Nicole Reads A Lot

so many books, so little time

Blade Song & Night Blade by JC Daniels

Title:Blade Song
Author:JC Daniels
PublisherShiloh Walker, Inc
Publication Date:August 2012
Publisher's DescriptionKit Colbana - half breed, assassin, thief, jack of all trades - has a new job: track down the missing ward of one of the local alpha shapeshifters. It should be a piece of cake.
So why is she so nervous? It probably has something to do with the insanity that happens when you deal with shifters - especially sexy ones who come bearing promises of easy jobs and easier money.

Or maybe it’s all the other missing kids that Kit discovers while working the case, or the way her gut keeps screaming she’s gotten in over her head. Or maybe it’s because if she fails - she’s dead.

If she can stay just one step ahead, she should be okay. Maybe she’ll even live long to collect her fee...
My rating:****


Title:Night Blade
Author:Shiloh Walker
PublisherShiloh Walker, Inc
Publication Date:March 2013
Publisher's DescriptionKit Colbana is always biting off more than she can chew. She has a knack for finding trouble. This time, though, trouble finds her. Someone from her past drops a case into her lap that she just can’t refuse...literally.
People on the Council are dying left and right and she’s been requested to investigate the deaths. The number one suspect? Her lover, Damon. If she doesn't clear his name, he gets a death sentence. Even if she succeeds? They still might try to execute him. Oh, and she’s not allowed to tell him about the case, either.

The stakes are high this time around, higher than they've ever been. Kit may be forced to pay the ultimate price to save her lover’s life...a price that could destroy her and everything she loves.
My rating:***** (squijillion)

I read Blade Song and immediately moved onto Night Blade. I think I read the two books in about 5 hours (let’s hear it for vacation). I really like Kit and felt bad enough about her childhood after reading Blade Song that all the things she went through in Night Blade were really hard for me to take. None of the horrors that she survives in this series have ever felt gratuitous to me, and I found them even more gut-wrenching because I care so much about Kit as a character. I am certain that the third book, which comes out in two more days (dying here btw), will give me the payoff that I began to see glimmers of at the end of Night Blade.

Although this series centers around Kit, there are so many characters in it who are clearly going through a lot and growing all the time. Damon! Doyle! Goliath! Colleen! Chang! Doyle! I know I said him twice, but he’s like the leopard little brother that my parents neglected to give me. I really love how integral the secondary characters are to what is going on in the world. While I think it’s crazy that I just learned about this series the other day (I’ve bought book one ages ago and then promptly forgot that it existed), I’m happy, too, otherwise I would have had a much longer wait to get to the third book. Now, of course, I am going to go back and read everything else written by Shiloh Walker (whose pen name is JC Daniels) to tide me over until next week. I would give this series five squijillion stars, and since this is my web site and my rating system, I totally can, but I’ll just limit myself to five and call it a day.

Trigger warning: This book contains rape and copious physical abuse.

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A Blood Seduction by Pamela Palmer

Title:A Blood Seduction
Author:Pamela Palmer
Publication Date:May 29, 2012
Publisher's DescriptionVampires live only for lust and pleasure in the eternal twilight of Vamp City. But the city’s magic is dying. The only person who can restore it? A beautiful woman from the mortal who knows nothing of the power she wields.

Quinn Lennox is searching for a missing friend when she stumbles into a dark otherworld that only she can see—and finds herself at the mercy of Arturo Mazza, a dangerously handsome vampire whose wicked kiss will save her, enslave her, bewitch her, and betray her.

What Arturo can’t do is forget about her—any more than Quinn can control her own feelings for him. Neither one can let desire get in the way of their mission—his to save his people, hers to save herself.

But there is no escape from desire in a city built for seduction, where passion flows hot and blood-red. Welcome to Vamp City...
My rating:**

I chose to review this book because it seemed like something that I would really like. A lot of the action takes place in a world parallel to our own, and I’m always interested to see how authors handle a world that is at once familiar and new. In Ms. Palmer’s case, I would say, not well. I was horrified by so much that happened in this book. Vampires as a story element are certainly au courant, but the gender and power dynamics of this novel could easily have come from any less progressive bodice ripper of the 70s or 80s. “What the…” was a common refrain as I read this.

First of all, Quinn was ENSLAVED and end up feeling all gooey and warm toward her captor. Almost immediately! The phenomenon of Stockholm Syndrome was named after a course of events that unfolded over six days. Quinn was already making an ass of herself over Arturo on day one. Second, and maybe I’m just sensitive about this, I really hate how acts of mental and even physical cruelty toward women in this book are seen as negligible, because at least they’re not sexual violence (although there was plenty of that to go around, as well). Really???

I understand what an anti-hero is, but I think that Arturo’s really just a jerk. The source of his conflict was inane, and Kassius served as an embodiment of why Arturo’s supposed unshakeable loyalty was even dumber than it initially appeared to be. Then again, maybe Arturo is perfect for Quinn, because she’s an idiot. She’s supposed to be intelligent enough to be a scientist, but seems pretty slow on the uptake. She gives her trust too easily, to a person she should not, who (rather sportingly) warns her against doing so, then betrays her; to get an idea of the rest of the book, lather, rinse, and repeat. Even after he proves himself untrustworthy and admits to lying when it is expedient to do so, she still continues to take Arturo at his word! What does it take to get her to wake up and realize that the only person she can depend on is herself (answer: I don’t know, she does’t reach this conclusion by the somewhat hilarious end of this book). Furthermore, Quinn observes the speed and strength of vampires relative to that of humans, and still manages to completely underestimate them. What does it take to get through to this woman?

I didn’t feel at all invested in Quinn’s emotional connection to Arturo, which I was really glad for as I reached the end of this book. Maybe I’m just not in the target demographic for this book, because I didn’t get or enjoy it at all.

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