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After Dark Review


    Previously published on Fiktshun After Dark…

    Author: Rinda Elliott
    Published: March 26, 2013
    Publisher: Samhain Publishing

    About the Book

    On Goodreads…

    Beri O’Dell is investigating paranormal creatures because she wants to know what she is. Taller and stronger than most men, she astral projects and can peel through dimensional layers to see the creatures and spirits beyond.

    She once helped her foster sister, Detective Elsa Remington, track down killers in Jacksonville, Florida, but stopped when a nasty fire elemental turned her strength against her. Now, she finds herself pulled back when something steals Elsa’s soul and puts her into a coma.

    With little time to spare, Beri searches for the reason behind her sister’s coma. She has help in her spirit guides Fred and Phro, but others come along for the ride, including a pyro-nervous witch, and an androgynous necromancer.

    The last thing Beri needs is to fall in love with a mysterious stranger. But the handsome Minoan warrior Nikolos knows what creature she’s after because he’s battled it before.

    It’s bad.

    Really, really bad.

    He calls it the Dweller on the Threshold.


    How it Rates…

    DWELLER ON THE THRESHOLD gives readers a kick-ass heroine who is anything but ordinary, a world that is refreshingly different, an enemy who is both deadly and a bit of a mystery and a story that has action aplenty, an intriguing puzzle and a love interest who is most definitely interesting.

    Author Rinda Elliott went out of the box when creating her characters and her story. Even her title, DWELLER ON THE THRESHOLD, is atypical of stories in the genre. But it invites readers to learn more, to meet her character Bergdis Hildegun O’Dell, a.k.a. Beri, and the other rather unconventional and uniquely named characters in her story.

    DWELLER ON THE THRESHOLD follows Beri O’Dell as she tries to solve the mystery behind the mass comas that have befallen a number of people, including her sister Elsa, and find answers to questions about just who, and possibly what, she really is. With little to go on, she must rely on a perky witch named Blythe who is far more talented than she appears to be at first glance, her spirit guides – Fred and Phro – one of whom claims to be the goddess of love, and a Minoan Warrior, Nikolos, who has quite a few secrets he’s keeping.

    Many of which look to be dark. And a few of which might just be dangerous. Especially to Beri, who can’t seem to fight her growing attraction to him.

    With a wildly entertaining and eclectic cast of characters, a heroine with an acerbic tongue and “hit first, ask questions later” approach to investigating, a constant slew of grotesque and violent enemies to keep Beri busy, and a touch of sexual tension added to the mix, DWELLER ON THE THRESHOLD is an incredibly appealing, fun and exciting first book in author Rinda Elliott’s new series.

    So, what more can I possibly say about DWELLER ON THE THRESHOLD?

    It was witty and clever. The premise was definitely different – in a great way. The characters were not your typical character archetypes. The enemy – the dweller on the threshold – was more than a little bit scary.

    The opening quotation and the prologue immediately drew me in. And while it took a few pages into the story itself before I was able to figure out just what was going on, once I discovered its rhythm I was hooked.

    Beri wasn’t your typical run-of-the-mill heroine. She wasn’t a damsel in distress. And while she wasn’t always the easiest character to relate to, I loved her from the moment I met her. Her abilities were absolutely fascinating and I hope to discover more about them in future books in the series.

    The story kept its focus on the urban fantasy/paranormal elements, keeping the suspense and action levels up, but didn’t shortchange the romance, which was equally important to the story’s outcome. And it was nice to discover a story whose love interest wasn’t in the least bit cookie-cutter.

    From its unusual title, to its diverse characters, to their unique abilities, to the dark and disturbing world, I just knew that this book would set itself apart from the crowd. And it did that and so much more.

    Rinda Elliott’s new series is definitely one I’m adding to my “must reads” list. And her character, Beri, is a new favorite.

    My Favorite Bites…

    “Bergdissssss. Ever trap smoke in a jar?” It took a deep breath then blew it out. I heard the moan of trees bending behind me. “It writhes, twists and turns, seeking the smallest opening for escape. It finds it. Always.”

    I’d been transported into the Princess Bride. The extra gory version.

    **This review is based on an eARC I received from the author for review and contains my honest thoughts about the book.**


    After Dark Review: BITING COLD

    Previously published on Fiktshun After Dark…

    Biting Cold (Chicagoland Vampires #6)
    Author: Chloe Neill
    Published: August 7, 2012
    Publisher: NAL Trade
    (Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

    On Goodreads…

    Turned into a vampire against her will, twenty-eight-year-old Merit found her way into the dark circle of Chicago’s vampire underground, where she learned there was more to supernaturals than met the eye—and more supernaturals than the public ever imagined. And not all the secrets she learned were for sharing—among humans or in humans.

    Now Merit is on the hunt, charging across the stark American Midwest, tailing a rogue supernatural intent on stealing an ancient artifact that could unleash catastrophic evil on the world. But Merit is also the prey. An enemy of Chicagoland is hunting her, and he’ll stop at nothing to get the book for himself. No mercy allowed.

    No rules apply. No lives spared. The race is on.


    ***This review contains a spoiler for a PREVIOUS book in the series***


    BITING COLD is yet another incredibly entertaining, easy to fall in love with and absolutely captivating installment in author Chloe Neill’s Chicagoland Vampires series. A story that starts with a road trip and ends with a battle to keep Chicago safe, this sixth book in the series is every bit as exciting as fans would expect it to be.

    And it was even more exciting than I hoped it would be. There is an even deadlier threat to Chicago with the appearance of a new supernatural being, one who came as a total surprise to me. The growing tension between the humans and the supes is making Chicago a very unfriendly town for the Cadogan Vampires. And life inside the House is under even more strain due to the Greenwich Presidium.

    In BITING COLD, Merit is forced to face even greater challenges than she has in the past. Tasked with protecting the Maleficium from Mallory, trying to keep her former friend safe from herself and those who wish her dead, making sure Chicago and its citizens are protected from a new enemy who has no qualms about meting out justice to those he feels are deserving, standing Sentinel in a House under investigation, and living with the fear of just what Ethan has become is a heavier burden than any new vampire should have to bear.

    And the fact that she’s forced to deal with an incredibly stubborn former master vampire with commitment issues does not make her job any easier.

    Filled with intense battles, nail-biting tension and suspense, and that delicious chemistry between Merit and Ethan that makes this series so addictive, BITING COLD is a must read addition to the series.

    So, what more can I possibly say about Biting Cold?

    He’s back. He’s back. He’s back. He’s back. And he might just be here to stay.

    BITING COLD is a return to the series I had grown to love prior to what I will now just call “the incident.” The one that shattered my heart into a million pieces. The one that made me too heartbroken to pick up the next book in the series until I had reassurances and answers. And even then my broken heart made it nearly impossible to get lost in the story.

    But now? Reading this installment was like coming home. To a world I knew and loved. To characters that I count among my favorites. To an adventure I wanted to embark upon, to enemies I was ready to face. Because the kick-ass Merit I expected to see was there. And because her partner, her liege, the frequent source of her frustration, was there.

    Yesss…. He’s back. He’s back. I am so unbelievably happy that he’s back.

    It’s just so easy to fall head over heels in love with each of the books in this series. And BITING COLD was definitely not an exception. The story was fast-paced, with moments of nerve-wracking suspense. The writing had an easy flow. There were several new elements to the story that not only moved the plot forward but added to it, making it just as wildly entertaining as each of its predecessors. And a few that made it even more so. Especially as pertained to the new supernatural being and the fate of the Cadogan House Vampires.

    As soon as I set this book down I was more than ready to pick up the next book in the series, HOUSE RULES. Of course, as that book has not yet been released, I have to suffer the agony of having to wait to find out just what’s in store for my favorite Sentinel.

    But I think the wait is manageable. Why? Because he’s back….


    “I’m not jealous, Sentinel.”


    “I have no need of jealousy.”

    I was equally amused and aroused by his bravado. This was Ethan in the fast lane, hugging the curves instead of constantly riding the political brakes.


    After only a moment, when my chest was heaving and my body pliant and ready, he pulled back.

    “If you use the word ‘halt,’ I will hit you.”

    “Not halt,” he breathlessly said. “Upstairs. Now.”

    I thanked whatever strength he’d found to utter those words. And I was not going to argue with him.


    After Dark Review: Lothaire

    Previously published on Fiktshun After Dark…

    Lothaire (Immortals After Dark #12)
    Author: Kresley Cole
    Published: January 10, 2012
    Publisher: Gallery Books
    (Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

    On Goodreads…


    Driven by his insatiable need for revenge, Lothaire, the Lore’s most ruthless vampire, plots to seize the Horde’s crown. But bloodlust and torture have left him on the brink of madness—until he finds Elizabeth Peirce, the key to his victory. He captures the unique young mortal, intending to offer up her very soul in exchange for power, yet Elizabeth soothes his tormented mind and awakens within him emotions Lothaire believed he could no longer experience.


    Growing up in desperate poverty, Ellie Peirce yearned for a better life, never imagining she’d be convicted of murder—or that an evil immortal would abduct her from death row. But Lothaire is no savior, as he himself plans to sacrifice Ellie in one month’s time. And yet the vampire seems to ache for her touch, showering her with wealth and sexual pleasure. In a bid to save her soul, Ellie surrenders her body to the wicked vampire, while vowing to protect her heart.


    Elizabeth tempts Lothaire beyond reason, as only his fated mate could. As the month draws to a close, he must choose between a millennia-old blood vendetta and his irresistible prisoner. Will Lothaire succumb to the miseries of his past . . . or risk everything for a future with her?

    If you want a longer taste of Lothaire a downloadable excerpt can be found HERE.


    Lothaire is the twelfth book in Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series and is the perfect introduction to the series for new readers. It’s dark, it’s sexy, it’s utterly delectable and the characters are delightful, maddening and incredibly sympathetic.

    While the world is extensive, it’s very easy to jump right into the series without missing a beat. Readers won’t feel lost or confused about what might have happened before or what takes place in this installment. The author does a great job of filling any potential gaps with enough information to keep readers engaged but without overloading them with unnecessary backstory.

    Lothaire is a hot and steamy love story with moments of passion, heartache, sexual tension and release, and suspense. But it is combined with the ruthless violence, deadly threats, betrayals and deceptions, age-old enemies and vast landscape that make stories about immortal beings so addictive.

    Both main characters – Ellie Peirce and Lothaire Daciano – are wildly entertaining opponents and the perfect match with their fiery tempers and sizzling chemistry. Both have strong personalities. Both are incredibly stubborn. And yet they are so well suited to one another. Even if they don’t realize it.

    As frustrating as Lothaire can be at times, as deadly a predator as he is, and as vicious as he’s been, he’s still a sympathetic character. He’s still a character readers will hope is redeemable, savable. And one that has the potential to be deserving of Ellie’s love.

    And Elizabeth Peirce is a heroine that is instantly lovable. From her love for the simple things in life, to her love and loyalty toward her family, to her strength and determination, she is a character you will root for and hope finds her knight in shining armor. Not that she needs one.

    From prologue to epilogue, Lothaire is a fast-paced story and quick and easy one-sit-read. It’s a book that if you have to put it down you’ll want to pick it right back up again. You’ll want to return to this deadly world and its inhabitants that Ms. Cole developed. You’ll want to find out what the missing pieces to Lothaire’s story are that the author slowly reveals one at a time throughout.

    And you’ll want to discover just what the outcome is for Ellie – if she has a happy ending, if her heart will be broken, or if she is fated to something worse than death.

    Full of white-hot passion, surprising tenderness, heartaching cruelty, an exciting storyline and even more enthralling characters, Lothaire is a must read installment in the series that will beguile and thrill both old and new readers of the Immortals After Dark world.

    So, what more can I possibly say about Lothaire?

    As my first taste of Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark world, I was very surprised to have been so easily drawn in. I’d read the author’s YA release so I knew I’d enjoy her writing style, but jumping into a well-established series and being able to connect with it like I did was a definite surprise.

    Without getting to know Lothaire’s past misdeeds through another character’s eyes earlier in the series, I found him very easy to like. As cold-hearted and utterly crazy as he was, I thought he was so incredibly sympathetic. And completely hot.

    And I found poor, backwater Ellie to be a heroine I adored. Underestimated, mistreated, and stuck in a horrible situation and she still had hope. She had a steel backbone but wasn’t too tough. And she was amazingly insightful.

    While I found the characters and storyline to be my favorite parts, I also loved the heat. The author did a fantastic job of building up the sexual tension, teasing readers with it as much as she did her characters. The encounters had all the sensuality that is expected from ones with vampire, as well as the desire, brute strength and uncontrollable lust.

    This book was hot. Sexy. Tantalizing. But it also broke my heart, made me grin and made me say “ewww” on more than one occasion with the incredibly descriptive scenes of carnage.

    It also made me instantly purchase five more books and a novella in the series and made me even more excited for the next book in the series, Shadow’s Claim, about the Dacians.


    There were actually a few bites I very much enjoyed. But as they are hot enough to melt an LCD monitor I thought I’d include two that revealed a bit about certain of Lothaire’s other attributes.

    He’d traced to the nearest town to make a phone call, stealing a cell phone from its distracted owner–some fuckwit who’d been saving orphans from an inferno or some such–then dialed Hag’s number. “Where the hell are you?”


    “Why couldn’t y-you and Saroya just leave m-me alone? I only ever w-wanted to live.”

    Why was this making his gut twist? Either he was developing a conscience, or Ellie Ann Peirce was his Bride.

    And for some more yummy Lothaire goodness, there is a smoking hot trailer….


    After Dark Review: DEADLOCKED

    Previously published on Fiktshun After Dark…

    Deadlocked (Sookie Stackhouse #12)
    Author: Charlaine Harris
    Published: May 1, 2012
    Publisher: Ace
    (Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

    On Goodreads…

    With Felipe de Castro, the Vampire King of Louisiana (and Arkansas and Nevada), in town, it’s the worst possible time for a body to show up in Eric Northman’s front yard—especially the body of a woman whose blood he just drank.

    Now, it’s up to Sookie and Bill, the official Area Five investigator, to solve the murder. Sookie thinks that, at least this time, the dead girl’s fate has nothing to do with her. But she is wrong. She has an enemy, one far more devious than she would ever suspect, who’s out to make Sookie’s world come crashing down.




    Deadlocked is the twelfth book in author Charlaine Harris’ Southern Vampires or Sooke Stackhouse series. Once again trouble lands right at Sookie’s door in the form of a dead girl. Well, not technically her door, but her boyfriend, Eric Northman’s.

    While Eric was the last person to be seen with her, there are any number of suspects. From Felipe de Castro or his entourage who are visiting, to Mustapha Khan, who just so happens to be conspicuously absent when the police show up, to any of Eric’s or Sookie’s enemies. And there are always plenty of those.

    Trying to find out who the killer is means figuring out the motive behind framing Eric. Is it to drive Eric and Sookie apart? To get Eric out of the picture to get to Sookie? To cast doubt on Eric’s ability as Sheriff? Or is it part of a much more elaborate and sinister plot?

    Deadlocked is a quick read, although the pace doesn’t really pick up until the very end. And while this twelfth book in the series moves the story along, ties up a number of loose ends and answers several questions that have been begging for them, it doesn’t bring the same level of excitement to the story as some of the earlier books in the series. And it seems to wrap up some of the storylines too neatly and conveniently.

    This installment in the series did scale back the violence, although there was some. It eliminated all but the briefest sexual encounter. And it once again had very few scenes with of one of the more exciting characters in the series, Eric Northman.

    More than anything this book felt as if it was winding the series down, moving it toward its conclusion. Even some of Sookie’s musings envisioned endings to many of the characters’ stories in a perfect world. And it took the story in a direction that may please some fans of the series and upset others, depending on just how they want Sookie’s story to end.

    Appearances, albeit brief, are made by some longtime favorite characters in the series. New obstacles to Sookie and Eric’s happiness are introduced. And happy endings are given to some of the many characters in the world and unhappy ones to others.

    With a few surprises, a few “Oh Sookie” moments, and an ending that will leave readers on edge as they wait to find out where this series will conclude, Deadlocked is a necessary, if not electrifying, installment in this series.

    So, what more can I possibly say about Deadlocked?

    I’m caught somewhere between it being just “okay” for me and a “liked.” I liked getting answers, even if they’re not the ones I want. I liked that the plot was moved along. And I liked when the pace picked up at the end.

    I just didn’t feel connected to the story. And I didn’t have fun reading it. The mystery didn’t have that quality that kept me riveted as some of the earlier ones did. I found myself more annoyed with Sookie than anything. I felt things were too conveniently wrapped up and I just didn’t care about how things ended for some of the characters.

    But more than anything I just missed Eric and Pam. My two favorite characters in the series. For the third book in a row I didn’t feel Eric’s presence. Whether that was the author’s intent or not, I can’t say. But it just feels as if he’s being pulled away from the story. He’s no longer the Eric that is always there for Sookie. Stopping by for a quickie doesn’t count.

    And his involvement in this story was negligible, even though it was about a girl found dead at his doorstep.

    While I understand trying to wrap up a story and close all loopholes, I felt as if some characters were brought back into the story for no logical reason other than to say goodbye. Some of whom I already thought I’d said goodbye to for good.

    I enjoyed Deadlocked more than Dead in the Family, but a bit less than the previous book in the series, Dead Letters. And while I will definitely take this series to its conclusion, no matter how heartbroken I know I’ll be about the direction this story seems to be headed, I will probably stick with re-reading just the first nine books in the series as I’ve done four times already.


    Not enough Eric. While the author may have other plans for good ol’ Sookie, it is hard to see such an important character in the series play such a minor role in this book. Especially since the frame job surrounds him.

    Not enough excitement. While I admit that the violence was escalating in a rather shocking way in poor Sookie’s life prior to this book, there didn’t seem to be that much going on here. Even with a murder, an underhanded plot and a huge cast of characters.

    Not enough heat. While the scenes don’t have to be the steamy kind of hot, there should have been some heat. From somewhere. But there was just no fire or passion in any of the exchanges between any of the characters. The one brief booty call was rushed and not at all sexy. And without any intensity in the glances or fiery arguments, there just wasn’t any real spark.

    A nerve-wracking conclusion. Well, the ending certainly delivers. It created that twisty knotty feeling that was missing throughout this read. The way things left off will make many readers very nervous about what to anticipate in the last book. The last ten percent of the story was exciting. And the ending will definitely keep readers guessing about what’s to come.


    I’d loved two vampires. Bill had broken my heart. Maybe Eric was on the way to doing the same thing.


    I began to think I was spoiled. There was no such thing as boring sex with Eric.

    I wondered if he’d dance for me, if I asked him nicely. I was having a very pleasant fantasy about that when Claude reemerged on the stage, still in his spangled tights and boots.


    After Dark Review: HALFWAY TO THE GRAVE

    Previously published on Fiktshun After Dark…

    Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress #1)
    Author: Jeaniene Frost
    Published: October 30, 2007
    Publisher: Avon
    (Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

    On Goodreads…

    Half-vampire Catherine Crawfield is going after the undead with a vengeance, hoping that one of these deadbeats is her father—the one responsible for ruining her mother’s life. Then she’s captured by Bones, a vampire bounty hunter, and is forced into an unholy partnership.

    In exchange for finding her father, Cat agrees to train with the sexy night stalker until her battle reflexes are as sharp as his fangs. She’s amazed she doesn’t end up as his dinner—are there actually good vampires? Pretty soon Bones will have her convinced that being half-dead doesn’t have to be all bad. But before she can enjoy her newfound status as kick-ass demon hunter, Cat and Bones are pursued by a group of killers. Now Cat will have to choose a side . . . and Bones is turning out to be as tempting as any man with a heartbeat.




    Halfway to the Grave is the first book in author Jeanine Frost’s Night Huntress Series about a half-vampire named Catherine Crawfield a.k.a. Cat Raven who is on a mission to rid Licking Falls, Ohio of every single vampire she can.

    She baits them, lures them with the promise of sex, and stakes them. Disposing of the bodies may take a bit more work, but she’s managed on her own all these years.

    As a half-vampire she has more strength, better eyesight and better hearing than most humans. And since she is such a rarity – she has a pulse – the vamps don’t see her coming.

    Except Bones. A bounty hunter, who wasn’t so enamored by her that he’d let his guard down so easily. And when he overpowers her, she is more than surprised.

    Sure that her life will be over before sunrise, she is shocked when he offers her a deal – train with him and help him hunt vampires…or die. And while death may seem like a better option than working side-by-side with her enemy, she chooses life.

    And so begins this amazing partnership between the two that is as dangerous and violent and action-packed as it is sizzling and strung so tightly with sexual tension that it’s ready to snap.

    Deadly encounters, bloody battles, sexual innuendo and one hell of a hot and steamy sex scene that leaves nothing to the imagination and a few others that do, make this story incredibly hard to put down.

    And with two absolutely perfectly matched characters in Cat and Bones that fill the rest of the book with their deliciously addictive chemistry, their sarcastic banter and their utter ruthlessness when facing down their enemies, this is one hell of a wicked and unbelievably amazing start to this series.

    So, what more can I possibly say about Halfway to the Grave?

    Soooo addictive. What pile of sand did I have my head buried in to not have heard about Cat and Bones before last week? Clearly a pretty deep one. With six novels in this series already published and a few more on the way, I don’t know how I will be able to stop myself from continuing to read on.

    They are an absolutely perfect pair. Their relationship is what makes this story great. They’re both strong characters. They both have minds of their own. And they’re both capable of existing without one another. But they’re so much better together.

    Without Bones, Cat isn’t very likable. It’s not until they meet and he begins to chip away at that fierce exterior to show just how vulnerable she can be that she becomes appealing as a main character. She even starts to show a very funny and sarcastic side which is what made me love her by the end of this book.

    So, I didn’t immediately connect to the story. Not until Bones came into the picture, anyway – which was actually fairly close to the beginning. As soon as he did and that relationship started to develop, the story came to life for me, the pace picked up and I was hooked.

    As a newer reader of this type of paranormal fiction, I didn’t expect to be as connected to the characters as I was or find nearly as much excitement or violence as there was. And I didn’t expect either the sarcasm or the humor. It was dry. It was witty. It was clever. It was dirty. And I did laugh. Out loud. Often.

    But, I gotta say that it was the sexual tension that kept me glued to this story, all the while biting my lip as I read through those pages. I love sexual chemistry. And Cat and Bones definitely had the very best kind. While those sex scenes were pretty hot, they did not do justice to the chemistry between the two.

    And those Bones one-liners were some of the best I’ve read.

    I think I’ve developed a mad crush on Bones. One that rivals my crush on Eric the Northman. Yeah, it’s that bad.

    I am seriously glad I didn’t discover this series immediately after the first book was released. Because the way things ended and that last line would have freaking killed me if I had to wait until book two.

    As it is, I’ve been forced to archive it to keep myself from reading it immediately.


    Seriously Awesome. If you think that kick-ass heroines and bad-ass, motorcycle riding vampires with wicked tongues are awesome, then yeah, this is. And if the thrill of the hunt and the heat of battle get your heart racing, then you won’t be disappointed. Not in the least.

    Deliciously sexy. If chiseled vampires, with intensely glowing, green eyes who aren’t afraid to say what they want and take what they need – but only when given the green light – are sexy to you, then you’ll find this unbelievably sexy. And if you need there to be a chemical reaction to give things sex appeal, then consider this appealing. Very appealing.

    Wickedly entertaining. If beheading an evil vampire makes you smile instead of scream, then you’ll be entertained from start to finish. And if you’d enjoy that same bad-ass vampire using his tongue for more than talk, you will be wickedly, wickedly entertained.


    He gave me a grin that was filled with more innuendo than an hour’s worth of conversation.

    “In this case, it’s a stake. You could always feel around for something more, though. See what comes up.”


    “You didn’t actually mean all of those things, did you?” My mind rebelled at the thought, but there was a rapidly beating pulse in my body that treacherously hoped for the opposite.

    He laughed again, low and throaty. His brow arched in sinful promise, his eyes bled back to pure green, and his mouth slid farther down my stomach.

    “Oh, Kitten, I meant every word.”


    “And you wonder why I love you. When you boil it all down, you’re paying me to shag you, for as soon as I stop, I owe you twenty percent of every contract I take. Blimey, Kitten, you’ve turned me back into a whore.”

    “That’s…that’s not…Dammit, you know what I meant!”