Frost's writing takes you thru intense and such seemingly realistic emotions that all the supernatural stuff is just fun icing and secondary. You'll experience the intense emotional wrench as the Heroine has to make one of the hardest decisions of her life but I so wished I was like her when confronted with a strong man whose emotions were so walled up his pride ran the show.
Even if you didn't read the first book of this spin off from the Night Huntress series, you will love Leila and get caught up quickly. Vlad? No writer in the history of this genre has made a Vlad so complex, delicious and dangerous.
Tavia Gilbert works hard to bring the personalities and accents of the narrative to life. And boy does she take you to the heights at pivotal points in the story. It'll bring you to your tip toes.
Thank you Ms Frost for the perfect sequel and the perfect cliffhanger--that satisfies yet tantalizes!
Out of 20 or so books this year, this is my vote for best of the year.
Thea Harrison doesn't know how to write a bad or boring story.
This was fun and satisfying. Her world of nightkind is so well written, and Harrison never disappoints with original characters and romantic pairings. Altho a bit pricy for less-than 4 hours, it is worth it. You'll love it!
In the late 1980s, in the military, I was into survivalism--being able to survive in case of societal breakdown/Soviet invasion/EMP and other disaster scenarios.
So, I thought this would be a fun dip back into that pond. A.American is clearly infatuated with name-brand gear and for the non-survivalist, you will have to stick it out in the long descriptions of acronym-laden gear required to be "prepared".
This book plows deeply into the conspiracy mutterings of the ultra right wing, namely that the government wants totalitarian control over you, wants to take your guns, your right to defend yourself, your food, your independence and your autonomy.
Within that conceptual housing, the theme was deeply anti-social in that as our lead guy tries to make it back to his family to east Florida from where he's at near Tallahassee and is accosted at nearly every interaction with other people who try to take his backpack, food, weapons, and life--and this but a few days after the event (an EMP of some sort). Thru his Magyver-life wileyness, he is able to extricate himself and stay on track for home. But not without meeting up with the ultimate uber "prepper", the mysterious Sergeant and his team of black op "patriots" fighting an unnamed secret counter-insurgency (again, were talking only days into this after the event) after they defect from a military operation run by Homeland Security who has now taken control of the US.
Time and time again, the author keeps reminding the reader that "Iron makes right" (guns will rule), that guns will rule the natural homicidal tendencies that seem to run in all of us even a day after all the electronics stop running. That evil will rise the top if good men stand by (without guns). That all people who lack something will suddenly become "socialists" and demand we share with them. That child predators will take over if they have guns and can only be stopped by those who also have guns.
In spite of some interesting writing (where nearly 25% of sentences in some sections began in first person "I went....I held....I then...."), I quite enjoyed this until about 2/3rds of the way in where the two sidekicks are painted as annoying cowards for being down on killing in the name of self-defense and then the constant proselytizing about need for guns and repetitive theme of how evil people will have guns so you must too. I didn't understand why these two, whose lives were at stake would suddenly have such reticence, and the character about-face was jarring.
I get the gun argument, and as someone who actually spends about 30 nites a year in the wilderness of the Sierra, White, Inyo and other mountain ranges, often happily alone, I get the self-sufficiency argument. But the amorphous arguments of the evil conspiratorial DHS and its gestapo-like agents in black helos arn't actually backed up with any kind of plot or rationale. The author seemed to been building a good plot for why the govt was being taken over and resulting chaos, but he totally ran out of steam and it degenerated into a rant about might makes right.
About halfway in to the book, I was driving across the mojave and the struggles in the book had me thinking I needed to replentish my water and other supplies (you know, just in case!) But in the last quarter of the book I felt pretty let down. I was hoping for a good story about the government takeover, but he never delivered.
This book will fan gun-right fervor like nitroglycerin, and it will very much resonate with those who think the government is bad, is trying to control them and other such ideas. But it contradicts itself, and doesn't really develop any kind of plot other than one tactical scene following another.
Halfway thru, I was excited for the next book. By the last hour, I just wanted it over with. This is appealing to some folks, but perhaps less so if you are sticky about having some plot to go with your conspiracy and doomsday scenario.
This series was an unexpected surprise I'm so grateful to have found. It was a review by Nalini Singh that I caught someway in my browsing for something new.
This is a post-apoplyptic adventure tale that will appeal to paranormal, urban fantasy, and sci fi romantics as well as fans of Hunger Games. But Gleason/Ware brings romantic fiction readers a couple new things that I rarely (if ever) see in romance. Passionate, sexy alpha dudes who are sexually principled and not erotically opportunistic. Are these hot stories? Oh yeah. Heck, Nalini Singh recommended them after all (can you tell she's in my "five"?).
But in the first two books of the Envy Chronicles I've read including Embrace the Night, our guys want more than a quickie after a very long dry spell and hold out until their lady gives in. How refreshing is that in romantic fiction?
In Embrace the Night, Simon our mysterious deadly lead, is coming from such a dark place that he is convinced that he isn't good enough and fights everything in him to see our leading lady is matched up with someone better than him. She isn't having it.
For the reader who wants a little more substance to backstory in a novel like this, there are some very interesting conundrums for the modern reader to contend with particularly with the open promiscuity of this sparsely populated world and the reasoning behind it--the urgency to repopulate the planet. But who benefits from that?
Gleason/Ware has a few weaknesses in this world she has created. She doesn't deal with some of the logistical infrastructure issues (food production etc) which would be the number one issue (see maslow). She is also not good tactician. There are scenes in both first and second book where the tactics are lunacy (telling strangers your plans for survival in given situations; not asking pertinent questions at key moments etc).
But I so enjoyed these both and the very different characters that populate each romantic tale that I will happily overlook those flaws. You may read other reviews saying book two sizzled more than book one, and I disagree. Dr Elliot Drake had to endure some terrible situations that would darken the visage of any doctor. He may be in my top 10 romantic heros of all time (even tho he committed some of the previously mentioned tactical errors). Gleason/Ware had to do a lot of world building very succinctly and I love many aspects of how she did it. Plus, there are a couple major mysteries that are unfolding through the books that will keep you eager and interested.
Fans of Zombies will also love this. Gleason's creation myth for the zombies is original, curious, and keeps you wondering. It also keeps up the tension and provides that unifying element that keeps people together. I have to admit I am not a fan of zombies, and this is my first foray into that genre, and I really enjoyed it. It wasn't comical caricatures, but creatures with a purpose. And that purpose has yet to unfold...
Finally, the narrator, Sebastien Fields was excellent. Added so much to my enjoyment that I got lost as he brought Simon and Sage so clearly into my mind. I am grateful to whatever weird link led me to this series and recommendation that scooted it up past my usual fare (Pamela Clare, Nalini Singh, Christine Feehan, Kresley Cole, Larissa Ione, Sherrilyn Kenyon etc).
If you are in the mood for something intriguing and different, download this series ASAP.
I read the later two books in this series a few months back, really liked them, and loved this audio version of the first book. If you are a fan of the alpha guy and smart sexy female lead, then this book will satisfy. Lisa Marie Rice delivers a great and original story and tantalizes with an equally surprising romance. Both characters are completely likeable and compelling. Unlike so many guys painted by this genre, Sam isn't really a people-person, and is prone to awkward interpersonal gaffes, but unlike other tales, Sam knows immediately he wants this lady and his primitive side goes to lengths to imprint on her early on. We don't have any of the usual dude-denial (phew). The action moves too fast for sam to sit around thinking too much.
Lisa Marie Rice is a wonderful, dependable way to spend your credit. She always delivers punch and satisfaction. Her interesting life experiences give us a variety of backgrounds that just thrum with excitement.
The narrator, Charles Constant, was a new one for me. He did not distract from the book in any way, and did a fair job of the male voices and overall. He is not in my top 10, but maybe he was the perfect voice for a good book...
Go for it. Get this book and sit back and enjoy!
Frank is that rare author in this genre whose imagination, plot, pacing and research is in top 10th %ile.
This book was not there, and I think she had an "off-day" with this one.
There were way too many distractions--new creatures, new "births" of various entities, new characters, too many subplots so that we don't get the cohesion or focus on the story. I set this book down for a couple weeks at about 1/4th of the way in. I wasn't engaged or involved. I've read/listened to about 10 books since and after picking this one up again for another 5 hours I'm finding it hard to stay with it or be interested in the two leads. I loved the prospect of intersecting with her other nightwalker groups (demons, vamps, shadowdwellers) but not enough to continue further.
I love J. Frank's work, and continue to re-listen to so many of her previous nightwalker books, but this series doesn't stick with me and doesn't engage me. I can never remember much of the plots or details of the previous two books in this series, whereas I can remember minute intricate details of the shadowdwellers and demons (ok, maybe because I've listened to them multiple times and still don't grow tired of them).
I'm gonna pass on this series but definitely won't pass on the author. She's spectacularly creative. This just isn't her best work or series, and Sand's top notch narration can't elevate it.
This will be a good bargain listen, but save your credit.
I started out really liking this book. Others have commented on storyline etc, so I'll offer you this:
If you like "christian" romance and paranormal, get this book.
If you want something Really Long, with a little suspense get this book.
Hunter does have a new take on the vampire culture/world building that I very much enjoyed.
The characters are wonderful and the unusual longitudinal story over 7 or 8 years allows a lot of time for character development. The length gives a lot of detail to the suspense. I really liked both the leads tremendously. I was, however, irritated that when they FINALLY get together, its pretty lukewarm and very 1970s harlequin (everything kind of hinted at). I think we wait 12 hours before they finally merge. Both the lead female and the author are very prudish throughout the book. Its fine when its the lead character, but instead of passion, we just get treacle. Lots of treacle. "I love you". No, I love you. I love you. I really love you. Oh how I love you. Enough already. Though her first one in this series with Giovanni and Beatrice was nice and a very low embered burn that suggest a different approach to romance in the 21st century romantic fiction, this book--Building from Ashes--has much more of decided Christian romance, with a lot of devout practicing Catholics.
The resolution was predictable. I give a 3 for the mystery villans, 4 for the worldbuilding, 2 for the romance (tho I loved the Stigmata movie related theme of the priest!) and 3.5 for the narration.
If your usual fangy fare is Lara Adrian, C. Feehan, Larissa Ione, N. Singh, or K. Cole, but you are in the grove for something more tepid in the physical heat dept, you may enjoy this. Hunter is a good storyteller and you will love her characters. If you like Dee Henderson and her genre and are feeling like something on the paranormal side, you may enjoy this. Its got a tad more sizzle than Henderson who is a fabulous writer in military themed romance but is old fashioned and completely passion-free--something that seems thematic to me in "Christian" romance.
For me, if there had been a bit more passion, a little more sizzle when they DID get together--they are such good characters and I wanted to FEEL that moment with them-- I wouldn't suggest that this is more of a Christian paranormal. There was a lot in this one about Catholic practice (hey, even the Vatican is board with vampire priests) and there doesn't seem any discordance with vampirism and the Church. That's new. But we get a lot of religious hand wringing about the priest and our female lead and getting physical till marriage. I felt like I stuck it out through the all the Irish angst, and got let down. Never was I so relieved when the epilogue was intoned. I didn't stick around for the preview for the next book.
Dina Perlman was a better narrator here than in the first one since there is little Italian and mostly Irish, Scottish and Welsh accents to contend with. In the first book, she butchered italian so bad that I was cringing every time she said "Gee-oh" as the shortened "Giovanni" (it's "Joe"--"joe-VANNI" in Italian). Another example was "Dee-meh-DEE-chee" ( de Medici or "Day MED-de-chee"). Since it was said hundreds of times in the first book, you should take that as a recommendation that I bought another one in this series with the same narrator--the story in the first book outshone the butchered narration and poor pacing). PErlman gets better in this one with her pacing and voicing. It helps that this is not centered on a mystery involving medieval Italian literature as was the first.
I won't be continuing on with this series or the author, but I would recommend this as a bargain read or listen.
I was happily surprised by this book for several reasons. First, it was entertaining in the way of Molly Harper or Tate Halloway or Jennienne Frost, with snappy dialogue, a little suspense, lots of urban paranormal, and a little romance. Second, I was surprised I hadn't heard of this author till I went to Kindle>Whispersync>sort by price and found it that way, and 3rd, the unexpected bargain of a fun, entertaining listen free on kindle plus $2 audio and then it high ratings too?!
Therese Plummer is probably on the A list narrators and really added to this great bargain package. That said, it did take me about an hour or two to stop hearing her men sound like Jack and women like Mel from the prolific Virgin River series.
I gave it 5 stars for high entertainment value, fun suspense, edgy urban underbelly details, not being another erotica book (romance(s) is G rated and in its infancy in story arc), Snappy at 7 hours, kept me riveted as I painted, and the high quality narration.
What's even better? The following books in the series are a great bargain if you buy the kindle v first, then the audio attached for total of six bucks. A great entertainment value when you know its gonna be good after spending only two bucks for the first audio.
I've downloaded the next two...you should too!
I've read hundreds of books that either deal with combat, combat vets as characters in various fiction novels. This book is riveting. While Junger describes the men he is embedded with, the battle actions and consequences, it is his growing realization of the unexpected consequences of war on participants. From the mundane to the insane, and then to the realities that No One Talks About. The excitement of war. And the delayed reactions. When the impersonal to mortally personal.
This book is riveting because Junger, not the best reader, becomes your reality after a while and all you are left with the sensations of war.
Should be mandatory reading for every voter, every civilian, every servicemember and essays required from lawmakers and decisionmakers.
You owe it to what we Americans come from to listen/read this book.
It will pass quickly, but will echo in your thoughts for months to come.
Freespirit Ella and a fractured Quinlan meet in New Orleans for an intense heartfelt fling when Ella's baggage forces her to flee to a new job in New Mexico leaving Quin bewildered and alone.
Ella and Quin are likeable and well painted by Clark. I enjoyed their happy meet and get-together and felt the chemistry. However, new to this book in the series is the overplayed internal monologuing.
Pages upon pages of repetitive internal monologing on why she should get away from Quin, then later more tedious monologing on why she should call him. I actually got a lot of vacuuming done during this audio book, and when I turned it off, she's STILL monologuing on the same thing--why she should call Quin. Sigh.
I've listened to all the books in this series and two warranted 5 stars, two warranted 4 stars, the first one was returned, and this was only a three. The use of flashbacks, usually a good way to build tension and suspense, was poorly placed at times and fell flat, not helping the story at all. Johanna Parker, whose distinctive voice I've often enjoyed in this and other series, contributes to irritation with the strident hysteria of Ella's monologing and in the drawn-out pinnacle scenes. Hysteria was warranted, granted, but instead of feeling wrenching sympathy, I rolled my eyes and did some vacuuming and resisted the urge to fast forward.
Use your credits to get Deadly Ties and Deadly Games, and get this one if it goes on sale. This one needed a better editor and cutting off some 20-30 pages of monologuing. It would have been easier on the ears if it was 3rd person description and Ms Parker wouldn't have had to use the high pitch voice to convey hysteria--something not suited to her voice in large doses.
I didn't make it beyond an hour into this audio book. The narration was painful and grating, as thought the speaker had a smile permanent on her face, and was looking around to see if her audience was listening at story time. Unnatural pauses between sentances made for a jerky delivery. This review is more about the narration (speaking actually, since it wasn't really narration), and not the story.
Pass this audio book up.
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