The Scent of Shadows By Vicki Pettersson

From Amazon.com:  When she was sixteen, Joanna Archer was brutally assaulted and left to die in the Nevada desert.

By rights, she should be dead.

Now a photographer by day, she prowls a different Las Vegas after sunset—a grim, secret Sin City where Light battles Shadow—seeking answers to whom or what she really is . . . and revenge for the horrors she was forced to endure.

But the nightmare is just beginning-for the demons are hunting Joanna, and the powerful shadows want her for their own . . .

Okay, that description is not good.  Let me try to do better with some mild, but necessary spoilers.  Joanna Archer: twenty-something, photographer, martial arts expert, survivor of a brutal attack, victim of a mother’s abandonment, and daughter of uber rich casino owner Xavier Archer…or is she?  For years since her attack Joanna has been hiding behind her camera lens, not letting anyone close, just existing.  Her beautiful, successful,   sister Olivia convinces Joanna to go on a blind date…that will eventually end life as she knows it.  Not that she had much of a life to speak of.  Ajax, the Shadow and super creepy blind date, recognizes something special inside of Joanna and immediately tries to kidnap her.  Joanna is having no part of this and with the help of her long-lost love Ben the cop, she escapes Ajax.  Ben and Joanna tragically parted ways after her attack when they were both teens and didn’t know how to deal.  Seeing each other again brings back all of those lost feelings, but Warren of the Vegas Zodiac troop has other plans for Joanna.  Warren, like Ajax, treats Joanna like she is something different.  He is the de facto leader of the Zodiac, basically the good guy super-heros that have been losing  members at the hands of the Shadows.  Before long Joanna learns not only is she different but thanks to her mom and real dad, she is extraordinary.  Unfortunately Ajax and the leader of the Shadows, the Tulpa, cannot allow Joanna to become a threat.  Their attacks result in tragedy and force Joanna to abandon the world she knows and assume an entirely new identity.  After joining the other Zodiac agents, Joanna must help them fight to regain control of Vegas from the Shadows, ensure light wins over darkness, and confront the past she never really recovered from. 

The Good:  Thank God! A heroine I can get into!  I have been in such a heroine rut lately! Too many personality-less lady Cops/Detectives had me seriously thinking about taking a break from Urban Fantasy, but then Joanna Archer came along and warmed my heart with her scathing sarcasm and unemployed reluctant heiressness…kinda the anti-Paris Hilton.  Joanna has it rough in this book though, terrible things keep happening to her, and I found myself really getting pissed about it.  But then she springs into action and kicks so much ass, I just really fell in love with her.  Actually, several of the characters, especially the other star signs of the Zodiac, were a breath of fresh air for me as I didn’t get that feeling that I knew exactly what they were about after their first line of dialogue.  And I absolutely love it when the bad guy is revealed and I didn’t see it coming AT ALL.  So awesome.  I admit, I loved the whole super-heroish group based on signs of the zodiac concept, it was fresh and original, but there were parts that I didn’t really get.  Which leads me to…

The Bad:  So there is this group of super-heroes, right? And they are all affiliated with a star sign?  So if hottie Zodiac Hunter is a (fire sign) Aries, then he has neat ‘flame-on’ powers and an affinity for rams and stuff? No? Okay then.  So what are their powers and how do they relate to the signs?  Oh, you aren’t going to explain that to me? Oh. Okay.  Will I get to see these powers?  No? Just weapons? Oh. Humph. This was my basic thought process while reading Scent of Shadows.  I had so many questions about what exactly makes these people humans++ but the details were vague and hard to follow.  Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed spending so much time watching Joanna’s life unfold, but I was SO ready for her to blast people with magical arrows and such after all that build up. I have no doubt we will learn more details on what the Zodiac and the Shadows can actually do in the next books, so I guess I shouldn’t complain too  much…I was just ready to see some ass-kicking of the magical variety!

The Bumpin Uglies:  I have got to get away from these books that have incredibly steamy sex scenes up front and then leave us high and dry for the rest!  Teases! All of them!  Joanna is way too fiery to not be seeing some serious action! Poor thing gets crapped on the entire book and only has a few hours of intimacy with her high school sweetheart. But towards the end of the book, a nice little love triangle (I do enjoy a love triangle, have I mentioned?) is set up between Joanna, sweet cutie Ben, and SUPREME hotness Hunter.  Too bad I can’t convince myself that we will have a m/m/f situation on our hands in book 2.  Since this is UF, I know better.  Sigh…A girl can dream though. *wink* Oh and I would like to file a complaint with the author that not once did she exploit the pick up line hall-of-famer: “Soooo, what’s your sign?”  Missed opportunity for cheesy glory.  Unforgivable. 

Rating: 8.5

 

Favorite Joanna quote:  [Joanna hits some security guard]…he rebounded quickly and snapped [his head] back to level me with a look of pure hatred.  “Bitch!”

He still didn’t hit me though.

“I’m a bitch?” I asked innocently. 

“Fucking bitch,” he snarled.

I smiled sweetly.  “Then why are you the one who just got bitch-slapped?”

Disclaimerlicious: I have no idea what that gargoylesque thing on the cover is supposed to be, so don’t be expecting either gargoyles or demons.  This is a super-hero tale.

Advertisements

Night Keepers By Jessica Andersen (Final Prophecy #1)

From B&N.com:  The exciting debut of a new paranormal romance series

As a Miami narcotics detective, Leah Daniels never knows how her day will turn out. But she certainly never expected to be strapped to a stone altar, the human sacrifice in an ancient Mayan ritual meant to coax up a demon from the underworld. Or that she’d be saved by a handsome warrior-priest king who claims to recognize her from his visions…

Jaguar Strike wishes he hadn’t made the mistake of reuniting his fellow warrior priests, or broken the law by saving their chosen human sacrifice. Now, he has no choice but to join forces with Leah and invoke dangerous magic in a death-defying race against the end of time.

Kindlelicious Disclaimer: This book has a very complicated plot with about a millionty characters, so I will try to keep this short.

The Drama:    Leah Daniels is convinced that the leader of the a local cult that believes the end of the world will happen in 2012 (as predicted by the Mayans)  is responsible for the ritualistic killings of late, including the murder of her brother.  While investigating a lead, she is kidnapped by the cult and nearly sacrificed, until she is rescued by the man of her dreams (literally), Strike.  Strike is the last King of Night keepers, a race of beings with special powers that aim to prevent the end date from taking place.  Their last attempt 24 years ago ended with the brutal slaughter of most of his race by demons.  While rescuing Leah, Strike realizes the 2012 cult is responsible for allowing demons to possess humans.  The actions of the 2012 cult lead Strike and his keeper, the winikin Jox, to assemble any remaining Night keepers to fight the demons being released on Earth.  However, Strike continues to be distracted by Leah, who was meant to be a Godkeeper along with her brother, before he was murdered.  Now one of the few Gods that can fight the demons on Earth is trapped between planes and the only way to release it is to murder Leah.  Strike’s feelings for Leah won’t allow him to harm her, but he also knows if he doesn’t release the God and become the leader of the Night keepers, the world will indeed end in 2012. 

The Smut:  Night keepers is yet another example of a UF-PNR hybrid that is a dirty, dirty tease.  Strike and Leah go at it when they first meet! They don’t even know each other’s names! So awesome.  But then, Strike gets all “If we sleep together again I will like you more and then I won’t murder you” wah wah wah.  And Leah is all like “Whatever! We are around each other all day dumbass; we’ll like each other more anyway!!”  Leah is a smart girl, but unfortunately, Strike is stupid and we have to wait til near the end of the book to see any more serious action.  But the good news is that since Strike is all Mayan and stuff, he has big stone altars in his bedroom (cause that’s how all Mayan’s were, right?), and…well they get used.  The bad news is: I didn’t love Strike.  He was kinda whiny about being King and just not as bad-ass as I wanted him to be.  All of the other Night keepers were sort of unofficially coupled up though, so the series is set-up to feature the new Night keeper or Nightkeeper\Winikin couples in future books.  Really hoping we will get to see more of those stone altars!

The Ranty Rave:  The Night keepers reminded me of X-men.  I know, X-men are mutants and Night keepers are…magical (?), but I couldn’t help the comparison.  Reading the part where Strike is assembling the remaining Night keepers was like being in a movie montage or something.  All of these people from different backgrounds, thrust together to figure out what magical abilities they have and how they can unify to save the world…definite movie material.  Well…you would have to cut the number of characters in half so the audience’s heads wouldn’t explode, but it would still be great!  I really like the potential of this series, and I LOVED all the Mayan culture and mythology.  You can tell Jessica Andersen really did her homework in this area.  And though I felt like I was watching the History channel at some points, it never really got boring, just interesting.  Night keepers was really different than your usual vampy UF, don’t expect any of the standard supernatural beings.  (Except demons, but they aren’t hot Larissa Ione demons, so who cares?)  Like I said before, the central romance stalled several times, but I think introducing all the characters and history took up a lot of time and was pretty important for the series.   I expect the future books to do better in the romance department.  One last note, I can usually finish a book in a day, but this one took me a few days, mainly because I had to keep flipping back to the movie montage to keep track of everyone.  This didn’t really bother me though, if anything I felt more invested.

Rating: 8.5

Mini-review: A Rush of Wings By Adrian Phoenix

From Amazon.com:  Set in the brooding New Orleans area long established as the best location for all things vampiric, Phoenix’s lively debut has it all: Rogue [FBI] agents, Bureau-ordered hits, mad-scientist experiments in psychopathology, vampires and fallen angels and a slicing-dicing serial killer. Smart, sexy FBI Special Agent Heather Wallace has been trying to catch the Cross-Country Killer for three years when the trail leads to New Orleans and Club Hell, where Dante Prejean performs with the Inferno, an industrial/goth rock band. Dante is a Cajun and a born vampire whose memories of his terrible past have been erased, leaving him vulnerable to the psychopathic killer, E, who knows all that Dante has forgotten. As E begins targeting Dante’s loved ones, Heather must swallow her skepticism and work with Dante’s vampiric friends and family to save him. Phoenix alternates romantic homages to gothdom and steamy blood-drinking threesomes with enough terse, fast-paced thriller scenes to satisfy even the most jaded fan.

 

Mini-review:  Agent Heather Wallace has been tracking a serial killer for years, and his trail lands her at Club Hell (I know, what a shocking name for a club).  Dante (supervamp) is the tortured lead singer of a popular Goth band while his friend/father-figure Lucien (fallen angel) runs Club Hell and fiercely protects him.  The serial killer appears to have focused on Dante, and Heather needs to work with Lucien to protect him, not that he needs protecting or anything. While I thought the whole French vamps living in New Orleans was very unoriginal, the rest of the plot was unlike anything I had read before.  To be honest, I read this book about a week ago, and since then it has grown on me.  After I finished, I felt that there was just too much blood, too much angst, too much crazy.  Sometimes, you just need a little humor or romance to lighten things up a bit, ya know? But I have to give the author credit for coming up with so many fresh ideas and creating such a dark, twisty atmosphere.   I was bummed the story focused on Dante and not Lucien, because I have been on this huge fallen angel kick lately (I blame Nalini Singh), but Dante proved to be an extremely interesting character, with his Maker’s song powers that I didn’t even fully understand.  His powers go way past the usual vampire speed and night vision.  Heather was your run-of-the-mill female cop (I feel like I have read a ton of those lately) who didn’t come across as very likable.  The serial killer’s storyline was nuts, like nightmare-inducing crazy, but I thought his history was fresh and original.  And then the true (bigger) bad guy! Whew…that was really crazy, but again, a cool plot twist.  There wasn’t a whole lot of lovin’ in this book, and what little was there, I didn’t really enjoy cause I didn’t care for Heather. ::wistful sigh::  The lack of romance was a shame cause I pictured Dante as a dark, brooding Jared Leto (rawr!), but after you learn more about Dante’s horrific past, it’s sorta hard to think about anything else.  (Disclaimer: I realize that the book description above talks about hot threesomes and such, but that is pretty misleading…you only see the tail end of it) If you enjoy very dark UF, and don’t really care about a romantic element, you will enjoy this book.  I didn’t love it, but not because it wasn’t a good book, just more of a personal preference thing. 

Rating: 6.5

Rosemary and Rue By Seanan McGuire

 

From Amazon.com:  Singer-songwriter McGuire adeptly infuses her debut with hardboiled sensibilities and a wide array of mythological influences, set against a moody San Francisco backdrop. October Toby Daye is half-human, half-faerie, a changeling PI with a foot in both worlds. After spending 14 years as a fish following a botched assignment, she’s desperate to avoid magic, but the dying curse of a murdered elven lady forces her to investigate the killing, with the price of failure being Toby’s own painful death. Toby struggles with court intrigue, magical mayhem, would-be assassins and her own past, always driven by the need to succeed and survive. Well researched, sharply told, highly atmospheric and as brutal as any pulp detective tale, this promising start to a new urban fantasy series is sure to appeal to fans of Jim Butcher or Kim Harrison.

 

For 14 years half-fae October Daye lived as a fish.  While investigating the disappearance of her liege’s wife, she was cursed and turned into a fish.  Her whole life, including her human husband and daughter, was lost.  Shortly after stepping out of the pond, she is trying to rebuild her life…as a human, not fae.  Unfortunately, her old friend and powerful fae, Countess Evening Winterrose, is murdered and binds Toby with her dying words to find her killer.  The curse will kill Toby if she ignores it, so she has no choice but to seek assistance from her former fae friends.  When Toby finds a powerful fae object the Countess was protecting, the murderer comes after her.  Former loves, former enemies and former friends are all sucked into the drama surrounding the murder, all with their own motives in keeping Toby alive.

The Good:  I thought the idea of a binding curse to force Toby to solve the murder was a nice way to toss her back into her old life.  I was hoping Toby was going to be a little more formidable (she gets her ass kicked quite a few times), but her powers were cool anyway. The setting for Rosemary and Rue is San Francisco, a place I have always wanted to visit and now even more so.  There were just so many captivating places to explore in the areas where the human and fae world overlap.  And some creatures like the rose goblins (cat-like creatures with thorns instead of fur) were too cute!  Throughout the novel, Toby has to use her fae powers to entrance people to give her what she wants.  She does this by speaking in rhyme.  I found this part really fun, but at the same time, I took me a while to figure what the hell she was doing.    I felt like Toby’s world was really intriguing, I just had some serious issues with the characters, which I will now discuss.

The Bad:  I have a lot of mixed feelings about this book and cannot decide how I feel about Toby.  I just felt like I couldn’t get her.  She seems to be a good person who helped a lot of people in her former life, but then she has no qualms with hooking back up with her former love\total skeezer Devin.  I thought Devin was just gross, as I would anyone who takes advantage of young people by trading shelter for sex.  She also talks of dreaming of her former pond in what seems to be a fond way, but then she is terrified of being back in water.  In the first third of the book she paints of pretty stark, lonely picture of her life, but as the book goes on; we continue to meet people willing to take a bullet for her.  I can’t decide if this makes her extremely whiney or just stupid.  My other problem with this book is a felt like I was either coming into a series in the 4th or so book, or should be a scholar in all things fae.  There were many references to characters, rituals and magic that were left almost completely unexplained.  I knew that Simon and Oleander were bad guys and that they may have turned her into a fish, but that’s all I learned, and they were never seen in the book.  I still have no idea why you need to release salamanders into a burning building, and it irritates me to have to stop and google things.  Surely googling “arson salamanders” will put me on some sort of ‘to be watched’ list. 

The Bumpin’ Uglies:  Kindlelicious Pet Peeve #1:  Don’t skimp on the sex scenes!!  If I take the time to read about Toby’s multiple love interests, I think I should get to see some end results! Is this too much to ask? Gah!  Anyway, to be honest, in this case Toby’s main love interest was so unappealing I really didn’t care to think about them having sex.  Toby repeatedly talks about how Devin sleeps with all the girls at his halfway home for the half-fae, and I just don’t see how this is anything but creepy. And at the point she decides she wants to have said sex, she is nursing not one but two bullet holes, with one being in her thigh.  Ummmm Ouch? Can someone please explain the logistics of this to me?  At least two much more appealing (and scandalous!) future love interests were hinted at, so maybe we will actually get to see what happens next time around. 

 

The Rating: There were parts of the book I loved, and parts I didn’t, but I think the series might still be worth reading.  6.5

Ill Wind By Rachel Caine (Weather Warden #1)

From Amazon.com:  Joanne Baldwin is a weather warden, who can control the weather and keep it from being more chaotic and destructive than it already is. She is on the run, though, for she is accused of killing a senior warden, which she did, sort of: a thread of corruption runs through some of the most powerful wardens, one of which put a Demon Mark on her and then died. Her only hope now is to get a djinn from her old friend Lewis, who stole three of them from the council of the wardens many years ago. As she runs, she picks up a hitchhiker who knows things an ordinary person wouldn’t, and who offers help. With djinns and other wardens, including those sent to arrest her, all giving her conflicting information, Joanne never quite knows whom to trust in this romantic escapist romp rife with danger, excitement, and even classic cars.

Me: Hmm…good description Amazon…since I don’t want to be redundant I will just skip to the part where we talk about my opinions on Ill Wind. 

Amazon: We know that’s all you want to do anyway.  Let’s lose the charade.

Me: So true.

The Good:  I am no stranger to dorkdom, I can dork out about the weirdest things for hours.  And now I can add weather to that list.  Joanne manipulates the weather around her by going into Oversight, which is basically leaving her body and magically traveling into the atmosphere to change weather patterns.  I loved reading about her manipulating molecules and energy, I thought the whole concept was just spiffy.  But to be fair, some might get bored with the lengthy descriptions of clouds and lightning.  (You have been warned.)  I also really enjoyed the Djinn, who basically exist to serve with weather wardens.  This was my first encounter with the Djinn (read: Genie), and I loved how they are basically a magical powers open canvas.  It’s like “Oh, no car keys? Let me crank that for you!” “Oh, you are sinking in quick sand? I happen to be able to travel through the ground to save you! We Djinn do stuff like this all the time!”  This may annoy some, but I thought it was pretty funny.  As for the plot, it was very fast-paced with lots of action, as Joanne spent the entire book on the run from the rest of the weather wardens.  There were some twists and turns I didn’t see coming, and overall it was just a fun, different book.  Some characters were introduced but not well developed, but this is a series, so I think they will have a larger role to play later on.

The Bad:  I can’t think of too much to say here.  Ill Wind was a quick, light read, so I didn’t really care too much that there were a few holes in the plot.  I thought the villain was a little predictable.  And the motives really didn’t make much sense, but Joanne actually points that out, so I can’t really complain.  My biggest issue with Ill Wind is: I liked this book, but do I really need to read the other 8 in the series?  I am getting kinda sick of making huge investments in characters for 7-10 books, then being a little lost at the end.  (We are going to ignore how pathetic that sounded, mmmkay?) But Ill Wind ended with just enough of a cliffhanger to keep me interested.  Sigh…what to do. 

The Bumpin’ Uglies:  When I purchase my beloved Kindle books, I always read the reviews on Amazon before I make the purchase.  The few I read hinted that Ill Wind is more PNR than UF.  I would have to disagree, and I was disappointed at how little romance there was.  (Slight spoiler) I mean, I was really excited to see what David the Djinn lovin’ was all about, but the good stuff was more of the “blink and you miss it” variety.  I felt a little cheated by the one major smutty scene because it started off really steamy (figuratively and literally) and then was kinda skimmed over.  What a smut tease!  Seriously, what is the female of equivalent of getting blue balled??  Anyway, there were three potential love interests introduced, but only David the Djinn is really developed.  I would have liked a little more depth in these relationships, but like I said, the series is on the 9th book now; these romances may have been explored. 

Rating:  8 if considered UF, 6 if considered PNR

Vulnerable By Amy Lane

From Amazon.com:  Working graveyards in a stop & rob seemed a small price for Cory to pay in order to get her degree and get the hell out of Nor-Cal. She was terrified of disappearing into the aimless vortex that awaited the lost and the young that haunted her neck of the woods. Until the night she actually stopped looking at her books and looked up. What awaited her was a world she had only read about—one filled with fantastical creatures that she was sure she could never be.

And then Adrian walked in—and she discovered that risking your life was nothing compared to facing who you really were. And then falling in love.

The Drama:  Cory works at a Chevron in middle of nowhere Northern California, while trying to get her college degree and leave her small town.  While working the night shift, Arturo the elf enters her world, touches her, and enables her to see the rest of the supernatural community around her.  Arturo’s friend, a gorgeous vamp named Adrian, sees through her tough chick Goth looks.  Cory cannot understand what Adrian sees in her, but takes a chance on him anyway.  Then, the murders start.  Were-cats are being viciously murdered all around Cory, so Adrian takes her to his home, where she meets Green.  Green, a high elf, and super hot sex healer, welcomes Cory into their home and unleashes Cory’s mysterious powers.  The three, Cory, Adrian, and Green struggle with new powers and new feelings, while trying solve their friends’ murders. 

The Smut:  WARNING: SMUTTY SPOILERS  Vulnerable offers up one of the most complicated relationships I have dealt with in this genre.  Adrian and Green have been in love for…well ever, and secretly hope to find someone who can love them both.  Cory is a 19 year old virgin whose life is turned upside down by recent events.  I struggled with the idea of Cory’s first love being for two people, not because I am against it, but because there are just so many what-ifs.  Cory is thrust into a house full of hot elves and vamps at 19; I would have been trying to bang everyone in the house too! But is that love? After a few weeks?  Hmmm…  But don’t let my questions fool you, the smut in this book was different and I enjoyed the hell out of it.  I am really struggling not too give much away, but let me tell you: Adrian + Cory + Green + Magic = Extremely Exciting Topiaries.  …And I will leave it at that.

The Ranty Rave:  By my normal shallowish standards of what makes a good book, I should have hated this book.  It’s dark, deep, and has very little humor (besides previously mentioned topiaries).  I had to reread sections multiple times to understand WTH was going on, and I was unsure if that was because of the writer, the editing or the HORRIBLE Kindle edition.  (Kindle rant: This was the worst book I have encountered on Kindle in terms of typos and errors.  There were literally random numbers everywhere.  Hard to swallow when paying almost full price for a book.)  This book left me depressed with several unanswered questions about Cory and her powers. Cory was a little too close to lowest-self-esteem-on-Earth Bella Swan for my tastes, but towards the end she started to kick some serious ass, which made me very happy. That being said, I loved it.  I loved the characters, the plot, the moodiness, the settings and the smut.  It’s not a happy book, but since I have friends who actively seek out the saddest books they can find, I know there are those who will love that about it too.  And besides, not every book can be about slutty foul-mouthed demons, right?

Rating: 8 for the book, but I cannot recommend the Kindle edition.

Hell on Earth Series By Jackie Kessler

From Amazon.com:  She’s A Hot Demon On The Run From Hell– Which Isn’t Easy To Do In Heels.

Once upon a time, Jezebel was a powerful succubus, capable of seducing men and sucking out their souls. But that was before Hell put a bounty on her head. Now her only chance to escape a fate far worse than death is to live as a mortal, losing herself in a sea of unfamiliar humanity, in a place where sinners walk hand-in-hand with saints–a place like Belle’s strip club in New York City.

Working as an exotic dancer is a piece of cake for a former demon that once specialized in sex. Taking money from men? Please. It’s like leading lawyers to the Lake of Fire. Plus the lingerie is great. But she hadn’t counted on meeting sexy Paul Hamilton, a man haunted by his past. Good-bye, succubus; hello, lovestruck. Learning all about how complicated–and pleasurable–love can be, Jezebel thinks she’s turned her back on Hell.

But Hell hasn’t stopped looking for her. The secrets Jezebel holds are the most dangerous of all, the kind every demon in the Underworld would do their worst to protect. Demons are closing in, which is enough to make Jezebel shiver in her G-string. But it’s her love for Paul that’s going to have deadly consequences…

Thoughts on the Road to Hell series: (I tried to avoid spoilers)

Ohmigodilovejezebelthesuccubssomuch!!  Whew, had to blurt that out, anyway. When we meet Jezebel in Hell’s Belles, she’s a succubus on the run from Hell, hoping to find the witch that can turn her human to avoid detection by demon bounty hunters.  Once she is sorta human (and calling herself Jessie), she flees to New York City in hopes of blending in with the rest of humanity.  En route to NYC she meets Paul Hamilton and is instantly smitten with her newly found “Cabin Boy.”  She takes a job as a stripper, which pretty much comes as second nature to a creature of lust, but quickly realizes that the demons of Hell are on her heels.  With the help of her incubus former lover Daunuan and her BFF Meg the Fury, she tries to find a way to escape the wrath of Hell’s new King.

Hell’s Belles is a sexy, dirty, sinfully wonderful book! Jezebel is hysterical, I laughed out loud several times while reading this.  Her mouth is so durty, Orbitz wouldn’t stand a chance cleaning it up.  Plus, there is just enough action to keep the plot moving along, but honestly, I could’ve read Jezebel’s conversations with her ‘conscience’ for hours.  I also loved the twist on the relationship between Heaven and Hell and Lucifer.  In fact, I almost enjoyed the time Jessie was in Hell more than when she was on Earth!

When we see Jezzie again in The Road to Hell, she is living with her cabin boy lover Paul and trying to adjust to being a human with a real, untainted soul.  Unfortunately, her new soul brought all kinds of feelings with it, like hurt from Meg’s betrayal.  Most of the book deals with Jessie trying to learn how to live like a human and be in a relationship, but her new human-with-a-soul status has made her plenty of enemies in Hell.  The Queen of Lust, Lilith, is out to get Jessie for reasons revealed later in the book.  And Jessie keeps getting unwelcome visits from Alecto the Fury asking for assistance with saving Meg and Daunuan attempting to seduce her back to Hell.  When Lilith’s attacks on Jessie fail, she goes after Paul, and Jessie finds herself back in Hell to save him.

The Road to Hell was a great book, but after Hell’s Belles, it was sorta a disappointment.  Jessie is not nearly as raunchy in this one, which I really missed.  She almost becomes whiny when dealing with Paul, and her encounters with Daunuan go from uber steamy to almost sad.   Daunuan’s new apprentice Angel provides some really funny scenes as an angel trying to become a succubus.  While the first book was completely frivolous and fun, The Road to Hell has some more touching scenes that I wasn’t really expecting.  It also left us with lingering questions about why Hecate is interested in Jez and what exactly her relationship with Lucifer is. 

Hotter than Hell, the third book in the series, is completely different from the first two, and is told from Daunuan’s point of view.  The newly appointed King of Lust, the God Pan, has asked Daunuan to be his prince.  But he must pass Pan’s test first which involves seducing a woman slated for Heaven into committing an act of lust.  His target, Virginia, is a dead ringer for Jezebel, and Daunuan is forced to come to terms with his feelings for his long lost succubus.  Daunuan becomes ‘Don’ in order to seduce Virginia into sleeping with him, but other Princes of Hell are trying to stop him at all costs.

After the first two books in the series, I didn’t really appreciate the total shift of view point.  I loved Duan in the other books, but since he had to make himself boring to seduce Virginia, he just didn’t work for me here.  When Jezebel was in the scene, she didn’t act like herself at all, which made me sad. I missed Jessie!  The book had a twist ending that I didn’t see coming, but also didn’t really care for cause it seems that not everyone will get their happy ending.  I kinda wish I had just stuck to the first two, but I liked the books enough to check out Jackie Kessler’s other series, The Icarus Project.

My Favorite Jezebel quotes:

Bartender: “Scotch.  Thought you could use one. The good stuff, too.  Eighteen year.

Jezebel: “Usually I preferred a little Scotch wearing a kilt and no knickers. But I’d take the liquid variety today.

“Paul! Oooh. My Cabin Boy returneth. Woot!”

 “A demon trust a human? Unspeakably funny. The only creatures that lied even more than demons were humans—and that was because demons didn’t lie to themselves.”

Ratings:

Hell’s Belles : 9

The Road to Hell:  8

Hotter than Hell:  7

 

 

 

 

 

 

Previous Older Entries Next Newer Entries