Thursday, October 16, 2014

Really Short Reviews: Novellas by Faith Hunter, Kristen Painter and Jaye Wells

Dead Man's Hand by Kristen Painter Release: October 14, 2014 Links: Amazon Goodreads        Really Short Review: Seraphina is a muse employed by a popular Las Vegas artist. When her employer's daughter goes missing, she spearheads the effort to get her back. Ares, the Collector all the other Collectors fear, gets sent to help the Boss's favorite artist recover his daughter. He's never been on a rescue mission before, being the Collectors' cleaner, but he relishes the opportunity to help the living. Though maybe not as much as he enjoys the beautiful muse he's partnered with. The only problem is he can't touch her without risking her life. Ares is a wraith, a half reaper, whose touch separates a soul from its body. The story has lots of action and excitement on the mission to recover the girl, and a sweet romance.
I love the idea of pairing a figure from classical mythology with the very modern tattooed, leather-clad Ares. It's even more interesting because the characters really are from two different worlds. Seraphina explains that creatures of myth, like gods and demi-gods, and creatures of legend, like vampires and werewolves, do not mix, so she's never met another supernatural before. Though she doesn't spell it out in so much detail, it gives the couple a little bit of a Romeo and Juliet feel. And when Ares and Seraphina find themselves in the underworld, the two sides literally battle for her soul. My inner Lit. major may have enjoyed this one a little too much.
4 stars
Fool's Gold by Jaye Wells Release: October 7, 2014 Links: Amazon Goodreads                        Really Short Review: I absolutely loved this Sabina Kane prequel story. It's 1979 and Sabina's just been promoted from leg breaker to assassin for the Dominae, the vampire ruling council led by her grandmother. For her first assignment, she's teamed up with Slade Corbin, who fans of the series remember from the books. The two are ordered to track down and kill a vampire who threatened to expose the vampires in the human media if the Dominae don't pay him one billion dollars. (I could not read that or type it without hearing Dr. Evil!) Their search takes them through the wonderfully filthy supernatural underbelly of L.A. - a vampire strip club, an adult video store, and a fairy brothel. But my favorite thing about the story are the pop culture references. Wells manages to get a surprising number of 70's icons in such a short piece. Bo Derek's hair, Burt Reynolds's mustache and Shaft appear just in the first ten pages. Also Charlie's Angels, The BeeGees, I could on for a while. It's so much fun.
Over Larry's head, a TV bolted to the ceiling displayed a scene involving a pizza deliveryman and a woman whose undercarriage looked like one of Star Trek's tribbles.
Obviously, this story takes place before Giguhl, but Sabina did a good job taking up the snark slack. And she does still have a cat. Satan is great, but he's no substitute for my favorite demon feline. (That sentence is going to get me on a watch list somewhere.) Fans of the Sabina Kane series won't want to miss this one!
5 stars

Black Water by Faith Hunter Release: September 16, 2014 Links: Amazon Goodreads
Really Short Review: Technically, this isn't just one novella. It's three stories in the world of Jane Yellowrock. The first one, "Black Water" returns to the town where Jane and her team hunted rogue werewolves in Blood Trade. An escaped convict related to one of those wolves is calling Jane out and causing havoc. This story feels really similar to the book to me. It's just that they're hunting humans instead of supernaturals. But I liked seeing more of Sarge, some of it in wolf form.

"Snafu" is a really short story, but I loved it. Jane arrives for her first day of her internship as a PI. She's just figured out she has a part of herself that turns into a cat, but she's not talking to Beast yet like she does in the books. And she has a run-in with some thugs on her way to work.

In "Off the Grid" Jane travels to Tennessee to rescue a vampire kidnapped by a cult. She gets help from Nell, a former member of the cult who has some magic Jane can't quite identify. Nell is very private and reveals just enough about her life to make Jane really curious. I suspect some of that backstory will be revealed when Nell's spinoff series debuts next year. Jane also makes a new vampire friend, a woman who helps her rescue children from the cult, who she nicknames Yummy. I loved her and hope she appears in the series again. I also love it when the Younger brothers get to do their thing and they really shine in this one.

 4 stars

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