City of Ghosts By Stacia Kane

From Barnesandnoble.com:  

IT’S A THIN LINE BETWEEN ALIVE AND UNDEAD.
 
Chess Putnam has a lot on her plate. Mangled human corpses have started to show up on the streets of Downside, and Chess’s bosses at the Church of Real Truth have ordered her to team up with the ultra-powerful Black Squad agency to crack the grisly case.

Chess is under a binding spell that threatens death if she talks about the investigation, but the city’s most notorious crime boss—and Chess’s drug dealer—gets wind of her new assignment and insists on being kept informed. If that isn’t bad enough, a sinister street vendor appears to have information Chess needs. Only he’s not telling what he knows, or what it all has to do with the vast underground City of Eternity.

Now Chess will have to navigate killer wraiths, First Elders, and a lot of seriously nasty magic—all while coping with some not-so-small issues of her own. And the only man Chess can trust to help her through it all has every reason to want her dead.

Whoa.   I literally just finished this book and ‘Whoa’ pretty much sums up how I feel about it.  I don’t want to recap this book.  There are just so many twists and turns that there is no way I can discuss without giving something away.  And I don’t want to give anything away!  If you read the first two Downside books, you know what to expect, but Stacia Kane really upped the stakes this time.  If the first two books were ‘dark urban fantasy’, this one teeters on horror.  Some of the scenes were downright disturbing to the point where I had to force myself to keep reading.  But it’s not mindless horror like the latest Saw movie, where people you barely know are butchered for cheap thrills.  It’s horrific things happening to you have come to genuinely care about.  People that are so incredibly damaged but still manage to do the right thing…even when they just keep getting beaten down.    You barely make it out of a scene alive and suddenly you find yourself swooning over a huge, ugly hitman and a drug addict witch and praying that they can somehow find a slice of happiness in the Downside.  To me, that’s why these books are so great.  One minute I was reading with one eye open barely hanging on while a fire rages in a slaughterhouse, and the next minute Terrible drops Chess down a tunnel and has me in tears…AGAIN.   I really cannot recall a series that evoked this much emotion.  I would say Harry Potter is the closest thing, but there is absolutely no way to compare the two.   Here is what I can say: this book has it all.  Mystery, horror, fantasy, suspense (Oh the suspense!), and romance all flowing seamlessly.  Some of the best, most though-provoking characters I have ever read.   And the sex…wow.  (Cause let’s be honest, we were all praying for some Chess and Terrible closure.)   I want to discuss that tunnel scene so bad I can hardly stand it!!  To say it was hot would just cheapen it.  There were way too many emotions for ‘hot.’  Gut-wrenchingly satisfying is a much better description.   So to conclude my mindless gushing I will say this: if you read the first two, then why the hell aren’t you reading this one yet?  If you didn’t, then you need some Terrible in your life ASAP. 

Rating:  Off the charts.

Mind Games By Carolyn Crane

From Barnesandnoble.com:  JUSTINE KNOWS SHE’S GOING TO DIE. ANY SECOND NOW.
 
Justine Jones has a secret. A hardcore hypochondriac, she’s convinced a blood vessel is about to burst in her brain. Then, out of the blue, a startlingly handsome man named Packard peers into Justine’s soul and invites her to join his private crime-fighting team. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime deal. With a little of Packard’s hands-on training, Justine can weaponize her neurosis, turning it outward on Midcity’s worst criminals, and finally get the freedom from fear she’s always craved. End of problem.

Or is it? In Midcity, a dashing police chief is fighting a unique breed of outlaw with more than human powers. And while Justine’s first missions, including one against a nymphomaniac husband-killer, are thrilling successes, there is more to Packard than meets the eye. Soon, while battling her attraction to two very different men, Justine is plunging deeper into a world of wizardry, eroticism, and cosmic secrets. With Packard’s help, Justine has freed herself from her madness—only to discover a reality more frightening than anyone’s worst fears.

The blurb above is pretty thorough, but let me expand a little.  Packard is a high-cap, which basically means human plus (think X-Men), who can ‘read’ the make-up of your mind and see how you are wired.  He has used this ability to put together a team of flawed humans that fight crime by ‘disillusioning’ criminals.  Packard teaches people like Justine, who is almost crippled by fear of dying from a phantom vascular disease, to transfer these fears/flaws/urges to criminals, basically driving them to near insanity in hopes of creating a life-changing event.  Transferring Justine’s energy on a regular basis essentially saves her from herself, but Packard failed to mention that she will never be able to stop without turning into a vegetable.  Now trapped with Packard, Justine starts investigating his past in hopes of finding a way out, which leads her to some startling discoveries about him and the new local celebrity, Police Chief Sanchez.

The Good:  I like books that hang out in the gray areas.  Not that I don’t enjoy good ole good vs. evil, but it’s the gray areas that make you think.  Mind Games is firmly in the gray.  Justine and the other disillusionists are severely flawed people (gamblers, alcoholics, hypochondriacs) that basically attack people’s energies.  Their targets are criminals of varying degrees, but instead of striving to prove their guilt, they attempt to reprogram their brains.  Is this legal? Nope.  Does it work? According to Packard it does.  I liked the idea of not-so-great people fighting even worse criminals.  I also liked the idea of transferring your flaws to someone else temporarily.  Actually, I liked a lot of things about this book, especially the characters.  Unfortunately, the good things were overshadowed for me by 2 specific events.

The Bad:  So here I am, really liking this book, until about 65%.  **RANT ALERT**

I will give a mild spoiler here:  this is the part where Justine is kidnapped and almost violently raped by her latest target.  This part was so irritating to me, that I almost had another DNF on my hands.  I felt that this horrific situation was dealt with way too lightly, and that’s a lot coming from me!  So Justine manages to get free, zap her target with all her nervous energy and call for backup.  When back up arrives, she seeks NO retribution against this man who had her drugged and tied to a bed.  No calling the cops, no castration, oh no.  Disillusionment is enough for this guy; let’s just get him started on alcoholism sometime next week.  Ummm…I’m sorry, but I have huge issues with this.  I really don’t care for books that involve rape as I look to books for escape, but if it has to be dealt with, at least make it a pivotal plot point, not something that is just breezed over with almost sympathy for the attacker.   I mean, I get that these characters barely function as it is, but at least defend yourself or something!!  Okay, rant over.  Well maybe not.

The Bumpin’ Uglies:  **RANT PART 2**  Packard and Justine.  Such lovely sexual tension throughout the book.  And then…a crime against all smuttiness is committed.  Not only do Packard and Justine NOT act on this tension at any point in the book, but with 10ish% left in the book, Justine falls for another character out of nowhere!  Ugh.  To be fair, Justine and other guy have some super steamy scenes involving hot tubs and offices and such, but still!! I was all ready for Packard!  The path to redemption can only lead to a hot love triangle in future books, I will accept nothing less.  But if Packard/Justine is abandoned entirely? Not cool. 

Disclaimerlicious:  I realize I ranted a good deal about this book, but these were purely personal opinions about events in the book, not bashing the book as a whole.  Like I said earlier, I liked a lot of things about this book, and I know others really enjoyed it.  So check it out, and then come back and let me know what you thought.

Rating: 7

Unholy Magic (Downside Ghosts #2) By Stacia Kane

From Barnesandnoble.com:  ENEMIES DON’T NEED TO BE ALIVE TO BE DEADLY.
 
For Chess Putnam, finding herself near-fatally poisoned by a con psychic and then stopping a murderous ghost is just another day on the job. As an agent of the Church of Real Truth, Chess must expose those looking to profit from the world’s unpleasant little poltergeist problem—humans filing false claims of hauntings—all while staving off any undead who really are looking for a kill. But Chess has been extra busy these days, coping with a new “celebrity” assignment while trying on her own time to help some desperate prostitutes.

Someone’s taking out the hookers of Downside in the most gruesome way, and Chess is sure the rumors that it’s the work of a ghost are way off base. But proving herself right means walking in the path of a maniac, not to mention standing between the two men in her life just as they—along with their ruthless employers—are moving closer to a catastrophic showdown. Someone is dealing in murder, sex, and the supernatural, and once again Chess finds herself right in the crossfire.

Okay.  *Deep Breaths*  I will not gush.  I will write a decent review of this book.  *Deep Breaths*

Unholy Magic picks up a few months after its predecessor.  We find that Chess is still pretty much just existing in a pill-induced haze, while still sleeping with Lex and being “friends” with Terrible.  She gets roped into to working for two different cases, one for the Church and one for Bump, her drug dealer.  The Church sends her to a TV celebrity’s house to invcestigate a haunting, while Bump wants her to investigate a string to dead hookers.   In typical Chess fashion, both cases get her in serious trouble.   Her lifestyle habits become a serious issue, she is caught in a very dangerous love triangle, and she continues to make bad choices. I don’t really want to say more about the plot because there are lots of twists and turns and I am trying to avoid spoilers. 

What I can say, is this is hands down the best book I have read so far this year.  Sometimes, overly dark and gritty books bother me, but these characters are just so fascinating, I cannot wait to learn more about them.  Honestly, if I met Chess, Terrible or Lex in real life I would walk the other way.  All 3 of them are essentially criminals, living in the bowels of society and yet, you just want something good to happen to them so badly it hurts.  I found myself cheering on Terrible as he beat some money-owing druggie senseless: “Go Terrible, you break his leg! …did I just think that??”  At one point, Chess is without her pills and I was all “Oh God! Someone get Chess her pills!! …wait what?”  There were times I wanted to strangle Chess, but then I wanted to give her a big hug and tell her it would be okay.  And Terrible! Oh, Terrible.  We learn so much more about him in Unholy Magic, and if I didn’t think I would confuse the hell out of people, I would proudly sport a custom made “Team Terrible” shirt.   I love him that much!  But oh did he break my heart in this one.  I want to quote him so badly but it would give it all away.  He made me cry not once, but twice!  Actually, the entire book was extremely emotional, I had a hard time sleeping when I finished.  So…seriously…guys, girls, trannies, whatever, you NEED to read this series.   It’s very dark (so much so that I don’t recommend eating while reading at some points), but so different, intriguing, gut-wrenching, thought-provking…okay I will stop.   Just know that the 3rd book, City of Ghosts, comes out July 27th.  Longest. Two Weeks. Ever.

Rating:  10

Magic Bites (Kate Daniels #1) By Ilona Andrews

From Goodreads.com:  When the magic is up, rogue mages cast their spells and monsters appear, while guns refuse to fire and cars fail to start. But then technology returns, and the magic recedes as unpredictably as it arose, leaving all kinds of paranormal problems in its wake.  Kate Daniels is a down-on-her-luck mercenary who makes her living cleaning up these magical problems. But when Kate’s guardian is murdered, her quest for justice draws her into a power struggle between two strong factions within Atlanta’s magic circles.
The Masters of the Dead, necromancers who can control vampires, and the Pack, a paramilitary clan of shapechangers, blame each other for a series of bizarre killings—and the death of Kate’s guardian may be part of the same mystery. Pressured by both sides to find the killer, Kate realizes she’s way out of her league—but she wouldn’t have it any other way…

The Good:  Let me start by saying after I made it through the first 50 pages or so, I liked this book more than I thought I would.  I liked most of the plot, espcecailly the fresh take on vampires and the need to be piloted by a human.  It was refreshing to see vamps as gross, not hot and/or sparkly.    I liked Kate, and I really liked Curran.   But what I liked most was the setting.  You see, I have lived in Atlanta my entire life, so reading about all these landmarks and even suburbs (I live very close to the Shifter compound, btw) of Atlanta was great!  There was also a quote that I just have to include because it was so nice to see: 

“‘Lovely morning isn’t it?” he said, the unmistakeable harmonies of coastal Georgia vibrating in his voice.

“Shouldn’t it be ‘ain’t it?'” I said.  My voice sounded weak.

“Only if you are an uneducated fool,” the man said. “Or if you wish to appear country.  And I’m too old to appear anything that I’m not.'”

THANK GOD.  I love this because it’s almost as if the authors were warning you up front to not expect any hick jackasses just because it’s based in Atlantan which I appreciated.

The Bad:  I think the worst thing about this book was the lack of explanation.  At some point, something happened and magic started causing problems for technology.  We don’t really know what happened, and it’s hard to understand why the “tech goes out.”  I just felt that there wasn’t enough background on the current atmoshpere as well as the characters to feel a connection.  It’s obvious that Kate has a lot of secrets, and I am sure we learn about them as time goes on, but I needed a little more for her.  The villain was confusing, I had to re-read sections to make sure I understood what exactly has was.  And be warned, his scenes are grusome and distrubing.  This is pretty dark urban fantasy.  The level of detail was a little much for me, I found myself skimming a lot in this one. Honestly, if I didn’t already know the series gets a lot better (and really enjoyed The Edge series), I probably wouldn’t continue reading.  Liked Kate and Curran, but don’t really care at this point.

The Bumpin’ Uglies:  Le Sigh.  No one bumps the uglies in this one.  I know it’s not PNR, so not required, but it might have been nice for Kate to have one lighter scene to break up all the darkness.   But I am keeping my eye on Curran, he has potential.

Rating: 6.5

Unholy Ghosts (Downside Ghosts #1) By Stacia Kane

From Goodreads.com:  THE DEPARTED HAVE ARRIVED.
 
The world is not the way it was. The dead have risen, and the living are under attack. The powerful
Church of Real Truth, in charge since the government fell, has sworn to reimburse citizens being harassed by the deceased. Enter Chess Putnam, a fully tattooed witch and freewheeling ghost hunter. She’s got a real talent for banishing the wicked dead. But Chess is keeping a dark secret: She owes a lot of money to a murderous drug lord named Bump, who wants immediate payback in the form of a dangerous job that involves black magic, human sacrifice, a nefarious demonic creature, and enough wicked energy to wipe out a city of souls. Toss in lust for a rival gang leader and a dangerous attraction to Bump’s ruthless enforcer, and Chess begins to wonder if the rush is really worth it. Hell, yeah.

 

Let me try to put this complicated, fantastical plot into words.  Somehow, in 1997, the world’s dead broke back into the world of the living and almost wiped it out.  Since everyone now knew what the afterlife was all about, there was no longer any need for religion or government, all the people needed was the Church of Real Truth.  The Church protects the living from ghosts capable of murder (they did prevent total destruction in ’97 after all), but also regulates those who make false haunting claims.  Chess works for the Church because she was born with magical abilities enabling her to banish ghosts back to the City of Eternity.  Because she was born into this gritty, post-apocalyptic world, she has serious issues and has tuned to drugs like many others.  Her pill habit is so bad; she owes her drug dealer, Bump, a ton of money.  Bump wants to reopen a local airport to start flying his drugs out, but there are reports that ghosts are sabotaging planes.  So he makes a deal with Chess to rid the place of ghosts and sends his head hit man Terrible out with her to investigate.  Of course, rival drug lord Lex, does not want Bump to open said airport, so he also makes a deal with Chess.  During the investigation, Chess discovers someone has unleashed a seriously powerful entity that could kill thousands.  As the investigation goes on, Chess is pulled between Lex and Bump, while trying to survive vicious ghost attacks.

The Good:  I loved this book.  Seriously, I couldn’t put it down.  Not once during my reading did I feel any familiarity with the plot or characters, which was so refreshing.  I know that the post-apocalyptic setting is gaining popularity, but this is a huge twist on that concept.  Apocalypse a-la ghost.  My heart broke for Chess and what I am sure is a horrific past, and I appreciated how she hadn’t become a total a**hole, just a druggie.  I loved how dry she was, but I hated her tragically low self-esteem. Terrible was a really intriguing character, and things got really interesting when he became a potential love interest.  The Church was really fascinating, kind of like an eerie Church of Scientology or something, sans couch jumping.  Admittedly, I was a little confused as to who the actual bad guys were and how they all met up, but I just reread a couple of pages and really liked the way it turned out. Honestly, the whole time I was reading, I had almost convinced myself to let my husband borrow my Kindle to read this book.  That didn’t happen of course, but I thought it! More than once! Not sure I can pay an author a higher compliment.

The Bad:  Nothing I am about to say is actually bad, it just slightly annoyed me.  My only real complaint is the lack of detailed explanation for the events that took place in 1997.  I tried not to let this bother me since I know there are more books coming out soon, but the curiosity is killing me!  I was also left wondering why the Downsiders minus Chess speak differently from the Church members.  And what odd language hybrid was that supposed to be anyway?  To me it was like Cajuny Gangsta English with a bunch of Scottish ‘Aye’s.  And what is the City of Eternity really like?  And why did the Church replace the Government and not just mainstream religion? I realize that too much explanation can sometimes ruin a book, but I just had so many questions!  Must. Be. Patient.  Besides, I am sure Chess will end up in the City eventually and I will learn more than I ever wanted to know about it.

The Bumpin’ Uglies:  Terrible….oh Terrible (the person, not adjective).  The idea of Terrible makes my shallow little brain hurt.  Terrible is big, muscular, sweet in his own brutish way, and…ugly.  But not all the way ugly, just thuggish ugly.  He reminds me of someone like Benicio Del Toro; from certain angles you are all “whoa! Thought he was kinda hot!” but then he talks and acts and you are all “well, I wouldn’t throw him out of bed or anything.”  He is portrayed as a man who works with what he’s got, and this almost convinced me that not all leading men have to be hot.  Almost.  And then there was Lex, who becomes an actual love interest and I guess is supposed to be hot, but he did nothing for me.  Lex in one word: Meh.  Lex and Chess love scenes in two words: Where’s Terrible?Terrible stole every scene he was in, and I was actually disappointed when he wasn’t around.  And I was REALLY disappointed with that bathroom scene!! That wasn’t very nice Ms. Kane.  But I have very high hopes for the next book and this nice little love triangle we have developing.  It’s not every day you get a peek inside a drug lord – pill popper – rival drug lord’s head henchman love triangle!

Rating: 9.5

Happy Hour of the Damned by Mark Henry

From Goodreads.com:  Seattle. One minute you’re drinking a vanilla breve, the next, some creepy old dude is breathing on you, turning you into a zombie. And that’s just for starters. Now, the recently deceased Amanda Feral is trying to make her way through Seattle’s undead scene with style (mortuary-grade makeup, six-inch stilettos, Balenciaga handbag on sale) while satisfying her craving for human flesh (Don’t judge. And no, not like chicken.) and decent vodkatinis.

Making her way through a dangerous world of cloud-doped bloodsuckers, reapers, horny and horned devils, werewolves, celebrities, and PR-obsessed shapeshifters–not to mention an extremely hot bartender named Ricardo–isn’t easy. And the minute one of Amanda’s undead friends disappears after texting the word, “help” (The undead–so dramatic!) she knows the afterlife is about to get really ugly.

Something sinister is at hand. Someone or something is hellbent on turning Seattle‘s undead underworld into a place of true terror. And this time, Amanda may meet a fate a lot worse than death…

Can you write a review comprised of all quotes? Because there is no way anything I say will compare to the magic that spews from Amanda Feral’s mouth.  You know how when you see a stand up comic and they say something extremely racist but hilarious and the crowd goes “Ooooooooooooooh!”  That’s how I felt reading most of this book.  It took me forever to finish because I stopped about a million times to read aloud to my husband, who just smiled and shook his head.  The plot is really basic: Amanda’s succubus friend goes missing, Amanda finally gets around to finding her, uncovers a secret zombie plague conspiracy while sleuthing, hijinks ensue.  There is a lot of background on how Amanda and her friends became supernatural, which drags a little.  But none of that really matters because it’s when Amanda interacts with others that the real magic happens.  My God she is awful in the most hilarious way possible.  The only other character I can think of that has the same wonderful awfulness thing going on is Frank (Danny Devito) from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.  99% of the words out of her mouth are cringeworthy, but brilliant! 

For example:  “A binge is a sincerely personal thing; no two are alike, at least that’s what my therapist says, and he should know, eating disorders are his specialty, not that he’s particularly good at treating them.  That is not why I saw him anyway; well it was initially.  Okay, I’ll admit, I was fucking him.” 

And another:  “’So let me get this straight, we feed on welfare recipients?’ Gross, right? Where do you find one, the Dollar Store? Jesus!

See? Awesome.  So, if you are looking for a truly hilarious yet soul-soiling experience, check out this book.  Just be sure to remove your moral compass first.

Rating: 8

 

Kindle rant:  Amanda likes footnotes…A LOT.  They are absolutely hysterical, but after the first 50 or so, you get sick of positioning the little Kindle cursor over them.  You have been warned.

 

Disclaimerlicious:  If you are looking for romance, this is not the book for you.  Two words: Zombie Sex. Ick.

Moon Sworn By Keri Arthur (Riley Jenson, Guardian #9)

From Barnesandnoble.com:  

Some nights never end.
Some desires never die. . . .
Shape-shifting werewolf and vampire Riley Jenson is through with death—causing it, solving it, surviving it. Her soul mate, Kye Murphy, is dead—and at Riley’s own hands. Not even the seductive embrace of her vampire lover, Quinn, can fully ease her mind, for she has begun questioning everything that makes her Riley—including her job at the Directorate.

Now, the ritualistically slain bodies of ex-cons have started turning up. Reluctantly, Riley takes the case, but something even worse is waiting in the wings. A vicious enemy from her past is determined to strip Riley of everything that gives her life any meaning: her lover, her brother—and even her own identity. Can Riley survive this ultimate assault? All she knows is, she must fight one last time to find answers, before everything goes dark forever.

 

Warning: Spoilers from previous books are unavoidable.

Since Riley Jenson is one of my favorite heroines ever and this concludes the series, I’m abandoning my normal review format to discuss Moon Sworn, but I will do my best to avoid spoilers.  Moon Sworn picks up weeks after the death of Riley’s friend Kade and her soul mate Kye.  While she survived his death, she is deeply depressed and battling the emptiness of his loss despite her love for Quinn.  Riley, Rhoan, Liander and Quinn are still awaiting the child Liander’s sister is carrying for them, which gives Riley the will to live.  Shortly after saying good bye to Kade, Riley’s boss Jack calls in her help on a murder case.  Because of the experimental drugs given to Riley in a previous book, she has developed the ability to speak with the souls of the recently deceased.  The soul gives her enough information to figure out this murder was motivated by revenge. As with all the other cases Riley works, she quickly gets the details she needs and solves the case.  However, Blake Jenson is still seeking revenge.  Blake has developed an elaborate plot to make Riley suffer from memory loss and adjust to a new life before he kills her.  Of course, Riley is not going down without a fight, even if she doesn’t know who she is.  When she finds herself lost in a small town with a new identity, she somehow keeps being Riley…and being Riley means finding all trouble possible.  Luckily another murder case pops up and has so many similarities to the vengeance murders she was investigating, her memory is jogged.  Before Blake’s plan comes to an end, Riley must figure out who she really is and take care of the Jenson pack once and for all.  That’s all I can really say without giving away the ending so I will move on.

My thoughts on Moon Sworn and Riley Jenson’s journey:

I am literally wincing as I type this, but I did not love this book.  Over the past 8 books Riley Jenson has been through some serious stuff.  SERIOUS stuff.  She has been beaten (a lot), shot (even more), kidnapped, drugged, raped while drugged, genetically altered and forced to kill her own soul mate.  So, as far as I’m concerned, being dumped in a small town with no memory was like child’s play for Riley.  She also happens to have a crazy lethal twin brother and the most bad-ass vamp boyfriend on Earth who can tear a small town apart.  And the case she was working didn’t even have layer upon layer of messed up Aussies to peel away.  She solved it with only like 2 gun shot wounds and a dead hooker! So seriously?  This was the send off she got?    Sigh…I guess it depends on how you look at it.  If you were sick of fate kicking the crap out of Riley, then maybe you were relieved that things finally got easy for her.  But the reason I love Riley Jenson is how she always gets herself out of trouble on her own, without even relying on all the back-up she has available.  She is one of the smartest, sexiest, most kick-ass heroines I have ever read, and I loved every minute of her journey up until this point.  But this book felt almost formulaic to me.  I was really hoping for something even more over the top than the multi-species fighting ring from Tempting Evil (which is my fav book in the series and has one of the most awesome climactic battles ever!), but maybe it was time for things to calm down for Riley.  I am sure lots of people will love this final piece of Riley’s story.  And I really did love the ending; it was nice to see Riley finally at peace with herself and her past.   I think I was just ready to go on one more insane adventure with my favorite werewolf\vamp\seagull shifter and I don’t feel that I got it.  But don’t let my semi-negative review take away from this series.  I loved these books.  They are so much fun.  I will miss Quinn’s hotness, Rhoan and Liander’s sweetness, and Jack and Sal being super annoying.  I will miss Riley being that ridiculous seagull then shifting in midair to break someone’s jaw.  I will miss (actually have been missing for a few books now) the horny wolfie full-moon sex clubs and Riley’s unapologetic promiscuity (why the hell couldn’t she hook up with Cole just once?!?).  And finally I will miss getting to read all about Australia, which made these books unique for me. Okay, gushing is complete.  It feels weird to actually have closure from one of these series though.  Especially since book 8 left us with Riley on death’s door, its kind if nice to know everything is good now.  So if I can give no other reason to read this series, read it because IT’S DONE. 

Rating: 7.5 (-1.5 for lack of kick-assery)

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