Dark Side of Dawn by Kathryn Smith

Dark Side of Dawn (Nightmare Chronicles, #2) Published in: 2009
Pages: 384
Edition read: E-book
Series: 2nd book in the Nightmare Chronicles

Book description:
Life can be a nightmare. Literally.
On the surface, it might seem like I, Dawn Riley, have it all. I’ve got a great job, a boyfriend who loves me . . . but my family life is a different story.
As the mortal daughter of the King of Dreams, I have an ability to exist between both worlds . . . which is terrifying to some. Now the Nightmare Council claims I’ve broken their laws and is threatening to have me “unmade.” And if that’s not bad enough, I need to track down a vicious criminal responsible for several savage attacks—before he finds me.
I’m lucky enough to have Noah by my side, and he’ll do whatever it takes so that we can have a future together. In the end, though, this is my battle. The fate of a world rests upon my shoulders, and it seems the best that I can hope for is not to die in my sleep…

My review:
We pretty much launch straight into the story on this one, with no reminder of what happened in book 1 or who the characters are, and we start off with the rape of Noah’s ex-wife by a sick bastard. Dawn, having been in a similar circumstance before, bonds with this woman she previously only saw as a threat (yes, all women must view each other as threats to their men. It’s the unwritten woman rule. /sarcasm). In between trying to help Amanda work through her trauma, Dawn is also fighting for her life in the Dreamworld as this nasty warden lady tries to have her unmade because reasons. Jealousy or something.

I…. didn’t find this book at all believable, the characters were still really under-developed and their interactions were forced. The romance between Dawn and Noah was just grating on me throughout the book, I could not understand why Dawn’s mother insisted on stubbornly remaining in the Dreamworld and screwing over her children (Happiness? No, that’s selfishness. You get to be with Morpheus at night, you come back to the real world during the day. That’s how it works lady.) and Dawn herself just didn’t seem to learn anything useful. I mean, yay she can protect herself now and yay, she’s learning what it means to be a Nightmare, but has she grown at all through this? No. Is she still on about her weight issues (cause a size 12 is apparently ‘fat’). No, no she’s still on about that.

I think my bitterness overall is that this story idea is really interesting, it could be so damn good, and the author just falls short. It’s all set up well, the story is lurking there in the shadows, the characters just really let it all down bigtime.

Final review:
Dark side of dawn rating:
Would I re-read it? No, I didn’t really enjoy this book or series so once was enough
Who would I recommend it to? Fans of paranormal romances

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6284063-dark-side-of-dawn
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Side-Dawn-Nightmare-Chronicles/dp/0061632716


The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë

The Tenant of Wildfell HallPublished in: 1848
Pages: 542
Edition read: E-book

Book description:
Gilbert Markham is deeply intrigued by Helen Graham, a beautiful and secretive young widow who has moved into nearby Wildfell Hall with her young son. He is quick to offer Helen his friendship, but when her reclusive behavior becomes the subject of local gossip and speculation, Gilbert begins to wonder whether his trust in her has been misplaced. It is only when she allows Gilbert to read her diary that the truth is revealed and the shocking details of her past.

My review:
I hated the other Brontë sister’s works, so I expected to hate this one as well. Colour me surprised when I enjoyed reading through this book, a simple but well-written tale of a mysterious woman and her son moving into a tight-knit community, and the man who falls in love with her, despite the rumours that run wild. On the other side of things, is the story of a woman and her son, fleeing a wretch of a husband, to a quiet town filled with nosy neighbours who decide to create and spread malicious rumours to keep themselves amused.

The story is told through a combination of letters to a friend, and excerpts from Helen’s diary, and we get both sides of their stories before it comes to a rather satisfying ending that had me smiling despite the fact it was a bit sappy. I also found that this was really easy to read, instead of the long-winded sentences that say nothing, common in the other Brontë books, this was more precise in it’s use of language, the sentences actually telling a story instead of filling up pages to bump up the story’s wordcount. Out of the Brontë sisters, I think Anne is the best storyteller and she’s definitely my favourite.

Final review:
Tenant of Wildfell rating:
Would I re-read it? If I had to choose a book to read out of this family’s repertoire, I’d pick this one. Otherwise, I’d probably not read it again, I’ve read it once and that was enough.
Who would I recommend it to? Literature fans, or fans of the Brontë sisters and their work.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/337113.The_Tenant_of_Wildfell_Hall
Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tenant_of_Wildfell_Hall



Before I Wake by Kathryn Smith

Before I Wake (Nightmare Chronicles, #1)Published in: 2008
Pages: 378
Edition read: Paperback
Series: Book 1 in the Nightmare Chronicles

Book description:
You may call it a dream job . . .
And in some ways, you’d be right. I actually get paid to study people’s dreams. It comes much easier than my employers at the Sleep Center suspect; after all, I, Dawn, am the daughter of the king of the dream world, and I can roam the dreams of others, battling the nightmares that plague them.
I call it a nightmare . . .
Honestly, I could use a good night’s sleep. But ever since I met Noah Clarke, I’m even more torn between the two worlds: smart, sexy, and able to control his own dreams, Noah could be my perfect man—except he’s being stalked in his sleep by an unearthly evil, hell-bent on destroying him . . . and the entire world.

My review:
You know how I have a hoard of books that I buy and don’t read for years on end? Yeah, this is one of those. It’s slightly embarrassing, my bookshelf of books yet-to-be-read. Have I mentioned I finally renewed my library card (after 10 years) so now I’m also hitting the library for new books instead of reading the ones I have. I’m a mess.

I did however finally read this book, after only owning it for 7 years without reading it. I’m doing well. This book was okay, it was a different premise to the normal paranormal romances I enjoy as it involved dreams and the creatures who live in the dream world. It was an interesting premise, Dawn is the result of the god of dreams (Morpheus) and a mortal, she exists in both worlds but of neither, and she is a dream-shrink in real life. She sounds pretty cool, but somehow I felt she fell short. Her romance with Noah seemed forced to me instead of natural and the scenes between them just weren’t that great.

While it wasn’t the worst thing to read, it wasn’t the greatest. Great idea behind it all, but the characters were under-developed, the scenes sometimes forced, and the execution overall needed some improvement. I think this may be why the series is only 2 books long, even though the second book ends on what is obviously a cliffhanger ready for book 3 (that is likely never to come).

Final review:
Before I Wake rating:
Would I re-read it? No. It was okay to read, but it’s not a book I will seek out to re-read.
Who would I recommend it to? Fans of paranormal romances

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2580579-before-i-wake
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Before-I-Wake-Nightmare-Chronicles/dp/0061340278
Harper Collins: https://www.harpercollins.com/9780061340277/before-i-wake

Midnight Bites by Rachel Caine

Midnight Bites

Published in: 2016
Pages: 540
Edition read: E-book
Series: Novellas, short-stories, extras from the Morganville Vampire series

Book description:
By day, Morganville, Texas, is just a typical college town. By night, the vampires emerge and take control….
In a town where it’s not safe to be out after dark, student Claire Danvers and her friends have had their fair share of thrills. But Morganville still has a few secrets left to tell.
Now, in this collection, you can venture down the town’s strange streets, revisit all the tales you’ve come to love, and experience six new stories featuring your favorite Morganville residents—both human and vampire…

My review:
Last year, when I was reading my way through this series, I always meant to finish off by reading this collection of stories. Aaand then I didn’t. I hate leaving things unfinished (I have in fact never not-finished a novel I’ve started) so this has been gnawing away at me for 18 months now. Finally, I decided it was time to finish the series off and read the damn thing… and it was good. I forgot how awesome this series is.

The stories are short and jump from scene to scene, some from Claire’s POV, some from her roommates, some from the vampires, some are during the Morganville timeline and some are from way, way before. It’s just great. My favourite stories were the ones involving Myrnin, because he is by far the best character of this series. He’s batshit insane, he has a pet spider named Bob, he dresses pretty snappily (read= creatively) for a very old vampire, and he’s just cool. That’s not to say that the other characters aren’t good, I mean I still love Claire and Shane, but Myrnin is the one that made me giggle, and the one I was most interested by.

Overall, it was a great flashback to this series, it gave some really good insights to some of the characters, background on some of the stories and scenarios, and it was really fun to read. I really hope/wish the author will one day revive this series.

Final review:
Midnight Bites rating:
Would I re-read it? Yeah, it was a fun read
Who would I recommend it to? I think you need to have read some of the series in order to enjoy this book, given it’s basically extras for the fans rather than something you pick up and read as a starter/intro to the series.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25938458-midnight-bites
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Midnight-Bites-Stories-Morganville-Vampires/dp/1101989785
Author’s site: http://www.rachelcaine.com/books/morganville/

Spellfire by Jessica Andersen

Spellfire (Nightkeepers,#8)

Published in: 2012
Pages: 426
Edition read: E-book
Series: Book 8, final book in the Nightkeeper series

Book description:
Imprisoned and tortured by the demoness who tricked him into betraying the Nightkeepers and the woman he loves, Rabbit must endure excruciating pain to protect the diminished Skywatch army as the end-time approaches. Although an ancient prophecy says his unique powers are key to winning the final battle in the doomsday war, he hasn’t just lost his credibility—he’s lost his magic.

Myrinne is far from the woman Rabbit once knew—she’s got magic now, and despite emotional scars, she’s strong enough to help the Nightkeepers. And yet she’s not prepared to handle the fiercely driven man he’s become or the new, dangerous feelings that spark between them.

With the barrier ready to fall and a xombi outbreak in the human world, Rabbit and Myrinne must forge a new partnership amid dangerous instability and the threat of an undead army. In the end, it will be up to Rabbit to master his ferocious magic—or all will be lost. For him, for the woman he doesn’t have the right to love anymore, and for the fate of the world…

My review:
Final book in the series! I’m sad to see this series end, but it had to happen. So this book takes a weird turn, in that we go off the Mayan gods and fully into the Egyptian gods, and that can be a little hard to follow. I’m not sure I liked this switch last minute, it was almost like the author had some real great ideas to bring into the series, then realised it was nearly December 2012 and therefore her deadline, went ‘oh shit better just chuck this in here’. In fact, much of the book has a bit of a short, rushed feel to it.

The main story revolves around Rabbit and Myrinne. Full disclosure, I’ve never really liked Myrinne. She redeems herself in this book and I dislike her a little less, but I honestly feel that Rabbit could do better. We also get some more of Rabbits background, plus a visitor from the past thrown in for good measure.

The side story revolves around Anna, who was a bit of a loose end in the previous books. I’ve also disliked her a lot in this series, but she becomes way cooler in this book as she finally, FINALLY embraces her seer powers and uses them to do some good for the Nightkeepers. She also finally finds love, so that was quite nice, and really rounded out the series.

Final review:
Spellfire rating:
Nightkeeper series rating: 8.5/10.
Would I re-read it? Yes
Who would I recommend it to? Fans of the author and series, paranormal romance, mythology, Mayan mythology, action.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13542763-spellfire
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Spellfire-Novel-Nightkeepers-Jessica-Andersen/dp/0451238486
Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jessica_Andersen

Magic Unchained by Jessica Andersen

Magic Unchained (The Nightkeepers, #7)

Published in: 2012
Pages: 434
Edition read: E-book
Series: Book 7 in the Nightkeeper series

Book description:
Cara Liu is determined to unite the winikin under her leadership. But her rule is far from secure as the traditionalists and younger warriors vie for control. And when Nightkeeper Sven enters the scene, Cara has trouble separating her duty to her people from her desire for her longtime love.

Sven knows the attraction between them could badly compromise her ability to lead the winikin, and jeopardize her people’s tenuous alliance with the Nightkeepers. Nevertheless, she and Sven give in to temptation and begin a secret affair—distracting them from a danger within their own ranks planning a vicious betrayal…

My review:
I was so excited that the seventh book was Sven’s book, as he’s been this background character whose just always there, bumming about, going from part of the crowd to the only single person left in the complex… and now he finally gets his book and he’s in love with a Winikin named Cara. Cara is kinda kick-ass, but she has this weird hair that annoys me (I don’t get it, she has a giant white stripe in her hair?) and although I love the Winikin and how Cara is the best leader they could ask for, and they get powers eventually, I don’t know if she’s the person I’d have picked for Sven- the whole family angle weirded me out.

Anyhoo. The story was good, the moments between Cara and Sven were sweet- especially the day they play hooky on the boat- and I liked how the Winikin got a super boost and became valuable players in the end-game, finally giving the Nightkeepers the numbers and the powers they need to have a fighting chance at stopping the end of the world.

There is also some serious things going down with Rabbit, and it all comes to a head in this book, leading us up to the final book and Rabbit’s story, which we know will be a doozy. It all gets really exciting towards the end of this book as we are only months out from the end time and its all happening now!

Final review:
Magic Unchained rating:
Would I re-read it? Yes
Who would I recommend it to? For fans of the author and this series, paranormal romances, mythology and Mayan mythology.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11540475-magic-unchained
Googlebooks: https://books.google.com.au/books/about/Magic_Unchained.html?id=reiCZwEACAAJ&redir_esc=y
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Magic-Unchained-Novel-Nightkeepers-Prophecy/dp/0451236424


Storm Kissed by Jessica Andersen

Storm Kissed (Nightkeepers, #6)

Published in: 2011
Pages: 451
Edition read: E-book
Series: Book 6 in the Nightkeeper series

Book description:
Dez is no angel. The former gangbanger spent years in jail and alienated the love of his life, Reese Montana. Now he has a second chance to join forces with the Nightkeepers and master the Triad magic. Even better, Reese is back—taken on as the Nightkeepers’ sexy bounty hunter. But this time, the stakes are even higher for Dez and Reese.

The sexual electricity between them is still alive, but when Dez goes rogue on a hunt for a powerful artifact, Reese can’t help but wonder if he has been playing her again all this time…what will become of the Nightkeepers with a potential traitor on the run?

My review:
At this point in the series, it seems to be leaping ahead (almost as if the author ran out of time to keep dragging it out?) and so this book takes place 1 year after the events of the prior book. Dez has been part of the Nightkeepers for a year, he’s been more or less accepted as one of them, and then his past comes back and boom. Trust lost. But it;s ok, because by the end of the book, he’s gonna be loved by all. And a king.

Basically, this is the book that changes everything; from this book onwards, the Nightkeepers get their shit together and start to kick some serious ass, and it’s all thanks to Dez. His story with Reese is really good and they make a bloody interesting couple, plus I loved all the flashbacks to their lives before and what drove Dez to act like he did. It also helps to show how Dez might be able to save the Nightkeepers and kick the end time in its ass.

Final review:
Storm Kissed rating:
Would I re-read it? Yes
Who would I recommend it to? Fans of the author, mythology, paranormal romance, fantasy books.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9685397-storm-kissed
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Storm-Kissed-Novel-Nightkeepers-Prophecy/dp/0451233751
Book depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Storm-Kissed-Jessica-Andersen/9780451233752
Google books: https://books.google.com.au/books/about/Storm_Kissed.html?id=I0qklro3qQAC&redir_esc=y

The Old Man And The Sea by Ernest Hemingway

The Old Man and the Sea

Published in: 1952
Pages: 132
Edition read: E-book

Book description:
It is the story of an old Cuban fisherman and his supreme ordeal: a relentless, agonizing battle with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream. Using the simple, powerful language of a fable, Hemingway takes the timeless themes of courage in the face of defeat and personal triumph won from loss and transforms them into a magnificent twentieth-century classic.

My review:
This short book took me forever to read, and it was because I found it bloody boring. I know Hemingway is one of the greats of 21st century literature, and he won a Pulitzer for this book, but oh my god…. why. What am I missing?

The old man, whose name I forgot due to boredom, goes fishing. He hooks a Marlin who pulls his boat for 2 days before he manages to finally reel it in and kill it, then because it’s too big, it can’t go into his boat so he drags this fish corpse in the water, attracts sharks, sharks eat the Marlin, and the old man goes home with nothing.


That is literally the entire story. There is no symbolism or lyrical waxing about the ocean, there are no adventures or big revelations, there is just an old guy sitting in a fishing boat….. I honestly didn’t see the point of this book and kinda was rooting for the old man’s death; I wanted the Marlin to win.

Final review:
The old man and the sea rating:
Would I re-read it? No
Who would I recommend it to? Fishing enthusiasts. I think that unless you really, really enjoy fishing, you won’t enjoy this book. That, or people who like straight-forward books. I mean, there was a beginning, a middle, and an end.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2165.The_Old_Man_and_the_Sea

On The Hunt by Gena Showalter, Shannon K Butcher, Jessica Andersen and Deidre Knight

On the Hunt (Sentinel Wars #3.4, Nightkeepers #5.5, Gods of Midnight, #4.5)

Published in: 2010
Pages: 448
Edition read: E-book
Series: Book 3.4 in the Sentinel Wars, Book 5.5 in the Nightkeeper series, book 4.5 in the Gods of Midnight series

Book description:
In New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter’s Ever Night, Rose Pascal is swept into a dark, haunting world every year on her birthday – a world ruled by a warrior king who hunts her kind. Neither of them can deny the passion that soon consumes them both…In Shannon K. Butcher’s The Collector, demon hunter Neal Etan sets out to acquire a powerful artifact, but finds much more in beautiful Viviana Rowan. The antique dealer’s touch strengthens his magic – and her life may be in Neal’s hands if they don’t recover the artifact in time….
In Jessica Andersen’s Crystal Skull, archaeologist Natalie Albright’s dig gets shut down amid rumors she has awakened the local demons. But when the terrifying underworld creatures attack, Natalie must team up with her ex to survive. As they fight the ancient menace, they discover a destiny that binds them together – and threatens to tear them apart….
And in Deidre Knight’s Red Angel, Jamie Angel, leader of the deadly Nightshades, has tracked every kind of monster and demon that roams the darkness, but none of his experiences can prepare him for falling in love with one of the creatures he’s trained to destroy…

My review:
I actually loved every story in this anthology. Normally there is one that you read but it’s ho-hum, however this anthology was just awesome to read.

Gena Showalter -Evernight:
Really loved this story. It was amazing. Rose transports to this fantastic medieval like world on her birthday every year, and the king of the realm she first visited is super majorly hot, and the way they interact is just addictive to read. I’m super bummed this isn’t part of a series (At least, not one I am aware of?) cause if it was, I would devour that series like STAT.

Shannon K Butcher- The Collector
Neal and Viviana are the stereotypical polar-opposites- he’s a warrior mage, big and good with sharp pointy objects; she’s stereotypical nerd whose obsessed with antiques, wears glasses and white button-up shirts with tweed skirts. That was a bit annoying, but the story and how they ended up was really well written and fun to read. I liked the detail of the men having lifetrees, that was an interesting idea.

Jessica Andersen- Crystal Skull
The whole reason I read this book! The next installment in the Nightkeeper books, this was short and sweet and featured a romance between two Winikin, Natalie and JT. I liked that there wasn’t any actual Nightkeepers as it showed that the background players- the Winikin- were also able to find love and do good in the fight. Plus it introduced the baddies, the Camatotz, who feature a lot in future books and are nasty SOB’s.

Deidre Knight- Red Angel
So I read book 1 in this series a thousand years ago, loved it because the main character was named Shay (it’s rare I come across my name in a book!) and it was pretty kick-ass. This feature’s Shay’s brother Jaime, and an actual angel who he falls in love with, and it was pretty good to read. I just wished I had read the series up to this point, as there was a lot that happened that I didn’t know; plus I had to try and remember this world when I read the book 6 years ago!

Final review:
On The Hunt Rating:
Would I re-read it? Hells yes. I loved this anthology, and I plan on reading the related series so I’ll end up reading this again at least two more times.
Who would I recommend it to? For fans of any of these authors and their series, fans of paranormal romances.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8273005-on-the-hunt
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Hunt-Gena-Showalter/dp/0451232437

Bloodspells by Jessica Andersen

Blood Spells (The Nightkeepers, #5)

Published in: 2010
Pages: 440
Edition read: E-book
Series: Book 5 in the Nightkeeper series

Book description:
Trained from birth to fight with fists and magic, Patience White-Eagle knows that she should focus on the coming war for souls. But she isn’t just a warrior—she’s a wife and mother too, which leaves her loyalties divided between the Nightkeepers and her family.

Brandt White-Eagle broke the rules when he married Patience and fathered their twin sons—and now he’s paying the price. Torn between his magic and his marriage, and separated from his ancestors’ wisdom by a curse he can’t remove, Brandt is fighting to put his life back together.

When an ancient Aztec god-king arises, Patience and Brandt must set aside their problems and team up as a mated warrior pair. But as they race to prevent the Nightkeepers’ enemies from enacting a terrible ritual that could tear apart humanity, the threat turns even more personal, becoming a deadly test of their powers…and their love.

My review:
Patience and Brandt were the first couple of the Nightkeepers, the ones who got together before the powers came back online, the solid couple with kids who slowly through each book started getting further and further apart. Thanks to this book, we finally learn why, how, and what actually happened when they first met. It was a doozy, and it was soooo good. You can actually see Patience and Brandt growing through this book, and it was quiet a different story compared to the others as instead of a new romance, we have an old one that’s going through a rough patch.

It was just damn good. We also have the Triad spell coming into play, which boosts the powers of three mages by giving them the knowledge of their entire line of ancestors, which is a seriously amazing gift at this point in the game for the Nightkeepers. Having Brandt become one is really good, and it helps him to work through his issues so that he and Patience can actually get back on track.

The thing with this series is that each book gets better and better, and this was my favourite so far. The action was insane, the mythology was on point, the characters were amazing as hell and you just couldn’t stop reading it.

Final review:
Blood Spells rating: 
Would I re-read it? Yes!
Who would I recommend it to? For fans of the series, paranormal romance and fantasy series, books about Mayan mythology with a lot of decent adventure thrown in.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7863207-blood-spells
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Blood-Spells-Novel-Nightkeepers-Prophecy/dp/0451231651
Google books: https://books.google.com.au/books/about/Blood_Spells.html?id=D8UzeKZKKvgC&redir_esc=y