Review: All the Colors of Night

Review: All the Colors of NightAll the Colors of Night (Fogg Lake #2) by Jayne Ann Krentz
Series: Fogg Lake #2
Published by Berkley on January 5, 2021
Genres: Contemporary, Paranormal
Pages: 304
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION: Enjoyable contemporary suspense with a lot of paranormal talent dropped in. Krentz is always at her best when she incorporates paranormal into her works. I’m glad she is back to this mode.

THE STORY: Sierra Raines, an antique expert, has had some employment problems after a false accusation. She uses her psychic talent in her professional and has taken on being a go-between in the dealing of paranormal objects. North Chastain is referred to Sierra as he needs help to track down an object to help save his father. North works for the secretive Foundation, using his psychic abilities. The two end up in Fogg Lake as the area is connected with the Chastain family’s past.

OPINION: My favorite part of this book was the paranormal mystery. I liked the characters, but the focus of the story is clearly on the “suspense” aspect. I wanted more time and concentration on the characters, but it is clear that Krentz has decided to move away from her earlier “romance” focused books. That is a shame because those books are amazing both as romance and as suspense. In this book, the characters always seem shallower and as a result, I’m less interested in their story. Their love seems based primarily on being involved in this case.

Now that I’ve gotten that complaint, I did enjoy this book quite a bit. Krentz always has a good combination of suspense and humor. The story remains quickly moving and on the lighter side of suspense books. I really liked that Krentz has brought her paranormal storylines back into her contemporaries.

So while I liked this book, it lacks the depth and memorable characters that I loved in Krentz’s book from the 1990s and early 2000s.

WORTH MENTIONING: The end of this book sets up the next book in the series.

CONNECTED BOOKS: ALL THE COLORS ON NIGHT is the second book in the Fogg Lake series. While the romance here is self-contained, there are characters and a mystery that continues from the first book, so it is better to read that one first. The book also has references to Krentz’s Arcane series. It is not necessary to read those book, but plenty of Easter Eggs for fans.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

 

four-stars

Review: Archangel’s Sun

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


Review: Archangel’s SunArchangel's Sun (Guild Hunter, #13) by Nalini Singh
Series: Guild Hunter #13
Published by Berkley on November 24, 2020
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 368
Goodreads
four-half-stars

 

FINAL DECISION: This was definitely not a pairing that I expected, but it worked so well. Titus is sweeter than I expected with him playing the long-suffering brother of four sisters. Sharine is a woman who is finding herself with a vengeance, reconciling her past, and showing the strength that she lacked in the past. Loved these two and enjoyed being reoriented to the aftermath of the archangelic war.

THE STORY: In the aftermath of the archangelic war from the last book, the new version of the reborn continues to threaten the continent of Africa. Titus is a powerful archangel, but he cannot stop the scourge alone. Instead of the warrior help he thinks he needs, he is sent the Hummingbird, an unworldly angel known as a great artist. Sharine has only begun to find herself after emerging from her broken mental state. The two must join forces to prevent the reborn from overtaking the world.

OPINION: This book is a lovely mature story with characters who have led full lives. That gives this book depth and interest. This book had the feeling of a woman’s journey. It is Sharine who is the focus here. She is finding herself after being the beloved Hummingbird who is vague and not of the world because her mind was broken. Here, she is rediscovering herself, dealing with the heartaches of her past, and building a new life and purpose for herself.

Titus is an archangel who has enjoyed life and then is quickly devastated by an angel he did not expect. Titus is amazingly loyal and strong, but there is an incredible sweetness to his relationship with Sharine. These two have strength and I enjoyed their interaction.

The aftermath of the war is not a pleasant place, but this book has more hope and comfort than I expected. Indeed, while there are still bad secrets, this book feels much lighter after all the death and destruction in the prior two books.

I also enjoyed that his book marks a change in the series as we get a whole new cast of characters whose stories can be told in future books. That bodes well for the series continuing.

WORTH MENTIONING: Raphael and the Seven are not main characters here, they only make small appearances.

CONNECTED BOOKS: ARCHANGEL’S SUN is the thirteenth book in the Guild Hunter series. The romance here is self-contained, however, the world and the characters assume familiarity with the other books in the series. Do yourself a favor and start at the beginning.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.

NOTE: I received an eARC of this book via Netgalley which was used to prepare this review. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

 

four-half-stars

Review: Alpha Night

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


Review: Alpha NightAlpha Night (Psy-Changeling Trinity, #4; Psy-Changeling, #19) by Nalini Singh
Published by Berkley on June 9, 2020
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 368
Goodreads
four-half-stars

FINAL DECISION: A fast-paced, action packed entry in the series. I was amazed by the end to realize that only a few days had passed. Loved the alpha heroine queen and her devoted knight. The only negative is that is hard getting to know another changeling group. Hopefully, we will have all the main characters of the Trinity series soon so that every book is not a new group.

THE STORY: Selenka Durev is an alpha wolf who meets Arrow Ethan Night and instantly knows that he is her mate. Selenka’s pack is in danger as the Architect continues to make plans to disrupt the fragile peace of the Trinity Accord and build an empire for herself. Ethan believes himself damaged and operating on borrowed time before his mind becomes a weapon that must be destroyed. An mating between two strangers who have both been betrayed is difficult. There is something different about Ethan that the two must investigate while getting to know one another.

OPINION: Enjoyable entry in the Trinity series. This was an interesting combination of personalities. Selenka and Ethan were definitely not what I was expecting. Having a female alpha changeling was great with different issues. I especially liked that Selenka is definitely just as ruthless as an alpha as Lucas and Hawke but gives the alpha role a different twist. (Valentin is the softie of the group — but bears). Ethan is a different Arrow than what we have seen before as well. Singh is expanding and breaking her own constructs which only makes this series more compelling and complex with every book.

Ethan’s condition kept me interested to the end and I was not expecting what the resolution was. It was surprising and yet completely obvious once I knew the ending. Singh did a great job planting clues and yet not giving the game away.

My only slight disappointment/complaint is that once again we are introduced to another new group — BlackEdge. I’m hoping that now that we have three packs, the books will begin to explore more deeply the characters and dynamics we have already been introduced to. Much of each of these books in the Trinity series has to take time to introduce the particular dynamics and characters which is understandable but keeps this spin-off series from really rising to the levels of the original. Let’s have some more BlackEdge, BlackSea or StoneWater characters!

WORTH MENTIONING: There are some cameo appearances by beloved characters from the original cast, but they are only cameos.

CONNECTED BOOKS: ALPHA NIGHT is the fourth book in the Psy-Changeling Trinity Series. It is also the nineteenth book in the Psy-Changeling series. A reader could pick up the series at the start of the Trinity series. While the story here is mostly self-contained and the romance is completely self-contained, there is so much world-building and background that a newcomer to the series might spend a lot of time trying to catch up.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.

NOTE: I received an eARC of this book via Netgalley. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

four-half-stars

Review: Close Up

Review: Close UpClose Up (Burning Cove #4) by Amanda Quick
Series: Burning Cove #4
Published by Berkley on May 5, 2020
Genres: Historical, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 304
Goodreads
five-stars

 

FINAL DECISION: This is one of the best of the series. I loved the paranormal elements that have crept back into the Krentz/Quick books. Vivian and Nick are a good couple and their relationship works well here combined with the mystery.

THE STORY: Vivian Brazier gave up a cushy life with a wealthy family when she refused to marry her parent’s handpicked man and instead left to make her way as an art photographer. To pay her bills, however, Vivian moonlights as a crime scene photographer selling photos to newspapers. When she becomes a target for a killer, Nick Sundridge is sent to warn and protect her.

OPINION: This was a thoroughly enjoyable book. I have really enjoyed the setting both in time and place for this series. The 1930’s California setting feels fresh and intriguing. Vivian, like many women of the era, is inventing herself and new roles for women. She has rejected the role that her family has chosen for her and instead struck off on her own. In her job and in her relationship with Nick, she is inventing herself.

Nick is a man struggling with his psychic talent which he often sees as a curse. He has a bad history with women in danger. His special talents make him just the guy to protect Vivian, but she is also a reminder of his previous failures.

These two are great together. I loved their work in investigating the threat against Vivian which also leads to the reason why she is being targeted which is another mystery they must solve together.

The two also have chemistry that sparkles on the page.  This is my favorite of the series so far because these two just feel well rounded, fun, sexy and full of conflicts and I just wanted to find out the resolution of their story.

WORTH MENTIONING: I am happy that Krentz is again including psychic paranormal elements in her books. Most of my favorite books of hers have at least some paranormal elements. There are also small references to the Arcane Society for those who read that series.

CONNECTED BOOKS: CLOSE UP is the fourth book in the Burning Cove series. However, the romance here is self-contained and it can be read as a standalone.

STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book from Edelweiss. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

 

five-stars

Review: The Vanishing

Review: The VanishingThe Vanishing (Fogg Lake #1) by Jayne Ann Krentz
Series: Fogg Lake #1
Published by Berkley on January 7, 2020
Genres: Paranormal, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 294
Goodreads
four-half-stars

FINAL DECISION: Most of my favorite Krentz books have paranormal elements. This book is a return for Krentz to romantic suspense with paranormal elements and this book has an energy that reminds me of some of my favorite books.

THE STORY: Due to an incident years ago, some Fogg Lake residents have paranormal abilities. Catalina Lark, who uses her abilities in her job as a private investigator, is trying to discover what has happened to her best friend who has disappeared. Catalina ends up joining forces with scientist Slate Trevelyan. Catalina and Slate discover that her friend’s disappearance is connected with a murder she and Catalina believe they saw as teens — the murder that no one else believes occurs.

OPINION: I really enjoyed this one. Catalina and Slate were a good match and I really liked that the romance was serious in this one rather than only a small portion of the story. The book does have an overarching mystery and there is still more to be discovered in future books which is the structure of Krentz’s recent series.

I liked the interaction between Catalina and Slate. They definitely had a northwest character vibe to them which was cute. I really liked these two. Krenty definitely knows how to write idiosyncratic characters and I liked the quirks of these two. There was plenty of danger and suspense to keep the plot moving.

This was an easy read and while the immediate mystery was resolved, there is more left open to set up the series.

WORTH MENTIONING: Lark and Trevelyan are familiar names to readers of Krentz. While it is completely unnecessary to read other books of closely or distantly related people, it is clear that all these books take place in the same universe.

CONNECTED BOOKS: THE VANISHING is the first book in the Fogg Lake series.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.

four-half-stars

Review: A Murderous Relation

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


Review: A Murderous RelationA Murderous Relation (Veronica Speedwell, #5) by Deanna Raybourn
Series: Veronica Speedwell #5
Published by Berkley on March 10, 2020
Genres: Historical, Mystery
Pages: 320
Goodreads
five-stars

FINAL DECISION: The book I have definitely been waiting for in this series. Funny and romantic and a great mystery.

THE STORY: Veronica Speedwell and her partner in crime Stoker are asked to retrieve a jewel that can link the prince to a notorious private club. Veronica and Stoker end up having to go undercover at the brothel where they run across a murder victim whose murder threatens the royal family. At the same time, it is 1888 and Jack the Ripper is haunting the streets of London.

OPINION: Smart and funny. I loved this book. This is the book that fans of the series have been waiting for. The book has mystery and thrilling adventure and romance and humor and emotion. I couldn’t put in down from page one and I was cheering by the end of the book.

As with the other books in this series, I love how Veronica and Stoker use their intelligence and daring to solve the case. There is more going on than it appears in teh beginning and the multiple threads of the stories are woven together so well by the end.

The book is entertaining and the connection between Veronica and Stoker just keeps getting better. This series is not a romance but rather a historical mystery with strong romance parts, but I just love the story here. These two are perfect together — both as partners in their investigations and as love interests.

I don’t want to give away anything as to the mystery…but it is good as well.

WORTH MENTIONING: Good news that the series will continue.

CONNECTED BOOKS: A MURDEROUS RELATION is the fifth book in the Veronica Speedwell series. Each book has a self-contained mystery story. There are, however, overarching stories related to the characters which makes this series better read in order.

STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.

NOTE: I received an eARC of this book via Netgalley. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own. I also purchased a hardcover copy of the book after its release.

five-stars

Review: The Art of Theft

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


Review: The Art of TheftThe Art of Theft (Lady Sherlock, #4) by Sherry Thomas
Series: Lady Sherlock #4
Published by Berkley on October 15, 2019
Genres: Historical, Mystery
Pages: 336
Goodreads
four-half-stars

 

FINAL DECISION: This book leans towards adventure more than cerebral mystery, but it works very well. I especially enjoyed those surrounding Sherlock Holmes joining together as a group to investigate. Grounded nicely in character and emotion, I enjoyed the progression of the various characters stories.

THE STORY: Following the intensely personal events of THE HOLLOW OF FEAR, this book turns to the supporting characters in the series who have bigger roles here and their history and relationships are explored more. It is Mrs. Watson who desperately needs the help of Sherlock Holmes and the cast of characters to help an old friend. The group end up traveling to France to steal a piece of art.

OPINION: After the intensity of the prior book being focused on Charlotte and Lord Ingram, this book primarily focuses on others in Sherlock’s orbit. There is much progression here character wise. (We do also get some of the emotional aftermath between Charlotte and Ash).

This book goes in a new direction with more of a heist book than a thoughtful mystery. I enjoyed both the mystery and the character moments in this book. As with all the books in this series, this feels original and interesting. Charlotte is a singular character — my favorite adaption of the Sherlock Holmes character.

Every moment feels fresh and interesting. I love the characters and I want to know how they are going to solve the mystery that comes before Charlotte. This book is very much a collaborate effort between the various characters and while Charlotte is definitely the lead, this one feels more like a group effort. There are more characters who rise to importance and their stories are intriguing as more secrets are revealed.

With plenty of exciting adventures, this one kept me turning pages until the end. (And what an ending…now I have to wait a year for the next in the series, oh no!)

WORTH MENTIONING: As with other books in this series, the main story here is completed, but the book ends on a cliffhanger for the next in the series.

CONNECTED BOOKS: THE ART OF THEFT is the fourth book in the Lady Sherlock series. While the mystery here is self-contained, the characters and the overarching stories make this deeply connected with the other books in the series. I believe a reader should start at the beginning, otherwise, there is much to the mystery that will be unanswerable.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

 

four-half-stars

Review: Archangel’s War

Review: Archangel’s WarArchangel's War (Guild Hunter, #12) by Nalini Singh
Series: Guild Hunter #12
Published by Berkley on September 24, 2019
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 478
Goodreads
five-stars

FINAL DECISION: Fabulous book that was with action and heart from the first page to the last. Singh just gets better and better. Highly recommend!

THE STORY: Beginning immediately after the events of ARCHANGEL’S PROPHECY, this book reveals what has happened to Elena and Raphael after they attempted to defy fate in making Elena a blank vessel for Raphael’s power.

OPINION: This is a book where it is infinitely better to stop reading reviews and just get to the book.

Just about everything that can be said is a spoiler, so my comments will remain general.

I loved the scope, the action, the romance, the heart of this book. It fulfills all the promise of the prior book. It is a long book, but it never drags and I can’t imagine any moment, any scene, any character that could have been excised. I loved every moment and immediately went back to re-read whole sections.

Singh is a master of these complicated multi-character worlds and this book brings the entire scope of the series to New York. The threads of the story are multifaceted and it manages to be amazingly fulfilling to those who have committed to the series. Singh knows her characters inside and out and each one sparkles on the page.

This book had high stakes and it was better than I could have wished.

This book was the best new book I have read this year. It was such a great reading experience, I can’t imagine that any other book will be able to top it.

WORTH MENTIONING: I wish these books were available in hardcover.

CONNECTED BOOKS: ARCHANGEL’S WAR is the twelfth book in the Guild Hunter series. This series should be read in order.

STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.

five-stars

Review: Death in Kew Gardens

Review: Death in Kew GardensDeath in Kew Gardens (Kat Holloway Mysteries, #3) by Jennifer Ashley
Series: Below Stairs Mysteries #3
Published by Berkley on June 4, 2019
Genres: Historical, Mystery
Pages: 320
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION: A solid entry in the series. Here the mystery predominates over the character stories.

THE STORY: Cook Kat Holloway finds herself mixed up in murder again when a man with a secret gifts her with a box of teas. When he becomes the prime suspect in the murder of the man next door. Kat becomes embroiled in the investigation which involves issues of colonialism and tea secrets stolen from China.

OPINION: The mystery here was good in that I didn’t figure out the culprit until the end. On the negative side, I was not that interested in the details of the tea trade here. That led my mind to wandering during lengthy explanations regarding motives and such. I wanted the story to be more personal to Kat. Instead, this felt like a standard mystery book, and I really didn’t buy her connection to the story here. Despite this, I enjoyed the book but it is my least favorite in the series so far.

WORTH MENTIONING: There is not much on the romance side here in this book. I wanted more Kat and Daniel.

CONNECTED BOOKS: DEATH IN KEW GARDENS is the third book in the Below Stairs Mysteries (also known as the Kat Holloway Mysteries/Murders). The mystery here is self contained and thus this book can be read as a standalone. There are ongoing storylines for the characters, however, so new readers should be aware that the characters and their personal stories develop from book to book.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars

Review: Wolf Rain

Review: Wolf RainWolf Rain (Psy-Changeling Trinity, #3; Psy-Changeling, #18) by Nalini Singh
Published by Berkley on June 4, 2019
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 416
Goodreads
four-half-stars

FINAL DECISION: At times painful and sad but ultimately redeeming and powerful, Memory and Alexei take readers back to SnowDancer and many beloved characters, but new things are awakening in the Psy-Changeling world.

THE STORY: Memory has been held by a man who sought to control her psychic abilities. When she is rescued by an ill tempered wolf changeling, he labels her an empath, but Memory knows that she is no empath as her power is dark and dangerous. Alexei has been keeping an emotional distance from his pack, but a tough but vulnerable woman opens him up to emotions that he doesn’t want to have. But his desire to help the vulnerable takes him on a journey to help solve the questions around Memory.

OPINION: This book had a different feel that others in this series. This felt like a suspense or mystery book at times with lots of questions and various suspects sprinkled throughout. Indeed, the book starts out with a mysterious woman and then Alexei meets her and the two are off.

Memory is a woman who discovers herself through the story. She had the possibility of being seriously damaged and allowing herself to be beaten. Instead, she emerges from her trauma as a woman determined to be her own person. I loved her story because she is a testament to strength and will. I found her to be a worthy match for one of those difficult wolves.

Alexei is a man who has been faced with too many shocks and disappointments. He functions, but is pretty broken when this book begins. He feels like he has lost any possibility for a future because of his destiny. Yet he manages to contribute to his pack. And that his the amazing thing about Alexei — he is steady and dependable even in the midst of his personal crisis.

So as the book begins Memory and Alexei are both facing an uncertain future and a past that haunts and perhaps controls them. There is also deep questions about destiny and free will — are these characters destined for unhappy endings or can they control their own fate and make their own futures?

One of the things I love most about Singh’s Psy-Changeling series is that the books always take these characters as part of a bigger world. And these characters sit right in the middle of the original Psy-Changeling world of DarkRiver and SnowDancer. Thus, there are plenty of updates on beloved characters which makes this book a welcome surprise.

Yet things are changing in the Psy-Changeling world. New dangers are appearing and we certainly get to know more about what is happening in the Psy-Changeling world. But the book always tilts towards telling the story of the characters and this book just made me happy. There is sadness and darkness, but I loved that we end up in a place of hope and happiness.

WORTH MENTIONING: There are plenty of appearances by characters from the original series.

CONNECTED BOOKS: WOLF RAIN is the eighteenth book in the Psy-Changeling series and the third book in the Psy-Changeling Trinity series. The romance here is self-contained, but the series has ongoing conflicts and characters which cross the series so I think this is better read as part of the series (at least the Trinity series).

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.

four-half-stars