Archangel’s Viper by Nalini Singh

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Archangel’s Viper by Nalini SinghArchangel's Viper by Nalini Singh
Series: Guild Hunter #10
Published by Berkley on September 26, 2017
Pages: 400 pages
Format: Kindle
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Once a broken girl known as Sorrow, Holly Chang now prowls the shadowy gray underground of the city for the angels. But it’s not her winged allies who make her a wanted woman—it’s the unknown power coursing through her veins. Brutalized by an insane archangel, she was left with the bloodlust of a vampire, the ability to mesmerize her prey, and a poisonous bite.

Now, someone has put a bounty on her head…

Venom is one of the Seven, Archangel Raphael’s private guard, and he’s as infuriating as he is seductive. A centuries-old vampire, his fangs dispense a poison deadlier than Holly’s. But even if Venom can protect Holly from those hunting her, he might not be able to save himself—because the strange, violent power inside Holly is awakening…

No one is safe.

It seriously took me a minute to remember if Viper was Venom’s name, but I think my confusion came from the rarity of characters and book titles that start with the letter ‘V.’ Anyway, Archangel’s Viper was somewhat different than the other secondary character stories within the Guild Hunter series by Nalini Singh. I wanted to chalk up how I felt about this difference as a bad thing because I am sometimes a stickler for things staying the same even though I love change, but when I tapped to the last page I couldn’t help but totally dig the overall story of Archangel’s Viper.

Out of all Raphael’s Seven, Venom, Demetrius, Jason, Adohan have been the ones I’ve been most fascinated by. With Jason and Demetrius already having their stories told I am glad that Venom was next up. While his background story wasn’t as elaborate as Demetrius and Jason’s, it definitely explained the ins and outs of everything Viper, especially his character from the current books. For some odd reason I was expecting his background to harbor more dangers and conflicts than the angst that was revealed. Again, I’m all for change but my default response is always expecting things to turn out or work out the way previous situations/character stories have worked; I’m usually proven right but I relish those moments when things work out differently as it did with Archangel’s Viper.

As much as I love Venom’s character, Holly made Archangel’s Viper that book for me. I’ve been curious about the evolution of her character ever since her debut in Angel’s Blood. I absolutely loved how spectacularly Archangel’s Viper tied up the story arc from Angel’s Blood, my mind was even blown with how everything transpired.

I will say that every heroine we’ve had in the Guild Hunter series by Singh hasn’t been able to match my likability level for Elena, and that’s perfectly okay that they don’t, but if I was to do a rating I would say that after Elena it would definitely be Holly and then Demetrius’ wife. The mystery that surrounded her character, as well as how she just went about living her life even with her future being  a huge question mark made her an instant favorite. From her style, to her personality it was super easy to want for her to have a HEA towards the end of Archangel’s Viper.

I don’t know why I was skeptical about reading Archangel’s Viper, especially since I just finished, or caught up on Singh’s Psy-Changeling series, but I really had to push myself to dive into this story. The leap of faith seriously paid off, from the drama from the events in Angel’s Blood to learning about the intricate details of Venom’s background and making, to Holly’s present and possible future, and to the set up of the next installment of Singh’s Guild Hunter series, I was content. I sincerely hope that Adohan’s story is next but I have a feeling with some of the hints dropped and things hinted to that Illuim’s story might be next. No complaints here but I think that he’s such a favorite and he’s gets enough page time that one of the less mentioned and more mysterious characters should be next lol. I don’t know, as always the decision of the next installment is as always up to the author and creator, Nalini Singh.

About Nalini Singh

I was born in Fiji and raised in New Zealand. I also spent three years living and working in Japan, during which time I took the chance to travel around Asia. I’m back in New Zealand now, but I’m always plotting new trips. If you’d like to see some of my travel snapshots, have a look at the Travel Diary page (updated frequently).

So far, I’ve worked as a lawyer, a librarian, a candy factory general hand, a bank temp and an English teacher and not necessarily in that order. Some might call that inconsistency but I call it grist for the writer’s mill.

I’ve been writing as long as I can remember and all of my stories always held a thread of romance (even when I was writing about a prince who could shoot lasers out of his eyes). I love creating unique characters, love giving them happy endings and I even love the voices in my head. There’s no other job I would rather be doing. In September 2002, when I got the call that Silhouette Desire wanted to buy my first book, Desert Warrior, it was a dream come true. I hope to continue living the dream until I keel over of old age on my keyboard.

The Devil’s Cut by J.R. Ward

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Devil’s Cut by J.R. WardDevil's Cut by J.R. Ward
Series: The Bourbon Kings #3
Published by Ballantine on August 1. 2017
Pages: 397 pages
Format: Hardback
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
four-stars

At first, the death of William Baldwine, the head of the Bradford family, was ruled a suicide. But then his eldest son and sworn enemy, Edward, came forward and confessed to what was, in fact, a murder. Now in police custody, Edward mourns not the disintegration of his family or his loss of freedom . . . but the woman he left behind. His love, Sutton Smythe, is the only person he has ever truly cared about, but as she is the CEO of the Bradford Bourbon Company’s biggest competitor, any relationship between them is impossible. And then there’s the reality of the jail time that Edward is facing.

Lane Baldwine was supposed to remain in his role of playboy, forever in his big brother Edward’s shadow. Instead he has become the new head of the family and the company. Convinced that Edward is covering for someone else, Lane and his true love, Lizzie King, go on the trail of a killer—only to discover a secret that is as devastating as it is game-changing.

As Lane rushes to discover the truth, and Sutton finds herself irresistibly drawn to Edward in spite of his circumstances, the lives of everyone at Easterly will never be the same again. For some, this is good; for others, it could be a tragedy beyond imagining. Only one thing’s for certain: Love survives all things. Even murder.

As much as I was anticipating The Devil’s Cut I have to admit that I wasn’t as blown away by it as I was towards the first two installments in J.R. Ward’s Bourbon King series. In actuality my feeling towards this installment had nothing to do with Edward ending up with Sutton instead of Shelby, it was actually the length in which everything was carried out.

From The Bourbon Kings to The Angels’ Share things have been building up to what I had hoped would’ve been an explosive conclusion to a wholly unique and attention grabbing series. What I wasn’t expecting was the long periods of each of the main characters lives. Other than the big reveal of who actually killed papa Baldwine and the mystery surrounding Edward I felt like we were given more of the same.

Now this is where things get tricky…everything I just said are my true feelings and what I’m gettting ready to impart to you all are also my true feelings.

I loved everything about The Devil’s Cut. I loved that even though Lane and Lizzie’s relationship is pretty much solidified, Ward threw in a few surprises that sort left you on the edge of whether not things might not be as good as they seem between these two. I also loved how Edward and Sutton’s relationship was fleshed out more than I felt the previous installments allowed, I was able to getting a better sense of them as a couple than them just going through the motions because of the intensity of old feelings.

Crazy enough it was the sister’s story that really pulled me in. I have never seen a character grow and develop for the better as great as this I think in all my years of reading. My gosh, when I was so sure that I couldn’t stand her character Ward penned the circumstances she went through perfectly that ripped the foundation from under her feet leaving her open for improvement and change. Matter of fact I think the other character that this has happened to for me was Franka from Kristen Ashley’s Fantasyland series. I love a good turn around.

As conflicting as my thoughts are about The Devil’s Cut, it definitely did its job when it came to concluding this series. No stone was unturned, although maybe a few should’ve been left to the skeletons, and no heart was left completely unbroken.

About J.R. Ward

J.R. Ward is a #1 New York Times and USAToday Best Selling author of erotic paranormal romance. She lives in the south with her incredibly supportive husband and her beloved golden retriever. After graduating from law school, she began working in healthcare in Boston and spent many years as Chief of Staff of one of the premier academic medical centers in the nation. Writing has always been her passion and her idea of heaven is a whole day of nothing but her computer, her dog and her coffee pot.

Erasing Hell by Francis Chan

Erasing Hell by Francis ChanErasing Hell by Francis Chan
Published by David C. Cook on July 1, 2011
Pages: 208 pages
Format: Kindle
Source: Purchased
Goodreads
four-half-stars

How could a loving God send people to hell? Will people have a chance after they die to believe in Jesus and go to heaven?
With a humble respect for God's Word, Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle address the deepest questions you have about eternal destiny. They've asked the same questions. Like you, sometimes they just don't want to believe in hell. But as they write, "We cannot afford to be wrong on this issue."
This is not a book about who is saying what. It's a book about what God says. It's not a book about impersonal theological issues. It's a book about people who God loves. It's not a book about arguments, doctrine, or being right. It's a book about the character of God.
Erasing Hell will immerse you in the truth of Scripture as, together with the authors, you find not only the truth but the courage to live it out.

Before reading Erasing Hell by Francis Chan I can honestly say that other than the one Christian living book that I read when I first became a Christian, can’t really remember the name of its title, I have never been challenged and really given a uncompromising view of Jesus’ truth and the stark reminder of why He died for our sins. There were so many times I wanted to put Erasing Hell down because the perspective and truths were too raw and hard to receive, which is definitely a turn around from Chan’s Forgotten God and Crazy Love.

Sometimes we as Christians would love to brush hell and all that is attached to its existence to the VERY back of our minds. It’s not ideal because it contributes to a separation from the Lord and His teaching and truths revealed in His word. As Christian’s I hope we all know that God’s ultimate goal is a relationship with us, so to deny something He’s said because it’s hard and we don’t like it speaks of a one-sided relationship that remains in our terms instead of His.

It was only after a lot of reflection and prayer that I was able to let go of the desire to put this book down indefinitely and take myself out of what I was reading. It really got down to if I really loved God as I claimed to, and if I did how could I not take Him at His word regardless of what those words entailed? I’m telling y’all in reading Erasing Hell the topic of hell and what Jesus says about it weren’t the only thing I was battling, the Lord really did some surgery on my heart, mind, and prayer life. For a small book this inspired work packs a serious freaking punch.

Soul Of A Man by Jamie Begley

Soul Of A Man by Jamie BegleySoul of a Man by Jamie Begley
Series: The Dark Souls #1
Published by Young Ink Press on June 3, 2011
Pages: 149 pages
Format: Kindle
Source: Purchased
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Cara, a powerful Moirae, finds herself stranded on Earth made human by an enemy of her mother, Fate. Lost and alone, she is forced to accept the reluctant help of Jericho Hawk. Jericho is determined not to become involved with Cara, even as their sexual attraction for each other cannot keep them apart. When Cara's Cousin Grimm appears and proves Cara's crazy stories are actually true, he must overcome the horrors her mother is responsible for to gain an eternity with the woman he has come to love.

I’ve had Soul of a Man by Jamie Begley on my kindle shelves for I don’t know how long. I know it’s not reflected on my blog but I am a HUGE Begley fan, other than the remaining two stories in this particular series I have every book she’s ever written. With me turning to the ending if Soul of Man though I’m really kicking myself in the butt for waiting so long, but who knows I might’ve not appreciated its story if I would’ve dived into it as soon as I bought it way back when.

In my opinion Begley is famous for her MC and rock star series (VIP Room, The Last Riders MC, Biker Bitches, and Predators), so when I found out about her fantasy series I will admit that I was highly skeptical because usually authors, that I have encountered, have a hard time transitioning into new genres. But it was the trust I had in the fact that regardless of whatever Begley has written she’s always remained true to her overall mission/purpose behind each story, to actually tell a freaking great story that will definitely take you through all the emotions. Because of this trust I was able to jump into giving Soul of a Man and give it a try.

The way that Soul of a Man began I had mixed feeling. Begley incorporated a lot of mythology that I felt was hard to follow because I am used to only reading about one mythology at a time but Begley felt the need to combine a host of them (Odin, Thor, Fate, Dracula, etc.). But once I got over the mythological shock I was able to follow the storyline pretty easily, especially when everything was brought down to Earth.

Jericho was a flawed hero, and from the little glimpse we got of his earlier life at the beginning of Soul of a Man to the hardened man we saw at the construction site I was really intrigued to see how Begley would twist his story and what lengths she would go to soften him enough for the sweet heroine that was Cara.

With how much I loved Cara’s character and the overall story of Soul of a Man I will have to say that when the twists came I was sort of disappointed with how quick feelings were proclaimed and words of devotion came between Jericho and Cara. I understood that Jericho had a very crazy childhood and an even crappier adult life, and Cara was very green to anything pertaining to relationships or intimate relationships, but the transition from Jericho acting out of his anger and apathy to being all tender towards Cara got lost in translation. It almost felt like a Begley felt that something needed to happen between these two and just threw this scene in prematurely to get things popping so to speak.

After the climax of a sort took place within Soul of a Man, I will admit that I checked out a little because the disappointment of the quick progression of Cara and Jericho’s relationship was hard to get over. Regardless, the story wrapped up nicely…maybe a little too nicely lol.

About Jamie Begley

“I was born in a small town in Kentucky. My family began poor, but worked their way to owning a restaurant. My mother was one of the best cooks I have ever known, and she instilled in all her children the value of hard work, and education.

Taking after my mother, I’ve always love to cook, and became pretty good if I do say so myself. I love to experiment and my unfortunate family has suffered through many. They now have learned to steer clear of those dishes. I absolutely love the holidays and my family puts up with my zany decorations.

For now, my days are spent writing, writing, and writing. I have two children who both graduated this year from college. My daughter does my book covers, and my son just tries not to blush when someone asks him about my books.

Currently I am writing five series of books- The Last Riders, The VIP Room, Predators MC, Biker Bitches, and The Dark Souls.

All my books are written for one purpose- the enjoyment others find in them, and the expectations of my fans that inspire me to give it my best.”

The Charmer by Autumn Dawn

The Charmer by Autumn DawnThe Charmer by Autumn Dawn
Series: Darklands #1
Published by Self Published on February 5, 2011
Pages: 265 pages
Format: iBooks
Source: Purchased
Goodreads
four-stars

Jasmine didn't realize her friend Wiley was special until they were drawn into another world. Here Wiley is betrothed to the ruler of the Haunt, a wererace both dangerous and proud.

Keilor is the master of soldiers, a man few would cross, yet he'd never met a menace like the little brunette his princess calls friend. Will Jasmine find the portal home, or will she find a werewolf of her own?

It looks like I’m revisiting all of my favorites, and The Charmer by Autumn Dawn has definitely made that list.

Before I even knew what goodreads or paranormal romance was I was hooked into this series by Autumn Dawn. All it took was for me to read The Charmer and I knew that I would binge this entire series, or what I could get my hands on at the time.

I don’t know if it was the unique world that Dawn created that hooked me in or maybe it was the uniqueness of her characters, but I’ve re-read The Charmer more times than I can remember. The relationship and battle of wills between Kelior and Jasmine should go down in history as the best I’ve ever read lol. Unlike the other women Kelior had encountered Jasmine didn’t fall at his feet in admiration or lust, which played a huge factor in feeding into his attraction to her.

The basis of this story is sort of hard to explain, but I’m going to try my best. Within this world that Dawn created there’s a pheromone that only females, and males too which we learn about in a later book in this series, are able to carry and pass down. Unbeknownst to Jasmine and her friend Wiley, who’s engaged to the present ruler of this alternate world, she is one which causes unforeseen issues in the Dark Lands. Furthermore, the Haunt aren’t the only beings on the Dark Lands (there are humans with symbionts and swamp creatures), but there is a faction of the Haunt that would’ve killed Jasmine at first sight and there’s another faction that want to use her as a guinea pig for nefarious means.

I hope that explanation provided the bare bones of this complex and exciting world Dawn created, but yeah with all of that and the romance between Kelior and Jasmine The Charmer became more exciting and more drama filled.

I loved this story so much and the ones that came after it. I am skeptical to collect the rest of this series other than the other two I have acquired because it seem, from the reviews I’ve read, that the series shifted and took different turns. Maybe I wont’ mess up a good thing and stick with what I’m comfortable with this time around.