Category Archives: Paranormal Romance

Review: The Descent by Alma Katsu

  • Series: The Taker Trilogy
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books (January 7, 2014)
  • ISBN-10: 1451651821
  • Source: Publisher

*Please Note: This is the third book in a trilogy. If you have not read the previous two books, The Taker and The Reckoning *gasp* please do not proceed in reading this review.*

Lanore McIlvrae has struggled to rid herself from the grasp of Adair. Yet when she begins having nightmares of Jonathan, her deceased former lover, is being tortured in the dark depths of the underworld. Reluctantly, Lanore  admits that Adair is her only salvation. It is he alone that can devise a means for her to go to the hereafter and beg for Jonathan’s release.

She finds Adair on a secluded island off the coast of Italy.  The reunion is bittersweet; the passion they shared for one another is still quite alive.  Lanore finds two female tourists, Terry and Robin, living with Adair. Although he admits to spending his nights (and days) in bed with them, he hasn’t formally made them his companions. The jealousy is double-sided, for the two women are less than thrilled to see Adair’s reaction to Lanore’s arrival.

When Lanore finally gets around to asking Adair for help, his quick response shocks her. When the journey to the hereafter begins, neither Lanore nor Adair or quite prepared for the battles they are both forced to endure, both physically and emotionally. It is quite possible that Lanore will, too, become one of the captives of the Queen of the Underworld, never returning to Adair as she promised.

In this thrilling conclusion to the Taker trilogy, readers will notice a marked difference in overall tone as compared to the previous two books. The Descent itself is a journey, not only Lanore’s to the Underworld but a journey to the past, to Adair’s youth and the start of his obsession with alchemy. Readers glimpse a wholly different side of Adair than previously witnessed, a side that shows his vulnerability and genuine love for Lanore.

The imagery in The Descent, too, is spectacular. Her descriptions of the secluded island in which Adair resides are so genuine and real that you’ll feel the harsh wind across your face, feel the desolation that the island exudes. Lanore’s journey through the Underworld, her encounters with those from her past, are absolutely mesmerizing.

Fans of this blog know that I’m not fan of romance. That said, the love that Lanore and Adair share, a love that transcends time, space, and other worlds, is one that I couldn’t help but appreciate. Never did I fathom that I would find myself rooting for this unlikely couple!

In conclusion, I do believe that The Descent is the perfect conclusion to a truly stunning trilogy.  Highly, highly recommended!

Side note: I will be interviewing Alma at One More Page Books in Arlington, VA at the release party for The Descent (Tuesday, January 14th at 7pm). Have any questions you would like asked? Add them to the comments below and I will do my best to include them in the interview. Want to order a personalized copy of the book? Click here!

Disclosure: I consider myself a friend of the author, Alma Katsu.  I am mentioned in the acknowledgements and have offered the author words of encouragement and support throughout her publication journey. That said, this relationship did not at all influence my review of this book.

 

Review: The Reckoning by Alma Katsu

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books (June 19, 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 1451651805
  • Source: Author

It’s been two hundred years since Lanore entombed the horribly wicked Adair behind a wall of stone and brick. She now lives in London with her new lover, Luke Findlay. In an attempt to atone for her past sins she is giving away the treasures she has accumulated over the years. Despite the horrible brutality Adair used to show his love for Lanore, she still feels guilty for entombing him. Additionally, just months before she was forced…urged by Jonathan, a man who she had loved with all her heart, to end his suffering.

Meanwhile, the massive home in which she and Adair resided, the place in which he gave her eternal life, is being demolished. This destruction frees Adair from his tomb and he has only one thing on his mind: find Lanore.

Lanore notices instantly that Adair is free; she senses a tingling in her body she cannot explain. Despite being an ocean away, she instantly feels fear for what Adair may do to her when he does find her. Unwilling to allow Luke to risk his life and the lives of his daughter, she flees. She locates friends from her past, other immortals, to assist her. Fans of The Taker will recognize many of these characters. Knowing that Adair has just as many individuals willing to assist him, yet not realizing that those she chooses to trust are working for the very man from which she runs. Understanding there is no point of attempting to evade Adair she instead decides to build up the strength, both mentally and physically, to confront him.

Meanwhile, Adair is forced to adjust to the changes in technology (and attire) that have transpired over the past two centuries. He uses this technology to track down his spell books, willing to do whatever it takes to get Lanore back. He performs a spell that brings back from the dead someone so near and dear to Lanore’s heart that she cannot resist the temptation to find him.

In The Taker, we learn of the sick and sadistic relationship Adair has with Lanore. At first, she was drawn to his power but soon learned of his plans to switch souls with Jonathan. It was then that Lanore decided to end Adair’s reign. In The Reckoning, Katsu very eloquently reveals a great deal of Adair’s past, how he became immortal, how he achieved his level of power.  Never a fan of Adair myself, I still found it quite interesting to learn about his history and how he became the horribly vile creature he is now. Additionally, we see a lighter, kinder (though not by much) side of Adair. Despite this, I still hold a great deal of hatred for his character, though this new information lessens my feelings of hate a bit.

Bottom line, The Reckoning is a tremendous follow up to The Taker and serves the role a second book in a trilogy should: fill the reader in with more information on the history of the characters. Additionally, the ending paves a clear path to the third book in this trilogy, and a hopeful ending at that! My favorite part of this trilogy, what I think is the biggest selling point,  is the skillful way the author portrays the concept of immortality metaphysically, magically, without the need for supernatural characters.

Ultimately, The Reckoning is a novel about redemption, betrayal and, for you romantics out there the power of love. This is a trilogy you cannot afford to miss out on! Highly, highly recommended.

Note: I do feel it is important to be transparent about my relationship with Alma. I do consider her a dear friend; we’ve shared meals together and I have very willingly provided advice and pointers to her along the way. I was beyond ecstatic to find myself mentioned in the acknowledgements. All this said, my friendship with Alma in no way influenced this review or my feelings about this book.

Review: American Vampire by Jennifer Armintrout

  • Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Mira (February 22, 2011)
  • ISBN-10: 0778328783
  • Source: Netgalley

Graf, on his way to a party hosted by his vampire sire Sophia, gets lost and finds himself trapped in the small town of Penance, OH. No one has been able to enter or leave in five years. This situation is made worse by a monster, referred to as It, that stalks the citizens of this small, desolate town.

Graf meets Jessa, the sole member of her family who has survived. She’s quite reluctant to accept help from a vampire, but she ultimately offers him a dark room to sleep in. Also residing in Penance is Derek, Jessa’s married ex-boyfriend along with his wife Becky & kids.

The citizens of Penance are already quite critical of Jessa for her relationship with Derek, so when Derek accuses her of being a witch and the creator of It, she & Graf struggle to survive being burned at the stake. At the same time, information about Derkek, and his ties to It, are ultimately unveiled.

American Vampire is a delightful book that combines several genres including horror, thriller, & paranormal romance. I’m typically not a fan of romance of any type, but Armintrout did a good job of balancing that aspect of the book with others.

Readers will hate to love Graf & Jessa. Graff, as a vampire, has one thing on his mind: eating. Well, to be quite frank, after meeting Jessa, he’s not only hungry for her blood but her flesh as well. He’s not apologetic about it either. Graf’s inner dialogue is a side of the story I particularly enjoyed.

Jessa frustrated me to no end. Five years ago she had a potential future but now, like the other citizens, she just had to settle. She continues to go back to her ex-boyfriend despite the fact he is married. She’s known as the town whore, a name they don’t hold back.

However, when you put Graf & Jessa together you get the most unlikely of couples & quite the comical exchange of insults.

This small town lives up to it’s name.  Penance is defined as “a punishment undergone in token of penitence for sin” (Dictionary.com) and the citizens are certainly attempting to make up for the sins of others.  These sins include, but are not limited to, murder, lust & infidelity.

American Vampire is a quick read, one that I would recommend to fans of vampire fiction & paranormal romance.

*Warning: book contains vulgar language, violence, and scenes depicting sex acts*