Series: WEIRD GIRLS SERIES
Plot Type: Blend of Soul-Mate Romance (SMR), Paranormal Chick Lit (CH), and Urban Fantasy (UF)
Ratings: Violence—4-5; Sensuality—2-4; Humor—3
Titles and Publication Dates:
Prequel: "A Curse Awakened" (e-novella, 8/2014)
.5 "The Weird Girls" (e-novella, 12/2012)
.6 "A Curse Awakened" (e-novella, 8/2014)
1 Sealed with a Curse (paperback & e-novel, 12/2012)
2 A Cursed Embrace (paperback & e-novel, 7/2013)
2.5 "A Cursed Moon" (e-novella, 12/2013)
3.5 "Of Flame and Promise" (e-novella, 1/2016)
4 A Cursed Bloodline (e-novel, 11/2014)
>>Celia (narrator of the "Curse" books): She is a shape shifter who usually takes the form of a golden tigress, but if an animal touches her skin, she takes that animal's shape. Here, she explains: "If an animal came in contact with me, and I couldn't block its spirit, a bit of its essence transferred into me. One violent seizure and some drooling later, I'd emerge as that critter. The problem was, I couldn't immediately change back—especially if stressed." She can also partially shift—changing her fingers into claws and her teeth into fearsome fangs while maintaining her human body shape. Her final power is to shift—breaking her body down into molecules, disappearing under and across solid ground, and resurfacing unscathed. Her major weakness is that she cannot heal her injuries. Celia longs for a man of her own, but she scares everyone off with the essence of the tigress/predator that lives so close to the surface of her personality.
>>Taran (narrator of the "Flame" books): She is the most profane, aggressive, and belligerent of the four and is the one who gets the sisters in trouble in the prequel. Taran can pull magical power from the world around her and manipulate it to do what she wants, turning that power into fire and lightning that is signaled by blue and white sparks shooting from her fingers.
>>Shayna: She is the prettiest of the four—a flirty party girl who calls everyone, "Dude." She can manipulate metal and wood into weapons, turning toothpicks into arrows and metal into daggers or swords. Her aim is perfect, and she never misses.
>>Emme (the youngest): Unlike her sisters, Emme is fair, blond, and blushingly shy. Her abilities are telekinesis and healing.
NOVELLA .5: "The Weird Girls"
NOVEL 2: A Cursed Embrace
The romance plot deals with the romantic triangle: Aric, Celia, and Misha, the local vampire leader who has lusted for Celia ever since he met her in book 1. At the end of that book, Celia was instrumental in returning Misha's soul, and he has magically marked her so that all she has to do is call his name and he can find her. Unfortunately, Misha "forgot" to tell Celia that this mark also serves as a conduit between them so that he can read Celia's emotions from afar. In this book, we learn why Aric hates Misha with such a passion. The two males posture and sneer jealously at each other every time they meet, which is a new situation for Celia, who has never before had a real boyfriend.
Even though Aric cares deeply for Celia, the Elders of his pack have demanded that he sever his relationship with her. This part of the story is hard for me to understand because this were community is very diverse (e.g., were-rats, were-weasels, were-bears, were-lions, and more) Their prejudice against Celia appears to stem from the fact that although she can shift into tigress form, she can't heal herself like the other weres. So, even though Celia joins the weres in battle and kills just as many demons as they do, the Elders still won't accept her as a mate for Aric. Their objection to her seems tenuous at best. For most of this book, Aric defies the Elders and moves into the sisters' home and into Celia's bedroom, where they finally consummate their relationship (over and over again). Unfortunately, romances in paranormal fiction never run smoothly, and the book ends in a relationship cliff-hanger that will (perhaps) be resolved in the next novel.
Playing a larger role in this book are Bren, a lone werewolf, and Dan, a human nerd who is an expert on supernatural curses and spells, although he doesn't possess an ounce of magic. These characters are long-time friends of the sisters, and they add both humor and substance to the plot. Bren will be featured in the next episode in the series, a novella in which he joins up with Celia to hunt down some ghouls.
We learn more werewolf mythology in this book—specifically, that a were can turn a human by biting into the person's heart in order to transfer the were essence, a process that has a high failure rate and can result in the death of the wolf who is instigating the change.
This series continues to mix soul-mate romance, chick lit, and urban fantasy, with emphasis on the first two. Oddly, the sisters fight bravely in battle, but turn into shrieking, vomiting girly-girls when faced with blood or wounds in non-battle situations, hiding their faces in their lovers' six-pack chests and "Ewwww-ing" like delicate damsels. Robson ups the levity by including two humorous scenes, one in which Taran teaches her sisters how to pose for their men in sexy lingerie and one in which the sisters serve as bait in one of Aric's training exercises for his young werewolves. For me, these scenes were more of an interruption than an addition, but I suppose some readers will enjoy them as comedy relief from the grim demon-hunting scenes.
Even with these weaknesses, the book is compelling in its action scenes. As far as the romance goes, I'm hoping that Robson will dial down the melodramatics in Celia's relationships and the lovey-dovey aspects of her sisters' romances and concentrate more on the action part of the plot—but that's just my preference, and others may enjoy the romantic drama more than I do. Click HERE to go to this book's amazon.com page where you can read an excerpt by clicking on the cover art at top left.
NOVELLA 2.5: "A Cursed Moon"
In order to prepare herself to be the vampires' "perfect weapon" against the Tribemasters, Celia is living in a guest house on Misha's estate and training daily to improve her martial arts skills. Here, Celia describes her powers: "My powers were unique and strong, even in a world packed with supernatural muscle. My ability to shift underground unscathed made me difficult to track and conquer. My inner beast also made me formidable against anything with fangs or claws. Pure light could sear a demon and detonate an average vamp, but it had no effect on me….Weres matched me in strength, but they'd made it clear they didn't want me. So in my quest to rid the world of the Tribe, I chose to help the vampires, just as Aric had chosen his pack above and beyond me." (chapter 2) As this book progresses, Misha adds to Celia's skills by teaching her to shape-shift at will into the form of various animals. Currently, Celia is spending her days working on her fighting skills and her nights fending off Misha, who is determined to lure her into his bed and away from her brokenhearted devotion to Aric.
As the book begins, Aric's wedding to Barbara, a pureblood were, is imminent, and Celia continues to be devastated that Aric chose to follow the commands of the were elders instead of following his heart. Throughout the story, Aric's treatment of Celia veers wildly from emotionless brush-offs to lustful encounters and from sorrowful partings to promises of eternal devotion. Celia's first-person narration contains a litany of anguished interior monologues concerning her love life—or lack of it.
Complicating Celia's precarious situation, is the fact that all of the Tribe's demons know her name and consider her to be their personal enemy. Misha claims that the magic in Lake Tahoe whispers to him that "The dark ones see you as a threat. But one in particular perceives you as the key to its destruction." (chapter 2) In this book, Celia eventually learns the shocking identity of that particular dark one. I don't know why Celia is so shocked because the villain's identity is telegraphed throughout the book.
The story alternates between battles with the Tribemasters; anguished scenes between Celia and Aric; uncomfortable scenes between Celia and Misha; hostile stand-offs between Celia and the were Elders; and a few raucous scenes with Celia, her sisters, and their wolfy boyfriends. The book's title is based on a scene in which the were Elders call upon Destiny, a psychic who can read minds and foretell the future, to predict whether Aric and Celia are truly destined to be mates.
We learn more vampire mythology in this book—specifically, that a vampire can change a human by biting into the person's brain in order to transfer the vampire essence. Unlike the weres' turning process, the vamps' change process is basically risk free for both the master vamp and the new vamp. When Misha explains the process to Celia, he points out that "vampires have traditionally valued the brain as the most important organ. We are intelligent and analytical. The weres believe the heart to be all-encompassing" (chapter 3)—I guess Aric didn't get that message.
By the end of the book, nothing much has been resolved. The Elders are still opposed to the Celia-Aric relationship; the Tribe has not been completely defeated; Misha still lusts after Celia (and so does a lion-shifter named Tye); and Celia faces a frightening personal threat from the ultimate villain of the series. Regarding that villain: I didn't understand his motives at all, even after he explained them to Celia.
This is the weakest book in the series so far. Aric has become a cardboard character—a victim who appears to have absolutely no control over his life. Celia gets beaten down constantly—both physically and emotionally—until her life is so depressing that I dreaded each new chapter, fearing that something even worse would happen to her. This is more of an open-ended, very depressing, transitional trough than a complete novel, given the fact that it consists primarily of a series of conflicts, nearly all of which are left unresolved.
The book ends with a glossary of terms entitled "Reader's Guide to the Magical World of the WEIRD GIRLS SERIES." Click HERE to go to this book's amazon.com page where you can read an excerpt by clicking on the cover art at top left.
NOVELLA 3.5: "Of Flame and Promise"
Cursed by a spell meant to destroy them, Taran Wird and her sisters instead developed unique magical talents. With the power of fire and lightning literally at her fingertips, Taran doesn’t fear much. Demons, vamps, whatever—bring ’em on! Only one thing terrifies her: commitment.
Taran is crazy about her boyfriend, Gemini, a sexy were with the incredible ability to split into two separate wolves. But after watching her sister go through heartbreak with the pack’s Alpha, Taran knows not to count on happily ever after—despite Gemini’s desire to claim her as his mate. Reluctantly, she agrees to meet his very traditional and conservative parents. Taran’s a bad-ass with a mouth to match, and Gemini loves her for it. She’s just not positive these attributes will please Mom and Dad.
Unsurprisingly, every attempt by Taran to bond with Gemini’s folks proves disastrous. But in the end, Taran finds that winning them over means unleashing her powers . . . and proving that this foul-mouthed fire-starter is a force to be reckoned with.
The novella opens with a sexy bedroom scene in which Taran comes across as a passionate woman in love with her equally passionate werewolf. But then Gemini spoils everything by asking Taran to meet his parents, who are arriving from Japan for a visit. This sets off a downward spiral in their relationship as Taran comes up with all kinds of reasons why meeting his parents just won't work for her, but never really admits the truth—that she is certain that she is doomed to spend her life alone. When Gemini keeps pressuring her to go through the official mating ceremony, she again pushes him away without revealing the true reasons for her actions.
When the parents arrive, the situation briefly turns into a dark comedy, with Taran going from one TSTL moment to another. She burns the dinner, curses like a sailor, accidentally lets Gemini's parents see an erotic photograph of their son in bed with her, and even causes Gemini's mother to fall off an icy cliff.
Eventually, there is a battle (because there is ALWAYS a battle in these books) in which Gemini is severely injured. Will Gemini recover? Will Taran and Gemini ever become official mates? Well, you know the answer to those questions if you have read the next novel, A Cursed Bloodline. I'm not sure why Robson decided to go back in time as she began the "Flame" stories with Taran in the leading role. I was expecting that she would just continue the story line from the ending of A Curse Unbroken. If you read this novella in the order in it was published, the dramatic tension will be nonexistent because you will already know all of the future outcomes, including what resolution of the Celia-Aric relationship and what happens to poor Liam (Emme's werewolf boyfriend).
The best scenes in the story are those in which Taran tries her best to impress Gemini's parents, with one hilarious failure after another. The battle with the Tribemasters is a cookie-cutter copy of the ones in Cursed by Destiny, with repetitious descriptions of Taran's use of fire and flames to defeat her supernatural enemies. Throughout the story, Taran indulges in an overabundance of identical angst-filled interior monologues in which she bemoans her horrific childhood, her fear of commitment, and her belief that love isn't worth the agony that comes with it. This novella is not a promising beginning to the "Flame" part of this series.
Click HERE to go to this book's Amazon.com page where you can read an excerpt by clicking on the cover art at top left.
NOVEL 4: A Cursed Bloodline
Although Celia and her allies won a huge battle at the end of Cursed by Destiny, their enemies—the Tribemasters—have not yet been completely defeated. As if the Tribemasters weren't enough of a problem, at the very beginning of this novel, a new and deadly enemy attacks Celia. Previously (in Cursed by Destiny), Misha told Celia that the magic in Lake Tahoe told him that "The dark ones see you as a threat. But one in particular perceives you as the key to its destruction." Now, she learns the hard way that that particular person is Anara, one of the werewolf elders. On the very day that Celia sees her baby's ultrasound image for the first time, she comes home to find Anara waiting for her. He beats her nearly to death and demands that she cut all ties with Aric and the wolves or he will kill her sisters and Aric. Not only that, Anara forbids Celia to tell anyone about his threats or to explain why she is breaking off her relationship with Aric. He forces her to make Aric hate her—to make him believe that she is rejecting him because of his facial deformities (caused by severe burns he received during the battle with the Tribemasters at the end of Cursed by Destiny). And one more thing: Celia has told no one about her baby—not even Aric or her sisters, and she must keep the baby a secret because if Anara finds out, he will certainly kill her. Anara believes that because Aric is a pureblood he must mate with a pureblood in order to carry on a pureblood line. He views Celia as an abomination who can never be allowed to mate with Aric under any circumstances.
As the rest of the story plays out, Celia hides out in Misha's guest house where Anara can't reach her, but each time she emerges from Misha's protective wards, Anara attacks her and her friends, appearing to her in visions that cannot be seen by others. He pulls his powers from the entire pack, and he has the ability to turn pack members—even the ones who like her—against Celia without their even realizing what he is doing. As if the physical abuse isn't enough, there is a high level of emotional trauma as Celia's sisters and friends (including Aric) begin to doubt her sanity and start to turn against her, leaving her alone to face multiple, ongoing dangers. At first, Misha is the only one who supports her, and he has his own devious reasons for that.
The Tribemasters' shape-shifting monsters also show up to attack Celia and her friends. One of those attacks turns into a really bad scene for Misha, and that leads to a new story line that takes Celia and her few remaining allies to Central America to battle an evil witch. This plot has many, many twists and turns, and all of them end with Celia being horribly beat up and near death. It was impossible to understand how her pregnancy held up when she was so badly injured—over and over again. The final battle scene—a showdown with Anara—is the most violent in the entire series (and one of the most violent I have read in recent years). By the end of the book, every one of Celia's allies has been horribly injured—sustaining burns, losing limbs and other body parts, undergoing horrendous torture, being drained of blood, being hit with evil curses, and worse.
This is definitely the most violent and disturbing book in the series so far—so brutal and bloody that it was frequently difficult to keep reading. Celia gets beaten to a pulp time after time after time, recovering just enough to drag herself back to Misha's sanctuary, where Misha continues his seduction (because he is certain that Celia is his future bride). Throughout this book (just as in the previous novel), Celia's life is so awful that I was reluctant to turn the page because I knew that more scenes of pain and heartbreak were coming. Even when you start to believe that the horror has finally ended…it hasn't, because there is one final twist at the end that involves a reanalysis of Destiny's curse (back in book 3).
By the end of the novel, many issues have been resolved, but life is by no means back to normal. The physical damage and emotional trauma that Celia, Aric, her sisters, and her friends sustain are life-changing and will definitely have a major effect on their future happiness.
This book ends like the previous one, with glossary of terms entitled "Reader's Guide to the Magical World of the WEIRD GIRLS SERIES." Click HERE to go to this book's Amazon.com page where you can read an excerpt by clicking on the cover art at top left.
NOVEL 5: A Curse Unbroken
Fans of Keri Arthur will love the Weird Girls, four sisters cursed with supernatural powers. In Cecy Robson’s latest urban fantasy romance, the search is on for an unholy grail, while evil is licking its wounds—and looking for revenge
Celia hesitates to reveal the true extent of the Wird sisters’ trauma, but they aren’t the only ones keeping secrets: Aric and the werewolf Elders are tracking a stone that grants limitless power. So is a tough coven of witches. Then Misha, a master vampire with his own plans for the stone, sends Celia after it. Can she and the vamps beat both the weres and the witches to the treasure before it falls into the wrong hands?
Fearing for Celia’s safety, Aric begs her to stay out of the hunt. What they don’t realize is that they’re the ones being hunted. But Celia’s ready to prove that she’s not easy prey.
Celia and Aric are allowed about five pages of happiness and peace at the very beginning of chapter one—just time enough for Aric to propose, but not enough time for Celia to accept. At that point, several seemingly harmless white doves morph into massive, murderous shape-shifters whose goal is to kill Celia. The rest of the book follows Celia through her usual day-to-day series of life-or-death battles, each leaving her beaten to a pulp and soaked in blood.
NOVEL 6: Of Flame and Light
Taran Wird holds the unique ability to conjure fire and lightning. She is mated to Gemini, Second in Command to the Squaw Valley Pack of the Lake Tahoe Region, and the sole werewolf to possess the ability to split into two wolves. And although they are mates, Taran's insecurities have driven them apart.
Devastated by an injury that left her with a zombie-like limb, Taran struggles to regain command over her magic. But when her arm and her power turn against her, lashing out on those she most loves, she knows she can no longer carry this burden alone. Not that she likes the alternative.
The only way to regain control of her magic is to align and learn from the local coven of witches―the very ones who sought to banish her when she and her three unique sisters first moved to the mystical region. But although Taran is trying, the teachings don't come easy, and the tasks leave her weak and emotionally shattered.
Yet Taran must learn and learn fast. Time is running out. The fire she once mastered so easily has become her greatest adversary and is now slowly burning her alive.