Friday, August 29, 2014

Audio Review: Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead

Silver Shadows
(Bloodlines #5)
Author: Richelle Mead
Narrator: Emily Shaffer, Alden Ford
Release: July 29, 2014
Goodreads  Amazon
In The Fiery Heart, Sydney risked everything to follow her gut, walking a dangerous line to keep her feelings hidden from the Alchemists.
Now in the aftermath of an event that ripped their world apart, Sydney and Adrian struggle to pick up the pieces and find their way back to each other. But first, they have to survive.

For Sydney, trapped and surrounded by adversaries, life becomes a daily struggle to hold on to her identity and the memories of those she loves. Meanwhile, Adrian clings to hope in the face of those who tell him Sydney is a lost cause, but the battle proves daunting as old demons and new temptations begin to seize hold of him. . . .
Their worst fears now a chilling reality, Sydney and Adrian face their darkest hour in this heart-pounding fifth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where all bets are off.

Adrian and Sydney. Just. Love. Them. In Silver Shadows we see the consequences of their actions in the previous book, and with the way that one ended we knew things were going to be bad.

When the book starts, Sydney is in the Alchemists' reeducation center and things are not looking good. Throughout the first half of the book we see Sydney going through hell - isolation, torture, etc. - and Adrian going through a different kind of hell not knowing what happened to Sydney and not being able to get in touch with her through her dreams at all. Even though they are apart for most of the first half, I still felt their romance through their feelings for one another. One of my favorite quotes is when either of them is feeling desperate about the situation, but then remembers their personal saying, "The center will hold".

I always gush about the two of them when I review these books, but I just can't help it. In the last two books I've said I love Adrian and Sydney more than Dimitri and Rose. I KNOW. But the way each of them is written, so completely opposite of the other, I find myself really drawn to their relationship. I adore Adrian's bad-boy-made-good-by-a-smart-girl and how he continues to struggle with both staying sober and the craziness that comes with being a spirit user., both of which are explored more in this book.

The plot of this one goes back and forth with the action, but it largely takes places in the final act of the story. And it's a lot of action for this series! I enjoyed the build up of the plot and the unexpected ending! That ending!

Notes on the Narrator: This series is one of my favorites on audio. Something about Emily Shaffer's voice is just perfect for Sydney. Her voice sounds young enough but at the same time has that maturity behind it that Sydney exudes. Plus there's the wry quality to her voice that's perfect for Syd. Alden Ford joined the audios with the previous book because of the new dual POV and he's been a perfect addition. In Silver Shadows, he delivers Adrian's down and out moments flawlessly. I highly recommend listening to the audios for the Bloodlines series!

Recommended for fans of: YA bad boys, Adrian, Vampire Academy series, opposites attracting,

  4.5 / 5 stars

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Really Short Reviews: Kate SeRine and Bec McMaster

I have been known to read as many as 8 books in a single week. I will never be known for writing 8 reviews in a single week though. So I'm trying something new and putting together some mini-reviews of some of the books I've read recently. Let us know in the comments what you think of the format. Should we make it a regular feature?

Along Came a Spider (Transplanted Tales #3) by Kate SeRine
Release: August 1, 2013 Source: purchased
Links: Goodreads Amazon
My Really Short Review: If Once Upon a Time aired on HBO it might be something like the Transplanted Tales series. Prince Charming is in prison for racketeering. Snow White and the seven dwarves run a brothel. The three little pigs are shady contractors who know how to hide a body. And Little Miss Muffet, our heroine, swears like a sailor and kicks ass like Buffy.

Trish Muffet works as a CSI for the Fairytale Management Agency or FMA, their version of the FBI. She teams up with long time crush, Nicky "Little Boy" Blue to solve a series of murders that seem to be tied to Dracula, but no one has seen the vampire in years. The human authorities are also investigating the crime and seem to have some ulterior motives. It looked like there was going to be another one of those supernatural stories where the humans were collecting the supes to dissect them, which I've seen a lot in the last few years (and give me the creeps.) I was dreading that revelation the whole time I was reading, but it didn't turn out exactly like I thought it would.  I really enjoyed Trish and Nicky's story and all the characters they met as they tried to solve the crimes. And I loved Trish's snarky voice and her badass attitude.

  4 stars

Ever After (Transplanted Tales #4) by Kate SeRine
Release: August 21, 2014 Source: ARC provided by publisher
Links: Goodreads Amazon
My Really Short Review: Ever After is sort of a mash-up of the Robin Hood and King Arthur stories with some fairies thrown in. Gideon, bodyguard and security chief to the king of the fairies, was called Little John for a time while he lived in Sherwood Forest. He fell in love with a girl who was called Robin Hood and then he watched her die. 500 years later in the Here and Now, he finds her again, alive and in danger.

I didn't like this one as much as the previous book. I think maybe I wasn't as interested in these slightly more grown up myths and fairytales. I figured out who was the real villain was pretty early on, so the mystery plot moved a little slowly for me. I did really enjoy seeing the couples from the other books come to Gideon's aid for once. He only ever seemed to show up in their stories when someone needed help. Fans of the series have been eagerly awaiting Gideon's story and won't want to miss this one.

The Curious Case of the Clockwork Menace (London Steampunk #3.5) by Bec McMaster
Release: August 19, 2014 Source: free on Smashwords
My Really Short Review: I read this novella after Forged by Desire, but I would recommend reading it first since it's the beginning of Perry and Garrett's story. The blurb calls it a pre-romance, not a prequel. To me it feels like an extended prologue. This is the case that made them realize they had feelings for each other. It just took them two more years to get to the events in Forged by Desire that led them to act on those feelings. (It actually takes place before My Lady Quicksilver as well, so if you're behind in the series you could read it then.)
A lot of what goes through the character's heads is the same as it is in Forged by Desire. They're both thinking about their pasts, contemplating their partnership, and trying to suppress their love. They also refer to events from this story in the book. I think that's why I'm finding it really hard to view this as a separate book for the purposes of rating and reviewing it -- it just seems like part of the same story. I can say, though, that I wish they had spent more time with "the clockwork menace." He was a really interesting character and just didn't get developed much. I also felt like solving the case, one about an actress's disappearance, became something of an afterthought once the characters started dealing with their feelings. But it's definitely worth picking up before Forged by Desire releases next week to get some more Perry and Garrett. And it's free at all e-book vendors right now. (The price will eventually go back to $2.99.)
3 1/2 stars
Forged By Desire (London Steampunk #4) by Bec McMaster
Release: September 2, 2014 Source: ARC provided by publisher
My Really Short Review: Forged by Desire is a friends to lovers story featuring Garrett, the new head of the Nighthawks, and Perry, his long time partner. He was seriously injured in the previous book and she maintained a vigil at his bedside. Since his recovery, though, he's been keeping his distance. Now he sends Perry to investigate a grisly murder that brings back nightmares from her past. Perry fears that the life she fled years ago is coming to reclaim her and has to decide whether to stay and fight or run to protect the one she loves.

The first part of the book was full of instances of the characters almost getting together. There were so many near misses it got kind of frustrating, for me and the characters both. I was surprised by Perry's backstory but I wished we got to the meat of it sooner. I really enjoyed the political intrigue and the chance to see the couples from the previous books, who come to Perry's aid, but again wish we got to it sooner. It seemed that all of the action was in the last quarter of the book.

 4 stars

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Release Day Review: I Want It That Way by Ann Aguirre

I Want It That Way
(2B Trilogy #1)
Ann Aguirre
Release: August 26, 2014
Reviewer: Rose Red
Goodreads Amazon
Nadia Conrad has big dreams, and she's determined to make them come true—for her parents' sake as well as her own. But between maintaining her college scholarship and working at the local day care to support herself, she barely has time to think, let alone date. Then she moves into a new apartment and meets the taciturn yet irresistible guy in 1B….

Daniel Tyler has grown up too fast. Becoming a single dad at twenty turned his life upside down—and brought him heartache he can't risk again. Now, as he raises his four-year-old son while balancing a full-time construction management job and night classes, a social life is out of the question. The last thing he wants is for four noisy students to move into the apartment upstairs. But one night, Nadia's and Ty's paths cross, and soon they can't stay away from each other.

The timing is all wrong—but love happens when it happens. And you can't know what you truly need until you stand to lose it.
Review by Rose Red:
I’m always a bit hesitant starting a new adult book because I’ve been burned by so many of them. Granted, I do have several that I love! Hello, J. Lynn’s Wait For You series! But a lot of the new adult I’ve read all revolved around the innocent college age girl falling in love with the bad boy. I’m sick of that trope which is why I gravitate to the new adult with love interests that don’t fall into that category.

It’s not a secret that I’ve been a fan of Ann Aguirre since I first read Grimspace back in 2008. I’ve read everything she’s published since. I squealed when I found out her new series was going to be new adult! And the romantic interest was going to be a single dad? Heck yes! Sign me up for that book! So when I saw I Want It That Way pop up on Netgalley, I requested it so fast that my poor mouse probably got whiplash.

The verdict? I enjoyed it so much! In fact, I loved it. I didn’t want it to be over so I reread it immediately after finishing it. I haven’t done that with a book in almost a year. If that wasn't a sign I loved it; I haven’t been able to quit rereading my favorite parts even after reading it twice. It’s just so good guys! Also, there's a playlist to go along with the book and it's amazing! How had I never heard The National before?

Nadia and her friends Max, Lauren, and Angus are juniors in college who have just moved into a new apartment to escape the on-campus dorms. Nadia isn't expecting to be attracted to her new neighbor in the apartment below hers. Ty is three years older and very good-looking. He works during the day and takes night classes. Oh, and he has a four-year-old son. Ty doesn't want a serious relationship with anyone, not after what happened with his ex-girlfriend and not with Sam being so young. But he and Nadia can't seem to stay away from each other.

I didn't think that this book was cliché at all. I’ve only read one new adult novel before this one that involved the male protagonist having a son, but it wasn’t as integral to the plot line as it was in this book. I love that we get to see so much of Sam through out the book especially with him being enrolled at the same daycare that Nadia works at. You can't not help but fall in love with him. He’s just so adorable!

Ann Aguirre surprised me with nice, strong storyline that I wasn’t able to put down until I finished it. I fell in love with the characters. True story, I wanted to be Nadia’s best friend by page three. I found myself relating to her on a personal level. We all remember what it’s like being in college and trying to stay sane between work and school. I love that Nadia was very likeable, driven, and warm. I liked reading about her and her struggles. But what I liked the most is that she is normal. She doesn’t have any skeletons in her closet waiting to come out or any extreme emotional baggage to deal with. It was so refreshing to read about a heroine who is just a normal, intelligent college girl!

While Nadia is normal, everyone else in this story seems to have emotional baggage. But none of them have as much as Ty, the romantic interest. Well, the others didn’t wear it so prominently on their sleeve as he does. His demons, in my opinion, were so real and are so common in our day and age. Ty is a single parent and that fact was as much heartwarming as it was heartbreaking. I started liking him instantly even though he comes off as more of a grumpy old man instead of man in his mid-twenties. He’s just dealing with single parenthood the best he can. Although, he does act like a jerk in a couple scenes and there were times that I just wanted to shake him because I was getting angry with him.

That being said, I really liked the romance. Ty and Nadia don't have the normal cookie-cutter fall-in-love story. They don't meet, flirt, hook up, fall in love, break up, fall in love and end up together. No, their journey is much more complicated than that, especially with Sam in the picture. Aguirre leaves no stone unturned in exploring their relationship and its struggles and I found it a delight to read. The relationship between Nadia and Ty is honest. They both have heavy loads at the moment and aren't afraid to admit it. Yet they can't ignore the easy dialogue they share and the meaningful conversations they’ve had. They actually talk about things! They might not fully admit their feelings because they're afraid to get hurt or the situation seems too difficult, but ultimately they still reach out and open up. There is a lot of chemistry between them, and I’m not talking just about the physical side of things. Although, I didn't particularly like the friends-with-benefits arrangement they decided on.

I love that while the romance is a big part of the story, there are several other relationships and events in the story that are just as important. Nadia has a lot to deal with, with classes and work and her best friend's school crisis and her roommates and Ty. Her experiences as a college student are not the focus of this novel but their presence enhanced the tale and brought her decisions into perspective. At one point, it feels like life hits Nadia with everything all at once. But it feels natural and let’s be honest, that’s how life is most days. There are several little clues that hint at some of the reveals, but some of them are so subtle that I didn’t catch them until I was reading it the second time through.

This book was sweet, romantic and touching. It had just a bit of angst, lots of great sexual tension and nice, likeable characters. It was quite charming all around. I liked that Ty and Nadia aren't constantly banging each other or flirting or doing that dance around each other. Ty lives the life of an individual and it’s not easy for him to let Nadia into it. Similarly, it isn't easy for Nadia to choose to be with Ty. Their relationship is meaningful from the start. It's not based on oh-my-gosh-I-want-to-be-in-his/her-pants-ASAP feelings. I mean, they both think that, but they start actually interacting on a deep level first, physical second.

You know how most new adult novels end perfectly? Like, boy and girl FINALLY get together as a real couple, girl faces her demons, boy faces his, boy saves girl from getting raped or beat up or whatever, and everyone sails off into the sunset. Well, in this book, the ending isn't what you would expect. Not everyone ends up perfectly happy, but I won’t say anything besides the fact that I liked. I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book! And not just because it's an Ann Aguirre book but because it was a genuinely good book. Although, the fact that Ann wrote it totally helped me make the decision to pick it up. It’s quick, entertaining, and satisfying. I can't wait to get my hands on the next book! I’d highly recommend picking up I Want it That Way for a read that is perfect for back-to-school.

Recommended for fans of:
Wait For You by J. Lynn
Easy by Tammara Webber
Be With Me by J. Lynn

ARC provided by Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

4.25 / 5 stars

Monday, August 25, 2014

Read This F@!%ing Book 21

Welcome to a feature I'm going to post on Mondays called:
Read This F@!%ing Book!

This is a feature for me to push my favorite reads that just aren't getting enough attention! 

I'm also opening it up to anyone who would like to guest post. Do you have a book that you just LURVED but feel like its not getting the play it deserves? Email me to let me know and I'd be THRILLED to have you post about it here! Especially if it's something I haven't reviewed yet - that's even better (but not necessary)! If you're interested email me:

This week's post comes from our very own: 

Read This F@!%ing Book Post 21: The Blud Series by Delilah S. Dawson
(Click book cover to go to Goodreads page)

Why I Love It:
Delilah S. Dawson calls her style “dark whimsy” which pretty much explains what I love about it. The Blud series has a traveling circus, derigible pirates, vampire bunnies, killer unicorns, and a giant mechanical elephant, just to name a few of the wonderful whimsical elements. It’s also got romance, steampunk and magic. And if that’s not enough, it takes place in an alternate reality, kind of like Wonderland, that you could find yourself in completely by accident. Each of the three novels takes place in a different part of this world called Sang. Each country is recognizable as the one from our world - the Eiffel Tower is still in Paris – but it’s a little twisted and populated by bludmen (vampires) and daimons and other fantastical creatures.
There are no real rabbits left, munching on carrots and flowers. But there are bludrats and bluddeer and bludhogs. Pretty much all the wild animals are blood drinkers. -Wicked as They Come
The other thing I really love about this series is the way all of the novels and novellas are tied together by little details. For example, The Mysterious Madame Morpho opens with Criminy Stain, the hero of Wicked as They Come, reading a newspaper article about the missing Freesian princess, who then becomes the heroine of Wicked as She Wants. And Vale, the hero from Wicked After Midnight, may have transported the princess to her location at the beginning of the book. Everyone is intertwined in such subtle ways that you don’t need to read the previous book to follow the story, but if you have read them you’ll pick up a lot of little details. It's like my own little Easter egg hunt each time and I'm always proud of myself when I find them.
Why I'm Pushing It:
This series has a little something for everyone. It has steampunk elements, like clockwork creations in every shape imaginable from service animals to burlesque dancers, but it’s not your typical steampunk series. It has sci-fi style time travel and alternate worlds. It’s a paranormal romance that also talks about art, music and literature from the real world. It has fun, action-packed adventures. And it has a really unique take on vampires.
I was really disappointed that the publisher didn’t pick up any more novels after the original trilogy, but with digital publishing that doesn’t have to be the end of the series. Dawson recently announced plans for Blud #4 Wicked Ever After to be released in 2015. There’s so much more of the world to be explored if readers are interested. I really want to see Almanica (the Blud version of America) – I think I heard something about bludbuffalo?
 [T]his rogue in a cravat was right up my alley, like an extra-naughty Mr. Darcy. -Wicked as They Come
Criminy Stain!
It's either the most brilliant character name you've ever heard or the most ridiculous. I actually wasn't a fan until after I read the first book. Now I couldn't imagine calling him anything else. Criminy is the proprietor of the Clockwork Caravan, travelling circus and home to freaks and misfits from throughout Sang (and even a few from other worlds entirely.) He's the romantic lead, the ringmaster, the father figure, or maybe even the villain, depending on which member of the Caravan you ask. He's a vampire, a magician and a rogue. He's also dead sexy. And he makes an appearance in every book. One of my favorite Alphas!
Check out Goldilox’s reviews of the first two books in the Blud series.
Have you read this book?
Did we persuade you to add it to your TBR mountain?
Let us know in the comments below!



Monday, August 18, 2014

Release Day Review: Ante Up: A Sin City Collectors Novella by Amanda Carlson

Ante Up: A Sin City Collectors Novella
by Amanda Carlson
Release: August 18, 2014
Links: Goodreads Amazon
Reviewer: Gretl
Summary: Diesel Jones is a shifter who has issues with the moon, but he quickly finds that Sofia Cabrera, a clever witch who just moved in to town, is his only hope to reach his goal of becoming a Collector. When they pair up to take down an incubus, she not only saves his life, but wins his heart in the process… 

Review: Ante Up is Amanda Carlson's second novella in the Sin City Collectors series. Most of the main characters were introduced in her previous one, Aces Wild, though you wouldn't need to read that one first to follow the story. It also introduces Diesel's brother Luke and Sofia's friend Ginger (who are starring in Carlson's next novella.) One of my favorite things about this story is that it brings all of those characters together for much of the action. I really liked the buddy cop movie type atmosphere that created, as well as the chemistry, or lack there of, between Sofia and Neve, the heroine from Aces Wild. They seem to be on the verge of either a bonding moment or a cat fight most of the time.

Having all their friends around also makes it a little more difficult for Sofia and Diesel to consummate their relationship. The villains who keep trying to take control of her mind certainly don't help either. The tension between them continues to build until the very end when he gets tired of waiting (and gets creative.)

I also enjoyed learning more about the witches in the Collector's world. Sofia explains the different disciplines in which they can specialize, how to become a Master Spellcrafter and what makes her so special. (She insists from the moment we meet her in Aces Wild that her spells are better than everyone else's. And the incubus who wants to capture her seems to agree.) Her powers are more like those you might expect from an angel or a god, except that they're more narrow in scope. I don't think I've ever read about a witch like her.

I always remark in my reviews how Amanda Carlson has brought a unique twist to a familiar supernatural character. This time it's the incubus. They're often portrayed as the romantic lead, but she does something completely different. These incubi are a polygamous cult abducting supernatural women and their leader has twisted the incubus powers in a terrifying way.

I'm really enjoying this series so far. It's full of fun, quick reads with great action and unusual characters. I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes next.

Recommended for fans of: Action-packed paranormal romance, The Jessica McClain series

 ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.


Read This F@!%ing Book (20)

Welcome to a feature I'm going to post on Mondays called:
Read This F@!%ing Book!
This is a feature for me to push my favorite reads that just aren't getting enough attention! 
I'm also opening it up to anyone who would like to guest post. Do you have a book that you just LURVED but feel like its not getting the play it deserves? Email me to let me know and I'd be THRILLED to have you post about it here! Especially if its something I haven't reviewed yet - that's even better (but not necessary)! If you're interested email me:

This week's post comes from our very own: 
Rose Red!

Read This F@!%ing Book Post 20: Sunshine by Robin McKinley
(Click book cover to go to Goodreads page)

"Her feet are already bleeding - if you like feet..."

There are places in the world where darkness rules, where it's unwise to walk. Sunshine knew that. But there hadn't been any trouble out at the lake for years, and she needed a place to be alone for a while.

Unfortunately, she wasn't alone. She never heard them coming. Of course you don't, when they're vampires.

They took her clothes and sneakers. They dressed her in a long red gown. And they shackled her to the wall of an abandoned mansion - within easy reach of a figure stirring in the moonlight.

She knows that he is a vampire. She knows that she's to be his dinner, and that when he is finished with her, she will be dead. Yet, as dawn breaks, she finds that he has not attempted to harm her. And now it is he who needs her to help him survive the day...

Why I love it!
Sunshine is a dark vampire tale but with a healthy dose of fairy dust sprinkled all over it with a side of sunshine. It is kind of a Beauty and the Beast story, but it is not a romance. It's Robin McKinley's take on vampires and she pulls it off using a completely different style of writing than what we normally see in urban fantasy. The whole book is written like a stream-of-consciousness and focuses on the main character, Sunshine's, internal struggles with some action and dialogue on the side. It does take a bit to get into the story, but I promise it is totally worth it. The action, the resolution of the conflict, and the relationships between the characters, while important, play more of a supporting role to Sunshine's thoughts and fears.

The thing I love the most is that Sunshine is a baker and kind of a screw up. She barely finished high school and is usually arguing with her mom. I like that she struggles with her capture by the vampires. Her isolating herself from friends and family is a realistic response to the trauma. Sunshine feels real to me. She has an obsession with baking (Mmmm! Cinnamon rolls). She's sometimes snarky, sometimes frustrating, sometimes puzzling, but she's always interesting, complex, and believable as a character.

The Vampires are gross.
Don't get me wrong. I love vampire books and I enjoyed Twilight but romanticized vampires get old after awhile. People tend to forget that vampires are living corpses that eat people and not nice vegetarians who sparkle in the sun. Think about it. Being a vampire cannot be good for one's mental health. You have to stay inside all day and are forced to personally kill all of your food. Robin McKinley gets that! In Sunshine, the vampires are gross. They look like what they are, which is dead. They are also rightly feared by the populace. They are not very nice. Constantine is kind of the exception. He's still gross but you come to love him.

It's a Standalone!
Nowadays it seems that everything is a trilogy, so it's nice to read a standalone where things wraps up at the end. This is the book for people who want more than a vampire romance. There were some genuinely scary moments and few gory moments. And lots of talk of cinnamon rolls. I'll always be pulling for a sequel to Sunshine since there are a few questions left unanswered, but it's great to be able to read a book and be done.

If you're a fan of strong women coming into their own in a fantasy setting, I'd highly recommend picking this book up if you haven't yet! And you might want to get a cinnamon roll to eat while reading.

Have you read this book?
Did we persuade you to add it to your TBR mountain?
Let us know in the comments below!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Review: Cursed Moon by Jaye Wells and Giveaway

Cursed Moon
(Prospero's War #2)
Jaye Wells
Release: August 12, 2014
Links: Goodreads B&N
Reviewer: Gretl
Summary: When a rare Blue Moon upsets the magical balance in the city, Detective Kate Prospero and her Magical Enforcement colleagues pitch in to help Babylon PD keep the peace. Between potions going haywire and everyone's emotions running high, every cop in the city is on edge. But the moon's impact is especially strong for Kate who's wrestling with guilt over falling off the magic wagon.

After a rogue wizard steals dangerous potions from the local covens, Kate worries their suspect is building a dirty magic bomb. Her team must find the anarchist rogue before the covens catch him, and make sure they defuse the bomb before the Blue Moon deadline. Failure is never an option, but success will require Kate to come clean about her secrets.
Review: Dirty Magic (Prospero's War #1) is one of my favorite books from the last year (if you haven't read it yet, check out the giveaway at the bottom of the page) so Cursed Moon had some pretty big shoes to fill. I'm not blown away like I was with the first book, though some of that may be due to high expectations, but it's still a great addition to the series. It's just that it's a little bit broody and introspective and that slowed the pace down for me. Kate has a lot of pent up anxiety about the secrets she's keeping from her friends and colleagues and she deals with it by drinking and keeping her distance. Those closest to her are starting to notice the changes in her behavior and call her on it, which only makes the situation worse, since she can't explain herself without revealing her secrets. And that of course leads to even more brooding. I felt like Kate's guilty conscience got tiresome, but I was really happy with where she ended up once she worked through it.

In Dirty Magic, we learned that there are three different kinds of magic, blood, sex and alchemy, and three corresponding covens operating in the Cauldron. Cursed Moon introduces the sex magic coven, the Mystical Coven of the Sacred Orgasm (or the O's) and their leader Aphrodite Johnson. Aphrodite is one of those wonderful outrageous characters fans of Jaye Wells have come to expect from her and the coven's headquarters are sort of a combination corporate office/brothel. Seeing the priestesses at work brings back suppressed memories of Kate's dead mother, who was a member of the coven, and with them even more angst. But it also seems that there may be more to the story of her death that will play out later in the series.

Kate and the MEA are called to the coven's headquarters to investigate the theft of some potions which make users "sexually aggressive." The characters call them "rape potions" and that term squicks me out. When the potions are used (um, this might be a little spoiler, but I mention it because it might be a problem for some readers) there's a "sorority sex riot" where one of the incidents, two girls attacking a male student, is described in detail. The bacchanal, complete with a flute playing satyr, is also a trial run for the potion thief's big day.
"Men who dress as goats and gallivant through sex riots playing flutes tend not to be the most logical people."
In a plot worthy of the Joker, complete with a threatening letter sent to the mayor, he plans to unleash the potions on the city on the night of the Blue Moon. There's also a second part of the plan that involves a more personal attack on Kate and I'm not sure I understand its purpose. There are still some unanswered questions at the end of the investigation, so I'm hoping it will all make sense eventually.

The case also forces Kate to finally go see her Uncle Abe in prison. In Kate's mind, it's a little like when Clarice goes to see Hannibal Lector and every word he says might be a test. He seems to be just as influential in coven politics as he was before he went to prison. And it's obvious he knows more than he's willing to say. John Volos is also still a major player in the Cauldron, although he plays a more peripheral role in this case. He continues to remind me of Trent Kalamack in the Hollows series. (Now he even has similar political aspirations.) Kate's reactions to him are also a lot like Rachel's in the early books where she kind of wants to hate him just on principle and doesn't really understand why she can't.

Between Kate's many allies turned adversaries, her partner Morales and the rest of the task force, this world is full of great characters. One of my favorite things about Dirty Magic was how realistic the world and those characters felt. With Cursed Moon, we seem to be taking a turn toward the fanciful. But since it's a world filled with magic, anything can happen. I'm looking forward to seeing where it takes us next.

Recommended for fans of: Paranormal police procedurals, The Hollows series


Our reviews of other books in this series:
Goldilox reviewed Dirty Magic (Audiobook)

Giveaway! I happen to have an extra signed ARC of Dirty Magic which I will send to one lucky reader. I'll even throw in some other goodies!  a Rafflecopter giveaway
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