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alicejanell

Alice Janell

Whovian Browncoat. Fantasy author. Avid knitter and pretend cooking show host. Please send Milky Way Midnight Minis.

Tainted (Blood Lily Chronicles, Book 1)

Tainted - Julie Kenner At first glance, Tainted may not seem to stand apart from other urban fantasies. Tough chick fighting demons to save the world is hardly a new or thrilling storyline. However, Tainted gives the reader a lot more than a familiar story.

For one, Julie Kenner's writing is riveting. It keeps you sucked in and turning pages. Plus, Lily Carlyle is so badass, she dies and comes back to life -- all in the first couple of pages!

This book has a lot of twist and turns, too. You only think you know what's going on, but Kenner pulls out some surprises through out the whole book. Lily's hunting demons, but as she kills them, she absorbs their essence. As that happens, she becomes more demonic herself -- so does Lily stay good or turn evil? To know that answer, you'll have to read the three books in the series...

But seriously, this book is fast-paced, gritty and gripping. It hooks you from page one and sucks you in. You can't help but read through to the end and then move on to the other two books in the series. Also...what urban fantasy would be complete without some temptation?

Look out for some hot demon men. :)

Four stars!

Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, Book 1)

Magic Bites -  Ilona Andrews At the pressuring of Cid and Suzan, I finally started this series. Just in time, too, since it's our Series Fix for the month.

Now, I had to rush-read "Magic Bites", which may affect my review slightly. But only slightly. I had to rush-read because of a two-day typhoon and a day without power left me unable to upload the book onto my eReader until just the other day. But anyway...

I have to be honest though. Going in to "Magic Bites", I expected to be wow'ed. Cid and Suzan rave about this series, but it took me awhile to really get into this book. Perhaps because this is the first book in the series, but it just took me a good 50 pages or so to really start to get into it.

First off, the world is a strange mix between technology and magic. This is a future version of Atlanta, and while I thought it was really cool and interesting, I never found out why the world was this way. Ilona Andrews just sort of immerse the reader in this world without a lot of world building and back story. One minute I'm trying to get introduced to the lead, Kate Daniels, the next there are spider monsters and weird vampires and bodiless voices...

It was just a little hard to process and instead of intriguing me to read more and learn more, I wanted to put the book down and come back when I had more patience.

That said...I'm glad I stuck with the book. I enjoyed reading and discovering the details about Kate's life. Though the first half of the book was a bit slow for my taste, the second half ensured that I will continue reading the series.

A good book, but a slow start. Keep on it though, it gets better.

Three stars.

Skin Dive (Skin, #4)

Skin Dive (Skin, #4) - Ava Gray I never hide that I'm a huge fangirl for Ava Gray (AKA Ann Aguirre). But I confess, where I give the rest of this series a solid 5 stars across the board, this one fell a star short for me.

Let me state very clearly, though: For fans of the series (or fans of paranormal romance in general), this book was amazing. Steamy smexy bits with lots of action made this another great addition to the Skin series.

Gillie was a strong heroine for being so innocent, and I liked that about her. On the same token, I found it really hard to swallow that an innocent virgin would be as dirty talking and forward as she was. She lived in captivity for most of her life -- it just didn't feel like a realistic response for her. But Taye is tortured and hawt. Maybe he makes all girls talk dirty.

And OMG. Points to Gray for the hottest game of "Truth or Dare" ever. Seriously.

This book, however, also had some heartache. Gray introduces some new characters and sheds more light on side characters introduced in earlier books.

Without giving away any spoilers, yes, you can expect happy endings, but they may not happen the way you think. *gets all cryptic and shifty eyed*

This book would have been another 5 stars if it wasn't for one incident that happened with one character. Oh man, I can't say anything without giving stuff away, but when you read this (as you should)...gah...I mean. Really.

Ava,

I love you, but did you have to do that? I think you know what I'm talking about.

Still your fangirl,
Alice

Four stars.

Burning Down the Spouse

Burning Down the Spouse - Dakota Cassidy Need a good romance and a lot laughs?

Read Dakota Cassidy.

Seriously.

I fell in love with the fabulous Queen Dakota with her "Accidental Friends" series. But her newest series that follows ex-trophy wives? If I were a little dog, I'd hump the shit out of Dakota's leg. That's how excited I am with this series.

The second book in the "Ex-Trophy Wives" series, "Burning Down the Spouse" follows Frankie, a woman who is the tabloid sweetheart after her catastrophic meltdown on live TV. While hiding out in her aunt's retirement village seems like the best plan ever to Frankie, she's soon given sage wisdom from other ex-trophy wives, "Suck it up, princess."

As Frankie goes to work in a Greek diner, hilarity follows our unkempt and mostly unbathed heroine. Nikos' mother reminds me of all the mothers/aunts in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" -- and that's not a bad thing. Voula is a sweet lady, but definitely the kind you can't ever say no to.

Then of course there is Nikos...

Hot and Greek.

Nothing else really matters, but if you most know, he's an all around decent guy, if a bit on the stubborn side.

Frankie and Nikos try to deny their chemistry for one another at first, but it's jumping off the pages like Greek food I can't pronounce.

For lots of laughs, a little drama (oh yea, the ex-husband returns!) and whole lot of Greek god loving, "Burning Down the Spouse" is it.

Now Seriously.

Read Dakota Cassidy.

Five Stars!

Nightfall (A Dark Age Dawning Novel)

Nightfall - Ellen Connor I don't know how many post-apocalyptic romances you've read, but Nightfall by Ellen Connor isn't going to be your average one. It's not an average romance by any stretch of the imagination. Oh sure, there's a hot hero and a sassy heroine and a HEA, but after that, things get really different.

Despite the lack of walking undead, this book reads like a zombie movie. The way it unfolds slowly, building on that nervous tension that something bad is going to happen until BAM! Shit hits the fan.

Electricity has stopped working and much of the western US is in denial (because this stuff just doesn't happen to us) until it's too late. Mason, in keeping with a promise he made, kidnaps Jenna (yes, kidnaps, because time is a factor and explanations can wait until later) and hightails it to his cabin in the woods. Naturally, she mistrusts him -- it isn't until she's faced with you-can't-ignore-this-anymore proof that she believes the stuff he's been trying to tell her.

So when she hears five strangers floundering around in the dangerous woods, she goes after them to offer help. Safety in numbers right? Not always. Because even though she meant well, it isn't until everyone is in the cabin that she realizes that wanting to help others, while noble, isn't always very smart -- particularly when food in the cabin was only meant to last for two people, not seven.

And though you'd think that this kind of book would be nonstop action and heart-pounding moments, it's not. It certainly has those moments, but much of the book is slow paced and tension filled. Normally a slow-paced book would grate my nerves, but with Nightfall, it only added to the scariness of the world. Imagine being trapped in a basement, listening to demon dogs pound on the door for hours and all you can do is wait it out, hoping you'll live to see another day.

The romance between Mason and Jenna is slow building and has a lot of pushing on both sides. Mason is hell bent on survival, with no time for emotions to come into the play. Jenna is the opposite. She wants to survive, but she also wants some reassurance, too. And even though this is classified as a romance, I did not feel like the romance dominated the book at all.

Aside from the amazing world building and the sexual tension, you are introduced to other survivors. Each survivor is different and unique in their own way, and it was Tru -- the surly gothic teen -- who really impressed me. You saw him become a man under very harsh, stressful situations and I liked reading about him. There's also Penny, the small child who barely talks --- there is something about her, and I can't wait until the third book releases in December to learn more about them.

Dark, gritty, full of blood and guts...this is a very different type of paranormal romance, but it's too good not to read.

Casting Spells (Sugar Maple, #1)

Casting Spells  - Barbara Bretton Since the only knitting books I know of are either books with patterns or cozy mysteries, I was intrigued. I stuck the title on my TBR list and moved on.

Well, I finally read it.

And though this is probably categorized as a paranormal romance, it's really a cozy/fluffy romance with some paranormal elements.The plot is not at all complex and neither, for that matter, are the characters.

The most interesting relationship dynamic, to me, was between Chloe and her male best friend (who happens to be a faerie). Her best friend is in love with her, but of course, she doesn't share those feelings. Instead, she falls almost immediately in love with the cop.

The book switches POV between Chloe and the cop, and I thought it would have been better if it had just stuck with Chloe. The cop is not very interesting inside his head. His use of descriptions include things like "Catherine Zeta-Jones look-a-like" and "the Julie Roberts looking one" over and over and over again. I thought it was kind of funny the first time he used the starlets to describe Chloe's best friends, because I imagine a lot of guys would do that in their head, but over and over? It got old.

Chloe on the other hand, despite her super sweet demeanor, was fun to read. As a knitter, her descriptions about the yarn and knitting in general where spot on. Knitters who read this will appreciate the mention of yarns, like Koigu. Non-knitters, however, might scratch their heads for a moment and move on.

Because this book has all the edginess of a basket of sleeping kittens, there's no steam or sizzle with the romance aspect. It's just a sweet, almost-love-at-first-sight kind of thing.

There are some silly moments that make the book worth reading. As Chloe falls in love, she starts gaining control of her powers. This puts her in awkward situations, like making her wine glass float and spill on the cop or hovering in mid-air for a moment.

So for some cute, light reading fun, I can recommend this. If, however, you want something with a bit more bite and sexy sizzle, look elsewhere.

2.5 stars

Just One Taste

Just One Taste (Recipe for Love #3) - Louisa Edwards Of the three wonderful books in this series, “Just One Taste” is definitely my favorite.

Almost all of this can be credited to one character: Rosemary.

Seriously. Rosemary totally made this book for me. She was so adorably geeky, it was impossible not to love her from the start. She was quirky, hyper-intelligent, but also bumbling and awkward. She wore a lot of nerdy shirts — for which I give Louisa Edwards extra brownie points — such as a Star Wars shirt and even a Browncoat shirt.

Throughout the book, Rosemary’s adorable self will keep you smiling. There were a few moments where the dynamic between Rosemary and Wes reminded me of Bones and Booth from the TV show, Bones.

“Just One Taste” also satisfies the reader with the conclusion of the secondary romance that has played out throughout the first two books. Finally, all the answers about Frankie and Jess’s relationship are answered!

And just like the previous books, this one also comes with some recipes from dishes featured in the story.

A solid four stars. Love this series.

Exclusively Yours

Exclusively Yours - Shannon Stacey This cute, funny contemporary romance that will have readers falling in love with the entire Kowalski clan.

Honestly, the family is the best part of this book (and of the series). You’ll fall in love with the individual members of this big family — from their scheming ways to their loyalty to one another, the Kowalski’s are wonderful family. The banter between siblings is hilarious and very nicely done.

Of course, the heart of Exclusively Yours is a sweet, second-chance romance between two old high school sweethearts who find themselves thrown together after many, many years apart. I loved that Joe was totally teasing Keri from the start — everyday she survives the camping trip with his family, she gets a question, and no one is making it easy on her, especially Joe’s twin sister. The tables soon turn, however, and Joe quickly realizes that he may have gotten himself in over his head.

This was a really fun read that is easily finished in a few hours. Trust me, you’ll be grabbing books two and three soon after finishing this first. I hope Shannon Stacey has more books with the Kowalskis.

3.5 stars.

Divergent

Divergent  - Veronica Roth A gripping dystopian tale that's action packed -- "Divergent" is a read by the seat of your pants type of book. @VeronicaRoth delivers a fantastic debut. (Full review forthcoming)

The Mysterious Lady Law

The Mysterious Lady Law - Robert Appleton Robert Appleton's "The Mysterious Lady Law" begins very strong. Lady Law is like a female Sherlock Holmes. Scotland Yard dislikes her, because she makes them look bad, but Julie can't turn down Lady Law's help to find her sister's killer.

Appletone has some strong world building, but there are times where the story seems to get away from the reader. For me it was because there was too much going on in too little pages. Still, this steampunk mystery has some cool elements, but overall it was missing the "wow factor" that I come to expect from steampunk stories.

Two stars -- it was OK, but not great.

Steam & Sorcery (The Gaslight Chronicles)

Steam & Sorcery (Gaslight Chronicles #1) - Cindy Spencer Pape I'll be honest, when I received this ARC, I was excited and a bit apprehensive. Excited, because it's a steampunk, and well, let's face it --- steampunk is awesomesauce. Apprehensive, because this book involves vampires and I'm pretty much burnt out on vampire stories nowadays.

Cindy Spencer Pape, a new-to-me-author, did a good job with "Steam & Sorcery". Even though there are vampires, they do not dominate the story. Instead, the story focuses more on Sir Merrick Hadrian, a gang of misfit children with powers and their governess, Caroline Bristol.

A story reminiscent of "Sound of Music", but with paranormal elements. With vampires, werewolves and half-faes, "Steam & Sorcery" is full of action as well as romance.

Four stars.

A Tale of Two Castles

A Tale of Two Castles - Greg Call, Gail Carson Levine Whether or not you've read Gail Carson Levine before, you are still probably familiar with her work. Levine is probably most known for being the author of "Ella Enchanted", which is, of course, a cute movie starring Anne Hathaway.

If you enjoyed "Ella Enchanted" (the book or the movie), you'll enjoy "A Tale of Two Castles."

Young Elodie is sent from her home and across the sea to Two Castles, where her parents hope she'll train to be a weaver, but Elodie hopes to become an actress. When she arrives, however, her luck goes south almost right away.

Her money is stolen by a cat and she isn't accepted into the actor's guild. But when the dragon Masteress Leenor offers Elodie a job as an assistant, Elodie finds herself headfirst on a dangerous mission inside an ogre's castle.

Even though the ogre has a heart of gold, his ugly appearance has someone wanting him dead, and it's up to Elodie to find out who. Then there is the constant danger of the whited sepulcher --- someone beautiful who has a heart filled with evil.

With dragons, ogres, thieving cats, and wide array different characters, "A Tale of Two Castles" shows young readers not to judge people based on appearances alone.

Even though Elodie is 12 years old, she reads much older, and it's very easy to forget that she's so young. As much as I loved Elodie, I loved the dragon so much more. Leenor is witty, but with a cheeky sense of humor. The dragon teaches Elodie to use deduction and common sense to solve riddles and problems.

Older readers may discover the villian right away, but it doesn't distract from the overall story. I think readers of all ages will enjoy this cute and fun read.

Four stars.

Yarn: Remembering the Way Home

Yarn - Kyoko Mori Kyoki Mori delivers a moving account of her life by threading together various knitting projects with different episodes in her life. As Mori's story unravels, you share pain when she loses her mother, the frustration she feels with her family, the slow demise of her marraige and the joy she finds when she takes charge of her life.

I don't read many memoirs, but I thoroughly enjoyed Mori's story.

Though at times the story is slow-paced, threads of Mori's youth weave seamlessly with lessons she learns as adult. Each section in the book corresponds with a different project, and they range in their difficulty: scarves, cardigans, fair isle, etc. At one point she compares her marriage to instarsia -- her and husband come together when it suits them, knitting together the image the pattern calls for, but when the image is done, they separate until the next pattern.

The book jumps back and forth a lot from Mori's youth to her present day, but Mori is so frank and honest about her life that the way she tells her story works beautifully. Though Mori is a drastically different type of woman than I am, she is comfortable in her own skin and in the end I admire her strength and courage.

"Yarn -- Remembering the Way Home" is more than just the memoir of a knitter. It's a story woven together in pieces, and much like in a knitted garment, the end result is worth it.

Devil's Own (A Clan MacAlpin Novel)

Devil's Own - Veronica Wolff I won an arc of "Devil's Own" through the Pleasure Me Event on Monica Burns' blog. Historical romances may not be my favorite genre to read, but it's about highlanders...well, I just can't seem to say no.

There's just something about those men in kilts.

...anyway…

Veronica Wolff is a new-to-me author, but after the first few pages, she had me hooked.

Kidnapped and sold into slavery, Aidan MacAlpin returns to his home in Scotland only to feel like a stranger amongst the family he lost so long ago. He keeps his distance from them, hiding a dark secret that they could never understand --- Aidan is out for revenge. He's thought of nothing more than to kill the pirate who sold him into slavery when he was a boy.

Aidan has notes and stolen documents to help him find the pirate, but unfortunately for him, he can't read.

Enter Elspeth.

Elspeth has resigned herself to the life of a spinster. Living alone with her debt-riddled father on a struggling farm, Elspeth is every bit the bookworm and dreamer. As a Book-Addict, I connected with Elspeth right away. Head in the clouds and a deep love for books.

When she agrees to tutor Aidan in exchange for some help around the farm, Elspeth can't help but fantasize about Aidan's tortured past and his life as a pirate. She places herself in the role of a saucy heroine; Aidan's pirate bride.

But when she's forced into a marriage she doesn't want, she's thrown headfirst into a dangerous web of treachery that's nothing like the romanticized heroic tales she's used to reading. And if she's going to survive, she'll need to stop dreaming about being a sexy heroine and actually start acting like one.

The romance between the two was a little different from what I have normally read. The romance is very slow-blooming and at times, very innocent. Elspeth has never known a man other than in her dreams and Aidan has very little knowledge of gentle, honest-to-goodness-kindness from a woman.

This is not the kind of romance where the chemistry all but explodes off the pages. It builds slowly; we see their attraction for one another and we see their hesitation to pursue it further. Though at times the pacing was a bit slow, overall I found that I really enjoyed the slow courtship between Aidan and Elspeth.

Four stars.

Primal (Berkley Sensation)

Primal - Lora Leigh, Michelle Rowen, Jory Strong, Ava Gray Let’s get one thing straight, shall we?

I bought this anthology for the novella by Ava Gray. I make no secret of the fact that I fan girl over anything Ann Aguirre/Ava Gray writes.

So. Now that that’s in the open, I’m going to review each of the stories separately and then give a rating to the overall anthology based on that.

Bleeding Heart by Michelle Rowen

This was my second favorite story of the anthology. Rowen introduces the reader to her “Nightshade” series in “Bleeding Heart.” The events of this novella take place after her first book, but I was able to follow along without any real confusion.

“Bleeding Heart” is the story of Jill, a human infused with Nightshade — a poison that can kill vampires who feed on her, but that can also kill her if it stays in her bloodstream too long. Unfortunately, there is no cure once the serum is injected, so Jill and Declan — her dhampyre bodyguard — are on a mission to find someone who can remove the Nightshade from Jill’s system and save her life.

Now, this story was really interesting to me, which surprised me because vampire stories tend to bore me nowadays. I think what really surprised me was the relationship between Declan and Jill. It’s very clear from the beginning that they have an intense attraction for one another, but Declan has taken a serum of his own — one that curbs his emotions to the point that sex never crosses his mind.

It’s a clear source of frustration for both of them, and it’s fun to read their different reactions to the “I want you and can’t have you” storyline.

This story, while very low on the sizzle and sex, is very high on action and adventure. There’s a mad scientist, zombie-like vampires and a race to stay alive. And while this novella doesn’t necessarily have the HEA ending one would expect from a romance, it’s a great story and it makes me want to read more in this series.

Four stars.

Skin & Bone by Ava Gray

Ah, the whole reason I bought the anthology was for this novella, set in Gray’s “Skin” series. This story follows Silas, a body guard we met in book two (“Skin Tight”), who is hiding out in Ecuador until an earthquake lands him the unlikely companion of school teacher Juneau Bright.

I think the story works well as a stand-alone, but I’d definitely recommend reading the “Skin” series to get a better feel of the world Gray has created. This isn’t your average paranormal; rather than focus on a creature (vampire, werewolf, etc), Gray’s stories take on a very X-Men like quality — the paranormals are all humans with a super power.

“Skin & Bone” follows Silas and Juneau as they make their way out of Ecuador and back into the US, while remaining hidden from those hunting Silas. Silas is a bit of a gentle giant in a lot of ways. He’s got a deadly power, but he feels remorse at the things he’s done in his past. Juneau, on the other hand, is definitely a free spirit. She enjoys travelling and there are several references to the fact that she’s yet to settle down — much to the chagrin of her mother.

These two are thrust together during an traumatic event (a big earthquake), and the natural progression of two people trekking it on foot through Central America would be to hook up. However, what sets this story apart is how Gray’s characters handle the emotional bond they form in their travels. I think it was all done very realistic and smart. This isn’t just a case of “We’re together forever.” It was more of a case of “We’ve bonded, yes, but is it real?”

Gray also introduces new characters, like Mockingbird and Tanager. I’ll be honest, once Tanager entered the story, she kind of stole the show for me. Her character was dynamic and smart alecky, and she kind of overpowered Junaeu in the few scenes they shared together. I look forward to reading her story (which Ann has told me via Twitter is book four in the series, “Skin Dive.”)

Still, “Skin & Bone” is great addition to the “Skin” series; I’m very eager to read more.

Four stars!

Angel-Claimed by Jory Strong

When I discovered that “Angel-Claimed” would be a story featuring a djinn, I was very excited. It’s rare to find stories with djinn, and so I was really looking forward to this story by new-to-me author, Jory Strong.

The story opens with Saija, a human working for a powerful vampire family. When her charge goes missing, Saija is sent to find her. In searching, she comes across Addai, a handsome angel who claims she was his wife in another life.

In all honesty, this is my least favorite of the stories in the anthology. The world building, while at times really intricate and fascinating, just did not work for a short story/novella. There’s a dark fantasy feel mixed with a bit of post apocalypticness — in this world, the paranormal community is dominant. Still, as intriguing as the world building was, it came across as jarring and confusing. The terms angel and djinn where used so interchangeably, that I’m still not sure if they are the same thing or different. This was more of a story about an angel (white, fluffy wings and all) than it was about a dark genie.

One of the things I didn’t care much for was the use of magic. It seemed to be taken for granted. This story is set in the same world as another one of Strong’s books (“Ghostland”), so maybe the magic use is more clearly explained there, but it was too convenient for me to see Addai blink on some pants or wish them into his home…and yet, when searching for Saija’s missing charge, they travel by boat.

The other thing that didn’t work for me was Addai. He’s been searching for his lost love (Saija) and when he is finally reunited with her, he’s so possessive and domineering that the whole story was a major turn off. There was bondage galore as he continuously forced Saija to submit to his will. At one point, I thought Saija had turned the tables when she says something along the lines of, “And if I don’t submit?” — but a paragraph later she’s doing exactly what her ange/djinn husband is telling her to do.

While I’m not offended by a little bondage here and there, I didn’t like Addai’s arrogance or how willingly Saija submitted to him. I like my alpha men with a bit a gentle streak and my women with strong backbones. Addai and Saija’s relationship almost felt abusive in nature.

One star.

Primal Kiss by Lora Leigh

Lora Leigh’s story is probably the reason most people will buy this anthology. She’s apparently the “big name” (though for me, it was Gray); I confess, I’ve never read anything by Leigh prior to “Primal Kiss”.

But even without former knowledge of her “Breeds” series, this story read really well as stand alone. Leigh expertly wove in tidbits about her series/world without taking away from the story itself.

“Primal Kiss” is all about deceptive appearances. Kita is the spoiled daughter of a wealthy man who is kind of in hiding from the Breeds due to the work he and his brother did. She’s know allowed to leave her father’s house, and her father has even hired a bodyguard/babysitter for her in the form of Creed.

Creed, however, is not who he seems. He’s really a lion shifter undercover, working to get information that Kita’s father possesses. He’s been living with Kita for a full year, and in that year he’s developed a strong attraction to her that he’s never acted on.

At first glance, Kita seems to be a spoiled daddy’s girl, but throughout the story we see that she just wants a little bit of freedom from her constricting life. When she manages to slip away from Creed to a hidden home in Tennessee, she’s surprised with Creed finds her almost immediately.

But instead of whisking her back home, Creed suggests they remain in the house for a few days as a sort of vacation. What he doesn’t tell Kita, however, is that he (and other Breeds) are allowing her father to believe her kidnapped in hopes of getting access to the information they seek.

Naturally, while they’re confined in the home, their attraction comes to a head…literally.

OK. I’ve never read any of the Breeds’ books before, but the “mating barb” —- WTF.

That was a little TMI for me, and though it’s definitely unique…can I just say I would not be having sex with a hot shifter if I knew he had a mating barb. (If you haven’t read the series, it’s explained in this story — but I’m not going to be the one to tell you about it)

The sex in this story is explicit; “Primal Kiss” reads more like an erotica than a romance. There are literally two chapters that are 98% nothing-but-sex.

Leigh kind of strings you along in this story. You think there’s going to be some action, and then she pulls away, saving all the excitement and action for the very end. I get the feeling that if you follow the Breeds’ series, something (I don’t know what) happens in this story that furthers whatever arc she has going in those books — so, if you read Breeds, don’t miss this story (of course, I could be wrong).

Three stars.

Overall Anthology Rating:

Three stars. With three solid stories out of four, “Primal” is definitely worth the read. Do yourself a favor, though. Skip or skim through “Angel-Claimed”.

Clan Rathskeller (The Iron Druid Chronicles, #0.5)

Clan Rathskeller (The Iron Druid Chronicles, #0.5) - Kevin Hearne I found author Kevin Hearne on Twitter quite randomly; Book Addict that I am, I went to his site and discovered that his first book, "Hounded", will be released in April.

As the synopsis says, "Clan Rathskeller" takes place ten months before the events of "Hounded" (coming April 2011).

I'm not sure if Kevin Hearne adds this to let the reader know a general timeline or if the events of "Clan Rathskeller" will play into the events of "Hounded".

Either way, for a super short story (26 pages) it was a pretty engaging read. Hearne definitely has something different on his hands, and it was only a matter of getting used to his voice to get into the story. This is a personal thing, as I've been submersing myself in romances lately.

"Clan Rathskeller" is told from the POV of Atticus, a centuries-old Druid living in Arizona, hiding from the Irish gods. He's accompanied by his dog, Oberon, and the two communicate telepathically.

Oberon definitely came across as the comic relief, but the story is so short that the reader doesn't get a true feel for the humor. Hearne delivers a clean, quick story -- enough to entice the reader about Atticus and the world he lives in, but not enough to really get a feel for it.

Imagine being at a buffet; everything smells delicious, but you aren't allowed to taste anything.

That's kind of how "Clan Rathskeller" left me feeling about looking forward to "Hounded". I'm curious, but I would have liked a little something more to get a good feel about what I could expect in "Hounded".

Then again, it could be that I've been reading a lot of romance lately and I was looking for a female character. While I understand that Hearne is not writing romance, it'd be nice if there's a female character for women to relate to in "Hounded".


I'm on the fence on preordering "Hounded" -- mostly because my "resolution" this year is to buy new authors on my eReader, rather than buying a physical book.

Despite being hard to relate to due to a lack of a female perspective, "Clan Rathskeller" is a good short story that won't take but fifteen minutes to read through.

Three point five stars.