Rafael Stone is the King of the Gargoyle shapeshifters. His family, The Stone Society, has ruled the Americas for over seven hundred years. As an architect, he has spent the last thirty years helping to rebuild New Atlanta since the near Apocalypse. As King of the Gargouille, he has spent those same thirty years protecting his city from the dregs of society.
Kaya Kane is the New Atlanta Chief of Police. At thirty-six, not only is she the youngest, but also the first female Chief the city has ever had. She has dedicated her life to keeping her city safe. When a multiple homicide brings her face to face with the elusive Rafael Stone, her life will never be the same.
Rafael’s kind has never mated with a human but just speaking to Chief Kane on the telephone nearly brings him to his knees. Kaya has given up on ever having a relationship other than her career. When the two meet, sparks fly. Literally. Can Rafael give in to the fact that Kaya’s human? Can she overlook the evidence pointing to Rafael as the killer?
Rafael, Stone Society Book 1 introduces you to a new world filled with Bad Ass shifters and the mates who love them.
♦About the Author♦
Faith Gibson lives outside Nashville, Tennessee with the love of her life, and her two-legged best friends. She began writing in high school and over the years penned many stories, and poems. When her dreams continued to get crazier than the one before, she decided to keep a dream journal. Many of these night-time escapades have led to a line, a chapter, and even a complete story.
When Faith isn’t penning her crazy ideas, she is either reading, riding her Harley, or playing trivia while consuming craft beer.
Today we are participating in a super duper blog tour for Shakuita Johnson’s awesome read MONSTER UNLEASHED, book #2 of the DARK INDISCRETIONS series, featuring some VERY, VERY bad supernaturals indeed!
If you enjoy paranormal and urban fantasy reads that focus on the dark side of immortals’ psyches and which also feature smoking hot sex scenes amidst the inevitable violence and mayhem, then maybe this is the series for you. Scroll down to immerse yourself in the blurb for this instalment, check out an excerpt and my review. This tour post also includes teasers, a video, details of how to connect with the author and a SUPER GIVEAWAY!
Due to the inclusion of some m/m and m/f/m scenes, the book is very much AN ADULT READ. Only continue reading further if you are over 18 and wish to read about such themes.
What would you do if the one fate chose for you vanished into thin air? What would you give up? Who would you become to stay with that person?
Krista Bell finally knows what it’s like to be free. The torture she endured at the hands of her psychotic father have unleashed the monster her mother tried so hard to help her suppress. The only thing she wants to do is be the shadow in the night that everyone is afraid of.
Taser is barely holding it together. He lost Kris once to her father and now he’s losing her to the monster she is becoming. He’s also barely containing his own monster since Krista decided she didn’t need her mates anymore. Nathan is still near but he may not be enough.
Nathan is on the verge of losing not one but both of his mates. One vanished without a trace. The other is avoiding him. He has run out of patience with them both.
But when the monster that Krista has become comes to them with a proposal will they take her up on it and possibly lose themselves or will they try to talk her down and get the beast to put back on her chain?
This series is a fun read, containing a fresh take on the world of supernatural beings. Although it contains some dark themes, it is also full of humour, feisty females, alpha males and characters whom the reader grows to love despite their many flaws. Due to the inclusion of some hot love making, including m/m and m/f/m scenes, the book is very much AN ADULT READ. Only continue reading further if you are over 18 and wish to read about such themes.
MONSTER UNLEASHED continues where the previous book finished. Krista, a vampyra shapeshifting witch, has succumbed to her true nature as a sadistic killer, after the torture she received at the hands of James, her father. There is nothing her mother Jennifer can do to either stop her killing spree, centuries of having taught her daughter to reign in her natural tendencies amounting to naught. An ancient prophecy, at which Krista appears to be at the heart, is also invoked and propels the plot towards what threatens to be a devastating conclusion.
I liked how the author depicts Krista as a truly a terrifying monster, as she descends ever deeper into megalomania and sadism. Woe betide anyone who gets in her way and that includes her pregnant mother and her own mates Taser and Nathan. Whilst her mates and her mother struggle to adapt to her move to the dark side, I began to feel sympathy for Krista as she does not seem in control of her own fate. After initially rejecting her mates, Krista strives to include them in her plans. Taser seems easier to manipulate than Nathan, but both are torn between acknowledging that Krista is an evil that needs to be destroyed and protecting what is theirs. There is once again some scorching sex in this novel, where the mates get it together, in some graphic m/m and m/f/m scenes. The emphasis is very much on the strength of the mate bond rather than romantic attachment between the trio.
Jennifer, Krista’s mother, is faced with yet another blast from her past in this novel, which I found to be an intiquing and pivotal twist. Other characters whom we have encountered in the previous novel also play their part in the ensuing mayhem. These include the other Mystics and shapeshifters, including Jennifer’s mates Jackson and Taylor, the Oracle and the Mooyers. I was intrigued by the characters of the Mooyer Alexander and his human partner Isobelle in the first novel and I am pleased to say that we find out more about their role in this instalment. There is also much violence, danger, suspense and scenes of spell casting and magic. As the book reaches it’s conclusion we are left with some startling revelations, which I did not see coming and which leaves the door open for another thrilling instalment.
MONSTER UNLEASHED is above all a fun and sexy read, which immersed me into the minds of the monsters! I recommend it, and the previous novel, DARK INDISCRETIONS to readers of Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance.
Reviewed by Tina Williams
A copy of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.
It had been two months. Two months since she killed her whole family. Two months since she ran and never looked back. Two months of looking over her shoulder. Something was wrong with her. Jennifer Johnston just knew it. She was craving things she had never wanted before, never ever had needed. It was getting harder and harder to resist the silent call, the cravings that started to crawl up her throat to the point of choking her with their mounting intensity. She didn’t know how much longer she could run, how much longer she could say no to these sudden scary and violent urges.
She needed to find someone to talk to, another Mystic perhaps, but she didn’t know who she could trust. She had done something no other Mystic had done before. She wasn’t like the rest of them. She was different. Some may even say defective. She didn’t want to become an inbred freak like the rest of them, but she feared it had been done. The things her uncle had succeeded in doing before she could get away from him, before she had the strength to kill him, may be coming back to haunt her.
She needed to rest for just a little while. That old barn looked like as good a place as any. She would only rest for a second more. As she quickly and quietly made her way to her destination, she heard noises in the distance. What sounded like a tiny cavalry was coming up fast behind her. She tried to duck before she was spotted, but it seemed her luck was still running thin. She braced herself for a possible fight.
“Halt! What business do you have on this land?” a male voice called out.
“I’m just a bit lost. Could you point me in the direction of an inn?” Jenny asked, trying to appear disoriented.
“Lying Mystic scum! We can smell your trickery and deceit from here. Where are the rest of you? What trap is this?” the male demanded.
Shit. Humans she could have easily dealt with, other paranormals not so much. This would be tricky. She counted eight soldiers. They should have brought more.
“I don’t want any trouble. Leave me be and I’ll be on my way,” Jenny tried to reason with the creatures.
“Grab her!” the male demanded.
Awesome! They were going to play try to capture the Mystic. Jenny did something she had never done before. She used her Mystic powers. She called upon all the energy she could muster, which was a whole hell of a lot, and let loose. Damn, something was defiantly changing with her right now, but she didn’t have time to explore it. She heard screams from all eight men. She had overloaded their nervous systems. She could see blood start to seep from any and everywhere possible. It was disgusting.
Not wanting them to suffer more than they were already, Jenny sent a final blast and everything stopped. Not a single heart beat anymore. She had killed them, every last one of them. She didn’t have time to feel bad for the lives she had taken. They left her no choice. The worst part of it all, she thought to herself, was that she should have drained at least one of them dry. She was so fucking hungry! She performed a quick spell to turn the bodies to ash and continued on her way to that damn barn.
About The Author
Shakuita Johnson is a 29-year-old Psychology major. When she isn’t going to school or working, she is doing what she loves most. Writing. She started writing in middle school. Starting with poetry. Then short stories in a creative writing course her senior year. Her love for paranormal and supernatural started with R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps books and TV show, Anne Rice Vampire Chronicles, and Christopher Pike books. She is an avid reader with over 100 books on her bookshelf and 1000 plus on her iPad. This is her second novel. Visit her online and read her poems and one attempt at songwriting on her blog.
Whether you’re a fan of C.J. Pinard’s paranormal/urban fantasy series, Enchanted Immortals, or being introduced to it now BSI: Bureau of Supernatural Investigation is a fantastic novella to read at any point in the series. It provides backgrounds to already known characters as well as introduce fresh characters from different cities and era’s. It comes complete with imagination, action, fun and drama. Not to mention the various fae, including vampires, shifters, succubae and sylph.
This Enchanted Immortals novella takes the reader into the very beginning of the BSI; who set it up, how it was set up, agents that were assigned to the BSI and unexplained/unsolved investigations that had been re-opened. You may find some similarities to the tv series, The X-Files, in that the investigations are of a supernatural kind and some of the agents are more open-minded and knowledgable of the paranormal than others. The difference being that the BSI concentrates on the shifters and vampires mostly.
The prologue explains the setting up of the Bureau of Supernatural Investigation. After the FBI’s Assistant Director Jim Blackwell’s son, Paul, is murdered in Washington, 1945 it becomes more evident over time that this killing was possibly of a supernatural kind. As all lines of inquiry begin to dry up, Jim still remains determined to find the killer of his son. When approached by General Frost, Jim’s mind opens up to the possibilites of paranormal behaviour.
BSI is separated into three main sections (excluding the prologue and epilogue). Each section focuses on a different city and era, i.e. San Francisco (1946), Chicago (1963) and New Orleans (1989). (This reminded me a little of the CSI’s on tv as there are different series based in different cities.) Each of these sections have their own case to follow, with different BSI agents in each section.
The epilogue then takes us back to Washington as the reader discovers the outcome of the case of the BSI Founder’s son! Will the killer be caught? Does Jim have all the answers in the end? One of my favourite aspects of this novella is the way in which C.J. begins with the prologue, the beginning of the set up of the BSI, and then leaves it open until the epilogue where one way or another ends this novella brilliantly.
In this novella the reader will be informed that some Immortals become BSI agents as they need to discover how much the human agents know about them. The agents are selected by excelling at their job and are able to close most cases, apart from the ones that are unexplained and are left unsolved. In some instances, once the agent begins working for the BSI they are then able to try and crack their unsolved case with a more open mind as they are made aware of the existence of vamps, shifters and succubae.
In some instances the Immortal agents open up to their human partner, especially if suspicions have risen with their supernatural powers and their knowledge of the Fae, and make them aware of what they are – although this usually comes with a price itself and the human then must become an Immortal. During the times when the Immortals reveal their true selves they also explain their age and lack of aging, the elixir and their healing abilities. This is a fantastic way to introduce these qualities into the novella as it supports the main books of the series.
There’s a little action in each story, with some stories focussing on shifters more and others on vampires and succubae. During some of these action scenes, in particular the vampires, there are instances where heads are completely cleared from their bodies and heads popping or bursting. Even though these are serious moments of action and gore, and are in context and necessary for the story, I cannot help but smile as the terminology makes reading these scenes fun instead of being too horrific.
I cannot help but personally hope for more stories from C.J. Pinard in the Enchanted Immortals series. The BSI novella has familiar characters in Agents Swift and Bianchi, and yet have introduced some fresh characters that could easily be written into new work, therefore opening up the possibility for some fresh Immortals in the main series. The characters are likeable, special even, with their powers and relationships with each other. I would also like to read more about the succubae, a form of vampire that takes the whole soul of a human, rather than their blood.
So, if you fancy a new urban fantasy/paranormal to sink your fangs into, or you are a fan of the Enchanted Immortals series, please check out C.J. Pinard’s BSI: Bureau of Supernatural Investigation on Smashwords for FREE!!!! This fantastic novella can also be purchased for a tiny fee via Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.
Below you will find links to my reviews for C.J. Pinard’s urban fantasy/paranormal Enchanted Immortals series, books 1-4, as well as a recent contemporary romance, Patriotic Duty (When Riley Met Cara, Book 1.
Sexiness, sassiness and sophistication are what you can expect from Kathryn Jones in C.J. Pinard’s fourth instalment in this brilliant urban paranormal Enchanted Immortals series, The Vixen. The Vixen takes the reader on a journey through Kathryn’s past, from the death of her parents and her sleazy, rough life in Chicago, right on through to Kathryn becoming an Immortal.
After leaving Chicago Kathryn settled in LA, but after having a tragic experience and then focusing completely on policing the vampires and shapeshifters, does she then meet the man of her dreams? Although The Vixen concentrates on Kathryn’s character and her story I do love how the various groups, i.e. shapeshifters, vampires, sylphs and Immortals, have their own agendas/stories – but it is the Treaty that all of these species have all made with the Zie Council which bring them all together.
We begin The Vixen with a dramatic and effective prologue which engages the reader from the off. Poor little Kathryn as a youngster, desperate cold and hungry, being led by her mother to a shelter to escape her father. The reader already has a sense that Kathryn’s father is violent and abusive and can therefore understand why her mother is running. However, Kathryn is a scared little girl; scared of her father and scared of running to the unknown. The Vixen has it’s fair share of action and horror and the prologue is no exception to the latter! From this short piece of writing alone, the reader is connected to Kathryn and you have to continue on the journey of this desolate soul.
As with all of the Enchanted Immortals books, The Vixen switched from past to present. C.J. writes in such a way to make the story easy to follow and keeps the excitement flowing as one moment we’re reading about the 1920’s and then present day, back to the 1930’s. The story is constantly keeping pace and going back and forth between the vamps, shifters, immortals, etc, keeping the reader informed on the different events taking place. The reader is reminded of how Kathryn met up with Jonathan, how Thomas became an Immortal and also Tony Bianchi – an investigator with the BSI (Bureau of Supernatural Investigation).
The reader is also reminded of the shifter, Sheena, and what happened to her. For those that do not know and have not read the previous books of the series – this is a revelation and as well as a great recap, making The Vixen well written and informative enough to read as a stand alone. However, I would recommend that all books of the series should be read as they are all fantastic and each book focuses on a different character (please click on the links below to read our reviews):-
Having each book focus on a different character enables the reader to come up close and personal with each one and thus helping to empathise and connect with each character as well as providing a full background for the whole series.
Before reading The Vixen I viewed Kathryn as a more supportive character as Jonathan and Thomas, espeically Jonathan, were seen to be the heroes. In the Vixen Kathryn comes to the fore and I now see her as an equal, especially as she is so bold. The Immortals also have their own superpower: Jonathan is extremely strong; Thomas is very fast; and Kathryn can read minds. This makes all of them individually capable of surviving well on their own. As a team they are extremely powerful.
Poor Thomas is left waiting for news of pregnant Malina as she has left their apartment for a short while to contemplate what to do about her future. Being a sylph, after giving birth she will become a mortal, leaving Thomas and her child to carry on without her once she dies. Malina has experimented with the Enchantment in the hope that she would keep her immortality, however thus far no experiment has worked. Thomas is prepared to become a mortal with her, however this would leave their child, not to mention his best friend, Jonathan, without him. Sylph Serina is put into a difficult situation as Malina stays with her but would rather Serina not mention it until she has had time to think.
Shapeshifters Seth and Malachi are desperate to be released from the Island’s prison. Being cooped up is not doing them all that good, especially when they need to turn and their instinct urges them to hunt. However, after asking for Melina on several occasions, will she finally allow for their release? Not only are Seth and Malachi seeking their release, there is also a discovery that they make. How will this affect them? Has prison helped them learn their lesson, or are they still up to no good? I must admit there was a part of me that felt sorry for Seth. Meanwhile, a new bar, The Polecat, is opening up in town and is run by shapeshifters. The Immortals and BSI go quietly to check it out.
Since the demise of vampire Pascal, Angel is looking for a more suitable leader for the remaining vamps. Brandon has taken it upon himself to lead but it seems to have all gone to his head and the others are quite young to lead. Angel visits an elderly human/ex-vamp, Darius, to discuss her plans. The reader is instantly given the impression that Darius is similar to Samuel L. Jackson in both looks and personality. After I thought this, I smiled to myself when it was mentioned in the book which is an example of how clear C.J. Pinard writes.
Although the end of the story does wrap up quite nicely, the epilogue leaves the reader hoping for more. What becomes of Angel? Will Seth and Malachi revert to their old ways after the revelation they have learnt? The Vixen, unfortunately is meant to be the concluding book of the series and in all honesty the series could be left as it is. However, there are so many characters that could go on to do more that I cannot help but try to persuade C.J. to write another.
There is the novella, BSI: Bureau of Supernatural Investigation, that will be released at a later date. I cannot wait for this as the reader experiences an ‘X-files’ feel when reading about these guys. It is absolutely fantastic stuff – C.J is one of my favourite authors as her work is so full of life, full of different characters, so exciting and action-packed. If you haven’t had a C.J. Pinard experience yet then you have to buy these books. You won’t be disappointed!
At the time of writing this post you can purchase the Kindle Editions of the first two books of the series for only 77p at Amazon UK or for $1.17 at Amazon US!
I received Enchanted Immortals 4: The Vixen from the author, C.J. Pinard, gratefully. In return for her kindness and because I absolutely love this series I have written an honest and fair review.
For those of you that love a great fantasy/paranormal novel to read, ‘Enchanted Immortals 3: The Vampyre’ is a must-read! It is absolutely full, from beginning to end, of great characters with meaningful stories, action and adventure, romance, horror and flashbacks. I love the different types of species here; the Immortals, the vampires, the shapeshifters, the sylphs and the humans. The chemistry between the Immortals and the sylphs is beautiful, whilst the vampires and the shapeshifters are troublesome and dark.
In the first book of the series, ‘Enchanted Immortals’, we are introduced to Thomas O’Malley – a human until turned into an Immortal. In the sequel, ‘Enchanted Immortals 2: The Vortex’, we follow the story of Jonathan Murphy, also an Immortal, partner and close friend to Thomas. In book 3, ‘The Vampyre’, we follow the history of vampire Pascal Theroux, how he was as a human, how he became a vampire and his life since. The reader also has little insights into Angel’s mind – Angel being Pascal’s mate for the past thirty years.
I was amazed at how I found Pascal’s story to be quite touching in parts and there were times when I really liked him. C.J. Pinard has a way of allowing the reader to take in all aspects of the character and the reader can connect to Pascal as we follow him from his human form right through to when he becomes a vampire. However, there was a turning point in which the reader meets a different side to Pascal – the cold, evil side. I felt that it was a shame for someone likeable to have such a bad streak in him.
Throughout his vampire life, Pascal has tried to find a mate. He is charming and generous and over time he does turn several women into a vampire, thinking they could be his long term mate. However, these women soon realised the other side to Pascal and left. Until Angel came along, he probably felt that no woman would be the one.
Pascal also wanted to find a way to walk in the sun and over time he found a way to make sun-resistant vampires. He would then use these as his ‘foot-soldiers’ during the day to carry out the tasks that he wanted doing. But with Pascal’s attention focusing on his bigger plans, does he lose touch with his new vampires and his mate, Angel?
I feel for Angel in many ways. She has had quite a lonely life as a human, with little family, and Pascal did change that. He provides for her, he is her mate and the one she has belonged to for so long. She remains by his side after all this time, however there are moments, quite understandably when Pascal’s cold side is showing, when she needs out. I am looking forward to reading more on Angel as the series progresses.
Meanwhile, romance is in the air with Thomas and Malina about to marry and some lust (or is it love?) igniting again between Jonathan and Kathryn. There are some really nice sexy and romantic scenes in this novel and we realise how deeply these characters really care about each other. I find it fascinating as regardless of their physical relationship they are always so close in all other aspects of their life.
Shapeshifters, Seth and Malachi, are still imprisoned on The Island, awaiting trial for the crimes they committed in abducting the sylph, Serina, and extortion. And although they are not the focus of this novel they do bring up a shocking and powerful revelation!
Also, the BSI are back. Jason Swift from the Bureau of Supernatural Investigations turns up to speak to Jonathan and Thomas with some news and throughout the novel they work very closely together. I absolutely love the BSI, as you may know from reading my previous reviews of the series. They are like the X-File section of the FBI in ‘The X-Files’ and there is even a reference to this in ‘Enchanted Immortals 3: The Vampire’. This is excellent stuff!
I am a big fan of supporting characters and this novel does not disappoint. I love the character of Aiden, a boss and friend to Sebastian. Without revealing too much, he cares for Sebastian, taking him in and providing for him, with his lovely wife, Elaine. In my minds eye, I imagine Aiden to be a larger than life character, burly and funny with plenty of charisma but also a heart of gold. I really have no idea where C.J. finds all of these great characters.
All characters have been cleverly incorporated into this series in such a way that they all have their own tale to tell – linked to the past as well as the present day. (This is when the flashbacks take place. It is a fun read and quick-paced as it never loses momentum. The series weaves through the different characters’ past and present and yet it is written in such a way that it is easy to follow the story. Each book is a great stand-alone read, however for the details of each characters’ story I would read the series as a whole, beginning with ‘Enchanted Immortals‘ which is now available at Amazon UK for 77p or Amazon US for $1.15.
Enchanted Immortals 4: The Vixen‘ is due out in May 2013 so not too long to wait for another enchanting read!!!
Please note that ‘Enchanted Immortals 3: The Vampyre’ was received gratefully from the author, C.J. Pinard, in return for an honest and fair review.
Arcadia Burns is an exciting and compulsive paranormal read. Although it has a romance at its heart, it also contains strong elements of suspense and mystery. The book is set in the mafia world and has overtones of Romeo and Juliet. It features lovers Rosa and Alessandro, heads of the rival Alcantara and Carnevare clans, who, as Arcadians, can shape shift, Rosa into a snake and Alessandro into a panther.
The novel is the second in a trilogy by author Kai Meyer, the first being Arcadia Awakens and the third, Arcadia Falls, scheduled for 2014. Although I have not read the first, I had little difficulty in picking up the plot as the history of the characters is cleverly woven into the early chapters. Rosa has unexpectedly become head of the Alcantara clan, after the murder of her sister and her aunt, and is trying to get to grips with the position. She departs for New York in search of answers to events that happened in book 1. Whilst there, she encounters the American branch of the Carnevares. Rosa barely escapes with her life, in one of the most nail biting and gory scenes in the book. We are left in no doubt as to how the animal instincts of the Arcadians come to the fore when they have shifted from their human form.
Rosa is also reunited with her mother and some truths about her family are revealed. Revelations about the horrifying experience she was subjected to in book 1 are also made, before she returns to Sicily and Alessandro. There are many who wish to undermine their relationship, and the influence of unforeseen forces and a mysterious and ancient organisation hovers in the background. The plot is full of secrets, mystery and intrigue and ever present danger, with the only constants being Rosa and Alessandro’s love. We also learn more about the ancient history of the Arcadians. There is much betrayal and bloodshed ahead before the gripping and action-packed conclusion.
At the heart of the novel is the romance. Rosa and Alessandro both struggle to head their respective clans, without letting centuries of hatred and mistrust between their forebears tear them apart. Rosa matures quickly as she strives to end some of the Alcantara’s more shady, albeit profitable, business dealings. She has also had to adapt to learning that she is part of a shape shifting dynasty that can change into a snake. In this novel Rosa tries to come to terms with the events that happened to her in New York, of which she has no memory, but which are key to the plot development. Alessandro is a truly likeable hero and it is easy to understand why Rosa is so enamoured of him. Although he withholds some secrets, I feel that he does so with Rosa’s interests at heart, as he is both loving and protective, whilst still respecting her independence.
Secondary characters include Trevini, the Alcantara family lawyer, and Iole, who appeared in the first book. Others that were pivotal in the events in book 1 also make an appearance. The grim reality of prior events are slowly revealed, as are enemies out to destroy both Rosa and Alessandro. The secrets which are revealed from those now departed from this world are as shocking as those kept by the living. I was kept in suspense throughout and I could not anticipate the next plot twist or the exciting conclusion.
I liked the author’s writing style. The book has a complex plot, with strong characters and evocative descriptions. I particularly liked the descriptions of New York early on in the book, as well as Sicily, the setting for most of the scenes. I was compelled to read the book to have all of the questions raised within the plot answered and I was also hoping for a HEA for Rosa and Alessandro. I think it is very brave of the author to tackle so many emotive and difficult issues in a book aimed at younger readers. It is done in way which is sensitive yet not in any way patronising, recognising that young people, as well as adults, wish to explore challenging issues in the safety of a fictional environment.
Although the book worked very well for me as a stand alone, I would also like to read the first instalment to fully appreciate the back story of all the characters involved. I recommend the book to young adults and adults. I would definitely like to read more from this author and I am looking forward to reading the conclusion of this trilogy.
This book was given to me by the publishers, Templar Publishing, for the purpose of an honest review.
‘Arcadia Burns’ is the second book of Kai Meyer’s Arcadien Trilogy. A Reader’s Review Blog received this novel gratefully from Templar Publishing in return for an honest review. After not having read the first book of the trilogy, ‘Arcadia Awakens’, I was conscious that there may be some gaps in my knowledge of the story thus far and the characters. However, once I began to read I found that the introduction was really great. The reader is made aware from the very first chapter of Rosa and Alessandro’s family history and their relationship with one another. This in itself made me feel that this book could be read as a stand alone.
Rosa and Alessandro are both from Mafia clans, albeit different Mafia clans. This does have a ‘Romeo and Juliet’ effect in that members of these families want their relationship to end and will go to great lengths to see this happen. Their love for each other is a very strong bond and although some secrets are kept from each other, it is only with the others’ interests at heart and so they do not allow these to come between them. The novel focuses mostly on Rosa who has recently become head of her clan and is, therefore, expected to oversee quite a few decisions regarding her clans businesses, illegal activities and family problems. However, Rosa does not really want any of this. Rosa returns to New York to find out about her family history in Sicily from her mother. This does not necessarily go according to plan as she later finds that she is being chased from members of Alessandro’s family.
There is also a great paranormal twist with Rosa and Alessandro not always being human. Under certain situations of duress they transform into different creatures: Rosa, a snake, and Alessandro, a Panther. Throughout this novel we learn that Alessandro seems to have more control over his transformation, whereas Rosa still needs to learn how to control hers. It doesn’t help matters when Rosa is injected with a serum, against her own wishes, from a member of Alessandro’s clan, that prevents her transformation from happening for a period of time. This is a fascinating read.
‘Arcadia Burns’ is recommended for young adults, or those age fourteen and over, quite rightly so as there are dark action scenes. However, it is a gentle introduction to some Mafia activity. It allows the reader to absorb what is happening without terrifying them. I think that Kai Meyer has written this very carefully to ensure that this book is suitable to it’s targeted audience.
On opening the book initially, I noticed a beautiful chapter layout, making it very easy to navigate to the last page that has been read. Although the book as a whole is quite lengthy each chapter isn’t so, allowing busy readers to be able to read the story in their own time without having to put the book down during a vital scene. This also added an air of lightness, which is rather nice considering the darkness of the story.
Throughout reading this novel there were occasions when I felt that the chapters didn’t always flow nicely into each other. Sometimes the reader is left wondering what is happening. But, with a little patience and perseverance within a couple of pages my questions were answered. There were also times when I felt that the story was moving a little too slow, however as the story unfolds and we begin the latter chapters everything is put into persepctive and the reader becomes engrossed with the action, hoping for the best possible outcome. Originally written in German, ‘Arcadia Burns’ was translated into English by Anthea Bell. It would be unfair of me to say how the translation has affected the story as I do not speak German, and therefore haven’t read the original. However, the story is very good, beautifully written with some really strong characters.
‘Arcadia Burns’ has left me hoping that Rosa and Alessandro make it and are allowed to live their life together without intervention of others. I have no doubt in Alessandro’s love for Rosa and hope that it stays this way. This novel has been likened to ‘Romeo and Juliet’, ‘Twilight’ and ‘The Godfather’. Whilst it is a diluted version of ‘The Godfather’ and has a strong love bond between the two main characters from opposing family clans, I feel that it’s likeness to ‘Twilight’ is not so apparent. I can only assume that this is due to the paranormal sides of the story, but personally I found ‘Arcadia Burns’ to be completely different and original.
Kai Meyer’s ‘Arcadia Falls’ will be the third and final instalment of the Arcadien trilogy and is due to be released in 2014.
Slow and frustrating to intense and dramatic – the reader truly goes through their paces with this twelfth instalment of the Sookie Stackhouse series in ‘Deadlocked’.
There is no doubt that Charlaine Harris has created a brilliant series with these novels. We are introduced to very different characters from all corners of the supernatural world from vampires, werewolves and shapeshifters to fairies, witches and demons. And throughout these novels the audience has a great dose of romance, mystery, action and adventure. But throughout the series I have felt mixed emotions as some novels have exceeded expectation whereas others have left me disappointed.
Unfortunately, I was a little disappointed at ‘Deadlocked’. Until the latter stages of the story I found myself feeling bored, frustrated and easily distracted. When reading a Sookie Stackhouse book I believe the reader expects a fairly quick-paced adventure with mystery, romance and action along the way. However, these expectations were not met as there was very little action and where was the romance?
I found the story to be slow during the first couple of chapters. Sookie is having a catch-up with her girlfriends at a Ladies Night only event. I feel that the conversations are far too detailed concerning the lives of some characters that are not fundamental to the story, whilst there are other characters that the reader would rather be hearing about. Although this idea of the catch-up is good in terms of re-capping the reader or introducing the new reader of the series, I felt that it was too long. At the same time I remember thinking to myself that new readers of the series probably hadn’t been given enough information on past events and characters, making this novel difficult to read as a stand alone.
Chapter 3 really begins the story for me, when Sookie attends a vampire party at Eric’s house and finds him drinking blood from a young girl. Minutes later the girl is found dead in Eric’s yard and this is where the mystery begins. Eric is a main suspect for killing the girl and Sookie cannot be sure that he is innocent. The scenes at the party are dramatic. As the novel is written from Sookie’s point of view, as is the whole series, the reader can understand her emotions and reactions to Eric and what has happened. After the party scenes, I felt that the investigation into the girl’s death was left, in the story, for the police to look into, whilst Bill was carrying out his own digging. However, Sookie did not seem to have much to do with this at all.
As main characters of the series I was surprised to find that Eric, Bill and Alcide (among others) did not have as much mention as expected. I found this novel concentrated mostly on Sookie, her Fae family and the cluviel dor, left from her grandmother, which would allow her one wish. While other characters appeared busy working out what was happening with the vampires, werewolves and fairies Sookie seemed to be waiting around for news. During this time Sookie seems helpless, with not much to do other than keep the cluviel dor secret and safe.
To fill in these gaps the reader is subjected to Sookie’s chores and errands. We find out who she serves at Merlottes, what they have to eat and hear more chit-chat while she’s carrying out her daytime job as a waitress. Sookie will also go to the convenience store and cook for her friends, etc. For me, this is not information I need to know – a sentence or two would have been adequate. But even though this is tedious it does give the reader a contrast between Sookie’s daily life and the ordeals she faces with the supernaturals. This also provides the reader with the knowledge that Sookie is almost an ordinary gal in which we can relate to.
Although I found this novel disappointing in many areas that is not to say that it is not worth a read. I would recommend fans of the series to still read this, whilst readers new to the series would be best to start from the beginning of the series with ‘Dead Until Dark’. I say this because the latter chapters really opened up the story and many loose ends were wrapped up in quite a dramatic way. At this point in the book nothing distracted me and I felt quite tense reading these scenes as we found out who killed the young girl and why. These intense and dramatic scenes really made the book. Sookie does end up in a spot of bother, needing help herself and then needing to help a friend. I cannot really say more without spoiling the end but it is worth the wait!
There are still some areas that need wrapping up such as who will Sookie give her heart to, will Felipe ever leave and allow Eric to remain Sheriff of Area 5 or will Eric marry Freyda? What lies in store for Bill, Sam and Alcide? All of these questions make me want to read the following novel ‘Dead Ever After’ hopefully being released in May 2013!
As an Immortal, it is Jonathan Murphy’s responsibility to ensure the safety of the sylph and humans; to protect them from other Fae, such as the vampires and shapeshifters. His closest companions (also Immortals), Thomas and Kathryn, are always by his side as they work together to police these dangerous Fae.
‘Enchanted Immortals 2: The Vortex’ focuses on Jonathan Murphy’s character; the man he once was to the Immortal he is now. As a human he was living a humble family life as a carpenter and his story is full of love, romance, wonder, action and heartache. He is a strong man, making plans for his future. However, that future was not to be. Well, at least not the way he thought it would be.
From early on in the novel there are very exciting action scenes which open up the readers’ eyes. These action scenes, and those throughout the novel, are very dark, dramatic, quick-paced, detailed and intense. At the same time they are violent and gorey in parts. We can imagine how dangerous the vampires and shapeshifters are, at the same time as being completely shocked at their very existence. This enables the reader to empathise with Jonathan’s character from the beginnning as he becomes involved with events that are otherwise unbelievable.
Whilst certain shapeshifters are being searched for by Jonathan and his friends, the vampires are planning their next venture. And it was reading this scene that my heart began to race, as one vampire asks about what they are to do next and the reply is, “We’re going back to the Oregon Vortex”. The reader stops in their tracks at this point, knowing that there is a great deal of trouble to come.
There are so many areas of the ‘Enchanted Immortals’ series that I love, one of them being the flashbacks. In this novel, we follow the journey of Jonathan in the present day, we are taken back to the early 1800’s when he is human and in-between we find out more about Kathryn and Thomas’ relationship with him. The reader also has an insight into what happened when Thomas became an Immortal and Thomas’ relationship with Malina, a sylph Queen.
I, personally, find the sylphs adorable. They all seem very beautiful and feminine. They are caring and loving towards the Immortals, humans and each other. However, they still have to be realistic when bearing the vampires and shapeshifters in mind. Therefore, at times when protecting their allies and friends they have no choice but to harm their enemy.
It was the sylph’s that began the existence of the Immortals with a potion they call ‘Enchantment’. This potion allows the Immortals to be very strong and each Immortal to have their own ability. In ‘The Vortex’ the reader discovers the history and origin of this magical potion.
The whole novel has a great storyline, with really likeable characters, action and adventure. ‘Enchanted Immortals 2: The Vortex’ has simply everything that you would want to read in a fantasy/paranormal novel. As mentioned in my review of C.J. Pinard’s debut novel, ‘Enchanted Immortals’, the style of writing is somewhere in-between that of Laurell K. Hamilton (Meredith Gentry series) and J.R. Ward (Fallen Angels), leaning more towards the J.R. Ward style. I am looking forward to reading the next instalment.
‘Enchanted Immortals’ is C.J. Pinard’s debut novel. This is a great book that put me in the mind-set of authors like J.R. Ward and Laurell K. Hamilton. As well as being a fantasy/paranormal it is also a good cop thriller. The novel is full of action, adventure, emotion, great characters and great storyline.
There are many characters and different groups of people. Each of them adding their own layer to the story. There are the Immortals, the sylphs, humans, vampires and shapeshifters. For a debut novel this is a splendid introduction to many of the characters, enabling the reader to connect instantly and thus, making it easier to follow them should there be more books in the series.
The main focus of the story is on Thomas O’Malley. Thomas O’Malley endured a life-changing ordeal and ultimately became an Immortal. It is an Immortal’s job to protect the sylph and humans from vampires and shapeshifters. To remain an Immortal they need doses of ‘Enchantment’ provided by the sylph. The vampires want to steal the ‘Enchantment in the hope that it will allow them to daywalk. But will they succeed in obtaining it? If they do, will it work? Thomas works with Jonathan and Kathryn and at times they find themselves in some predicaments with the vampires and shapeshifters.
One of my favourite elements of the story are the flashbacks throughout the separate era’s. The reader is taken on a journey through Thomas’ past and how his disappearance affected his parents. Joseph O’Malley, Thomas’ dad, is one of my favourite characters. His story is heartbreaking, sorrowful but completely full of unconditional love. He works as a cop for the San Francisco Police Department and tries to do everything within his power to try and find out what happened to Thomas. As Thomas is an Immortal he is not supposed to be known to man, and therefore Thomas must not contact his father in any way. This is beautifully written and I was very touched by these characters and this particular storyline.
The magic element of ‘Enchanted Immortals’ along with the ‘Enchantment’ and the fae people holds a similar imagery in my mind as that in the ‘Meredith Gentry’ novels by Laurell K. Hamilton. However, this novel has more realism, with the San Francisco Police Department, the Bureau of Supernatural Investigations (BSI) and Thomas’ parents and past. The combination of the two, fantasy and realism, remind me of J.R. Ward’s ‘Fallen Angel’ series.
In ‘Enchanted Immortals’ the government have set up a new body, the Bureau of Supernatural Investigations (BSI), to investigate the strange happenings of missing people, mutilated bodies, anything that seems to have no explanation. This set up brought back memories of watching ‘The X-Files’, although instead of ‘Dana Scully’ and ‘Fox Mulder’, C.J. Pinard has Agent Adam Swift and Agent Anthony Bianchi. These are another pair of my favourite characters. I love the thriller side of this novel, the investigations, the mysteries that these agents need to try and unfold.
There is also some romance in parts but I am sure this will become more intense during the follow-up novels. I was excited to hear that there would be a follow-up as the reader is left needing to know so much more even though this book is wrapped up beautifully. Thank you C.J. Pinard!