Tag Archives: paranormal

the last vampire covers

Book Review: The Last Vampire 1-3, by R.A. Steffan & Jaelynn Woolfe

Somewhere around the internet I was given an Audible code for a copy of books 1-3 of The Last Vampire, by  R.A. Steffan and Jaelynn Woolfe.

the last vampire 1-3

Interestingly enough, several weeks back I listened to a book called Forsaken Fae and one of my biggest complaints about it was that it turned to be a spin-off of a spin-off. So, even though it was labeled book one, it didn’t really stand alone very well. I didn’t at the time know which of the several books in the series it was based on or needed to be read before it. As it turns out, it’s these books…and I had at least these first 3 sitting in my Audible account the whole time.

There’s a smokin’ hot dead guy locked in my garden shed.
That part’s bad enough. But now, he’s trying to get out.

Growing up, my father always told me that I’d come to a bad end, just like my mom did when I was a kid. Hearing that kind of shit when you’re little eventually gets to a girl, but I can’t say I ever expected my ‘bad end’ to involve an angry vampire with a severe case of iron deficiency and a panty-melting English accent.

Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. Ever since my mother was assassinated, I’ve felt like there was something vast and frightening hidden beneath the fabric of the world. Something none of us are supposed to know about.

So far, finding out I was right hasn’t been nearly as satisfying as I’d hoped. I guess the trick will be staying alive long enough to shout ‘I told you so’ from the rooftops.

But before I can do that, I really need to figure out if the vampire who just bit me is one of the good guys or not.

my review

Meh, I didn’t hate this. The writing is fine and I appreciated some of the humor. But the relationships aren’t developed at all. The hero and heroine literally have two less than 10 minute conversations (she literally has a 10 min alarm set during the second one) and then he’s rescuing her, they’re jumping into bed, and they’re apparently a couple for life. And I don’t just mean that makes the sex feel rushed. Even the friendship feels out of nowhere. Then the book ends on a giant cliffhanger. So, I’m pretty “meh” on the whole thing. I also didn’t particularly care for the narrator. There was nothing objectively wrong with the performance, but I found it a little on the whiny side.

the last vampire 2My father has been kidnapped by my worst enemies.

Either that, or he willingly sold me out to them.

Whatever the case, I’m going to find him. Mind you, this would be a lot easier if every Fae in Chicago wasn’t already out for my blood.

They’re not getting it, though.

The only one who’s getting anywhere near my blood is the seven-hundred-year-old vampire who saved me. Yes, there are times when I’m convinced he’s not quite right in the head, but so far he’s the only supernatural being I’ve met who sees me as a person rather than a chess piece.

To the rest of them, I’m nothing more than the walking, talking evidence of a war crime. To him, I’m something else. He calls me a loose thread in the tapestry of his forgotten past, but he looks at me like I might be the key to his future.

The rest of them tell me I’m demonkin. They say I’m a succubus-human hybrid who shouldn’t exist.

One thing is very clear, though. My father is carrying a secret bigger than I ever dreamed, and I’m damn well going to pry it out of him.

I just have to get him back from the Fae first.
Because, hey—what could possibly go wrong?

my review

I’m finding that I don’t much like Zorah. I find her whiny and prone to too-stupid-to-live decisions (the narrator’s style might have something to do with this impression), and I’m finding that the woman-gagging-for-sex feels like it plays too closely into the subtle Western myth that woman can’t be trusted with their own sexuality because they’re just inherently weak to their own impulses. Plus, being part succubus was just really cliched and predictable. I do find some of the banter between Rans and her funny and there’s really nothing wrong with the writing itself. I’m just not much liking the main character and I’m a bit bored with the story as a whole.

the last vampire 3

I never thought I’d see home again.
Now, I almost wish I hadn’t.

After giving myself up to the Fae, I expected to become the latest casualty of a war that should have ended centuries ago. Instead, I ended up inextricably bound to the last vampire on earth.

My life since the Fae marked me has become unrecognizable. Inside, I’m still the 26-year-old waitress who struggled with working two jobs while being serially dumped by a parade of disgruntled boyfriends. Now, I’ve somehow become a figurehead, coveted and despised in equal measure by two warring supernatural races.

Can I trust the fragile bond connecting my heart to the unbeating heart of a vampire? Every instinct I possess tells me to pull back… protect myself… protect him. But every time I try to run away, I end up back in his arms.

Alliances are shifting. Old resentments are flaring. Both my father and I are now chess pieces in someone else’s grand strategy.

No more. I’m done with being a pawn.
It’s time to up my game.

my review

Having finished this 3rd book in the series (the last I have, since I was listening to the compilation of the 1st 3 books), I’m still pretty meh on the whole thing. Plus, I’m finding that I really resent that I’ve read 3 books (600+ pages, almost 21 hours of audio) and gotten no conclusions in any of the books. They each just randomly stop. Which, of course, means there won’t be any kind of satisfaction in book 4 or 5. So, I’d need to read or listen to a further 600 pages or another 20+ hours of audio to get a single conclusion. The simple fact is that I’m just not that invested. Hoopla has the audio of books 4-6, so they’re available to me (even if I didn’t want to buy them) but I don’t think I’ll bother. Which means I’ll never know how it ends and have just wasted 20+ hours of time listening to what is essentially half a story.

And let me tell you it is FULL of filler to stretch the story over 6 books; you especially feel that in this 3rd book. I was just bored with a lot of it, especially all the sex/succubus stuff. By which I don’t just mean the sex (there’s not actually that much of it, compared to what could have been), but all the testing this and trying that, the fetish club and play and requisite description of the outfits, her sexy shows, etc, etc. I was BORED. The whole thing drags like the middle of a book…like the middle it is.

I was also seriously tired of all of her “woe is me, no one could love me” doubt of Rans and the veracity of their relationship. It was tedious and silly. The man had already bound himself to her FOR LIFE. I think it was abundantly clear how he felt, so her continued doubt felt like the contrived plot device it was.

Again, the actual writing itself is fine and the audio versions seem pretty well done. It’s not an issue with quality I have, but with the style of breaking books into serials that have to be read as a whole. This is a personal preference kind of thing, but I’m pretty done with it.

the last vampire audio photo

Book Review – The Last Vampire – by R.A. Steffan & Jaelynn Woolf

the accidental gatekeeper

Book Review: The Accidental Gatekeeper, by Carla Rehse

Carla Rehse‘s The Accidental Gatekeeper was promoed on Sadie’s Spotlight. While I didn’t agree to review it as part of the tour, I did receive a free copy for participating. And since Paranormal Women’s Fiction is a genre I’m loving right now, I gave it a read.


Turning the big four-five isn’t a problem for Everly Popa—it’s everything else in her life that’s gone to hell in a handbasket.

It’s bad enough that Everly’s drug-selling husband is in jail and her adult daughter blames her for the situation. But now the FBI wants her to turn witness, while her husband’s criminal friends want to keep her permanently silent. With no other safe haven, Everly returns to her hometown. A place she hasn’t visited in twenty-seven years. And didn’t leave under the best of circumstances.

It’s not that Everly has a problem with her hometown, exactly, but since it sits next to Hell’s Gate, there’s bound to be a few issues. Like the archaic rules set by the angels who run the town. Or the fact that the townsfolk feel Everly abandoned her duties as one of the members of the town’s founding families. But between celestial politics or getting gunned down by a drug cartel, Everly decides to chance finding sanctuary back home.

After a little good-versus-evil stunt at the town’s border, Everly is let back in and for the first five minutes, things are great. However, soon all hell breaks loose!

Before Everly can take a deep breath and figure a way out of the mess she’s gotten into, an angel gets killed, humans go missing and the town shuts its magical borders. Now Everly is trapped inside with dying angels, rampaging demons, and a witch with a murderous agenda. The only way out is for Everly to learn how to use her newly acquired Gatekeeper powers. But with no handbook provided, there’s a snowball’s chance in hell she’ll figure it out in time.

my review

I feel pretty middle-of-the-road about this book. I didn’t actually dislike it, but I also didn’t finish if feeling bereft for having come to the end. I appreciate that Everly is a 45yo heroine and that she’s trying to do her best in a difficult situation (having not done so in the past). But I also feel like the book is go, go, go from start to finish, which gives the reader no time to rest or to get to know any of the character. I finished the book having developed no attachment to anyone, not feeling what might have been a romantic sub-thread (I’m not even sure), or not particularly invested in the mystery.

The writing is perfectly readable and the editing seemed pretty clean. I personally hate the pretend cursing. Either let a character curse or keep it clean, but don’t half-ass it with, “How, at forty-five f-bomb years old….?” But that’s a personal preference. I also thought that the “I gotta protect my daughter” was over played. What I love about so many PWF books is that they show women over 40 as having selves outside of their husband and family. I thought Rehse’s focus on Everly’s motivation being her daughter dimmed this aspect of the genre significantly. Of course she wants to protect her daughter, but what else is there of interest about her?

I think others who enjoy PWF will like this book. As I said, I didn’t dislike it. It’s just not the best I’ve read.

the accidental gatekeeper

grave concerns banner

Book Review: Grave Robbing and Other Hobbies & Hell Raising and Other Pastimes

I initially became aware of Jayce Carter’s Grave Concerns series when it was promoed on Sadie’s Spotlight (several times, in fact). I liked the look of book one (Grave Robbing and other Hobbies) and had been given a copy as part of one of the tours. So, I gave it a read. I then requested a review copy of book two (Hell Raising and Other Pastimes). But despite a prompt response to my email (she answered the very next morning), I’d already bought it and finished it by that time. I know, I can he hella impatient sometimes.

grave robbing and other hobbies

Description from Goodreads:

Abandoned at three—whose parents want a kid who sees ghosts?—I learned the world is quick to punish misfits. I try my best to be a normal, boring human, but the call of the supernatural just won’t be ignored.

When a stranger shows up on my doorstep in the middle of the night, it’s no sexy tryst. Instead, I’m off to the graveyard, digging up the corpse of a murder victim at the demand of the local vampire coven—and that small felony is just the start.

The spirit of the woman has gone missing—something that shouldn’t be possible—and everyone is looking to me for answers. There’s Kase, a vampire who’s both terrifying and secretive. Grant, a mage with a bad attitude and a lot of power. Troy, the possessive werewolf-detective next door and Hunter, a mysterious bad boy who isn’t even close to human.

It’s a race not just against time but against everything to figure out where the spirits are going, who’s behind it and if I can trust the men who now share my bed.

And all because of a little grave robbing…

my review

I enjoyed the heck out of this. Sure, you just have to suspend your disbelief and roll with it. But that can be fun sometimes too. I liked Eva as a main character, even if she’s a little too mouthy for her own good. (By which I mean she’s suicidally mouthy, unable to keep quite even when her life is on the line. I like a snarky heroine, but I also appreciate one with at least a little self-preservation.) I liked each of the men forming her harem. But I thought they all formed up and accepted the situation with too much ease. In fact, they were all traveling together so suddenly I went, “when did this happen.” And, FYI, I would call this fairly low heat, since there is actually very little sex in it.

I loved that Eva is 35yo, a bit older than your average heroine. But didn’t reall y care for the lack of other women in the book. There are literally only 2 and both are cliches. There’s the crone and the jealous femme fatale.

I did feel like there were several times Eva knew things she hadn’t been told, and wondering how she knew pulled me from the narrative.  And the editing could honestly do with another pass. But I look forward to reading book 2 and seeing how this little found-family forms up and grows.

grave robbing and other hobbies

hell raising and other pastimesDescription from Goodreds:

People have told me to go to hell—I guess they finally got their wish.

I’ve finally accepted the fact that I might not be entirely human, but still life doesn’t give me a break. Instead, I’m sucked into hell at Lucifer’s demand, and realize death is even more complicated than my life was.

I have to survive hell—where everything wants to kill me—so I can confront the devil himself. My love life is even more complex, though. Troy is terrified of his werewolf side hurting me, Kase and Grant are lying to me and Hunter is keeping his own secrets. I know better than to trust anyone, especially the men who have taken over my life.

Get to Lucifer’s Court, find out the truth about the missing spirits, figure out exactly what I am and try not to die along the way. Oh, and don’t fall in love with the men who will for sure break my heart and possibly get me killed.

Easy enough, right?

my review

This was a fun continuation of the Grave Concerns series. I’m still liking Eva and her guys. (Notice I said still liking, not liked, because while the book comes to a natural stopping point, the villain has yet to truly be defeated and the series is obviously not over, even if there aren’t yet any more books.) Speaking of villains, I did find them and their motivation super cliched. But to explain why would be a spoiler.

This book is more steamy than the last, which is nice. But on a point of personal preference, I hate the word cunt in my sex scenes and Carter uses it almost exclusively. But for the most part, I like Eva and her guys together and there was a concerted effort to give them all some backstory. Almost exclusively tragic backstories, which is a little predictable, but whatever. I liked them.

Again, the editing could be touched up, and there were moments in which Eva knew things I didn’t know how or said someone said something that isn’t actually in the narrative. Here’s an example, “His words came back to me, when he’d said his true body resembled a dragon…” I read these books back to back, Hunter never says his body resembles a dragon in either book. These moments yanked me right out of the narrative.

For the most part, however, I’m still enjoying the sarcasm and easy flow of the story. I’ll be looking for a book three whenever it’s released.

hell raising and other pasttimes