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Reviews of books in a series, with a focus on urban fantasy.
Other genres include mystery, paranormal romance, and crime thrillers.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The whole e-book mess

I wonder what the folks at Harper Collins are thinking about their decision to not release the e-book version of Black Magic Sanction at the same time as the hard back version? Are they seeing it as a mistake, or are they thinking it was a good move?

To look at the comments at various places around the 'net from readers, there are a lot of people who seem to be saying they will borrow the book from the library instead of buying it, now. There are also a lot of people who just outright say that they'll pirate it as soon as it becomes available.

As for me, I haven't bought the book, I'm waiting for the e-book version to come available.

And I will admit that I'm at a bit of a dilemma. A pirated e-book copy of Black Magic Sanction is available for download. For free. If I could buy it, I would. But I can't buy it, and it's just right there.

I think Harper Collins is going to discover that their e-book sales are going to go in the toilet. They've given people a rational excuse (in their own heads) for pirating the book. People will be able to tell themselves that they would buy it if it were available for sale, but since it's not, they'll download it another way.

Also, I believe that some people are now pirating a book for the very first time. They are learning how to do it, when they didn't know how before. Teaching people how to acquire something for free, when they've been buying that something, is probably not a great business model.

Honestly, I think that Kim Harrison is the biggest loser here, and I really feel for her, that her publishing company is using her as a pawn, as an experiment. Maybe she should put up a "donate using Pay Pal" link on her site, so that people who illegally download her book but would like to compensate her in some way, will have that option.

Here's my own story - my first netbook was a Linux. But at the time, all of my Fictionwise books were in .lit format. I hadn't realized that I wouldn't be able to read books on my new netbook that I had already paid for. I bought future Fictionwise books as a PDF, or in another form I could read on my netbook. But when someone told me how to change my .lit books into PDF, I did it, even though it's technically probably not something the publishers think we should be able to do. Still, these were books I had paid for and then could not read on my reader of choice. My current netbook runs on Windows, so it's no longer a problem.

The point I'm running in circles trying to make is that I want to support the authors who write the books I enjoy reading. I want them to get credit for the book sold so that maybe they can make it onto one of the best seller lists, and I want them to be paid for the book sold. And yet, I've gone to see if there is a bootlegged copy of Black Magic Sanction out there for download, and I'm debating with myself whether it's okay to go ahead and download it or not. I wasn't tempted by the audio book when it came up, but I know several people who were listening to it who don't normally listen to audio books, and I'm guessing that means they got it illegally. I also know some people who have no problems admitting to obtaining it illegally, since they feel Harper Collins basically shot themselves in their own foot by not allowing people to legally download the e-book.

There are a few things that, in my opinion, need to be done:

1) There need to be fewer kinds of ebooks. Right now the only way to guarantee you'll be able to read every type of ebook available is to do so on a PC. That's why I have a tablet netbook instead of an ereader. I can hold it like an ereader, and I can read every kind of ebook format. I'm not stuck with a proprietary device that can only read one or two formats.

2) Publishers need to learn from the music industry - give people an affordable way to legally buy the product and they will. Overprice the market, or withhold things entirely, and you shoot yourself in the foot.

3) Don't get stuck in the old way of doing things. You have to change with the times or you'll get left behind. I think it's telling that the ebook publishers publish a book first in ebook form, and often don't publish the book in paper form until a year or more later. They realize they get the most income-per-book from ebooks, so they saturate the market that way before publishing an old fashioned book so that those not yet reading ebooks can have a chance at it.

As for myself, I will be honest enough to say that I haven't completely made up my mind, yet.

If it were just a matter of sticking it to Harper Collins, the idiots who made this decision, I'd have already downloaded it. But it's also a matter of Kim Harrison, the creator of this work. How do I show my displeasure with Harper Collins without hurting Kim Harrison? I don't think I can.

Like I said, I think Kim Harrison should put up a Pay Pal link on her site. I'd gladly give her $9.99 in pay pal funds and then download the book with my morals intact.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven by Susan Jane Gilman

Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven is a roller coaster ride that begins with a landing at the old Hong Kong airport and then takes us on a ride that twists and dives and soars all over the place. If you've never heard of the old Hong Kong airport, it involved landing between mountains and skyscrapers, and pilots literally had to dive down into the thick of things at the last minute. I've heard many stories from people who landed there, but I never landed at that airport. I landed at the new Hong Kong airport the same year it opened, twelve years later. I've been to every city (and most of the places) Ms. Gilman traveled except for Dinghai. So for me, reading her experiences was doubly interesting, as the China I visited twelve years later had already greatly evolved in the time between her visit and mine. Just as it has continued to evolve in the 12 years since my first visit. My most recent visit three years ago felt in some ways like the Afterwards in the book.

My husband and I are pretty good at finding the non-touristy venues when possible, though. Instead of Badaling (now a carnival-like section of the Great Wall) we went to a lesser known section so we could hike it without others around. In that vein, we had a similar experience to Ms. Gilman's almost spiritual experience while on the Great Wall (though it was our fifth wedding anniversary, not my birthday).

And Lisa? I don't know if I've met her or not, but I had a meal in Yangshuo that made me cry. After eating Chinese food for weeks, it was so nice to sit down to a Western meal. Who knew food could be so important to our heart and soul?

What I'm trying to say, is that what made the book for me were the descriptions of China and of China's people. And even of the lack of sanitary conditions in the hospitals (not a pretty story), and of the Military Police (yeah, I've had my own run in with them, though perhaps not as involved as her second experience with them, it was just as scary at the time).

Ms Gilman is a gifted author and storyteller who managed to make even the smells of China come back to life for me. I read parts of the book out loud to my husband and we both laughed and remembered together, and began the process of making plans for our next trip to China.

But there is also a plot to this story, and the story is one of adventure, and of tragedy. The ending is both happy and bittersweet, and I found myself wanting more closure, more answers. But this is real life, and in real life I guess you just don't always get that.

Here is the official blurb, as I find I'm having trouble giving details without risking a spoiler:

They were young, brilliant, and bold. They set out to conquer the world. But the world had other plans for them. Bestselling author Susan Jane Gilman's new memoir is a hilarious and harrowing journey, a modern heart of darkness filled with Communist operatives, backpackers, and pancakes. In 1986, fresh out of college, Gilman and her friend Claire yearned to do something daring and original that did not involve getting a job. Inspired by a place mat at the International House of Pancakes, they decided to embark on an ambitious trip around the globe, starting in the People's Republic of China. At that point, China had been open to independent travelers for roughly ten minutes. Armed only with the collected works of Nietzsche, an astrological love guide, and an arsenal of bravado, the two friends plunged into the dusty streets of Shanghai. Unsurprisingly, they quickly found themselves in over their heads. As they ventured off the map deep into Chinese territory, they were stripped of everything familiar and forced to confront their limitations amid culture shock and government surveillance. What began as a journey full of humor, eroticism, and enlightenment grew increasingly sinister-becoming a real-life international thriller that transformed them forever. Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven is a flat-out page-turner, an astonishing true story of hubris and redemption told with Gilman's trademark compassion, lyricism, and wit.

What do I rate Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven? For the actual plot, probably a 9 of 10. For it's humor, its brutal honesty, and its beautiful prose, I rate it a 10 of 10. For the descriptions of China and the walk down memory lane, I wish I could give it an 11 of 10.

Book Rating: Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven: 10 of 10

Part of this book is available online, you can go here to read the first chapters of it.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Review: Branded Sanctuary (Nature of Desire book 7) by Joey W. Hill

Let me start out this review by saying I love Joey W. Hill's Nature of Desire series. After Rough Canvas, I didn't think a BDSM story could get any better - Rough Canvas had the need for submission, and the need for a submissive. It had the intense emotional connection that can happen between Master and submissive. And the scenes were smokin' hot. Rough Canvas was one of the best love stories I've ever read. Then I read Natural Law and, Oh my. Next I read Ice Queen and Mirror of My Soul and when I finished Mirror of my Soul I had to pick Ice Queen back up and start from the beginning. The story touched me in ways that can't be described.

So it is to be expected that when Ms. Hill finally found time to give us book seven of this series, that I read it the first opportunity I had.

First, let me say you should not read Branded Sanctuary until you've read Ice Queen and Mirror of my Soul. We first meet Brendan in those books, and there is much you won't understand in Branded Sanctuary if you haven't already met Brendan.

With that said, it is going to be very hard for me to talk about what I liked and disliked about Branded Sanctuary without putting some spoilers in. So if you haven't yet read Branded Sanctuary then you may want to stop reading here, just knowing that I give the writing a 10 of 10, but the story a 4 of 10, which is how I ended up with a Book Rating of 7 of 10.


Second warning: There are spoilers past this point.

Joey W. Hill can explain a submissive's mindset better than any other author I have ever read. Submissive people have a mind of their own that they are more than capable of using, they aren't stupid, they aren't worthless. They choose to gift their submission to someone they care for and respect. A healthy Dom/sub relationship involves a lot of feelings, and a whole lot of trust. The trust aspect was missing in this relationship, and that really bothers me - but the feelings were all there, times ten.

Chloe and Brendan both blew it in the trust department on several occasions, and I don't believe either did anything particularly noteworthy in order to prove themselves trustworthy once again. Brendan freaks and bails on Chloe emotionally once, and Chloe is about as untrustworthy of a Dom as I believe I've ever seen. And yet Brendan gives her complete trust. There is something broken in both of them, and I wanted to see them both healed. But I don't believe we saw that. I think Chloe is well on her way, but I'm not so sure about Brendan. I was made to care for these characters, and I wanted them to find peace and happiness.

As someone in the BDSM lifestyle, before I found my soul mate and married him, I met a few vanilla guys I liked and tried to make it work with them. It was a disaster. I cared for two of them deeply, but my needs were not being met and when I tried to tell them what I needed they couldn't handle it. I learned the hard way that a relationship between a vanilla and someone who is wired to be very un-vanilla just won't work in the long term. And so I can't bring myself to believe that Chloe and Brendan's story is one of Happily Ever After, but at best, Happy for Now. I understand that we are supposed to believe that Brendan is so submissive that he'll want whatever Chloe wants and will be fine just making her happy - but I just can't bring myself to believe he's never going to want to be flogged or spanked again, I can't believe he isn't going to miss the discipline of a Mistress who knows how to handle him, who knows how to give him those extreme sensations. I feel sad for Brendan that the woman he loves isn't going to be able to give him those things. Submissives have needs, too. Part of finding a relatonship that works for everyone means finding someone with needs the opposite of yours. If you like to be flogged, find someone who likes to flog. If you like to be bound, find someone who loves shibari. If you can't stand needles then stay away from the people who love to do needle play. Brendan can take a 10 of 10 on the pain threshold level, and it doesn't look like he's going to be getting anything worse than about a 2 or a 3 from now on, if that. I find that very sad. It's okay for a submissive to have needs that they want to make sure get met. I wish Brendan had healed enough to see that.

Here is the blurb:

Chloe has always been a creature of joy and laughter. Since a brutal attack nearly a year ago, the trauma she experienced has gotten worse. She has started hiding from her life, even putting up walls between herself and those she cares about most. During a panic attack one night, she impulsively calls a number that she’s had for many months. Chloe met Brendan at her boss’s wedding. With confidence and seduction, he easily steps into the role of helping her manage her fear. By the end of the long call, they’ve indulged in some serious flirtation and mind-blowing phone sex—and she’s feeling things she’s buried for too long.

The problem is that Brendan is the perfect male submissive—and Chloe isn’t wired for the D/s lifestyle. While their attraction is undeniable, Chloe doesn’t know if she can be everything Brendan needs. As a submissive, Brendan would never ask her to be something she’s not—even if it will break both of their hearts to turn away from how they feel about each other.

I know Branded Sanctuary wasn't written to be a tragedy, but I can't help but seeing it that way. I thought things were going to be okay when Chloe punished Brendan near the end, but then she has to apologize to him because she doesn't like to hurt him. That just tells us, the readers, that she doesn't have a clue what hurts him, she doesn't have a clue about what he needs. I just feel so sad for Brendan. Well, for both of them, actually, to be so in love with someone when the relationship is not going to be fulfilling for one of them.

So, as I said earlier. Joey W. Hill is an incredibly talented writer, and I give her writing a 10 of 10. But the story? The story only gets a 4 of 10, because I could only see tragedy in the ending, not the Happily Ever After that I thought I'd be seeing, based on the other books in this series. The book gets a 7 of 10, though I was tempted to give it a lower rating. I care for both of these characters, and I really wanted to see a happy ending for them.

Book Rating: Branded Sanctuary: 7 of 10

Nature of Desire Series
1. Holding the Cards
2. Natural Law
3. Ice Queen
4. Mirror of My Soul
5. Mistress of Redemption
6. Rough Canvas
7. Branded Sanctuary

You can see my ratings of the earlier books in this series here.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Spider's Bite: An Elemental Assassin Book by Jennifer Estep

As I finished Spider's Bite I immediately went online to see when the next book will be out. Three months. I have to wait three months for the next installment. Unless maybe I can get an ARC or something.

Spider's Bite literally blew me away. I've had an interest in the whole assassin thing for a while. First there was Edward from the Anita Blake series, then there was Cormac from the Kitty Norville series, and then Kelley Armstrong released two books in her Nadia Stafford series and then apparently dropped the series, much to my disappointment.

And now we have Gin Blanco:

My name is Gin, and I kill people.

They call me the Spider. I'm the most feared assassin in the South -- when I'm not busy at the Pork Pit cooking up the best barbecue in Ashland. As a Stone elemental, I can hear everything from the whispers of the gravel beneath my feet to the vibrations of the soaring Appalachian Mountains above me. My Ice magic also comes in handy for making the occasional knife. But I don't use my powers on the job unless I absolutely have to. Call it professional pride.

Now that a ruthless Air elemental has double-crossed me and killed my handler, I'm out for revenge. And I'll exterminate anyone who gets in my way -- good or bad. I may look hot, but I'm still one of the bad guys. Which is why I'm in trouble, since irresistibly rugged Detective Donovan Caine has agreed to help me. The last thing this coldhearted killer needs when I'm battling a magic more powerful than my own is a sexy distraction...especially when Donovan wants me dead just as much as the enemy.

The blurb does nothing to describe the many events of the book. Gin is about as three dimensional as a character can get. She is a cold hearted assassin, but she does live by a code, and she has people she loves.

There is going to be a lot of depth in this series, a lot of moral issues explored, and a lot of directions the plots can go from here.

As for the Urban Fantasy aspects, the world building is very well done, with what appear to be pretty simple magical rules for those who have magical abilities.

The world building is good, the dialogue is good, the prose flows as it should, the pacing is excellent, and the characters are interesting. I don't have to think twice about how to rate Spider's Bite: It easily gets a 10 of 10.

Book Rating: Spider's Bite: 10 of 10

1. Spider's Bite
2. Web of Lies (May 25, 2010)
3. Venom (September 28, 2010)

Friday, February 12, 2010

First Drop of Crimson (Night Huntress World, Book 1) by Jeaniene Frost

I'd like to start out today saying that I love the Cat and Bones series - it's one of my top two or three favorite series. So of course, I had really (really, really) high hopes for the offshoot series.

And it pains me to say that I was just a tad bit disappointed. I'm not saying it's a bad book, because First Drop of Crimson was an enjoyable read. I'm just saying that it was not as good as the Cat and Bones books. The first book in the Night Huntress series was pure magic, and Ms. Frost has kept that level up throughout the series. But the magic just wasn't there for me with First Drop of Crimson.

Now, onto the story. It's been a year since the events that led to Denise's husband's death. She has pulled away from all things supernatural in that year, wanting to only be around humans. But then something supernatural happens to her, and suddenly she needs supernatural help.

The plot is a good one, and I enjoyed seeing a bit of Cat, Bones, and Mencheres towards the end of the book. I was also happy with the way it ended, and I hope we get to check in with this couple from time to time in the course of some of the other books.

One of my pet peeves in any romance is when we see communication problems between couples, where they both think the other is thinking something completely opposite to what is going on, and if they'd just talk to each other everything will be okay. This wasn't an overwhelming theme of the book, but it happened a bit too often for me, and it was frustrating.

I'm still looking forward to reading Mencheres' story, but perhaps I won't build it up in my mind as much as I had built this one up. If I hadn't expected First Drop of Crimson to be as good as the Cat and Bones books then I wouldn't have felt let down. It's a good book, but it's not an exceptionally good book, and that's what I had come to expect out of this author.

Book Rating: First Drop of Crimson: 8 of 10

I've given all four Night Huntress book a 10 of 10, so it really pains me to give the first Night Huntress World an 8 of 10.

The second Night Huntress World book will be out in July, a mere five months away. However, we do not have any information on when the next Night Huntress (Cat and Bones) book will be available.

Night Huntress Novels
1. Halfway to the Grave (2007)
2. One Foot in the Grave (April 2008)
3. At Grave's End (December 2008)
4. Destined for an Early Grave (July 2009)

Night Huntress Universe Series
1. First Drop of Crimson (Feb 2010)
2. Eternal Kiss of Darkness (July 27, 2010)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Review: Dexter series (the first four books) by Jeff Lindsay

My husband and I have been big fans of the television show Dexter. When I discovered there were books, my first thoughts were that this would be the opposite of the Sookie Stackhouse Series. With Sookie, I read the books years before True Blood became a TV show. With Dexter, I saw the TV show first, then read the books. Somehow, I thought this would give me some sort of answer about whether it's better to see it in video format first, or in book format first. It didn't. In both cases, the television versions stray far enough from the books that they are more like Fan Fiction than the original. So, it's apples and oranges. I think it's less frustrating to watch it on TV first though, because the books give you more insight into the character than a TV show can possibly give you.

But, enough of that, you want to hear what I thought of the books, right?

In Darkly Dreaming Dexter we first meet our favorite Sociopath. I have to say that I don't think he's quite as lovable in the books as he is in the show. The books are a bit darker, I think. The first book has the same basic plot as the first season of the TV show: The Ice Truck Killer. Things end differently though. A lot differently. People die in the book that are still alive much later in the television series. I give the first book in the Dexter series an 8 of 10.

In the second book in this series, Dearly Devoted Dexter, things veer sharply away from the television plotlines. I think that is probably because the subject matter in book two is too dark for the television show. There is a monster loose in Miami who does not kill people, he does something much worse. He cuts off arms, legs, genitals, eyelids, and tongue. He does it over a long period of time (sometimes cutting off toes, then feet, then up to the knees, then at the hip). And he keeps his victims alive (and awake) throughout the process. I give the second book in this series a 9 of 10.

The third book, Dexter in the Dark, is (gasp) an Urban Fantasy, drawing on ancient mythos, and bringing them into the present. I had no idea that this series was going to head off into areas that I happen to like. While most of the reviewers at Amazon seem to hate this book, I liked it. Mostly. Dexter in the Dark once again veers sharply away from the television series. I don't really like the Rita in the books, but I love her kids. I'm actually a bit disappointed that the television show didn't pick up on the mentor thing. I give Dexter in the Dark an 8 of 10.

The fourth book of this series, Dexter by Design, brings us back to the Dexter of books one and two. Well, except he's married now. I really do not like the book Rita, and I'm not sure if that's the author's intention or not. The storyline in this fourth book deals a bit more with Deb and with Dexter's feelings about Deb - I like that Deb knows about Dexter in the books, and I have to wonder if the TV series is ever going to take us there. I enjoyed the travel and the experiences, and felt the pacing and plotline were very well done. This one gets a 9 of 10 from me.

I will give the Dexter series so far a 9 of 10.

The fifth book in the series, Dexter Is Delicious, is due out in September of 2010. There is a blurb for it already:

Everything's changing for our friendly neighborhood serial killer. As if getting married wasn't enough to complete his nice-guy persona, Dex is now the proud father of a baby girl.

And disconcertingly, he actually seems to care. But even if fatherhood is distracting Dexter from his midnight excursions to rid Miami of a few more lowlifes, there's no let-up at work.

Two young girls are missing - and it's not long before one of the bodies turns up, partially eaten. But as Dexter and Miami PD's finest investigate, Dex can't shake the feeling that somebody's watching him... And at home, there's no rest for the wicked.

His stepchildren are clamouring to learn how to control their bloodlust, and Dexter must train up his young apprentices. But to do that, he'll have to find the missing girl, find out who's tailing him, and survive a dark journey into an underground community that really has a taste for death.

Cannibalism. It sounds to me like things are only going to get darker.

Now if I could just get a blurb for Season Five of Dexter.

1. Darkly Dreaming Dexter 8 of 10
2. Dearly Devoted Dexter 9 of 10
3. Dexter in the Dark 8 of 10
4. Dexter by Design 9 of 10
5. Dexter Is Delicious (coming September 2010)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Lay Down My Sword and Shield by James Lee Burke

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. It is part of a series, the next book is Rain Gods, due out in May of this year. However, Lay Down My Sword and Shield is not a book I would have chosen to read. It was not an entertaining read, nor a pleasant read.

The author is talented - the prose is beautiful where it is supposed to be beautiful, and ugly where it is supposed to be ugly. The voice is comfortable and fairly easy to read. But there really isn't that much of a plot here, it mostly just rambles around. Even with the rambling, the pacing wasn't all that bad. Like I said, I can tell this is a talented author. But this book just didn't work for me.

Who do I think would like Lay Down My Sword and Shield? I think if you are interested in the conditions during the Vietnam war, if you are interested in the differences in Class distinctions, or if you enjoy reading about people who follow society's expectations and are miserable for it, then you might enjoy Lay Down My Sword and Shield. I had to skim through some of the Prisoner of War stuff because I didn't want some of that snaking it's way into my nightmares. I can handle fantasy horror, but true life horror doesn't work well for me. If it does for you, then you'd like this book.

Before I read the epilogue I would have given the book a 4 of 10. The epilogue raises it to a 5 of 10. If you start reading the book and realize you don't want to finish it - at least read the epilogue at the end. Actually, perhaps the last 20 or so pages and then the epilogue. I didn't much like Hack through most of the book... but then, I don't think he liked himself very much, either. I think he finds a way to like himself in the end, so I'm glad I stuck it out to find that, if it's not a totally happy ending, it does show that life goes on and things can be better.

Book Rating: Lay Down My Sword and Shield: 5 of 10

Again, I will give the caveat that some people will like this book. The author is a talented author, and it's possible I would enjoy him telling a different story. But I didn't care for this particular story.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Archangel's Kiss (Guild Hunter Book 2) by Nalini Singh

I've been looking forward to Archange's Kiss, and as always, Nalina Singh did not let me down.

We watch Elena as she regains her strength, as she learns to fight as an angel, as she learns to deal with having wings. Apparently, there is a lot more to this wing thing than I'd thought about. First, there are all of these brand new muscles she has to learn to control, and she has to build those muscles up, too. Then, she has to learn to draw a knife without cutting herself. She has to learn to roll on the ground (to get away from, say, a knife thrown at her, or a bolt shot out of a crossbow) without hurting her wings. We also get to watch her learn to fly.

And we get to watch her and Raphael figure out their relationship. Raphael is used to always getting his way, Elena isn't about to roll over and let him be her master. But Raphael is used to being "Master" or "Sire" over everyone under him. Elena's response? "I'd rather die as Elena than live as a Shadow".

There are several plots running through this novel, and most of them get tied up neatly by the end of the book. Of course, there are a few loose ends, if there weren't then we wouldn't look forward to what happens next. But for the most part, I like that Ms. Singh neatly ends her books, with no major cliffhangers.

We also meet more of Raphael's trusted people, some of them like Elena but many of them think Raphael would be safer if she were dead. She is a weakness to an Archangel who previously had no weaknesses. They can't kill her because of their loyalty to Raphael, but some of them are charged with teaching her to fight immortals, and those sparring matches were pretty interesting with the added irony. It would have been simpler (and would have kept Raphael safer) to kill her, or to let her be killed. But they had to teach her to fight, and they had to act as bodyguards at times, because Raphael very much wanted her alive. So, while their loyalty to him made them want her dead, their loyalty to Raphael also made them have to teach her to fight, and to help keep her alive when danger was present. I think she won a few of them over during the course of the book... but probably not all of them.

I loved the descriptions of The Forbidden City in Beijing. I've been there, as a tourist, but the idea... no, the fantasy... of attending a ball there, of having your own quarters and staying there a few days... that was a nice fantasy. (Or it would be if there weren't so many people wanting you dead.) I had actually hoped we'd see just a bit more of Beijing, but that's okay, the story line didn't really need for them to wander around the city. I'm not thrilled that Beijing was destroyed, "just a memory". I have friends there. But, this is fiction, so we'll all survive. (Select the spoiler text to view it. It's just a minor spoiler, not a major one, but still.)

I rated Angel's Kiss a 10 of 10, and I gave the short story, Angel's Judgment (in Must Love Hellhounds) a 10 of 10. I've wavered back and forth between a 9 and a 10 for Archangel's Kiss, and in the end I think it gets a 10 of 10, in part for the lighthearted moments we are gifted with. And in part because so many of the characters are so multidimensional. We are given such glimpses into even some of the minor characters, that they become more real to us. Nalina Singh is such a gifted author and storyteller. I can't wait for the next installment of the Guild Hunter series. Unfortunately, we do not know when that will be. The author's website does say there will be a #3 and a #4, but they are apparently unnamed at this point, with no scheduled release date.

So, we'll have to make due with the next Psy/Changelings book, Bonds of Justice, due in July.

I have a feeling that at some point each of Raphael's Seven will probably each get their own book. I hope that we continue to get Elena and Raphael stories, but as intrigued as I am with the secondary characters we've met, I wouldn't mind seeing more of their stories, either. But, I'm really interested in seeing how Elena continues to grow and change as she gains Angelic powers. I want to see her hold onto her humanity as she becomes more of an Angel. I want to see how she and Raphael grow and change together.

Book Rating: Archangel's Kiss: 10 of 10
Series Rating: Guild Hunter: 10 of 1o

1. Angels' Blood
*. Must Love Hellhounds (short story: Angels' Judgment) (Sept 09)
2. Archangel's Kiss (Feb 2010)