Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance and Young Adult are the three main genres featured on Rabid Reads but Historical Romance, Fantasy and Erotica books also make the occasional appearances. Two out of our four reviewers have a strong penchant for stories that showcase werewolves and as a result, the blog has cemented itself as one of the leading paranormal fiction authorities on all things furry
Rabid Reads has been a labour of love for almost eight years now, but like all good things, it too must come to an end. Originally, I had planned on going out with a bang which unfortunately didn’t happen, so instead I’m going to sneak away quietly. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of my loyal followers for sticking with me through this journey—whether you’ve been here since day one, or just stumbled across my humble abode yesterday—I truly appreciate every single one of you. You’ve pushed me to grow this blog into what it is today with your enthusiastic comments, requests for book recommendations, and countless hours of chatting on social media. I’d also like to give a shout-out to all of the wonderful authors, tour companies, and advertisers that I’ve had the pleasure of working with. Your contributions have been invaluable from supplying content, to funding giveaways, to providing endless hours of reading material.
Last, but certainly not least, I’d like to express my heartfelt gratitude to all of my associate reviewers past and present. Without you, I sincerely doubt that I would have found the strength to carry-on for all of these long years. You’ve stepped in whenever real life demanded that I take a break, written so many awesome blog posts that I’ve lost count, and given me the greatest gift of all: your friendship. I wish you the best of luck in all of your future endeavors whether you decide to forge a new bloggy path of your own, join another review site, or take a step back and just become a reader again. Jessica has purchased her own domain name—keep your eyes peeled on bookfessional.com for new developments—Melanie can still be found at Hot Listens and will be posting at Books of my Heart as of May, and Lorna will be taking a bit of a breather, but can still be found on GoodReads.
I don’t plan on taking Rabid Reads offline anytime in the near future, so all of our old posts will still be accessible including each reviewer’s individual bio page in case you want to connect on social media. Well… I guess that’s it! This is Rabid Reads signing off. Goodbye my lovelies!
I know I’ve talked about rereads before, about how revisiting a favorite story is an excellent way to keep a book funk at bay and how (for me) sometimes rereading is necessary b/c my memory sucks and series can drag out for many, many years, but another reason I’ll always be #teamreread is the new perspective you gain after you’ve survived the initial roller coaster.
Book bff has been lamenting the fact that I haven’t read OATHBRINGER for months now, and between her an another friend’s harassment gentle chiding, I decided to just go for it, so I’ve been rereading Brandon Sanderson’s WAY OF KINGS this week, and yes, I do mean the whole week—that sucker is 1000+ pages—b/c it’s been three years since I first read it.
It’s been an adventure.
Firstly, I’ve been alternating between reading it and listening to the graphic audio for it, and people, graphic audio is kind of amazing. I didn’t even know there was such a thing (a movie for your MIND *giggle snorts*), but book bff was so excited when I told her I was finally doing it that she shared, and now I think I’m going to have a hard time going back to plain old audiobooks. #firstworldproblems
Graphic audio is an audiobook on steroids. It’s a full ensemble narration reminiscent of old school radio shows, and if you have the means to check it out, I highly recommend it. The actors are fantastic, and with books like WoK that have elventy billion characters, giving not only your favorite MCs but your favorite secondaries a voice as well, is truly an experience.
So there’s that.
But that’s not why we’re here. We’re here b/c of the way a reread can change your perspective, change your overall understanding of a book. For the life of me, I can’t remember who, but someone suggested that perhaps Sanderson writes with rereads in mind, and whether or not that’s true, I can’t say, but after this, I don’t doubt it.
All those baffling chapter headers make sense. All the little betrayals I missed b/c I didn’t know to look for them had flashing neon lights. I appreciated everything that blew my mind in that last 12 – 15% (Sanderson’s calling card) that much more, b/c I saw the traps being laid.
And that’s the tip of the iceberg. For those of you not familiar with Sanderson, the majority of his books take place in the same world—the Cosmere—and they’re all interconnected, but in subtle, sometimes easy to miss ways.
Having read several more of his books since WoK (the first Sanderson book I ever read), I’ve better learned how to spot the signs, I now know the terms, so more than the usual reread, this was like one giant AHA.
Even though most series aren’t as intricate as a Sanderson series, if it’s a series you love, you should consider giving it a second glance. You’ll be amazed at all the things you missed in your ignorance. And if you already know love it, it’s a win/win, and that’s a rare scenario when it comes to hunting what to read next, am I right? #yesiam
What about you? What authors have blown your mind on the second pass? What books would you like to reread?
Looking forward to seeing Jake there, Sarandon climbed into the Suburban and took off. This might be even more fun than he had planned.
Sarandon headed into the wilderness, and after a couple of hours, he finally reached the Elk Horn cabin. He parked, got out, and stretched. Taking a deep breath of the pines and Douglas firs, he embraced the peace and quiet, the sound of a river flowing nearby, birds twittering in the trees, and the breeze fluttering the leaves.
Once he’d hauled all his supplies inside, he started a fire in the fireplace and planned to go for a run, something he couldn’t do while acting as a tour guide. Not unless he was taking a wolf group out.
Within minutes, he’d stripped off his clothes and shifted, then pushed through the wolf door. He dashed through the woods, exploring and scent-marking, letting any animal in the area know a wolf was on the prowl and this was his claimed territory.
The sound of a car’s tires crunching on the private gravel road, heading toward the cabin, caught his attention. He stopped and listened from the shelter of the trees and brush. There was nothing out here but wilderness. And the cabins and the land were private property. He could tell by the engine’s purr that the car wasn’t Jake’s or anyone else’s he knew in the pack. The car parked, and the engine shut off in the distance.
If the driver were a hunter, Sarandon didn’t want to be caught in his wolf coat and end up getting shot. Cursing mentally to himself, he waffled about what to do. Hidden in the undergrowth in the woods, he could check out the person leaving the car, or he could run back to the cabin, shift, dress, arm himself with his rifle, and then see who it was and what he or she was up to.
Sarandon opted for returning to the cabin first and ditching his wolf coat. That way, he could tell the trespasser to leave.
When he reached the cabin, he dove through the wolf door, shifted, and rushed to dress. He removed his rifle from the locked gun cabinet and left the cabin, locking it behind him. Listening for any sign of where the person was, Sarandon headed down the road to where he’d heard the car park.
A quarter of a mile from the cabin, he stopped dead in his tracks. A woman was standing off the road, partially hidden in the woods, holding a rifle aimed at him. The way she was holding it, she looked like she knew how to use it. And he’d thought running as a wolf could cause him trouble!
“Hey, I’m just camping up here at one of my family’s cabins. I don’t have any intention of hurting you,” Sarandon said, trying to put the woman at ease, even if she was in the wrong. “This is private property .”
“Carefully, put the rifle down!” she commanded in an authoritative, no-nonsense way.
Well, this was bizarre. She was trespassing and pointing a rifle at him, and yet she was telling him to disarm himself when he belonged here? He considered her attire: black cargo pants, a black windbreaker, and boots. She didn’t look like a half-crazed criminal or a hunter either. He wasn’t afraid of her; he’d be much warier of a man holding a rifle on him than a woman. He just figured he’d spooked her.
“All right. All right. You don’t have to be afraid of me.” Being the nice wolf he was, Sarandon set his rifle on the ground, figuring the woman was going hiking, albeit on private property, and didn’t know privately owned cabins were located here, though signs were posted in the area. But the fact that she was carrying a rifle made him suspect something else might be going on. “I run photo-op tours, hiking, mountain climbing, and white-water rafting guided tours, one-on-one tours, and group tours.” He thought if he told her what he did, she would realize he was employed, not some mountain man living out here in the wilderness alone, and that his occupation meant he was one of the good guys who liked working with people. “Whatever customers might be interested in,” he continued.
She was someone he was interested in. If she was a wolf and would put the weapon down. Something about her straightforward and confrontational attitude appealed. He swore it was the wolf in him.
“Sarandon Silver?” she asked, her brow arched.
Learning that she knew his name surprised him. If she knew who he was, why was she pointing the rifle at him? Then he wondered if this had something to do with his brothers. Maybe they’d sent her as a plant, a way to get him to meet a new she-wolf, believing the standard boy-meets-girl routine wouldn’t cut it with him. Especially since he’d said he was trying to come up with an idea for a new adventure.
“Yeah, I’m Sarandon Silver. Do you want to tell me how you know me and why you’re still pointing a weapon at me?” She had to be his brothers’ idea, but he wondered where she was taking this.
If this was for real, he didn’t recall anything he’d done that would have aggravated anyone to the extent that she’d pull a weapon on him. He hadn’t taken a mate and pissed off her family. He hadn’t lost anyone on one of his excursions. His dad was the only one who’d ever committed any crimes in the family, and he’d paid for his sins with his life.
“Come this way, nice and slow,” she said, her voice firm and resolved.
He frowned at her. She sounded like a cop. He looked her over again, but her clothes didn’t indicate that. He couldn’t see what was underneath the jacket, though from the slight bulk underneath the material, it looked like she might have a sidearm holstered there. She hadn’t said she was a cop though. Plus, if she were, she wasn’t in her own jurisdiction. Her car was a silver Ford Expedition, with no indication it was a cop’s vehicle.
She was a beautiful brunette, her hair cut short and bouncy, her eyes a crystal-clear blue. If his brothers—and maybe his cousins—had put her up to this… Well, he didn’t want to appear as though he couldn’t take a joke. She’d share with them how growly he’d been, and they’d all have a good laugh over it—at his expense.
“Am I under arrest?” he asked with good humor, smiling a little. He couldn’t help it. He couldn’t take this seriously.
About Terry Spear
USA Today bestselling author Terry Spear has written over sixty paranormal and medieval Highland romances. In 2008, Heart of the Wolf was named a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year. A retired officer of the U.S. Army Reserves, Terry also creates award-winning teddy bears that have found homes all over the world. She lives in Spring, Texas with two Havanese puppies.
Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES series.
Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin's maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit-and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.
As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords-and hunt for allies in unexpected places.
In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.
Book bff has a love/hate relationship with SJM, and I kind of do too.
I love the worlds she creates, the way those worlds are steeped in folklore, the characters that worm their way into my heart and subconscious, but I LOVE hate the way she toys with my FEELS.
Kind of . . .
I love the way she weaves plot threads seamlessly together, the way every new installment is a true expansion of what came before, but I LOVE hate the way she wills dread into my very bones.
Sort of . . .
I love how even when she S P E L L S a thing out, I can’t stop myself from second-guessing, how even when I know something is going to happen, I’m still surprised when it does, but I LOVE hate the way getting from point A to point B so often leaves me in the fetal position.
But not really . . .
Me: Is a love/love relationship a thing?
You: It is now.
We’re a less than a week away from the release of what comes next in the ACOTAR world, but I’m going to keep what goes down in ACOWAR vague, b/c even though the main storyline is resolved, there is so much leftover potential.
At least two more installments, from varying POVs are on the books, but SJM could keep this world spinning indefinitely if given the license to.
And that’s a GOOD thing.
More Rhys and Feyre, for sure, but also more . . . Cassian and Nesta? Lucien and Elain? Tamlin and . . .? Azriel and Mor and Amren and Varian and Helion and, and . . . See?
So. Much. Potential.
And with the way things ended, I’m not only interested in comes for Tamlin (whom I spent a good 50 – 60% of this series despising), but I’m also way curious about [View post to see spoiler]
So hats off to Sarah J. Maas for once again turning me into a quivering mass of nerves and making me happy about it. If you have yet to experience it for yourself, what are you waiting for? Hmm??
Angus Murray, bouncer for a New Orleans Shifter bar, is sent to round up an elusive, Collar-less Shifter woman, Tamsin Calloway, who is causing trouble for Shifter Bureau, and possesses information they want. If Angus refuses, he risks losing his cub. He finds Tamsin but she's slippery and not about to be rounded up quietly.
In fact, quiet is nothing Tamsin will ever be. She leads Angus on a wild chase, but he's determined to bring her in to save his son.
Can Tamsin convince Angus she's worth helping before she's locked away by Shifter Bureau, Collared, or perhaps killed?
Shifters Unbound is one of those series that I am determined to read all of them. The author is very prolific so even though this is only book eleven, there’s also been several novellas that I have read. You don’t have to read them in order to enjoy them, but it probably couldn’t hurt. I’ve managed to read a few out of order, including this one, and it really hasn’t made that much of a difference.
Angus is a wolf shifter that works as a bouncer at a nightclub catering to human and shifter clientele. When an agent from the shifter bureau comes one night to inform him that he has to track another shifter, Angus is not happy. And he’s livid when he finds out that they are using his son as leverage to make him comply. Tamsin is a collarless shifter alone in a world that is very unforgiving to shifters. It’s illegal to not wear the collar and Tamsin has been defying that for a very long time. At one time, Tamsin knew Angus’s brother-before his brother was killed for being a rabble-rouser against the shifter bureau and anyone that would collar shifters. When these two meet the book becomes not only a road trip, but also a huge adventure. Because even though she’s wanted by the shifter bureau, we all know he’s not letting her go anywhere. After all, these books are romances, so no spoiler there.
Tamsin was such a fun heroine. She’s not going to let anyone take her down, least of all someone acting on behalf of the shifter bureau. She’s smart, wily and sassy as they come and she runs circles around Angus at times. Problem for her is that Angus is highly motivated due to his son. Angus is quiet, enigmatic and only actually cares for one thing in the world, his young son, Ciaran. As far as Ciaran? He won my heart immediately and I absolutely loved his character. He has a huge role to play in this read, so I really enjoyed that.
Usually these books take place in a shiftertown. While Angus is a member of the the New Orleans area shiftertown, this book only barely touches on shiftertown life. That’s because as I said before, the book ends up being a road trip of sorts and they travel all over the South. It also ends up being very different in the choices of where they choose to hide. That part of the book was my favorite part, but because of spoilers I am going to leave it at that.
The authors fantastic world building continues in this book. All shifters have to be registered and collared by the shifter bureau. The collars keep shifters from acting violently by shocking them. The collars are powered by fae magic making the shifters biggest enemy the fae. They must live in regulated shiftertowns, are kept from owning much in the way of technology and live very modestly.
These books are always well plotted along with wonderful romances, several of which feature human/shifter pairings. This book wasn’t that, but it still worked beautifully. I honestly think this is one of my favorites due to the places they choose to hide and also due to the character of Ciaran-as well as the romance between Angus and Tamsin. I highly recommend this book to adult paranormal romance readers.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher by way of NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
The human mind has always been unhackable…until now.
Deep in the Afghan mountains, Sergeant Michael Pitcher discovers an object with powers that defy explanation. After interacting with it, he suffers a traumatic seizure and is flown home for evaluation.
Cleared by the doctors, Michael goes home to his relieved wife, Josie. But he’s a changed man. The once-loving husband is now coldly withdrawn. After emptying the couple’s bank account, he disappears into the night.
When a team of scientists connected to Sergeant Pitcher vanishes without a trace, CIA agent Dean Ninemeyer comes to him for insight—only to find that the recovering soldier has also disappeared.
Dean and Josie must now join forces in a desperate race against time, searching for answers in an ever-twisting mystery. What they uncover is a chilling conspiracy that already has the fate of the world in its grip.
Everyone knew that Valerie Storm was the baddest bit—um, witch on the block. She might look like Snow White, but she had the heart of a wicked queen. She turned her enemies to ash, she danced on their graves, and she had to be stopped. But who could stand up to someone so wicked?
He was wild.
Griffin Bastien was the most powerful shifter to ever walk the earth. His claws had sent plenty of his foes to the grave. Bloodlust burned fast and hard within him, and when his beast took over, there was no stopping him.
Then Wicked met Wild.
Neither of them believed in love. And neither of them ever expected the firestorm that ignited when they kissed. But some things—some people—can’t be controlled. The need that Valerie and Griffin feel for each other, the white-hot lust, will change their world.
Even hell doesn’t burn this hot.
Too bad that Griffin has been keeping secrets. Too bad that he is the original assassin sent to destroy Valerie. Because when she finds out the truth, there will be no greater fury than a wicked witch betrayed. Even the biggest, baddest beast might discover that he’s absolutely lost when a witch casts her spell, and he will be willing to do anything to reclaim the mate he never expected.
Buckle up, it’s gonna be a wild ride.
Author’s Note: WICKED AND WILD is a complete, stand-alone story that is set in the world of my “Bad Things” paranormal books. Expect a sexy alpha, a very fierce heroine, and hot times ahead.
Can this rebel dragon learn to play by the rules when his destined mate’s life is on the line?Steamy, suspenseful paranormal romance! Off to Maui for a relaxing vacation? Hardly. Surfer Jenna Monroe is on the run from a stalker who lusts after her blood. Instead of combing the beach for lost treasures, she’s forced to venture deep into the terrifying world of shapeshifters. There, even the good guys are hard to trust — all except for the hot-blooded rebel she can’t get out of her head.
Connor Hoving and his band of Special Forces shifters were planning to leave trouble behind by moving to Maui, but destiny has other ideas. His whole future — and that of his brothers — depends on acing his new job as head of security at an exclusive seaside estate. But Connor can barely get his inner dragon to focus with alluring, off-limits Jenna around. Can this rebel dragon learn to play by the rules when his fated mate’s life is on the line?
The closer Connor and Jenna become, the higher forbidden passions blaze. The more they give in to simmering desire, the more impossible love seems. And the more secrets they uncover, the closer their enemies creep. Vampires and ruthless dragons lurk in the shadows, and it’s impossible to tell whose side fate will take. Only one thing is certain: great heroes don’t get to pick their destinies — only the choices they make.
Maui just got hotter with this exciting new series of steamy, suspenseful paranormal romance!
ALOHA SHIFTERS: PEARLS OF DESIRE is a series of sizzling paranormal romances with adult content. No cliff hangers. Each story is a page-turner packed with action, emotion, and romance! If you like Magnum, PI and smoldering hot, alpha shapeshifters, you’ll love these books! Each includes strong heroines, alpha heroes, werewolves and shapeshifters, billionaires, military romance, paranormal suspense, action-adventure romance, fantasy romance, and exotic, tropical locales!
“I highly recommend the entire series to vampire fanatics who understand the powerful relationships with vampires. In this series, there is NEVER a dull moment!” –Cassandra’s Lost in Books on Lucifer.
Ireland—a land of magic and fantasy, of fierce warrior kings and fairy mounds . . . and, of course, vampires who’ve been around for nearly as long as those beguiling fey.
Brilliant and ambitious, Quinn Kavanagh was aiming for the top, even before he was turned. But now, as a powerful vampire lord, he’s driven by the demands of his blood, compelled to conquer and destroy, to defeat Ireland’s criminal ruler, and make the territory a better place for all its vampires and humans alike.
Smart and beautiful, Eve Connelly was a graduate student with life’s endless possibilities stretched out before her. She knew nothing of vampires and didn’t care . . . until she watched two of them murder her beloved brother. Now she’s driven, too. But she doesn’t want to help Ireland’s vampires—she just wants to kill them.
Bound together by love and hate, Quinn and Eve will risk everything to bring down the bloody regime of Ireland’s current vampire ruler. But in order to find revenge for Eve and the ultimate power for Quinn, they first have to learn to trust each other. And that might be the most dangerous thing of all . . . .
D. B. Reynolds is the RT and EPIC Award-Winning author of the Vampires in America series of paranormal romance, and an Emmy-nominated television sound editor. She lives in a flammable canyon near Los Angeles, and when she’s not writing her own books, she can usually be found reading someone else’s. Visit her blog at dbreynolds.com for details on all of her books and more.
The eleventh novel in the New York Times bestselling paranormal romance series, Shifters Unbound.
Angus Murray, bouncer for a New Orleans Shifter bar, is sent to round up an elusive, Collar-less Shifter woman, Tamsin Calloway, who is causing trouble for Shifter Bureau, and possesses information they want. If Angus refuses, he risks losing his cub. He finds Tamsin but she’s slippery and not about to be rounded up quietly.
In fact, quiet is nothing Tamsin will ever be. She leads Angus on a wild chase, but he’s determined to bring her in to save his son.
Can Tamsin convince Angus she’s worth helping before she’s locked away by Shifter Bureau, Collared, or perhaps killed?
A DANGEROUS CHOICE On the brink of death, Cassidy DiRocco demands that New York City’s master of the supernatural, Dominic Lysander, transform her—reporter, Night Blood, sister, human—into the very creature she’s feared and fought against for months: a vampire. The pain is brutal, she could lose the career she’s worked so hard to achieve, and her world will never be the same. But surviving is worth any risk, especially when it means gaining the strength to fight against Jillian Allister, the sister who betrayed Dominic, attacked Cassidy, and is leading a vampire uprising that will destroy all of New York City . . . When she awakens, however, Cassidy realizes the cost of being transformed might be more than she was willing to sacrifice. But if Cassidy hopes to right the irrevocable wrongs that Jillian and her army of the Damned have wrought on New York City, she’ll need to not only accept her new senses, body, and cravings, but wield them in her favor. Irresistible and enigmatic as Dominic is, he no longer has command over the city or its vampires. Only Cassidy has the connections to convince the humans, Day Reapers, and the few vampires still loyal to Dominic to join forces. And maybe, if Dominic can accept her rising power over the coven he once commanded for the past several hundred years, the two of them together might forge a bond more potent than history has ever known. . .
University student Lizzie Charters accompanies her mentor, Dr. Emeryk Quintillus, on the archeological dig to uncover Cleopatra’s tomb. Her presence is required for a ceremony conducted by the renowned professor to resurrect Cleopatra’s spirit—inside Lizzie’s body. Quintillus’s success is short-lived, as the Queen of the Nile dies soon after inhabiting her host, leaving Lizzie’s soul adrift . . .
Paula Bancroft’s husband just leased Villa Dürnstein, an estate once owned by Dr. Quintillus. Within the mansion are several paintings and numerous volumes dedicated to Cleopatra. But the archeologist’s interest in the Egyptian empress deviated from scholarly into supernatural, infusing the very foundations of his home with his dark fanaticism. And as inexplicable manifestations rattle Paula’s senses, threatening her very sanity, she uncovers the link between the villa, Quintillus, and a woman named Lizzie Charters.
And a ritual of dark magic that will consume her soul . . .
Praise for Catherine Cavendish’s Wrath of the Ancients
“Cavendish has constructed such an elaborate plot—combined with painstaking research into Egyptian mythology—that the fantastical events taking place seem to literally ‘come alive’ on the pages before you.” —horrorafterdark.com “Cavendish offers up an atmospheric gothic horror tale that effortlessly blends together history and the supernatural to create an unsettling horror story that will appeal to almost any horror fan.” —thehorrorbookshelf.com
A 2018 Most Anticipated Young Adult book that is part Wonder Woman, part Vikings—and all heart.
OND ELDR. BREATHE FIRE.
Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient, rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.
Faced with her brother’s betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.
She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.
“THIS IS A GRIPPING STORY, RICHLY TOLD.”—Renée Ahdieh, New York Times bestselling author of Flame in the Mist “FIERCE, VIVID, AND VIOLENTLY BEAUTIFUL.”—Stephanie Garber, New York Times bestselling author of Caraval “A STUNNING DEBUT” —Roshani Chokshi, New York Times bestselling author of The Star-Touched Queen “BLEAK BEAUTIFUL AND DEADLY”—Traci Chee, New York Times bestselling author of The Reader “WHOLLY UNIQUE AND INSTANTLY ADDICTIVE”—Kerri Maniscalco, New York Times bestselling author of Hunting Prince Dracula “HEARTRENDING, HEART-MENDING”—Kayla Olson, bestselling author of Sandcastle Empire
The magic has come back to the Plains. The Warrior Priests are no more. The traditions are changing—too quickly for some.
Joden has only ever wanted to be a Singer, to know all of the songs. When the time comes for his Trials, he is challenged to take the old paths—and it ends in disaster. But his broken heart and broken body are found by Amyu . . . and she knows what it is to live with pain.
Amyu should have gone to the snows long ago, but instead chose to live in shame. Cast out of her tribe, she now serves Queen Xylara and the Kingdom of Xy. Her new mission is to find the key to defeating the wyverns who attack from the sky—but can a girl from the Plains control beasts who soar in the air?
She knows that Joden has been brought to her by the winds, and they do what they will. Their love is forbidden by the Plains, and their dreams pull them in different directions—but together they heal each other. If only they could heal their people, who are struggling with the ultimate goal:
From New York Times bestselling author, Rebecca Zanetti, comes a new Scorpius Syndrome/A Brigade Novella…
Hugh Johnson is nobody’s hero, and the idea of being in the limelight makes him want to growl. He takes care of his brothers, does his job, and enjoys a mellow evening hanging with his hound dog and watching the sports channel. So when sweet and sexy Ellie Smithers from his college chemistry class asks him to save millions of people from a nuclear meltdown, he doggedly steps forward while telling himself that the world hasn’t changed and he can go back to his relaxing life. One look at Ellie and excitement doesn’t seem so bad.
Eleanor Smithers knows that the Scorpius bacteria has and will change life as we know it, but that’s a concern for another day. She’s been hand-picked as the computer guru for The Brigade, which is the USA’s first line of defense against all things Scorpius, including homegrown terrorists who’ve just been waiting for a chance to strike. Their target is a nuclear power plant in the east, and the only person who can help her is Hugh, the sexy, laconic, dangerous man she had a crush on so long ago.
**Every 1001 Dark Nights novella is a standalone story. For new readers, it’s an introduction to an author’s world. And for fans, it’s a bonus book in the author’s series. We hope you'll enjoy each one as much as we do.**
Scorpios Syndrome is a favorite series. I really love this world that Rebecca Zanetti has created. If you’re not familiar with this world, there is a bacteria that is killing people. Some people survive after contracting Scorpios, but many don’t. The ones that survive are sometimes different. There are people anywhere from just becoming psychopaths others really losing their minds and don’t even act human anymore.
In this novella, we spend some time with a different group than we have been in the full-length books. It also takes place earlier in the series. So you can read this book without knowing anything about this series.
Here we have Hugh and Ellie. They were a couple years ago in school, but it has been ten years since they were together. Now, Hugh works to keep America’s nuclear plants safe from terrorist. Ellie is a computer genius working. Ellie is currently working with the Brigade, “which is the USA’s first line of defense against all things Scorpius”. Now Hugh is working there too. He knows the best ways to protect those plants. They want to keep them up and running and more importantly, keep terrorist from blowing them up and radiating the countryside.
However, because of some undercover work that is classified, Hugh isn’t trusted by the team. But they are trusting him a bit, because no one knows more about these plants and the terrorists that might target them than Hugh.
This is a nice second chance romance (not a trope I love, but I don’t mind it. I know some people love it). There is also a great suspense story. It is a great introduction to this series that I really love.
Her heart started to beat faster. This was the worst time in the entire timeline of humanity to start a real romance. Well, except during the plague. No. Scratch that. This was worse. Especially since she now had a beyond dangerous job, and he seemed hell-bent on protecting her. There was no protection these days.
There was a whole lot of planning and even more luck. That was it. “You need to take a breath.”
His grin was oddly determined. A little intimidating. How strange. Especially since the look he gave her sent little tingles through her entire lower body.
“I’m breathing just fine, baby. I understand you’re scared,” he said.
“I’m not scared,” she retorted like any eight-year-old challenged on the playground. She cleared her throat, trying to look like an adult, damn it. “I’m just being realistic.”
“I’m not gonna hurt you, Ellie Mae,” he said, his voice gentle. “Not you. Feel free to fall hard.”
She blinked. Once and then twice. Was that arrogant? She mulled it over, watching his implacable face. Wait a minute. Hell yes, that was arrogance. “While I like confidence as much as the next girl, give me a break. You’re not that irresistible.” Yeah, right. She was getting better at this whole lying thing, though.
He pressed his lips together, and it took her a second to realize he was trying not to chuckle.
I realized last year that my auditory ADD (yes, that’s a real thing) didn’t prevent me from listening to audiobooks entirely, I just needed a really, really good narrator telling a really, really good story.
That’s all. No big.
But I enjoyed the series that taught me this lesson (Chuck Wendig’s AFTERMATH) enough that I was willing to put in the effort of finding similarly good series with good narrators.
I knew it wouldn’t be easy . . . I knew there would be disappointments . . .
I didn’t know that after putting forth all that effort, after finding the rare unicorns that were both awesome stories and awesomely narrated that the (apparently) strange and capricious narrator gods would change narrators mid-series.
*throws head back and shrieks with rage*
I’ve discovered—after much trial and error—that narration is in fact an ART.
It’s more than a non-irritating voice reading any given story keeping up a reasonabley good flow, and when you’re listening to a series of books, changing narrators can be more than a minor disruption.
Take, for instance, A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES (ACOTAR) by Sarah J. Maas.
Book bff (who has Maas issues b/c intractable when it comes to ships) agreed to read ACOTAR #2 and #3 before the next book (which is actually some kind of a bridge between the main trilogy and future spinoffs) is released in May, but refused to read ACOTAR #1 b/c aforementioned broken ship.
This is kind of a Big Deal, b/c she’d previously refused to read them at all, and ACOTAR is currently my favorite fantasy series. The plan was we’d (re)read them together, b/c buddy-reads-are-the-best.
So she started reading ACOTAR #2 before I had a chance to reread ACOTAR #1. <———I don’t jump into rereads mid-series, that’s CRAZY.
Which was a problem, b/c ACOTAR #1 is the weakest book in the series (pre-character growth MC is hella annoying), and I was having a hard time getting into it.
You: But Book Bff was already a book ahead of you!
Me: I KNOW.
You: What did you do?
Me: I . . . wait for it . . . decided to try the audiobook.
Originally, I didn’t plan for my entire reread (re . . . listen? O.o) to be the audiobook version, but IT WAS SO GOOD.
The narrator (Jennifer Ikeda) was amazing. The heroine that had driven me crazy during my first read of ACOTAR (and several previous reread attempts) was suddenly . . . significantly less annoying. And the parts that still annoyed me didn’t have a chance to bog me down, b/c someone else was reading, so I literally could not dwell.
But it was more than that. Ikeda got—truly got—the story, the characters, and her understanding led to an incredibly nuanced narration. I stayed up ALL NIGHT this past Monday listening to a book I’D ALREADY READ.
Her narration of ACOTAR #2 was just as good.
ACOTAR #3 had a new narrator.
I gave New Narrator an honest shot, I truly did, but once I’d adjusted to the new voice, the MC who had previously outgrown her annoyingness (in both print and audio versions) was suddenly annoying again.
B/c New Narrator did not get the story, the characters, was not incredibly nuanced.
It was like the narrator version of paint-by-numbers. New Narrator had memorized a preset list of cues, and those cues were her only guide for inflection. Any dialogue felt like an SNL comedy sketch where every statement, every word, is emphasized, with accompanying OTT gestures and facial expressions . . . Basically a parody of a conversation.
It. Was. Awful.
So I’m back to actually reading halfway through ACOTAR #3, which isn’t a huge deal, but it is disappointing and an aggravation, so I’m left trying to decide how to rate the audiobook.
Help me out audiobook reviewers: what do you do when the story is great but the narrator sucks? Is the Audible rating strictly for narration? HOW DOES THIS WORK!?
1. Human, Day Reaper, or vampire—if you lived in the NIGHT BLOOD universe, which would you choose?
Day Reaper, hands down! In whatever universe I create, I would most definitely want to be at the top of the food chain if given the choice, and in the Night Blood series, being a Day Reaper is certainly the highest you can go.
2. New York City seems like the perfect setting for an army of the Damned uprising; how did you use that to your advantage?
New York City is fabulous in many ways: physically there’s unspeakably high skyscrapers, dark alleys, and dozens of miles of subway lines and sewer tunnels. The Damned vampires in my series used all of those attributes to their advantage while taking over the city. Thematically, the Big Apple is a city of dreamers: thespians, authors and painters go to LA to become famous but live in New York to find their muse. The starving artists, with all their untapped potential, go to New York in the hopes of impacting society with their art. Day Reaper, at its core, is about realizing untapped potential. Cassidy needs to find the inner strength to tap into her potential and learn to wield that power to save the city – and in doing so, discover if her newfound power is stronger than the forces she’s up against.
3. Which heightened sense did your heroine have the most difficulty adapting to?
The dichotomy of hearing emotions – and attempting to separate those sounds from physical noise and then interpreting their meaning – was probably the most difficult sense for Cassidy to adapt to.
4. What would you pack in your “go bag” if you lived in NYC, and knew that the shit was about to hit the fan?
If I was actually attempting to leave the city to escape a Damned Vampire attack, instead of fighting to prevent it, I’d pack non-perishable food, water, my phone, clothes, flashlights, a generator, and my husband. We’d leave at dawn and drive as far and fast as my little Dodge Dart can take us before sunset.
5. On the brink of death, would you make the same choice as Cassidy DiRocco?
It’s difficult to predict how a person will react in the moment, during a life and death situation. I could only hope that I’d have the strength, grit, and determination that Cassidy found to survive.
6. What are some of the challenges of writing the final installment in a series?
I’ve been writing Cassidy and Dominic’s adventure in this four part series for five years. They’ve become a part of my daily routine. I’ve enjoyed shaping their relationship and watching it evolve through the years (for me – weeks for them, lol) so letting go, knowing this was the last book I’d write for them, and making sure that I was doing them and their story justice was some of the biggest challenges. I usually leave a few loose ends at the final page of each book to connect the reader between stories, but there couldn’t be any loose ends this time. With that being said, however, I didn’t want everything all tied off with a nice, neat, shiny bow. I wanted them to go out with a bang. It was a bit of a tightrope act, finding that balance to a satisfying ending, but it was very important to me to get it right.
7. What tips/advice do you have for newcomers about to dive down the rabbit hole of NIGHT BLOOD?
Start from the beginning. Some books you can skip around in the series—start with book 3, try book one and skip to book 4—but my story is a serial, meaning that some of the plot threads are essential to the story, in order, and you’ll miss out on Cassidy and Dominic’s over-arching journey if you skip installments. So hunker down with a blanket, some chocolate, and book 1, The City Beneath, and get sucked into a world of vampires, the night blood who tries to destroy them, and the reporter who fights to save them all.
About Melody Johnson
Melody Johnson is the author of the gritty, paranormal romance Night Blood series set in New York City. The first installment, The City Beneath, was a finalist in several Romance Writers of America contests, including the “Cleveland Rocks” and “Fool For Love” contests. Melody graduated magna cum laude from Lycoming College with her B.A. in creative writing and psychology, and after moving from her northeast Pennsylvania hometown for some much needed Southern sunshine, she now works as a digital media coordinator for Southeast Georgia Health System’s marketing department. When she isn’t working or writing, Melody can be found swimming at the beach, honing her newfound volleyball skills, and exploring her new home in southeast Georgia.
Day Reaper by Melody Johnson Series: Night Blood #4 Published by: Lyrical Press Published on: April 24, 2018 Genres: Paranormal Romance Pages: 414 Amazon | Kobo | B&N | iBooks | Google Play | GoodReads
On the brink of death, Cassidy DiRocco demands that New York City’s master of the supernatural, Dominic Lysander, transform her—reporter, Night Blood, sister, human—into the very creature she’s feared and fought against for months: a vampire. The pain is brutal, she’ll risk the career she’s worked so hard to achieve, and her world will never be the same. But surviving is worth any risk, especially when it means gaining the strength to fight against Jillian Allister, the sister who betrayed Dominic, attacked Cassidy, and is leading a vampire uprising that will destroy all of New York City…
When she awakens, however, Cassidy realizes the cost of being transformed might be more than she was willing to sacrifice. The overwhelming senses, the foreign appearance of her new body, and the lethal craving for blood are unrecognizable and unacceptable. But if Cassidy hopes to right the irrevocable wrongs that Jillian and her army of the Damned have wrought on New York City, she’ll need to not only accept her new senses, body and cravings, but wield them in her favor.
Irresistible and enigmatic as Dominic is, he no longer has command over the city or its vampires. Only Cassidy has the connections to convince the humans, Day Reapers, and the few vampires still loyal to Dominic to join forces, and maybe, if Dominic can accept her rising power over the coven he once commanded for the past several hundred years, the two of them together might forge a bond more potent than history has ever known…
Night Blood Series
A bird was squawking, and after several minutes of attempting to ignore its repetitive, shrill, bleating, I came to grips with the fact that it didn’t seem inclined to stop on its own. I snapped open my eyes, prepared to reach out the window and stop it myself, with my bare hands if necessary—I’d never heard such an obnoxious bird in my life, not in the city, not on the west coast, not even on my one excursion to visit Walker upstate—and froze. There was no window. And if the vents Bex used to filter fresh air into her underground coven were any indication, there was no bird. Despite the similarity of the vents to Bex’s coven, however, I didn’t recognize the room as the inviting, well-decorated step-back in time that Bex had created, either: no extra furniture for lounging, no scented candles, no Gerbera daisies, and no kerosene lamps pulsing in a hypnotic, romantic beat.
This room contained only sparse necessities: vents for underground air filtration, a bare bulb for light, a door for privacy, and of course, a bed. I was in a strange room in a stranger’s bed, its dimensions and décor familiar only by its unfamiliarity, and suddenly, the last moments of my memory smashed into my brain like a semi.
Jillian tearing out my throat. Dominic healing me. The blood and burning. The transformation.
Someone was speaking in the room outside this bedroom’s door, and despite the distance, the scarred door, the cement wall, and my disorientation, I could hear every word being said, and I recognized the voice speaking: Ronnie Carmichael.
“Lysander said he would. There’s no reason to think he won’t, so I don’t think—”
And following Ronnie’s voice was the squawking of that damn bird.
“Exactly. You don’t think,” Jeremy snapped.
“Lysander said that he would try,” Keagan said patiently, his voice nearly drowned out by the bleat of that insufferable bird. “His priority is Cassidy and our safety. He won’t take unnecessary risks, like remaining above ground, away from Cassidy longer than absolutely necessary.”
“Yes, he said he would try,” Ronnie insisted, but her voice was faint now. “Lysander doesn’t say anything lightly.”
The bird squawked even louder, in time with Jeremy’s audible groan, triggering a memory of Ronnie’s little girl voice and something she had confided in me: I never even knew he thought of my voice as grating. I never knew someone’s annoyance had a sound let alone that it sounded like a squawking bird.
I was right about the bird not being underground, but unlike anything I’d ever heard, the sound wasn’t a bird at all. The squawking was the sound of Keagan’s annoyance at the grate of Ronnie’s whining voice. Unlike Jeremy, Keagan was too well-mannered to audibly express his frustration with Ronnie, but among other vampires, he could no longer hide his true feelings. His unspoken annoyance had a sound—as loud, obnoxious and obvious as Jeremy’s audible hostility—and Ronnie could no doubt hear it, too, despite the calm, reasonable tone of his words.
I could hear it.
I could hear the sound of Keagan’s annoyance.
The weight of the sheets covering my body was suddenly suffocating. I raised my hand to tear them from my body, but someone else’s hand whipped into the air. I gasped at the skeleton-skinny joints of each finger, the knobby protrusion of its wrist and the elongated talons sprouting from each fingertip instead of nails. I ducked under the hand, trying to avoid its attack and swallow the scream that tore up my throat, but the hand moved with me, moving with my intensions, attached to my body. I froze again, for the second time in as many seconds, and raised the hand in front of my face. It looked lethal. With one wrong move, it could eviscerate me. As I ticked each finger, the long talons swept the air as I counted—one, two, three, four, five—and each moved on my command. Like the inevitability of a pending dawn with the rising sun, I realized that the hand was mine. Fear of that hand turned to horror and then to a kind of giddy resignation. Hysteria, more likely.
I had ducked against the attack of my own hand.
A swift peal of laughter burst from my mouth.
I stopped laughing just as abruptly. Even my voice was different: guttural and sharp, like shards of glass scraping against asphalt.
The voices outside my door and the squawking bird had abruptly stopped, too, and in the sudden silence following my outburst, an uncomfortable, aching vise circled my chest. The pain wasn’t physical, but its presence triggered a dull burn in the back of my throat. I had the immediate urge to destroy everything, to pound the cement walls into crumbs with my fists and tear the sheets into ribbons with my nails—my talons—and fight my way free from this prison. I held myself motionless, resisting the urge, and I realized with a belated sort of curiosity that the aching vise was panic. Without a beating heart to pound and without a circulatory system to hyperventilate, I hadn’t recognized the emotion without its physical symptoms, but even so, it felt the same in one way. It felt horrible.
I took a deep breath to dispel the panic, purely from habit, but the action wasn’t calming. My heart that wasn’t pounding didn’t slow, and I couldn’t catch a breath that I hadn’t lost. The vise around my chest tightened. I squeezed my hands into fists, trembling from the force of my will to remain still and silent. Something sharp pierced my hands, and I gasped, the raging panic stuttering until I looked down at my bleeding fists. My talons were imbedded in my own palms.
A door slammed somewhere outside this room, further away than the voices directly behind the door, but I didn’t hear it slam with my ears. I felt it slam from its flat slap against my skin. Never mind that the door wasn’t near enough for me to see, nor in this room, nor the impossibility that I could feel its sound waves, my entire body felt its sting as if I’d been smacked from all sides.
“Why are you just staring?” Despite the impatience and aggravation in those words, hearing his voice made the aching around my chest both loosen and worsen.
The clip of his tread across the cement floor stung like the warning barbs of a wasp. I knew the physical pain on my skin was only the tactile manifestation of sounds— first, the door slam, and now, his walking—but that didn’t change the fact that the sounds really did hurt my skin. I tried to rub away the lingering sting and realized my hands were still fisted, my talons still imbedded in my palms, so I just sat on the bed, motionless and bleeding, like someone trapped without an EpiPen, waiting for the inevitable swelling, choking and death: trapped within a body that had betrayed me.
“Did you have time to—” Ronnie began, but her voice was too small and too fragile not to crumble under the weight of his will.
“You heard her waken,” he accused. “Don’t you smell the blood?”
I could actually taste the pungent, freshly sliced, onion musk of their silence.
The door swung open, and suddenly, inevitably, Dominic entered the room. He didn’t need permission to cross my threshold, not anymore, and he didn’t bother with the perfunctory acts of knocking or requesting my consent to enter. He simply strode inside and slammed the door behind him with a final, fatal bee sting.
He’d recently fed. I could tell, as I’d always been able to tell, by the bloom of health on his cheeks, his strong, sculpted figure, and the careful calm of his countenance, but my heightened senses could now also smell the lingering spice of blood on his breath and hear the crackle of it nourishing his muscles. From the top of his carefully tousled black hair to the soles of his wing-tipped, dress shoes, Dominic was insatiably sexy, but his physique was an illusion of his last meal. I knew his true form. Upon waking, before feeding, he appeared more monster than man. Although not many people look their best in the morning, Dominic by far looked his worst.
The way I looked now.
That thought made my fists tighten, embedding my talons deeper into my own flesh.
Despite his grievance with Ronnie, Keagan, and Jeremy for their inaction, he too just stared, immobile after entering the room, but his gaze absorbed everything. I felt the slash of his eyes slice across my face, down my body, and eventually, settle with dark finality on my fisted palms.
He didn’t move, and that I could tell by the stillness of his throat, he didn’t make a sound, but despite his still, silent stare, I heard the unmistakable rush of wind. There were no windows underground, and in the stagnant stillness of the room—the tension between our bodies like an electric current stretching to complete its circuit—no relief from the heat of his presence. The sound wasn’t wind, it only sounded like wind, but whatever it was the sound of, it was emanating from the only other person in the room.
I blinked and Dominic was suddenly, but no longer impossibly, beside the bed. His movements were just as inhumanly fast as ever, but with my enhanced vision, I could track his movement, see his grace and fluidity. I heard the slide of air molecules parting for him, felt the electric snap of his muscles flexing, and smelled an emotion he wouldn’t allow me to interpret on his carefully neutral expression. Whatever he was feeling was spiced, sweet, strong, and dangerous with overuse, like ginger.
He reached out and carefully wrapped his palms around mine to cup my fists. His voice was steady when he spoke, but I knew better. The rush of wind emanating from him heightened, the smell of ginger became chokingly poignant, and his heart that didn’t need to beat to keep him alive, contracted just once. I could both hear the swoosh of his blood being pumped through each chamber and taste the silky spice of that sound.
My hands were injured yet his trembled.
“Relax,” Dominic murmured. “I’m here. I should have been here when you first awakened, but I’m here now.”
I blinked at him. With him here, everything was somehow simultaneous better and horribly worse.
“Mirror,” I growled. I tried to form a complete sentence, to demand, Get me a mirror, so I can see the horror of a face that matches these hands! but my throat was too dry. Even that one word rattled from my vocal cords like flint scraping across steel, and the resulting sparks flamed the back of my throat. I sounded dangerous and angry and monstrous. If I had stumbled upon me in an alley, I would have run.
Then again, I’d stumbled upon Dominic in an alley, and look how that had played out.
Whether Dominic saw my anger or thought me a dangerous monster now wasn’t revealed by his carefully masked countenance. He stroked the back of my hand with the soft pad of his human-feeling thumb. “You need to calm down.”
A single mother of two complicating his life isn't what this werewolf needs right now.
Especially when they're so close to taking down the Russian mob boss. But guilt and chemistry has Xavier compelled to help newly widowed Emily. The fact that her kids adore him only makes the truth of who he really is that much worse. If they knew, would they hate him...or love him more? It's a chance this wolf is not willing to take.
Three stand-alone romantic suspense novels, each starring a different wolf as they try to take down evil in Chicago to save a city that doesn't believe they really exist. Superheroes with no capes or public identity, doing what they have to, to survive. They don't want love, but the wolf knows before the man...
I started reading these books a few years back, but had gotten behind in the series. Recently while looking through my huge to be read stack, I decided to pick this one up and jumped right back into the world of the Chicago wolves.
A little back story about these wolves would include the fact about the wolves being a sort of vigilante group. By that I mean, when they see horrible people doing horrible things, they take care of it. Not always lethally, but sometimes-usually when someone really deserves it. When they hear about a young mom with two children and an abusive husband, Xavier decides to scare him with his wolf form, but manages to kill him instead.
Emily is now a widow with young children. She had been horribly abused and scared into staying with her abuser. However, she feels likes she needs to act the part of the grieving widow even though she is pretty happy about it. Her innate decency makes her feel guilty. When she meets Xavier at the morgue while identifying her husband, she is attracted to him and made to feel doubly guilty at the same time. On Xavier’s part, he just wants her, but he knows she will never have him if she knew the truth. That doesn’t mean he will stay away from her.
The main story arc throughout these books have featured the Russian mafia infiltrating Chicago. The wolves are smack in the middle of routing them out and getting rid of them. The previous books were full of action and danger, as well as romance. This particular installment had some of the mafia part in it, but not to the extent that it was in the previous books. And because of that, while there is some dangerous moments, I can’t say that it was as exciting as the previous ones. The difference made this more of a romance and I was fine with it, although I did expect a bit more danger. The chemistry between the two main characters was pretty much off the charts, although Emily fights it quite a bit-especially at first.
I enjoyed catching up with the previous couples and seeing them having their happily ever afters. It’s always nice when characters from a previous book show up. These wolves sincerely care about each other. It’s not a huge pack and that’s okay because they are enough. These guys work together, play together, and live closely to each other. They are into each others lives in just about every aspect and I appreciated that. Team work at its finest. The author has truly given us characters to love and wonderful romances. I thought this one veered into erotica, more so than the others-at least if I am remembering correctly. It has been awhile since I last read these.
Adult paranormal readers will find a lot to like about this book and series. Recommended!
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