A spirited, sexy paranormal romance.

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DEATH'S DANCER

From the Masters of Death series , Vol. 1

Sparks fly when a mighty sorcerer recruits a dancer to help unravel a supernatural mystery.      

In this debut novel, Isela Vogel is a godsdancer, one of an elite group of humans trained to use dance to communicate with the divine. One day, she receives a new assignment. Azrael, the necromancer of Prague—one of the immortal beings who rule over humanity after the godswar nearly destroyed the world—requires her help. Someone is murdering other members of Azrael’s band, and only Isela has the skill to choreograph a work that will summon the power he needs to discover who is responsible, and stop the villain. Refusal isn’t an option, and Isela reluctantly agrees to help the intimidating yet alluring Azrael. This spirited dancer isn’t afraid to talk back to the formidable Azrael, and her courage intrigues the centuries-old being. Before long, they’ve literally set the bed on fire with their lovemaking, as they battle legions of demons to prevent chaos from engulfing the world. When she’s not fighting the forces of evil, Isela is discovering some surprising truths about her family while also learning what it really means to have a mind-reading, potent necromancer for a boyfriend. Azrael and Isela’s intense romance is the big attraction in Silvera’s tale. Readers who like their leading men with more than a dash of menace should find it hard not to skip ahead to the couple’s next steamy encounter. The grab bag of supernatural characters—including a coven of witches, werewolves, undead minions, and terrifying angels—adds excitement, though sometimes at the expense of coherence. Furthermore, the story has some confusing aspects, such as the vague and unsatisfying explanation of how the necromancers rose to prominence in the first place and the origins of the godswar. But a fast pace and compelling protagonists smooth over those flaws. In the action-packed final pages, Silvera capably ties up the various plot threads but paves the way for a sequel, which is good news for anyone who’s hungry for more of these lively characters.

A spirited, sexy paranormal romance.

Pub Date: Dec. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9976582-0-0

Page Count: 318

Publisher: No Inside Voice

Review Posted Online: Feb. 25, 2017

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A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

DEVOLUTION

Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

THEN SHE WAS GONE

Ten years after her teenage daughter went missing, a mother begins a new relationship only to discover she can't truly move on until she answers lingering questions about the past.

Laurel Mack’s life stopped in many ways the day her 15-year-old daughter, Ellie, left the house to study at the library and never returned. She drifted away from her other two children, Hanna and Jake, and eventually she and her husband, Paul, divorced. Ten years later, Ellie’s remains and her backpack are found, though the police are unable to determine the reasons for her disappearance and death. After Ellie’s funeral, Laurel begins a relationship with Floyd, a man she meets in a cafe. She's disarmed by Floyd’s charm, but when she meets his young daughter, Poppy, Laurel is startled by her resemblance to Ellie. As the novel progresses, Laurel becomes increasingly determined to learn what happened to Ellie, especially after discovering an odd connection between Poppy’s mother and her daughter even as her relationship with Floyd is becoming more serious. Jewell’s (I Found You, 2017, etc.) latest thriller moves at a brisk pace even as she plays with narrative structure: The book is split into three sections, including a first one which alternates chapters between the time of Ellie’s disappearance and the present and a second section that begins as Laurel and Floyd meet. Both of these sections primarily focus on Laurel. In the third section, Jewell alternates narrators and moments in time: The narrator switches to alternating first-person points of view (told by Poppy’s mother and Floyd) interspersed with third-person narration of Ellie’s experiences and Laurel’s discoveries in the present. All of these devices serve to build palpable tension, but the structure also contributes to how deeply disturbing the story becomes. At times, the characters and the emotional core of the events are almost obscured by such quick maneuvering through the weighty plot.

Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5464-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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