9 in the series so we know what happened to her already but since this book is happening along the same time period as Lucia’s story, Regin has no idea what is happening.

Regin the Radiant is a Valkyrie whose skin glows. We have gotten to know Regin through previous books. She is the prankster of the group and loves to kill vampires and bad demons. She’s been known to make demons eat strange things like hubcaps just for kicks. Her best friend and half-sister is Lucia. They spend a lot of time looking for ways to kill an evil god who wakes every Accession. He is intent on abducting Lucia for his own and triggering the end of the world. The Accession is a war that happens every 500 to 600 years in the Lore where factions take sides, alliances are made and a lot creatures from the Lore find their mates. It is meant as a sort of population control since many will die.

Over a thousand years ago, Regin met a Beserker named Aidan the Fierce who fell in love with Regin. He vowed to earn Ohalla and marry her. The god Woden bestows Ohalla on a warrior who fights for him after he has won 200 battles but Aidan couldn’t wait so he had sex with Regin before he became immortal. A vampire killed him just afterwards but he promised to return and find Regin. He has returned over and over again but gets killed directly after they make love. Regin is expecting him again soon.

Declan Chase hates immortals, all of them. He and his parents were tortured by a nest of Neoptera, some of the most dangerous and evil immortals of them all, when he was just 17 years old. He found his brother in the kitchen with his throat slit and after days of torture, his parents didn’t make it but Declan was saved by a man named Webb who told him about the Lore which he called miscreations or miscreats who needed exterminated out of this world. Webb ran something called The Order which captures, studies, tortures and kills immortals and inducted Declan into it. Now, Declan runs a facility on an island where he captures and imprisons immortals of all kinds and studies them.

What Declan doesn’t know is that he is a reincarnation of Aidan the Fierce. He has always been stronger and faster than a mere mortal and started using heroin to calm himself when he was about 14 years old. He still has the doctor at the facility make up a blend with an opiate to control his symptoms. The medicine keeps him numb and emotionless.

But when he captures Regin, he starts to feel something for her and he hates it. He doubles up on his meds and starts running twice as far on the island but nothing stops him from thinking about her. He even tortures her with an IV full of poisonous liquid but feels sick as he is doing it. He has never felt anything for an immortal before.

Regin, of course, knows he is Aidan and tries to convince him of this but he thinks she is just messing with him. Regin knows that if she kisses him, he will remember his past lives and then he will die shortly afterwards but can she do it? He did torture her after all.

The tension between these two was palpable. Kresley Cole writes the story so well that I felt it while I was reading and my emotions ran from hating Declan to feeling sorry for him to cheering him on and hoping he could change and maybe get the girl…if he lived.

There was a lot more happening in this book than the romance/hatefest going on between Regin and Declan. There were other prisoners, some who we have met before in previous books like Carrow and Malkum Slaine who were the stars of the last book and some who were just being introduced in this book like Regin’s cellmates, Natalya the dark fey and Thad, a 17-year-old who-knows-what who just looked like a normal kid. Then there is Brandr, a Beserker who earned Ohalla because he promised Aidan while he was dying that he would always watch over Regin. Lothaire, The Enemy of Old and a powerful vampire, is also a prisoner in the facility. We get to know a lot more about him who I am loving more and more even though he is evil.

Speaking of Lothaire, that is the title of the next book so gotta go read. Bye!

Kiss of a Demon King – Immortals After Dark #8 – Kresley Cole

I am re-reading this series and it is just as exciting this time as it was when I first read it but now I know to pay attention to certain things that I didn’t realize were important to the storyline the first time around. This series is about the Lore which is exactly what it sounds like, a bunch of creatures from folklore and myth like Valkyries, Vampires, Lykae, Nymphs and Demons. It is an ongoing story but each book can be read as a stand-alone even though I think a lot of the story would be lost on someone who just picked up a book from the middle of this series.

This book followed Rydstrom and Sabine.

Rydstrom is a Rage Demon who lost his kingdom to an evil Sorcerer named Omort the Deathless. He has been trying to get his kingdom back for hundreds of years and he may have found a way. Omort’s brother, Groot the Metallurgist, has made a sword that will kill Omort but is demanding the Vessel in trade. The Vessel is a female from the Lore who will have a child who will either be good or evil. There is a Vessel in every Accession which is a war that happens about every 500 years in the Lore. Not all Vessels make it to have a child because factions of the Lore will be vying for her either to breed with her or kill her. But that story played out in the last book. Rydstrom’s brother was sent to Groot’s stronghold with the Vessel who happened to be his fated female.

In the last book, Rydstrom was racing to meet his brother, Cadeon, to make sure he would he actually traded the Vessel to Groot who happens to be just as evil as Omort but Rydstrom wants his crown back. We know he gets imprisoned by Sabine, the Queen of Illusions who happens to be another sibling of Omort and working with him. We, the readers, just didn’t get all the details from the last book.

This book starts out telling the story of Sabine and her sister Melanthe or Lanthe when they were little. Their mother and father were Sorceri who worked evil magick according to some beings called Vrekeners, winged beings who police the Sorceri and execute them if they are doing evil. Apparently, Sabine and Lanthe’s parents were evil because one night, the Vrekeners came and killed their parents and were going to either take the girls or kill them. Sabine took a sword and cut one of their heads off. Lanthe, who had the power to command people, told them to fight each other and to a boy Vrekener who was with them, she told to jump out of the tower window without using his wings to save himself. They escaped but for thousands of years, the Vrekeners have been after them. The boy lived and has spent his life trying to capture them.

Omort offered a safe haven for them. For some reason, the Vrekeners cannot follow them into Rothkalina, the realm that used to be Rydstrom’s kingdom but is now ruled by Omort, but Omort has an unnatural attraction to Sabine and wants her for himself. The only reason he hasn’t forced himself on her is because of a prophecy that says Sabine is Rydstrom’s fated mate. Her child will open the secrets of the the Well of Souls which is in the castle.

Sabine captures Rydstrom and tries to seduce him into vow to marry her because that is the only way her child would be recognized as the heir to Rothkalina but Rydstrom is having none of it. Well, that isn’t entirely true. He is attracted to her and his body knows she is his fated mate but his heart and his mind think she is evil.

Rydstrom is known for always being honest and it is said that a lie has never left his lips so when he finally vows to her in Demonish, which she does not speak or understand, that he will get revenge on her, she believes that he vowed to marry her.

Sabine was so selfish and into herself but I couldn’t help but like her. I could tell by the way that she loved her sister and was loyal to her that she had to have some kind of redeemable quality.

Rydstrom was your typical holier than thou hero whose only goal was to get him kingdom back which I thought was pretty selfish because he expected his brother to give up his female so Rydstrom could be happy.

What I like most about these books is the ongoing storyline and all the background stories that are going on at the same time. There are characters who I want to get to know better like Lothaire the Enemy of Old, a vampire who seems to be evil but helps the good guys once in a while…for a price…to serve some hidden agenda. He’s up to something.  Then there are the twin Lykae who keep showing up, Munro and Uilleam aka hot and hotter. And, of course, there is Nix the Ever Knowing, the soothsayer who seems to be manipulating everything from behind the scenes. They call her Nucking Futs Nix because she is barely lucid most of the time because she has so much going on in her mind.

I love this series. The characters are far from perfect which makes them that much more lovable to me and the storyline is just getting more complex and more interesting. This is one of those series that I’ll never get enough of.

I’ve already started reading the next book.

Deep Kiss of Winter (Untouchable) – Immortals After Dark – Kresley Cole

This book had two stories in it. One by Kresley Cole and one by Gena Showalter. This summary is about the Kresley Cole story.

Daniela is part Valkyrie and part Icere. The Icere are Fey who need to keep cold so they live in a place called Iceguard where there is plenty of ice and snow to go around. For two thousand years, King Sigmund has been sending out assassins to kill Danii because she is the rightful heir to the kingdom. He stole the crown from her mother.

Murdoch Wroth is a Forbearer Vampire which means he does not drink blood from the source ever. Previous books in the series have featured all three of his brothers but we have only had brief glimpses of Murdoch. We know he is in the Forbearer army under Kristoff who wars with the Horde Vampires, born vampires who drink from the flesh and usually kill their victims which makes them mad because they get the memories of each victim. Too many memories in their heads make them crazy.

Murdoch comes upon Danii when she is running from Icere assassins in the French Quarter in New Orleans. He helps her fight them off and during the fight, he becomes blooded. Blooding is when a Vampire meets his Bride, the one female who makes their heart beats and brings back their sexual desires. Vampires are impotent and have no sexual desires until the meet their Bride.

Danii was shot full of arrows laced with a poison that heats her body to the point where she could die so Murdoch quickly traces her to a mill outside New Orleans where he sometimes stays and puts her into a bath. He traces to a gas station and steals ice to put over her to cool her down. He put on gloves and pulled out all of the arrows.

Unlike his brothers or any other Vampire who meets their Bride, he is not happy. He does not think he has to be a slave to his desires or to a female just because fate says so. He watched his father slowly wither after the death of his mother and never wants to be like that. Plus, he can never even touch Daniela. This is a nightmare to him.

Danii secretly wants romance and to be touched but only one of her kind could touch her and that is not an option. Murdoch gave her hope when he and she shared a sexual moment but then he doused those hopes by telling her that all he could do with his Bride is freeze and he told her to go.

Even though he had spurned her, she agrees to help him when he asks her to help him find and evil Vampire named Ivo. When she overheats, he traces her to his hunting lodge in Siberia which is perfect for Danii. He lets her stay there to hide from the Icere while he goes back to find Ivo and to serve under Kristoff.

Murdoch is hot and cold throughout this book. He wants Danii but he is afraid of being like his father and he gets frustrated that he can only touch her with gloves and never make love to her. They decide to give their relationship a try but Murdoch made it difficult with his fears and frustrations.

The cold in Siberia is transforming Danii into a stronger person and it changes her visage. Her hair has turned white and she is turning icier. She has decorated the entire lodge in ice and has begun to carve strange symbols into the ice. She is compelled more and more to carve and it worries Murdoch but as long as it makes her happy, he won’t interfere.

I have to say that there were some weird sexual moments in this book. I had a hard time thinking sexy thoughts because everything was so cold. Brrrrr!

As always, Nix the Ever Knowing is manipulating things from behind the scenes. I can’t say what without spoiling the story but she was definitely manipulating things to go her way for the Accession which is a war that happens every 500 or so years in the Lore where factions go against each other and one faction will come out on top to be more powerful than the rest…or something like that.

There were also background stories and hints for things to come. There was a mention that Kristoff dispatched some of his soldiers to look for the Dacia, a hidden group of vampires. I missed that the first time I read this series, not knowing that it was important. There was also mention of Lothaire the Enemy of Old but it was brief. We have heard of him a few times so far in this series and know that he is dangerous or powerful but we know nothing else about him.

I’ve already started reading the next book in the series.