Review Revisited: DARKER STILL by Leanna Renee Hieber

You may remember back in December when I reviewed Leanna Renee Hieber’s newest novel, Darker Still. At the time, I had one lingering question that had bothered me.

A Novel of Magic Most Foul

If I could ask the author one question, though, I would want to know why Natalie needed to be a mute. Maybe that’s a factor that comes to play more of a role in the sequels, but our heroine’s background at a Victorian-era “school for the deaf” is mentioned several times but seems not to make much of an impact on the story line itself.

Yes, this really bothered me at the time because it seemed like an arbitrary handicap thrown in for possibly non-story-telling reasons. Well, I’m happy to tell you that I recently found out that I’m a complete idiot (about that anyway).

Here’s a quote from a recent guest post from Leanna at WORD for Teens:

The fact that my heroine Natalie suffers from a disability, Selective Mutism, proves another hurdle in a time period full of brick ceilings. Her condition is, I dearly hope, a reminder for all women, no matter what age, to literally and figuratively “find your voice” amidst a patriarchal society where women still struggle for equal pay, equal rights, equal power. 

Click the link above to go read the rest of the article, which has a lot more insight into the book than just this bit.

Now: about me being an idiot. Well. There’s not much I can say, I guess. I wasn’t expecting a metaphor that serious in a YA novel. I failed to make the connection, in a way that would make my AP English teacher very disappointed in me.

That said, this revelation makes me even happier and more excited for the next installment in the series, which incidentally is called The Twisted Tale of Miss Natalie Stewart and is scheduled for US release from Sourcebooks Fire on November 1st according to Goodreads.

Review (w/Giveaway!): The Taken by Vicki Pettersson

The Taken is the first book in a new series, Celestial Blues, from Vicki Pettersson, author of the Signs of the Zodiac series. It was released from Harper Voyager on July 4, 2012.

Because I love you, I went to see Vicki when she was in town back in July. She gave me several 4×6″ promo cards featuring the cover art of The Taken, and she was kind enough to sign them for me. I have three of them that I’ll mail anywhere in the USA. To enter, check out the form at the bottom of this review. 

The Blurb

Griffin Shaw used to be a PI, but that was back when gumshoes hoofed the streets . . . and he was still alive. Fifty years later, he’s an angel, but that doesn’t make him a saint. One small mistake has altered fate, and now he’s been dumped back onto the mortal mudflat to collect another soul–Katherine “Kit” Craig, a journalist whose latest investigation is about to get her clipped.

Bucking heavenly orders, Grif refuses to let the sable-haired siren come to harm. Besides, protecting her offers a chance to solve the mystery of his own unsolved murder–and dole out some overdue payback for the death of his beloved wife, Evie.

Joining forces, Kit and Grif’s search for answers leads beyond the blinding lights of the Strip into the dark heart of an evil conspiracy. But a ruthless killer determined to destroy them isn’t Grif’s biggest threat. His growing attraction to Kit could cost them both their lives, along with the answer to the haunting question of his long afterlife . . . [Goodreads]

The Review

This book has a much bigger streak of romance in it than the Zodiac books did. It also has no superheroes, just to warn you. What it does have is an angel bad-boy, a modern-day rockabilly heroine, and a serious murder-mystery (or rather: two murder-mysteries) to solve.

If you’re expecting Pettersson’s writing to get lighter with this new series, then you are seriously mistaken. This author has a (much deserved) reputation for being absolutely vicious to her characters, and while this opening doesn’t quite have the brutal gut-punch that The Scent of Shadows did, it still isn’t a quaint walk in the park. In fact, this book should probably carry a trigger warning for rape/sexual assault.

The main relationship is a little abrupt, but the mystery and danger is gritty and real. You can’t really compare Kit with Joanna (the protagonist from Zodiac), because they’re so totally different, but I admit to not falling in love with Kit in the same way. Joanna was dark, tough, and strong. Kit is strong, too, but also sunshine-y cheerful, stubborn, and… Well. I don’t know if she’s too stupid to live, but she doesn’t seem to be the smartest person in the world. For a journalist, this proves a weakness that can (and does) put her into danger.

On second thought, it’s not that Kit’s stupid. She seems quite intelligent, actually. It’s just that she’s way too trusting. She married a jerk that didn’t appreciate her. Then she lets her best friend walk into the seedy hotel room where she’s murdered. As if that weren’t enough, she doesn’t run screaming when she finds Griff, claiming to be an angel, in her house.

Yep, I would be totally credulous if I found a strange man in my bedroom at night who then advised me he was a supernatural being after a short conversation. Sure, he saved her life — but that would only get you so far with me. (I’d probably just call the cops rather than getting out the frying pan and beating him to within an inch of his life, for instance.)

If you don’t take this too seriously, you should do just fine. There’s an odd contrast between the campy-ness of Kit’s rockabilly lifestyle and her interactions with Griff against the deadly serious conspiracy of the ending. I find that contrast intriguing rather than off-putting, but some readers may not be so forgiving.

All in all, this story is like that kind of chocolate you can get with the hot pepper in it. (Here’s an example.) It’s a sweet romance tale, with the bite of murder and conspiracy. It’s a gritty noir murder-mystery with some great witty dialogue. This story is trying to be a lot of different things, and while it doesn’t quite succeed in being everything for everyone, it’s a compelling start to a story that I plan on being in line for through the end.

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[FTC Disclosure: While I purchased my own copy of this book to review, I did receive the promo items I am giving away from the author at no cost to me.] : {Post edited to refer to the correct government agency.}

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Magic Most Foul Giveaway

Annnd… Because I’m a huge dork who forgot to include it in the previous post. There is a giveaway attached to the lovely Leanna Renee Hieber’s guest post, sponsored by her Greatness and courtesy of her dear publisher, Sourcebooks Fire.

Giveaway is for one (1) copy of Darker Still and is open to any human person on the planet Earth who leaves a comment either here or on the previous post (I’ll combine them) before midnight in the Eastern (my) time zone on February 19th.  

Thank you all and sorry that didn’t get included on the original posting. February has left me flabbergasted this year.

Guest Post: 5 Things to Look Forward to in Magic Most Foul by Leanna Renee Hieber

A Novel of Magic Most FoulA Note from Kia: You’re in for a treat today, kiddies. Our dear friend Leanna Renee Hieber has stopped by to give us an exclusive look at all the things we are eagerly awaiting in the next Magic Most Foul novel. (And oh, YES, we certainly are, aren’t we?) Said novel even has a name now: THE TWISTED TRAGEDY OF MISS NATALIE STEWART

Edit: Also there is a giveaway! Post comment here to win copy of Darker Still! Rules over here

So now without any further chit-chat, let’s let Leanna have her say! 

Five things to look forward to in the next Magic Most Foul novel (Releasing this November!) In no particular order:

  1. Adventure! On Trains! Natalie and Jonathon as heroine and hero continue to lead the series. Our brave young lovers escape from New York City to dodge the after-effects of magic but have to dodge some additional problems along the way.
  2. There’s an homage to Frankenstein in a most disturbing way.
  3. There’s an homage to both The Exorcist and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in one new character.
  4. A Victorian Goth club. AKA “Her Majesty’s Association for Melancholy Bastards” – And I, the author, am a card-carrying Goth and member, so there.
  5. Making out in train cars and carriages. Enough said.

Stay tuned at http://leannareneehieber.comhttp://facebook.com/lrhieberhttp://twitter.com/leannarenee

Reasons to check out DARKER STILL: A Novel of Magic Most Foul if you haven’t already:

  1. There’s a haunted painting. A British Lord is trapped inside. And he’s really good looking. (See, that’s three reasons just in one).
  2. Natalie Stewart, a spirited and opinionated young woman everyone can cheer for, overcomes danger, incredible personal odds and adversity to save lives and save the day.
  3. It will give you the shivers. Lots. Promise. I’ve been told that Natalie’s dreams aren’t to be read right before bedtime.
  4. It’s full of danger, intrigue, mystery, curses, magic, nightmares, disguises and pretty dresses!
  5. It was chosen as an INDIE NEXT recommended book by the American Booksellers Association and it’s a trilogy, so you’d best start now…

Cheers!Leanna’s website: http://leannareneehieber.com and Twitter: http://twitter.com/leannarenee and FB: http://facebook.com/lrhieber

About Leanna

[Source] Author, actress and playwright Leanna Renee Hieber grew up in rural Ohio inventing ghost stories. She graduated with a BFA in Theatre from Miami University, a focus in the Victorian Era and a scholarship to study in London. She adapted works of 19th Century literature for the stage and her one-act plays such as FavoriteLady have been produced around the country. Her novella Dark Nest won the 2009 Prism Award for excellence in the genre of Futuristic, Fantasy, or Paranormal Romance.

DARKER STILL: A Novel of Magic Most Foul, first in Leanna’s Gothic Historical Paranormal trilogy for teens (Sourcebooks Fire), hit the Kid’s/YA INDIE NEXT LIST as a recommended title by the American Booksellers Association. Seventeen Magazine said of DARKER STILL: “This chilling tale will draw you in and keep you guessing until the very last page!” The book has been praised by Shelf Awareness, The Chicago Tribune, Pixie Magazine and more. DARKER STILL will also be translated into several languages.

Review: Midnight by Ellen Connor

Midnight is the second book in the Dark Age Dawning trilogy from Ellen Connor. Ellen Connor is the pen name of dynamic writing duo Ann Aguirre and Carrie Lofty. Dark Age Dawning is an apocalyptic paranormal romance. This book was published September 6th, 2011 from Berkley Sensation.

The Blurb

Their desire destroys her defenses.
Their love gives him a reason to live.
 

Three years of wandering the post-apocalyptic wasteland has stripped Dr. Chris Welsh of humanity and hope. He’s a dangerous man now, full of dark energy and yen for violence. A harrowing loss drove him from his home, and he hasn’t stopped moving since. Grim and sardonic, he never found anything worth sticking around for – until now. 

Rosa Cortez runs Valle de Bravo, a haven of civilization amid the chaos of the Change. Soldiers take their orders directly from her–the iron hand within a velvet glove. The last thing she needs is a feral loner upsetting the town’s tentative balance. However, for the good of her people, she lets the sexy doctor stay. He evokes a delicious new longing, but she won’t submit to any man. 

Tension rises as bloodthirsty raiders strike again and again, bent on possessing Valle and its resources. Together Chris and Rosa battle hellhounds and dust pirates while also fighting desperate attraction. To save them, love must overcome the pain of the past–and build a future in this brutal Dark Age…

My Review

Let me as blunt as I can about this: I only volunteered to review this book because I saw Ann Aguirre’s name attached to it and hadn’t had the privilege of reading her work yet. I had no idea, at the time, what this book was about. I didn’t even know what genre it was in.

If I had known it was a paranormal romance novel – even a post-apocalyptic one – I probably would have passed on it. And that would have been a crying shame, because this is one damn fine novel. I plan to look up the books that came before and after this one so that I can find out  more about the world. It’s fascinating.  (Note: It is not at all necessary to have read book 1 prior to reading this one.)

Chris and Rosa are brave people doing their best to live in a brutal new world. Make no mistake that this is a romance novel. You will need the customary relationship suspension-of-disbelief and there is indeed a “happily ever after” of sorts. However, the setting is also fully realized (in vivid, blood-spattered technicolor) and the romance doesn’t overwhelm the other elements of the story.

Overall, I was surprised and pleased with how wonderful this novel is. In fact, I might just be re-evaluating my ban on romance novels, based solely on how well I genuinely enjoyed this book. Shocking, I know. Midnight has totally reset – and raised the bar for – my opinion of romance as a genre, something I never expected to be saying at all.

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Signal Boost! A Walker Papers Kickstarter Campaign

If you’re a CE Murphy Walker Papers fan – or just want to toss a great author an extra few bucks, then check out this Kickstarter campaign for a new novella and possibly extras!

It’s been 24 hours and the campaign is already fully funded but you still have a few weeks to jump in and get this story if you’d like to be included.

In other WFF news – don’t forget to add a comment to this post to win a digital copy of L.J. McDonald’s newest book!

Guest Post + Giveaway: What’s In A Name? by L.J. McDonald

L.J. McDonald is an author for Dorchester Publishing, home to our already esteemed Leanna Renee Hieber. She is the author of the Sylph series, consisting of The Battle Sylph, The Shattered Sylph, and the upcoming Queen of the Sylphs. If you haven’t heard of L.J. McDonald before, don’t worry – I hadn’t either. What I can tell you now, after reading the first book in the series, is that if you’re a fantastical or paranormal romance fan, then I think you want to give this series a try. I am admittedly hesitant to pick up any sort of romance novel, and yet I read the first book in this series and really enjoyed it. It was original and engrossing – and reading it digitally means there are no embarrassing “man-candy” covers to display in public! As my regular readers know – from me, this is a huge endorsement! Stay tuned after the guest post for an e-book giveaway!

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

L.J. McDonald

Sòlas is a Gaelic word meaning solace, comfort, consolation, contentment, pleasure. I can’t pronounce it. My ability to speak French, the second language of my country, makes people laugh. My ability to say anything in Gaelic, which I don’t speak at all, is likely an abomination.  However, I can look in a dictionary with the best of them.

If anyone does any serious study of the history of English – I haven’t, which means I just know enough to get myself into trouble – they learn that a lot of English words find their origins in ones from other languages, such as Latin. J.K. Rowling took all the spell names she used in her book from Latin words.  I think this is brilliant, not that I knew enough Latin to realize it until I read the fact on a blog somewhere. It’s also something I’ve been doing for years, likely the same as a lot of authors, but I’ve been using Gaelic instead of Latin.

I brought up the word Sòlas because that’s the word I used to come up with the name for Solie, one of the heroines in my Sylph series. Obviously, I immediately bastardized it, since I don’t particularly want anyone to look at the name and go “hey, she named her heroine Comfort.” Plus I only know the definition of the word and nothing about how it’s used in context.

I don’t always do this. Sometimes the name just comes to me. I have a mental list of names I’d always planned to use and sometimes they fit that way. Leon got his name that way. Sometimes, however, it backfires on me. I love the name Blue. Took me a while to realize I’ve used it in three separate books now. All minor characters. After I finished laughing, I decided to leave it that way, just to see down the road if anyone notices. Only one of those books is on the shelves right now. Autumn’s shown up twice too. That one I’m more peeved about. It’s going to change in the other book once I get around to getting it fully typed and published.

Heyou’s name was a joke from Solie’s first words to him of “hey you”. So was Wat’s.  It’s basically a misspelling of ‘What’? I’m sure there’s some sylph out there somewhere whose name is “Ohcrap” or even something ruder.
Back to the use of Gaelic. Sala definitely came from Gaelic, though there’s no exact use of the word Sala in Gaelic. It’s a corruption of a word that gives a very large hint as to her character.  That’s why I like it.  By taking a name from an existing word, I can give it a meaning, even if it’s one only I know.

A character’s name is very important. In a novel, it can give a fast first impression of that person and affect the way that people see them. In a fantasy it can throw the reader right out of their immersion in the world. I have a minor character in QUEEN OF THE SYLPHS called Fhranke. In the first draft, I called him Frank. I was asked to change that because it was too jarring for the beta readers. I’m sure no one would take a battler seriously if I named him Bubbles, but if I felt so inclined, I could name him Suilean and only true Gaelic speakers would want to throw the book at my head (which means I’d likely called him ‘Suilen’ instead. Close enough to Bubbles the battle sylph to make me laugh).

I’m not entirely sure how other authors come up with their names for people and places, but it doesn’t come easily to me.  Using Gaelic as a source helps in finding a word when I’m stuck that has a flow to it that doesn’t sound like English and feels like it could be from a fantasy world. Besides, that way I can name some villain Asalpur someday and only I would ever know that it loosely translates as ‘donkey butt’.

Asalpur….hrm….I like it.

This is Kiara back again and now it’s time for our giveaway! One lucky winner who comments here by October 7th (11:59:00 PM Eastern) will win a download code from Dorchester Publishing to get their own copy of Queen of the Sylphs!

Here’s the blurb:

It was a dream come true. Solie had her own battler, a creature of almost infinite magic who could vaporize legions in the blink of an eye and would willingly suffer a thousand bloody deaths to protect her. She was his love. More simply, she was his queen.

Many others feel the same. The new-built settlement is a haven for all. Erected by sylphs of earth and fire, air and water, the Valley is Solie’s dominion. But, lovers without peer or killers without mercy, the very nature of their battler protectors means peril. It is not in any sylph’s nature to disobey, and while some are hers to command, others are the slaves of Solie’s enemies—the jealous, the cruel. Those who guard her must not fail. Their peasant-born ruler is not yet safe as…QUEEN OF THE SYLPHS

Review: In the Dead Volume 1 by Jesse Petersen

In The Dead: Volume 1 

Companion to Living with the Dead Series

Written:  Jesse Petersen

Published: July 2011

ISBN: 0012768200

Obtained via:  Author

Blurb: 

When the Zombie Apocalypse began in Seattle and spread within days to almost the entire western half the country, the survivors had to figure out how to deal with the plague and live one day at a time. These are their stories.

If you liked Jesse Petersen’s zombie comedies Married With Zombies, Flip This Zombie and Eat Slay Love, these nine stories are set in the same world, but from the perspective of other survivors.

My Review: 

This is a collection of shocking and compelling stories telling of the human condition during and after a zombie outbreak. Some are tender, some filled with the resilient human spirit of hope… and just a few end in despair. All of them are likely to break your heart at one point or another. This volume is an excellent introduction to Petersen’s work, or a must-have addition to a fan’s shelf. And, this digital edition is easy to carry in case of Zombie Apocalypse!

It also has a wonderful price point — only $2.99 over at Barnes and Noble or Amazon.

(And my deepest apologies to the author. I thought I’d posted this review two weeks ago, and turns out it hadn’t gone up as planned. Oops!) 

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Interview with Vicki Pettersson, Author of Signs of the Zodiac

Welcome to Waiting for Fairies’ first ever author interview! Vicki Pettersson, author of The Signs of the Zodiac series, Feathered and Sequined Goddess of the Southwestern Desert, graciously agreed to “break [us] in”, so to speak. She even agreed not to do the interview by smoke signal as originally planned. My signal fire was a little weak that day, what can I say? This premiere interview is awfully fitting, since the very first book review ever posted at Waiting for Fairies way back in March of 2007 was Vicki’s first book: The Scent of Shadows!

I have to say, I was nervous to do this interview. Who wouldn’t be nervous when speaking to a tall, leggy redhead who is not only a NYT best-selling author but could also probably Can-Can me into the ground? You have no idea how often I’ve double, triple, and quadruple checked that I have spelled that name correctly, every time, so I wouldn’t completely humiliate myself. (Especially after recently doing a review of Jesse Petersen‘s last book!) Luckily for me, Vicki is a classy lady who didn’t begrudge me my interview-ginity. And, P.S. – it’s Swedish and pronounced “Pet-ter-suhn”, in case you were curious!

If you’re unfamiliar with Signs of the Zodiac, you can read yesterday’s review, check out Vicki’s bio on her website, or just skip ahead for the interview!

Book 6 - Signs of the Zodiac

 

Q1: The Neon Graveyard is the last book in the series. I’m sure Joanna is relieved her author won’t be off plotting new horrible things to do to her. Are you sad to be saying good-bye?  

VP: Oh, sure – blame me!

Here’s a secret, one I’ve held close to my heart throughout this entire series: I didn’t initially think the series, or Joanna, was all that dark. I mean, I was always aware that she was tough, but the way I saw it, my job was to create antagonists and conflicts to rival that toughness. So Joanna created her enemies (and the plot twists) which then returned to shape Joanna, and on it went.

It wasn’t until I was having dinner with my editor – who loves the series as much as I do – that I realized just how dark I was going with this character. I casually mentioned that Joanna’s reactions didn’t seem all that extreme to me, and my editor looked at me like I’d just stolen her cocktail. Twice.

That said, I too started feeling Joanna’s fatigue, especially after CITY OF SOULS. How much can one woman go through? And it was the answer to that question that steered me toward ending the series. I didn’t want to throw new monsters at her just for the sake of conflict, or to merely extend the series. That would cheapen Joanna’s previous efforts, and dilute the emotion of such a hard-fought journey. So I’m happy with this ending, and thrilled that even after everything she’s been through, she can believably retain her toughness and go out swinging.

Q2: Speaking of those horrible things… You never, ever pulled any punches in this series. Was there ever a point where you stopped and said to yourself, “Man, this is getting pretty brutal”? I know you practically had a reader revolt on your hands after City of Souls. Man, that was a long, long year to wait for resolution! Did you ever want to be nicer to your cast of characters?

VP: That year-long wait was awful for me too. I wanted to tell each and every reader, “Just wait, please trust me. I know what I’m doing!” But I think that strong reader reaction came precisely because Joanna’s journey had gotten so brutal. It also had nothing to do with the story’s fantastical elements. Readers had put themselves in Jo’s shoes, and were feeling her emotional pain acutely, so that was a real turning point in the series. From the fourth book on, the series had less to do with fantastical new creatures, or the world of the Zodiac, than it did with Jo’s emotions and personal life.

Did I ever want to be nicer? Yes. But not as much as I wanted to tell the truth about her and her world.

Q3: Midheaven is an interesting aspect of the books, and I’ve always wondered what you intended when you describe it as a “woman’s world”. What did you want people to take away from that description? For instance, I found it beautiful and mysterious – yet also pretty savage (kind of like women in general can be at times). Were you trying to make a gender statement there or was it simply something to fuel the story?

VP: I believe the primary purpose of fiction is to entertain, so while I wasn’t trying to make a statement, I did want to explore this matriarchal society I’d set up in the Zodiac series. Preaching, or having some sort of authorial agenda is a no-no, yet novels are such a great way to explore haunting social or emotional questions. Would it really be so much better/different if a woman were running things? My conclusion was exactly what you stated: at their best, woman are beautiful and mysterious. At their worst, they can be savage. Exactly the same as men actually, if in different ways.

Q4: When we readers are finally ready to say good-bye to Joanna and company, it appears you have something else wonderful in the works. It’s being described as “a partnership between a supernatural private eye and a rockabilly reporter with a real nose for trouble.” What can you tell us about the new Celestial Blues series that we can’t already find out from your FAQ?

VP: The first book in the Celestial Blues series is called THE TAKEN. It alternates narratives between Griffin Shaw, a moody fallen* angel/P.I., and a female reporter named Kit Craig, who is full of modern-day rockabilly swagger. Mind, “fallen angel” is a bit of a misnomer. Grif hasn’t fallen as much as he’s been busted, and working with Kit is a by-product of his punishment. I’ve just handed in the first draft, so I promise you’ll be hearing a lot more about THE TAKEN very soon!

Q5: What authors are YOU reading right now? I know in the past you’ve praised the work of Richard Kadrey. Is there anyone else we should be checking out while we wait for Celestial Blues?

VP: Other than the usual suspects, I can recommend Sophie Littlefield, who does an amazing job in both mystery and UF. She’s quickly becoming one of my auto buys, and UF readers should definitely pick up her AFTERTIME. I got behind on my reading in J.D. Robb’s IN DEATH series, so I’m playing catch-up now. (Problem is, she writes faster than I can read!) Alie Condie and Suzanne Collins are my most recent YA reads; I’m really enjoying the dystopian YA trend. Other than that, lately it’s been a lot of thrillers. I also can’t recommend Diana Gabaldon enough to those who may not yet have picked up OUTLANDER. I actually feel sorry for people who haven’t read that book.

Q6: Thank you so much for stopping by and giving us a little bit of your time! Is there anything else you’d like to say to either long-time readers or those just picking up the series?

VP: I just want to say thank you to all my readers – no matter when they started reading. Without them, there wouldn’t be a Signs of the Zodiac series … or the upcoming Celestial Blues series. I also want to give props to those readers who’ve been with me the last four years. Following Joanna Archer hasn’t always been an easy journey, but I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it.

Thank you, Vicki, for stopping by! I hope my readers out there will consider picking up Signs of the Zodiac if they haven’t already. This series has the Waiting for Fairies Seal of Approval! (Yes, I just made that up. I can totally do that. It’s my blog!)

Review: The Neon Graveyard by Vicki Pettersson

Book 6 - Signs of the ZodiacThe Neon Graveyard

Signs of the Zodiac #6

Written: Vicki Pettersson [website]

Published: May 31, 2011

Publisher: Harper Voyager

ISBN: 978-0061456794

Obtained via: NetGalley (& Purchase)

Blurb:

Once she was a soldier for the Light, the prophesied savior who would decide the outcome of the eternal conflict raging unseen in the dark corners of her glittering hometown. Now Joanna Archer is just another mortal—still born of an impossible union of Shadow and Light . . . still hunted by both—and carrying the unborn child of a lover held captive by a depraved demon goddess. Joining forces with a band of rogue Shadow agents, Joanna’s ready to storm the stronghold of her demonic foe, risking everything to enter this ghastly, godforsaken realm where the price of admission is her eternal soul. Because in a world that has stripped her of her power, identity, and fortune, Joanna has nothing left to lose—except her baby, her future, and the epic war poised to consume the city.

My Review:

If you’re a fan of this series, I don’t need to try to persuade you to read this book. If you’re not a fan – what are you waiting for?

This series has more goodies than a reader knows what to do with: debutantes and superheroes; villains; cool weapons; casinos; the sweaty, sunny Las Vegas desert; a comic book store complete with preternaturally creepy pre-teens; defenestration; sex; violence; mystery; astrology. It’s an awfully good thing that our author does in fact know what to do with it all!

The Neon Graveyard is the absolute perfect end to the series. Joanna has been built up and torn down over and over (and over) and this ending is just as ugly and messy and visceral as her life has always been. Things do not fit together in a tidy package with a cute little Olivia-worthy bow. No. It is put together like when I try to wrap a gift: the edges of the paper are cut crooked and folded in too many places to be pretty, the bow is mangled and has too many frayed ends. But the paper is unique, providing its own entertainment, and there is enthusiasm and care wrought into every crinkle and excess line of tape.

This story has always been messy, tangled, bloody and real. This ending gives us satisfaction and hope. Happiness? Well. That’s really for the reader to decide.

Now that the story is complete, new readers can take it all in one go. I imagine that reading all six books at once is sort of like having incredible sex in the middle of the southwestern desert: fantastically freeing, exhilarating, and absolutely unique. You’ll be completely emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausted by the end of it. You’ll be wrung out, sweaty, and utterly satisfied. And — if you don’t manage to die from thirst, sand abrasions, heat stroke, sun burn, or a stray scorpion — it’ll be totally worth it. Just imagine the orgasm.

I can’t wait to try it myself! (The complete read-through, that is. I am much too much of an old married woman now to even want to attempt outside nookie in the middle of a desert. Imagine the chafing! Not to mention the sunburn….)

BUY IT!*

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*This is an affiliate link.