Monday, June 18, 2012

Jenna Black, Shadowspell

Title: Shadowspell
Series: Faeriewalker Trilogy Book 2
Author: Jenna Black
Rating: Five Siren Stones

Genre: Fantasy Young Adult
Key-words: Fairies, Wild Hunt, Avalon
Length:  Novel 
ISBN: 978-0312575946
Price:  (Print) $9.99
Publisher:  St. Martin's
Reviewer:  Kayden McLeod

On top of spending most of her time in a bunker like safe house and having her dates hijacked by a formidable Fae bodyguard, Faeriewalker Dana Hathaway is in for some more bad news: the Erlking and his pack of murderous minions known as the Wild Hunt have descended upon Avalon. With his homicidal appetite and immortal powers, the Erlking has long been the nightmare of the Fae realm. A fragile treaty with the Faerie Queen, sealed with a mysterious spell, is the one thing that keeps him from hunting unchecked in Avalon, the only place on Earth where humans and Fae live together. Which means Dana’s in trouble, since it’s common knowledge that the Faerie Queen wants her – and her rare Faeriewalker powers – dead. The smoldering, sexy Erlking’s got his sights set on Dana, but does he only seek to kill her, or does he have something much darker in mind?

Shadowspell is a titillating tale, bound to draw you into the new world with an exciting cast of characters.

I found Shadowspell on sale, and though I hadn’t read the first book nor did the bookstore carry it, I picked it up, because Jenna Black rang a bell with me, I just didn’t remember why. When I got home, I found her Watchers in the Night on my shelves, which is an adult geared novel. I just hadn’t associated YA with her.

And am I glad I brought this book home! I’ve been reading a lot of fae related fiction lately, but Shadowspell stood out from the crowd along with Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey series, with its daring edge, unexpected twists and a keen sense of originality that strayed from the tried and true. Even without having read Glimmerglass, the author wrote the story that just because I hadn’t read the back story leading up to this book, I wasn’t left feeling clueless and lost in the references to prior events in the Faeriewalker Trilogy.

Though the lead character from which the story is voiced, Dana, has realistic flaws, she had a backbone, the determination to see her decisions through, and the sense to accept the consequences of her calculated risks. One of my biggest complaints about YA heroines as of late, is their overall weak personas: the co-dependence, and nearly constant foolhardy mistakes that suggest their brains have became defective upon meeting the hero. Dana impressed me from the first page, until the last, regardless of her occasional misstep in the name of what is right.

Suffice to say, the moment I leave work this evening, I will heading back to the bookstore to pick up the third installment of the Faeriewalker Trilogy, Siren Song.

Alien Slave, Tracy St. John

Title:  Alien Slave
Author:  Tracy St. John
Rating:  Four And A Half Siren Stones

Genre:   Erotica
Sub-Genre:  Futuristic/Science Fiction
Keywords:  Futuristic, Aliens, Kalquor Series
Word Count:  82,144       
ISBN E-Book:  978-1-60394-678-0
Price:  $5.50
Publisher:  New Concepts Publishing
Reviewer:  Stacey Krug


Clans of Kalquor 5.  Dani Watson is a sex slave on the planet of Dantovon.  Having escaped post-Armageddon Earth, she’s resigned to spending several years working in a brothel to pay off her slave contract.  Her one consolation is that she avoided being captured and enslaved by the Kalquorians.  When a Kalquorian clan buys her contract, Dani attempts escape.  Crashing on a remote moon puts her life in jeopardy, leaving her and the clan of Gelan, Wynhod, and Krijero fighting for survival in a hostile environment.  Worse still, they’re being hunted by a group of brutal Tragooms who are determined to capture Dani and subject her to a fate worse than mere slavery.


Alien Slave is a captivating, futuristic, erotic romance story.  If you like science fiction, fantasy, and lots of hot alien sex, this story has it all.

As a reader, it was easy to connect with the characters.  I found myself really enjoying their differences and similarities.  In the beginning, the feeling you get is that the Kalquorians are so different from Earthers they couldn’t possibly be compatible.  As the story progresses and the character’s pasts are revealed, it’s hard not to see that love, belonging, and feeling protected are universal things needed by all.

Dani is a young heroine that came from a privileged background.  She’s made a lot of mistakes along the way trying to survive and find her own way.  She shows strength and courage while still remaining vulnerable.  Dani is one messed up heroine that was fun to read.

The three heroes, Gelan, Wynhod, and Krijero all have something unique to bring to the relationship that evolves between the four.  It was a pleasure getting to know them as individuals and how they worked as a clan.  Tracy St. John does not leave the reader wanting for an alpha male.  She provided three fantastic specimens.

This is a very imaginative and descriptive story where the author has created different worlds and beings.  I found it a little hard in the beginning to follow the naming of the Kalquorians.  It took a while to realize that the first part of the name is actually their job description.  The excerpt and cover drew me to this book, but I didn’t realize that it is number five in a series.  Alien Slave reads fine as a standalone book, but I’m betting there is some back story to be had in the other books.  It just makes me want to pick those up now too.

Overall, it was a great story with lots of action and a plot that kept me turning the pages.  Not to mention the hot, erotic love scenes that will leave you wanting more of these characters.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Hunt, Andrew Fukuda

Title: The Hunt
Author: Andrew Fukuda
Rating: Siren's Best Book Stone

Genre: Paranormal Science Fiction/Horror
Key-words: Vampires, Post Apocalyptic, Extinct  
Length:  Novel 
ISBN: 978-1250005144
Price:  (Print) $17.99
Publisher:  St. Martin's Griffin 
Reviewer:  Kayden McLeod

Don’t Sweat.  Don’t Laugh.  Don’t draw attention to yourself.  And most of all, whatever you do, do not fall in love with one of them.

Gene is different from everyone else around him.  He can’t run with lightning speed, sunlight doesn’t hurt him and he doesn’t have an unquenchable lust for blood.  Gene is a human, and he knows the rules.  Keep the truth a secret.  It’s the only way to stay alive in a world of night—a world where humans are considered a delicacy and hunted for their blood.

When he’s chosen for a once in a lifetime opportunity to hunt the last remaining humans, Gene’s carefully constructed life begins to crumble around him.  He’s thrust into the path of a girl who makes him feel things he never thought possible—and into a ruthless pack of hunters whose suspicions about his true nature are growing. Now that Gene has finally found something worth fighting for, his need to survive is stronger than ever—but is it worth the cost of his humanity?

The Hunt will creep under your skin and stay there.

When I saw The Hunt on pre-order a little over a month ago, completely by accident, I read the excerpt. I wanted it, and though I never pre-order books, I almost did with this one. However, I went out on the weekend, and snatched it up at my nearest bookstore.  

Gene is immersed in the world of another race: a predatory and primal driven vampire-like set of beings. Though they fear the light, and have fangs, they appear to have a humanoid lifespan. They have children, and grow old.

For his entire life, Gene pretends to be like them, going to extremes to stay under the radar at all times, procuring items to cover his “heper” (human) odor, shaving his body and beyond.

The psychological layering in how Gene thinks and acts is a flawless, brilliant affair. Not only does he pretend to be something he’s not, but in many ways, he thinks like them. When something abhorrent to his basic nature happens around him, he refers to the activity and his association as we, not them. On the occasion, it’s skillfully disconcerting to read him mentally including himself on one hand, feeling his disgust and terror on another. The depth of his character makes you wonder what a lifetime of pretending for fear of his life, has done to his psyche as the book progresses, and he grows into new understanding.

While some of the content gets violent, the prose isn’t as graphic as it could be, though written with enough detail that you can visualize the desperate struggle between victim and predator.

The choice of first person narrative drives his emotions home to the reader with startling clarity. It’s so rare to find a book like this. I do not award Best Book easily, in fact, I never have before. But Andrew Fukuda deserves it for his second novel, The Hunt (available also in the UK under another cover).

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Gena Showalter, Wicked Nights

Title: Wicked Nights
Series: Angels of the Dark
Author: Gena Showalter
Rating:  Five Siren Stones

Genre:  Fantasy Romance
Key-words: Angels, Demons, Heaven, Hell 
Length:  Novel  
ISBN: 978-0373776986
Price:  (Print) $7.99 
Publisher:  Harlequin  
Reviewer:  Kayden McLeod

Leader of the most powerful army in the heavens, Zacharel has been deemed nearly too dangerous, too ruthless—and if he isn't careful, he'll lose his wings. But this warrior with a heart of ice will not be deterred from his missions at any cost…until a vulnerable human tempts him with a carnal pleasure he's never known before.

Accused of a crime she did not commit, Annabelle Miller has spent four years in an institution for the criminally insane. Demons track her every move, and their king will stop at nothing to have her. Zacharel is her only hope for survival, but is the brutal angel with a touch as hot as hell her salvation—or her ultimate damnation?

Wicked Nights by Gena Showalter is a thrill ride, with unexpected twists and turns that doesn’t leave anything to be desired.

Annabelle Miller is a young woman who has been badly abused by forces beyond her control, secretly plotting against her, warping her preordained path in life. The violence and pit of angst her life has become, filled with demons who stalk her every move, draws the dark haired, dangerous and captivating warrior angel, Zacharel. 

Zacharel has his own crosses to carry, a past that haunts him every moment, of every day, poisoning his views on life, and himself. He’s cut himself off from any emotion he might’ve once possessed. But Annabelle could hold the key to unlock freedoms he never dare hope to have.

Upon reading Wicked Nights, I was thoroughly taken with the gritty, dark edge, mixed with sultry desire, driving the characters toward the book’s climax and beyond. These aspects lend flawless, believable cause for the variety of actions and reactions: a rare quality I adored from start to finish. The author pulls all the right emotions, at just the right time: a master of a poignant orchestra. As you near the end, you never expect the final blows, all the threads of the plot pull together seamlessly, in ways that are so unexpected, the emotions the characters feel are your own. 

I can’t wait for Beauty Awakened, Koldo’s story, a particular angel who caught my interest, with his interesting back story.