Book Review: These Hellish Happenings by Jennifer Rainey

9694732Title: These Hellish Happenings
Author: Jennifer Rainey
Genre: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Dark Humor, Vampires, Demons, Adult
Rating: 4,5 stars
Goodreads | Author Website
Review copy provided by the author.

In 1707, hapless vampire Jack Bentley made a pact with the Devil in order to escape a vampire hunt. Dealing with Satan seemed better than your standard angry mob at the time. But three centuries later, Satan is ready to collect His dues, whether the vampire likes it or not. He’s taking Jack down to Hell, and He’s even got a job picked out for him down below: an eternal position at the Registration Office of the Damned. Jack attempts to adjust to life on the Administrative Level of Hell where fire and brimstone have been replaced by board meetings and the occasional broken copier. But the whiny complaints of the recently-deceased are the least of his problems. Try adding to the equation a dead ex-lover, a dangerous attraction to his high-ranking demon companion, Alexander Ridner, and the sticky and distorted anti-vampire politics of a Hell that is surprisingly like our own world…

In These Hellish Happenings, we follow vampire slash music collector Jack Bentley, as he is reminded of a bargain he striked with the Devil himself about three centuries ago. Although three centuries is a long time, even for a practically-immortal vampire, the Devil never forgets anything. Jack is brought down to hell, where he begins his new job as registrar at The Registration Office of The Damned. There, he is forced to write down the names of the recently-deceased, and tell them where to go next. Although his new job proves to be extremely boring, there are some quircks about it. For instance, Jack gets to live with a demon called Alexander, who is basically Satan’s second-in-command. Without counting Belzebub in, that is. He gets to meet new friends, learns that life in the pit isn’t all that different from life on earth as here too his species is discriminated against, and he might just start the revolution that will change Hell forever. Mix all of that with some dark humor, and you’ve basically got what These Hellish Happenings is all about.

Jack Bentley makes an interesting protagonist. Whether or not he’s evil, isn’t even debated throughout the novel, as basically everyone who ends up in hell has stepped over some line once or twice in their lifes. He is an interesting character, with a two-sided personality (we think: vampires bad, but what we see from Jack he turns out to be a rather okay fellow in that department, since he drinks bottled blood at a bar, for instance), with an undeniable and highly enjoyable sense of humor, and a mind that’s not too stubborn or stupid to demand change. When he’s thrown into Hell – as a matter of speech – the place below is on the verge of a revolution, with two parties battling each other. The one party wants to make demons rule in hell, and demote all other species to low-level jobs, like for instance, Cerberus shit-cleaning duty. The other party battles for equality between the species, and they soon see in Jack a possible leading man for their ideals and opinions. This brings Jack in a rollercoaster of events, all of them equally original and hilarious.

Who could have imagined any of the things Jennifer Rainey brings in this novel? Hell divided in offices, and every demon, vampire or poor soul sent to the bottomless pit, with a job of their own. A hellish environment with politicians – like it’s not enough that they make life a living hell already -, parties, struggles, elections, possible promotions, and an 8 till 6 working schedule. It’s safe to conclude that Jennifer Rainey’s take on hell, her world-building in particular, is both very original and very impressive. Jennifer Rainey basically gives us our view of modern-day society, our politics, our human rights actions and our work ethics, and presents them to us agaisnt the facade of Hell. There are brave political statements touched in this novel, which make it all the more interesting.

And not only does the author provide us with an authentic, original view on Hell and the Underworld, she also has an entirely new take on vampires, as they are usually portrayed in literature, and on demons. Jack Bentley is anything but an ordinary familiar-looking vampire, and Alexander, his demon roommate, is anything but the demons we are used to. Humorous, original, with an impressive storyline and fantastic characters. These Hellish Happenings is an excellent read, not only for its originality and marvellous characterization, but for its impressive writing style and enjoyable humour as well. If you like fantasy, and even if you don’t, you should just try this book. It’s a rare jewel in the fantasy genre.

These Hellish Happenings is the first book in a series, and I cannot wait to read the sequel.

Book Review: Spirit by Graham Masterton

16916Title: Spirit
Author: Graham Masterton
Genre: Thriller, Horror, Adult, Ghosts, Supernatural
Rating: 4,5 stars
Review copy provided by Dorchester Publishing.

Laura and Elizabeth Buchanan’s lives were changed forever when their little sister Peggy was found dead in the icy water of the family’s pool. But Peggy never left her sisters. As Laura and Elizabeth grow up, a string of inexplicable deaths threatens to shatter their lives. Each corpse shows signs of frostbite–and each victim’s dying moments are tortured by a merciless little girl in a white dress.

When I first read the blurb for Spirit, I knew that I needed to get my hands on this book, no matter what it cost. Even though I had to request it three times (due to my Netgalley profile not being completely filled in), I didn’t care in the slightest. I had this crazy, unexplainable, but very convincing feeling that this book was going to leave me scared, terrified and very, very impressed. I don’t know why I got this feeling, that turned out to be true, but I have my suspicions that it might be a supernatural thing of the kind we come across in Spirit, a part of me that instinctively knew, even by reading the smallest back cover blurb ever, that this novel was it. That this was the kind of scary story I had been waiting for since forever-and-a-day, that this was the story that would leave me paralyzed, hidden under my blankets at night, and unable to sleep. I was more than right.

Spirit reminded me of the first time I watched The Others, with Nicole Kidman as leading actress, and hid under my blanket because I was so damn terrified. It brought back memories of summoning spirits at band camp late at night, of shivers running down your spine when your friends tell you ghost stories around a camp fire, or hearing a weird sound and dismissing it as nothing, while you very well know it’s something. It reminded me of that time my friends and I broke into the local haunted mansion, and I saw what I firmly believe was a ghost. This novel is so haunting, so absolutely terrifying, that it reminded me of every single time I was scared by the supernatural, by the world beyond our own, by the possible existence of ghosts, and topped all of that. I don’t remember ever being so scared while reading a book before in my life. Now it leaves me still very much unsettled, but very much impressed at well. Wow, is all I can say, wow, and please hand me another one of those.

I cannot begin to describe how good it felt to actually be this scared again, right when I was starting to lose my faith in the horror genre alltogether. I mean, I’m one of those people who can’t be scared by watching Zombie flicks, or by reading about blood-sucking vampires (definately not after the whole Sparkly-vampires thing) or by insane serial killers following a group of stupid and ignorant teenagers. The only way to actually make me shiver in fear, is by involving ghosts. Why? Ghosts just have this whole sense of weirdness going on, one cannot be certain if they truly exist or not, and even if they do, it’s damn hard to get rid of them, since they are…you know, dead.

Spirit begins with the drowning of five-year-old Peggy, the little sister of Elizabeth and Laura Buchanan. While their parents suffer greatly from the loss of their beloved youngest daughter, the two sisters struggle with feelings of guilt. In an effort to put this past them, Elizabeth buries her copy of The Snow Queen, Peggy’s favorite fairytale, in the snow of their backyard, as a peace offering to God to let Peggy’s soul rest in heaven. Rest assured, that’s the last thing that happens.

Some years pass by and the Buchanan family is getting things together again, with their mother returning from the asylum (she suffered a mental breakdown after Peggy’s funeral) and their father getting back to work as a publisher. However, strange things are starting to happen. Elizabeth runs into a girl she swears is Peggy, although the girl looks nothing like her drowned sister. When people are starting to die in peculiar circumstances as well – from frostbite, for instance – Elizabeth suspects that somehow Peggy returned back from the dead. She finds encouragement for her thoughts when her parents start seeing Peggy as well, and when a local author and friend of hers tells her that he’s been seeing his dead brother, Billy, frequently during hte last couple of years. Although the boy he sees looks nothing like Billy, and isn’t even of the same age.

Elizabeth and Laura must stop their younger sister from walking this earth anymore, and must do whatever it takes to put her soul to rest. Before it’s too late…

The entire atmosphere, dialogue and descriptions of Spirit is eerie and haunted. From the first few sentences until the very last, Graham Masterton proves that he is a true master of the horror genre, as he pulls his readers in from his very first chapter, and doesn’t let them go. He describes his characters in a lot of detail, and I felt like I got to know them as real people, with real hopes and expectations, and real, substantial fears. Elizabeth was a gripping character with a moving and touching personality, who gained a lot of my sympathy as she struggled with the ghost of her undead sister. Sorrow, regret, guilt and raw, honest fear are all woven together in what I believe is one of the scariest novels currently existing. As the years pass by and the secrets unfold, I felt myself getting pulled more and more into the novel. When the ghost of Peggy appeared, first not much more than a vision, and later on a person you could actually touch, a murderous and over-protective, evil spirit, I looked behind my back occasionally, as shivers were running down my spine and I felt the temperature in the room had dropped several degrees. Although mostly only in my head, it was great to be experience so many emotions when reading a novel.

There were parts in the book that felt sloppy and not up-to-par as well. For instance, when they try to unravel the mystery of who exactly the spirit is, and why they feel like it’s Peggy although she looks nothing at all like their deceased sister. “Human imagination”, “Fairy Tales Come To Life”, that dropped the scare-level to halfway, in my opinion. Maybe it’s the science and logic behind it, although I did think this was interesting and an original perspective, or maybe it was that this wasn’t just some dead person’s ghost lingering about, but actually only a little girl’s imagination gone wild. Quite dissapointing in the scary-department but unmistakingly original nevertheless. I also felt like somehow these parts dragged a bit, and that some of the kills were rather random. I didn’t like the scene with Laura and the two TV producers, and I wasn’t sure if it was an essential part of the story – to show what exactly the spirit is capable of (but if it was, why did she not appear sooner then, and why wait till after Laura gets hurt?) – or if it was just to fill some pages. I am inclined to believe the latter, and wasn’t all that touched by it. The epic battle at the end left me dissapointed as well (I had a continuous feeling of: oh really?, and add a sarcastic tone to that), but all in all, I could live with that, considering how unnaturally frightened I had been with the first part of the novel.

What would have made Spirit stood out for me so much that I would rate it a 5 rather than a 4.5? Had the ghostly incidents started off more slowly, rather than immediately with the apparition of an actual ghost-like figure. I like the tiny little horror parts in novels, like when the protagonist leaves their keys on the counter, and then finds them on the table when he returns. Or when they hear strange noises at night, that can not be explained. Or when they see shapes out of the corner of their eyes, but dismiss it as being nothing. Lights suddenly shutting off, things going missing, those sort of things. And then, bring in the ghost. And then, a hundred-or-so-pages further down the line, make the ghost go totally murderous. I also would have liked to see more of Margaret, Elizabeth’s mother, and how she might have been effected by the supernatural events. She was an intriguing character, with her severe doubts about her life, her depression over giving up her acting career and her frequent visits to the asylum. There was a small part of the novel in which Margaret saw Peggy first, but no one believed her, and then Elizabeth saw her as well. I would have liked it if this had lasted longer, and they had announced Margaret crazy for seeing things that were actually real, and then have Elizabeth question her own sanity as she starts seeing the ghost as well. Alas, we cannot have it all.

I also liked the fact that this novel read like a mystery novel. There’s the case of the murderous ghost, and then our cast of characters has to find out who she is, where she comes from, and how to stop her, in a race against time – or against the next murder. I also loved the fact that not only our protagonists were seeing ghosts, but that other people throughout the story confessed to having seen dead relatives as well. A more thorough description of the house the Buchanans live in, would have been great as well, or if the ghost was somehow connected to the house as well.

Nevertheless, as I already mentioned, the first part of the novel was a whole new level of scary for me, and if the second part was a tad bit dissapointing, then so be it. I enjoyed reading Spirit, and I would definately read another novel by Graham Masterton in a heartbeat. Some parts of this book were actually beyond brilliant, and left me very impressed, and a tremendously happy reader. If you can get past some of the minor flaws, you will realise, just as I have, that this novel is a masterpiece of horror literature, a true symphony for all things horrifying and supernatural, and a statement on its own: that not all things dead, stay dead, and that ghosts might very well exist. Magnificent.

Book Review: Glimmer by Vivi Anna

10579642Title: Glimmer
Author: Vivi Anna
Genre: Novella, Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Faeries, Werewolves, Adult
Rating: 2 stars
Review copy provided by Bewitching Book Tours.
Goodreads | Author’s Website

Although Nina Decker’s father is one hundred percent human, her mother is not. She belongs to an ancient and rare race of people called the fae. But these fae are not those written about in fairytales, with pretty gossamer wings and fairy dust, no they are sinister, malevolent and unkind, dwelling in another realm called Nightfall. More prone to destroy than to create. Abandoned at the age of ten, to be raised by her father, Nina has never forgiven her mother for that or for ruining her father. A man of only sixty, he appears to be closer to eighty with a frail body and mind. He’s been fae-struck and is slowly fading away to nothing. This is one of the reasons why Nina has never gotten too close to any one man. She doesn’t want to seal his fate like her father’s has been.
But she can’t deny her fiery connection to Severin Saint Morgan, a sexy as hell werewolf and the alpha of the Vancouver wolf pack. He’s an Australian immigrant working at the university as an associate professor, and the publicized face of the werewolf species. He makes her blood boil with desire and makes her tremble with fear. But its only when her mother reappears with startling revelations about an upcoming war between the fae and the werewolves that Nina realizes that she may be a pawn for both sides.

Glimmer is a novella-length paranormal romance/urban fantasy novel about a half fae, half human woman named Nina Deckers. Nurse by trade, fae by legacy and birth, Nina has some trouble staying unnoticed in a society where creatures like werewolf have already gone public. Scared off by human’s repulsion for the unknown, and their prejudice towards werewolves, Nina is terribly afraid of what might happen if they find out what she really is. Back at home, she has a fae-struck father to take care of, who is in a condition close to dementia, and is still hopelessly in love with her runaway mother and fae princess, A’lona.

When Nina meets the sexy alpha werewolf Severin, she believes she may finally have met her match. However, Severin is hiding dark secrets, one of them involving Nina. When an otherwise-harmless pixie starts attacking her father, and she figures out the creatures of Nightfall are trying to assassinate the both of them, Nina must do whatever it takes to protect both herself and her father. On top of all that, Nina feels herself changing, and she is slowly becoming like the creature she loathes more than anything. Her mother.

Glimmer is a rather interesting and entertaining read, but it left me feeling very dissapointed as well. The trouble is that this is a novella, and the author is trying to include either too much or too little – that I have yet to decide. We are introcuded to a wide cast of characters, but we hardly get to know any of them in-depth thanks to the short length of this novel. I loved Nina’s father and mother, the human and the fae princess, and how they did manage to love each other one day. I somewhat-liked the character of Nina. I found her struggle to keep her fae side a secret very entertaining and realistically described, but I thought her attraction to Severin, the alpha werewolf, exaggerated and unnatural. She reminded me a lot of the average love-struck teenage girl: swooning over a hot boy so much that they can barely see what’s going on around them. Last time I checked gazing in the distance for ten minutes after a guy kisses you, is not normal. Add to the fact that Nina really isn’t a teenage girl, but rather a grown-up woman of twenty-eight, I found her behavior when with Severin rather childish and immature. I didn’t like this part of her personality.

I liked the storyline, as far as it concerned faeries. I loved Nina’s mixed heritage, and her struggles with her growing wings, and to accept the fact that she’s half fae. The addition of iron-disease was an interesting bonus as well. The portal in the garden, the pixies, Nina’s father’s fae-struckness, etc. were all nice and original additions to the story. What I didn’t like, were the werewolves. For instance, I had no idea what exactly they were doing, or what their importance for the storyline was. There is nothing in any faerie lore that even suggest a connection or a war with werewolves, and I imagine faeries would rather fight humans, or other supernatural creatures in general, or even fight each other, then they would go through the trouble to declare a century-long war on werewolves. To be honest, werewolves aren’t exactly the most interesting supernatural beings out there. And even if you add the changes Vivi Anna included with regards to werewolves – they apparently don’t need full moon to change, they don’t age, and they can spot faeries – then they are still not-all-that-interesting. At least not when compared to the timeless and immortal beings that are faeries.

I hated Severin. Really. He just seemed to be stuck-up, full-of-himself bachelor number forty, with an unkeen interest in our heroine from the start. And why exactly? His motives aren’t all that pure, but even though so, he still manages to act like a love-struck puppy by the end of the novella. I just had the feeling that on the one side, everything was happening too fast to really let me grasp everything that was going on, from the werewolf-faerie war, and Nina’s change into a faerie, to Severin’s secrets and his relationship with Nina, which developed at lightning speed. On the other hand, I had a feeling that nothing was happening at all. So we meet Nina and her Dad. They get attacked by pixies gone rogue with a keen desire to kill the both of them. In comes Severin, the sexy werewolf and love-interest for our heroine. Then Nina gets ill, and grows a pair of wings. Then some more things happen, which I won’t include for spoiler’s sake, but by the end of the novella, we’re still nowhere. The journey is yet to begun, Nina has yet to make her descend into Nightfall, we don’t know why half of the things that happened did happen (for example, I’m still wondering what got that woman who died at the beginning of the story. Sure it wasn’t a werewolf…then what the heck was it?) and I had the feeling this was still just the beginning of the story, and the real story had yet to begun.

I think this novella would have been a lot better had the author decided, rather than make a series of short novellas, to write one full-length novel, that would cover the entire story. I don’t know what it is with authors preferring to write series of short stories nowadays rather than simply write one novel, and wrap things up nicely by the end of it, but it certainly isn’t something I prefer. I can imagine the appeal of a novella to some readers – it reads faster, you don’t have to indulge in unnecessary details – but the downside is that you cannot connect with the characters, the storyline is sometimes lacking and leaves you with a lot of loose ends, and the story just feels unfinished. As I already said in one of my previous reviews, it takes a special skill to a novella that actually works. I just had the feeling this wasn’t the case here; and I’m pretty sure I would have liked Nina’s story a lot more if it had been longer and I could relate to the characters more.

There were some original ideas introduced in Glimmer though. As I already stated, I loved the whole faerie-thing, from the wings, the portals, the runaway Mother, to the assassination attempts from Nightfall. The writing was decent as well, and the plot offered originality, a fast pace and some nice twists. If you want to relax for half an hour to an hour, or if you just want to doze away to a world where faeries walk in the mortal realm, and werewolves have gon public, then this novel is something for you. I did enjoy reading it, but it left me unconvinced. It has potential, but in the end, it doesn’t come through.

Author Interview: Mary Abshire

The Books

10546083Mary Abshire

1. Claiming The Evil Dead | Read my review
2. Catching An Evil Tail | Read my review
3. Fighting Evil
Goodreads | Author Website | Buy the Books

Half-demon Jessie Garrett wants to live a normal life among her friends and keep her soul catching ability a secret, but supernatural creatures keep popping up in her world. Adding to her struggles, her vampire lover remains out of the country, and when he offers no valuable explanation as to why he hasn’t returned, she wonders if she should move on without him.
As if Jessie doesn’t have enough worries on her mind, the demon yearning to seduce her shows up at her home. She longs to liberate herself from the debt she owes him, and when he asks for her help, she jumps at the chance to make a new deal with him—one that will guarantee her freedom. The only catch? She has to send the soul of a werewolf to hell.
Love, trust, and loyalty are on the line. Torn between her feelings for her vampire boyfriend, a hot Alpha wolf, and a demon vowing to protect her, Jessie must figure out her heart’s true desires.

Author Interview

1) Hey, Mary! After reading two of your novels, I’m looking forward to finding out more about the author behind the books. 😉 First of all, I would like to know where you got the (very original) idea from for Jessie’s special powers, namely sending souls back to hell.

For several days, I thought and thought… what can I do that hasn’t been done before, at least, not that I had read. I knew I wanted someone who thought they were bad and a half-demon seemed like the perfect choice. But of course, she isn’t bad. Can’t be bad, but oh, she can be tempted! She had to have something special, a unique gift. I hadn’t read any kind of book about someone catching souls or sending them to hell, so I thought my idea would work. A half-demon who sends souls to hell sounded different to me. Then the question becomes, why does she do it? Well, in the fourth book, I explore that question.

2) A lot of the characters in your novels are vampires, demons, werewolves, etc. Was there any particular reason why you chose to write romance novels focused on supernatural creatures rather than ordinary people?

Well, I LOVE supernatural creatures, especially vampires. I’ve always loved vampires. I had to write about supernatural creatures. HAD TO. I’m trying to branch out and include more warlocks, witches, and werewolves.

3) Was there for you, as a writer, any significant difference between writing your first novel, Claiming The Evil Dead, and your second one, Catching an Evil Tail? And which one did you enjoy writing most?

Well, I already knew what I wanted to write in the second book before I finished the first. The overall plot was in my head. I think the second book flowed out of me faster. It took less time to write and I didn’t revise it ten times. With the first book, I revised and revised, over and over again. It actually started over 120,000 words. I cut out over 13,000 before I submitted it to Noble Romance. As for which one I enjoyed writing the most… I’d say the second one because Jessie is tempted multiple times and her struggles continue to grow. I love challenges. That bad boy Jeremy just continues to give her trouble.

4) I have to admit that personally I’m more of a fan of Jeremy/Jessie than of Drake/Jessie, probably because Jeremy is my favorite character in the series. Who is your favorite character to write about?

Ha, ha. That’s so funny you bring this up. From what I hear, readers are split equally between Jeremy and Drake. My favorite to write about is Jeremy. I don’t know why, but he just comes to life when I write about him. I love both characters, but Jeremy makes me laugh more. He’s such a troublemaker. I’ve tossed around the idea of writing from his point of view, but I have to think about it more. The series is really about Jessie. Who knows with time…

5) Can you tell us something more about the third novel in the Soul Catcher series, Fighting Evil?

The third book picks up right where Catching an Evil Tail leaves off. It had to. Jessie has a major challenge to face. What she finds out is those so called “ethical” vampires are not really that good. Imagine that (smile). In Fighting Evil, someone very close to Jessie makes an appearance to help her.

6) What ambitions do you have for the Soul Catcher series?

I’d like to keep it going for a while because I do enjoy the characters, the adventures, and the struggles. I think there are plenty of evil souls Jessie can send to hell. I have a couple ideas for future books. As long as readers enjoy them and my publisher likes them, I’ll keep the series going.

Thank you so much for answering my interview questions.

Thanks for interviewing me!

The Author

Mary is a part-time Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy author living in Indianapolis with her loving husband, witty daughter, and ridiculous cat. The paranormal world has always been an interest of her’s. She grew up watching Sci-Fi and Horror shows. As a teenager–many, many years ago–she read Anne Rice and wrote to pen-pals (stamps were cheap and computers weren’t in every household). Though she dropped the pen for a while, her love for the paranormal continued. She started writing full length novels a few years ago and hasn’t stopped. Not only does she love stories about vampires, she enjoys books with demons, werewolves, shapeshifters, dragons, and just about any supernatural creature.

Mary is a PRO member of the Romance Writers Association and Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal Chapter. Visit her website.

Book Review: Catching an Evil Tail by Mary Abshire

10546083Title: Catching an Evil Tail (The Soul Catcher #2)
Author: Mary Abshire
Genre: Adult, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Vampires, Werewolves, Demons
Rating: 4 stars
Review copy provided by Bewitching Book Tours.
Goodreads | Author Website

Half-demon Jessie Garrett wants to live a normal life among her friends and keep her soul catching ability a secret, but supernatural creatures keep popping up in her world. Adding to her struggles, her vampire lover remains out of the country, and when he offers no valuable explanation as to why he hasn’t returned, she wonders if she should move on without him.
As if Jessie doesn’t have enough worries on her mind, the demon yearning to seduce her shows up at her home. She longs to liberate herself from the debt she owes him, and when he asks for her help, she jumps at the chance to make a new deal with him—one that will guarantee her freedom. The only catch? She has to send the soul of a werewolf to hell.
Love, trust, and loyalty are on the line. Torn between her feelings for her vampire boyfriend, a hot Alpha wolf, and a demon vowing to protect her, Jessie must figure out her heart’s true desires.

Previously to reading Catching an Evil Tail, I already read and reviewed the first novel in The Soul Catcher Series, Claiming the Evil Dead. I have to admit that I liked Catching an Evil Tail better than the previous book. Probably because I’m more a fan of Jeremy/Jessie than of Drake/Jessie. Or maybe because I knew the characters better, understood their thoughts and actions (whereas in Claiming the Evil Dead, I often felt puzzled and confused) or maybe because the storyline seemed more appealing to me. I guess it’s a mix of all of these components.

After the events in Claiming the Evil Dead, Jessie’s vampire-boyfriend Drake goes to Europe to take care of some urgent business. Although he promised Jessie he’d only be gone for two weeks top, six weeks eventually pass with barely a sign of life (notice the irony? an undead vampire giving a sign of life…alright well, I thought it was funny!) from Drake, and Jessie is seriously worried about their relationship. Like that isn’t enough trouble, her roommate Dani keeps blurting out things about Jessie’s private life, like her ability to sense ghosts. And on top of that, the demon Jeremy, is back in town. Although he helped Jessie defeat the evil vampire Alexander about a month prior, Jessie still isn’t sure whether or not he is a trustworthy ally. But this time, Jeremy asks Jessie’s help to claim the soul of a malicious werewolf who challenged the Alpha werewolf of a nearby tribe. Reluctant to agree at first, Jessie gives in eventually, and travels half-way across the country with none other than Jeremy. And obsessed as the demon is with the girl who he thinks is his soulmate, he will stop at nothing to seduce Jessie and get her in his bed. But he’s not the only one who is interested, as the Alpha werewolf seems to have an eye on Jessie as well.

I liked the storyline of this novel, the fact that it’s now Jeremy tugging Jessie along rather than good ol’ Drake, and I loved the addition of werewolves, witches and another warlock. Go diversity. I also loved most of the men playing a part in this book, especially Jeremy (talk about determination) and Alan (great leader figure), and the brief appearances from Drake were a nice touch as well. The combination between romance, action and suspense is spot-on as well, and I cannot recall feeling bored while reading for one single moment. Catching an Evil Tail is a well-written, relaxing and entertaining book, and I’m very glad to have read it.

Now, let’s continue to the things I didn’t like all that much. Jessie, our protagonist, isn’t exactly the most likeable character on the entire planet. She claims it takes a lot to earn her trust (for instance, she still doesn’t trust Drake completely, she doesn’t trust Jeremy at all, etc.) but then again, she has no trouble doing things that aren’t exactly trustworthy, like cheating on her so-called boyfriend. The one moment, she whines about being totally and completely in love with Drake, but then she lets herself get kissed by Jeremy roughly five minutes later. Then she bitches about how he continues to try and seduce her – while in fact, she is constantly leading him on, and playing the tease. Another major problem of the main character, is that she comes across as being rather egocentric, selfish and stuck up. In Jessie’s world, there’s hardly room for anyone but Jessie. And in this novel, it became all the more clear that for a half-demon with considerable powers, and a grown-up woman, Jessie is actually quite childish, immature and irresponsible. In this novel, it’s clearly the guys saving the day, because they do make up for a lot of Jessie’s flaws, up to the point that I’m wondering what any of them actually sees in her. But oh well, fantasy heroines have a tendency of not being all-that-likeable.

Now I think about it, this may have something to do with the fact that this novel is written in first person. It takes a lot of skill to pull this off, and although I think Mary Abshire did a marvellous job portraying the feelings of the other characters, even though writing in first person’s perspective, Jessie’s feelings may seem oversized, or over the top, simply because of the fact that it’s her talking. I don’t know if I’m explaining this well, or if I’m even getting my point across at all, but when writing in first person, the character talking will often seem more self-absorbed and emotional simply because we constantly see what’s going on in their mind. It’s a psychological thing, I guess.

If you like erotic paranormal romance, then Catching an Evil Tail is definitely one of the best books in the genre. If you like strong female characters, then Jessie will not dissapoint. If you like action, suspense and romance nicely tied together, then Mary Abshire’s series is exactly what you’re looking for. If you like a cast of interesting, diverse characters, then you will be in for a treat. You might agree with me that Jessie isn’t exactly the person you’d want to be friends with, but her adventures are exciting and thrilling enough to get past that. Mary Abshire’s writing is very promising, and I have high hopes – since I did like this book more than the previous one – that the next book, Fighting Evil, will be even more delightful to read.

Book Review: Darklands: A Vampire’s Tale by Donna Burgess

9972389Title: Darklands: A Vampire’s Tale
Author: Donna Burgess
Genre: Horror, Supernatural
Rating: 4 stars

Halloween night, twenty years ago, college student Susan Archer watched as her beloved twin brother was brutally murdered at the hands of a stranger she invited into their home. Still haunted by the guilt of that night, Susan is now a tough but bitter cop in a nowhere town, trying as best she can to lead a normal life. When she is nearly killed during a wild shoot-out, she realizes she is not as strong as she first thought.
Fearing a breakdown, she flees the confines of her safe boyfriend and familiar surroundings to find salvation in the arms of “Deathwalker” Devin McCree—the very man who killed her brother.
But things aren’t always what they seem and she quickly realizes Devin was not the monster she originally thought, but a kind of guardian angel instead.
On the run from a crazed Nazi vampire-hunter named Kasper, she and Devin must find a way to endure the dreary urban landscape of a dying metropolis and escape Kasper’s wrath.

Twenty year ago, on the night of Halloween, Susan’s brother Peter got killed. It was an accident – of sorts, but she had to live with the guilt for what happened ever since. The man responsible for her beloved twin’s death, Devin McCree, vanished off the face of the earth. That is, until now. Because now, only two weeks after Susan shot a man to death in cold blood and lost her unborn child in the process, Devin has returned. And he wants her. What dark and evil creatures of the night want, they usually tend to get – and this time is no different. After she is killed and turned into a Deathwalker by Devin, the man whom she trusted, Susan is left with little choice but to leave her old and familiar life, and her partner Michael, behind, and run off to a new future with a man she hardly knows.

But things are not always as they seem, as Susan’s new found freedom might bring her into even greater trouble. Because Devin and his roommate John both have secrets of their own. Dark and dangerous secrets, that might even treaten the lives of Susan and her fellow Deathwalkers. That’s not to mention that her previous partner, Michael, has no intention of just giving up on her. In the mysterious ghosttown of Dunwich, the time is almost near for a final showdown, as the past has finally caught up with Devin, and his previous tormenter is determined to destroy everything the Deathwalker loves. Including Susan.

Darklands: A Vampire’s Tale is a mix of horror, supernatural and more guts and gore than the average slasher movie. Really, I was very surprised to see how graphic and gruesome some scenes were described, and my stomach twisted and turned several times throughout the novel. I can’t say I particularly enjoyed these terrifying scenes – enjoy just isn’t the appropriate word – but I thought they gave an edge of brutality and evil to this story that I haven’t come across in many vampire novels as of late. The thing is that, if you read too many novels in which vampires have a soft side and fall in love with human heroines, you lose track of the fact that they are, by their own nature, vicious and violent creatures capable of murder in the first degree. Some of the Deathwalkers that appear throughout this novel, hold true to these traits, and it’s a refreshing change from the sparkling vampires I’ve seen too often.

I had a little trouble with the personality of the main characters. Susan has a lot of issues, her most important one being that ever since her twin brother’s death, she is uncapable of opening up to anyone, not even her partner. Although she is in a loving and caring relationship, she has no trouble throwing all of that away for a short fling with Devin. Now, whereas there were some personality traits of Susan I didn’t quite relate to, I’m not saying the character wasn’t written well enough. The author portrayed all of her characters with the utmost care, making them feel very human and realistic. It’s just that I probably wouldn’t get along with any of the characters. 😛

At first, I thought of Michael as being the weaker of the two men in Susan’s life. Desperately clinging on to a relationship doomed from the start, a doctor rather than a fighter, I was pretty sure he stood no chance against Devin. But as the story developed, and Michael risked his own life to save Susan in the miserable old town of Dunwich, his personality changed dramatically as he was forced to deal with his own darkness and the possibility that it might already be too late to save his beloved. He became stronger, which was portrayed beautifully in the novel, and the man Susan ran into later on, was not the man she had left behind anymore. That definately earned him some credit. Now Devin, on the other hand…Well, he’s another story.

I wasn’t convinced with Devin from the start. For a vampire, he has some rather unmanly personality traits, and I couldn’t help but think of him as a coward. He has spend more than half of his immortal life on the run from another vampire named Kasper, and not once has he stopped and turned around to actually do something about it. He watched as Kasper killed every single person he ever loved – and still he could do nothing to stop him. Now I know some torturer/victim of torture relationships may be messed up, but this one definately was. Yet, I was still crossing my fingers for Devin to finally face his demons. No such luck though, and I was starting to wonder halfway through the novel why Susan ran off with Devin in the first place. I mean, sure he’s mysterious and got the whole immortal thing working for him, but apart from that? He is a weak, pathetic excuse for a vampire. And not because he refuses to kill another human being except when they really deserve it (read pedo’s, murderers); but mostly because he’s too afraid to face Kasper.

To be honest, I found Kasper’s personality the most interesting one of them all. There is something morbidly fascinating about looking into the mind of a serial killer, an individual who likes torturing others, a creature with no remorse. I also really liked the setting: the town of Dunwich, a ghost town really, nearly abandoned yet inhabited by Deathwalkers, and creatures who didn’t make the full transition. It had me thinking about Silent Hill, a movie and a game I enjoyed thoroughly a couple of years ago. I imagined the town a bit like Silent Hill as well, I have to admit, with this silent, creepy and eerie feeling to it. The flashbacks to the 1940s were interesting as well, especially to discover some more of Devin’s and Kasper’s past. The storyline itself was intense, dark and creepy at all times. What gave me the most goosebumps, were the scenes with Sandra and Michael (I won’t get into detail for the sake of spoiler free reviews!).

Darklands: A Vampire’s Tale is a dark, supernatural horror story, with some greatly disturbing scenes (a must in this genre), and some uniquely-crafted characters. Although Devin annoyed me at times, the other characters were a lot more interesting, the story is fast-paced, intense and gripping, and all in all, it’s a captivating book that will keep you terrified from the start till the end.

Book Review: Claiming The Evil Dead by Mary Abshire

10054449Title: Claming The Evil Dead
Author: Mary Abshire
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Adult, Vampires, Demons, Erotic Romance
Rating: 3,5 stars
Review copy provided by Bewitching Book Tours.

Half-demon Jessie Garrett is searching for an evil vampire that’s been preying upon children. She wants to claim the rogue vamp’s soul and send it to hell. To find the dead man walking she must partner with another bloodsucker, Drake, even though she doesn’t trust him. While Jessie works with Drake, she learns not all vampires are killers and discovers the cold-blooded vamp is a temptation too difficult to resist.

After the fiend abducts another child and Jessie has a near fatal experience with vampires, she turns to Jeremy, a demon she bumped into at a club, and makes a deal with him for his help. Drake disapproves, and Jessie soon finds herself wedged between two volatile creatures. When the chance comes to save the child’s life and claim the evil vamp’s soul, she must decide whom she can trust—a vampire who cools her feverish desires, or a demon hell-bent on seducing her.

Jessie is half-demon: her father is none other than the Devil himself, and her mother was a fragile little human being. Not only is she a rarity in the demon world with her gorgeous blue eyes, but the powers she possesses are unseen as well: she can breathe in spirits and send them straight to hell. Working together with some of her close friends in a paranormal investigators team, she enters haunted houses occupied by the spirits of deceased murders, consumes them and sends them right into the arms of the Devil. Although she’s a supernatural creature herself, Jessie stays away from others of her kind as often as possible. It’s no surprise that when a vampire walks into a bar and requests her help, she has second thoughts about it. Even if said vampire is willing to pay her a huge amount of cash in order to get a job done.

Her job is to track down and kill – or well, capture the soul of – an evil vampire named Alexander who likes to kidnap, torture and kill little children. Her right hand during this job? The mysterious vampire she comes to know as Drake. Although Jessie thinks vampires are nothing more than revolting bloodsuckers, she does feel an attraction towards Drake. And he towards her…
But then there’s also the evil vampire they have to slay, the appearance of a demon called Jeremy, and a lot more that could keep these star-crossed lovers apart.

Claiming The Evil Dead is a nice and entertaining read. I liked the storyline, with a half-demon and a century-old vampire chasing another vampire in an attempt to destroy him and stop his evil doing. The character of Jessie was…interesting, to say the least. I can’t say that I was terribly fond of her – I didn’t understand half of the choices she made, and found her to be rather superficial. For instance, she wants Drake based solely on his good looks, but fails to notice the man behind the looks. She is also way too eager to put her own superstitions towards vampires aside only because Drake looks so damn good. Priorities, people. Anyway, I have the faint suspision that the author didn’t want to turn her main character into a serious person held back by a bunch of principles, which is a nice description for Jessie. She’s more of a free-spirit, and although that’s not the kind of person I would get along with, I can see how it would appeal to others.

The only character I found intriguing and wanted to know more of, was Drake. The tragic vampire, tortured by his own evil doings in the past, who now strives to do good and save humans to retribute for his previous sins. He reminded me a lot of Angel, back in the days when Buffy The Vampire Slayer was still the TV hype. I didn’t like Jeremy: he was too shallow, superificial and immature to really strike my interest. I would have liked to get into the mind of Alexander a bit more, to define what turned him into a killer and maybe then figure out some of the reasons why Drake could avoid such destiny. I think some more psychological insight in the characters would have made them seem more appealing to me.

The story is fast-paced and suspenseful, but it never really kept me on the edge of my seat, and some twists and turns were pretty predictable. The writing is decent, although not outstanding: this isn’t the sort of novel that is going to keep you awake all night reminiscing about it. It’s a nice and entertaining read, but that’s all it is. It would have perhaps been more interesting had the characters had more depth and personality. The love triangle in the novel, between Drake – Jessie – Jeremy could have been better developed. It was clear from the beginning who Jessie would choose and why; perhaps if Jeremy had some more attractive personality traits, or appeared in the picture a tad bit more often, he would have stood a greater chance, and the love triangle would have been a lot more interesting.

It’s not to say I didn’t like Claiming The Evil Dead. I did enjoy the story, but I have the feeling this is one of those novels that should have been a novella. Get rid of a hundred or so pages, and the story would have been a lot more interesting, the characters would appear less superficial (no need to dig out everyone’s dirty secrets in a novella) and I wouldn’t have had the feeling halfway that I should cling on to the novel to keep reading – the clinging would then probably come naturally. There were also some things that just didn’t work out. For instance, Drake pays Jessie a huge amount of cash so she can hop in on his little plan, but then it turns out he has no plan whatsoever. Also, in my opinion, the relationship between Drake and Jessie developed too fast to actually made me really like them as a couple. They seemed more like two horny teenagers than like two people actually liking each other. All in all, if you want a fun read, this novel is a nice option – just don’t expect too much from it.

Book Review: Full Moon Rising by Keri Arthur

172764Title: Full Moon Rising (Riley Jenson Guardian Series #1)
Author: Kerri Arthur
Genre: Paranormal, Vampires, Werewolves, Adult
Rating: 3 stars

In this exciting debut, author Keri Arthur explodes onto the supernatural scene with a sexy, sensuous tale of intrigue and suspense set in a world where legends walk and the shady paths of the underworld are far more sinister than anyone envisioned.

A rare hybrid of vampire and werewolf, Riley Jenson and her twin brother, Rhoan, work for Melbourne’s Directorate of Other Races, an organization created to police the supernatural races–and protect humans from their depredations. While Rhoan is an exalted guardian, a.k.a. assassin, Riley is merely an office worker–until her brother goes missing on one of his missions. The timing couldn’t be worse. More werewolf than vampire, Riley is vulnerable to the moon heat, the weeklong period before the full moon, when her need to mate becomes all-consuming.…

Luckily Riley has two willing partners to satisfy her every need. But she will have to control her urges if she’s going to find her brother….Easier said than done as the city pulses with frenzied desire, and Riley is confronted with a very powerful–and delectably naked–vamp who raises her temperature like never before.

In matters carnal, Riley has met her match. But in matters criminal, she must follow her instincts not only to find her brother but to stop an unholy harvest. For someone is doing some shifty cloning in an attempt to produce the ultimate warrior–by tapping into the genome of nonhumans like Rhoan. Now Riley knows just how dangerous the world is for her kind–and just how much it needs her.

Riley Jenson and her twin brother Rhoan are what people would call hybrids. They are half-vampire, half-werewolf, an unexpected result from one night when their mother (who happened to be a werewolf) was raped by a newborn vampire. Although cast out from their pack because of their differences, Riley and Rhoan manage well in the outside world. They share an apartment together, and both work for an organisation that specialises in Other Races. However, Rhoan is a guardian within the organisation, where Riley chose not to be. She isn’t a killer, or so she claims. But when she finds a naked – yes, a covered in mud, but otherwise naked – vampire at her front door, and her brother goes missing, Riley believes it’s time to take action. Teaming up with the previously-naked-but-now-clothed vampire named Quinn, she is determined to find her missing brother. But someone is after Riley as well, and an attempt on her life, makes her suspect she’s in even more danger than she at first had anticipated.

Had the story stopped there and gone on with the detective/solving mysteries/locate the missing brother vibe, I would have definately rated it a 4. Full Moon Rising is fast-paced, action-packed and leaves you on the edge of your seat a lot of times. Although I had some trouble throughout the middle part of the story to keep on reading – the action slowed down a bit there, to be replaced by talking, and other stuff I will get to soon enough – but I have to admit that this story has some nice twists and turns, some original plotlines and a nice cast of characters. But, then there’s the other half of this book.

Actually, the title says it all. Full Moon Rising. Which means that most of the events, no matter how unlikely because there is so many stuff happening, all happens in the course of one week, namely the week before the full moon. Now, try to keep up with me while I explain this to you the best I can. In Keri Arthur’s series, the week before the full moon, werewolves don’t get extremely bloodthirsty, or feel like killing every animal or human that stands in the way; nor do they suffer from some unexplained illness or have access to superior strength. Oh, no. The week before the full moon werewolves get horny. Yes, you read that right. Horny. Every single moment of every single day they feel like having crazy, kinky sex. Doesn’t matter with who. Since our main character is a werewolf, you can already guess what’s going on. Half of this book is filled with countless descriptions of our heroine having intercourse with one or another partner – did I also mention that they don’t take monogamy that seriously in the werewolf community? No, it is actually mentioned that one of the werewolves had up to seven partners. Guess they never heard of aids or other sexually transmittable diseases in werewolf-land. Our heroine Riley keeps it rather simple, as she keeps to two or three mates. Cheers, people, because you know, reading about a main character basically having sex with everyone she meets during this novel, is highly entertaining. Not.

Now, I’m not old-fashioned and I read a lot of adult romances, but this one is just over the top. Had the novel focused more on the possible relationship Riley/Quinn, it would have rated higher on my score list. I’m also thinking one werewolf mate would have been quite enough, why would you need several? Moon heat, as it is called on numerous occassions throughout the novel, just sucks, people. I mean, you can barely go to work, or hang out with friends, or even watch TV for an entire week every month simply because you’re in moon-heat-phase. Damn, I wouldn’t want to be a werewolf. Rather give me a walking corpse that hasn’t showered in over a century then.

I did like the story. I thought it was original, the writing wasn’t spectacular, but it was decent, and when you skipped through all the uncomfortable passages – but I have to tell you, there are a lot of uncomfortable passages, and sometimes I was actually saying “what the hell…” while I was reading – this is actually a pretty interesting novel, if not a very interesting one. But for some reason the author went totally over the top with the sex scenes, the multiple partners, and the casual way people talk about all that stuff. Plus, do you have to keep dressing our heroine like a hooker? I mean, come on. I don’t like reading a novel when the main character has to degrade herself to dress like a hooker in order to slip into factories or gain information – especially not when said heroine doesn’t mind at all. A little self-respect, Riley. Please.

Another thing I noticed about this novel, is that there are hardly any humans in it. No human character is ever mentioned, and everyone is either a vampire, werewolf or something inbetween. Humans are mentioned occasionally, but that’s it. This wasn’t exactly bad, as I did enjoy the entire supernatural-races-club-thing that was going on.

Nevertheless, I will probably read the next part in the series, Kissing Sin. Why? For starters, as I already mentioned, the story does have some original points of view, and I would like to know what happens next. And secondly, maybe I’m just another silly little human being with a dirty mind.

Book Review: Possession is Nine Tenths: Ardeur by Danielle Gavan

9884946Title: Possession is Nine Tenths: Ardeur
Author: Danielle Gavan
Genre: Adult Romance, Paranormal Romance
Rating: 4 stars
Review copy provided by the author. Visit the author’s website.

Desperate to evict her demon, Necromancer Ardeur Blaise Lisle never dreamed of finding herself in Mount Angel Abbey, or that it would be a sanctuary run by angels. It seems to be the perfect solution to her problem when she discovers the key to getting rid of her co-pilot. She persuades the Angel of Death to intercede; but the consequences are direr than expected. He’s playing for keeps.

A promise kept…

Released from military service, Werewolf Brody Callaghan has never expected to find the woman he’d sworm to find running down the street towards him, and straight into the path of a speeding BMW. Fate steers him towards the Abbey and will give him what he wants – but he’ll have to fight Death for it, and the angel is playing dirty.

Her freedom might be the end of Ardeur’s relationship with Brody and a life away from everything she never thought she’d have in the arms of a werewolf with dimples and a charmer’s grin. They’ll have to race to save their love, and unborn children, from an off his rocker angel. With the clock ticking they’ll have to figure it out, and fast.

Ardeur, or Ardy as we get to call our heroine, grew up being feared and disliked by her own family. Most of this has to do with the fact that she can see and communicate with the dead – a natural trait for a necromancer, but not exactly something a parent wishes for their offspring. Even though her parents aren’t that fond of Ardy (this being an extreme understatement), they do manage to use her for one very interesting purpose: money. From a very young age, Ardy is forced to hold séances, summon spirits and practice black magic of the worst kind. Like this wasn’t enough reason to call forth the child protection services; her parents decide they need to take things a bit further and they actually sell Ardy to a bunch of people who are definately up to no good. Not only do they summon the spirit of a demon, Shade, and put him in the young child’s body, but they are also the ones who order said demon to commit a series of gruesome murders. Plagued by the fact her own body is used as a killing machine and is co-inhabitated by a demon who keeps telling her she is useless and no one ever loved her, Ardy swears to get rid of the demon someday and grasp control of her own body again.

A couple of years and a whole lot of murders later, Ardy keeps up to that promise. Pushing the demon to the back of her mind, she takes back control of her own life. But the fight definately isn’t over: still tormented by the demon, chased by her previous kidnappers, and she finally discovers a part of herself she had no clue existed up till now. But more than that, Ardeur is torn between two possible lovers. On the one side, there’s the alpha werewolf Brody – currently without a home – who has loved her ever since he laid his eyes upon her more than ten years ago. But on the other side is Death itself, dark and cruel and capable of unimaginable things. However, the latter might have a touch of goodness and compassion inside of him, and not all things are as they seem, as Ardeur struggles not only with who and what she really is, but also with who she loves – and how far she is willing to go to hold on to that love.

Possession is Nine Tenths: Ardeur was a nice surprise. I had expected this novel to be entertaining, but I hadn’t expected it to focus on so many different things, and actually build a rich and wonderful world where humans and angels, demons, necromancers, etc. live side by side. Ardeur started out quite dark, with the dispatchment of an unwanted child. The parents stroke me as cruel, uncompassionate and uncaring, but throughout the novel it became quite clear that in fact, Ardy’s parents were more freaked out than anything else. They probably feared their own daughter, or atleast it scared them that she was something other than normal. I liked this evolution and explenation, and I could actually relate and understand her parents a little bit as the story continued. It can’t be easy to have a daughter who talks to a dead nanny and plays with the souls of children long gone and is destined to become a full-grown necromancer. Of course that’s no excuse, but I felt relieved that I atleast got to know why her parents disliked Ardeur.

Even from the start, Ardeur is a strong, independent and intelligent young girl, but as she grows up – carefully hidden in her own mind, behind the demon in charge – those qualities only strenghtened. I loved her personality, and the way Danielle Gavan described her fears and paranoia was absolutely spot on. Once freed from Shade, she is determined to live a life on her own, even though that will be difficult if not impossible with her previous kidnappers still looking for her. But no matter how courageous and determined Ardeur is, the first thought that comes to mind when following her through her new found life is ‘lost’. She is still just as lost as she was when her parents sold her to the highest bidder and turned her into a vessel for a vindictive and evil demon.

I loved the strong feelings and topics that were touched throughout this novel: abandonement, love, friendship, courage, independence, fear. I absolutely adored the fact that although Ardeur is always looking for a real home, and a real family, it takes practically till the end of the novel before she finds that. Before she finds a place she can call home, and people she can call family. The relationship between Brody and Ardeur is heart-warming, bittersweet and very touching. I wasn’t completely convinced of the character of Brody at first – he seemed sort of random, and I didn’t like the cliché that he felt some sort of connection with Ardeur and then went to look for her after ten or so years, plus I wasn’t fond of the possible werewolf-necromancer relationship – but he developed into an admirable character.

The story is deep, very deep, especially for a fantasy novel. As I already mentioned, it touches so many sensitive and interesting topics, and waves them into one fast-paced, well-written and highly entertaining story. It’s very dark though, a lot darker than I had at first anticipated, but that’s the part that makes this novel more than ‘just another fantasy story’ and turns it into something a lot more memorable and interesting.

Now here’s the part that I didn’t like about the novel. Caution: there are some minor spoilers in this paragraph. I didn’t understand the way Ardeur reacted to Azrael when she figured out he was actually the one that caused her to be the person she is today, although it was quite clear that without his interference, she would have died. Personally, I think I would have reacted quite differently. For starters, this is the Angel of Death we’re talking about. The Angel of Death who actually breaks a bazillion heavenly rules and turns against everything he stands for to save the life of one human baby. But then Ardeur gets upset because she blames Azrael for her miserable life, the fact that her body got inhabited by a demon for over ten years and the fact that her parents never really loved her. Uhm, hello? Wake up call needed much? In my opinion, the Angel of Death did quite enough. What was he supposed to do? Check up on the baby he already did a lot more for than anyone could expect from him? He was supposed to kill her. He risked everything to save her. But hey, let’s all be angry at the fellow because he didn’t check up on that baby. Let’s blame him for the horrible life she had, and all the horror and tragedies she had to go through. Because that’s totally fair. Didn’t think so. If I was Ardy, I would have been thanking him from the bottom of my heart – because atleast she got to live a life, thanks to him. Saving someone’s life doesn’t mean you are responsible for what happens to them next. It actually dissapointed me that Ardy didn’t figure that one out by now.

Needless to say that up until a couple of chapters from the end, I was actually more a fan of the pairing Azrael/Ardeur than Ardeur/Brody. I still think it would have been a better fit, although it’s quite clear that Ardeur really loves Brody. But oh well, I’m a creative reader, I’m allowed to think about alternative endings.

Putting that aside, I did really enjoy reading Possession is Nine Tenths: Ardeur, and I would recommend it to all fantasy fans. It might be dark and angsty, but it actually has a message to get across: that no matter how tough life is, and no matter if you’re on your own, you have to keep going on. You have to find the courage and determination within yourself to make life work, no matter what. And you should never stop believing in love, because at the moment when you least expect it, or when you need it the most, there will be someone who loves you. That’s a very strong and hopeful message, that perfectly fits with this extraordinary and remarkable novel.