Lord Rake Danescu has his hands full. Mythological creatures are attacking. His hotel is hijacked. People are dying. His magic is… not as it should be. He does, however, have Mac and Ian and the whole SPI commando contingency working with him to figure out what in the fresh hell is going on.
Publisher’s Description: The agents of Supernatural Protection & Investigations (SPI) protect people from predatory supernaturals. This time, we’re the ones who need protection.
New York is one of the most popular convention destinations in the world—for humans and supernaturals. Every hundred years, rulers of the world’s supernatural races come together to negotiate and renew a peace treaty. Meeting in the same hotel are the governors of our world’s goblin and elf colonies. SPI is saddled with the security nightmare of keeping the living delegates alive and the undead delegates from becoming permanently deceased. We’ve got our work cut out for us.
I’m Makenna Fraser, seer for SPI. Our security nightmare becomes real when monsters from the delegates’ mythologies begin mysteriously appearing in the flesh to hunt delegates from every side of the debate. And when the hotel gets sucked into another dimension, there’s no escape.
We discover that we’re all pieces in an elaborate and deadly game. A game about to spill out into the real world. Failing to escape is game over and not an option. We have to save the world—but first, we have to save ourselves.
Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel. In other words…spoilers. *BEWARE*
Nervous Nellie says…
This book has no sex, no graphic blood and gore, no swearing since Mac edits it out of her ongoing dialog. This has got a tiny little bit of romance that includes one very rich and charming goblin courting our protagonist. SPI is made of a team of agents that will do their share of kicking asses and taking names while protecting the mundanes from learning about the supernatural. There is a tiny cliffhanger, but it’s the overarching relationship stuff – not the story itself. It’s easy to handle. Don’t worry.
I love Mac and the gang. I also love Mac and Rake’s relationship. He’s under Mac’s skin and Mac has got Rake swooning. Okay, maybe the other way around. Anyway, there is a supernatural summit taking place and anywhere there are a bunch of supernaturals trapped together you know there will be trouble.
Goblins and Elves do NOT have a harmonious vibe going on. All other attendees also have problems intermingling, so security for this event is beyond difficult. It’s not enough that it’s all races and creeds of creatures attending this summit, it’s their political leaders that take the spotlight and create a ton of drama. SPI is on high alert but all the special drills they could go through would never cover this problem.
This is a good old “Clue” episode. Who did it in the ballroom or the bedroom or the beer keg with a big ol’ knife? Yeah, I said beer keg. You caught that, huh? That’s what’s fun about the supernatural culture differences in this book. There are so many variations between cultures that anything goes but one wrong step or a simple action or comment could be construed as offensive and then watch out! With the caliber of individuals attending this convention, we have political fallout first and foremost to worry about. After that, then we could have not only an international incident but an interdimensional incident that could very well incite a war. Tread carefully and walk on eggshells. But we still gotta figure out who’s killing whom and why.
You want details on the story? Well, ok… I can give you this. Rake’s impossibly above high class, ten-star hotel has been hijacked. Yes, that’s right. Hijacked. At first, it looks like a security issue, but then it evolves. Boy, does it evolve. It involves mythological creatures materializing out of nowhere. And Rake has no answers. Can you imagine? He’s got no “clue” as to what’s going on.
I can also give you a small detail on the romance between Mac and Rake. It’s moving very, very slow. I like that Lisa Shearin is making their relationship a gradual thing. It builds anticipation. I love that a nice southern seer girl can capture the attention of a suave, sexy, interdimensional uber rich playboy. Makenna is all sassy common sense if not skill. She is not Rake’s type, per se. You’d expect him to be with fussy, glossy, supermodel bombshells in tight dresses with 4-inch heels and coifed hair. Except… he’s choosing Mac. She has her own style, no-nonsense woman that knows her limits and tries very hard to be an asset to the SPI crew. She loves her job and I love her unique personality.
Johanna Parker is the narrator for this book as well as all the other SPI novels. She gives the story that much more depth and complexity. Another 5 star hit if you ask me.
Invested Ivana says…
Toward the end of negotiations for a massive treaty among outworld species and Earth, the delegates come together for a summit to celebrate and sign the treaty. Someone isn’t happy, though, and traps the delegates in their hotel with monsters … and a killer. Maybe more than one.
Though the Myth Manifestation has plenty of monsters — one of the signatures of this series — it’s primarily a political drama. Though the focus wasn’t on the monsters, this story was as much fun as any of the others in the series. Readers get to see old friends, such as the Vlad the vampire and the Norweigan SPI agents. And we learn a little more about other species, like dwarves, giants, and a race that makes love with their fingers, making waving and handshakes MUCH more exciting!
Fans of the Raine Benares series will see some familiar names and maybe faces. I did wonder if, had I been reading the Raine Benares series, I would have followed the politics between the elves and goblins a bit better. There is some massive political upheaval on their homeworld that, I’m guessing, is forefront in Raine’s series.
Regardless, I followed the story fine and really enjoyed it. As always, Johanna Parker does a fabulous job narrating. This is one of those series I much prefer to hear than read. She really brings Mac and all the other characters to life. 5 stars.
Our reviews in this series…
- The Grindel Affair
- The Dragon Conspiracy
- The Brimstone Deception
- The Ghoul Vendetta
- The Myth Manifestation
- The Phoenix Illusion (coming)
- The Solstice Countdown (coming)
- The Pandora Predicament (coming)
- The Demon Directive (coming)
Welcome to my Sunday book hunt and author gossip. Keep coming back for updates on book releases and news from favorite authors.
Today will be all about Jane Yellowrock. I don’t know what I will do when the series is done. I imagine I’ll just read it again…and anything else that comes from Jane’s author. I love Faith Hunter’s writing. I love the characters that she develops and the story is like an action adventure movie!
The story is Jane trying to get Wrassler and Jodi together for a date. Bruiser, Jane, Eli and Syl went along to complete the “triple date”. You’d think this would be simple. Yeahhhh…..right.
Now, I’m sure ya’ll want to know why I have the cover of Dark Queen posted. Well, crew, I was lucky enough to get permission from Ms. Hunter to post the first chapter in Dark Queen, #12 in the Jane Yellowrock series. Remember, this book is released on May 1, 2018. The European vamps are coming for the big assemblage and you KNOW that if Jane can’t make it through a date (see above story) without something going wrong, you know that this confab will not be simple…nope, not simple at all since the fate of all rest on Jane’s shoulders.
*I Killed the Only U’tlun’ta in NOLA*
I had been in my bed for all of one hour, and though the scent of Bruiser from the sheets and from his boxing gloves tied to my bedpost usually filled my head with calm, today his personal aromatherapy wasn’t working. I had rolled over half a dozen times trying to find a comfortable spot. Now the covers were twisted around me, my hair was tangled in a knotted mess, trapping me, and I was ready to explode. I resorted to punching my pillows in growing irritation, not that it helped. “I should give up and find something else to punch. Someone else to punch,” I muttered, thinking of Leo Pellissier, the Master of the City of New Orleans.
My attitude was so bad that my Beast retreated into the deeps of my mind to get away, her paws padding in a jog. “Coward,” I snarled at her. Being two-souled wasn’t easy for either of us.
A soft knock sounded at the front door. Tap, tap, tap, tap. Tap, tap, tap, tap. The first tap in each repetition more forceful than the others, but barely loud enough to hear through the closed bedroom door. Maybe a preacher. Or a steak salesman. Beast stopped and looked back at me. Excitement zinged through her. Man who sells meat? Cow at door?
I chuckled internally. Could be, I thought back at her. Or a proselytizing vacuum cleaner salesman. Did vac salesmen even exist now?
Is vacuum good to eat? Or salesman? Both? she added hopefully.
The knocking came again, a bit louder. Tap, tap, tap, tap. Tap, tap, tap, tap. It was a rhythm that Aggie One Feather, my Cherokee Elder, might have drummed. My partner and soon-to-be adopted brother Eli hadn’t answered the door, and I could hear shower water upstairs. I grinned and I was pretty sure I was showing teeth. Lots of teeth. I wondered if they were all mine, but I didn’t really care. I was sleep deprived and ornery and if this was some vamp’s minions calling to cause trouble about the arrangements for the upcoming Sangre Duello, that might actually make my day. I could use a good fight. A blood challenge to the death between Leo and the European emperor and all their pals would surely provide that, but until then, I had the knocking visitor.
I threw off the covers and twisted my long black hair back in a knot. In the black yoga pants and black T-shirt, I looked like a ticked-off ninja. I picked up a fourteen-inch-long vamp-killer I kept on the nightstand and tore open the bedroom door. The knob slammed into the wall behind as I reached the foyer. Eli stopped on the stairs behind me, shower-wet, a weapon at his side. My partner in protect mode. I shared my grin at him and his brows lifted, an infinitesimal gesture that meant loads for the former (and forever) Army Ranger. I didn’t bother to try to figure out loads of what. I peeked out the front, through the tiny slice of clear glass in the layers of bullet-resistant and stained glass window.
On the other side of the door stood a man, facing the street. He was tall, lean, maybe six feet three. Straight black hair hung long, down his back to his hips. Golden skin showed at his clean-shaven jaw, which looked tight with frustration. He was wearing black slacks and black blazer jacket. A white dress shirt collar showed from this angle and he was wearing polished leather cap-toe oxford shoes, what my boss, the Master of the City and walking, talking fashion plate, called a Balmoral. Imported shoes.
It griped my goat that I knew all that. Just another useless thing I had learned hanging around vamps. Another way they had changed me and my life. My irritation flamed.
Follow One Book Two via:
The Chicago pod of the Bureau of Preternatural Investigations faces its next big challenge. But will all the members make it out unscathed?
Author: Melissa F. Olson
Series: Nightshades, Book 02
Publish Date: Dec 1, 2017 by Brilliance Audio
Genre: Paranormal thriller, urban fantasy
Narrator: Luke Daniels
Publisher’s Description: The Bureau of Preternatural Investigations returns in the sequel to Melissa F. Olson’s Nightshades.
Three weeks after the events of Nightshades, things are finally beginning to settle for the Chicago branch of the BPI, but the brief respite from the horror of the previous few weeks was never destined to last.
The team gets a call from Switch Creek, WI, where a young man has been arrested on suspicion of being a shade. The suspect is held overnight, pending DNA testing, but seemingly escapes in a terrifying and bloody massacre. But is there more to the jailbreak than a simple quest for freedom?
Possible spoilers beyond this point.
Invested Ivana says…
Switchback is the second installment in the Nightshades series. I wasn’t aware the second book had come out and was pleasantly surprised to stumble across it on Audible, and to discover it is narrated by Luke Daniels, who is utterly brilliant! So I listened to Nightshades again before diving into Switchback.
The newly formed Chicago pod of the BPA is having its challenges, to say the least. The Special Agent in Charge is just returning from an extended time away, recovering from a disfiguring knife wound to the face and special hearings in Washington, when another major case hits their desk. The entire staff of a police station in a small Illinois town has been slaughtered, apparently by shades. The pod has to figure out what happened and why in order to stop the killers.
Fair warning to those who care—while the ending is not necessarily a cliffhanger, it made me sit up wide-eyed, cursing and loving Olson at the same time. It sure makes May 2018, the expected publication date of the next novel in the series, seem a LONG way away!
Switchback is another wonderfully entertaining story from Olson, whose previous series I have really enjoyed. Five stars.
Our reviews in this series…
- Nightshades, Book 1
Olson’s previous series feel more straight-up urban fantasy than the Nightshade series but are definitely worth checking out if you like UF. They all take place in the same Old World universe. If you’d rather read more paranormal thrillers, check out the Harmony Black series by Craig Schaefer, the Nathaniel Cade series by Christopher Farnsworth, or the Order of the Sanguines series by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell.
Black Spark introduces us to Faz Pound—called “Spark” since he is the Black Spark—an enforcer for the Dark Council, an interspecies group that ensures practitioners and magic beings follow the rules, particularly the one about not letting the Regulars know that magic exists. Faz has just broken that rule, killing a Regular in public. Bystanders filmed it, and YouTubers are eating it up. But Faz wasn’t exactly himself when he murdered the Regular with magic. Now he has twenty-four hours to erase the incident from the collective memory and figure out why he made such a horrible, horrible mistake.
Publisher’s Description: I watched in horror as dark magic sprang from my hand faster than an imp after your socks. I didn’t know my name, let alone that I had such power. The man was dead. I panicked. I ran.
How was I to know I was a dark magic enforcer, tasked with keeping magic hidden from the world? Yeah, total noob move, I know.
But my memory is returning, and the Hidden have given me twenty-four hours to make amends. Cover it up. Finish the job I was given, or else. Failure isn’t an option. Well, it is, but I like me, and I like being alive.
Time is running out as I battle to make things right and exact revenge on those that took so much from me. Easier said than done as I deal with angry mages, bitey zombies, oversexed imps, creepy necromancers, and grumpy trolls—and those are just my friends!—all while trying to stop myself falling in love with my best friend, Kate, who just so happens to be a hot vampire.
I’m Faz Pound, a.k.a. Black Spark, Dark Magic Enforcer, and time is running out.
At least I have my looks. For now.
Possible spoilers beyond this point.
Invested Ivana says…
“The rain had stopped, making the new paving gleam like a polished crystal ball as the sun made a risky move. It dared to shine for a few brief moments, before a concerted attack by the Welsh cloud gang took back their territory. The victorious clouds celebrated with a downpour so sudden and fierce the street emptied in seconds.”
Black Spark delivers a fun urban fantasy adventure, interesting world-building that turns some of the normal tropes on their heads, a thoughtful system of magic, and some fun and lovable characters. Kate, Grandma, and the imp Intus, are probably my favorites. There are some jewels of writing, such as the “Welsh cloud gang” quote above, that really tickled my fancy. And I love that Gildart Jackson is the narrator. Jackson is also the narrator of the Alex Verus series by Benedict Jacka, of which I am very fond. He does an excellent job.
The book is written as if Faz is talking directly to the reader. So the fourth wall gets broken a lot; the narrative switches between past and present tense, depending on whether Faz is describing something that Is (in his imaginary present state) or Was part of the story he’s telling; and the character’s voice is much closer to the informal way someone would talk rather than the more formal way someone would write. These appear to be deliberate choices by the author that make the book feel very chatty and fun, appropriate for an urban fantasy.
However, there are some less-polished aspects of the writing that I noticed, being a fiction editor myself. It often feels as if Faz is rambling. His sentences can get very long and go off in a multitude of directions. At times, the narrative tense changes from past to present when it probably shouldn’t. There are also parts of the narrative that feel a bit repetitive. None of these things really impacted my enjoyment of the story; I just happened to notice them.
I do have to say, though, that I’m very glad I chose to listen to the audio version. I happened to open the Kindle version, thinking I could get some reading done at a time when I couldn’t listen to the audio. Attempting to actually read the book was a very different experience because of a noticeable lack of editing or proofreading. I’m sure I’m more sensitive to issues of grammar and punctuation because of my job as a line editor, so not all readers may be as affected as I was by this lack. But I’m not sure I could have finished the book had I tried to read it. I have to give Gildart Jackson triple kudos for translating that raw text into a great performance.
That being said, I am not reviewing the text version of this book, but the audio. I give the audiobook four stars. I liked the characters and world-building, and I enjoyed the story. I’m sure I will pick up more audios in the series and check out Line’s other series as well. I’ll just keep my fingers crossed that, since Black Spark was published in 2016, Line has discovered the benefits of a good editor.