Locked Tight (Mindjack #4) by Susan Kaye Quinn-a review

LOCKED TIGHT (Mindjack#4) by Susan Kaye Quinn-a review

Locked Tight

ebook only 99¢ Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date April 17, 2017

In a world filled with mindreaders, being a mindjacker is a good way to end up dead.

And Zeph is no ordinary jacker.

He can break open the toughest minds—or lock the weakest ones—but that just makes him a weapon every jacker Clan wants to control. To keep his family of mindreaders safe, Zeph does what his Clan leader says and tries to shut out the screams—but when jackers are revealed to the world, he has no choice but to hug his kid sister goodbye and leave home.

Passing for a reader is something Zeph does well, but when readers start changing into jackers and his family disappears, Zeph must return to a city filled with jackers who hate him, trick a mindware CEO into helping him, avoid a girl who knows him too well, and spy on the most powerful jacker in the state.

All without dying or revealing his abilities—or being caught in the firestorm of hate between jackers and readers that’s threatening to pull the world apart.

The bestselling Mindjack Series continues with an all new character and a world of mindreaders and mindjackers as you’ve never seen it before. LOCKED TIGHT is the first of three Mindjack novels from Zeph’s perspective. (See The Locksmith for Zeph’s origin story.)

 

••••••••••

REVIEW: LOCKED TIGHT is the fourth full –length installment in Susan Kaye Quinn’s young adult (YA) Mindjack urban fantasy, dystopian series. LOCKED TIGHT and the prequel novella The Locksmith are the beginning of a new arc in the Mindjack series. No longer focusing on jacker Kira Moore, the series shifts focus to eighteen year old mindjacker Zephyr MacCay who has the ability to lock down or unlock the human mind.

SOME BACKGROUND: In a world where mindreading is the norm (due to decades of contaminated or purposely poisoned water) there are those with more powerful abilities than most. These are their stories of discrimination, betrayal, retribution and control. The human population developed various forms of mind-reading, mind altering and mind controlling abilities. And to complicate matters those without the ability to mindjack are purposely setting out to bring war between the have and the have-nots.

Told from first person point of view (Zeph) LOCKED TIGHT follows eighteen year old mindjacker Zephyr MacCay as he searches for his family (and thirteen year old sister) he hasn’t seen in years-a family of mindreaders whose lives were threatened by the existence of their eldest son. Zephyr has the ability to hide his abilities but a threat of another nature finds our hero caught between three potential enemies never knowing who is telling the truth or out right lies. What ensues are Zeph’s attempts to locate his sister as several warring factions battle for control of Zephyr himself.

LOCKED TIGHT is an infinitely detailed, brilliant and remarkable look at a world struggling with the fall out of chemical contamination of the human population. From mindreaders to mindjackers Susan Kaye Quinn’s MINDJACKER series looks at the dysfunctional relationship between a hierarchy of mental and physical powers, and the breakdown of society between the ‘have and have nots’. The Mindjacker series focuses on betrayal, revenge, discrimination, specieism, and the battle for control, and the potential to create a weapon of unimaginable strengths. The premise is unparalleled with a profound and innovative message as well as a frighteningly realistic look at the future where fear and anarchy reign.

Reading Order and previous reviews
Mind Games (Mindjack Origins 1)
Open Minds
Closed Hearts
Free Souls
The Locksmith
The Handler/ The Scribe (Mindjack Origins 2 & 3)
Keeper (Mindjack Origins 4)
Locked Tight

Reviewed by Sandy

Copy supplied for review.

____________

The LocksmithTHE LOCKSMITH
Mindjack Origins #5-a novella
by Susan Kaye Quinn
Genre: YA, dystopian, UF

FREE ebook at Amazon :Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO / BAM /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date February 9, 2015

SHORT NOVELLA (STANDALONE) in the Mindjack universe

When everyone reads minds, a secret is a dangerous thing to keep.

In a world filled with mindreaders, Zeph is a mindjacker who wants to stay hidden—even if it means the cute mindreader in his Latin class is forever out of his reach. He locks and unlocks minds for a ruthless mindjacker Clan in exchange for protection and the chance to have a normal life with his parents and little sister. But when a girl he doesn’t know reveals the existence of mindjackers to the world, Zeph is forced to make a choice: unlock—and ultimately destroy—the mind of a young jacker changeling… or turn his back on everyone he loves.

The Locksmith is a short novella (standalone) in the Mindjack universe. It can be read independently of the other Mindjack stories, in any order. It is 11,000 words (or 44 pages) long.

•••••••••••••

REVIEW: THE LOCKSMITH is the latest novella in Susan Kaye Quinn’s young adult Mindjack urban fantasy dystopian series.

In a world where mindreading is the norm (due to decades of contaminated water) there are those with more powerful abilities than most. These are their stories of discrimination, betrayal, retribution and control. The human population developed various forms of mind-reading, mind altering and mind controlling abilities. And to complicate matters, those without any special ability declare everyone with altered minds as an enemy of the state.

The novella focuses on Zeph, a young seventeen year old mindjacker who has the ability to lock down or unlock the human mind. As a mindjacker, Zeph has become part of a Clan and has been commanded to lock down the minds of potential Clan workers. When something goes horribly wrong, and Zeph is unable to stop the carnage, he runs-he has no plans to become the next victim of society’s ills.

Susan Kaye Quinn adds another dimension to her young adult Mindjack series. THE LOCKSMITH is a fast paced, quick read that will tease a new reader into wanting more. For fans of Susan’s Mindjack series, we are hoping that Zeph survives the upcoming fallout of the impending war.

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Sandy

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Justice Ascending (Scorpius Syndrome #3) by Rebecca Zanetti-a review

JUSTICE ASCENDING (Scorpius Syndrome #3) by Rebecca Zanetti- a review

Justice Ascending

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date January 31, 2017

Before surviving the Scorpius bacterium, Tace Justice was a good ole Texas cowboy who served his country and loved his mama. After Scorpius, the world became dark, dangerous, and deadly… and so did he. The Vanguard medic is stronger, faster, and smarter than before, but he’s lost the line between right and wrong. His passion is absolute, and when he focuses it on one woman, there’s no turning back for either of them.

Sami Steel has been fighting to survive right alongside Tace, convincing the Vanguard soldiers she’s one of them. In truth, Sami is a former hacker turned government agent who worked at The Bunker, where scientists stored both contaminants and cures. Only she knows the location, and she’s not telling. Yet when sexual fire explodes between her and Tace, she’ll face even that hell again to save him.

••••••••••

REVIEW: JUSTICE ASCENDING is the third full length installment in Rebecca Zanetti’s THE SCORPIUS SYNDROME cross genre Sci-Fi/ UF/Dystopian series focusing on a biological pandemic sweeping the world that has already killed 99% of the US population. This is former Texas cowboy and soldier Tace Justice, and former LAPD rookie Sami Steel’s story line that looks at life in the aftermath, and the fallout from an unknown bacteria-from space. The story line advances the series but a few days. For more background information and some history, there is a prequel novella-SCORPIUS RISING-which can be found in the ON THE HUNT anthology (August 2015).

SOME BACKGROUND: Some of those infected with the biological virus have survived to become something known as a Ripper, but there are two types of Rippers inhabiting the world-one is a zombie like creature who feasts on the living; the other is a survivor whose brain has been altered resulting in a stronger, more powerful enhanced human being sometimes bordering on the sociopath ideology with delusions of grandeur and hate. If you are a fan of the series The Walking Dead, you will see many similarities in the story line premise including the search for food and supplies, attacks of the ‘undead’, and various groups of survivors vying for power and control.

Told from several third person points of view JUSTICE ASCENDING focuses on the struggle to survive as the depleting inventory at the Vanguard compound threatens the survival of anyone seeking refuge. Tace Justice, along with many other members of the compound survived the virus but the resulting after affects are slowly killing our story line hero. Tace is a former army field medic and has been ordered to the Mercenary’s compound to offer medical aid following an attack by the Elite Force and the self-proclaimed president of the USA- a man once infected by the Scorpius virus who has since become a sociopathic Ripper. Enter Sami Steel, the woman that calls to Tace’s heart, and the woman sent to scope out the Mercs for some well needed supplies. What ensues is the building relationship between Sami and Tace, Tace’s struggle to keep secret his deteriorating condition, and the search for answers at the California Bunker.

The relationship between Tace and Sami is a friends to lovers scenario-sparring partners, and compound soldiers, Tace has always been attracted to the feisty Sami Steele-a woman who keeps her past a secret –a secret that could help save Tace’s life. Tace is a mercurial hero, a man who struggles with the dark demons that have affected his brain and his mind. The $ex scenes are erotic, intense and passionate-there are some scenes of spanking and discipline.

There is a large ensemble cast of secondary and supporting characters including Vanguard leader Jax Mercury and Lynne Harmony (Mercury Striking #1), mercenary Raze Shadow, and FBI profiler Vivienne (Vinnie) Wellington (Shadow Falling #2), as well as a number of soldier and people at the compounds both Vanguard and Mercenary. The Vanguard facility must contend with a growing number of people free of the virus hoping to keep themselves ‘pure’- the purists is a cult-like group who follow another self-proclaimed leader Pastor Zachary King who will protect his followers from the Scorpius virus. We are re- introduced to Damon Winter and Greyson Storm (leader of the Mercs) two men who struggle to keep their own people alive. The requisite evil includes President Bret Atherton, and his Elite Force of soldiers. Not everyone will survive.

JUSTICE ASCENDING is a story of survival set in a futuristic world where only the strongest survive; an action packed tale of death and destruction, love and loss, secrets and lies, struggle and freedom. New alliances are made; old enemies go down in flames. The premise is unique and imaginative; the characters are spirited, flawed and intense; the romance is passionate and challenging.

Reading Order and Previous Reviews

Scorpius Rising (On the Hunt Anthology)
Mercury Striking
Shadow Falling
Justice Ascending

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

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Pocket Full of Tinder (Noon Onyx #4) by Jill Archer-a review

POCKET FULL OF TINDER (Noon Onyx #4) by Jill Archer-a review

Pocket Full of Tinder

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / KOBO /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date December 15, 2016

Noon Onyx is back! In this long-awaited fourth installment, Jill Archer returns readers to the dangerous world of Halja, where demons, angels, and humans coexist in an uneasy state of détente.

Maegester-in-Training Noon Onyx feels like she’s done it all – mastered fiery magic, become an adept fighter, learned the law, killed countless demons, and survived having her heart broken by both love and an arrow, but now she’ll face her greatest challenge yet…

Far to the north lies an outpost famous for its unrest – Rockthorn Gorge. The town’s patron has specifically requested Noon’s help. Her assignment? Help the neophyte demon lord build his fiefdom and keep what’s his. The problem? Lord Aristos – Noon’s new employer – is her erstwhile lover, Ari Carmine, the aforementioned heart breaker. And the number one thing he wants is her.

When Rockthorn Gorge’s viaduct is destroyed by Displodo, an enigmatic bomber, killing a dozen settlers and wounding scores more, Noon sets off early to aid in the search and rescue. Ari is listed among the missing and the suspects are legion. But Noon’s search is just the beginning. Her journey forces Noon to confront not only those she loves, but also enemies hell-bent on destroying them.

•••••••••

REVIEW: POCKET FULL OF TINDER is the fourth installment in Jill Archer’s UF/Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic NOON ONYX series.

BACKGROUND : Archer’s series focuses on the simmering truce between Angels and Demons 2000 years after Armageddon , and the destructive nature of the Maegester and their dark ‘waning’ magic. But for 22 year old Nouiomo Onyx (aka Noon) a reversal of fortunes has occurred at her birth-she was imbued with the dark waning magic (once only accorded to men) and her twin Nocturo (Nightshade) was the waxing magic (once only accorded to women). Women are the creators not the destroyers. Noon’s ability to wield waning magic will become both a curse and a blessing- in more ways than one.

Told from first person point of view (Noon Onyx) POCKET FULL OF TINDER is the continuing story of Maegester-in-Training Noon Onyx, as she struggles with who she is and what she has become. At the end of book three-White Heart of Justice-Noon walked away from the only man she has ever loved after a perceived betrayal and lie of omission forced our heroine to choose between love and a happily ever after, and living a life she knows as a lie. POCKET FULL OF TINDER is witness to Noon’s latest assignment that will bring our heroine face to face with her new employer at Rockthorn Gorge-Lord Aristos aka Ari Carmine aka the man that she loves. What ensues is the rebuilding romance between Noon and Ari, and the search for the person(s) responsible for the continued attacks against, and the destruction of a dam project near Rockthorn Gorge.

POCKET FULL OF TINDER is a heartbreaking story line; a revealing look at two people whose hearts were shattered by betrayal; whose lives will be destroyed by power and greed; whose happily ever after is never meant to be. We get up close and personal with the hierarchy of demonkind, angels, and the political elite in a post-apocalyptic world governed by magic and power. The premise is complex and original; the characters are passionate, magical and unique; the romance is emotional and intense. Jill Archer NOON ONYX is an amazing, imaginative and fantastic series with flawless text, and a breathtaking premise.

Reading Order and Previous Reviews
Dark Light of Day
Fiery Edge of Steel
White Heart of Justice
Pocket Full of Tinder

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Sandy

About The Author

Jill ARcherJill Archer writes dark, genre-bending fantasy from rural Maryland. Her novels include Dark Light of Day, Fiery Edge of Steel, White Heart of Justice, and Pocket Full of Tinder. She loves cats, coffee, books, movies, day tripping, and outdoor adventuring.

Website: http://www.jillarcher.com/
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bAzF7n
Blog: https://jillarcherauthor.wordpress.com/blog/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/archer_jill
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jillarcherauthor
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5782149.Jill_Archer
Discussion Questions: http://jillarcherauthor.wordpress.com/book-clubs/

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Shadow Falling (Scorpius Syndrome #2) by Rebecca Zanetti-a review

SHADOW FALLING (Scorpius Syndrome #2) by Rebecca Zanetti-a review

Shadow Falling

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date August 30, 2016

Before the Scorpius Syndrome tore through North America and nearly wiped out the population, Vivienne Wellington was the FBI’s best profiler. The bacteria got her anyway. But she survived. She recovered. And when she woke up from a drug-nightmare of captivity, her skills as a hunter of men had gone from merely brilliant to full-on uncanny. Her mysterious rescuer wants her to put them to the test. But no matter how tempting he is, with his angel’s eyes and devil’s tongue, Vinnie knows she shouldn’t trust him.

If the FBI were still around they would rate Raze Shadow as one of the bad guys. His military training can’t wipe out his association with the Mercenaries, the most feared gang in a thousand miles. His loyalties are compromised. He won’t even tell Vinnie his real name. But there’s no FBI in the new America of fear and firepower, only instinct and risk.

And the way his arms wrap around Vinnie tells its own story. Whatever else Raze is concealing, he can’t hide his desire . .

•••••••••••

REVIEW: SHADOW FALLING is the second full length installment in Rebecca Zanetti’s THE SCORPIUS SYNDROME cross genre Sci-Fi/ UF/Dystopian series focusing on a biological pandemic sweeping the world that has already killed 99% of the US population. This is former US soldier and mercenary Raze Shadow, and FBI profiler Vivienne (Vinnie) Wellington’s story line that looks at life in the aftermath, and the fallout from an unknown bacteria-from space. The story line advances the series approximately one week. For more background information and some history, there is a prequel novella-SCORPIUS RISING-which can be found in the ON THE HUNT anthology (August 2015).

SOME BACKGROUND: Some of those infected with the biological virus have survived to become something known as a Ripper, but there are two types of Rippers inhabiting the world-one is a zombie like creature who feasts on the living; the other is a survivor whose brain has been altered resulting in a stronger, more powerful enhanced human being sometimes bordering on the sociopath ideology. If you are a fan of the series The Walking Dead, you will see many similarities in the story line premise including the search for food and supplies, attacks of the ‘undead’, and various groups of survivors vying for power and control.

Told from several third person points of view SHADOW FALLING focuses on Vinnie Wellington’s recovery following her harrowing ordeal as a prisoner of the newly self-declared President of the USA. A couple of weeks earlier, Raze Shadow rescued our heroine, and in the ensuing time found himself oddly attracted to the woman suffering with PTSD, hallucinations, an unfiltered brain to mouth loss of control, and some supernatural side affects following a regimen of drugs used to control her mind. What ensues is the building relationship between Vinnie and Raze, and a potential act of betrayal when Raze’s reason for returning to the Vanguard compound is soon discovered. Compound leader Jax Mercury doesn’t trust the newest arrivals, and Raze’s presence starts sending out too many red flags for the current team leader. Raze is a dominant force whose protective nature finds our hero struggling between right and wrong.

The relationship between Raze and Vinnie is one of mutual benefit. Vinnie suffers with PTSD, and Raze’s attraction to Vinnie finds our couple roommates in a compound with very little extra space for new arrivals. Vinnie needs the reassurance of Raze’s presence, and Raze is a man determined to complete his mission, and Vinnie is vital to the job. The $ex scenes are intimate and intense.

There is a large ensemble cast of characters including Jax and Lynn (Mercury Striking #1), medic Tace, soldier Sami, and a host of secondary and supporting survivors at the Vanguard compound. There are three other factions vying for control including the current self-imposed US  government; a group hoping to keep themselves ‘pure’ of the virus; and another compound that will come under fire when Raze sets out on his personal mission.

SHADOW FALLING is a fast paced, action packed story of survival in a post apocalyptic world destroyed by a space-born pathogen of unknown origin. The premise is imaginative and inventive; the characters are flawed and broken, energetic and dynamic-survivors in a world that challenges everything they had ever known; the romance is captivating, emotional and electric. Keep your mind open to the possibility that life as we know it can be gone in the blink of an eye.

I did have a couple of issues with believability as it pertained to a couple of events at the Vanguard compound but it is an urban fantasy story line where reality is subjective to the mind’s eye.

Reading Order and Previous Reviews
Scorpius Rising (On the Hunt Anthology)
Mercury Striking
Shadow Falling

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

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Unwanted (Elemental Assassin 14.5) by Jennifer Estep-a dual review

UNWANTED (Elemental Assassin 14.5) by Jennifer Estep-a dual review

Unwanted

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date July 18, 2016

The New York Times bestselling Elemental Assassin series continues with a new e-novella–from the point of view of Finnegan Lane, the foster brother of Gin Blanco, and a fan favorite of readers of the series.

The fallout from his disastrous “family reunion” in Bitter Bite has left Finn feeling hurt, angry, and depressed. He can barely stand to look at himself in the mirror, much less eat any of the delicious barbecue from Gin’s famed Pork Pit restaurant.

But when the funeral for a slain security guard at his bank turns into a showdown with some nasty underworld giants, Finn knows that he must act in order to protect an innocent family.

Finnegan Lane might be the most unwanted man in Ashland these days, but he’s determined to try to make amends for his past mistakes…

••••••••••••

Sandy’s Review

NOTE: If you have not read BITTER BITE, there may be some spoilers in my review.

REVIEW: UNWANTED is a novella by Jennifer Estep that focuses on the aftermath and fallout from the events of BITTER BITE (Elemental Assassin #14) wherein Finnegan Lane’s past comes back from the dead seeking retribution, leaving a path of destruction and death in its wake.

Told from first person point of view (Finnegan Lane) UNWANTED follows Finnegan and his growing guilt in the days and weeks after several co-workers were murdered doing their job. Although not directly responsible for the massacre and ensuing death, Finn compounds his grief and guilt with each funeral having to face the employees and their family knowing most of them place the blame squarely on his shoulders. When a threat of a different nature touches upon one of the survivors, Finn makes it his responsibility to mete out justice, ending the threat-once and for all.

UNWANTED takes a quick look at the man we have grown to love. Although we still know very little about Finnegan’s life with Fletcher Lane, UNWANTED reveals some of the thought processes and his need to defend those who are unable to defend themselves. The premise helps to close up some lose ends in the aftermath of a dark and dangerous time; the characters are an eclectic mix of good and bad.

 

Barb’s Review

Unwanted by Jennifer Estep is 14.5 of her wonderful Elemental Assassin series.  This novella is different, as it is told in Finn’s POV.  Finn is Gin Blanco’s foster brother.  Unwanted picks up right after Bitter Bite left off.  Finn is depressed and feeling guilty about his behavior in not trusting Gin, when he allowed his mother to set a trap for him, thereby causing deaths and Bank issues that are still trying to be resolved.  Those in the bank, where he works, do not talk to him, as they blame him for everything. 

When he has to attend a funeral of one of the banks employees, he overhears a bookie threatening the family of the deceased.   Though everyone does not want any help from him, Finn is determined to intervene and help.  Finn will snap out of his self imposed lethargy, as he has to face 3 giants, who plan on hurting the wife and child of the deceased.  Finn will not go to Gin, as he can feel his old self rising to the challenge.  It was great to see Finn battle the villains, and I also enjoyed reading this in his pov. Finn’s boss also helped the way to get those blaming Finn straight by telling them he was tortured during the fiasco with his mother.  This was a face paced short story, which is always difficult to write reviews.  If you are a fan of this series, it is a fun read that you will enjoy. If you have not read this series, do not start with this book.  Go back to beginning and learn all about Gin Blanco, one of the best kick-ass heroines. 

 

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

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The Curse of Tenth Grave (Charley Davidson #10) by Darynda Jones-a review

THE CURSE OF TENTH GRAVE (Charley Davidson #10) by Darynda Jones-a review

The Curse of Tenth Grave

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO / Indigo/Chapters

About the book: Release Date June 28, 2016

As a Part-time PI and fulltime grim reaper, Charley Davidson has asked a lot of questions throughout her life: Why can I see dead people? Who is the hot supernatural entity following me? How do I get gum out of my sister’s hair before she wakes up? But, “How do I trap not one malevolent god, but three?” was never among them. Until now. And since those gods are on earth to kill her daughter, she has little choice but to track them down, trap them, and cast them from this dimension.

There’s just one problem. One of the three stole her heart a very long time ago. Can the Razer, a god of absolute death and destruction, change his omniscient spots, or will his allegiances lie with his brothers?

Those are just a few of the questions Charley must answer, and quick. Add to that a homeless girl running for her life, an innocent man who’s been charged with murder, and a pendant made from god glass that has the entire supernatural world in an uproar, and Charley has her hands full. If she can manage to take care of the whole world-destroying-gods thing, we’re saved. If not, well…

••••••••••

REVIEW: THE CURSE OF TENTH GRAVE is the tenth installment in Darynda Jones’s contemporary, adult CHARLEY DAVIDSON urban fantasy series focusing on part time PI/ full time Grim Reaper Charley Davidson.

SOME BACKGROUND: This is the continuing story of Charley’s life as the Grim Reaper, the corporeal spirits who have yet to pass, and the man to whom she has pledged her undying love-the son of Satan-Reyes Farrow. Charley Davidson, and now their daughter, are the key to saving or destroying the world. If you have not read the previous installments there may be some spoilers.

Told from first person point of view (Charley) THE CURSE OF TENTH GRAVE follows PI Charley Davidson as she investigates not one but two cases: a missing woman presumed murdered by her boyfriend, and the case of a young runaway who believes she, and a number of other children, have been cursed at the youth home in which they are staying.

Charley is a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, PI, Grim Reaper and a god. Our heroine is a woman whose life is made up of supernatural entities, demons, restless ghosts, murder, and a friendship with her assistant that beats all other friendships. Charley is a wife and mother whose infant daughter, said to be the savior of the world, has been hidden in the hopes of keeping the three gods of Uzan at bay. Charley is also a god, whose powers have yet to be completely established, but a god who could very well be living with her immortal enemy. Some backstory and history is revealed about Charley and Reyes’s relationship throughout time.

THE CURSE OF TENTH GRAVE has a large ensemble cast of passionate and intense characters including many, if not most, of the significant entities we have met throughout the series. Rocket’s purpose becomes a little more clearer; Strawberry Shortcake reveals some cryptic information; Charley’s dad reveals many secrets he uncovered in H*ll when he passed through; the army guarding Reyes and Charley’s daughter is available with a flick of the wrist; and Ubie’s future looks grim. I am still hoping Darynda has plans to write a series about Donovan and the gang.

As per Darynda’s style of writing the story line is packed with humor, snark, sarcasm, funny one liners and plenty of innuendo. Each chapter begins with a meme, t-shirt slogan or bumper sticker line. Reyes and Charley’s relationship is struggling in the face of what the future might hold; there are secrets between the couple that fester and burn. The $ex scenes contain a little more graphic text and sexual language than in previous installments but like most UF story lines, the romance is secondary to the story although it is Reyes and Charley’s relationship that may be triggering the ultimate war between Heaven and H*ll. The slow build to the final show down is gradually unfolding.

THE CURSE OF TENTH GRAVE is a revealing story line; a provocative look at two people destined to destroy one another; an addicting series where the next installment cannot come fast enough. The premise is dramatic; the characters are dynamic; the romance is sexy and heartbreaking. Darynda Jones writes an amazing series about a kick-ass heroine who struggles with every day life and the supernatural.

Reading Order and previous reviews
First Grave on the Right
Second Grave on the Left
Third Grave Straight Ahead
Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet
Fifth Grave Past The Light
Sixth Grave on the Edge
Seventh Grave and No Body
Eighth Grave After Dark
Brighter Than the Sun (novella)
The Dirt on Ninth Grave
The Curse of Tenth Grave

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley.

Reviewed by Sandy

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Bitter Bite (Elemental Assassin #14) by Jennifer Estep -Dual review

BITTER BITE (Elemental Assassin #14) by Jennifer Estep-Dual Review

Bitter Bite

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date February 23, 2016

Which is stronger: blood ties or a battle-tested friendship?

It’s not easy being queen bee of an underworld abuzz with crooks and killers. Wielding my potent Ice and Stone elemental magic will only get me so far—my real secret is my tight-knit makeshift family, a motley crew of cops and criminals, dwarves and playboys. My foster brother Finnegan Lane is my right-hand man, but when his suddenly not-dead relative comes back into the picture, I’m the one on the outside looking in.

It’s funny how life works: one minute your best friend is rock-steady, and the next he’s doe-eyed and buying into this whole loving-relative routine to the point of ignoring you. I’d like to be happy for Finn, I really would. But all of my instincts are telling me that beneath the syrupy sweet demeanor and old-fashioned charm, this sudden interloper is planning something. The whole shtick leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. This person might have avoided the grave once, but I’ll put anyone who hurts Finn in the ground—for good.

•••••••••

Sandy’s Review

 BITTER BITE is the fourteenth full length installment in Jennifer Estep’s ELEMENTAL ASSASSIN Urban Fantasy series focusing on the Underworld elemental assassin Gin Blanco-aka The Spider.

Told from first person point of view (Gin) BITTER BITE focuses on the return of Deirdre Shaw-Finnegan Lane’s ‘deceased’ mother, Fletcher’s ex-wife, and Gin’s next target as the underworld assassin. Deirdre is a powerful ‘Ice’ elemental but returns as a mother grieving the missed years of her son’s childhood, and his assent into Ashland’s elite bankers and grifters. What ensues is a rekindling of a relationship between Finn and Deirdre, and Gin’s not so subtle reminder to Finn and the others that Deirdre has returned at a very opportunistic time.

BITTER BITE follows Gin’s investigation into Deirdre’s return and Finn’s obvious reluctance to heed Gin’s warnings. When a botched bank robbery and jewel heist point all the fingers at Deirdre Shaw, Finn turns a blind eye to the mother he desperately wants in his life.

Jennifer Estep wraps our heroine in an icy blanket of violence, death, blood shed and mystery. Not as graphically violent as some of the earlier installments BITTER BITE once again finds ‘The Spider’ in one too many circumstances out of her control. Her constant need to do everything alone lands Gin on the precipice of life and death –yet again.

All of the series regulars including Gin’s boyfriend Owen, her sister and Finn’s girlfriend Bria play secondary and supporting roles; Jo Jo and Sophie (the magical dwarves) make cameo appearances; and Gin’s assistant Silvio’s role is broadening with every story line.

The world building traverses the past and the present, as the reader is pulled into Gin’s memories of Fletcher and Finn using letters, dreams and nightmares. Gin is the leader of the paranormal underworld of Ashland but she has very little control on the criminal element. Our heroine must constantly prove she is worthy of the title, and with each installment someone stronger begins to make life difficult for The Spider.

BITTER BITE is a revealing story line that focuses on family and betrayal; heartbreak and lies; secrets and letting go of the past-but the past doesn’t want to lie down and die. The new series arc is focusing on the past, and the reemergence of those long thought dead and gone. A fantastic series by an amazing author.

 

Barb’s Review:

Bitter Bite by Jennifer Estep is the 14th book in her fantastic Elemental Assassin series. I’m sure you have heard me say this many times, but I love this series, I love Gin Blanco and I love everything Jennifer Estep writes. Just saying. 🙂

Bitter Bite is another wonderful story, which picks up immediately after the last book, with Gin investigating a hidden message warning left for her to find by the now deceased Fletcher. Before Gin can find out much more about Deidre Shaw, Finn’s long dead mother, who is now alive and a very powerful ice elemental; Finn will find out before she can tell him.  To Finn’s shock, he finds out that the woman he has been dealing with for his bank, is his mother. Despite Gin’s warning, he falls totally into his mother’s charm and forgets about his family and friends.

As we have come to know and love Gin, we also know she will do all she can to protect Finn. Gin does not trust Deidre, and begins to have her investigated as well as spied upon. What Gin does discover is that Deidre has enormous powers, which she can feel, even when it is harnessed.   Almost immediately, there is a robbery attempt, which rises Gin’s suspicions even more; but at every visit, Deidre is the doting mom and nothing appears to be wrong.

But again, Gin Blanco is not your average young lady; she is the Spider, who is used to living in a dangerous and violent world. Rather than reveal any spoilers, what follows is an action packed exciting adventure that will bring Gin, Bria, Owen, Finn and all their friends into danger that will put their lives at risk. Will Finn forgive Gin? Will they all survive?

It was a wild tense last 1/3 of the book, with new revelations that will shock Gin’s world even more. Jennifer Estep once again gives us another fabulous story that continues to change the game and add on more elements that will have Gin looking into her past to discover more about about her mother and the enemies both old and new.

As I said before, I love this series. Besides such a great heroine, we have a wonderful group of characters. I loved the further bonding of Gin and Bria, as well as Gin’s relationship with Owen. In each and every book, Jennifer Estep continues to wow us and keep us totally hooked into the life of Gin Blanco…the Spider. If you have not read this series, I suggest you start it now.

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley.

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Mercury Striking ( The Scorpius Syndrome #1) by Rebecca Zanetti-a review

MERCURY STRIKING (The Scorpius Syndrome #1) by Rebecca Zanetti-a review

Mercury Striking

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About the book: Release Date January 26, 2016

With nothing but rumors to lead her, Lynn Harmony has trekked across a nightmare landscape to find one man—a mysterious, damaged legend who protects the weak and leads the strong. He’s more than muscle and firepower—and in post-plague L.A., he’s her only hope. As the one woman who could cure the disease, Lynn is the single most volatile—and vulnerable—creature in this new and ruthless world. But face to face with Jax Mercury…

Danger has never looked quite so delicious…

•••••••••

REVIEW: MERCURY STRIKING is the first full length installment in Rebecca Zanetti’s THE SCORPIUS SYNDROME cross genre Sci-Fi/ UF/Dystopian series focusing on a biological pandemic sweeping the world. This is former US soldier Jax Mercury, and CDC researcher Lynn Harmony’s story line that looks at life in the aftermath, and the fallout from an unknown bacteria-from space. For more background information and some history, there is a prequel novella-SCORPIUS RISING-which can be found in the ON THE HUNT anthology (August 2015).

Told from several third person points of view MERCURY STRIKING focuses on the hunt for a cure for a biological bacteria that has killed 99% of the world’s population-as far as anyone knows. Some of those infected have survived to become something known as a Ripper, but there are two types of Rippers inhabiting the world-one is a zombie like creature who feasts on the living; the other is a survivor whose brain has been altered resulting in a stronger, more powerful enhanced human being. When it is discovered that CDC researcher Lynn Harmony survived and quite possibly carries the answer to the cure, she becomes the target for everyone hoping to rule the world. Enter Jax Mercury-the man who has promised to protect Lynn with his life.

Jax is a reluctant hero; a survivor who has amassed a following in an L.A. compound where food and medicine are at a minimum, and rumors are rampant about the source of the virus. Lynn is a former researcher with the CDC who has been accused of causing the plague, and with it comes a target and heavy price on her back. Lynn will become a virtual prisoner, and fall for the man who holds her heart.

There is a large ensemble cast of secondary and supporting characters, many of whom do not live to see another day. Jax’s L.A. compound is home for those without a safe place to live, but safety is all a matter of perspective when gangs and corrupt politicians battle for supremacy and food. Newcomers to the compound are always suspect; few reveal their own history or how they came to be.

MERCURY STRIKING is a story of suspense, mystery, action and drama. There are heartbreaking moments of loss; scenarios of graphic violence and tragic death; rigid control and demanding obedience. In the post-apocalyptic world of the Scorpius Syndrome it is survival of the fittest, and every man and woman for themselves. Everyone has an agenda but not everyone is on the same page.

Rebecca Zanetti looks at the possibility of what could happen if a space-borne pathogen makes it way to earth. Are we prepared for a pandemic of this magnitude? And could we survive the zombie apocalypse from space? The premise is exhilarating; the characters are real and imaginable; the romance is a struggle when the world is constantly dragging you down. There is no happily ever after but the possibility of light at the end of the tunnel.

Copy supplied by Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

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