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Flame in the Dark by Faith Hunter

In the third installment of the Soulwood series, Nell Ingram continues to build a life outside of God’s Cloud of Glory church, master her powers with the Earth, and expand her role as a PsyLED agent.

Title: Flame in the Dark
Author: Faith Hunter
Series: Soulwood, Book 03
Publish Date: December 5, 2017, Audible Studios
Genre: Urban fantasy
Narrator: Khristine Hvam
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionSet in the same world as Faith Hunter’s New York Times bestselling Jane Yellowrock novels, the third, thrilling Soulwood novel stars Nell Ingram, who draws her powers from deep within the earth.

Nell Ingram has always known she was different. Since she was a child, she’s been able to feel and channel ancient powers from deep within the earth. When she met Jane Yellowrock, her entire life changed, and she was recruited into PsyLED—the Homeland Security division that polices paranormals. But now her newly formed unit is about to take on its toughest case yet.

A powerful senator barely survives an assassination attempt that leaves many others dead—and the house he was visiting burns to the ground. Invisible to security cameras, the assassin literally disappears, and Nell’s team is called in. As they track a killer they know is more—or less—than human, they unravel a web of dark intrigue and malevolent motives that tests them to their limits and beyond.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.

Invested Ivana says…

Like all the Faith Hunter books I’ve read, I enjoyed Flame in the Dark very much. I like seeing the characters develop and learning more about the magic and creatures in their world. Khristine Hvam does a wonderful job of voicing the characters.

Flame introduces us to a new magical creature thought long extinct, sheds a little more light on the history of creatures like Soul, and furthers Nell’s relationships with the team and with her sister, Mud. I’m really looking forward to Mud becoming a bigger part of the story. She is a pistol!

Before listening to Flame, I listened to the whole series again, including “Off The Grid,” the Jane Yellowrock short story that introduces Nell. This is a series I’ll come back to often. 5 stars.

Nervous Nellie says…

I cannot praise Faith Hunter enough.  First, she got me hooked on Jane Yellowrock, and then, as Jane’s world expanded, Faith brought in Nell Ingram.  This is an action-packed adventure with plenty of story and character advancement.  There is no sex, no swear words, a little graphic violence, and best of all, no cliffhanger.  I thought there would be, but Faith Hunter saved me from wallowing in cliffhanger self-pity.

The story was great.  I don’t mean on the low side of 5 great. I mean as high on the high side of 5 as the meter will go.  There were monsters.  You think there maybe aren’t monsters at first, but you know better since PsyLED is involved.  These are monsters that give me that feeling like the movie Jaws did to the ocean.  If you listen closely, you can figure out where the monsters are coming from, but the “why” that is answered in the end is just plain dark!  It was GREAT!!!

The other part of the book was fun too.  Not just a little bit, but a lot!  I got to ride around with Nell and live her day.  I liked how she got home and had to put logs into the stove to make heat for the house.  I found her life interesting in an everyday kind of way.  I enjoyed how she used her “church speak” to her advantage.  I loved how Nell put her own father in his place when no one else could.  Not even the Mamas. Go Nell!!  I loved how Nell’s love life changed and she had to do a lot of soul searching to figure out what to do. The “will they/won’t they” between Occam and Nell was palpable.  I could nearly feel the tense vibes that Occam was sending.  Why tense? Well, there is a new man on the scene. If you are on team Occam, you’d better dive in and see what it’s about.

You think that’s all? Um, no.  There is still the whole Brother Ephram thing, the vampire tree thing, and the Mindy “Mud” thing.  There is a whole lot happening in this book.  I was riveted, and the conclusion was very satisfying.

Now, I read a blog that claims this is the end of the series.  Oh, boy.  I hope not.  I still want to be a part of Nell’s life.  I want to ride with her on her journey of life.  In some ways, she is wiser than a woman twice her age, and in other ways, she’s as wise as a girl half her age.  It’s a interesting and engrossing kind of story.

Our reviews in this series…

Other recommendations…

Faith Hunter’s other series—Rogue Mage and Jane Yellowrock. Patricia Briggs’s Mercy Thompson and Alpha & Omega series. Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty Norville series.


Tarnished Journey by Ann Gimpel

This is the final book in the Soul Dance Series. Shifters, Romani, and Celtic gods do battle with demons and vampires who have signed on with Hitler in order to save Earth.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

tarnished-journey.jpgTitle: Tarnished Journey
Author: Ann Gimpel
Series: Soul Dance 04
Publish Date: July 18, 2017, Ann Gimpel Books, LLC
Genre: Historical Paranormal Romance
Source: Provided by Publisher

Publisher’s DescriptionLong before Germany rounded up Romani and sent them to prison camps, the Netherlands declared them undesirables. Yara’s caravan disbanded when she was fifteen to avoid being driven out of the country. Ten years have passed, and she’s been alone for most of that time hiding in caves and abandoned buildings. It’s been a lonely life, but at least she still has one.

Stewart conceals his true identity for the best of reasons. He’s not actually Romani, even though he’s been a caravan leader for many years. In a bold and desperate move, he joins a small band of shifters and Rom to fight the Reich’s chokehold on Europe. When they’re crossing the border into the Netherlands, vampires attack.

Yara senses Romani near her cave. The stench of vampire comes through loud and clear too, along with shifters. While not nearly as bad as vampires, her people have always steered clear of them. Another type of magic plucks at her. She can’t identify it, but it draws her from her hiding place. That decision tilts her world on its axis when she comes face to face with Stewart’s raw masculinity and savage presence. She could still turn tail and run. If she stays, it doesn’t require magical ability to recognize her life will change forever.

Luna Lovebooks says…Luna_Lovebooks_100

I am almost sad that this series is ending. I was not sure at first, but it became one I greatly enjoyed. For Tarnished Journey we leave behind the vampires and Nazis (for the most part) and get into another mythos, that of the Celts. I enjoyed that aspect a little more than I did the previous novels.

I love that the author features strong women in her stories. Yara is no exception. She has had to be tough and independent since her caravan disbanded and she has been alone since she was fifteen. Meeting Stewart changes everything for her. He introduces her to a new life and reveals many secrets that have been kept from her such as where her power really comes from. I really enjoyed the romance between them. Stewart is very honest with her and genuine in expressing his love. Even though Yara fights him at first, their love had me rooting for them.


There is a lot of action in the story and many twists. Readers never know what to expect next as the characters encounter all kinds of danger. Not only do they face vampires demons and the Nazis but now god and goddesses are thrown into the mix.Every chapter the characters face a new and exciting danger.

I liked this story better than the previous installments. I give it 4 talismans!

Our reviews in this series…

Other recommendations…

Check out the Dragon Lore series by Ann Gimpel, The Hathaways series by LisaKleypas, Gypsy Lord by Kat Martin

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

Dragon’s First Rule by Silver Milan

The little warning about this book sums it up perfectly! This book contains explicit love scenes and is intended for mature readers who like their paranormal romance on the steamier side. Inside you’ll find sexy dragons, strong women, and kick-ass magic.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

Dragons first ruleTitle: Dragon’s First Rule
Author: Silver Milan
Series: Dragons of Midnight 01
Publish Date: October 1, 2017
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Source: Provided by Publisher

Publisher’s Description: Ariel, a newly turned lion shifter, stumbles into the subterranean City of Midnight, home of the dragon shifters. Alone and vulnerable, she catches the eye of the dangerously attractive dragon king. Jett. He charms her and promises help, but can she trust him? After all, he is the King of the Dragons. Why would such a powerful man come to the aid of a common girl?

When Jett realizes Ariel has no one, he vows to protect her, as the girl has been turned against her will in dragon territory. He plans not only to shield her, but to hunt down the very outlaw who hurt her.

But Jett soon finds himself growing attached to his quirky yet beautiful lion shifter. He begins a dangerous game with her, skirting the razor’s edge of passion. He must take care because if he surrenders to his desire, he will forfeit not only his throne, but perhaps both of their lives.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.

Luna Lovebooks says…Luna_Lovebooks_100

I must admit, I have read Shifter romances before but none of them involved dragons. I was pleasantly surprised by what I discovered. Often times with these types of romance novels we get the domineering alpha male – literally! But Jett is refreshing in that he wants Ariel to be herself. Sure he has his moments where you don’t touch “his” woman, but honestly, what man doesn’t have those feelings every once in awhile? I love that Ariel is a bad ass in her own right. She kicks butt and takes names and even brings down the man who forced the Shifter life on her.

The plot is fast paced and has a few twists that I did not see coming. The sex scenes were steamy and the action scenes towards the end were exciting. It is a quick little read so there isn’t much room for things to be slow. On the other hand, there were parts that I wish could have been expanded on. I wish we had more time to see the love develop between Ariel and Jett. At times they act like they have known each other for years badge4v5instead of a few days. The magic system is still a little confusing to me but it doesn’t play a big part in this novel so it is OK.

If you like Shifter romances you should give this book a try! I give it four gems for its steamy romance scenes and kick ass females!

 Other recommendations…

Try these other great Shifter reads: The Society series by Mason Sabre, The Demonica series by Larissa Ione, Leopard People series by Christine Feehan

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

Series Spotlight: The Parasol Protectorate Series by Gail Garriger

PrintHappy Book Day (otherwise known as Tuesday)! Since Gail Carriger’s book Prudence is released today, I thought I’d do a series spotlight on Prudence’s predecessor, the Parasol Protectorate.

The Parasol Protectorate is a mystery, adventure, romance, comedy-of-manners series set in a Victorian steampunk world where all sorts of supernaturals reside in the open along with the Daylight folk — werewolves, vampires, ghosts, and even dastardly mad scientists.

Alexia Tarabotti is one of the very few Soulless in the world — a person who possess no soul of her own and can negate the supernatural in others. One touch from Alexia and vampires lose their fangs, werewolves lose their fur, and ghosts disappear forever.

As you may imagine, this makes Alexia both feared and loved by the supernatural community. Either they want her under their control or they want her dead, and they find all kinds of creative ways to accomplish their goals.

Alexia is joined on her adventures by a cast of wonderful characters including Lord Macon, a Scottish Alpha werewolf who is both annoyed and intrigued by Alexia; his proper English Beta, professor Lyle; Alexia’s good friend Miss Ivy Hisslepenny, who has an unfortunate taste in hats; Madam Lefoux, an eccentric French inventor who dresses as a man; and Lord Akeldama, the most stylish and informed vampire in all of Britain. Oh, la, darling!

The real beauty of this series, from my perspective is the combination of Ms. Carriger’s beautiful Victorian writing and the narration of Emily Gray on the audiobook version. Emily Gray does an amazing job of bringing all the characters, and the world as a whole, to life. While I might have dismissed these book as too “fluffy” to read, they are an utter delight in audio.

And had I dismissed them as “fluff,” it would have been my great mistake. While there is plenty of outrageous ridiculousness in these books, there is also an incredibly detailed world, a very intricate mystery, edge-of-your-seat action, and a story that builds through all five books. This is good writing and story telling, not just comedic “fluff.”

The writing world agrees. In addition to being a New York Times bestseller, Alexia’s adventures have won numerous awards for the fresh and funny writing, have been translated into 17 languages, have spawned a series of graphic novels, and have been optioned for television (see author’s website for details).

Ms. Carriger’s Finishing School series for young adults takes place in the same world as, but prior to the events of, the Parasol Protectorate, and Prudence, the first in the Custard Protocol series, takes place after. And yes, there is some character cross-over. While I’ve neither read nor listened to the Finishing School books, a sample of Moira Quirk’s reading promises all the character Gray brings to the narration, and Ms. Quirk will be narrating Prudence as well.

If you like audiobooks, steampunk, comedy, supernaturals, romance, dirigibles, and treacle tart, you really must experience the Parasol Protectorate. As Lord Akeldama might say, “It is simply the thing, my little cream puff.  La!”

Vision In Silver By Anne Bishop

Vision In SilverTitleVision In Silver
AuthorAnne Bishop
SeriesThe Others Book 3
Publish Date:  March 3, 2015 by Roc Books
Genre:  Urban fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionThe Others freed the cassandra sangue to protect the blood prophets from exploitation, not realizing their actions would have dire consequences. Now the fragile seers are in greater danger than ever before—both from their own weaknesses and from those who seek to control their divinations for wicked purposes. In desperate need of answers, Simon Wolfgard, a shape-shifter leader among the Others, has no choice but to enlist blood prophet Meg Corbyn’s help, regardless of the risks she faces by aiding him.

Meg is still deep in the throes of her addiction to the euphoria she feels when she cuts and speaks prophecy. She knows each slice of her blade tempts death. But Others and humans alike need answers, and her visions may be Simon’s only hope of ending the conflict.

For the shadows of war are deepening across the Atlantik, and the prejudice of a fanatic faction is threatening to bring the battle right to Meg and Simon’s doorstep…


Nell, the third book in the Others series finally came out.  It’s SO good!

I don’t get your fascination with this series.  I read the whole first book, per your nagging, and though I did manage to get through it and I did kinda like it after I read quite a few chapters, I just don’t see the attraction.  The story was okay but it’s a very hard story.  Simon is not kind or good-hearted if you ask me.  Killing comes way too easy to them all.  I tried the second book, but something made me slam it shut and say “NO WAY!”  I can try it again, I suppose.  Maybe it was my frame of mind that day.

Simon’s gruff, that’s true, but he loves Meg, and he’s trying his best to keep his world from falling apart. So are all the characters in the book!  Besides loving all the characters, I like the role reversal in this book.  What if humans were not on the top of the food chain?  What if we were treated the way we treat other people and species?  We can be as cavalier about killing other creatures as the Others in the book are about killing humans.

I’d never be cavalier about killing a creature.  I love my animals more than people, for goodness sake!  Remember that motorcycle guy I tailed for miles after he purposely swerved to run over a squirrel crossing the road?  If I had superpowers, I’d MAKE him be nicer!  I mean, really?  What’d the poor squirrel ever do to him?  I used some colorful descriptive words to describe what I thought of him… and I still do today.

Well, in this series, a giant shape-shifting squirrel would hunt him down and run over him!  Vampires would suck out all his blood, and he’d become “special meat” for the Squirrelgard. Wouldn’t that be great?!

o_O  … You scare me.


Invested Ivana says …

I’ve been a fan of this series since it came out and I particularly enjoy the books in audio.  The writing and narration give the story a very innocent feel, in contrast to some of the awful things that actually happen in the story.  I described this book to Nellie as “light and fluffy,” because of that innocent feel and because of the way the romantic relationship is building between the main characters.  She totally scoffed at me, saying there is nothing “light and fluffy” about people being abused or eaten.  She’s so touchy!

Main characters: ♥♥♥♥♥  Meg, Simon, and Monty are all extremely live characters with full background stories that make me want to see them overcome their challenges.

Other characters: ♥♥♥♥♥  There is a whole cast of characters in this book that I’ve come to adore.  The reader gets snippets from these characters’ perspectives from time to time, which makes them even more real.

World:  ♥♥♥♥♥   The world of the Others is recognizable while being distinctly different from our own.  Because the world is as much a character in the books as the individuals, it is rich and wonderful.

Story: ♥♥♥♥♥   While the three books can be read individually, the richness of these stories is in the way they build on the events of the previous book.  It’s only been about four months since the first book, Written in Red, and the effects of the events in the first and second books are coming to a head.  Nellie will be happy to know that this book has a happy ending, at least for the moment…

Narrator:  ♥♥♥♥♥   Alexandra Harris does a great job with these books.  There is not a whole lot of distinction between the voices of some of the secondary characters, but it’s usually pretty clear who is talking.  The innocence of the voice she brings to the reading, however, is excellent.  I tend to listen to these books rather than read them.

Overall: ♥♥♥♥♥   Superb series, one of my favorites.  This third installment doesn’t disappoint.

If You Like This Book …

Certainly, read Written in Red (first book) and Murder of Crows (second book) if you haven’t already.  If you have, you may want to check out the author’s popular Black Jewels series.