Grave Visions by Kalayna Price

15816410Rating: 3.5 stars

Series: Alex Craft #4

After waiting years, this did not disappoint although it wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for either. Alex’s life was still a mess. There were serious complications with the two men in her life. Her relationship with her father was strained. Discovering she was fae made her life very complicated.

Alex discovered that she had get a connection to Faerie or her life wouldn’t last long, but she didn’t want to tie herself to any court. The only way to gain her independence was to take a job from the Winter Queen. The case she worked on was really interesting. People were dying in some bizarre ways, and all of the evidence wasn’t congruent. Alex was needed to raise the shades to find out what really happened. I was surprised to find out who was behind it all. This was my favorite mystery in the series so far.

Not much progress was made with Alex’s personal life. She is aware of the fact that she is afraid of commitment. She’s probably afraid of being abandoned since many of the people in her life left her for one reason or another. She has strong issues with Falin and Death, much of which is due to circumstances outside of everyone’s control. There are ways she could be closer to them and learn more about them, but ultimately she chooses not to. Alex rarely asks personal questions or gets into deep conversations. It’s aggravating that she expects them to pour their hearts out to her when she constantly holds back from them. Her inability for form deep relationships extends to her friends and family. She doesn’t tell them anything until she absolutely has to. I’d like to see some growth in all of her relationships.

The love triangle took a backseat to the mystery. Falin had plenty of page time. He and Alex spent a fair amount of time together, but they interacted as little as possible. Falin wasn’t acting like normal. My guess is he wanted to keep his distance as much as he could so there would be less to report to the queen. They got along fairly well considering the circumstances, but I can’t say things improved between them either. Death was barely around, so there was no development there. Now a new guy has been thrown into the mix making this a love quadrangle.

Nothing was resolved with any of the overarching issues, but this was entertaining. I read the whole book in one sitting. It didn’t drag in some parts like some of the other books have. The world building is good. The more she learns about the world the more questions are raised about it, but I want some answers. At least it’s looking like the 5th book will be released next year!

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Poison Fruit by Jacqueline Carey

17340103Rating: 3.5 stars

Series: Agent of Hel #3

The conclusion to this trilogy was satisfying, but I have mixed feelings about it. The plot was so good. It took some unexpected twists and turns, but the love triangle ruined parts of it. The world building in this series was awesome. It was an original world, and it blended religion, Greek and Norse mythologies, and common and uncommon supernatural races without it feeling disjointed.

Daisy was a rare kind of supernatural, but it made her life more difficult. She was tough, strong, and worked hard to overcome the obstacles that came with being what she was. I liked her because she was flawed. Sometimes she hesitated instead of taking action or would be confused or conflicted about what to do. It made her seem real, so there was no special snowflake here. But when it came to her love life she did not make the best decisions. She knew who she loved. When she couldn’t be with him, she settled for anyone else. I think it bothered me so much because I’m not like that. Her love life was a great source of frustration for me.

I love Cody. He would have been perfect if it weren’t for his indecision about whether or not he wanted to be with Daisy. Werewolves were expected to mate within their own clan, and since Daisy wasn’t a werewolf, he wasn’t supposed to be with her. He was incredibly aggravating because it was so obvious he loved Daisy but kept rambling on about loyalty to his clan.

Stefan was a worthless asshole. I loathe him. I desperately wanted Daisy to take her dagger and plunge it through his heart. She would have been doing the world a favor. He may have been better than the average ghoul but was still capable of killing people. Nonetheless he was not a good guy which he proved throughout the book. Daisy’s response to him made no sense. She was extremely leery of him but thought he was hot. So she threw caution to the wind and explored a relationship with him anyway.

The development with the lawyer did not play out like I thought it would. It was a surprise to find out who his boss was, and that person was capable of causing lots of damage. One small problem snowballed into a much larger one, and most people in the town did not understand the ramifications of their situation. Everything lead up to a big showdown. The end was satisfying but how it got there was not. All of the problems were resolved in an odd, unexpected way. It shouldn’t have been as easy to resolve all of those problems.

I’m glad a I read this trilogy. It was a fun buddy read with the Machalos and gave us lots to discuss. I loved the world and the characters. I really wish more books would be written in this world even if it focused on different characters.

Autumn Bones by Jacqueline Carey

17340100Rating: 2.5 stars

Series: Agent of Hel #2

How did this series go so wrong so fast? Dark Currents was awesome, but the things I liked about it weren’t in this. The romance played a big role, and lots of drama ensued. None of which was remotely interesting. I hate love triangles, but I would have been soooo much happier if this had been a love triangle. But no, this was a love quadrangle. Yeah that’s right; there were three love interests. I only really like one of them. I might have been okay with the relationship drama if it were in the background like in Dark Currents, but Daisy’s constant confusion and indecision about the three men consumed her thoughts.

I was really disappointed in Daisy. She had been independent. Roughly one to two months elapsed between this book and the last. How did Daisy go from being a character I admired to one who was pathetic? She was desperate to have a relationship, and apparently it overrode her rational thought. Her dad was a demon, so she was highly susceptible to the 7 deadly sins, one of them being lust. It wouldn’t have been so bad if she were just lusting after the men, but she convinced herself that she had actual feelings for all of them.

Sinclair was the obnoxious douchebag who showed up at the end of the last book. He and Daisy started dating in between books. It was weird because Daisy was all about Cody and Stefan in the last one. I would have expected her to be with one of them instead of throwing in a random relationship with some relatively unknown character. Sinclair appealed to Daisy because he was human, which equated to normal in her mind. But he wasn’t normal. He could see auras and came from a long line of witchy voodoo people. He wasn’t technically otherworldly, but he may as well have been. At least it didn’t take Daisy long to see the error of her ways.

Stefan the ghoul was still around and trying to siphon off of Daisy’s emotions whenever he could. He is a useful ally to have since he is knowledgeable about supernatural creatures and is powerful. Something is off about him. He’s the nicest creeper ever! I’d probably like him if he didn’t withhold vital info from Daisy. I find it damn creepy that he can constantly be in tune with Daisy’s emotions. It’s even weirder how he has to check on her every time there is a spike in them. Daisy’s main interest in him seems to be his ability to take away her emotional spikes. It’s not a good reason to be with him.

Cody is the guy I ship. He is a werewolf, but he acts more normal than any of the other guys. He’s a good guy and doesn’t hide important shit from Daisy. They get along well too. They have a better personal relationship than Daisy has with the other two. It’s complicated because they are different species, and he needs to be with one of his own.

There wasn’t a major plot for the book. Instead there were a several minor ones. Most of them were boring. The issue with the satyr was amusing. The subplot with Bethany wasn’t believable. Jojo was fun. I loved her mouthy antiquated slurs. I just didn’t care about Sinclair’s family drama. Although I didn’t like this book, I’m still finishing out the trilogy. I still think the series can be redeemed.

Dark Currents by Jacqueline Carey

13507967Rating: 4 stars

Series: Agent of Hel #1

This was one of the best UF books I’ve read in a long time. It was engaging and original. For once it didn’t feel like I was reading about the same old regurgitated tropes. Best of all it didn’t have a special snowflake, and it easily could have gone in that direction since Daisy is half human and half demon.

The world was unique. Random places around the world had pockets of hell that overlap with Earth. Supernatural creatures gathered in those places because their magic didn’t last long outside of them. Humans still lived in those places although many of them didn’t approve of the supernatural. The regular supernatural creatures were in this, but it had a host of less common supes like ghouls, nymphs, mermaids, and the Norse goddess Hel. The attention was divided fairly equally amongst the various creatures. This story took place in a small town in Michigan. A college kid died and some things about his death weren’t adding up. Supes were involved somehow, but humans were not happy with the investigation.

I really liked the characters. Daisy was tough and didn’t back down from a fight. Being Hel’s liaison and half demon made her fairly unique, but she wasn’t all powerful because of it. She constantly struggled with overcoming her dark nature. For a werewolf Cody was really nice and didn’t have a strong alpha feel to him. Surprisingly I liked him a lot. Lurine and Stefan were both interesting, but their origins were mysterious. Jen was annoying at first because she acted childish, but she got better at the story went along.

It had somewhat of a love triangle vibe since Daisy was interested in Cody and Stefan. Actually she had the hots for several people including a woman, so her interest in the two men didn’t necessarily indicate a love triangle will occur. Her dad was an incubus, so falling prey to lust may have been second nature to her. The romantic angle was not front and center, so it didn’t get on my nerves too much.

I had been hesitant to read this because I read Jaqueline Carey’s book Kushiel’s Dart and hated it. I was deeply afraid this was going to be another epic fail much like that was. Dark Currents excelled in all of the ways her other book didn’t. Then again that was fantasy and this was UF, and I don’t like fantasy anywhere near as much as UF. Anyway just read this. It’s damn good.

Grave Memory by Kalayna Price

12620451Rating: 4.5 stars

Series: Alex Craft #3

Grave Memory is definitely the best book in the series so far. The pacing is much better than in the prior books. Alex doesn’t get as lost inside her own head. A bizarre case came to her attention where a string of people were being forced to commit suicide due to an unknown force.

There are some interactions with faerie and Death and his people. Alex never learns as much from them as I wish she would. The revelry in faerie was a disappointment. The point of going was to learn about faerie and to help her make a choice about who she will align with. In the end she didn’t learn anything useful or new. Death and his crew are still secretive as ever although she is slowly getting more entrenched in their world. Now she is indebted to someone there, and it probably won’t work out well for her.

Alex is a special snowflake, and she doesn’t piss me off like other special snowflakes do. Her special powers and abilities aren’t beneficial to her yet because she doesn’t know how to use them. Her planeweaver skills have been more trouble than they’re worth so far. Most people want to use her for those powers.

When I first read this series the love triangle didn’t bother me at all, but after rereading it it does. Alex never gets much time to interact with Falin or Death personally. I want there to be more than brief romantic interludes which always seem to happen at odd times. Alex needs to develop stronger feelings with one of them soon. Every time one of them tried to express their feelings Alex tended to pull away. Is she torn between the two men or is she commitment phobic?

There was one hell of a cliffhanger at the end. I’m not going to give anything away, but it definitely will make moving forward with Death far more complicated.

Crow by A. Zavarelli

28511008Rating: 4 stars

Series: Boston Underworld #1

Mackenzie and Talia were best friends but more like sisters. They grew up in foster care on the streets. All they had was each other. After Talia began working at a club run by the Irish mafia, she went missing. No one cared. The police didn’t devote much time to the case. Mack was determined to find her. Infiltrating the club was the only way to get any information about Talia’s disappearance. She wasn’t really prepared for what she was getting herself into.

Mack could definitely kick some ass. She could take on men bigger than her. She was tough, but the one thing she didn’t count on was how deeply her emotions could be affected by the mafia. The minute Lachlan laid eyes on her she was in trouble. Neither of them trusted the other, but they couldn’t stay away from each other either.

I loved Lachlan! He was a bad ass and didn’t take shit from anyone. Anyone with a position like his in the mafia has done far too many bad things to ever be considered good, but he was fair and loyal. Lachlan’s loyalty was to the mafia, and that didn’t work in Mack’s favor. He was a constant threat, a danger, but appealing nonetheless.

There was a good balance between the romance and mafia storylines. I really like mafia romances, but they’re always better when they’re like this with plenty of murder and mayhem. The ones that focus just on the romance are boring. The author did a great job of differentiating between Lachlan and Mack’s POV. Their voices were completely different, which doesn’t happen in a lot of books. The side characters were interesting. I really hope there will be more books about some of them.

I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.