Category Archives: Urban Fantasy

Red Hot Fury by Kasey MacKenzie

RED HOT FURY by Kasey Mackenzie is the first in a new Urban Fantasy series, SHADES OF FURY, published by Ace, and it’s available on June 29th.  From the back cover:

“As a Fury, Marissa Holloway belongs to an arcane race that has avenged wrongdoing since time immemorial.  As Boston’s chief magical investigator for the past five years, she’s doing what she was born to do: solving supernatural crimes.

It’s far from business as usual when the body of a sister Fury washes up in Boston Harbor.  But when Riss reports that the corpse’s identity has been magically altered, she’s immediately – and inexplicably – suspended from her job.  Then a human assassin makes an attempt on her life, and Riss realizes that someone is trying to stir up strife between mortals and arcanes.

When a Fury gets mad, she gets even, and Riss is determined to uncover the truth.  Without the support of the mortal police department, she turns to the one man she can trust to watch her back: shape-shifting Warhound Scott Murphy.  But since Scott is also Riss’ ex, she’ll have to keep a short leash on more then just the supernatural rage that feeds her power as they try to solve a murder – and stop a war…”

Per the FTC guidelines, I received an Advance Reader Copy (ARC) from the author for the purposes of this review.  When I was contacted by Ms Mackenzie and asked to review her début novel, I was pretty excited.  I had not seen anything remotely involving Furies outside of myths and legends, so I was interested to see how Ms Mackenzie would use them as her center piece.  As I dusted off my recollections of the Furies, it seemed that they would have a natural fit as investigators since they avenged crimes.

Red Hot Fury Book Cover

I have to admit that I got them slightly mixed up with Harpies.  I thought that was a natural mistake because both are characterized as women with wings, able to hunt down and kill or torture others.  Yes I was correct, however in Ms Mackenzie’s world my mistake was really ‘fighting words’.  Harpies and Furies don’t tend to get along as Ms Mackenzie reveals.  One of the major plot points involves their… shall we say difference of opinion.

While I eagerly anticipated being sucked into the world of Furies and Warhounds, unfortunately I found that RED HOT FURY suffered from a couple of problems that I think stem from the combination of a debut author and the first book of a series.  At it’s essence, this book should provide resolution to the mystery of why the murder, magically faked identity, conspiracy to remove anyone investigating that mystery, and have some sort of romantic, sexual, previous baggage tension between Marissa known as Riss and her ex-lover/boy friend Scott.  Ms Mackenzie delivers those, but I found that they were mixed in with a lot of other subplots points, which made the two main points almost anti-climatic.

The first problem was the amount of world building which came perilously close to info-dumping.  Riss lives in a very complex world populated by numerous members of the arcane that includes Furies, Harpies, Warhounds, Fae, Phoenixes, Giants, Sidhe, Cats, Oracles, Druids, Witches and Goblins.  Not to mention normal and not so normal humans – all of which have their own magical powers and/or skills that they brought to help or hinder Riss’ investigation.  I was introduced to all of these different species or races during this one book with the standard MMPB word count that resulted in limited screen time for several of the representatives.  As a result, I never had a chance to feel that the majority of them were more then two-dimensional.

The second problem is that I think Ms Mackenzie included too many different threads in this single book, which served as introducing the different species and why they crossed Riss’ path.  Most of the subplot threads were neatly – almost too neatly – tied up at the end.  It seemed as if there was too much book for her word count, resulting in a quick conclusion. She left a few lingering threads that will, hopefully, be explored in future books.

Despite those problems, RED HOT FURY was an interesting read.  Riss, as a Fury, was a fascinating character with her own set of faults and she learns some pretty harsh life lessons throughout the book, which provided growth.  I enjoyed seeing her learn that she couldn’t be all Fury and solve her problems.  I am not sure if Scott, her ex, had the same level of character development because I never got the feeling he actually understood what caused the end of their previous relationship.

The initial mystery hooked me enough so that the faults didn’t prevent my finishing the book, because I still wanted to know how Riss would solve her investigation and the subsequent mess.  I also wanted to know how – and if – Scott and Riss would work through their issues.  I think that with the majority of the world building already introduced the next book in the series GREEN EYED ENVY, it will have a smoother flow and focus.  I know that I want answers to those lingering threads…

I am afraid I am going to give this one 2.5 of 5 stars, but I am hopeful that GREEN EYED ENVY will improve.  I think the world that Ms Mackenzie has created is very fascinating, and that she can do a lot with her Furies and other members of the arcane.  I look forward to seeing what comes next.

Review: Night Myst by Yasmine Galenorn

Night Myst

NIGHT MYST by Yasmine Galenorn is book one of her new Indigo Court series.  It will be available as a Berkley MMPB on June 29, 2010.  I was also able to find it available in Kindle and Nook formats.  In the interests of the FTC rules, for full disclosure, I was sent an ARC of NIGHT MYST by the publisher for the purpose of this review.  I will also admit that I enjoy reading her Otherworld series, so I when I was offered this opportunity, I jumped on it.

From the back cover as pulled from: http://www.galenorn.com/IndigoCourt/index.php?body=ic-nightmyst.htm

Eons ago, vampires tried to turn the Dark Fae in order to harness their power.  Instead, they created a demonic enemy more powerful then they dared to dream.  Bent on enslaving the world, the Vampiric Fae have been quietly massing their strength for centuries.  Now, Myst, queen of the Indigo Court, is rising again…and a long-prophesied war is brewing…

Born a witch, Cicely Waters can control the wind.  When her Elemental warns her that her aunt and cousin are in danger, she packs her Pontiac GTO and returns home for the first time in twenty years.  But the magical town of New Forest, Washington has changed.  The Indigo Court holds the city in fear; people are vanishing, and strange deaths plague the town.  Swept into an unexpected and passionate reunion with her trusted childhood friend Grieve, the Fae prince who taught her how to harness the wind, Cicely finds herself with a fierce and territorial lover.  But Grieve has become enslaved by Myst’s court, and now both lovers must walk a fine line to survive the machinations of the Vampiric Fae Queen.  Caught between two evils, both vying for supremacy, Cicely must fight for her family and her future.  As she discovers the hidden secrets to her own heritage, will she lose her soul in the process?”

Ms Galenorn’s first Indigo Court book, NIGHT MYST, provides a whirlwind of intrigue, mystery, dark sensuality, and a remainder that nothing is exactly as it appears to be on the surface – especially when dealing with Vampires and Fae. One of the challenges when starting a new series is balancing world building with character development, story progression and setting the hook.  Ms Galenorn surpasses that challenge by allowing the reader to experience New Forest’s world through Cicely, as she struggles to merge her childhood memories with the current reality and while dealing with her new responsibilities in the middle of this Fae war. Cicely is a very likeable character, with her main fault, to me as revealed so far, being that she believes in the goodness of the people she encounters and that what they present is who they really are.  Grieve, her childhood friend is a very torn individual.  His bond with Cicely still exists and might be what ends up saving New Forest but it has been and will continue to be tested.  Ms Galenorn included non-stop action and efficiently showed that sometimes the obvious easy way out doesn’t exist, and instead her characters are forced to choose between the lesser of the bad available choices.  She also doesn’t make it easy for the reader to develop a pure hatred towards Queen Myst because while I despise what she has done, I can also understand some of her motivation.  All of Ms Galenorn’s characters are complex and while some of their actions are predictable, it is never to the point that you can identify exactly what is going to happen when.  I look forward to seeing if Queen Myst’s evilness grows as the series progresses and more is revealed.

Throughout NIGHT MYST, she pushes, challenges and forces her characters to grow by dealing with painful and dark situations while also including a touch of hope.  As a reader I sympathize and feel for her characters, and how the hits never seem to stop coming. But as a testament to Ms Galenorn’s skill, I am never left with the sense that they do not have a chance to succeed.  I am actually challenged writing this review without including any spoilers because of the layers upon layers of complexity that Ms Galenorn has included in both her characters and their world, so I apologize for the brevity of my comments.

I enjoyed reading NIGHT MYST and give it 4 of 5 stars.  I highly recommend this book if you enjoy a dark, edgy, sensuous read that never lets up on the tension.

Ms Galenorn has graciously agreed to answer some reader questions in addition to giving The Book Pushers an interview which will be posted at the end of June. So if you have any questions you would like Yasmine to answer, pop on over to the blog on the 30th of June and join us. There will also be a giveaway – open to US/Canada only.

Thanks and happy reading!

P.S. Due to being in the middle of a military deployment, my fellow bookpushers will be responding to comments until I have internet access on a regular basis again.

Review: Kitty Goes to War by Carrie Vaughn

Publisher: Tor Book
Where did you get this book from: Review Copy from publisher.
Release Date: 29th June 2010
This review contains some spoilers.

I must admit that I had almost given up on this series – mainly because of the lack of emotional build up between Kitty and her mate Ben. But Kitty’s House of Horrors, which IMHO, is the best book in the series. It brought me back, and I was willing to give this series another chance. Kitty Goes to War is the 8th instalment of The Kitty Norville Series.
Here’s the blurb from the book:

Kitty Norville, alpha werewolf and host of The Midnight Hour, a radio call-in show, is contacted by a friend at the NIH’s Center for the Study of Paranatural Biology. Three army soldiers, recently returned from the war in Afghanistan, are being held at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs. They’re killer werewolves−and post-traumatic stress has left them unable to control their shape-shifting and unable to interact with people. Kitty agrees to see them, hoping to help by bringing them into her pack.
Meanwhile, Kitty gets sued for libel by CEO Harold Franklin after featuring Speedy Mart−his nationwide chain of twenty-four-hour convenience stores with a reputation for attracting supernatural unpleasantness−on her show.

Very bad weather is on the horizon.

After the intense experience in Kitty’s House of Horrors, this book is a little more chilled out – well as chilled out as Kitty’s life could be. Even though Kitty has her hands full dealing with the soldiers and Franklin, this book flows really well. One of the things I really like about this book is the pace. There is a lot going on, but I didn’t feel it was rushed and there are no “fillers” to pad the book out. The reason I didn’t give this book a 5 star is because in a way this book is an “in between” book in the story arc, which is adding to the main storyline of the vampire’s “long game”, and the way Vaughn delivers the action is superb, but her portrayal of romance is somewhat limited.

This book addresses the relationship issue I mentioned earlier in the previous books. With Cormac back on the scene, it’s easy to see the reason behind Kitty’s choice of mate. Kitty will always get herself in the middle of the action, trying her best to help people and stirring up the supernatural world in the process. She can’t help it; she is a radio talk show host. Ben just lets her be and lets her take the centre stage while he helps her in whatever situation she gets herself into.

Kitty enlists Cormac’s help to investigate Franklin and Speedy Mart. She notices that Cormac has been behaving strangely. Is it a result of being locked up for 2 years or something more mysterious? I am very glad that Cormac is finally back. His skill, knowledge and friendship is going to make the series even more exciting and Kitty could really use a friend with the life she leads. Now that Kitty’s “pack of three” is back together, I feel like they are ready to take on the world.

Kitty stays true to herself and tries to believe that there is humanity in werewolves. We get to see more of her pack’s dynamics, and Ben. I find it interesting that Kitty and Ben are not the strongest werewolves but they hold the pack together by their personalities. I like how Kitty learns when to ask the pack to do something, and when to give order as an alpha. The Denver pack as a whole haven’t got strong werewolves – as their previous alpha killed off any potential threat, but they are making a big impact (through Kitty) in the supernatural world. All in all, I really enjoyed Kitty Goes to War and I give it 4 Stars.

Review: Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews

Publisher: Ace Books.

Where did you get this book: Review copy from author:

Release date: Out now.

This review contains spoilers!

Blurb taken from authors’ official website:

Kate Daniels works for the Order of the Knights of Merciful Aid, officially as a liaison with the mercenary guild. Unofficially, she cleans up the paranormal problems no one else wants to handle—especially if they involve Atlanta’s shapeshifting community.

When she’s called in to investigate a fight at the Steel Horse, a bar midway between the territories of the shapeshifters and the necromancers, Kate quickly discovers there’s a new player in town. One who’s been around for thousands of years—and rode to war at the side of Kate’s father.

This foe may be too much even for Kate and Curran, the Lord of the Beasts, to handle. Because this time, Kate will be taking on family…

Magic Bleeds is the fourth instalment in the Kate Daniels series by writing duo Ilona Andrews. This book has an epic fantasy tone that contrasts so well with the urban setting. The world building is so imaginative and descriptive; magic, gods, myths and supernaturals are explained in such vivid detail that it never fails to amaze me. I’ve mentioned before how I think Ilona Andrews’ worldbuilding is some of the best I have read, and Magic Bleeds, I believe, reinforces this.

Everything that transpires in this book blends into a rollercoaster ride of excitement, magic and romance. For me, it’s a tantalising combination. One of the many things that I loved so much about this book is seeing Kate in a much more emotional setting. Instead of shrugging emotions off as she would have done in previous books, Kate allows herself to feel heartbreak, and allows people past her own personal barrier. She’s still a smart ass who has such a way with words, she still kicks ass and she still has that ‘I keel you’ look in her eye, but it’s tempered down compared to the first three books. But! The ‘I keel you’ look still manages to glare strongly towards her very own – in her own words -‘psychopath’ that is the Beast Lord – also known as Curran.

The relationship between these two has never been so intense, and so full of passion. In previous books, the romance between them was very slow, but it heated up a degree in each book. In Bleeds, the temperature went off the rocks! But it doesn’t happen instantly as Kate and Curran are at odds for the first half of the book. I did think that the misunderstanding between them felt forced, and I felt it was another way to keep these two apart. But things finally came to a head in a fashion that was smoking hot. They has smex! Yes, the two finally do the dirty deed *grins*. The love scene was not lovey dovey which I don’t think would have suited these hot-headed characters, but it was rough, primitive and oh so sexy. And somehow featured the sneaky Saiman that had me laughing – especially when he tried to run over Kate in such haste to escape Curran.

Kate and Curran still become uber smart asses when interacting with each other — this is still Curran and Kate, who manage to make arguing an art — but underneath there is a very strong love that these two stubborn characters can’t deny, and there are tender moments that show how far these two characters have come. And with Magic Bleeds finally cementing their relationship, I think it definitely brings about a new direction in the series. Not only does it affect them personally, it also affects the pack in many ways, and Kate’s work. And even though they finally admit what they are to each other, there is no instantaneously perfect relationship. Kate and Curran are two very important people that have dangerous working roles, and I think it would have felt false to the characters if they ignored what they did, and who they are, for love.

So not only does the romance bring about a new direction, but Magic Bleeds brings Kate’s very dangerous – and evil – family closer. With diseases and plagues riddling the city of Atlanta, causing havoc for everyone – especially deadly consequences for the shapeshifter pack – we learn about the past of Roland – Kate’s father – and a surprising family member. The baddies in the Kate Daniels world are not cardboard cut-out baddies, but are lethal and downright scary. There are many fighting scenes in Bleeds, and one of my favourite scenes is where giant golem statues come to life in an almighty battle. I said at the beginning that this book has an epic feel to it, and in certain scenes, epic definitely describes what’s going on.

Magic Bleeds ties strongly with my favourite book in the series, Strikes, but Bleeds tips the balance with Kate’s character changing for the better, and being able to empathise with her a lot more. Even though I didn’t like the ‘misunderstanding’, Bleeds is a fantastic book, and I would have no hesitation in book pushing this series onto the masses.

I give Magic Bleeds 5.0 stars.

ARC Review: A Local Habitation

Cover of A Local Habitation

Sometime early last year I was either browsing my favorite book related blogs or looking on Amaxon.com for their list of recommended upcoming releases when I came across a book called Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire.  The back cover blurb caught my eye with the mention of a half Sidhe-half human Private Investigator, October Daye, who had lost 14 years of her life.  At first I thought the 14 years were the price she had paid for working some magic spell.  Boy was I wrong.  Instead of paying a price, she was unwillingly transformed into something other then human or fae and spent those 14 years unable to sense or comprehend the passing of time. Intrigued I picked up a copy when it was published and Ms McGuire sucked me into a dark, complex enjoyable tale.

When The Bookpushers were contacted to see if there was interest in reviewing her upcoming book called A Local Habitation that just happened to be the sequel to Rosemary and Rue, I leaped on the chance.  Per the FTC I am obligated to inform you that I received an ARC of this book from the author for the purpose of reviewing it.  (Confidentially I will admit that I will purchase a copy release week.) I will attempt to avoid major spoilers from Rosemary and Rue but some smaller ones are inevitable.

Excerpt from the Back Cover as stated at http://seananmcguire.com/alh.php

“Half-human, half-fae, outsiders from birth, most changelings are second class children of Faerie spending their lives fighting for the respect of their immortal relations.  Toby is the only changeling who has earned knighthood, and she re-earns that position every day, undertaking assignments for her liege, Sylvester, the Duke of Shadowed Hills.

Now Sylvester has asked her to go to the County of Tamed Lightening – otherwise known as Fremont, California – to make sure that all is well with his niece, January O’Leary, whom he has not been able to contact.  It seems like a simple enough assignment – but when dealing with the realm of Faerie, nothing is ever as simple as it seems…For Tamed Lightening has somehow been cut off from the other fiefdoms, and now someone has begun to murder January’s key people.  If Toby can’t find and stop the killer soon, she may well become the next victim…”

Ms McGuire has succeeded in taking a common theme, the Sidhe, and adding some unique twists that sucked me back into October’s life.  Set once again in San Francisco, home to October “Toby” Daye, the opening scene showcases Toby in a much lighter mood then than readers of the first book are accustomed to seeing.  Fans of this series might also be interested in the fact that we also get to see Tybalt, a very powerful Cait Sidhe and the local King of the Cats *waggles eyebrows* very early on.  Don’t worry I promise you that Tybalt appears again.

Throughout the course of Toby’s investigation in A Local Habitation, I was treated to more information about the Sidhe culture, its various members and Toby herself.  I found it to be a mark of Ms McGuire’s skillful writing style that her character and world building were seamlessly merged with the pace of the story so I never lost my reading enjoyment as the story unfolded.  All of the characters showed unexpected depths, including those victims who died before Toby arrived at Tamed Lightening.  Based on the other characters statements about one of the victims I had painted a particular picture but when Toby examined their office area my mental picture drastically changed.  In another instance I thought I had figured out who one character was attracted to and found I was entirely wrong.   Toby and her sidekick (name is a major spoiler for Rosemary and Rue) also learned some interesting lessons and faced some situations when Toby’s connection to her liege wasn’t necessarily believed or even helpful.

The murder mystery was complex enough that while I guessed some of the roles the different characters played I was not expecting all of the twists nor did I accurately guess the culprit.  Despite the gritty nature of the investigation, Toby and the cast of assorted characters do experience some lighter moments.  Ms McGuire’s October Daye series does not shy away from showing how the Sidhe have a very different viewpoint on life and what death really means.   I also got to see the manifestation of power and what it means to have and control that power.  While dark and gritty A Local Habitation ends on a note of hope.  I enjoyed reading it and look forward to the next installment in October Daye’s life, An Artificial Night.  Ms McGuire has very kindly provided the reader with a sneak peek of into that third novel due to release in September 2010.

I give it a rating of 4 of 5 five stars for the slight predictability in some of the characters and their roles and the fact that I believe in order to fully enjoy the book and understand at least one key scene you need to read Rosemary and RueA Local Habitation releases in North America on March 2 as a DAW Mass Market Paperback.

Archangel’s Kiss Dual Review/Discussion

We obtained an ARC of this book from  the author.

Warning: This review contains spoilers (lots of spoilers). You may wish to read the book first before reading the discussion below.
Here’s official blurb from the book:
“Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux wakes from a year-long coma to find herself changed—an angel with wings the colors of midnight and dawn—but her fragile body needs time to heal before she can take flight. Her lover, the stunningly dangerous archangel Raphael, is used to being in control—even when it comes to the woman he considers his own. But Elena has never done well with authority…

They’ve barely begun to understand each other when Raphael receives an invitation to a ball from the archangel Lijuan. To refuse would be a sign of fatal weakness, so Raphael must ready Elena for the flight to Beijing—and to the nightmare that awaits them there. Ancient and without conscience, Lijuan holds a power that lies with the dead. And she has organized the most perfect and most vicious of welcomes for Elena… “

Ying: So Has, what do you think of Archangel’s Kiss? I think it’s the best Nalini’s book I have read so far.

Has: I agree – I thought this was definitely better than the first book. I think the main strength was that the book focused on Elena and Raphael’s relationship, and we really got to know more the angels’ world, which I loved – especially the political intrigue that surrounds them; such as the power plays with Archangels. The details that Nalini describes also enriches the world-building. I found that the opening scenes with Raphael and Elena’s relationship brought things forward, although in many ways, a step back.

Ying: Yes. Ellie is not in an equal footing with Raphael yet, and I don’t know if she will ever be. I think it’s something she will have to fight hard for. I like Raphael’s attitude more and more. He is learning. He even tried to get an insight from Elijah and Hannah’s relationship.

Has: I agree.  Elena is unsure of herself — more so now she’s an angel — and Raphael doesn’t want to rush into things. I really liked him in this book. In the first, I found he was too standoffish, and not as fully fleshed out. I think in AK, Elena was his weak spot and brings out his human side. It was an interesting development.

Ying: But Ellie is a baby angel who is having a relationship with an archangel. The balance of power is tipped to his end; not only is he much older and has more life experience than her, he’s an archangel with serious power. But they definitely showed commitment to each other in this book.

Has: Yes! And I loved that, but also the sexual tension was fantastic. This scene sums this up perfectly:

“Your mouth,” she whispered, her voice husky. ” I need your mouth.”
Not yet
She shivered at the implacability of that comment. The dark sexual tone of it. Raphael was not only out of control, he wasn’t going to allow her any either. She could have fought. But she’d hungered for him since the instant she woke from the coma. The archangel could have her any and every way he wanted.

I loved how Raphael held back for so long because he was afraid of hurting her, and it just built up the tension between them.  That was hawt *fans self*. I could have cut the tension with a knife. It also allowed them to bond, and really get to know to each other as well. I think their romance blazed more hotter in this book than the previous book in every way.

Ying: Yes, now that she is becoming immortal, he is going the opposite way by becoming more human.

Has: Yep – makes me think how her metamorphosis is going to affect her in some ways. Although she’s definitely human, I think there were signs that she was becoming more ‘angel-like’ – especially with that fight scene with Venom.

Ying: *nods* It is going to be a fascinating journey for Ellie to learn her new power.

Has: I think the strongest aspect of the book was the tension between Elena and Raphael. Like I said before, it was a step back in many ways. I believe this is the book that sets their romance. It was more in depth than the previous book, which had mistrust and ‘the hunt’ in the way. I love this theme thatNalini brings forward in this series. Paranormal/Urban Fantasy romance really questions about being human. I think she really captures that otherness, especially with characters like Venom andLijuan. And I think that is pretty hard to capture and portray.Ying: Yes, even Michaela! She is contradictory in so many ways. One minute she is cruel, the next she is saving birds and children – such as the scene with Sam.
Has: And One minute she can be totally insane and the next you are rooting for her! I loved that scene where she went postal in the refuge – although the outcome was a surprise. I hope we get more of her past story – I think there is more surprises to come with her.

Ying: Talking about past stories, we learn more of Ellie’s past in this book and some of Raphael’s. I do think we will learn a little more with each book to come.

Has: Its like layers of onions; we are getting bits and pieces with each book.

Ying: LOL. I hope it’s a large onion! I don’t want this series to end.

Has: I love the parallels with both of their parents; both set of parents having a tragic past.

Ying: That’s why they connected so well IMO.  They understand each other’s pain. I think at one point Ellie was thinking that time is relative when it comes to the pain of the heart (or something like that).

Has: And it will definitely be something that will crop up in future books too, IMO. Not all the mysteries about their pasts have been answered.

Ying: Agree. Another interesting thing about this book is the balance of power between archangels.

Has: It’s definitely going to get more heated. Tensions are starting to mount up among the Cadre, and with lesser angels too. They are not as perfect as they appear to be, and I think it’s going to get violent and bloody.

Ying: I also want to see more of Hannah and Elijah.

Has: I think Elijah and Hannah is the only other positive Angel pairing in the book. The other angel couples we have seen don’t seem to have the  the warmth and affection that can ground them. They seem to have lost it.

Ying: Yes, but then again, I wouldn’t trust any of the archangels because I’m sure Elijah wouldn’t have survived as long as he has by being nice.

Has: I agree – and I think their relationship parallels what Elena and Raphael will become. Although Elena is more upfront and assertive. Though angels, especially archangels, need to have some vulnerability to maintain their sanity to remain somewhat human so they can empathise. Its like withIllium – his love for humans grounds him, which is why he’s so more lighter and more humanized. I hope we get a book for him and that he finds someone too.

Ying: I love Illium, my bluebell! He is certainly the most likable angel of them all. However, he hides his serious side which he rarely shows. Maybe knowing pain is what keeps him sane and grounded.

Has: I agree, although knowing pain might twist an angel too. It’s about choices as well.  What I’ve realised is that those angels who have succumbed to madness and rage, really took the easy way out. Those who haven’t gone down into the insane path can still be grounded and retain some humanity. I think the events concerning Michaela is going to be interesting and she will go either way.

Ying: Yes! I would like to see the next book set in NY to see Ellie in her hometown.

Has: I think it will deal with Elena facing what humans – as well as the wider world – know about her new change.

Ying: I wonder how her family will react? I think what Sara said to her is correct, that immortality can be seen as a gift. And Ellie will be able to look after Zoe when she becomes older, and then Zoe’s future children which I think is beautiful. However, I don’t think her dad, Jeffrey, and her sister Beth will take it so well. Not with their already strained relationship, and I can see Beth becoming jealous of Ellie’s immortality.

Has: I think it will be hard, and I’m not sure it will be clear cut with her family. I also think they will resent Elena anyway due to their past. And there seems to be more to that scenario that we know. Jefferydidn’t want Elena to become a hunter, and I think he knows something that we don’t know yet.

Ying: If I really have to nit pick and criticize this book (which is very hard to do because I love it so much), it would have to be the murder mystery. I don’t think I got the chance to really work out whodunit. We know how they work out/narrow down the suspects, but it was told to the reader rather than letting the reader work it out.

Has: I thought it was done well, although I wished we saw more of the suspects – especially the perpetrator and their reasoning. But I think it would have deviated from Raphael and Elena’s development, and there was lots of plots to deal with in the book. In Angel’s Blood, I thought it was more about about the mystery, and the romance was secondary. Though in a way, perhaps that was needed to establish the setting and characters. But this book needed to cement Raphael and Elena’s relationship, and to develop it. I think AK was quieter in pace, but I liked that it had more political intrigue than action packed.  I think with this series,Nalini has created a fantastic set of alpha heroes – especially when most of them are anti-heroes too. It sure makes things interesting.

Ying: Oh Definitely! There is lots of variety for every type of reader.

Has: I suspect it will be a top read for me this year, and its definitely even better than Angel’s Blood.

Ying: It’s definitely one of the best books I have read lately, and I can’t wait to read the next one. IMO, Nalini has outdone herself this time. Her world-building is just superb, every character that features in the book has depth.

Has: It’s one of the best tension filled romances I’ve read, with a delicious anti-hero and a strong capable heroine. The world-building is rich, multi-layered and features political intrigue that has more twists and turns than a ball of yarn. This series is fast becoming a favourite of mine.

Ying: Ditto! I also think it has one of the best covers I have seen lately (US version).

We give Archangel’s Kiss 5 out of 5.