Raven Cursed by Faith Hunter

Raven Cursed by Faith HunterRaven Cursed by Faith Hunter
Series: Jane Yellowrock #4
Published by Audible Frontier on January 3, 2012
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Goodreads
three-half-stars

The vampires of Asheville, North Carolina, want to establish their own clan, but since they owe loyalty to the Master Vampire of New Orleans they must work out the terms with him. To come up with an equitable solution, he sends an envoy with the best bodyguard blood money can buy: Jane Yellowrock.

But when a group of local campers are attacked by something fanged, Jane goes from escort to investigator. Unless she wants to face a very angry master vampire, she will have to work overtime to find the killer. It's a good thing she's worth every penny.

The reviews of Raven Cursed by Faith Hunter didn’t have me as wary as I thought they would. Matter of fact the reviews on this series I feel have been warranted but are a little premature because with the vastness of Hunter’s Jane Yellowrock series it’s going to take a few installments to work out all of the kinks, as well as the character development of some really complex characters.

Within the beginning of Raven Cursed I found myself checking out a lot, mentally. Since I was listening to this on audio, I sort of got lost in all of the dialogue and explanation that Jane had to go through with the new circumstances between Kinenbi (I think that’s how you spell his name), Rick, and Molly and her family. Sadly, I didn’t check back into Raven Cursed until about halfway through, when the action stared to make itself known.

Having read Hunter’s Soulwood series, and using that series as the persuasion to jump back into her Jane Yellowrock’s series, it’s fascinating to see how certain elements that make up the Soulwood series originated with the Jane Yellowrock series. For example, the grindalow’s (hope I’m spelling this right, it’s hard figuring out spelling when you only listen via audiobook) was a character I was curious about from the Soulwood series so it’s awesome that for Raven Cursed this species was sort of the focal point of the conflict that Jane faced.

With this installment in the Jane Yellowrock series there was another shift within the Jane, Rick, and Bruiser love triangle. In the last read I was totally team Bruiser because I actually saw the chemistry and longevity in a relationship between Jane and him, but in Raven Cursed Rick was actually more appealing. I don’t know if I like Hunter for showing the strengths and weaknesses between Rick and Bruiser so that I have more a well-rounded picture of who Jane will eventually pick and how viable a relationship could be with her, or loath her for what she’s trying to do, it’s no secret that I can’t stand Rick LaFleur – I don’t even like him in her Soulwood series lol.

My hope for the next story in this series is that things pick up with all the main characters and reappearing supporting characters. I also hope that Jane either finds out more about herself or her secret is blown wide open because her ability to cover up what she is is starting to get sloppy and it’s starting to make the other intelligent characters look dumb because they haven’t put two and two together.

Should I say again how awesome Khristine Hvam’s narration was for Raven Cursed? No, you all know that already? Awesome, lol.

About Faith Hunter

Faith Hunter, fantasy writer, was born in Louisiana and raised all over the south. She writes three Urban Fantasy series: the Skinwalker series, featuring Jane Yellowrock, a Cherokee skinwalker who hunts rogue vampires. The Soulwood series, featuring earth magic user Nell Ingram. And the Rogue Mage novels, a dark, urban, post-apocalyptic, fantasy series featuring Thorn St. Croix, a stone mage. (There is a role playing game based on the series, ROGUE MAGE.)
Under the pen name Gwen Hunter, she writes action-adventure, mysteries, and thrillers. As Faith and Gwen, she has 30+ books in print in 29 countries.
Hunter writes full-time, tries to keep house, and is a workaholic with a passion for travel, jewelry making, white-water kayaking, and writing. She and her husband love to RV, traveling with their rescued Pomeranians to whitewater rivers all over the Southeast.

Flame in the Dark by Faith Hunter

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.

Flame in the Dark by Faith HunterFlame In The Dark by Faith Hunter
Series: Soulwood #3
Published by Ace on December 5, 2017
Pages: 368 pages
Format: Kindle
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
five-stars

Nell Ingram has always known she was different. Since she was a child, she’s been able to feel and channel ancient powers from deep within the earth. When she met Jane Yellowrock, her entire life changed, and she was recruited into PsyLED—the Homeland Security division that polices paranormals. But now her newly formed unit is about to take on its toughest case yet.

A powerful senator barely survives an assassination attempt that leaves many others dead—and the house he was visiting burns to the ground. Invisible to security cameras, the assassin literally disappears, and Nell’s team is called in. As they track a killer they know is more—or less—than human, they unravel a web of dark intrigue and malevolent motives that tests them to their limits and beyond.

Flame in the Dark by Faith Hunter brought everything that I loved about this extended world that Hunter created, along with the growth of the members of Unit Eighteen. The conflict they found themselves facing stumped me for the entirety of this installment and I have to admit that that was an unexpected treat in and of itself.

With how explosive the ending of Curse of The Land was, and just the unexpected nature of the characters and tone of Hunter’s Soulwood series, I was left going in blind with Flame in the Dark. While I loved this aspect, I also found myself anxious because other than what I knew of the characters there was nothing to hold onto when it came to this new chapter.

A lot of the relationship dynamics within Unit Eighteen of the PsyLED has changed since Curse of The Land thanks to both what Nell had to do in order to save Rick, and some intimate relationships appearing between other members, as well as the inclusion of Soul who’s almost as strange as Nell. You would think that when the conflict and mystery was presented that the interoffice situations would be overwhelming and/or irritating, but I thoroughly enjoyed the changes happening between the characters and the growth of their connections. With how the conflict and mystery completely stumped everyone involved, it during the down time that Unit Eighteen was able to find within HQ and at Nell’s farm that helps you remain interested instead of being burned out with all the ‘what if’s’ and never ending clues being dropped on almost every page.

The reason I’ve noticed why Hunter’s Soulwood series is my favorite over her Jane Yellowrock series is because of the authentic growth of Nell and the more popular secondary characters. Knowing Nell’s background in God’s Cloud Glory Church you’ll realize that everything she encounters from Blood of the Earth to Flame In The Dark are things that she’s learning and honing for the first time, so I love that she doesn’t have dumb and irresponsible moments because it would be a betrayal of the core of her character. Nell is such a champion and survivor and advocate for others that I find myself a die hard Nell fan. The way she goes about taking care of the Brother Ephraim’s essence on Soulwood, the fate of her younger sister Mud who still resides on church ground, her attraction to Occam, and how she takes things thrown her way with such balls is amazing to me.

Every clue that was revealed and hinted at within Flame in the Dark constantly left me in a state of huh?. Just when I would think I would know what direction the story would go in, Hunter would drop another hint or clue that had me reevaluating everything revealed, just as she did with the characters. Flame in the Dark fed my mystery, romance, and fantasy appetite in spectacular fashion and I can’t wait to see what the next installment of this series could bring, especially with how this story ended.

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About Faith Hunter

Faith Hunter, fantasy writer, was born in Louisiana and raised all over the south. She writes three Urban Fantasy series: the Skinwalker series, featuring Jane Yellowrock, a Cherokee skinwalker who hunts rogue vampires. The Soulwood series, featuring earth magic user Nell Ingram. And the Rogue Mage novels, a dark, urban, post-apocalyptic, fantasy series featuring Thorn St. Croix, a stone mage. (There is a role playing game based on the series, ROGUE MAGE.)
Under the pen name Gwen Hunter, she writes action-adventure, mysteries, and thrillers. As Faith and Gwen, she has 30+ books in print in 29 countries.
Hunter writes full-time, tries to keep house, and is a workaholic with a passion for travel, jewelry making, white-water kayaking, and writing. She and her husband love to RV, traveling with their rescued Pomeranians to whitewater rivers all over the Southeast.

Mercy Blade by Faith Hunter @HunterFaith

Mercy Blade by Faith Hunter @HunterFaithMercy Blade by Faith Hunter
Series: Jane Yellowrock #3
Published by Audible Frontier on January 4, 2011
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Jane Yellowrock, a shape-shifting rogue-vampire hunter-for-hire, is now taking blood money from the very vamps she used to hunt. But things start heating up in the Big Easy when weres announce their existence to the world, and revive the bitter tensions that run between them and their old enemies -- vampires. Jane finds herself caught in the crossfire.

The only goal I had in continuing on in this series with Mercy Blade was to figure out what the heck happened between Rick and Jane. I totally blame the fact that I stopped reading the Jane Yellowrock series to start Faith Hunter’s Soulwood series, but it’s awesome that both series criss cross and pump up the interest of each other.

In being caught up with Hunter’s Soulwood series I knew I couldn’t go any further without finding out how Rick and Jane hooked up and become a ‘them,’ as well as finding out what were the circumstances that split them apart. I do believe it was the spoiler that Rick and Jane became a item that made me pause on this series and try the Soulwood series for more of what I was looking for out of an Urban Fantasy series. I passionately disliked Rick LaFleur so I wasn’t excited to see Jane partnered up with him, and also at the time I was reading about Gin Blanco hooking up with her cop and investing all these feelings when he wasn’t worth it, so I just wasn’t too keen on seeing another great heroine being brought low because of her ’emotions.’

With all that said I am officially hooked into the Jane Yellowrock series based off of Mercy Blade alone. There was action, there was suspense, and there was romance, but not in the sense that you would think or that I would’ve even imagined from what others have said about this series. Since I am such a goober when it comes to audiobook I most definitely skimmed over the hot and steamy stuff because it seriously icks me out to hear them being read to me lol. Instead of the series dulling for me, which is something you can usually tell right around the 3rd or 4th book, I have a good feeling that I will be just as invested in the future books as I was in Mercy Blade.

While I wasn’t sold on the Rick and Jane’s romance since I’ve always been a Bruiser fan, I started to become a believer throughout Mercy Blade and became kinda iffy about Jane possibly choosing Bruiser in the end. Bruiser seriously has too much baggage attached to him; Leo, his background, his loyalties, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. With all that Jane is going through I don’t think that Bruiser would be a good fit for her, and I just don’t see a compatible match between them in the near future because of the things each needs to work through.

At this point in Jane’s storyline and especially, I think, with all that went down in Mercy Blade, she needs to stop tiptoeing around who she is because there were numerous moments during Mercy Blade where there were some close calls, and also where Beast (or some other animal) might’ve been helpful. I’ve never been a big fan of secrets within a storyline, especially if the series or book is built on a complex world with delicate parts, so there’s only so much of Jane keeping Beast a secret that I will be able to tolerate before this aspect of Jane’s character gets old. With each book it seems that we’re introduced to new supernatural beings and it’s only a matter of time before Jane runs up against someone or something that will know what she is and expose her if she doesn’t reveal things soon.

It was great that Hunter introduced the werewolves but didn’t incorporate them only for them to steal the show. As much as I love me some werewolf stories,  I seriously think that werewolves get entirely too much spotlight across the paranormal board.

I’m excited to see what Jane will be up against in the next installment, but it’s both tragic and relieving to know how Rick got turned as well as the possible factors that broke him and Jane up.

About Faith Hunter

Faith Hunter, fantasy writer, was born in Louisiana and raised all over the south. She writes three Urban Fantasy series: the Skinwalker series, featuring Jane Yellowrock, a Cherokee skinwalker who hunts rogue vampires. The Soulwood series, featuring earth magic user Nell Ingram. And the Rogue Mage novels, a dark, urban, post-apocalyptic, fantasy series featuring Thorn St. Croix, a stone mage. (There is a role playing game based on the series, ROGUE MAGE.)
Under the pen name Gwen Hunter, she writes action-adventure, mysteries, and thrillers. As Faith and Gwen, she has 30+ books in print in 29 countries.
Hunter writes full-time, tries to keep house, and is a workaholic with a passion for travel, jewelry making, white-water kayaking, and writing. She and her husband love to RV, traveling with their rescued Pomeranians to whitewater rivers all over the Southeast.

Curse on the Land by Faith Hunter w/ GIVEAWAY!

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.

Curse on the Land by Faith Hunter w/ GIVEAWAY!Curse on the Land by Faith Hunter
Series: Soulwood #2
on November 1, 2016
Pages: 352 pages
Source: Publisher
five-stars

Set in the same world as Faith Hunter’s New York Times bestselling Jane Yellowrock novels, the second Soulwood novel tells the story of a woman whose power comes from deep within the earth...

Before Nell Ingram met skinwalker Jane Yellowrock, she had no one to rely on, finding strength only in in her arcane connection to the dark woods around her. But now she has friends in the newly-formed PsyLED team to keep her grounded—even if being part of the agency responsible for policing paranormals presents dangers of its own...

After training at the PsyLED academy, Nell returns home to her woods to find the land feeling sick and restless. And that sickness is spreading. With the help of her team, under the leadership of agent Rick LaFleur, Nell tries to determine the cause. But nothing can prepare them for the evil that awaits: an entity that feeds on death itself. And it wants more...

When I closed the last page on Curse on the Land I didn’t know what I truly felt about its story, I think I might’ve still be in shock.

Nell’s character is completely unique from any other heroine I’ve read about before, she’s on a whole other level. I’m so grateful that she’s nothing like Jane Yellowrock (heroine from interconnected series), if there would’ve been any similarities between the two I think that I wouldn’t have been able to like Nell’s character and this series as much as I do. To be honest, there’s nothing I dislike more than reading a branched off series that holds the same characteristics as the original.

My main wish for Curse on the Land was that we would learn more about what Nell actually is, a name given that would explain her abilities. Instead we were shown more areas of her powers, and while I wished for something different you won’t hear a complaint from me.

There’s so much I want to say about Nell’s character, but words seem to escape me. Maybe it’s that her character needs to be experienced as you read these books, or maybe there’s so much mystery that still surrounds her that it would be premature to pin certain words to her. The reality is, she holds so many layers and yet she ventures a little more out of the shell that being a member of God’s Cloud of Glory Church erected around her.

***

Despite my issues with Blood of the Earth, it really laid the foundational work for this series. Curse on the Land, instead of falling in that second book slump, strongly carried on the spirit of Blood of the Earth and delivered a powerful and magnetic sequel.

I will admit that off the heels of Blood of the Earth I was somewhat expecting Curse on the Land to start off immediately with action, and while it did I have to let the brat in me out and say, “it wasn’t fast enough for my taste lol.” It’s like my excitement ramps up every time Nell communes with Soulwood. I don’t know if it’s because of the connection they have or if it’s my wonderment of how far Brother Ephraim has damaged his part of Soulwood. I just know that every time Nell places her hands on Soulwood, or any land for that matter, something is about to pop off.

There were so many unexpected twists and turns in Curse on the Land that you have to just sit back and take the story as it came to you, you couldn’t tell what was going to happen next. I had mentioned previously in a feature of Curse on the Land’s cover that I thought its story would be about the blackness or taint that Brother Ephraim had placed upon Soulwood. I had thought that would be the conflict that Nell and the PsyLED team would battle. That assumption was just the tip of the iceberg of all that Faith Hunter wove throughout Curse on the Land, just the tip.

The conflict of Curse on the Land was something I would’ve never imagined, nor would I have imagined Nell being such a dominant presence all throughout this story to the point where the hierarchical structure of the PsyLED team would be somewhat left in shambles.

***

I briefly mentioned Occam in my Blood of the Earth review, so it would be a crime not mention him in this review. I knew there was something special about his character that would make him an easy favorite of mine, and it mostly had nothing to do with his ability to shift into a leopard.

The connection he had with Nell, which was more balanced than Nell’s other attachments within the group, would be something that I knew I would have to keep my eye on. And from all that went on in Curse on the Land I was absolutely right. Not only did Occam become an anchor for Nell when she was butted up against entities who were out of this world tough, but he became the only person who Nell felt comfortable enough to practice new things with. Growing up as a member of God’s Cloud Glory Church (polygamous church), and then being the junior wife to a man that was her father’s age places restraints on a person that I don’t even want to imagine. Additionally, before Nell went to Spook School, as she calls it, she wasn’t adept at all the social interactions and sayings that we take for granted, but with Occam (he has a restrictive background too) they were both able to help each other break out of their shells.

Occam helped Nell feel comfortable enough to be sarcastic and to flirt, and Nell helped Occam take chances and learn how to court a lady (namely her but she hasn’t picked up those cues yet). Their relationship is so special that I can’t wait to read how Hunter will develop this relationship, but I do sincerely hope that Rick doesn’t come along and muck things up.

***

The magical world that Hunter has created is so unique and complex that it’ll take a few books, and maybe the continuation of the Jane Yellowrock series, before I grasp a foothold into understanding the ins and outs of this world.

Dang, I didn’t know I had this much to say on Curse on the Land, but I’ll stop right here and hope that all I’ve said is enough for you to want to read this book. I’ll put it like this, my obsession with this series is almost along the same lines as my obsession of The Others series by Anne Bishop (mic drop).

GIVEAWAY!

There is a tour-wide giveaway for 5 copies of CURSE ON THE LAND, 2 sets of the Soulwood novels (BLOOD OF THE EARTH & CURSE ON THE LAND), and a $25 gift card to Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

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About Faith Hunter

Faith Hunter, fantasy writer, was born in Louisiana and raised all over the south. She writes three Urban Fantasy series: the Skinwalker series, featuring Jane Yellowrock, a Cherokee skinwalker who hunts rogue vampires. The Soulwood series, featuring earth magic user Nell Ingram. And the Rogue Mage novels, a dark, urban, post-apocalyptic, fantasy series featuring Thorn St. Croix, a stone mage. (There is a role playing game based on the series, ROGUE MAGE.)
Under the pen name Gwen Hunter, she writes action-adventure, mysteries, and thrillers. As Faith and Gwen, she has 30+ books in print in 29 countries.
Hunter writes full-time, tries to keep house, and is a workaholic with a passion for travel, jewelry making, white-water kayaking, and writing. She and her husband love to RV, traveling with their rescued Pomeranians to whitewater rivers all over the Southeast.

Blood of the Earth by Faith Hunter

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.

Blood of the Earth by Faith HunterBlood of the Earth by Faith Hunter
Series: Soulwood #1
on August 2, 2016
Source: Publisher
three-half-stars

Set in the same world as the New York Times bestselling Jane Yellowrock novels, an all-new series starring Nell Ingram, who wields powers as old as the earth.

When Nell Ingram met skinwalker Jane Yellowrock, she was almost alone in the world, exiled by both choice and fear from the cult she was raised in, defending herself with the magic she drew from her deep connection to the forest that surrounds her.

Now, Jane has referred Nell to PsyLED, a Homeland Security agency policing paranormals, and agent Rick LaFleur has shown up at Nell’s doorstep. His appearance forces her out of her isolated life into an investigation that leads to the vampire Blood Master of Nashville.

Nell has a team—and a mission. But to find the Master’s kidnapped vassal, Nell and the PsyLED team will be forced to go deep into the heart of the very cult Nell fears, infiltrating the cult and a humans-only terrorist group before time runs out…

When I started Blood of the Earth my excitement spiked because I knew with a Faith Hunter story I would get a great dose of fantasy and suspense. What I didn’t expect, though, was to end up only liking two characters out of Blood of the Earth and struggling to get through the beginning portion. Now, when I hit the 60% mark and worked my way to the end, Blood of the Earth was definitely a winner.

The struggle I had with the beginning of Blood of the Earth stemmed from a disconnect I had with the reason behind it spinning off from the Jane Yellowrock series. At the mention of a particular mission that Jane needed Nell’s help with, the urge to stop reading and continue the Jane Yellowrock series became strong (I feel that Blood of the Earth shouldn’t and can’t be read as a standalone unless you’ve caught up in the Jane Yellowrock series). Another thing, I remember Rick from Skinwalker and Blood Cross, but the state he’s in here in Blood of the Earth also had me wanting to continue on in the Jane Yellowrock series; I kept asking myself what chain of events happened that made him the man he was in Blood of the Earth.

The first half and a tenth of Blood of the Earth was full of world building, but it was also filled with the prejudice and disrespect Rick and some of his bosses treated Nell with simply because of her ties, or lack there of, with the polygamist church she grew up in. Even though she had a hard time stepping away from their teachings she was nothing but straightforward and respectful to all that she encountered.

There wasn’t really a main male character in Blood of the Earth because Rick was sometimes not the top male in charge even though he was the head of the PsyLED unit that came seeking Nell’s help. Occam, a were-leopard and a member of the PsyLED unit, helped make Blood of the Earth more a story I couldn’t tear my eyes from reading. His devotion and willingness to be all that Nell needed to get through the challenges this mission created really endeared me to him. For the fact that he had no problem going toe to toe with Rick on behalf of Nell really showed me and Nell that he’s someone trustworthy when everything around Nell was so iffy and uncertain.

With all that said, the story of Blood of the Earth in the end worked out for me. Nell’s character was so interesting to me that I couldn’t give up on Blood of the Earth. She’s a fighter and she got dealt a crappy hand so I really wanted her to get answers, a sense of purpose, and justice for all she’d been through.

Seriously, that 60% to the end definitely made the eye-rolling irritation I felt towards Rick during more than the first half of the story worthwhile. I hope in the next installment that Nell starts to get answers to what she actually is and how she can remove the taint that Brother Ephraim placed in her woods.

As I’m writing this review I’m debating on whether I would’ve connected more with Blood of the Earth if I had listened to it on audio rather than reading it myself? But, I don’t think that I would’ve. The audio, in my opinion, would do nothing but make me like certain scenes more than I did with the voice dramatization and production.

Blood of the Earth is simply a story that shouldn’t be missed even though I had some challenges with it. I would recommend, though, catching up in the Jane Yellowrock series first.

Blood of the Earth GIVEAWAY:

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About Faith Hunter

Faith Hunter, fantasy writer, was born in Louisiana and raised all over the south. She writes three Urban Fantasy series: the Skinwalker series, featuring Jane Yellowrock, a Cherokee skinwalker who hunts rogue vampires. The Soulwood series, featuring earth magic user Nell Ingram. And the Rogue Mage novels, a dark, urban, post-apocalyptic, fantasy series featuring Thorn St. Croix, a stone mage. (There is a role playing game based on the series, ROGUE MAGE.)
Under the pen name Gwen Hunter, she writes action-adventure, mysteries, and thrillers. As Faith and Gwen, she has 30+ books in print in 29 countries.
Hunter writes full-time, tries to keep house, and is a workaholic with a passion for travel, jewelry making, white-water kayaking, and writing. She and her husband love to RV, traveling with their rescued Pomeranians to whitewater rivers all over the Southeast.