Hell and Back (The Devil’s Daughter #6) by G.A. Chase

Closing the hellmouth after the devil and his demons escaped on dragonback might not have been the best idea. With an enemy in possession of her body, Sere Mal-Laurette will have to cast her soul back to hell if she hopes to put both dimensions back in order.
Time is quickly running out for Sere to save the world. Marjory Laroque has all that she needs to create her immortal army. Even worse, Aloysius is now in full devil form and ready for Marjory to possess.
Sere’s plan to thwart the powerful woman goes horribly off course when Marjory takes possession of Sere’s body instead of that of the hapless devil she created. With Sere’s soul forced back into the computer that spawned her, the devil’s daughter finds no other option but to follow the link back to hell. If she can cut Marjory’s army off at the source of its power, she might still have a chance of saving the world.
Marjory’s army of goblins and half-baked dragons do their best to intercept Sere in hell, but the badass doppelgänger girl has a few tricks up her sleeve for battling them. Getting back out of hell, however, proves far more complex than Sere imagined, requiring the help of not only those she loves but also those she mistrusts. The price for their help will test the limits of Sere’s humanity.

*sigh* Another great series has come to an end. I had no idea what to expect from The Devil’s Daughter when I first picked up Hell in a Head Gasket, but once I started, it was obvious I was destined to be hooked.

The description gives readers a pretty good idea of what Sere’s up against in this final battle, but the emotions that come into play in Hell and Back caught me totally off guard. Totally. Sere gained some interesting allies and there were times that she wasn’t quite sure who she could and couldn’t trust. Through it all, there was one constant – Bart. There were some pretty close calls, but he always had her back.

This series is full of interesting characters and they all play a major roll. None of them are perfect. Most of them have been together for a very long time. Some I may never really like, but they all add another layer to the story.

I’m always just a little sad when a series I love comes to an end. Although that’s the case with The Devil’s Daughter, I can’t complain about the way G.A. Chase wrapped things up – but kinda left things open? I could be wrong, but I don’t think we’ve seen the end of this group of characters. For now, I still have plenty of catching up to do with the Malveaux Curse Mystery series 😉

The Second Coming (Ascension #8) by SM Reine

Elise Kavanagh was once known as the Godslayer – a woman born to kill Adam, a man become God. But she defeated him and stepped into his role, taking her lifelong partner into the pantheon with her. Now she must navigate her mortal goals with her divine life, beginning with substantiating into an avatar to have James Faulkner’s baby, and ending with vengeance.

Confession time… Although I have sworn to myself to read everything from this author and urge everyone who will listen to do the same, the premise of Second Coming didn’t really appeal to me. There were a lot of readers who were anxious to read a story about Elise and James having a baby. I was not one of them. Not that I didn’t like James and Elise or thought that they more than deserved a HEA, I just couldn’t picture Elise as a loving, caring, nurturing mother figure. Turns out, neither could she, but she would pretty much do anything for James.

Because of my indifference, I wasn’t really curious enough to read a chapter at a time, so I skipped this one when it was offered to readers on Reine’s website. When it was released as a full book however, it was harder to ignore. I was pleasantly surprised that Elise and I were both wrong about that mother thing. Unsurprisingly, motherhood didn’t come naturally to Elise, at least not at first. It also didn’t take long for all H*ll broke loose – in true “Descentverse” fashion. James was gone, demons were trying to kill her and she was saddled with a helpless infant that she had no idea what to do with. To add insult to injury, the world that she and James re-created after Genesis was not at all what she expected it to be.

I had no idea what to expect when I first picked up Second Coming, but I ended up getting a lot more. There were terrifying moments, totally unexpected tender moments, heart stopping as well as heartbreaking moments (honestly – who expects to be reduced to tears by Elise Kavanagh?) Basically, Second Coming had everything that I’ve come to expect from any of the books in SM Reine’s “Decentverse” and then some. There are also a couple of huge hints that there’s more to come… and I can’t wait. 😉

Hell Away from Home (The Devil’s Daughter #5) by G.A. Chase

A sixteen-year-old doppelgänger girl in hell faces off against devils, demons, and dragons to save a world she barely knows.
All Doodlebug wanted was to get out of hell unscathed. Having paid the price for killing Sere’s mentor by beheading countless harvesters, demons, and all manner of monsters, she really thought she’d earned passage through the hellmouth. But that was before her savior went missing.
With a contingent of demon-riding dragons, a new devil on the rise, and her primary adversary on the sidelines, Marjory Laroque is no longer content with simply conducting mischief in life. In hell, there are far fewer forces to overcome.
With nowhere else to turn, Doodlebug must take on what she’d always thought to be impossible: saving the hell’s angel that raised her mentor and heroine. To achieve her mission, Doodlebug will need to face her deepest fears—and hell’s most powerful forces—while accepting help from those she fundamentally mistrusts.

Sere’s still present in Hell Away from Home, but readers spend a LOT of time in Doodlebug’s head. That’s not a bad thing, just worth mentioning and a little different than what we’ve gotten used to.

Hell Away from Home didn’t necessarily make me like Doodlebug any more than I did before. I still can’t quite get past what she took away from Sere and her family. I understand her usefulness to Sere, but she’s got a long way to go to redeem herself. Sere doesn’t quite trust her either, which keeps things interesting. Especially with all that’s at stake.

Although there’s no true cliff hanger at the end of Hell Away from Home, things are definitely up in the air. Sere’s left with not knowing exactly who she can and can’t trust – including people she’s never questioned. Hell and Back is next and I can’t wait to see where things go from here. In the mean time, I’ll spend some time catching up with Sere’s back story in the Malveaux Curse Mystery series. 😉

Soul of the Sword (Shadow of the Fox #2) by Julie Kagawa

One thousand years ago, a wish was made to the Harbinger of Change and a sword of rage and lightning was forged. Kamigoroshi. The Godslayer. It had one task: to seal away the powerful demon Hakaimono.
Now he has broken free.

Kitsune shapeshifter Yumeko has one task: to take her piece of the ancient and powerful scroll to the Steel Feather temple in order to prevent the summoning of the Harbinger of Change, the great Kami Dragon who will grant one wish to whomever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers. But she has a new enemy now. The demon Hakaimono, who for centuries was trapped in a cursed sword, has escaped and possessed the boy she thought would protect her, Kage Tatsumi of the Shadow Clan.
Hakaimono has done the unthinkable and joined forces with the Master of Demons in order to break the curse of the sword and set himself free. To overthrow the empire and cover the land in darkness, they need one thing: the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers. As the paths of Yumeko and the possessed Tatsumi cross once again, the entire empire will be thrown into chaos.

The Shadow of the Fox ended with Yumeko and her companions in an unexpected and dangerous position. In other words, it ended with one heck of a cliff hanger. Soul of the Sword continued their journey to deliver the piece of the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers that Yumeko had been entrusted with to the Steel Feather temple. That’s no longer their only mission though. Yumeko can’t bring herself to give up on Tatsumi. She wants to save him and his soul from possession.

Soul of the Sword was an amazing followup to Shadow of the Fox. The POV switched between Hakaimono and Yumeko and a couple of other “voices” throughout the story. Connections were made with some of the side characters that were slightly vague in Shadow of the Fox. Yumeko learned a lot about herself and what she was capable of as well Tatsumi’s past during her travels. There weren’t quite as many “light” moments in Soul of the Sword, but there were just enough to break through a little bit of the darkness – which there was plenty.

I loved the way Soul of the Sword continued to weave the past and present and give even more dimension to all the characters. There was even an unexpected bit of romance that made me smile. Things are far from over for Yumeko and her companions. Decisions and unlikely alliances were made that changed the course of their mission and left them in even more danger. Needless to say, I can’t wait until the next book in the Shadow of the Fox is released.

Damned if You Do by Marie Sexton

The path to temptation is paved with a hellish amount of paperwork.
Soul acquisition is a drag, but if Abaddon doesn’t catch up on his quota, he could be demoted to scooping poop for the Hounds of Hell. With a deadline hanging over him, he heads for the Bible Belt, looking for the perfect combination of sweetness and challenge.
Seth is a blind musician, part of a traveling tent revival. He’s cute, mystically talented, and quotes the Bible at every turn. His soul is pure enough to fill Abaddon’s quota for months to come, and Abaddon is determined to claim it.
The problem? There’s the revival foreman who watches Abaddon’s every move. Then there’s the mystery of Seth’s many unusual talents. Lastly, there’s Abaddon himself. He’s beginning to like Seth a bit too much. Maybe Seth deserves something better than damnation.
But Hell’s agenda isn’t negotiable, and time is running out. If Abaddon doesn’t play his cards right, he could condemn both of them to the worst fate of all—an eternity apart.
Warning: Contains a Bible-quoting twink and an irreverent devil. Also, snakes. Lots and lots of snakes.

What a sweet little devilish tale 😉

There was so much more to Seth than was on the surface and there was more to Abaddon too.

Abaddon did just enough at his job to squeak by, but that lazy work ethic was catching up to him. He was giving a deadline and of course he decided to try to find a soul that would fill his quota for as long as possible. Seth was the perfect choice.

Seth’s soul seemed as pure as they come and Abaddon knew if he managed to get him to give it up, he’d be set for a very long time. The problem was, Seth was so devote that Abaddon couldn’t find a way to tempt him. The longer amount of time he spent with Seth, he wasn’t sure he wanted to – which surprised no one more than Abaddon himself.

It’s been a while since I’ve read anything by Marie Sexton, but this little story reminded me that I need to check out more of her books.

You, Me, and the Voodoo Queen (A Malveaux Curse Mystery #2) by G.A. Chase

Things get complicated when you don’t know what you’re voodooing.
Kendell Summer just can’t catch a break. All she wants is one good passionate kiss from her paranormal partner, Myles, but in the midst of their embrace, she hears a distress message coming from a passing paddle wheeler. Her band, Polly Urethane and the Strippers, is in trouble. Once again, she must drop everything and rush to the rescue while relying on Myles to have her back.
Unfortunately, the events that unfold while she’s saving her friends only plunge her deeper into the dreaded Malveaux curse and threaten Myles with a fate worse than death. Kendell will need everyone she trusts, including her loyal dog, Cheesecake, to help her save his soul.

Not sure why, but this one started out kind of slow for me, well, maybe not started out slow? It hit a point where it kind of dragged along, but trust me, that didn’t last long. You, Me, and the Voodoo Queen picked up pretty much where Dog Days of Voodoo left off. Kendell and Myles are still in the “getting to know you” stage of their relationship, but both of them are ready to move on to the next phase. The only problem is, trouble seems to follow – and sometimes even beckon them at every turn.

Myles wants to protect Kendell, Kendell wants to protect Myles and Cheesecake wants to protect them all… Yeah, things get kind of crazy… uh… crazier? in You, Me, and the Voodoo Queen. They end up putting their trust in someone Myles doesn’t trust at all and he hates what he sees it doing to Kendell. Before  they realize what’s happening… well, it’s all par for the course when it comes to Myles and Kendell. They even reach out to some very unlikely allies while trying to… well, you’ll have to read You, Me, and the Voodoo Queen to see who exactly is being saved from what.

I loved the twists, turns and even the bad guys – well, at least some of them. I’m also loving this trip into the background characters from The Devil’s Daughter. One of the best parts is getting to know the characters that play such and important role in Serephine’s life and seeing exactly how they got there. I can’t wait to see where each series goes from here. 😉

Sons of Darkness (Night Vigil #1) by Gail Z. Martin

We are the Night Vigil.
The run-down convenience store, the all-night diner, the last-ditch shelter, or seedy motel, the redneck bar and the emergency room, and all the other places open on the graveyard shift—they’re Hell’s hunting grounds, full of easy marks and desperate souls, prey for evil things out there in the dark.
We keep the Vigil, looking for the ones who can still be saved, the ones who aren’t too far gone. We’re the misfits and the muck-ups, unwanted by Heaven or Hell, given one last chance to atone for all the mistakes and missed chances, the pain we’ve caused others and ourselves, the good things we were afraid to do, and the bad things we embraced with open arms. We work the night shift because that’s when evil walks. We’re the clerk in the all-night liquor store, the server in the 24-hour diner, the long-haul trucker who only drives at night, the counter person in the convenience store, the dog shift nurse. We recognize the evil when we see it, and we use the skills we honed with blood and fire to stop it, whatever it takes.
Unfinished business ties us to the mortal world, to make atonement, find absolution, satisfy retribution, get things right. You won’t find a sorrier group of halfway house heroes. No illusions left—about ourselves, humanity, or what’s really out there in the darkness. Just a purpose, to go down fighting the good fight. Because this is our last chance.
One final chance to make it right, the thin red line of humanity against the evil that goes bump in the night, your best hope to make it through the hour of the wolf
When a series of disappearances, suicides, and vengeful spirits cause havoc and death along a remote interstate highway, demon-hunting ex-priest Travis Dominick teams up with former special ops soldier and monster-hunter Brent Lawson to end the problem with extreme prejudice.

So, I mentioned when I finished Sons of Darkness that it was a pleasant surprise. What I didn’t mention is that when I started this book I suffered from a serious case of Déjà Vu. You see, I went into this book totally in the dark (no pun intended.) I had just finished Dark Rivers and within the first few chapters I realized that a lot of these characters and places sounded awfully familiar. So familiar that I couldn’t ignore it so I did a little bit of research. Turns out I wasn’t going nuts. I knew that there was a connection between Morgan Brice’s Witchbane and Badlands series. What I didn’t know was that Morgan Brice and Gail Z. Martin are one in the same and Travis and Brent make an appearance in Dark Rivers. What is even better is that Gail Z. Martin and her husband, Larry N. Martin have another series that ties into all these series, Spells, Salt, & Steel – which BTW, I’m currently reading. Lots and lots of books! I’m one happy reader 😉

As for Sons of Darkness? Wow… a lot happened in this story. At first glance it seemed like a lot of random coincidences, but the scary part was that they were all tied together. Travis and Brent didn’t meet under the best of circumstances. It was actually pretty lucky that Travis found Brent when he did, although Brent didn’t appreciate it at the time. They were both a little “prickly” but I loved getting to know them. They both had their trusted contacts and the longer they worked together, the more they realized that they might actually need each other. They also both had pasts with groups that were trying to reel them back in. Groups that neither one of them wanted to have anything to do with, for good reason.

The danger was real in Sons of Darkness and although Travis and Brent were used to relying on their friends, neither one of them were really anxious to work with each other. That changed quickly with a little supernatural shove from Brent’s past. To end the terror that was threatening the area they had to rely on more than each other and risk more than they expected.

There were a lot of interesting twists and turns and the supporting characters, some that readers had met before, were just another thing to love about Sons of Darkness. I personally love it when one series run parallel to another series – in this case, more than one series. The connections are fun and the possibilities are endless, which is great. Through my “research” I found out that there’s lots more to come for Brent and Travis. I’ve quite literally found a literary gold mine and I can’t wait to see what Gail Z. Martin, Larry Martin and Larry N. Martin have in store for readers next. 😉

 

Hell or High Water (The Devil’s Daughter #4) by G.A. Chase

A light conversation over coffee tosses the devil’s daughter out of the frying pan of life’s problems and into the fiery depths of hell.
Sere Mal-Laurette was warned against meeting Jennifer, the real woman behind her doppelgänger body. However, she didn’t mention that instruction to Jennifer during their numerous psychically bonded moments. So when Jennifer shows up in front of Sere’s apartment, the doppelgänger doesn’t see much choice other than to invite the housewife in for a cup of coffee.
Before the day is out, Myles’s sweet little dog has turned into a hellhound, Sere’s friend and sidekick Fisher has succumbed to his demonic possession, and supersized crawfish have emerged from the swamp. Sere is forced to wonder if she should have heeded the warnings about Jennifer. But is the widening of the hell mouth a result of one morning’s coffee conversation, or is something more sinister at work?
Sere has plenty of other explanations to choose from. There are the lost souls of the damned that Marjory Laroque cast into hell in her attempt to raise a new devil. There’s the fact that Sere’s sweet angel and mother figure, Sanguine, has been imprisoned. Worst of all, Sere’s very presence among the living could be the cause of the impending apocalypse. Once again she needs help curbing the chaos, but this time, she’ll call on her support system in hell.

The last couple of books I’ve picked up have been… intense. The type of intense that has the main characters either fighting for their own life or desperately trying to save someone else. When I turned the last page in Hell or High Water, I knew I needed a break. I loved this book. Honestly, The Devil’s Daughter gets better with each installment, but wow…

Sere has opened herself up – in more ways than one. She has inadvertently become closer to Jennifer, which is loaded with all kinds of ways to mess things up. Even the most innocent of encounters seems to bring about life-altering consequences… and not just for Sere and Jennifer. That’s not all that’s going on though. It seems that every time Sere makes a move, there’s a new threat lurking around a dark corner… or under dark water. Secrets are revealed – most of them kept from Sere from those closest to her. New allies come into play and trust is tested more than once. The one constant and grounding force for Sere through everything is Bart. To say that Hell or High Water was a page turner would be a HUGE understatement.

A lot of ground was covered and I’m not ashamed to say that some of it was a blur – which means I’ll probably have to pay closer attention when I read this one again, because I definitely will be reading it again – along with the rest of the series. It also piqued my curiosity about Sere’s life and her makeshift family’s before The Devil’s Daughter, which is just one of the reasons why I started the Malveaux Curse Mystery Series. The first book, Dog Days of Voodoo was a fun read and I can’t wait to start You, Me, and the Voodoo Queen. You don’t have to start with that series to follow or understand The Devil’s Daughter, but I found myself wanting the background into this world created by G.A. Chase. So far, I haven’t been disappointed. 😉

Speaking of not being able to wait… after the final chapter in Hell or High Water, the wait for Hell Away from Home is going to be torturous. It wasn’t so much of a cliff hanger as a surprising revelation that could go either way for the fate of a lot of people.

Demon on the Down-Low (Supernatural Selection #3) by E.J. Russell

After decades of unrequited love, this kangaroo will jump at the chance for a date. Any date.
Lovelorn kangaroo shifter Hamish Mulherne, drummer for the mega-hit rock band Hunter’s Moon, waited years for the band’s jaguar shifter bassist to notice him. Instead, she’s just gotten married and is in a thriving poly relationship. How is Hamish supposed to compete with that? But with everyone else in the band mated and revoltingly happy, he needs somebody. Since he can’t expect true love to strike twice, he signs up with Supernatural Selection. Because what the hell.
When Zeke Oz was placed at Supernatural Selection through the Sheol work-release program, he thought he was the luckiest demon alive. But when he seems responsible for several massive matchmaking errors, he’s put on notice: find the perfect match for Hamish, or get booted back to Sheol for good. The only catch? He has to do it without the agency’s matchmaking spells, and Hamish simply will not engage.
But Zeke starts to believe that the reason all of Hamish’s dates fizzle is because nobody in the database is good enough for him. And Hamish realizes that his perfect match might be the cute demon who’s trying so hard to make him happy.

I’ve lost count of how many series finales I’ve read in the past few months. *sigh* It’s always sad to say good-bye, but I’ve loved the Supernatural Selection series and I’ve also loved Zeke since he was first introduced in Single White Incubus. If the series had to end, Demon on the Down-Low was the perfect way to wrap it up… even though I wasn’t really ready.

I’ve said before that I’m a huge fan of E.J. Russell, but my absolute favorite characters are her quirky ones. The characters that make me giggle and fall in love with them, just for being who they are. This series was full of them and Zeke was one of my favorites. Hamish and Zeke together were adorable. The other thing I loved about this series was getting to see characters from the Fae Out of Water series. They jumped in to help “save the day” on more than one occasion.

There was a bit more intrigue in Demon on the Down-Low, mainly because readers (and the characters) finally discovered who the “bad guy” was in Supernatural Selection. It wasn’t exactly who I expected, but I wasn’t surprised either. The wrap-up actually involved the characters from the previous books in this series, as well as the characters from Fae Out of Water, so it was like a big homecoming 😉 I loved every minute of it. Since Hamish was first introduced in the Fae Out of Water series, it’s the perfect excuse to start a re-read from the beginning with Cutie and the Beast (one of my favorites from that series.) Actually, it doesn’t take much to convince me to re-read a series I loved the first time around. 😉

Hell’s Highway (The Devil’s Daughter #3) by G.A. Chase

For an immortal, learning what it means to be human can be an emotional wild ride.
Having put down the latest batch of escaped doppelgängers, Sere Mal-Laurette felt she’d earned a little time off from demon hunting. She was wrong.
Her inattention has allowed a new batch of hellions to rise from the swamp and abduct Rampart Thibodaux. With the hot ex-Navy SEAL’s blood and soul infecting her, Sere has no choice but to jump back on her motorcycle to rescue him. Her quest will cost her dearly but also bring her closer to being human than she could have imagined.
Sere’s emotional roller-coaster ride of human experiences, however, is overshadowed by the rise of a new devil—one who isn’t satisfied with simply claiming hell as his only domain.

This series gets better with each book. Of course, that may just be because I’m getting to know the characters better, but for now I’ll chalk it up to more layers being revealed. Speaking of which, Hell’s Highway requires your complete attention. There is a lot of information to take in and even though I’m giving readers a heads up, I’m still not sure I got it all. In other words, I see a re-read in my future. 😉

Sere’s come a long way since Hell in a Head Gasket, the first book in The Devil’s Daughter series. She still wants to protect the people she cares about, but she’s learned to lean on them just a little bit.

So, saying that a lot happened in Hell’s Highway would be an understatement. The connection between Sere and “Bart” grows a lot stronger. The goals and true purpose of the doppelgängers leaving Hell becomes clearer. And yes, there was heartbreak that took me totally by surprise, so prepare yourself… *sigh*

Hell’s Highway didn’t necessarily end in a cliff hanger, but things are far from over for Sere and her rag tag family. I can’t wait to see what G.A. Chase has in store for them next in Hell or High Water. Oh, and for those of you who (like me) weren’t introduced to Sere in The Malveaux Mysteries series, the full book bundle is now available on Amazon. You’re welcome 😉