The Darkest Passion

From Goodreads.com:  New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Gena Showalter returns with another sizzling installment of the Lords of the Underworld series as Aeron, keeper of the demon of wrath, finally meets his match…

For weeks, the immortal warrior Aeron has sensed an invisible female presence. An angel–demon-assassin–has been sent to kill him. Or has she? Olivia claims she fell from the heavens, giving up immortality because she couldn’t bear to harm him. But trusting–and falling for–Olivia will endanger them all. So how has this “mortal” with the huge blue eyes already unleashed Aeron’s darkest passion?

Now, with an enemy hot on his trail and his faithful demon companion determined to remove Olivia from his life, Aeron is trapped between duty and consuming desire. Worse still, a new executioner has been sent to do the job Olivia wouldn’t….

 Spoiler Free Review:

I feel like the blurb above does a good job of summarizing the plot, and since I am trying really hard not to reveal spoilers for this book, I will not elaborate any more.  Instead, we will briefly give the history of Kindlelicious and The Lords of the Underworld.  It all started with Kresley Cole and a little Valkyrie named Nix.  I had just finished reading the Immortals after Dark (IAD) series, and I read somewhere in cyberland that Kresley and Gena would be doing an IAD-Lords crossover with Nix.  After my happy dance  (I have major IAD withdrawal issues), I hurried to buy the Lords series.  Sadly, I was underwhelmed.  I liked the books, don’t get me wrong, but after coming off IAD, nothing was really working for me.  But I kept going, because I needed to see my Nixie (which was sorta disappointing but I digress).  Luckily, it wasn’t long before Anya and William came along and rocked my world.  Then you throw in some crazy harpy sisters, and suddenly I love this series.  Now, if you read my blog or tweets, you know I am obsessed with angels (Blame Nalini Singh), so I was really excited about hottie Aeron and angel Olivia and revisiting those harpies and minor Gods.   So without spoiling anything, let me tell you all this book has going on: lots of William, lots of angely goodness (Olivia, Lysander, Galen and Aeron), lots of Gideon including a BIG plot twist I did not see coming, and major plot developments involving the war with the Hunters and Galen.  I apologize for how vague I am being, but there was so much set up for future books, that I feel like talking about anything will give something away.   That being said, here are my vague thoughts about the book:  I loved the Olivia and Aeron story, Olivia is HILAIROUS, but doesn’t mean to be.  I wanted to jump through my Kindle and bitch-slap Legion.  I also have some choice words for Lysander and his fine self.  I am slightly uncomfortable with where William’s story is headed, but I am sure Gena will work it out.  I am SUPER excited to read more about Gideon, but I admit deciphering his sentences gives me a slight headache.   I am excited there are going to be 2 Lady…Lady Lords (?)…chicks possessed by demon other than Cameo, because she bores me.  And I really want to see what will happen with Galen and his…hook-up in the future.  Okay, this might be the worst review ever, so just know, this book was awesome.   It was funny, sexy, infuriating and exciting all at the same time.  AND it is officially the first Kindlelicious 10!!

Favorite quote:  “But I offered you a place in my bed,” William whined to the Harpy. 

“You suck at Guitar Hero, therefore I figure you’re bad with your hands.  Besides, someone we all know and love has staked prior claim on you.  …”Therefore I picked Paris to keep me warm the other night.  And I can’t wait to give Bianka the down-and-dirty details.”

Rating: 10

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Angels’ Blood & Archangel’s Kiss By Nalini Singh

From Barnesandnobel.com:  

Angels’ Blood

Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux is hired by the dangerously beautiful Archangel Raphael. But this time, it’s not a wayward vamp she has to track. It’s an archangel gone bad.
The job will put Elena in the midst of a killing spree like no other—and pull her to the razor’s edge of passion. Even if the hunt doesn’t destroy her, succumbing to Raphael’s seductive touch just may. For when archangels play, mortals break.

 Archangel’s Kiss

New York Times bestselling author of Angels’ Blood Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux wakes from a year-long coma to find that she has become an angel-and that her lover, the stunningly dangerous archangel Raphael, likes having her under his control. But almost immediately, Raphael must ready Elena for a flight to Beijing, to attend a ball thrown by the archangel Lijuan. Ancient and without conscience, Lijuan’s power lies with the dead. And she has organized the most perfect and most vicious of welcomes for Elena…

Elena Deveraux is “hunter-borne,” which basically means she can track vampires by scent.  In Nalini Singh’s first entry in the Guild Hunter Series, we learn that vampires are actually made by angels, and angels don’t like it when their vamps misbehave.  Elena works for the Guild, and is frequently contracted to track stray vamps for the angels, but this time an archangel is interested in her services.  Raphael, the archangel of New York, needs Elena to track a fellow archangel gone bad.  Though Elena knows it’s unlikely she will survive this hunt, she has little choice but to work with Raphael to track down the incredibly disturbing Raum.  The hunt inevitably pushes Raphael and Elena closer together, giving us a seriously steamy romance laced within the action.

The sequel to Angels’ Blood, Archangel’s Kiss, picks up right after Elena seemingly perished while “saving” Raphael from Raum.  We find Elena in the Refuge, where Raphael has somehow turned her into an angel.  Since this is so rare, the other archangels in the Cadre of Ten are very curious about Elena.  Raphael’s Seven (7 vamps and angels sworn to protect him) have been ordered to protect Elena from attack, though they really don’t care for her.  Strange attacks are taking place around the Refuge, which are thought to be power plays by angels hoping to take Raum’s place in the Cadre.  Raphael becomes increasingly concerned with Lijuan and the ball she is throwing to introduce her newly un-dead army.  Meanwhile, Elena tries to come to grips with her new life as an angel and archangel’s lover.

The Good:  There is just so much goodness in these books; I don’t even know where to start.   I LOVE the idea of angels flying around New York and vamps essentially being angel pets.  I thought the whole premise of the series was so fresh and original.  I like the complexity of both Elena and Raphael, and the supporting characters were really great!  LOVE Illium…but more on that later.  The bad guys in the Guild Hunter world are seriously effed up.  If I had seen some of this stuff in a movie, I wouldn’t have slept for weeks.  Especially Raum, he was just disturbing.  But I thought the idea of an angel existing so long that they no longer care about right or wrong was intriguing. Its nice to get a break from villains going on and on about how noble their motives really are and meet a bad guy who’s simply insane.  Like the Joker with a raging case of bloodlust.  I know this is blasphemy to some, but I don’t really care for the psy\changeling series by Nalini Singh.   To be fair, I only read the first book, but I just didn’t care for the detached-ness (new word?) of the psy and I thought the book was just boring.  But after reading these books, I am going to give the series another shot. 

The Bad:  I feel like I would be really nitpicking to find something bad about these books.  I guess Elena’s flashbacks to her traumatic childhood get a little redundant.  And there is something about Nalini Singh’s writing that makes me want to take a nap after I read.  Its very soothing, even when she describes dismembered bodies.  Would we call the ability to eloquently describe corpses a talent?  I will say that some of the crime scenes are really violent, so if you are bothered by that sort of thing, you might not like the books.  But chances are if you’re American, you’re more comfortable with violence than sex, so…. Anyway, yeah, that’s all I got for the bad.  Moving on…

The Bumpin’ Uglies:  In my Hierarchy of Paranormal Hotness, Elves just got gently nudged aside (but I totally copped a feel in the process).  I am completely obsessed with angel wings and being dusted.  I have a very severe sparkle addiction (except vamps that sparkle, that’s just lame), so the whole idea of angel dust being erotic and giving me a sparkly glow at the same time… well, that’s my own personal heaven.  There were several steamy scenes with Raphael and Elena in both books, with some of my favorites utilizing the more sensitive areas of angel wings.  Still waiting on that ‘angel dance’ scene though.   And I totally blame Spartacus: Blood and Sand for getting me started on the curly blonde men obsession!  Meet Varro: 

Sup.

He looks a lot like I think Illium should look.  Unfortunately, he was just killed on the show (Bastards!), so I don’t see much reason to continue watching.  I am really hoping Nalini Singh will do a spin-off series, much like the Night Huntress World series, focusing on Raphael’s Seven.  HOTNESS. 

Rating:  10 with angel dust sprinkles.