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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Phillipa Bornikova: LINNET ELLERY SERIES

Author:  Phillipa Bornikova  (aka Melinda Snodgrass)
Series:  LINNET ELLERY SERIES   
Plot Type:   Paranormal Legal Thriller with a Romantic Touch
Ratings:  Violence5; Sensuality4; Humor3  
Publisher and Titles:  Tor
          This Case Is Gonna Kill Me (9/2012)
          Box Office Poison (8/2013)

             WORLD-BUILDING             
      Imagine a John Grisham legal thriller set in a supernatural mythology. In this fresh and inventive world, the Powers (vampires, werewolves, and Álfarelves) came out to humans back in the 1960s. While vamps and werewolves are former humans who have been Turned, Álfar are a different species altogether, with a homeland on another plane. "Fey was sort of overlaid on top or maybe beneath our world. Geography was the same, but somehow buildings changed or vanished. Álfar vehicles both motorized and horse-drawn didn't intersect with our vehicles, and humans and Álfar in the same building didn't see each other." (Box Office Poison, p. 140), Over the centuries, the wealthy Powers developed influential behind-the-scenes positions in human society, and now they hold those positions publicly. The werewolves are big in business and technology; the vampires run major law firms and other justice system positions; and the Álfar are major players in show business. 

     Naturally enough, some humans aren't happy about living among supernaturals, so there is the usual resistance in the form of a group called Human Firsta self-explanatory organizational name that has been used in variation by other authors in other series. That organization is part of the plot for the second book. Because of this human opposition, "the Powers tended to congregate in major metropolitan areasNew York, Los Angeles, Washington, DC, London, Paris. People in urban areas were generally more accepting of different lifestyles. But until the Powers started living in [small towns], they were never going to be fully accepted. They are going to continue to be a source of titillation and dread...." (This Case Is Gonna Kill Me, p. 70)

     The vampires in this world are immortal (unless they are decapitated or burned), but not self-healing. They all bear scars from their centuries of violent life. All of these vamps are males. Female vampires are nonexistent; they are anathema. If a vamp Makes a female vamp, both are immediately killed. In the first two books, this peculiarity is not explained, but it is certainly discussed. One character explains, "The official party line for both the vampires and the werewolves is chivalry, but I think it's more about self-preservation, and not upsetting the peasants by going after their womenfolk. If you start threatening wives and daughters, you're going to end up with an angry mob outside your house waving torches and pitchforks." (This Case..., p. 138)

     One other type of supernatural creature that is mentioned in passing is the Hunter, a less-than-human creature that is apparently used as a mercenary by the vampires. We don't see any Hunters in action in the first two books, but here is a description of one from a TV movie that is described in book 1: "On the screen a Hunter shambled after a teen couple. Its face was a pale oval, and its only definable feature was a strange, red mouth. How it breathed or saw was a mystery. The worm-like digits that passed for fingers stiffened into claws and thrust into the boy's chest." (This Case..., p. 146) The vampires created the loathsome Hunters, "who were the source of all of the walking-dead legends that permeated human cultures. Only vampires with their mesmerizing powers could fully control Hunters, and a special class of vampire enforcers handled the creatures." (This Case..., p. 146)

     The author has a background in both the legal system (as an attorney) and in show business (as a writer and editor), and she includes many realistic details of both career fields in the stories. She is also a horse trainer, and the details of this career spill over into the life of the series heroine, Linnet Ellery. Linnet is a human woman, a brand-new attorney who is hired by a White-Fang law firm called Ishmael, McGillary & Gold. (In an on-line interview, the author explains that "there's a tradition in the law to call very prestigious law firms 'White Shoe' firms. It just worked so perfectly for a vampire law firm to be a 'White Fang' firm."Although Linnet is a human, not a werewolf, she reminds me of Carrie Vaughn's Kitty Norville in that she doesn't have super strength or mad fighting skills so she uses her intellect (and in Linnet's case, her legal skills) to get herself out of tough situations. 

     Linnet is the daughter of a relatively wealthy family who fostered her out to a vampire household when she was a child, a common occurrence in this world. The vampires want humans to believe that they are harmless and family oriented, and the humans who turn their children over to the vamps want to share the vamps' power, influence, and money. Luckily for Linnet, her foster vamp father, Meredith Bainbridge, is a kind and generous man who provided her with everything she ever wanted, including her own horses and equestrian training at the Olympic level. Linnet is actually closer to her vampire family than to her human family, and her cushy background definitely colors her worldview. She is not a simple girl from the suburbs; she is well-bred, well-traveled, well-heeled, and well-educated (Radcliffe and Yale). Linnet's most striking characteristic is her deep-down belief in the justice system. She searches for the truth in every situation, no matter how much trouble it causes (and, believe me, it causes a LOT of trouble)

     This is not one of those stereotypical urban fantasies that features a trash-talking, black-leather-corseted heroine pulling weapons out of her hair and her boots. The only boots Linnet wears are thousand-dollar, custom-made riding boots, with nary a knife in sight. Linnet is a well-bred city girl who dresses expensively and conservatively and relies on her brains to get her through even the most dangerous situations.  The supernaturals of this series are mostly old-school gentlemen who open doors for women and speak softly, but always hold that proverbial big stick, in this case, a metaphorical Powers stick. This is a refreshingly smart series with compelling story lines, well-constructed plots, and interesting characters.

            BOOK 1:  This Case Is Gonna Kill Me            

     As the story opens, Linnet is just starting her job at Ishmael, McGillary & Gold, and she is discovering that the other young lawyers resent the fact that she got her job through her family connections. As Linnet explains, "My family's been pretty closely allied with the Powers since 1963. My grandfather was a lawyer, and he helped with the integration after the Powers came out." (p. 8) She also has an ancestorWilliam Ellerywho was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

     Linnet's first assignment is to assist another lawyer (Chip Westin) on a decades-long case (the one mentioned in the book's title) involving a disputed will left by Henry Abercrombie, a millionaire werewolf. That will involves Securitech, a multi-million-dollar security firm that is being run by Daniel Deegan, a werewolf sired by Abercrombie specifically to be his second inn command. When Abercrombie was Turned, he left behind his human wife and children, but now that he is dead, they want all of his money as well as the business. Linnet's law firm is representing the human family, and it's up to Linnet to help Chip finally bring the case to a successful close. 

     Very early in the story, a rogue werewolf breaks into the law offices one night when Linnet and Chip are working alone. The wolf kills Chip and attacks Linnet, but she miraculously gets away with only a few scratches, while the wolf winds up as a splatter at the bottom of an elevator shaft. This is the firstbut definitely not the lasttime that we watch Linnet escape safely from a dangerous episode, and we soon sense that there is some (possibly magic) reason for that, although this is only hinted at, but not explored in the first two books.

     After Chip's death, Linnet takes over the Securitech case and begins her own investigation with the assistance of John O'Shea, a private investigator the firm hires as a free-lance consultant. John is an Álfar, a handsome, sexy man to whom Linnet is immediately attracted. The two of them follow some leads that take them into some dangerous situations, particularly for John. Again, though, Linnet always makes it out safe and sound.
     
     The author does a good job laying out the details of Linnet's nuanced relationships with her new colleagues at the law firm. Those supporting characters are exceptionally well-developed as they play out their roles within the cultural complexities that make up every office, but which are exaggerated in this vampire-run law firm. One interesting story thread deals with the fact that the smart and savvy human female lawyers are on a no-win career path. They can never become partners because the partners are all vampires, and in this world there are no female vampires. Linnet's personal history and the background information on the Powers are insinuated into the story gracefully, with no awkward info dumps. Linnet is a likable character who consistently uses her brain power to get her out of trouble. Click HERE to read an excerpt from This Case Is Gonna Kill Me.

            BOOK 2:  Box Office Poison            

     The book opens several months after the close of book 1. Although Linnet has tried to find a way to rescue her lover, John O'Shea, from his imprisonment in Fey (the Álfar homeland located on a plane parallel to Earth), she has so far been unsuccessful. Linnet does get a chance to see and speak with John in this book, but with emotionally disastrous results. She is now in Los Angeles with vampire attorney David Sullivan to arbitrate a case involving involving Álfar and human actors in Hollywood movies. To review Linnet's complicated relationship with David: David initially treated Linnet badly (in book 1), but saved her life in the final climactic moments when the werewolf Deegan attacked her. Now their relationship has developed into a sibling-type snarkiness that covers a developing friendship (and perhaps, more on David's part). 

     Here's the legal situation: Human actors have filed a discrimination case against the studios because Álfar actors are getting a much higher percentage of acting jobs than human actors. The humans claim that the Álfar are using their powers at their auditions to sway the human casting directors. The Álfar deny that they have any magical powers. It's up to David and Linnet to hear all sides of the case (humans, Álfar, and studios) and hand down a final verdict that all parties will accept. Otherwise, the case will go to court, and that will create an explosion of negative publicity that everyone wants to avoid.

     The plot follows the trajectory of the hearings, as David and Linnet accumulate more and more facts and try to come up with a plan that will satisfy everyone. Meanwhile, several Álfar actors go berserk at various venues, murdering family and other innocents. (In the aftermath of one of the murders, the suspect does a low-speed freeway chase that mimics the one that O.J. did back in 1994.) The Human First organization joins the fray, ramping up their protests and their propaganda to a fever pitch. As she did in book 1, Linnet begins her own investigation, this time with the assistance of two human brothers, one a legal research expert and the other an investigative journalist. As she gets closer to the truth, Linnet is thrust into some dangerous situations, but her luck continues to hold as she always escapes with her life. At the end of this book, she begins to figure out that her escapes are not based on luckbut on something else. The explanation of that "something else," though, is saved for another book.

     Once again, the author plots out a compelling story and allows her main characters to develop in realistic ways. The single problem I had was that I knew exactly who the villain was as soon as he/she (no spoiler here) appeared in the story. I looked back to see if I might have been responding to inadvertent hints in the text, but couldn't find any, so maybe I just made a lucky guess. In any case, it didn't spoil the story for me. The book ends with a soft cliff hanger as Linnet discovers that one of her friends has some magical secrets. Click HERE to read an excerpt from Box Office Poison.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

UPDATE! Juliet Dark's THE FAIRWICK TRILOGY


UPDATE!

I have just updated a previous post for Juliet Dark with a review of The Water Witch, the second book in her FAIRWICK TRILOGY.


Click on the pink-link series title above to go directly to the updated review.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

UPDATE! Darynda Jones: CHARLEY DAVIDSON/GRAVES SERIES

UPDATE!

I have just updated a previous post for Darynda Jones with a review of Fifth Grave Past the Light, the fifth novel in her CHARLEY DAVIDSON/GRAVES SERIES.

Click on the pink-link series title above to go directly to the updated review.

Monday, August 26, 2013

UPDATE! Jillian Stone's PHAETON BLACK, PARANORMAL INVESTIGATOR SERIES


UPDATE!

I have just updated a previous post for Jillian Stone with a review of The Miss Education of Dr. Exeter, the third novel in her PHAETON BLACK, PARANORMAL INVESTIGATOR SERIES.

Click on the pink-link series title above to go directly to the updated review.  

Saturday, August 24, 2013

UPDATE! Christine Warren: OTHERS SERIES


UPDATE!

I have just updated a previous post for Christine Warren with a review of Hungry Like a Wolf, the latest book in her OTHERS SERIES.

Click on the pink-link series title above to go directly to the updated review.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Susan Krinard: MIDGARD SERIES


Author:  Susan Krinard
Series:  MIDGARD   
Plot Type:  Urban Fantasy (UF)    
Ratings:  Violence4; Sensuality2; Humor1
Publisher and Titles:  Tor
          "Freeze Warning" (prequel e-story or free on-line, 10/2013)
          Mist (7/2013)
          Black Ice (7/2014)
          Battlestorm (3/2016)

This ongoing post was revised and updated on 4/27/2016 to include the publisher's blurb for Battlestorm, the third novel in the series. That blurb appears at the very end of this post, preceded by an overview of the world-building and reviews of the prequel story and the first two novels.

                           WORLD-BUILDING                           
     If you read the short story, "Mist," in the anthology Chicks Kick Butt (12/2012), then you read the first few chapters of the first novel in this series. The events in that story are repeated in the novel, with a few more details and the beginnings of a series story arc. Click HERE to read my review of Chicks Kick Butt.

     This world is based upon Norse mythology, and in the first book, Loki and Freya make their appearances, along with an elf, some frost giants (aka Jotunar), and the two sons of Odin. (Vidarr and Vali). In this mythology, Mist, the Valkyrie series heroine, has lived for centuries in Midgard (the mortal world), believing that she, her sisters, and Odin's sons are the only survivors of Ragnorak, the twilight of the gods, which resulted in the destruction of Asgard, the realm of the Norse gods. 

     To the detriment of the series, Krinard fails to include a glossary or an annotated character list in her books or on her web site. (Although she has a "Glossary" tab on her web site, it is currently empty.) The closest she comes to helping out the reader is a list of four links to Norse mythology web sites, and even then, she posts this warning: "All Norse mythological tales and sources are subject to individual interpretation, and the MIDGARD series makes use of my own variations on these myths. Please use these resources as general guides only." So…not much help there. In my reviews, I will provide pink-links to the Norse terminology in an attempt to assist you in understanding who's who and what's what. 

     In book 1, Mist learns that the Aesirthe pantheon of Norse godsdidn't die after all. They are suspended in spirit form in Ginnungagap, the Great Void, where they are rebuilding Asgard and planning to cross into Midgard in the near future. The trickster Loki, however, has other ideas. He seeks to dominate Midgard, and in book 1 he has managed to bring some frost giants across a bridge, or portal, to Midgard to assist him in his plans. 

     The series story arc is introduced in book 1: Just before the final battle, Odin gave each of the Valkyries one of his treasures, which they were to guard until he found them again. The Valkyries were then sent to Midgard, where they eventually scattered and lost touch with one another. Now that the Aesir is planning to enter Midgard, the Treasures become very important because each one has powerful magical properties. Here is a list of the twelve Treasures and the names of the Valkyries who guard them:

     > Horja: Gridarvol, the Unbreakable Staff
     > Eir: the Apples of Idunn (food of the gods)
     > Hild: eight-legged Sleipnir, Swiftest of Horses
     > Bryn: Freya's cloak, which gives the power of flight
     > Olrun: the lost Sword of Freyr, which needs no hand to wield it
     > Regin: Mjollnir, the Hammer of Thor
     > Rota: the glove called Jarngreipr, to which the Hammer must return
     > Skuld: Megingjord, the Belt of Power
     > Hrist: Bragi's Harp, whose voice charms all creatures
     > Kara: the Gjallarhorn, Summoner of Warriors
     > Sigrun: Gleipnir, the chain that cannot be broken
     > Mist: Gungnir, Odin's Spear that can never miss its mark    

                      PREQUEL STORY:  "Freeze  Warning"                  
     I definitely recommend that you read "Freeze Warning" before you read Mist. Too bad that it wasn't available when Mist was first published because it would have helped me out as I slogged through the dense mythology of that novel. 

     This 32-page-long story presents two sets of background information, both of which should have been included in a prologue to book 1. The flashbacks are divided into brief, alternating scenesan awkward means of presentation that needlessly breaks up the story. Basically, we go from Asgard to San Francisco to Asgard and back again and again. 

     The flashback to Asgard takes place just before its destruction in the huge battle that resulted in the Valkyries being sent to Midgard and the Aesir being sent to Ginnungagap. Mostly, we watch Odin assigning each Valkyrie the treasure that she must guard while living an immortal life in a world without the gods.

     The other flashback takes us to Mist's first meeting with "Eric," whom she sees as a sexy, attractive man who wants to date her. (At the beginning of Mist, Eric is Mist's live-in boyfriend.) In this story, Eric shows up just in time to help Mist rescue a mysterious woman dressed in rags from a bridge-jumping suicide attempt. Later, the womanBella Stratusgives Mist a warning that Mist doesn't understand at the time: "No matter what happens, it is your Fate. You cannot surrender, even when it seems you must fail." Obviously, "Bella" is supposed to be a character from the Norse pantheon, but the closest reference I could find is Beyla, a minor goddess, who appears briefly in Lokasenna, an epic poem in which Loki shows up at a feast and insults all of the other gods and goddesses in attendance, including Beyla and her husband. Bella could also be the same woman (described as a "rag lady") who appears to Bryn (one of the Valkyries) in book 1 and tells her to find her family. 

     It's really a shame that this novella has been published as a separate story when it should have been part of Mist. The whole problem with this series is its complex, heavy world-building, and the Asgard part of the story would certainly have been helpful in making sense of that mythology.

     Click HERE to read this story free on-line. Or…if you prefer the e-book format, the story is currently selling on amazon.com for 99 cents. The best thing about the e-book format is that when you come across a strange-sounding, unfamiliar Norse term, you can click on it and get an immediate definition. 

                         NOVEL 1:  Mist                         
     The book begins with a prologue set in Norway during World War II. Mist and two of her Valkyrie sisters are in the mountains of Norway helping a group of patriots escape from the Nazis. This brief (15 p.) introduction allows the author to introduce Mist, as well as the Norse mythology on which the series is based. Chapter 1 moves the action to San Francisco, where Mist Bjorgsen lives in an old factory where she has set up a forge and has built up a successful sword-making business. Mist has a live-in boyfriend, Eric Larsson, and she has a place of her own, so she is relatively content living among the mortals on Midgardthat is, until she is attacked by a frost giant in Golden Gate Park one dark and snowy night. Yes...snow in San Francisco, but it's not caused by climate change.

     At this early point in the book, Mist's "normal" life begins to fall apart. As if the frost giant isn't enough, she finds an injured elf in the Park after she vanquishes the giant. That elf is Dainn, who explains to Mist that he is a messenger from Freya and that the gods did not perish, but that they exist in the Great Void and are trying to get to Midgard. In the meantime, the villainous Loki has already crossed into Midgard, and he is right there in San Francisco. Unfortunately for Myst, Loki is a shape-shifter who can make himself look like any animal or person and any gender, and she soon learns that "Eric" isn't really Eriche is Loki. What Loki wanted from Mist was Gungnir, Odin's spear, and before Mist can get back to her warehouse, Loki has stolen the sword and disappeared. The rest of the story follows Mist and Dainn as they plan their strategy for defeating Loki and retrieving Gungnir. Additionally, they have to figure out how to locate Mist's Valkyrie sisters so that they can protect the Treasures form Loki.

     What Mist doesn't know is that Dainn is withholding a great deal of information that directly involves her physical and mental health. Freya, you see, has some secret plans for Mist, and Dainn is supposed to help her carry them out in exchange for Freya's help in removing a curse that Odin put on Dainn for his treachery before the great battle.

     As the suspense builds, Mist struggles to unleash and control magical powers she never knew she had. Dainn keeps reminding her that she must take a leadership position as the Aesir prepare for their return and as Loki builds an army to oppose them. She must find her sister Valkyries and gather the Treasures before Loki can find them, and she must use her magic to defend the Treasures and her allies. 

     If you can get through the mythology, the story is filled with compelling action and angst-filled emotion. Both Mist and Dainn battle inner demons (sometimes literally) as well as tangible enemies. Loki is a great villain, with a nice balance of arrogance about his own considerable powers and uneasiness that he doesn't really know the extent of Mist and Dainn's powers. Mist's character is also well balanced. Even though she feels overwhelmed by events and frightened of what lies ahead, she shows courage and intelligence as she fiercely defends her growing "family" and strategizes with Dainn on how to defeat Loki and his minions. I'm looking forward to future books as Mist and Dainn search for the Valkyrie sisters and their Treasures, with Loki either constantly on their trail or two steps ahead of them. 

     This is urban fantasycomplex urban fantasy; it is not paranormal romance. The author obviously has a series story arc planned, and because this is the first book, there is a lot of exposition so that she can delineate Mist's world as she takes us through Mist's adventures. Some reviewers have down-rated the book because of the heavy Norse mythology, which is not so familiar to the average reader as the Greco-Roman pantheon. But really, you don't have to dig too deeply to understand what is going on. Mist is the heroine; Dainn is the dramatically flawed hero; Loki is the villain; Freya is...well, Freya is Freyaa devious and ambitious goddess who looks out for herself, first and foremost. At the end of the book, Mist's allies begin to arrive, and we'll probably meet them a few at a time as the series continues, with lots of time to understand their place in this story and in Norse mythology. I recommend this series, based on book 1 (and the anthologized short story) because it has great characters, a complex and fascinating premise, and a strong opening book. If you don't believe my opinion, click HERE to read the four-star review in the May issue of RT Book Reviews.

     Click HERE to read an excerpt from Mist. Click HERE to read the author's summary of Mist. You might also want to read the short story "Mist" in the anthology Chicks Kick Butt to get a taste of the series.

                         NOVEL 2:  Black Ice                           
     Have you ever loaded up your plate at an all-you-can-eat buffet and then discovered that there was too much food, that it had all run together, that some things weren't as good as they looked, and that you wished you'd been wiser in your choices? If I were Susan Krinard (or her editor), that's how I would be feeling about her MIDGARD series about now. As expected, the first novel was loaded with world-building exposition, but so is the second bookmore characters, more mythology, more villains, more secrets, and few answers. And all this with no help for the readerno review of previous events, no glossary, and no annotated character lists. In other words, it's up to the reader to memorize all the characters' names, histories, and motivations and to keep track of the myriad story lines. I accepted all this in book 1, but I was defeated by it in book 2. It was such a struggle to keep track of everyone and everything that I soon found that I didn't really care what happened to these characters, particularly since none of them can be trusted (except for Mist).

     Basically, the plot focuses on Mist, Dainn, and Loki. Mist is busy gathering together her lost Valkyrie sisters and their treasures, while Loki is doing the same. Dainn fights at Mist's side, but he spends much of his time covering up a myriad of secrets, lying to just about everyone, and trying to stay out of Loki's hands. Traitors turn up right and left throughout the story, with some still unmasked when the story ends. And speaking of the ending: That's where this series jumps the sharkat least in my opinionwith some shocking (and creepy/kinky) news for Dainn and an introduction to a brand new villain (just what this series does NOT need).

    SUPPORTING CHARACTERS: Here's the list of the Valkyries who are discovered by Mist and/or Loki in this book: Regin, Rota, Eir, and Hild. In addition, there's Anna Strangeland, who appears to be an amalgamation of characters, past and present, and who seems to be essential in locating Horja, another Valkyrie sister. And here's the list of mysterious children: Gavi, Ryan, and Danny. They all have supernatural powers, but their roles in the series are as yet unclear. Then we have Bryn's motorcycle gang, particularly Edvard, who turns out to be more than a mere human. There's also a shape-shifting, talking raven who may (or may not) have a connection with Odin. By the end, Mist's mortal allies begin showing up, and they include both civilians and military types. Also among Mist's allies are some Alfar (elves), but they are not trustworthy because of their ties to Freya. With this huge cast of characters, one would hope for some character development to help the reader keep everyone straight, but that hope is in vain. This book is action-oriented and mythology-weighted, so there is no room for Krinard to provide depth to any characters except for Mist, Dainn, and Loki. Actually, Loki is the best-developed and most interesting character in the series so far. Mist is so dour and duty-bound and Dainn is so guilt-ridden and secretive that I find myself unable to connect with either of them. 

     And there's one more mysterious character: Do you remember the "rag lady" who gives Mist in a warning in "Freeze Warning" and sends Bryn off to find Mist in Mist? Well, she appears to Ryan in this book; he calls her a "bag lady." In this book we learn her (possibly) true name, but not much more.

     By chapter five, Mist has a lengthy to-do list, which she explains to Dainn: "We have a missing goddess [Freya], closed bridges [portals], a Jotunn in the closet, ten Valkyrie to locate, no idea of when more allies will show up, and a very unpredictable beast [Dainn's inner beast] to control. Of course that's not counting trying to figure out what Loki's going to do next." (p. 53) When Mist isn't fighting off attacks from Loki, the Frost Giants, and various other monsters, she is dueling verbally and emotionally with Dainnwho never gives her a straight answer if he can manufacture a lie or an evasion. Dainn has been keeping secrets from Mist from the very beginning, and he's also keeping secrets from the reader. The book is written in the third person omniscient voice, but the narrator turns out not to be as omniscient as one would hope because the characters hide their secrets from the reader as well as from each other. They are so careful that they don't even think about their secrets (so that the omniscient narrator can't read their minds and spill the beans, I guess). 

     Although I admire Krinard for putting together this complex mythology, I believe that her failure to provide reading aids has doomed this series. I can't believe that her editor didn't suggest a glossary and a character list, if not in the book then at least on her web site. If Krinard had stopped piling on new mythological details and minor characters in this book and had, instead, added depth to the more important supporting characters, particularly to the Valkyries, this novel might have been more successful. As it is, the heavy additions to the world-building drag down the pace to a crawl, as does the dialogue, which rarely advances the plot. Even though there is lots of action, when a motorcycle gang member is killed in battle, I didn't feel any emotion because I knew absolutely nothing about her but her name. In summary, I have to say that I'm giving up on this series and will not be reviewing any more of the novels, although I will add titles in reading order at the top of this page as they are published. Click HERE to read an excerpt from Black Ice.  

                         NOVEL 3: Battlestorm                        
PUBLISHER’S BLURB:
     Centuries ago, the Norse gods and goddesses fought their Last Battle with the trickster god Loki and his frost giants. All were believed lost, except for a few survivors...including the Valkyrie, Mist, forgotten daughter of the goddess Freya.

     But the battle isn't over, and Mist—living a mortal life in San Francisco—is at the center of a new war, with the fate of the Earth hanging in the balance. As old enemies and allies reappear around the city, Mist must determine who to trust, while learning to control her own growing power. It will take all of Mist's courage, determination, and newfound magical abilities to stop Loki before history repeats itself.  

     Nine months after Mist first learned that the trickster god Loki plans to throw all of Earth into chaos, the war between her allies and Loki’s army remains a game of shadows. Most mortals in San Francisco are unaware of what’s going on around them, in spite of the disturbing changes in the city and the heavy clouds that circle endlessly overhead.

     The key to the war lies in twelve Treasures that Odin entrusted to Mist and her sister Valkyrie before Ragnarok. Mist has managed to gather a precious few, but Loki has found others, and more have yet to be claimed As Loki accumulates power in both the San Francisco underworld and its highest echelons of society, Mist and her warriors—mortals and elves—battle frost giants in alleyways, and Freya, Mist’s goddess mother, uses her “glamour” to acquire allies among the wealthy and influential.

     But Mist knows they’re losing the war. The raven Orn, supposed to be a messenger from Odin, has gone missing. The other gods have yet to arrive to help defeat Loki. And most dangerous of all, Mist can’t control her magical abilities, which may be greater than even she can imagine.

     Click HERE to go to Battlestorm's Amazon.com page where you can click on the cover art to read an excerpt.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

UPDATE! Sara Humphreys: AMOVEO LEGEND SERIES

UPDATE!

I have just updated a previous post for Sara Humphreys with a review of Undone, the fourth novel in her AMOVEO LEGEND SERIES.

Click on the pink-link series title above to go directly to the updated review.

Monday, August 19, 2013

UPDATE! Bec McMaster's LONDON STEAMPUNK SERIES



UPDATE!

I have just updated a previous post for Bec McMaster's LONDON STEAMPUNK SERIES with reviews of "Tarnished Knight," an e-novella, and Heart of Iron, the second novel.

Click on the pink-link series title above to go directly to the updated review.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

UPDATE! Alex Hughes: MINDSPACE INVESTIGATIONS SERIES


UPDATE!

I have just updated a previous post for Alex Hughes with a review of "Payoff," an e-novella, and Sharp, the second novel in her MINDSPACE INVESTIGATIONS SERIES.  

Click on the pink-link series title above to go directly to the updated review.

Friday, August 16, 2013

UPDATE! Kresley Cole's IMMORTALS AFTER DARK SERIES

UPDATE!

I have just updated a previous post for Kresley Cole with a review of the 13th novel in her IMMORTALS AFTER DARK SERIES: Macrieve. (Don't let the scowling face and the glaring eye frighten you offhe's nicer than he looks.)

Click on the pink-link series title above to go directly to the updated review.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

UPDATE! Laurell K. Hamilton's ANITA BLAKE SERIES

UPDATE!

I have just updated a previous post for Laurell K. Hamilton with a review of Affliction, the 22nd book in her ANITA BLAKE, VAMPIRE SLAYER SERIES. 

Click on the pink-link series title above to go directly to the updated review.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

UPDATE! Kevin Hearne's IRON DRUID CHRONICLES


UPDATE!

I have just updated a previous post for Kevin Hearne with a review of Hunted, the sixth novel in his IRON DRUID CHRONICLES.

Click on the pink-link series title above to go directly to the updated review.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

UPDATE! Cecy Robson's WEIRD GIRLS SERIES

UPDATE!

I have just updated a previous post for Cecy Robson with a review of A Cursed Embrace, the second novel in her WEIRD GIRLS SERIES.  

Click on the pink-link series title above to go directly to the updated review.

Monday, August 12, 2013

UPDATE! Yasmine Galenorn's INDIGO COURT SERIES


UPDATE!

I have just updated a previous post for Yasmine Galenorn with a review of the fourth book in her INDIGO COURT SERIES: Night Seeker.

Click on the pink-link series title above to go directly to the updated review.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

UPDATE! Stephanie Tyler's ETERNAL WOLF CLAN SERIES

UPDATE!

I have just updated a previous post for Stephanie Tyler with a review of the third novel in her ETERNAL WOLF CLAN SERIES: Dire Desires

Click on the pink-link series title above to go directly to the updated review.

Friday, August 9, 2013

UPDATE! Chris F. Holm's THE COLLECTOR SERIES

UPDATE!

I have just updated a previous post for Chris F. Holmes with a review of the third novel in his THE COLLECTOR SERIES: The Big Reap


Click on the pink-link series title above to go directly to the updated review.