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.

Third Grave Dead Ahead by Darynda Jones

Third Grave Dead Ahead by Darynda JonesThird Grave Dead Ahead by Darynda Jones
Series: Charley Davidson #3
Published by Macmillan Audio on January 31, 2012
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Paranormal private eye. Grim reaper extraordinaire. Whatever. Charley Davidson is back in Darynda Jones' Third Grave Dead Ahead! And she’s drinking copious amounts of caffeine to stay awake because, every time she closes her eyes, she sees him: Reyes Farrow, the part human, part supermodel son of Satan. Yes, she did imprison him for all eternity, but come on. How is she supposed to solve a missing persons case, deal with an ego-driven doctor, calm her curmudgeonly dad, and take on a motorcycle gang hellbent on murder when the devil’s son just won’t give up?

Beginning Third Grave Dead Ahead I almost reached my tolerance level towards the Charlie and Reyes back-and-forth, not-really-a-relationship dance. I was so close to saying heck with this series because these two were working my nerves something fierce! But the duo that is Charlie and Cookie are what saved Third Grave Dead Ahead and this series for me; almost like Stephanie and Lula did for me in Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series.

I love, love, love Lorelei King’s narration of Darynda Jones’ Charley Davidson series. Between the story and her narration I so easily get sucked into each book and hate when it ends. At this point I no longer hear Stephanie Plum’s voice in my head because the writing of Charley’s character is finally able to speak for itself and show the distinctions.

As I stated before Cookie and Charley really saved Third Grave Dead Ahead for me because with the way things were going with Reyes I was so over their ‘romance.’ My hope when it comes to these two is that they finally realize that the world doesn’t revolve around either of them outside of them being mythical creatures and that they either choose to be together or figure out a way to work together to deal with the chaos that has been hinted to coming their way.

Outside of a few character issues I thoroughly enjoyed Third Grave Dead Ahead. Quite a few scenes at the end have to go down as my favorite, especially the moment when Charley expressed to Reyes that she no longer wanted to play the never ending game between them. This was the moment I started to get what all the hype about Charley’s character was about.

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.

Borrowed Souls by Chelsea Mueller @ChelseaVBC @skyhorsepub

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.

Borrowed Souls by Chelsea Mueller @ChelseaVBC @skyhorsepubBorrowed Souls by Chelsea Mueller
Series: Soul Charmer #1
Published by Talos on May 2, 2017
Pages: 312 pages
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
three-stars

Callie Delgado always puts family first, and unfortunately her brother knows it. She’s emptied her savings, lost work, and spilled countless tears trying to keep him out of trouble, but now he’s in deeper than ever, and his debt is on Callie’s head. She’s given a choice: do some dirty work for the mob, or have her brother returned to her in tiny pieces.

Renting souls is big business for the religious population of Gem City. Those looking to take part in immoral—or even illegal—activity can borrow someone else’s soul, for a price, and sin without consequence.

To save her brother, Callie needs a borrowed soul, but she doesn’t have anywhere near the money to pay for it. The slimy Soul Charmer is willing to barter, but accepting his offer will force Callie into a dangerous world of magic she isn’t ready for.

With the help of the guarded but undeniably attractive Derek—whose allegiance to the Charmer wavers as his connection to Callie grows—she’ll have to walk a tight line, avoid pissing off the bad guys, all while struggling to determine what her loyalty to her family’s really worth.

Losing her brother isn’t an option. Losing her soul? Maybe.

Regardless of the hard time I had with connecting with the heroine and certain parts of Borrowed Souls, it still contained everything I love about an Urban Fantasy (UF) story!

I don’t know what it is about me, but I always have a hard time connecting with the first book of any UF series I’m starting. Perfect examples of this are the number of times I’ve re-read Magic Bites and Spider’s Bite before I thought all hope was lost. In discovered these wonderful things called audiobooks I’m now in love with the Kate Daniels series and in like with the Elemental Assassin series. Maybe (or maybe not) I’ll reserve my deeper thoughts of Borrowed Souls for after I listen to it on audio (fingers crossed for audio format).

Out of all the UF stories that I’ve read and researched I have yet to come across one dealing with soul bartering, so I’m not ashamed to admit that this was the only reason I agreed to read and review this advance copy. I can say that despite the issues I had with certain parts of Borrowed Souls I do not regret the experience. Aside from the uniqueness of the story content, the heroine also stood out and achieved the individuality that I look for in a genre that is sometimes dominant in the storytelling but lacks on the character development (or at least the character development that I look for from the characters of the stories that I read).

Callie really came off as the type of character that you just had to take her as she came. She wasn’t really an open book but what you needed to know was let known to you and what you wondered about wasn’t so important that you became irked at her character because of secrets. My issue more or less with the disconnect that I had with her character came from her weakness when it came to her family. I hated the opening scene and the position she was put in because of her brother, that scene alone really set the tone for how I responded and reacted to her character throughout Borrowed Souls. But then again the disconnect could’ve also been because I didn’t know how to categorize her character, which in hindsight I sort of see this as a good thing but it could definitely become frustrating during a first installment with a lot of world building.

I don’t know about me and book two having a date in the future, but I’m definitely down for trying Borrowed Souls again if/when it comes out on audio.