Review: Blade Bound by Chloe Neill

Ethan Sullivan and Merit are preparing for the upcoming wedding when an infiltrator to Cadogan House attacks Merit. Initially, they suspect the attacker has mental health issues but later events show them that dark magic is at work in Chicago. Will the rise of a dark sorcerer destroy Chicago?

BLADE BOUND is the 13th and final book in the Chicagoland Vampires series and boy am I sad to see this series end! BLADE BOUND is best appreciated in the context of the series as a whole, particularly since it concludes several ongoing story threads (including the wedding).

One of the things I love about Chloe Neill’s books is the action. Chloe Neill doesn’t waste any time kicking things into gear as the action heats up almost immediately. However, this doesn’t detract from the wedding, which goes about how you would expect a wedding between Ethan and Merit to go. Needless to say, they didn’t need a trash the dress party afterwards!

And what can I say about the characters except that I love them? From the Ombuddies to the Cadogan House vampires to the Red Guards, each faction we’ve met throughout the series has earned a special place in my heart. Yes, Ethan and Merit are the heart and soul of the Chicagoland Vampires but all the supporting characters and factions are just as essential to Chloe Neill’s world. I love that BLADE BOUND truly showcases the diversity of the Chicagoland Vampires population and how working together is the only way to save the town from the sorcerer and her deadly weapon (and just wait till you meet her weapon!).

Finishing BLOOD BOUND is bittersweet as I really am not reading to say goodbye to these characters or the Chicagoland Vampires series as a whole. Thankfully, Chloe Neill’s website indicates a spin-off series is in the works so hopefully we’ll get to see glimpses of Ethan and Merit in those books. Highly recommended!

*copy of book provided through Netgalley

Review: Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs

It all started with cookies and chocolate….

Mercy Thompson Hauptman has been abducted from a convenience store after running out to buy more eggs for the cookies she is baking. Unfortunately, the kidnapping isn’t part of a local plot but instead involves the head of the Milan seethe and ultimately the leader of all the European vampires. Iacopa Bonarata, also known as the Lord of Night, intends to use Mercy against her mate and Alpha werewolf, Adam Hauptman. Cut off from the pack bonds that allow Mercy and Adam to sense one another, Mercy will have to survive in a different world where the rules and relationships are very different from the ones she is used to.

SILENCE FALLEN is the tenth book in the Mercy Thompson series and wow, this is a series that never gets stale! SILENCE FALLEN is best appreciated in the context of the series as a whole, particularly since the relationships have already been established and the strength of those bonds is part of what makes SILENCE FALLEN so gut-wrenching. Readers familiar to the series should note that the narration in SILENCE FALLEN is slightly different as the story alternates between the points of view of Adam and Mercy, with the time line not staying strictly linear.

SILENCE FALLEN takes the Mercy Thompson series in a whole new direction as we see the world continuing to broaden. We are beginning to see the worldwide impact of Adam’s deal with the Fae that made the Tri-Counties a safe zone. The politics are starting to get sticky and it’s going to be interesting to see where these new developments take us in future books.

I love that we get to see Mercy’s independence and determination shine through. She is on her own for most of SILENCE FALLEN and we are reminded of how she survived without a pack prior to her relationship with Adam. Mercy is a fighter but she also knows her own strengths and weaknesses.  Mercy is perhaps my favorite urban fantasy heroine as Patricia Briggs shows us what a strong, resilient woman can do, both with her mate and on her own.

SILENCE FALLEN is yet another stunning installment in the Mercy Thompson series. Patricia Briggs is without a doubt one of the masters of the urban fantasy genre. Highly recommended!

*copy of ebook provided courtesy of Netgalley*

Review: Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews

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Kate Daniels and Curran Lennart, the former Beast Lord, are making wedding preparations, starting with who will officiate their ceremony. Unfortunately, Saiman has been kidnapped and Kate can’t allow the challenge from her father to go unnoticed. Worse yet, a Witch Oracle sees a vision that the end of the world- or at least Atlanta- will occur if they follow through with the wedding. Can Kate change the future and keep the man she loves by her side?

MAGIC BINDS is the ninth book in the Kate Daniels series and I highly suggest reading this series in order. The world building and character development have been building over the course of the series. MAGIC BINDS continues the story arc involving Roland’s encroachment on Atlanta and thus is best appreciated in the context of the series as a whole. Besides, the Kate Daniels series is one of the best urban fantasy series out there so missing out on reading even one book is just sad!

Kate is one of my favorite urban fantasy heroines. I love her feisty attitude, even when odds seem firmly against her. MAGIC BINDS shows Kate with a new challenge- she has to fight her own urges to rule as her father does. Curran’s love for Kate and his willingness to help her through the moments when she’s not quite so human make me love him even more.

And oh… how could I talk about MAGIC BINDS without at least mentioning Christopher and Roman. Roman may be my new favorite character in the series (second to Kate, of course). I love his snarky comments and hope we get to see at least a short story featuring him. As for Christopher, I won’t reveal spoilers but oh my! The revelations we get about Christopher alone would have made MAGIC BINDS a hit!

If you haven’t read a book by Ilona Andrews, stop what you are doing now and read the Kate Daniels series. You won’t regret it. Ilona Andrews is one of THE best urban fantasy authors out there and the Kate Daniels series is proof. Highly recommended!

Review: Blood of the Earth by Faith Hunter

BloodOfTheEarthNell Ingram is forging her own path as a “widder-woman”, free from the cult she grew up in. Unfortunately, some of the men from God’s Cloud of Glory Church just won’t leave Nell alone on her land, particularly after she helped Jane Yellowrock free a missing vampire and save more than a hundred children from the cult (see the Jane Yellowrock series for more details).  Now, Rick LaFleur and his team from PsyLED want Nell to help them with yet another investigation as a paid member of the team. Nell will have to face her past if she hopes to move forward with her future.

BLOOD OF THE EARTH is the first book in the Soulwood series, although it is loosely tied to the Jane Yellowrock series. Unlike some spinoff series, you don’t have to be familiar with any of the Jane Yellowrock series in order to appreciate BLOOD OF THE EARTH. Faith Hunter gives new readers (like me!) all of the necessary back story in order to thoroughly enjoy BLOOD OF THE EARTH.

Faith Hunter does a marvelous job with character development! I love how Faith Hunter drops us little pieces of Nell’s story rather than giving us one giant info dump. Instead, we get to know Nell and her past gradually while watching her step out into her future. Nell is an intriguing character, and one I look forward to seeing more of in the future. However, I have to admit that I have a soft spot for Occam, the wereleopard, and how gentle he is with Nell, even as he allows her to stand on her own.

Atmosphere is key to the success of BLOOD OF THE EARTH. Soulwood is a very unique land and I love how Faith Hunter makes it practically a sentient being. BLOOD OF THE EARTH shows us the mysterious connection Nell has with her land and it will be interesting to see how this develops as the series progresses.

BLOOD OF THE EARTH is a stunning and exciting start to the Soulwood series. I have to admit that I’ve had friends telling me I need to read Faith Hunter for a while now and after finishing BLOOD OF THE EARTH, I’m convinced! Faith Hunter’s BLOOD OF THE EARTH is urban fantasy at its finest. Spectacular world building, superb character development, and a whole host of intriguing paranormal beings make BLOOD OF THE EARTH a must-read for urban fantasy fans. Highly recommended!

*A copy was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Review: The Nightmare Stacks by Charles Stross

TheNightmareStacksBeing a vampire isn’t easy for Alex Schwartz.  In one drastic change, he lost his humanity, his job, and his perspective of the world. Now, he’s in the bureaucratic grasp of the Laundry. Meanwhile, he’s interested in Cassie Brewer, but will her secrets destroy him? Code Nightmare Red has started… and the whole world is at stake!

THE NIGHTMARE STACKS is the seventh book in The Laundry Files series. The earlier books in the series are told from the point of view of Bob Howard (with one exception, when his wife narrates). However, THE NIGHTMARE STACKS switches to a different narrator and thus is an excellent point for new readers to jump right into The Laundry Files series.

Alex is an interesting character. Yes, he’s a vampire but he is not like any other vampires I’ve read before! In fact, he’s quite nerdy and insecure at times. I can’t help but love his reactions about his family.  Alex grew on me as the story progressed but I can’t deny that I missed Bob and his perspectives. However, Alex is a great new narrator and a welcome addition to the series!

THE NIGHTMARE STACKS is yet another enthralling addition to The Laundry Files series. If you haven’t gotten a taste of Charles Stross’ quirky blend of horror and science fiction, THE  NIGHTMARE STACKS is the perfect place to start. Easily recommended!

*ARC received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

Review: The Suicide Motor Club by Christopher Buehlman

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Judith Lamb, her husband, Robert, and her son, Glendon, are heading down I-40 towards a motel in New Mexico as the sun dips down and the moon comes up. Unfortunately, these precious moments will be the last they spend together as a family. The Lamb family has captured the attention of THE SUICIDE MOTOR CLUB, a small band of roving vampires who relentlessly attack and slaughter their victims. This time, however, they leave one witness behind….

I love Judith’s character! Her determination and willpower in the midst of such horrific events is truly admirable. One can easily feel her sense of loss regarding Glendon. Her character contrasts quite sharply with Robert, who I wanted to dropkick. However, the hardships Judith faces only strengthen her. One of my regrets about THE SUICIDE MOTOR CLUB is that I wanted to spend more time with Judith and less time with the vampires.

Christopher Buehlman takes readers on a dark ride (literally!) as we see the horrors vampires can inflict on humans. THE SUICIDE MOTOR CLUB is not for the squeamish as the details are nothing short of gruesome. I love a good horror novel but even I was getting a bit squicked out over some of the nastiness these vampires inflict on their victims. Don’t look for lovely sparkling vampires here! However, if you want a hard-hitting, gritty vampire tale where nothing is too dark or dangerous, then look no further than THE SUICIDE MOTOR CLUB.