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. 😉

Advertisements

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.

Hot-Blooded (‘Ohana #1) by Kendall Grey

To Keahilani Alana, family is everything. When her mother dies, Keahilani must take charge of her siblings, but with an underage brother and no education, she’s out of both money and options–until she discovers the valuable secret her mother hid on the slopes of an extinct volcano.
Blake Murphy is an assassin working to infiltrate a Hawaiian cartel. He’s got his sexy surf instructor Keahilani pegged as a criminal–and not just because the passion between them is too hot and too dirty to be legal.
But the secret Keahilani discovered is bigger–and darker–than ties to a drug ring. As reality unravels and exposes truths about her family that should have remained deep under the mountain, Keahilani must either resist the call of her blood or risk losing everything to its darkness.
When Keahilani’s family is threatened, the only cure for her hot-blooded fury is a loaded clip with a body bag chaser.

First and foremost, this book is NOT for everyone. If you are NOT a fan of characters who skirt the gray line between good & bad, do NOT read this book. If you are NOT a fan of violence in books, do NOT read this book. If you want a book that wraps everything up in the end, regardless of what happens, in a nice neat HEA – you most definitely should NOT read this book. If, however, you want to read a book about a fierce main character who will do ANYTHING to keep those she loves safe and challenge anyone who threatens that safety in whatever way she needs to – then, by all means, don’t hesitate to pick up Hot-Blooded.

The real paranormal aspect of Hot-Blooded kind of snuck up on me. It wasn’t a huge aspect of Keahilani’s story until close to the end, although it was always there – whether she knew it or not. What was huge were the twists and turns that Hot-Blooded skirted around. It was hard to tell who the “good” guys were versus the “bad” guys – and I use those terms very loosely. One thing  that I should point out is that even though I really liked Hot-Blooded, that doesn’t mean I related to or even liked Keahilani. Her story was intriguing and whether I liked her or not, I admired her devotion to her family. There were reasons why she and her brothers did what they did. If the circumstances would have been different… but they weren’t and they did what they needed to do to survive and most importantly stay together.

Speaking of intrigue… things didn’t exactly end as I expected… or even hoped, but the revelations in the final chapters were enough to make me want more. Cold-Blooded features Keahilani’s brother, Manō. He was the most mysterious of the Alana family in Hot-Blooded, so I’m guessing things are going to be more than a little interesting as the series continues. 

Dog Days of Voodoo (A Malveaux Curse Mystery #1) by G.A. Chase

Absolutely nothing stands between a woman and her beloved dog… not even the malevolent force of a voodoo curse.
Kendell Summer, lead guitarist for Polly Urethane and the Strippers, has always been interested in the unexplained. So when she sets off on a paranormal research romp with Myles, a former classmate, to explore his skills in psychometry, she’s ready for a little adventure. But she gets more than she bargained for when her Lhasa apso, Cheesecake, is dognapped. Kendell will do whatever it takes to get her dog back.
While rescuing the pup, Kendell and Myles learn that the touristy glitz of New Orleans’ voodoo shops hides a dark history few understand—a truth that some in the city plan to use for their own gain.
Soon they uncover more than they ever wanted to know about New Orleans’ unsavory past and a curse that threatens to change everything. Only Kendell can prevent the evil they’ve uncovered from doing more damage, but she’ll need Myles’s support and psychometric abilities—and the vigilance of the ever-watchful Cheesecake.

I know I started reading this series AFTER the spin-off, but in my defense, I didn’t even know this crazy world created by G.A. Chase existed until I started The Devil’s Daughter series. Kendell and Myles are supporting characters in that series which starts with Hell in a Head Gasket. Even though I wasn’t lost when I dove into The Devil’s Daughter, it was obvious that something came before and I was missing just enough of the characters’ back-story that I was intrigued… now I can’t wait to continue both series 😉

Even though I already know a bit about Kendell and Myles’ future, Dog Days of Voodoo wasn’t spoiled by that knowledge. It was actually kind of fun meeting them (and some other characters) for the first time and I loved getting to know them better.

Myles had a pretty scary kind of psychic power, especially when you consider how much history is in a place like New Orleans. Actually, I feel like any kind of psychic power would be scary in a way, but getting a reading by simply holding an object would make me want to avoid antique shops for sure. What are the odds of finding a seemingly innocent object that was used in a violent way? Add to that a very specific curse and being with one of the only people who can fight against it? Of course there’s a lot more to the story than that and Kendell and Myles discover a lot about their city and the people who lived there than they ever imagined. They also get a lot closer to each other than they expected, but that’s just an added bonus. 😉

The next Malveaux Curse Mystery book is You, Me and the Voodoo Queen and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Myles and Kendell next.

Hell’s Hinges (A Fistful of Daggers #3) by SM Reine

Sophie Keyes has made a mistake that might destroy the universe. The Traveler has an offer: go back in time, fix your mistake, and save the world. Easy. Except that fixing Sophie’s mistake means destroying her life, and Lincoln Marshall won’t stand to see that happen. Not if he can time travel with them to find another way.
Their attempt to jump into the past goes awry and dumps them into Reno 2006, where Elise Kavanagh is in hiding with James Faulkner. It’s a delicate moment in the timeline, and if Lincoln takes a single wrong step, he’ll change everything. He can’t go to Elise for help. He can’t speak to the woman he’s loved for years, touch her again, kiss her… Not unless he’s willing to bring the universe that much closer to destruction.
For the Godslayer, Lincoln might be willing to lose it all. For the Traveler, it might be a step too far.
War is breaking out in Reno 2006, and the consequences threaten to ripple through time–assuming that they don’t make the entire world fall apart first.

So… I may have mentioned once or twice that I love this author. I think I’ve also mentioned that when a survey was posted a while ago by this same author that I chose Lincoln as a character that I wanted to learn more about. This, dear readers, is a lesson in…be careful what you ask for… Just kidding, kinda…

Really, I’m loving the Fistful of Daggers series, but it is not even close to what I expected. It’s way more. It’s been interesting to see what’s happened in the Descentverse since Genesis from another perspective – and Lincoln’s perspective is most definitely “different”. I know I said that I wanted to learn more about Lincoln, but it wasn’t because he was one of my favorite characters. It’s not that I disliked him, I just wanted to know how he got to be the Lincoln he became when readers saw him again in some of the post-Genesis series and even more so in Dana McIntyre Must Die. Let’s just say that if my first introduction to Lincoln would have been in Lonesome Paladin, I might not be quite so curious. He comes off as an arrogant, grumpy, bigoted… you get the picture. But, since I know who he becomes, that side of him just intrigued me more. Which brings up another point. You can probably start with A Fistful of Daggers, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Lincoln’s been around for quite some time in the Descentverse and there’s a LOT of history between him and another key character that you’ll miss out on if you start here.

Okay, enough history… except that’s kind of what Hell’s Hinges is driven on… FYI – get used the vagueness because even as I’m writing this, I have no idea where I’m going with this review. That’s common when I review a book I loved, but this time it’s more than that. A LOT happened in this book. A LOT! That book description gives you just a tidbit of the craziness that surrounds Sophie and Lincoln when they travel back in time. I was totally unprepared for what Sophie faced in her past. Lincoln was totally unprepared to face a past that included Elise and no one was prepared for the consequences of the drastic changes made to the timeline. Readers saw sides of ALL these characters, plus a few others, in a way they’ve never seen before. To say that this was an intense read would be an understatement. It was epic!

Then there was the end… let’s just say that The Spellslinger can’t come soon enough. Cliffhanger doesn’t come close to where characters were left at the end of Hell’s Hinges.

I’ve wrapped up a lot of my reviews in the Descentverse trying to convince readers to pick up at least one of these books. There are many places to start, but I honestly don’t think that this series is one of them – at least if you want to get the full effect. Especially because of the fact that Hell’s Hinges spends so much time in a past that becomes so altered – without knowing how things initially happened, you won’t really understand how crazy… um crazier? they become. You can visit SM Reine’s website for a complete list of books in this world. Just go to her FAQ page on the website and click on What order should I read the Descentverse series in? I started with Seasons of the Moon and haven’t looked back since. 😉

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 😉

Hell Bent for Demons (The Devil’s Daughter #2) by G.A. Chase

After ridding the swamp of a serial-killing demon, badass Sere Mal-Laurette has moved to New Orleans to put some distance between the interdimensional beacon of her soul and the hellmouth. Hell, however, has other plans for her when a new horde of beasts is unleashed.Sere will have to knock the rust off her fighting skills if she hopes to save herself and humanity from a fate worse than death. But she soon learns she can’t do it alone, and she’s going to need more than the help of a bartending former Navy SEAL who makes her weak in the knees. The bikers and gator hunters she’s been using for sport during her bar brawls are going to take some serious convincing to join her cause—even if they are the ones most at risk. By relying on those closest to her to repair her doppelgänger body, hunt down the demons that are out to get her, and protect her soul from the loas of the dead, Sere just might learn something about what it means to be human.

I love it when the second book in a series lives up to the first, which is exactly how Hell Bent for Demons stacked up to Hell in a Head Gasket. In some ways, I liked the sequel even more.

Sere doesn’t “play” well with others, so when she realizes she needs help, she has no idea how to go about asking. It doesn’t help that she’s made quite an impression on most of those people – and definitely not the positive kind.

Sere does have allies though – some very good ones. She hesitates to allow most of them to help though because she wants to keep them safe. A trait in a bad-a** heroine that always wins me over. Another thing I like about some of my favorite bad-a** characters is their tendency to have interesting side-kicks. Lefty and Sere’s constant saddlebag companions definitely fall into that category. 😉

I liked the interesting twists and turns in Hell Bent for Demons, especially when they caught Sere off guard. I really like getting to know Sere’s “family” better. She’s still not sure what to make of Bart, but I love the tension and playful banter between them. There are also a few other characters that Sere’s getting closer to. I’m guessing that things are about to get even more interesting as the series continues and I personally can’t wait. 😉

Rack & Ruin (THIRDS #3) by Charlie Cochet

New York City’s streets are more dangerous than ever with the leaderless Order of Adrasteia and the Ikelos Coalition, a newly emerged Therian group, at war. Innocent civilians are caught in the crossfire and although the THIRDS round up more and more members of the Order in the hopes of keeping the volatile group from reorganizing, the members of the Coalition continue to escape and wreak havoc in the name of vigilante justice.
Worse yet, someone inside the THIRDS has been feeding the Coalition information. It’s up to Destructive Delta to draw out the mole and put an end to the war before anyone else gets hurt. But to get the job done, the team will have to work through the aftereffects of the Therian Youth Center bombing. A skirmish with Coalition members leads Agent Dexter J. Daley to a shocking discovery and suddenly it becomes clear that the random violence isn’t so random. There’s more going on than Dex and Sloane originally believed, and their fiery partnership is put to the test. As the case takes an explosive turn, Dex and Sloane are in danger of losing more than their relationship.

I’m still kicking myself for waiting so long to pick up this series, but the good thing is that I don’t have to wait between books. Trust me when I say that’s a very good thing, because when you finish Rack & Ruin, you’re going to make sure you have Rise & Fall handy. I can usually put some distance between books in a series and be fine with it… that was definitely not the case when I finished Rack & Ruin. You can thank me later 😉

There was so much happening in Rack & Ruin it was impossible to put down. Tension is rising between partners and team mates and some pretty startling discoveries are made. It’s getting harder and harder to know who to trust.

Through all the twists and turns and the personal issues within the team coming to a head, the cliff hanger ending shouldn’t have really surprised me. Stay tuned for my review of Rise & Fall. 😉

Hell in a Head Gasket (The Devil’s Daughter #1) by G.A. Chase

When Sere Mal-Laurette escaped hell, she thought she’d left her demons behind her. But now that one has found his way through hell’s gate, others are sure to follow. Then all hell will break loose.
If Sere fails to contain the little soulless bastards, the loas of the dead will likely figure out her true identity. Then they’ll be all over her soul, and she can kiss immortality goodbye. Moreover, someone needs to send the demons back to where they came from before they wreak havoc on the citizens of New Orleans. 

To prevent the demon doppelgängers from killing their human equivalents and taking over their lives, Sere will need the help of people she trusts–and some she doesn’t. It’s time for her to embrace the badass demon hunter she was always meant to be. To do so, however, she’ll have to quickly figure out the line between protector of humanity and murdering psychopath.

This is the first book in G.A. Chase’s The Devil’s Daughter series, but it’s not the first book in this world. The world building started in the Malveaux Curse Mysteries, which I haven’t read, but I fully intend to… soon. I wasn’t lost in Hell in a Head Gasket, but I think that I would have enjoyed it even more if I had read those books first.

Sere is an interesting character. She thought she was better off working alone, even though she had plenty of people more than willing to support and help her. She wasn’t comfortable with that though, especially when that help was offered from unexpected places.

You may have guessed that she’s not the only great character in this book. Hell in a Head Gasket is full of supporting characters that I can’t wait to get to know better. The premise was interesting, the characters were witty and the world building was unique. I can’t wait for the next book in The Devil’s Daughter series.