Bad Mouth by Angela McCallister
Valerie, a ranking member of the Vampire Liaison Office (VLO), and her best friend, Graham, traveled to meet with Oren and Evangeline – the rulers of the vampires – the Dominorum. The primary issues of concern were bloodings and illegal transformations. These illegal transformations resulted in a massive increase in deranged vampires.
The Dominorum assigned one vampire, to Val’s dismay, to work with them. Without explaining anything at all about this one vampire, other than his name, Kade Rollins, they were dismissed. Kade was an adjuvant; he performed transformations, and he didn’t like humans.
One of the deranged vampires Val would be hunting with Kade and Graham would be her ex-husband, Will. His determination to transform was the primary cause for her hatred, and the end of their relationship.
Pairing a human-hating vampire and a vampire –hating human makes a volatile combination. Add to that a lawyer in love with Val – a man who was her ex-husband’s best friend and who stood by her through the relationship’s death. Mix in some complicated vampire/human politics and stand back and watch the fireworks.
Angela McCallister writes with skill and passion. As a former editor, she is also not going to massacre the beauty that is the English language. Bad Mouth is a delicious paranormal romance wrapped in a dangerous mystery.
McCallister provides an exciting new look into vampire life, adding spice to what some authors might serve us bland.
Readers will want to stay up to read this book until the last exciting page is turned, sighing with longing when there are no more pages to be found. This is vampire fiction at its finest.
Stonefly by Scott J. Holliday
Jake found the boy almost immediately on the first day when he was fly fishing in Braketon. The fishing trip was supposed to be a break from his curse; some time alon from people and their almost never-ending wishes. Jake was cursed; if he heard someone make a wish, he had one week to grant that wish or the wisher died. He hoped the kid would have a kid-like wish. Nope. Jake was most definitely cursed. Instead of wishing for a puppy, the kid wished someone would kill his dad.
Scott J. Holliday has one of the most alluring writing styles I’ve read in quite some time. The descriptions are so accurate the reader can smell the flowers or the blood; can feel the water on the lake and can hope the curse will be lifted. Holliday knows how to pace and plot and develop a character so wonderful readers will be anxiously watching their calendars for their next installment.
This copy was received from NetGalley at no cost in exchange for an honest review from the author.
Tortured Dreams by Hadena James
Aislin Cain is a sociopath. She killed her first person at age eight. By her mid-twenties, she had killed three people. She had established herself intentionally as a prime victim, since she was a small woman, she could easily play the part. Once she lured the person to her, if he chose to take the bait, his fate was then in his own hands.
She set her own rules and morals because if she didn’t, she would have none. So, if she thought a stalker was following her home, she locked all the doors and windows. She didn’t want to make it easy for him to get in, after all.
So after the third attack, when she had two men waiting for her when she got back from the hospital, she wasn’t surprised – until she found out they needed her help. A serial killer was using medieval torture methods to kill his victims; she has a doctorate in medieval history and knows all about medieval torture. She would be the ideal person to assist in the investigation.
Aislin Cain is hired by a team of Special Marshalls, none whom could pass the psych eval. The team leader is the only member who didn’t get along with all the others. He didn’t like women, especially intelligent women who don’t take orders well and who could defend themselves.
The other team members all have their special skills and their special social issues. All interact well with one another. In addition, Aislin can bring to the team her best friend, who is a psychopath and her cousin, an attorney. Both would do anything for her and she would do anything for them.
Hadena James has managed to create an interesting cast of characters in a serial killer read that was full of interesting plot twists and twisted relationships. The research was well-done and crafted with an eye toward interesting details that make it clear some time and effort was put into the weapons portion of the novel.
It’s always refreshing to have great research in a book, especially when the book has more than one area of research that shows some degree of knowledge. James is a writer to follow, with this particular series bringing something intriguing to the mystery genre.
Joyland by Stephen King
In 1973, Devin Jones was in love with Wendy Keegan; they had dated for more than two years and had been together for almost every moment of that time. Then, for summer vacation, instead of staying and working in the cafeteria as always with Devin, Wendy decided to work in Boston with her best friend. Devin heartbroken, applied for a job at Joyland in North Carolina. He interviewed during the spring break. Before catching his bus back to the college, he stopped by Emmaline Shoplaw’s boarding house to arrange for a room to rent over the summer while he worked at the park.
Before he left, she fed him lunch and told him the story of the ghost of the horror house at Joyland. She said she hadn’t seen the ghost herself, because she wouldn’t go to the horror house. She knew s murder had been committed. She told Dev the story she had gleaned from newspapers and from her Joyland friends.
Once he began working at Joyland, the fortune teller there told him that he’d meet a little girl wearing a red hat and holding a doll and a little boy with a dog.
The breakup, the ghost of the girl, the girl with the doll, the boy with the dog, and wearing the fur all have an impact on Devin Jones during his time at Joyland.
Some years, we just feel things more intensely than others. No one expresses this better than Stephen King, or brings back the memories of those times better. He is also the master of the craft when it comes to character development.
Joyland is not a horror story; it is a murder mystery and a coming of age story, mixed with the bittersweet realization of the frailty of life. It is lovely and sad, and ultimately lonely, as so often beautiful things are.
Glacial Eyes by J.K. Walker
Jasmine Bedeau awoke in the forest the night after a rave. She was nude, with a massive “hangover.” Since she barely drank the night before, she couldn’t understand why her hangover was so bad. The Sheriff’s Department had come looking for her; apparently she had been reported missing from the party.
As the EMT loaded her into the ambulance, she noticed that her senses toward him as a male were particularly acute. For some odd reason, she actually “sniffed” him for his desirability as a mate. Even odder, she actually thought in that term: mate.
When she slept, she dreamed of blood and claws. When next she looked at herself, it’s to realize that her breasts have grown and her eyes have changed color. She soon received even more astonishing news. Lt. Mitchell is the werewolf alpha of the local pack and instead of taking her home from the hospital as he said he was going to do, he took her before the supernatural Council, and charged her with the murder of the man who had drugged her and then tried to rape her. He did this even though she doesn’t remember attacking the man and has no idea what she is accused of being– only that her eyes are a light blue with striations of other blues and her breasts are larger. Since her parents are dead, she has no one to ask what type of creature she could be.
At the meeting, she found herself inexplicably drawn to Logan Bucher, a Dampyr, and the Council representative for vampires. She also found herself thrust in the midst of a murder investigation in order to avoid death for a murder she doesn’t remember committing.
J.K. Walker’s writing is tight, lively, filled with action and plot twists. The characters are interesting and easy to love (or to hate). The dialogue is often amusing, sometimes frightening, but always compelling. Walker has created a series that begs to be followed.