Darling, I Don’t

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Happily Never After by Jeaniene Frost is technically #1.5 in the Nighthuntress series, but really it could take place at any time.

Isabella is a restaurateur, Italian, and forcibly engaged to an up and coming mob boss to save her brother’s life. Unbeknownst to her, Isabella’s grandmother was once a member of Bones’ household staff, serving his blood needs and receiving food, shelter, and education in return. And grandma is no fool.  She knows her grandchildren are in trouble, so she calls an old friend to help.

Bones makes a brief appearance, and gives nothing away with what he is currently doing aside from the fact that he can’t help his old friend himself. Instead, he’s sending someone else he trusts to take out the godfather wannabe.

And Chance is that vampire. His methods are interesting, he allows himself to get shot several times, buried, and dumped over the side of a boat cement shoes and all.  Though whether this is his motis operendai or just using it as an excuse to see more of the lovely human, who can tell.

This is a short, sweet, to the point and amusing story. Not overly interesting in that there is no solid tie or ‘ah ha!’ moment that explains something from the Nighthuntress series, but it was fun seeing the reactions of the goons when the dude they killed twice over kept coming back!

This is another couple I wouldn’t mind seeing more of. After going into the undead version of witness protection, will Chance and Isabella actually stay together until Isabella lives her natural life span?  Will she return to her human life with him?  Or will she want to turn undead like her lover to never leave his side?

Questions questions questions. Doubtful they’ll get answered, but that’s ok.  Gives my imagination room to roam.

Almost done with the quickies (heheh). Home for the Holidays is next, and if it’s not the last one there should only be one more…two max…we’ll get there eventually lol!

‘Tis the season to join Cat and Bones for some holiday cheer!

They were looking forward to a normal holiday—at least as “normal” as it gets for vampires Cat and Bones and their otherworldly friends and family. But their yuletide plans are shattered when a mysterious stranger shows up and reveals long-buried secrets that threaten to take a bite out of their holiday cheer … and lives.

Originally appeared in the print anthology The Bite Before Christmas.

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Lost Opportunity

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Devil to Pay by Jeaniene Frost is slated as like book #3.5 in the Nighthuntress world, assumingly because it is set between the events of the third and fourth books, but aside from one brief mention of Bones and Mencheres being co-rulers of a vampire line, there’s really not much to pin down the timeline.

The story starts in blood and darkness. Blake Turner is accosted by some thugs after buying enough cocaine to kill an elephant, and after a failed attempt to diffuse the situation, they start beating on him as he begs for death. But after blacking out, he wakes up surrounded by bodies and covered in blood.

Six months ago he was possessed by a demon, and now seeks to end his life and hopefully save others. The thwarted cocaine overdose was just one option, jumping off a platform in front of a speeding train seems to be his next one, although a well-meaning vampire pulls him back from the brink and gives him hope for the future.

Elise is that vampire. A recluse living in the tunnels, hiding from the hurt of her past, she saves Blake from the train that day, and fills him with hope that her sire Mencheres can save him.

It’s a pretty simple story after that, Cat and Bones make an appearance, Mencheres tries to pull the demon from Blake, but since this demon is one of the original Fallen its way too powerful for him. They devise a plan to save him, fail, and voila!  Elise has turned her very first human in order to save him.

I was a bit disappointed in the ending, I was kinda hoping for another human/demon hybrid like Denise, or maybe a vampire/demon hybrid, but sad face we just have a human turned because his vampire lover can’t live without him. Not complaining, just ugh!  Such an awesome idea and it didn’t happen.  But I wouldn’t mind seeing more of Blake and Elise one day.

But that day is not today! Because we’re going to check out Happily Never After instead.

Isabella Spaga is about to reluctantly walk down the aisle with Mr. Dangerously Wrong…but not if dashing vampire Chance has anything to say about it. As a favor to Bones, Chance has come to derail this wedding of beauty to the beast. Now if only he can keep his hands off the bride. From New York Times bestselling author Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress world, it’s the wedding of the season…that everyone wants to miss. (Originally appeared in Weddings From Hell anthology)

 

The Reckonings

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The Reckoning by Jeaniene Frost is sort of a prequel to the Nighthuntress series that features Cat and Bones. Only this one is all about Bones, pre Cat.

Bones is called into New Orleans, the city of the voodoo queen Marie by what he thought was her own word, but not so much.

Seems like some famous mass murderers are back, Louise and Delphine LaLaurie who in the mid 1800s tortured, killed, and ate their slaves. Not necessarily in that order. Louise was a ghoul when he met Delphine and turned her before they were driven from New Oreleans by an outraged mob. They returned once before now, again while Marie was away, and fed on a few tourists before melting away again. Knowing Marie would destroy them for daring to set foot in her city again, they time their visits when she’s gone, leapfrogging from one home to another, leaving none alive or intact to tell any tales.

So Bones is contracted to take out the LaLaurie’s, a job made infinitely harder when another vampire has caught sight of him –and the bounty on Bones’ head- in the city.

Now not only is Bones hunting serial killer ghouls, but he’s dodging arrows from a fellow vampire bounty hunter, involved with a local human, and to top it all off Marie doesn’t even know he came. And she does NOT like surprises.

I didn’t get too invested in this story, but I still enjoyed it. I tend to like the ones that reveal something about someone’s past outside of a series, or presents a couple I would like to see more of over ‘hey this is something random that happened before’.

Not going to stop me from continuing however.

Speaking of couples, we’re going to check out a kinda interesting one next in Devil To Pay, another short story in the Nighthuntress world.

 Blake Turner had it all until a demon decided to take residence in his soul. Plagued with constant black outs and a trail of dead bodies in his wake, Blake thinks vampire Elise is his best chance at ending the nightmare. It’s just too bad he’s fallen in love with the gorgeous vamp right before he has to die.

Originally published in Four Dukes and a Devil anthology.

 

Magic in the Blood

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Into The Fire by Jeaneine Frost is the fourth book in the Night Prince series, set in the Nighthuntress world.

I admit I was a little lost in the first few chapters since it had been so long since I had read the rest of this series, but other than that I quite enjoyed it.

The Night Prince series follows the most infamous vampire of all, Vlad Dracul. Now by this point in the series Vlad has found, fallen for, and married Leila, a woman who has the power to wield electricity due to a freak accident with a powerline when she was younger.

Or so we thought.

We start off Into The Fire with Leila having a heart to heart with Vlad’s nephew/stepson through the mediums of flesh, blood and telepathy. The nephew/stepson (don’t remember his name cuz the dude is a dick) is a vampire necromancer and in a twisted sense of vengeance for a lack of fatherly love as a child he has tried to kill Vlad and Leila several times over in the past, often with spells.  Well one spell against Leila backfired and their life forces are now fused together.  Whatever happens to one physically, the wound is mirrored on the other, bloodshed and all.  Along with this is a telepathic bond so they can speak mind to mind.  Now at first it’s frustrating but not overly dangerous.  The nephew/stepson wants revenge on Vlad but not at the cost of taking himself out so they just have to deal with Leila having random bloody wounds every so often as they hunt him down.

But then someone else gets their hands on the spell wielding little git, someone who has no problems exploiting the link between them to control Vlad, taking them both out if he fails to comply. And obviously the rest of the story is tracking him and his captors down to try and save Leila.

All in all, despite Vlad and Leila probably being my least favorite couple in the Nighthuntress world, we learn some interesting facts about Leila’s heritage.   Some emotional breakthroughs are made with her sister, but that particular relationship is going to get a lot worse before it gets better.

And the reason why I am not 100% keen on this particular power couple is Vlad’s ‘my way or highway’ attitude and Leila’s ‘oh that’s just Vlad being Vlad’ response to it. Like I understand the why behind all he does, but would it ever kill him to at least tell Leila some variation of ‘trust me I have a plan’, rather than leaving the very fact that he even HAS a plan hidden from her? Because of this latest turn on that particular merry go round, another vampire needlessly sells his soul to save someone who never needed saving.

Great set up for the next series, but still…

Anywhoodle, we’re not leaving this world just yet. Found a bunch of the short stories and novellas of Jeaniene Frost’s that were once in anthologies are now ebooks of their own!  So guess what I went and splurged on hehehehe!  First one up is The Reckoning!

In New Orleans, a pair of undead ghoul serial killers is about to turn Mardi Gras into a horror show – unless the immortal hitman Bones can hunt them down first. Can he avoid redhaired vampire mercenary in pursuit at the same time? Originally from the anthology Unbound.

 

 

Awakening The Blade

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Infinity Blade: Awakening is the first in s short story duology by Brandon Sanderson based on the Infinity Blade games.

Now I have never played the Inifinity Blade games, so I was going into this completely blind.

I also didn’t realize this was a short story at first so that was fun when I came to the end haha!

But I did do a bit of research after the fact to understand a bit better where the story falls in the timeline of the game itself, and as far as I can tell it’s a bridge between the first and second games, acting as a epilogue to the first and prologue/chapter 1 to the second.

We are immediately introduced to the main character Siris and his return to his hometown after defeating the God King, only to be forced out by his own people due to their fear of retaliation as Siris was never supposed to win. Quick backstory, Siris is the latest in a bloodline that has been ‘bred’ to fight the God King once in a generation as a subtle way of the subjugated populace fighting back against the oppression of the God King and his Deathless (beings who cannot die). It’s a big event everyone celebrates called the Sacrifice where the latest generation is sent off to fight the God King, but none are ever expected to succeed.

Why set up this system if the end goal isn’t success and freedom…who knows.

Anyways, forced from his home, Siris once again heads back to the God King’s castle in an attempt to keep an pursuers away from his friends and family. Once he gets back there he is fed all this information about how the blade works from the leftover guards and servants, and he has to fight to keep the blade when a thief Ilsa comes to steal it from him.

He wins the first round, and they travel together to try and find the creator of the blade, the Worker of Secrets, to return the blade to him and keep it out of the hands of the God King (whom they suspect is still alive after some discussion) and the rest of the Deathless.

The rest of the book is them travelling to the home of the Deathless Saydhi, and the end events of the book is basically the opening of Infinity Blade 2.

It was a little hard for me to get into this one at first, but when I did I could not put it down, and when it ended I was like ‘buh what?’ I really wanted to continue on with the story, so I’m super excited to start the next one, Infinity Blade: Redemption as well as picking up the games and giving them a go.

But I’m back on a bit of a romance kick right now, and they’re mostly short stories so we’ll rip through those real quick before coming back to Infinity Blade: Redemption. Starting off this romantic revel is Into the Fire, fourth in the Night Prince series by Jeaneine Frost.

For nearly six hundred years, Vlad Tepesh cared for nothing, so he had nothing to lose. His brutal reputation ensured that all but the most foolhardy stayed away. Now falling in love with Leila has put him at the mercy of his passions. And one adversary has found a devastating way to use Vlad’s new bride against him.

A powerful spell links Leila to the necromancer Mircea. If he suffers or dies, so does she. Magic is forbidden to vampires, so Vlad and Leila enlist an unlikely guide as they search for a way to break the spell. But an ancient enemy lies in wait, capable of turning Vlad and Leila’s closest friends against them…and finally tearing the lovers apart forever.

 

Master of Machinations

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I know I said we would check out Infinity Blade, but I’m kinda doing the ‘two books at once’ thing.  One book I read on my Kobo (when im on the treadmill at the gym actually lol) the other I read in hand so we’re doing the In Hand line right now.  I actually started reading this last October but only now finished it so SURPRISE!

Maestro by R.A. Salvatore is the second to last of the ‘official’ Forgotten Realms Drizz’t saga. This one…it was hard for me to get through, and I’m not sure if it’s because I have the end looming over me like the Sword of Damicles, or if it was the actual story itself that held me up.

At the end of Archmage, we saw Gromph tricked into ripping open the magical barrier of the Underdark, the Faerzress, which prevented the dark elves from magically escaping their imprisonment eons ago and was one of the walls between the Prime Material Plane and the chaos of the Abyss. This allowed the demon princes Demogorgon, Orcus, and others to cross over and run amok within the dark tunnels. Demogorgon especially had fun in Menzoberranzan before toddling off for other adventures.

Gromph was exiled to the surface and fell in with what was left of the Companions of the Hall in trying to rebuild the Arcane Hosttower of Luskan and renew the bars on the cage of the fire primordial held within Gauntlegrym before it weakened completely and let the creature loose.

And while the magic users were busy with their rebuilding, Jarlaxle convinces Artemis and Drizz’t to return with him to Menzoberranzan and rescue mad Dahlia (who I strongly suspect is Artemis’ lady love) from the clutches of the Matron Mothers.

But in the demon infested tunnels, something is happening to Drizz’t. He’s losing is way, thinking his current reality a falsehood, an illusion planted in his mind by beings such as the demon Errtu albeit perhaps not specifically him.

To be honest, I don’t understand a lot of what’s going on regarding Drizz’t loss of perception, and this great plan that the now pseudo-reborn Yvonnel Baenre has in store for him. Something about him being a Chosen of Lloth (come on we all suspected that one) and allowing him to destroy himself with his delusions?  It’s all very complex and a little convoluted but I am interested in seeing where it goes.

In the end choices are made, lives are saved and destroyed, and it will be a sight to see it all come to an end in the final installment of Hero.

Ok, now I promise 100% we’re going to check out Infinity Blade: Awakening by Brandon Sanderson.  Scouts honor!

Trained from birth in swordplay and combat, a young knight named Siris has journeyed to the Dark Citadel with a single purpose: fight through the army of Titans to face the tyrannical God King in one-on-one combat. This was his father’s sacred mission, and his father’s before him, going back countless generations in an effort to free their people from enslavement. But when Siris somehow succeeds where all those from his bloodline previously have failed, he finds himself cast into a much larger world, filled with warriors and thieves, ancient feuds and shifting alliances, Deathless immortals and would-be kings. His quest for freedom will take him on an epic journey in search of the mythical figure known as the Worker of Secrets – the one being in the world who can unravel the secrets of the Infinity Blade.

Fifty Years Gone

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I was quite surprised by this. Beyond the Night by Colleen Gleason is the first in her Heroes of New Vegas saga, although you can also find it listed as first in the Envy Chronicles on Goodreads. I feel its best described as post-apocalyptic sci fi, but there are fantasy elements in there.

So in this timeline, 2010(ish) rolls around and everything gets wiped out. Like EVERYTHING.  There are first a rash of natural disasters: earthquakes, floods, fires, storms, etc.  The land mass of continents are reduced by like half.  Then a helluvalotta people just drop dead for no apparent reason.  Once things calm down, maybe like 1% of the world population survives.

Elliot and his buddies were cave diving at the time. When the first earthquake hit, they were knocked out or something and held in a type of stasis for fifty years before walking out and seeing the world as they knew it was gone and hey they got some nifty new powers!

And they also learn that humans are no longer alone on the planet. Strangers, beings who were human or at least look human, who have crystals embedded in their skin and are practically immortal.  They came after the destruction of the old world, they pass themselves off as friends and allies, but not everything believes their intentions are good.

As the first in the series, Beyond the Night is a lot of background info, world building, etc. I honestly did not think I would be able to get through this book, until the word ‘Atlantis’ came up.  After that
I was hooked, I’m such a sucker for anything Atlantean.  And the overall events/story interested me enough that not only did I finish this one, but I’m probably going to pick up the rest of the series.

But until then we’re going to check out Infinity Blade: Awakening by Brandon Sanderson next.

 

Trained from birth in swordplay and combat, a young knight named Siris has journeyed to the Dark Citadel with a single purpose: fight through the army of Titans to face the tyrannical God King in one-on-one combat. This was his father’s sacred mission, and his father’s before him, going back countless generations in an effort to free their people from enslavement. But when Siris somehow succeeds where all those from his bloodline previously have failed, he finds himself cast into a much larger world, filled with warriors and thieves, ancient feuds and shifting alliances, Deathless immortals and would-be kings. His quest for freedom will take him on an epic journey in search of the mythical figure known as the Worker of Secrets – the one being in the world who can unravel the secrets of the Infinity Blade.

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