Friday Flash: Red Sun

“Boss, boss, wait up!”

She continued walking, heels clicking on the sidewalk.

Squeak ran to catch up. “C’mon. Don’t be like that. I only meant you should -”

She stopped and whirled on him. “I will not now or ever offer my blood to any sanguisuge. I’ll hear no more of this, do you understand, Squeak?”

“Loud and clear, ma’am.” He sounded tired. “But we have to offer them something.”

“Filthy creatures,” she muttered. “Leave it to me, Squeak.”

He nodded his brown head. “Yes, boss.” He turned and walked down the block to the office. He closed up tonight.

She watched the glazed glass office door shut behind him. Even a block away, the words still caught and reflected the dying sun: Red Sun Magician: Custom Spells, Incantations and Enchantments.

Red Sun was her baby. Her dream, ever since she had come home from school to the sight the family store on fire. Both her parents died in the fire. Now the sanguisuges threatened to burn her down if she didn’t give them blood or an equal amount of money.

They believed they could intimidate her, a university trained magician. They were wrong.

She turned, pulled her pink fleece cap a little lower and walked briskly home.

Book Review: Kiss the Dead by Laurell K. Hamilton

Blurb from Goodreads: When a fifteen-year-old girl is abducted by vampires, it’s up to U.S. Marshal Anita Blake to find her. And when she does, she’s faced with something she’s never seen before: a terrifyingly ordinary group of people—kids, grandparents, soccer moms—all recently turned and willing to die to avoid serving a master. And where there’s one martyr, there will be more…

But even vampires have monsters that they’re afraid of. And Anita is one of them…

So  . . .  I am done with Kiss the Dead. It didn’t take long to finish. As always, it moves fast and quick. I talked about it here when I just started.

What I liked best: the beginning.

She gets her butt kicked by a new vampire in the opening pages. ;) It may be wrong of me, but I enjoyed it. It gave me hope for the rest of the book.

That hope was, by and large, fulfilled. Maybe because my expectations were low to begin with. LOL

Mostly, I just wanted a book that wasn’t driven by sex. That’s what I got. Oh, make no mistake, there was sex. But the first happened half way through the book and the second shortly after. I can’t tell you much about them; I am afraid I skipped past them. I don’t feel like I missed anything. As near as I can tell, there are no new guys.

I did pick up that by the end of Kiss the Dead, she has reached new levels of comfort with the youngest guy, the one she got as a kid in one of the previous books. (He’s eighteen now and about ready to graduate from high school. I cannot tell you much this relationship creeps me out.)

What I disliked: how Anita feels the need to point out she is small and tough every couple of paragraphs. Sometimes several times in the same paragraph.

The thing that surprised me the most is that they banished Asher for a few months. At the end, Anita has doubts about whether or not JC can really banish him. But I am hoping it happens. It’ll shake up their happy little life.

About the mystery: Anita does a lot of shooting. She does some things to scare the vampires into telling her what she want to know.

Some of the investigative part? I don’t know. Some of it feels iffy to me. Like it happens because the author needs to happen and there isn’t enough explanation.

I didn’t like the end. I didn’t dislike it, either. Oh, the mystery is solved; she goes deeper into her relationships. But it didn’t really satisfy. Something is missing, but hell if I can figure out what.

So . . . I am still going to read the next book.

Reading Kiss the Dead by Laurell K. Hamilton

So I am reading the latest Anita Blake book: Kiss the Dead. (Also, I am really disgusted by the mental picture I get of Anita smooching a corpse.)

I started Kiss the Dead only yesterday, but it looks promising. A baby vampire gets the better of her in the first few pages. Amusing, since she usually kicks master vampire ass. Sometimes seduces them, too.

Anyway, there is one thing she repeats over and over: I am small and tough.

As if I had not read the same thing a few paragraphs up, a few pages back and in every single book that came before this one. Over and over and over. I am small and tough, small and tough, small and tough, small and tough . . . .

But anyway. My irritation isn’t enough to keep me from reading this new Anita Blake book, too. In fact, it looks more promising than previous books. I. E. she fights the baby vampire to the ground instead of seducing him into submission.

Not that this cover image exactly pushes the idea of the kick-ass vampire hunter. It’s looks more damsel in distress to me, but maybe that’s not Anita? I am not sure.

This line made me laugh:

Jesus, some people don’t enough balls to be undead.

As if balls are a prerequisite for being undead.

No sign of Olaf yet, but I am hopeful. Full review next week, when I am done.

Teaser Tuesday: Angels’ Flight

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read

• Open to a random page

• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

A pause as he studied her, cool intelligence rising past the hot burn of temper. “You intended to take me along all the time,” he said at last. “Now you try to play me. Shame on you, Ashwini.”

- Angels’ Flight by Nalini Singh

Teaser Tuesday: Bound by the Vampire Queen

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teasers:

With only five thousand of us in the world, survival is everything. We cannot stagnate. We can be strong, true to our nature, and yet still consider changes that augment that strength and nature.

- Bound by the Vampire Queen by Joey W. Hill

Teaser Tuesday: Darkness Rising, part 2

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read

* Open to a random page

* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Still reading the same book as last week! I haven’t made much progress, but the week’s been very busy.

My Teasers:

He nodded, glancing at me. “You sound relieved.”

“I am. I mean, vampires can be nasty, but I wouldn’t put them in the same league as something that’s crawled from the gates of hell.”

- Darkness Rising by Keri Arthur

Teaser Tuesday: Darkness Rising

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read

* Open to a random page

* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teasers:

The house still smelled of death.

Two months had passed since Mom’s murder, but the air still echoed with her agony and I knew if I breathed deep enough, I’d catch the hint of old blood.

- Darkness Rising by Keri Arthur

Book Review: Unbound Darkness by Keri Arthur

From Keri Arthur’s website:

Risa Jones is as extraordinary as her heritage. Born from a lab-enhanced clone mother and an Aedh father, she can not only talk to the souls of the dying and the dead, but she can see the reapers and walk the gray fields that divide this world from the next.

They are skill she rarely uses, however, preferring to concentrate on the business she shares with her two best friends. But when her mother asks her to help the parents of a little girl locked in a coma, she reluctantly agrees. What she discovers scares the hell out of her. Because the little girl’s soul no longer resides in her body, and it wasn’t death and the reapers that took her.

Someone had ripped her soul from her flesh.

As it turns out, a creature consuming the souls of the innocent–and not so innocent–is the least of her problems.

Because someone wants to rip open the gates that divided hell from earth, and Risa is a key component in their plans.

And the only person standing between her and disaster is a reaper who isn’t exactly on her side.

I loved Unbound Darkness! It’s clear and fast-moving.

The plot is complex, but the author presents everything so clearly, you over look that. But truthfully, only 2 of maybe 4 or 5 plot points get resolved by the end – the whole ripping soul the summary above talks about.

The summary also talks about ripping open the gates of hell. I expect the series plot arc will come from this. Unbound Darkness introduces the idea – and that’s all this book does. It’s complex and involves a lot of players. Half of them have been hinted at, but not introduced yet. I don’t even know who the villain is yet, if you can believe that. I suspect the author left out so much because it would be too much for a single book. I foresee quite a lot of books in this series. :D

I expect (I hope!) it will be related to the smaller single-book-size plot of someone stealing souls. Maybe. I want it to, but this minor villain might not related to the bigger series plot.

I remember Risa as a little girl from the Riley Jenson stories. But in this book there is no doubt Risa is all grown up.  Even though she can’t change into a wolf, she’s still a half-wolf and perfectly comfortable in the wolf clubs. That’s not surprising. But I think I expected her to go grow up and be a psychic for a living, just like her mother. Instead she owns a restaurant. Go figure.

But the most surprising – the most astonishing part! – is that Risa makes a deal with the devil herself: Madeline Hunter, leader of the vampire council.

I don’t think she had to make that deal. Personally, I hope Madeline Hunter ends up dead by the end of this series.

Teaser Tuesday: Darkness Unbound

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read

* Open to a random page

* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

 

 

My Teasers:

The older folk in the area were still boycotting McDonald’s to protest losing their local watering hole, but I couldn’t see the point. Especially since those of us who liked to party late could get something to eat at all hours.

- Darkness Unbound by Keri Arthur

Book Review: Vampire Instinct by Joey W. Hill

Amazon Summery: As servant to vampire mistress Lady Daniela, Elisa is unwaveringly devoted-but she recoils at one shocking request: destroy the untamed, undead children entrusted to her care. There is one desperate option: Malachi, a Native American vampire who is a legend for his work with rehabilitating feline predators. And as Malachi struggles to control the young ones’ impulses, he opens himself up to those of Elisa-and the passion they share for the night could seal their fates forever.

I read this awhile back and I really liked it. It’s very emotional, very intense and hot. This is a Joey W. Hill book; you know you can count on the heat factor. But it’s possibly more emotional than any other book in this series and that’s not an easy thing to do.

Malachi isn’t like other vampires. He lives away from other vampires because he doesn’t care for vampire society. Instead he stays on his island and rehabilitates large cats for release into the wild. That’s why he’s given wild, damaged vampire fledglings and asked to make them ready to live in the vampire world.

Elisa was badly traumatized in a previous book, but still tries to help the made vampire fledglings. The vampire fledglings are not children, really, in terms of years, but they are stuck in children’s bodies, in a child’s brain and always will be. It’s tragic. Despite all that, Elisa thinks of them as her children. It’s why she comes with them to Malachi’s island. They are her reason for living after her trauma.

In fact, the most intense scene involves one of the vampire children. It would be, right? Children (even if they are out-of-control, blood-sucking vampires) always tug at the heartstrings.

The oldest of them gets loose – they are kept in this enclosure, like one of those especially made habitats for dangerous predators in zoos – and rapes one of the other fledglings, a girl. Jeremiah, the second oldest boy, kills him dead. Then he wants to know if Malachi is going to kill them. It’s pretty heart-breaking.

Malachi doesn’t, but in order to introduce them to vampire society, he needs to go out into it himself. He takes Elisa with him as his servant.

That’s where I had trouble with this book. Despite being a servant all her life, Elisa has never participated in any of the sexual games vampires play. It’s odd. Malachi has to teach her, and yeah, she performs beautifully but still . . . It’s was just an odd note in an otherwise wonderful book.

Also the romance . . .yeah, this is a romance and I need at least a paragraph about the romance. The romance is strong from page 1.

It develops through the children, through Malachi helping her with her trauma, through Elisa helping him through his. Yes, he has trauma in his past, too. There are reasons why he lives on an island with no other vampires. It’s slow and pretty damn believable. They need each other.

It develops through the sex, too, but they are probably the least important element in this novel. The sex scenes are hot and kinky and all that. They certainly contribute to the story, but despite them, I would have to call this more romance than erotica.

If you take out all the sex scenes, you still have a very solid story. This is not true for other Joey W. Hill novels. Vampire Trinity, for example. In that one, if you take out the sex scenes, you lose a large chunk of the story.