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Storm in a Teacup by Emmie Mears

2016-standout-award-badge-smallBoth Nell and Ivana had a rough start with this audio book, but stuck it out and were pleasantly surprised by the end of the book.

24536008TitleStorm in a Teacup
AuthorEmmie Mears
Series: Ayala Storme Book 01
Publish Date:  February 3, 2015
Genre:  Urban Fantasy
Source: Provided by Audible Studios

Publisher’s DescriptionMediator Ayala Storme handles PR by day and kills demons by night. She avoids Mediator luncheons and a fellow Mediator who’s been trying to get in her pants for years. She does her job. She keeps her sword clean and her body count high. But when a rash of disappearances leads her to discover that Nashville’s hellkin are spawning a new race of monster in human hosts, Ayala will be the first line of defense against these day-walking killers.

That is, until one of the creatures saves her life.

Ayala’s new knowledge of the hybrids’ free will challenges everything she’s ever known about her job. Racing the clock while trying to outrun her comrades and enemies alike, she’s not sure who will catch her first…

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Nell 100Nervous Nellie says…

This was a new thing for me.  Storm in a Teacup was available for review from Audible Studios, so I gave it a whirl.  The premise looked enticing and I had never tried any books by this author nor this narrator.

At first, the narrator wasn’t sparking my interest. Her voice for the protagonist was very hard and sharp.  I thought it was just me and after listening awhile, I decided it really was just me. The protagonist is a very hard and sharp woman who is in a difficult place.  She has a mystery to solve and some difficult moral choices.  Her employer is not exactly understanding a new hybrid demon/human because “it’s always been done this way.” Famous last words.  Kill that which you do not understand.

badge3v4The narrator doesn’t use much voice range in the characters, but it wasn’t a deal breaker.  I didn’t like the narrator’s voice much when I first started listening, but as I got wrapped up in the story, the voice seemed to fit better and better.

The ending isn’t a cliffhanger, nor is it a happily ever after.  It’s not death and mayhem, just moving on.  I like the HEA much better, but it’s ok.  Give it a shot.

Invested_Ivana_100Invested Ivana says…

Having seen Storm in a Teacup on Amazon and Goodreads several times, and being familiar with Amber Benson (narrator) from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I decided to review the series for Audible Studios. While I had something of a rough start with the series, I’m glad I stuck with it.

Two things contributed to the rough start. First, the world-building didn’t go fast enough for me. I struggled to understand what Mediators were, what the Summit was, whether or not Ayala’s boss knew she had a second “job,” that nighttime hours were normal for Mediators, etc. World-building is important to me so I wanted to know more up front. I know plenty of people who would argue against me on this point, so I know it’s a subjective thing.

Second, the voice Benson chose to use for Ayala didn’t work for me at first. I’m not sure if the voice was an attempt at a Southern drawl or an attempt to portray a hard-ass attitude — both of which would be very true to the character, don’t get me wrong on that point; the voice was appropriate. But it was fatiguing to me as a listener.

These two things kept me from really getting into the story at first. But then the character Mason was introduced, and my interest level picked up. Mason brought the conflict to a personal level and let us see through Ayala’s “armor” a little.

badge3v4By the time I was done listening to Book 1, I was used to Ayala’s “voice” and I was looking forward to Book 2, so I would call that a success. I’m eager to see where this series goes next.

**NOTE: At the time of publishing I have now listened to Books 2 and 3 and am hooked on this series!  Look for the review of Any Port In A Storm in one week, and Taken By Storm in two weeks.

Our reviews in this series…

Other reviews…

If you like this book…

…you might try Goddess with a Blade by Lauren Dane or the Storm Chronicles by Skye Knizley.

Any Port In A Storm by Emmie Mears

2016-standout-award-badge-smallSome folks are adjusting to having Shades—half-hellkin half-human—be the good guys.  Some folks are not adjusting at all. Ayala has to figure out who is who.

Any Port In A StormTitle:  Any Port In a Storm
Author:  Emmie Mears
SeriesAyala Storme Book 02
Publish Date:  June 2, 2015
Genre:  Urban Fantasy
Source: Audible Studios

Publisher’s DescriptionAfter months of training a budding army of human/demon hybrids, Ayala and Carrick have worked out most of their differences.

Who gets to use the bathroom first in the morning. Who’ll feed the bunny before they go out to make mayhem. Who gets to keep the jeeling claw they found in Forest Hills. You know, the important stuff.

But when Gregor sends them out with their battalion of shades and the mission quickly lands on the wrong side of Ayala’s “don’t kill norms” moral line, she quickly discovers that maybe morality wasn’t the motivator behind Gregor’s pet project — or at least not when money’s involved.

And when a trio of shades starts murdering the populace in Nashville again and targeting places and people significant to Ayala, her desire to help her own comrade shades stay on the good side of the Mediators will place her at their mercy again. With the Summit fracturing and demons closing in on the city, saving the shades and herself may cost Ayala everything.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Invested_Ivana_100

Invested Ivana says…

While it took me a bit to warm up to Storm in a Teacup, it didn’t take any time at all for me to enjoy Any Port in a Storm. I’m more familiar with the rules of Ayala’s world and am accustomed to Amber Benson’s voice as Ayala.

The world building in this series does come slowly, but it’s there. I know some readers, like me, enjoy the world building and want a lot of it up front. Others want to jump into the action and learn what’s needed when it’s needed. It can be “a rock and a hard place” for an author.

In Any Port, Ayala is learning to let others in despite her childhood with the Summit and the dangerous nature of her life–first the Shades she wants to protect, then other mediators who are on her side. Opening her heart means being more vulnerable, but it also means help and company and love.

badge4v4The main thrust of the story is deciding who can be trusted.  Someone in the Summit isn’t who they claim to be, and Ayala has to solve the mystery before everyone she loves dies.  I think this mystery, and its very personal nature, really pulled me into the story.  I’m so glad I finally tried this series.  I’m now an Ayala fan.

Nell 100Nervous Nellie says…

I’m surprised at the depth this audio gave me.  The first book in the series I had to get “used” to, but this second book really moved the marker up a few notches.

Ayala’s world is somewhat complicated. She is still snarky and swears a lot, but I’d do that too if I had had to deal with hordes of demons.  Besides the Hellkin that are flooding the place, someone in the Summit is just wrong. She needs to protect the Shades and the Shades are learning humanity as quickly as they can (reading romances for goodness sake!), but they are also disappearing. Ayala doesn’t know who she can trust to cover her back and while she’s fighting the good fight, she still has the mystery of who is betraying her to figure out.

badge4v4Don’t forget that this is the second in the series and in my opinion they need to be read in order.  A reader could probably catch on, but there are details that are helpful to have.

Our reviews in this series…

Other reviews…

If you like this book…

…you might try Goddess with a Blade by Lauren Dane or the Storm Chronicles by Skye Knizley.

Eye of the Storm by Emmie Mears

2016-standout-award-badge-smallThe war between Earth and the demons has come to a head, and Ayala learns that everything the Mediators have been told is a lie.  She may have to sacrifice everything, and everyone, she loves to save the world. Great series finale with lots of feels!

Eye of the StormTitle: Eye of the Storm
Author: Emmie Mears
SeriesAyala Storme, Book  04
Publish Date: June 21, 2016
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source: Purchased in Audio

Publisher’s Description: Earth teeters on the edge of a razor sharp blade.

With the Summit on barely-unified tenterhooks and hellkin bubbling into Earth with no sun to stop them, Ayala Storme has her hard-won family, an uncertain new love, and a team of allies — half of whom have betrayed her in the past.

When the cities of North America begin to fall to demon hordes, Ayala has to fight her way back into Nashville in a desperate hope to save her city. With the witches trying to find the original source of the imbalance that allows hellkin a tie to Earth and the Mediators ready to draw their swords every time they see a shade, time is ticking away.

The witches are working as fast as they can, but what they find may shake the foundations of everything Ayala has ever known — and the answers needed to salvage what’s left of Earth may only lie beyond Earth itself, in the sixth hell.

The battles are over. It’s time for the war.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Invested_Ivana_100Invested Ivana says…

Mears again does a great job with what appears to be the finale in the Ayala Storme series. Ayala Storme’s life has contained a lot of heartache… and a lot of love. Now, when things are at their worst for the world, she’s quite overwhelmed by both.

I will admit that I cried listening to Eye of the Storm. I can be a sap, I know; but, the weight of emotion Mears conveys in this book is really incredible—deep, deep feelings of being betrayed, of being loved, of losing something precious, of being in an impossible situation, of discovering a very personal truth. I can feel Ayala’s emotions very keenly in every book, and in particular in this final book, which is probably why I enjoy them so much.

I’m very curious to see if Mears will write in this world again.  There is plenty of material, especially if subsequent stories pick up years later, or even years before, Ayala Storme’s story.  Eye of the Storm leaves the reader wondering who the real enemy is, and it would be interesting to see that play out at different points in time.

badge4v4Regardless of what she writes, I am willing to follow Mears into whatever world she creates. I’ll confess that I didn’t have high expectations when I first picked up Storm in a Teacup.  But Mears has impressed me with some fantastic writing.  I can’t wait to see what she does next.

Our reviews in this series…

Taken By Storm by Emmie Mears

2016-standout-award-badge-smallAyala Storm has certainly gone through a lot since the first book of this series.  She’s up against amazing odds, but she just keeps kicking ass. 😉

Taken By StormTitle:  Taken By Storm
Author:  Emmie Mears
SeriesAyala Storme Book 03
Publish Date:  December 1, 2015
Genre:  Urban Fantasy
Source: Audible Studios

Publisher’s Description: Stripped of her Silver Scale, made a pariah by the Summit, and with a price tag the size of Kentucky on her head, Ayala is on her own. Gregor Gaskin is still missing, and when Ayala discovers he’s far outside the Mediator territory line, she will unravel more about the Summit than she ever thought possible. Finding Gregor will take her far from home, but catching him might hit her right where she lives — and Gregor’s plans may just release hell on earth before she can stop him.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Invested_Ivana_100

Invested Ivana says…

I’m loving this series, but I’m struggling a little to write this review.  I just want to say, “Whew!”  So much has happened to Ayala Storm, The Summit, and Ayala’s part of the world since Storm in a Teacup, and I’d hate to spoil it for anyone.

Personally, Ayala has become stronger and a lot less of a loner.  She’s publicly an outcast, but has support from inside the Summit as well as outside.  She’s learning that much of what she took as truth is a lie, or at least doesn’t have to be her truth.  She’s fighting to save herself, her friends, and her world.

badge4v4I know that’s fairly vague, but as I said, I don’t want to spoil anything.  This is a fast-moving series, with lots of action and lots of introspection.  I can feel right along with Ayala as things happen to her and around her.  I think any fan of urban fantasy is going to find this series a treat.

Our reviews in this series…

Other reviews…

If you like this book…

…you might try Goddess with a Blade by Lauren Dane or the Storm Chronicles by Skye Knizley.