Kiss of Steel by Bec McMaster

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.

Kiss of Steel by Bec McMasterKiss of Steel by Bec McMaster
Series: London Steampunk #1
Published by Tantor Audio on May 13, 2013
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
four-stars

Most people avoid the dreaded Whitechapel district. For Honoria Todd, it's the last safe haven. But at what price?

Blade is known as the master of the rookeries—no one dares cross him. It's been said he faced down the Echelon's army single–handedly, that ever since being infected by the blood–craving he's been quicker, stronger, almost immortal.

When Honoria shows up at his door, his tenuous control comes close to snapping. She's so…innocent. He doesn't see her backbone of steel—or that she could be the very salvation he's been seeking.

In my earlier days as a book blogger I remember Kiss of Steel by Bec McMaster being one of the first steampunk stories I’d ever read, the other being Kate Locke’s series – Immortal Empire. I seriously fell in love with the world that McMaster created and the paranormal elements she molded to fit in with everything. When I saw the opportunity to listen to the audio version on McMaster’s entire London Steampunk series with Alison Larkin narrating, I knew that I had to experience this series in this format – the sample I listened to hooked me as well.

As always whenever you are revisiting a series in another format you are going to experience some inconsistencies simply because when you read it for yourself you imagine how certain characters sound, look, and the way they carry themselves. In listening to Kiss of Steel with Larkin’s narration behind it I did find myself not really liking her portrayal of Blade’s voice. Now the interpretation could be completely wrong on my part because I have no idea how his English accent was supposed to sound, but I envisioned him with a deeper voice. I digress, Larkin did an amazing job with everything and everyone except for Blade’s character.

The story of Kiss of Steel was also something that drew me in immediately. Yeah there are vampires within Kiss of Steel, which have been included in paranormal stories for decades upon decades, but the way that McMaster penned the challenges, hierarchy, and world elements within Kiss of Steel sets it apart from other paranormal/steampunk stories you will ever read.

Since I never did get pass Kiss of Steel when I was going through this series the first time I’m super excited to see how the world McMaster created expands and changes as the series goes on, plus I want to see how the series transitions into the spin-off series The Blue Blood Conspiracy.

 

 

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.

Veiled by Karina Halle

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.

Veiled by Karina HalleVeiled by Karina Halle
Published by Tantor Audio on October 25, 2016
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
four-stars

Death. It's something that Ada Palomino has always known so well, having grown up in a house of horrors, surrounded by a family plagued by ghosts and demons and things that go bump in the night. But after the sudden and tragic death of her mother two years ago, death has never felt so personal. Or so close. Now eighteen, Ada is trying to move on with her life, and the last month of summer holds nothing but sunshine and promises with her first year at a Portland design school just around the bend. That is, until her increasingly violent and realistic dreams, dreams of other worlds, of portals and veils where her mother is tortured and souls bleed for mercy, start to blend into reality. Ada has to lean on her older sister, Perry, to try and make sense of it all, but even then, she's never felt more alone. Then there's Jay. Tall, handsome, and deeply mysterious, Jay would be just another stranger, a familiar face on the bus, if it wasn't for the fact that Ada has met him before. Every night. In every single dream. And the more that Ada is drawn to him in both worlds, the more she's in danger of losing everything-including her heart, and her very soul. Contains mature themes.

Veiled in audiobook format has reinstated the truth that not every narrator can narrate any book. Or maybe the message for me is that ‘not every books can be listened to in audiobook format.’ I think because of the hard time I had in listening to Veiled I will try to re-read this for myself and see if I’m able to connect with the story, and being the type of person I am I think I’m also going to try another Jo Raylan narration for second chance sake.

I don’t know the mechanics behind the production of Veiled, or whether Karina Halle had any say so or what, but Raylan somewhat ruined this story for me. The breathy way she acted out Ada’s character made it hard to want to continue on with Veiled. I couldn’t help but reflexively shout in my head, “No, that’s not how she’s supposed to sound!”

Karina Halle’s writing really saved Veiled, I would’ve hated to have miss out on its story with all the paranormal elements, and its smooth flow because I have a feeling that this will be a story I’ll have a hard time putting down once I do get my hands on the actual book and read it for myself.

The romance interspersed within Veiled prompted me to practice my eye rolling skills. I usually love romance in a paranormal stories but with the tone set for Veiled I felt that the romance was unnecessary – again, I probably shouldn’t commit to these thoughts because I have a feeling they’ll probably change during the re-read. It’s not that I hate romance now or anything, it’s just I’m tired of it coming in and ruining a good thing lol.

When I’m With You by Harper Sloan @TantorAudio

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.

When I’m With You by Harper Sloan @TantorAudioWhen I'm With You by Harper Sloan
Series: Hope Town #3
Published by Tantor Audio on July 20, 2016
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
three-stars

Nate: It's nearly impossible to be surrounded by love but not understand it. My parents, my sister, and just about everyone around us has no trouble accepting that love. To give your trust to someone else and believe they would die before hurting you. I've witnessed it-I've seen the power of it-but I've also seen the pain. Because for me, I've only loved someone I could never have, and my biggest fear is that by giving her my love, all I would do is ruin her. I should have tried harder, but I'm not sure I can because I only feel complete when I'm with her.

Emberlyn: The only time I feel like I belong is when he's near. His infectious smile warms me straight to my bones. Any insecurities I have vanish with just a wink from him. A sliver of his attention makes me feel invincible. But all it took was one drunken night of truths for me to lose everything I had begun to crave. Now, I'm not sure how to move on because I only feel complete when I'm with him.He said I was too young. I said he was perfect. He said our families wouldn't understand. I said we could weather any storm. He said he would ruin me. And he was right.

When it was made known that Harper Sloan was going to work on stories for the second generation of the characters from her Corps Security series I was ecstatic. I won’t say that Sloan’s Corps Security series was a favorite, but her alpha males were some of the first that I had ever read, so her stories will always hold a special place for me.

As soon as When I’m With You started, with Shirl Rae’s narration and all, I immediately knew that the heroine and I were going to have a problem connecting. It’s been a minute since I’ve read a new adult story, and this would be the first time that I’ve actually listened to a new adult story, so I guess I forgot why I shied away from these type of stories for so long.

Before Emberlyn initiated the play she felt she had to make with Nate I was sort of digging her ballsy attitude in going for what she wanted dang the consequences. So while I understand why she did what she did, I was still pissed especially after Nate said what he said once she walked away…UGH talk about unnecessary angst. Regardless of all of that, I am seriously thankful for not only Sloan’s writing but also for Rae’s narration of Nate’s character; her voice sort of made Emberlyn more annoying that what I think she should’ve been.

Nate I will have to say carried the same things that made me enjoy Cooper, Cage and the rest the alpha male’s from Sloan’s Corps Security series, but just like with Emberlyn his actions at the start of When I’m With You disappointed me and made it hard to want to connect with him. I did struggle with his character but since Rae’s narration was so on point for his perspective I just sat back and tried to enjoy as much as I could of the story; like I said “unnecessary angst.”

I do want to try another Shirl Rae narration just from the potential she showed with When I’m With You, as for Harper Sloan I think I’ve sort of moved pass her writing style and my tastes have drastically changed.