dinsdag 31 december 2013

Looking back at a bookish 2013.

I have read some amazing books in 2013, and discovered some new to me series and authors I fell wholeheartedly in love with. In 2012 I read 233 books and 17 short stories/novella’s, in 2013 I read 268 books and 17 short stories/novella’s. I really thought it would be less than last year, but I read 35 books more! I am very happy with this score, and don’t plan on adding up how many books I have bought in 2013 …

The books I loved the most in 2013, and now I just scroll through my list of reviews looking for those 10 star reviews (or higher) and not counting the re-reads is amazing. Here it is, in reading order:

Suzanne Johnson – River Road
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Alyssa Day – Heart of Atlantis
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Ellery Adams – Peach Pies and Alibis
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Sierra Dean – Grave Secret
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Anne Bishop – Written in Red
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Jenn Bennett – Binding the Shadows
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Leann Sweeney –The Cat, the Mill and the Murder
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Nalini Singh – Heart of Obsidian
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Laurell K. Hamilton – Affliction
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Jean Johnson – Hellfire
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Ilona Andrews – Magic rises
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Heather Webber – Perfectly Matched
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Faith Hunter – Jane Yellowrock series almost all 10 star reviews.
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J.D. Robb – Taken in Death
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Sierra Dean – Secret Unleashed
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Jenn Bennett – Bitter Spirits
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Thea Harrison – Kinked
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Nora Roberts – Bed of roses
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Gini Koch – Alien Research
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If I have to choose from all those books, which book I loved the most, without hesitation, as I have already read it 5 times: Written in Red by Anne Bishop. This also means that the book I am most highly anticipating for next year, is the second book in this new series, Murder of Crows. And second place is for Damnation by Jean Johnson, the fourth and perhaps final book in the Theirs not to reason why series.
Of course I always long for new books by my favourite authors! And the more authors on my autobuy list, the more books to read each year.

I have also compiled a list of new authors I discovered this year and who have landed firmly on my autobuy list. It is a nice mix of paranormal and cozy mystery authors. I don’t think I have tried new historical romance authors this year at all.

Faith Hunter
Julie Hyzy
Heather Webber
Amanda Bonilla
Cecy Robson
Dakota Banks
Duffy Brown
Erin McCarthy
J.F. Lewis, although I am not sure about his series other than Void City
Lucy Arlington
Susannah Sandlin

And last but certainly not least, I am very happy with the contributions of three of my bookish friends, Maia, Karin and Peggy, who add their monthly recommendations to my blog. Thank you for your efforts ladies, and I do hope you will keep doing this in 2014. I do enjoy your posts, and I hope many of my readers do as well.

© 2013 Reviews by Aurian

maandag 30 december 2013

New additions to my addiction

Stapel boeken

The final list of New Additions for this year, but fear not, many more books are on their way to me : ) so there will be more lists next year.

From Bookdepository:
Kathryne Kennedy – Everlasting Enchantment

Secondhand Books:
Ann Aguirre - Endgame
Christina Henry - Black Night
Jennifer Estep - Widow's Web –
Jennifer Estep - Deadly Sting
M.J. Scott - Iron Kin
Sandy Williams - The Shadow Reader
Sandy Williams - The Shattered Dark
Rachel Caine – Unseen
Rachel Caine – Unbroken
Rachel Caine – Undone
Rachel Caine – Unknown
Rachel Caine – Cape Storm
Rachel Caine – Total Eclipse
Maria V. Snyder – Poison Study
Maria V. Snyder – Magic Study
Maria V. Snyder – Fire Study
Kelley Armstrong – The Summoning
Kelley Armstrong – The Awakening
Maggie Stiefvater – Forever
Maggie Stiefvater – Shiver
Maggie Stiefvater – Linger
Maggie Stiefvater – Ballad
Maggie Stiefvater – Lament

© 2013 Reviews by Aurian

zondag 29 december 2013

Julie Hyzy – Buffalo West Wing

The fourth book in the White House Chef Mystery series, published January 4, 2011.
Genre: cozy mystery with recipes
Cover: I don’t really like this new cover, I am glad my book has the smaller one.

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With a new First Family moving into the White House, executive chef Olivia Paras can't afford to make any mistakes. But when a mysterious box of take-out chicken shows up for the First Kids, she soon finds herself in a "no-wing" situation.
No way is Ollie handing over a suspicious box of barbecue chicken wings to Abigail and Josh Hyden, children of the country’s new commander in chief and her new boss. With no clue who provided the culinary gifts for the kids, Ollie’s not about to put them at risk.

A year has gone by since the last book, Ollie is still executive chef in the White House, with her assistants Buckie and Cyan, and Marcel as pastry chefs. But a new president has been elected, and he and his family will move into the White House today. So moving out the former president and his wife, whom Ollie loved to serve all those years, and now they will have to get used to a new family in residence, with their own habits. It has been a long time since there were young kids in the White House but Ollie and her staff are ready for the challenge.
After seeing the inauguration on tv, they troop back to the kitchen, where Ollie finds a box of chicken wings from one of the major restaurant chains. It is addressed to the new First Kids, but Ollie can’t serve food from unknown origin. That is against the safety protocol, as everything that comes into the White House has to be according to the highest standards. As now one can tell her how that box got in her kitchen, she refuses to serve the wings to the kids. No matter how much anyone pressures her to.
Even her own staff is against her, and later Cyan shares the box with the laundry woman and some of the butlers, against Ollie’s wishes. And with devastating results, as the staff gets violently ill and have to be rushed to the hospital. The secret service doesn’t want anyone to know the wings were poisoned, and that the children are the targets, not even the First Lady. Whom is not pleased with Ollie for denying her children a treat. And so Ollie starts of on the wrong foot with her new boss. Things only get worse when she brings in her own chef to serve the family meals, having Ollie and her staff to work on the state dinners and business dinners and lunches only. The new chef clashes badly with Ollie, as he presumes he is in charge, and has taken over Ollie’s job.

But Ollie is the first female executive chef in the White House, and firing her now would be bad politics. Ollie is sure her job will be gone in a few months though, but her job is her life, and she will fight for it.

Her ex-boyfriend Tom is in charge of the Secret Service at the White House, and he is not happy that she is involved in this again, even though she could not help it and her actions saved the children! Especially as the hospital becomes part of a terrorist attack, they have the White House staff as hostages and demand freedom for one of their own captured terrorist leaders. The President does not want to negotiate with terrorists but no one knows how he would have acted if his own children were the hostages, instead of some people he doesn’t even know yet.

The White House kitchen has two agents added to it, who will have to taste test everything that leaves the kitchen. Ollie is fine with that, as her food is delicious and safe. She has little luck scoring points with Abigail, but Josh wants to be a chef himself, and she likes him. So when their private chef has no intention whatsoever of tutoring Josh, she takes that task upon her self. Ollie is determined to make the new Presidents first State dinner the best she has ever done, and the new chef will not get in her way!

But the terrorist are not easy thwarted, and they will get their hands on the kids, or at least one of them … just when Ollie has gone to school to tell about being a chef …

I enjoyed this book a lot. I have grown to like Ollie and her staff, and of course still very much dislike that sensitivity director who hates Ollie. I am also not a fan of Tom, the ex-boyfriend. So I am happy that Gavin has made a come back in this story, and there might be some love in the air for Ollie again. There was a lot of trouble for Ollie ahead, but she soldiered on and kept doing her job as good as she could.

There was no sleuthing in this book, to my big surprise, but Ollie got tangled up in this mess after all, when they grabbed Josh. And Ollie. I was captivated by the story, and read it in one sitting.

I did found one mistake in the very last chapter though, and that kind of details bother me unduly. The terrorist flushed Ollie’s phone through the toilet in the safe house, and somehow, she had it again that same night when Gavin messaged her.

Still, I love this series very much and look forward to reading the next book, Affairs of Steak.

9 stars.

Autobuy author

Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

© 2013 Reviews by Aurian

zaterdag 28 december 2013

J.F. Lewis - Burned

The fourth book in the Void City series, published January 31, 2012.
Genre: urban fantasy
Cover: strong, I like it

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Void City's resident bad-ass vampire has a secret to keep, everything to lose, and a plan to win it all. Eric has taken control of the city's supernatural hierarchy, putting all the deals and contracts that allow Void City to function up for renegotiation. When he installs his insane vampire daughter, Greta, as Void City's sheriff of the supernatural, bloody mayhem ensues. To further complicate things, the love of Eric's life is back from the dead, immortally young, at a cost that has put Eric under the thumb of a very powerful demon. The mysterious mouser Talbot, morose mage Magbidion, and all of Eric's thralls are trying to help him keep things under control. But with early onset Alzheimer's, vampire hunters, demons, a band of chupacabra, a cursed cousin with a serious grudge, and Rachel as his new 'handler', there's just not an app for that.

It is a year after the last book ended. Eric killed Lord Philip, causing all the magic protecting the supernatural inhabitants of Void City to fall away too. The Mage Council is working overtime to keep hiding all the killings and horrors living in the city. When they finally ask for Eric’s help, he makes the brilliant decision to appoint his daughter Greta as the new sheriff, to keep all the other supernatural creatures in check. She is allowed to kill and eat anyone who breaks the rules. But when she comes upon a pack of chupacabra, even Greta cannot kill them all, as their poison severely affects her. She has no choice but to take on her secret second shape, and it is very impressive indeed!

A strange female vampire tries to kill Eric, as she hates him for killing her in the first place. She is some cousin, and when he killed her, the family curse that made Eric a vampire, got to her as well. Only, as he had dumped her head through the drain, she now is something different, and her head still comes off if she wants it. Eric is not afraid of her though, and he agrees to let her try to kill him once a year, if she will be Greta’s deputy. His daughter needs the help and the company, aside from Fang.

Eric has divorced Tabitha, now that Marilyn is back alive and immortal and young, he can no longer stay married to her. He does give her a generous settlement though, and urges her to go to college, to find out what she is goed at, instead of relying on her great looks and lonesome rich men. He does the same with Marilyn though, gets the Iversonian to teach her how to be an Immortal, and pays her back wages for the past 40 years, as Roger basically ruined her life.

Eric has big secrets though, and a Plan. He owes a major demon favors for bringing back Marilyn and he has to plan around that. It is hard for Rachel to accept he doesn’t want her anymore, especially as she is now a demon too. With tail and all.

I enjoyed this last book so much, and I do keep hoping for more. Greta has a big part in this, trying to figure out what has happened to her dad, and what he is planning. She is confused that there is no real Mom anymore. She sure tormented her cousin Evelyn, her new deputy and loved taking her head away. Greta is a real killer, she is certainly dysfunctional, but she is fun. She will do everything for her Daddy, so don’t mess with him!

What more can I say about this series? I like the new ways the plot keeps twisting, surprising me, and well, it is just pure entertainment. There is some romance in the end …

9 stars.

Autobuy author

Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

© 2013 Reviews by Aurian

vrijdag 27 december 2013

J.F. Lewis – A Void City Halloween

A free e-novella on the author’s blog, published originally in 2012. This story fits in between book 2 and 3.
No cover, sorry.

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As his daughter Greta loves to go trick and treating on Halloween, Eric has no choice but to give in and wear the costume she wants him to wear. Almost no one will know who he is supposed to be, in his red space uniform and silver boots, as the tv series is almost forgotten by know. Eric is Mork, and Greta is Mindy. His wife Tabitha is dressed as Wonder Woman, Eric’s favourite super hero, and Talbot is his usual handsome self as a Man in Black.

Just before they can start their game of finding people dressed as characters they pick, so they can eat them, Eric is distracted by the screams of a young kid. And not the happy screams you are supposed to hear on Halloween, those are terrified. Eric has a weakness for kids, and he will never attack them or feed from them. Of course, their parents is another story. Some strange magical hobgoblins are attacking children, and there are more and more popping up. So Eric calls for a time out and he and Greta start the counter attack. Greta is delighted, she loves fighting more than anything except her daddy. And those floating pumpkins should be easy enough to defeat. Tabitha is ordered to call for backup, her witchy sister Rachel, and Eric’s personal wizard Magbidion. Rachel just laughs at Tabitha and hangs up, but Magbidion understands what is happening and will come as fast as he can.

Someone is behind those magical attacks, and they have to find out who and why!

I enjoyed this short story a lot. I do remember the old tv series Mork and Mindy, and I loved watching it as a child. So I did understand the references. The banter about Wonder Woman is fun too, and of course Greta in action is a sight to behold. She loves to kill and hunt, so she is in her element.

You could try this free short story to see if you like the writing style and characters. Here is a link

8 stars.

© 2013 Reviews by Aurian

donderdag 26 december 2013

Susannah Sandlin – Storm Force

The first book in the Omega Force series, published June 18, 2013.
Genre: paranormal romantic suspense
Cover: Love it

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When a bomb explodes inside a Houston high-rise and the governor of Texas goes missing in the ensuing melee, former army ranger Jack “Kell” Kellison and the Omega Force counter terrorism team are called into action. Their mission: infiltrate the activist group suspected of masterminding the bombing, neutralize the threat, and recover the hostage.
Yet within moments of meeting his prime suspect, beautiful environmentalist Mori Chastaine, Kell knows she’s innocent of the bombing – but definitely guilty of something. Mori has a secret, one she is desperate to hide from Kell and the rest of the world – a secret that binds her to a primal power hungry to assure its future, even at the cost of thousands of innocent human lives.
If Mori dares to reveal her true identity, will Kell join in her fight? Or will she become his next target?

Mori’s 25th birthday is coming up, and her time is running out. Her parents sold her in marriage when she was born, and that pact will have to be honored on her 25th birthday. Mori doesn’t want to marry the man as she can’t stand him, but she is the last female shifter of her species of childbearing age. If she does not want to doom them to extinction as their animal counterpart is, she will have to comply. All her attempts to reason with Michael Benedict have been for naught though, he will have her as his wife, and more importantly, the mother of his children, or he will destroy her and her parents.

The bombing in Houston is horrible, and Mori has lost one of her co-workers when the building fell on part of the highway. They were protesting the governor’s negotiations with foreign chemical concerns about starting a factory in the north of Texas. It is an important wild life preserve, but for the governor, the human needs are more important. The animals will just move on.

Just before Mori is taken in for questioning by the FBI and Homeland security, a gorgeous retired soldier wants to volunteer at their organisation. Reluctant at first, Mori agrees to have him help out, especially now they are being pointed at as the ones behind the bombing. People who have pledged donations are withdrawing their support en masse, and she needs to keep track of who owns them what.

The retired soldier is Kell, head of the Omega Force counter terrorism team, and he has been send to find out the truth. Is this group guilty of bombing the high rise, killing the governor of Texas and his foreign business men in the process, or are they framed. And if so, why. Kell needs to gain their trust and snoop around in the offices. And if necessary, he will get op close and personal with Mori. This is not a hardship for him, as he finds her very attractive and it has been a long time since he felt anything for a woman. He will do anything to keep his country safe, and if this woman really is a terrorist, breaking her trust doesn’t matter. But the attraction soon grows to more, and he wants to protect her, especially when he sees the nasty bruise on her face.

When Mori finds out that Michael is behind the bombing, as a special message to her, she is horrified. She cannot reveal her knowledge without revealing the reason behind it, and the fact that they are shapeshifters. The world doesn’t know they exist! She can turn to Kell for comfort for one night, but she knows she will give in to Michaels’ insane demands to prevent him from doing the same in New Orleans next week …

I am a fan of Susannah Sandlin’s Penton Legacy vampires, but I think this is her best book so far. I really enjoyed the set up, the characters and the story. At times Mori was naïve and way too trusting, but I did like her honesty and her efforts for the environment.
It was kept hidden a very long time what kind of shifter they are though, and I was surprised by the revelation. She did not really have a predatory nature, or an alpha vibe as is more usual in shapeshifters I read.

The Omega Force was a nice surprise, as it is made up of a normal human (Kell, a former Ranger), a human psychic, a human computer wizz, and some shapeshifters, including a female eagle. Robin was a great secondary character and loved teasing Kell, who had a hard time accepting that they are stronger and faster and just better than he is.

Kell fell for Mori like a log, he so did not see that coming. Now he had to choose between his mission of finding the terrorist who levelled a high rise in Houston, and being honest to Mori. Someone pointed the finger to Mori and her environmental group, and Kell did not want to believe her guilty of being able to kill so many people. But she clearly knew something, and he needed to find out what she was hiding.

As this book first came out as a serial novel on Amazon, it is fast paced and filled with action. I fell for the characters fast, and I really hope there will be more books in this series.

9 stars.

Autobuy authorI won this book on a blog

Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

© 2013 Reviews by Aurian

woensdag 25 december 2013

Recommendations from Karin

In order to bring some more variety to my blog, I have asked some of my bookish friends to tell about the books they have in the past month, and to give us a recommendation. Today’s post is made by Karin from Austria.


I have read 12 new books in the past month, and the 3 books I enjoyed the most are:

1. My One and Only by Kristan Higgins

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2. Allegiance Sworn by Kylie Griffin

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3. Bound by Night by Larissa Ione

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This month’s recommendation is quite difficult - I enjoyed most of the books I’ve read and so I decided to throw dice (more or less).The first place was taken by Kristan Higgins but what to do with the rest of the books I loved? Kylie Griffin’s book is the number three in the Light Blade series and I liked all three books but I think that was the most intensive. And Larissa Ione is usually better than third place but this is the first book in a new series and there was much world building to do and two things bothered me about this book  so number three.

The book I would like to recommend is: My One and Only by Kristan Higgins

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Divorce attorney Harper James can't catch a break. Bad enough that she runs into her ex-hubby, Nick, at her sister's destination wedding, but now, by a cruel twist of fate, she's being forced to make a cross-country road trip with him. And her almost-fiancé back at home is not likely to be sympathetic.
Harper can't help that Nick has come blazing back into her life in all of his frustratingly appealing, gorgeous architect glory. But in Nick's eyes, Harper's always been the one. If they can only get it right this time, forever might be waiting - just around the bend.

Kristan Higgins is a kind of hit – and - miss – author for me. She writes in the first person which is something I usually don’t enjoy that much because I like to hear the thoughts of the other characters too. I even bought one book that I did not finish, which is rare for me, but the heroine was too big an idiot in my opinion.
Now with this book you will find Higgins at her best. The story is told - as usually – by the heroine, who is a divorce attorney, a veritable shark in her profession. The way the book begins you will find Higgins’s trademark humour when Harper describes how good she is at her job. She is about to propose to her significant other whom she has been dating for more than two years. This scene is hilarious. Long story short – her stepsister wants her to be the bridesmaid and the bridegroom is Harper’s ex-brother-in-law; so she is going to meet her ex husband who of course is the best man.
We learn about Harper’s background, her relationship with Nick and why it failed, her family and her personal development in bits and pieces throughout the book. There are some heartbreaking scenes intermingled with scenes where I found myself laughing out loud. The supporting characters are so well described that I could see BeverLee, Harper’s stepmother, before me, wielding a giant can of hairspray. For those who love animals (like me) there is a cute dog involved.
To sum up without giving too much away – I read the book in one sitting and I enjoyed myself immensely. The final scene where Harper is going to declare her love for Nick! Believe me, you don’t want to miss that.
As a new year is about to begin I want to wish you all Happy Holidays and a year 2014 that is filled with all kinds of good books.

Aurian: Thanks for the recommendation Karin! I have never read a Kristan Higgins book, but I certainly will add this one to my wishlist. And Happy Holidays to you as well, and let’s hope 2014 will be filled with some amazing books.
How about you, reader, have you read any of those top 3 books or authors?

© 2013 Reviews by Aurian

dinsdag 24 december 2013

Merry Christmas / Happy Holidays

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I wish you all a merry Christmas, or Happy Holidays and all the best for 2014. Good friends, health, and of course some amazing new books to discover in 2014.

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maandag 23 december 2013

J.F. Lewis - Crossed

The third book in the Void City series, published January 25, 2011.
Genre: urban fantasy
Cover: Awesome.

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In spite of his continuing hot-blooded affair with his soon-to-be sister-in-law Rachel, Eric's plan is simple: Give his vampire girlfriend Tabitha the fancy wedding she's always wanted, then head off to Paris for their honeymoon in the hopes of tracking down his sire, the Empress vampire Lisette. The City of Love proves anything but romantic when the True Immortal rulers of Europe try to block Eric from entering the Continent - and subject Tabitha to a series of challenges to prove her vampire worth. Back home in Void City, Eric's volatile daughter Greta is getting lonely and bored - and that's not good news for anyone. And when, like a bat out of hell, Lisette descends upon Void City to wipe Eric and his brood off the face of the earth - forever - this much is clear: the honeymoon is over.

Eric and Tabitha are getting married, in church, in daylight. Eric has found a real priest willing to marry them, and having the ceremony in daylight, he was hoping the vampires he had to invite would decline. But no such luck, they have devised ways to be able to attend. And now his wedding is crashed by a bunch of religious alpha werewolves, who think it is an abomination for vampires to marry. Marriage should be “till death do us part” and not “at death do we start”. None of the vampires are helping Eric fight them, except Lord Philip, who makes it rain on the doused with holy water vamps. Which is fun, until they bless the rain, and it burns Eric, even in his uber-vamp form. Lucky for them all, it is the priest who puts an end to the fight, as all parties seem to respect him greatly.
Rachel is still scheming against her sister though, making her do things against her will, as she wants Eric for herself. And she almost succeeds at that too, when Eric grows too suspicious to let it go. He has married Tabitha, and he does take his vows seriously. No way would she have added Rachel to their brand new marriage bed.

And so Eric, Tabitha and his thrall Beatrice fly to Paris for their honeymoon in Lord Philips private plane. And to kill his sire, the Lady Lisette.
Only to get a nasty surprise upon landing: they are not allowed to enter Europe! Europe is under much stricter rules than America, and Eric will have to abide by them, or kicked out immediately. Tabitha comes to the rescue by telling them that she is her own person. She will have to prove that to the council though, and the testing will take three nights of their precious honeymoon. They don’t have a choice in this, and while Tabitha is being tested, Eric explores the city with one of the guards, searching out sights to share with Tabitha when she has finished. Or course things don’t go as planned, as Rachel can’t stop scheming to safe her own hide. With the help of one of Eric’s former girlfriends, she kidnaps him and changes his memory.

When Tabitha finds out that Eric has gone missing, she is furious and determined to track him. She can now see the ghost of his ancestor and he helps her find Eric by tracking one of the bullets from his sacred gun.

In the meantime, back in Void City. Eric has left Greta in charge of the theater and bowling alley, with Talbot and Magbidion to look after her. But keeping Greta in check is not an easy thing, and when she finds out that Lisette has come to Void City looking for her Daddy, she is determined to kill her Grandmother for him. Lord Phillip has other plans with Lisette though, and prevents that from happening.

And when Eric finally finds out what is happening around him in France and in America with his beloved daughter, he goes berserk. He will do whatever he has to do to save her, even follow her into Hell if necessary…

It is not often I devour a series back to back, but this series has grabbed me and doesn’t want to let go. Eric is certainly not a typical vampire hero as I found and enjoy so often in my books. He screws around, kills when the mood strikes him, and is sometimes just too powerful. He gets hurt a lot, gets killed a lot, and always rises again. I do love the parts with Greta and her interaction with Fang, the vampiric Mustang car. The series is kind of over the top, but also very engaging and with plain language. There is little to none romance involved, a lot of sex, a lot of violence, and I don’t care about that. Give me more.
Eric is changing, the magic that has protected or hidden him for 40 years is fading, and he is facing the truth about himself. He is still mourning his Marilyn though, and none of his current lovers can hold a candle to her memory. So why did he marry Tabitha?

New kinds of immortals are introduced, but with little to no explanation about what they are at all. Just like there was a passing mention of the Fae in the second book, at a party Tabitha attended with Talbot, and that was all.

I will read book 4 tomorrow, I just can’t stop myself, I need to know what happens next. The books do end with a tiny cliffhanger, not an evil one, but just to make you want to know what will happen next. And I do wonder if Rachel will be in that book, or not.

9 stars.

A blogger made me buy itAutobuy author

Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

© 2013 Reviews by Aurian