Tag Archives: Karen Chance

The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance 2 edited by Trisha Telep

Overview
Image result for the mammoth book of paranormal romance 2 book cover

Title: The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance 2
Author: Trisha Telep, Jackie Kessler, Ava Gray, Shirley Damsgaard, Nathalie Gray, Gail Carriger, Moira Rogers, Elissa Wilds, Karen Chance, Sonya Bateman, Sherri Browning Erwin, Michele Hauf, Sharon Ashwood, Lara Adrian, Helen Scott Taylor, S.J. Day, Seressia Glass & Kim Lenox
Series: Mammoth Books
In: The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance 2 (Trisha Telep)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal fantasy, Paranormal romance, Short story collections
Dates read: 7th February – 5th August 2021
Pace: Slow
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2010
5th sentence, 74th page: His low voice cut her off.

Synopsis

Love is the drug

Paranormal romance was never going to be content with just vampires and werewolves. The fantastic stories in this new collection lay claim to much, much more: paranormal serial killers, gaslight Victorian rendezvous, and the urban mayhem of fantasy and steampunk.

Here you will find bestselling authors writing under new pseudonyms, fresh stars and steadfast favorites, together offering a feat of mind-bending subgenres.

Paranormal romance will never be the same again.

Thoughts

Admittedly it took me quite a while to read this. As much as I love paranormal romance, I think I just in general tend to prefer the full length versions. There’s just more time to connect to and love the characters and the relationship… but, it’s still fun getting a taste of the different authors in the genre.

I enjoyed writing the reviews for each of these stories. They were fun to write and read. Plus, I have a few new series to add to my wish list and shelves now… because I really needed more books to add to the pule… I mean, will I stop when my house explodes? Probably not.

This was a fun adventure to go on. I’d definitely pick up this collection again, but I might just take a while to make everything feel like new again…

<- The Dream CatcherTo Hell With Love ->

Image source: Amazon

Claimed by Shadow by Karen Chance

Overview
Claimed by Shadow (Cassandra Palmer, #2) by Karen Chance

Title: Claimed by Shadow
Author: Karen Chance
Series: Cassandra Palmer #2, Cassandra Palmer World #4
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasy, Paranormal fantasy, Paranormal romance
Dates read: 28th – 31st July 2020
Pace: Slow, Medium, Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Roc
Year: 2007
5th sentence, 74th page: I wasn’t sure why – obviously she could see without the eye, or come to some approximation of it – but she seemed very depressed about missing her turn.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

A recent legacy made Cassandra Palmer heir to the title of Pythia, the world’s chief clairvoyant. It’s a position that usually comes with years of training, but Cassie’s circumstances are a little… unusual. And now she’s stuck with a whopping amount of power that every vamp, Fey, and mage in town wants to either monopolize or eradicate – and that she herself doesn’t dare use.

What’s more, she’s just discovered that a certain arrogant master vampire has put a geis on her – a magical claim that warns off any would-be suitors, and might also explain the rather… intense attraction between them. But Cassie’s had it with being jerked around, and anyone who tries it from now on is going to find out that she makes a very bad enemy…

Thoughts

This is a great second book to this series. I always find second books are the true hint to as to whether or not the series is worth continuing on. The first book is all about setting up the world 9and sometimes, they were originally supposed to be a standalone). But the second book is a hint as to the pace and style with which the rest of the series is going to set forth. Which made this a fantastic indication that I need to continue reading this series. Because. Wow. What a second book.

At the conclusion to Touch the Dark, Cassie had this great, kind of insane power thrust upon her. And I love that all throughout this book, she is seriously fighting that power. Instead of wanting to be powerful and a major player in the political activities which are surrounding her, she just wants to live a nice, quiet and normal life. To a degree, I get that. I’ve had an extremely eventful life… and all I want is for things to be incredibly boring. These are the kind of characters that I like – those who are powerful in a begrudging, slightly annoyed manner. It also gives many moments of humour throughout the action where she’s just a little bit testy…

Now that the series is starting to truly develop, I can see a few potential love interests for Cassie… and I’m completely intrigued to see who and what will be the ultimate guy that she ends up with. She’s finally lost that pesky virginity (and this is the first time that I’ve enjoyed the virginity sub-plot). But the actual guy who is going to be her happily ever after… I can’t wait to see who that will be!!! Personally, I’m hoping that it’s Tomas. But I think that’s just because I have a very, very attractive man pictured in my mind’s eye…

This novel isn’t just a great story in which Cassie is trying to wrestle with ideas of her new power. It is also a great story in which time travel and dimensional travel occur. From going back to the past, to travelling to Faery there are so many brilliant settings. Then, there’s also the fact that the end of this story indicates that not only is a massive supernatural war about to start. But, there’s a fairly good chance that Dracula is now running free and wild…

<- Touch the DarkEmbrace the Night ->

Image source: Goodreads

Wolfsbane and Mistletoe edited by Charlaine Harris & Toni L. P. Kelner

Overview
Image result for wolfsbane and mistletoe book cover

Title: Wolfsbane and Mistletoe
Author: Charlaine Harris, Donna Andrews, Simon R. Green, Dana Cameron, Kat Richardson, Alan Gordon, Carrie Vaughn, Dana Stabenow, Keri Arthur, J.A. Konrath, Patricia Briggs, Nancy Pickard, Karen Chance, Rob Thurman & Toni L. P. Kelner
In: Wolfsbane and Mistletoe (Charlaine Harris & Toni L.P. Kelner)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Christmas, Paranormal fantasy, Short story collections, Werewolves
Dates read: 16th November – 30th December 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Gollancz
Year: 2008
5th sentence, 74th page: I’m big and I’m hairy!

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Synopsis

The holiday season can bring out the beast in anyone – literally! This collection features 15 werewolf tales by an all-star line up.

Thoughts

This is the second collection I’ve read by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner. And it’s just as good, if not better than the first. Actually, it was probably better. Because I really wasn’t in the mood for the Holiday Season this year. Normally I read all sorts of nice holiday stories. I didn’t want those. But an anthology about werewolves and Christmas? That was perfect for my mood. Especially when some of the stories involve eating Rudolph and Santa.

Christmas seems to be all about the night and the season. Or something about the imagery of it is. And werewolves are almost always pictured with a full moon. The combination of the two actually makes perfect sense. Which was something I’d never thought of before, but now wonder why not. After all, it works so beautifully.

Not only were the themes in this story perfectly paired, but it was also a fantastic mix of series shorts and standalones. I love finding short stories based in established worlds. But it’s also great to sometimes find a standalone that you can really sink your teeth into. If anything, I think I actually preferred a lot of the standalones in this collection, they were the stories which were a little grittier.

Although there was a bit more darkness to this story than a traditional paranormal fantasy tale, it was still quite a light-hearted mix. Even the stories that involved disembowelling well-known Christmas characters were funny and light. Left me with a nice, big smile on my lips at the end of the collection.

 <- Keeping Watch Over His Flock ReviewGift Wrap Review ->

Image source: Hachette Australia

Rogue Elements by Karen Chance

Overview
Image result for wolfsbane and mistletoe book cover

Title: Rogue Elements
Author: Karen Chance
Series: Cassandra Palmer #3.2, Cassandra Palmer World #7
In: Wolfsbane and Mistletoe (Charlaine Harris & Toni L.P. Kelner)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasy, Paranormal romance
Dates read: 30th December 2019
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Gollancz
Year: 2008
5th sentence, 74th page: What are you saying?

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

Lia’s been tasked with finding the kidnapped daughter of the “Werewolf King”. But she’s not welcome amongst them, and this journey might bring her face to face with the man she fell for… hard.

Thoughts

I love that I finally got to revisit the world of Lia and Cyrus. That I get to do so in a Christmas collection and when they’re obviously just finding their relationship (the other two stories I’ve read which feature them are further along in the series) just made it that much better. It also gives a little more insight into the hierarchy of the werewolves in this series. Something I surprisingly needed in my life.

I love that the douche nugget in this story who gives Lia such a hard time ends up being guilty of a lot more than just being a pain in the butt. And kind of racist. In a supernatural way. It also shows that not only does Lia have a great past, but there’s also a lot of hidden wars occurring. I’ve only read Touch the Dark in the greater series, so it’s intriguing to find a story which explains so much more of the battle going on.

This is a great, easy, happy read. One that I thoroughly enjoyed. Mostly though, I wish it wasn’t over so soon. I want to return to Lia and Cyrus. I feel WAY too connected to them.

<- You’d Better Not PyoutMilk and Cookies ->

Image source: Hachette Australia

The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance edited by Trisha Telep

Overview
The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance

Title: The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance
Author: Trisha Telep, Sherri Erwin, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Jenna Black, Jenna Maclaine, Raven Hart, Delilah Devlin, Keri Arthur, Kimberly Raye, Alexis Morgan, Lilith Saintcrow, C.T. Adams, Cathy Clamp, Susan Sizemore, Dina James, Colleen Gleason, Barbara Emrys, Savannah Russe, Shiloh Walker, Vicki Pettersson, Rebecca York, Rachel Vincent, Amanda Ashley, Karen Chance & Nancy Holder
Series: Mammoth Books
In: The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance (Trisha Telep)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal romance, Short story collections, Vampires
Pace: Fast
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2008
5th sentence, 74th page: I have travelled the world in search of knowledge, studied with every important intellectual from da Vinci to Hawking.

Synopsis

Love is a weapon in the face of evil.

From the biggest names in paranormal romance, here are over 25 tales of a hunger like no other…

Let Karen Chance, Keri Arthur, Lilith Saintcrow, C.T. Adams and Cathy Clamp, Amanda Ashley, Vicki Pettersson and Susan Sizemore and others take you hot-blooded on the trail of the sexiest creatures of the night.

In the world of the Undead there are strange codes of conduct, dark rituals and dating games, as they seduce the locals and engage in the most sensual encounters you’ll sink your teeth into this side of the grave.

These ain’t your mother’s vampires!

Thoughts

I kind of loved this collection. It definitely isn’t one that you can read cover to cover in one sitting – there’s only so many vampire romances that I can happily read before they start to blend into one. But as a slow read that I just picked up every now and again… it was really, really good.

The short stories in this collection ranged from the classical and predictable vampire stories to ones that took a whole new spin on the ideal. Some were just sweet and some just downright disturbing. And although they all follow a similar theme, not one is the same. I now have a very long list of new authors and series that I want to sink my teeth into…

<- Red Letter DayFade to Black ->

Image source: Goodreads

The Day of the Dead by Karen Chance

Overview
The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance

Title: The Day of the Dead
Author: Karen Chance
Series: Cassandra Palmer #3.1, Cassandra Palmer world #6
In: The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance (Trisha Telep)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasy, Paranormal romance
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2008
5th sentence, 74th page: “I challenged you once before,” he said around the mass that had risen in his throat, huge and cold and sickening.

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Synopsis

“The Day of the Dead” features Tomas, a character from the Cassandra Palmer novels, who was last seen cooling his heels in Faerie. He’ll show up again in the series, but what about in the meantime? What does a powerful, four-hundred-year-old vampire with a serious grudge against his old mass murdering master to do when he suddenly finds himself with too much time on his hands? Hang around Faerie, where there’s nothing to eat (Fey blood=nasty) just because our intrepid heroine parked him there?

Uh, no. Not so much.

Because Tomas is obsessed, and has been for pretty much his whole existence, with one thing: taking out Alejandro, the aforementioned murdering bastard. In “The Day of the Dead,” he slips back into our world to confront his nemesis, only to find unexpected help in the form of a band of magical mercenaries. Think the A-Team with spells and potions instead of (well, actually in addition to) guns and knives and things that go boom. It makes for a lot of mayhem down Mexico way.

Thoughts

I have had a slight obsession (alright, maybe not so slight) with the Mexican tradition of Day of the Dead since I wrote an anthropology paper on it in my Undergrad at University. So reading a story that featured this time of year and festival made me kind of deliriously happy. Alright, stupid happy – I read this story from beginning to end twice in a row to get my fix. And then watched Coco. But that’s a whole other story…

I have only read the first Cassandra Palmer novel, so I don’t fully understand where this fits into the scheme of things. But even without having the background from the rest of the series, I still loved this completely. I vaguely recall Tomas from Touch the Dark and he seemed like a kind, if not slightly misled vampire. (And I honestly never thought I’d write that sentence in my lifetime…) So it was quite fun to read a short story that featured him. And, from the sense of the story, his new beginning and final freedom from the constraints of the slavery and society in which he has found himself.

<- The Music of the NightVampire Unchained ->

Image source: Goodreads

Inked by Karen Chance, Marjorie Liu, Yasmine Galenorn & Eileen Wilks

Overview

InkedTitle: Inked
Author: Karen Chance, Marjorie Liu, Yasmine Galenorn & Eileen Wilks
In: Inked (Karen Chance, Marjorie Liu, Yasmine Galenorn & Eileen Wilks)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasyParanormal fantasy, Short story collections
Pace: Medium
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Berkley Books
Year: 2010
5th sentence, 74th page: Right now, I need some –

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

Four tales of paranormal romance and urban fantasy explore body art that is more than it seems – in a world of magic and mayhem that always leaves its mark…

New York Times bestselling author Karen Chance’s “Skin Deep” tells the tale ofa war mage in Las Vegas who stumbles across an ominous magical ward that appears as a dragon on her skin – and has a mind of its own…

When New York Times bestselling author Marjorie M. Liu’s demon hunter Maxine Kiss investigates a grisly murder, she finds herself involved in a conspiracy dating back to World War II – and a secret mission that her grandmother may have carried out for the U.S. government, one that involes the mysterious “Armor of Roses.”

In New York Times bestselling author Yasmine Galenorn’s “Etched in Silver”, a supernatural agent is on the trail of a sadistic serial killer when an unexpected – and dangerously seductive – ally comes to her aid, setting in motion a magical ritual that may end up binding them together, body and soul.

When the magically tattooed body of a man is found in a Northern California town, FBI Agent Lily Yu is drawn into the case. Trouble is, the victim wasn’t human – and the killer isn’t finished in USA Today bestselling author Eileen Wilks’s “Human Nature”.

Thoughts

I love tattoos. I have two, I’m going to get more. I love stories that feature tattoos. I loved this collection which was basically all about tattoos. Actually, the most disappointing thing about this was how quickly it ended. After all, there were only four novellas in this collection, and I would have happily enjoyed far more.

I’ve held off on reading this collection until I was up to the right stage in the World of the Lupi series, after all, that was why I bought this. But, then I got a little bit too excited about the idea of tattoo riddled paranormal fantasy tales written by some very captivating authors. And I started reading this. And boy, was I not disappointed. Every single one of these tales drew me in and made me immensely happy. It also caused me to buy quite a few more books that I really didn’t need…

Even if you don’t really like tattoos (yes, I can’t quite believe that people like that exist either), this is a great collection of tales. It features strong women, chaos and magic in a turbulent mass that completely draws you in.

 <- Human Nature Review Skin Deep Review ->
Image source: Penguin Random House

Skin Deep by Karen Chance

Overview
Inked

Title: Skin Deep
Author: Karen Chance
Series: Cassandra Palmer World #15, Cassandra Palmer #4.5
In: Inked (Karen Chance)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasy, Paranormal romance
Pace: Fast
Format: Novella
Publisher: Berkley Books
Year: 2010
5th sentence, 74th page: Right now, I need some –

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

New York Times bestselling author Karen Chance’s “Skin Deep” tells the tale ofa war mage in Las Vegas who stumbles across an ominous magical ward that appears as a dragon on her skin – and has a mind of its own…

Thoughts

Lia is a really good, fun character, and one that I thoroughly enjoyed meeting in Vegas Odds. So it was nice to revisit her in Skin Deep with an amazing new tattoo to boot. I also enjoyed the way that her relationship with Cyrus had developed further from that outlined in their previous novella.

This was quite a fast paced novella, although a lot of it went quite over my head since I have a real lack of understanding about where the world is set. Though this gave a really nice insight into how parts of it fit together. Actually, I’m kind of fascinated to see how it works with Touch the Dark, the only Cassandra Palmer novel that I have had a chance to read so far…

Skin Deep takes you deep into the underworld and the slums that have been worsened by the magical wars. I enjoyed the juxtaposition of the world that we know, and the underworld that is literally below ground in Lia’s Las Vegas. The contrast in the settings was really fun in this story, and it reminded me how much I love and admire Chance’s world building and ability to position what we know alongside what we imagine so seamlessly.

<- InkedArmor of Roses ->

Image source: Penguin Random House

Touch the Dark by Karen Chance

Overview
Touch the Dark

Title: Touch the Dark
Author: Karen Chance
Series: Cassandra Palmer #1Cassandra Palmer World #3
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasyParanormal romance
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Roc Fantasy
Year: 2007
5th sentence, 74th page: Staring at me from the mirror was Louis-Cesar’s face, white with shock.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

Cassandra Palmer can see the future and communicate with spirits – talents that make her attractive to the dead and the undead. The ghosts of the dead aren’t usually dangerous; they just like to talk… a lot.

The undead are another matter.

Like any sensible girl, Cassie tries to avoid vampires. But when the bloodsucking mafioso she escaped three years ago finds Cassie again with vengeance on his mind, she’s forced to turn to the vampire Senate for protection.

The undead senators won’t help her for nothing, and Cassie finds herself working with one of their most powerful members, a dangerously seductive master vampire – and the price he demands may be more than Cassie is willing to pay…

Thoughts

It’s been years since I last picked up this novel – back when I first read it, I thought it was a standalone story with an off-kilter ending. Now that I’ve found out it’s just the beginning of a series, I thought that I’d pick it up again. See if it was as good as I remember and help me to become reintroduced to the world of Cassandra Palmer. And, if anything, I think that this was a little better than last time. Maybe because I’ve grown older, or maybe I just was in a more appreciative headspace… regardless of the reasoning, I loved this novel and am now keenly waiting for Claimed by Shadow to arrive.

One of the things that I loved about this storyline is the way that Chance approached virginity. I’ve found that very few of my favourite storylines have a virgin as the main character. And, the few stories when there are key characters who are also virgins, this takes up a lot of their characterisation. Most stories I read don’t focus on somebody’s sex life to define them, so it always annoys me when there is a focus on the inexperience levels as well. It puts too much emphasis on the idea that we should be or shouldn’t be… or whichever way, too much pressure. Chance doesn’t do this though. It’s just an aspect of Cassie’s existence, and although it is an important plot driver and point, it doesn’t create the character.

Ever since the Twilight fiasco, I’ve been a little hesitant to pick up any books that directly mention vampires. I’m sorry, but vampires shouldn’t be considered a romantic, sexy creature that you can have a happily ever after with. Their entire mythos is built around the fact that they are supposed to be predators… I know that their overwhelming presence in this story was something that made me pick it up, put it down, and so on for months. But, I was pleasantly surprised – yes, there is a sexual factor about the vampires, and Cassie spends a lot of time with them and lusting for them. BUT, there is no moment in which they are not considered as, and treated like, predators! Which really, is all I want out of a good vampire character…

<- The Queen’s WitchClaimed by Shadow ->

Image source: Wikipedia

The Queen’s Witch by Karen Chance

Overview
The Queen's Witch

Title: The Queen’s Witch
Author: Karen Chance
Series: Cassandra Palmer #0.6Cassandra Palmer World #2
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasyParanormal romance
Pace: Fast
Format: Novella
Publisher: Karen Chance Online
Year: 2010
5th sentence, 74th page: But Trevelyan seemed pleased.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

“The Queen’s Witch” is a short story connected to the New York Times bestselling Cassandra Palmer and Dorina Basarab series of urban fantasy novels. It features Kit Marlowe in a supernatural thriller set in Elizabethan England.

It’s a companion novel to The Gauntlet.

Thoughts

I loved the setting location for The Queen’s Witch. Following on Gillian and Kit from The Gauntlet, they travel through Victorian England and try to find a way to save the queen. The semi-historical setting gave the story a unique feeling from the main Cassandra Palmer series, and (I’m assuming) context for the later storylines within the series.

Having said that, I’m not actually sure where this miniseries fit into the storyline, but it feels like there is a lot of context here that is going to become useful later. The idea of coven witches and circle witches is fascinating, and the constant war that they are at is a constantly recurring battle. That of the old system vs. the new – modern vs. natural.

Kit Marlowe and Gillian have a tensely sexual relationship, and I like the way that they play off of one another throughout the story. Although this isn’t resolved at the conclusion of the story, it added a nice layer throughout the storyline.

 <- The GauntletTouch the Dark ->

Image source: Goodreads