Darkening Skies – Bronwyn Parry

For eighteen years, a black hole in Mark Strelitz’s memory has concealed the truth: that he was the driver of a car in which a young woman died. Now he needs to set the record straight. His very public resignation from Parliament forces the reopening of the case that saw his mate Gil charged for the accident.

Not much would drag investigative reporter Jennifer Barrett back to her hometown of Dungirri… except new questions about her cousin’s death. She knows too well the whiff of corruption and cover-up, and she’s determined to find the truth behind Mark’s startling revelations. They had been good friends when they were young. That was long ago and people can change.

Her first stop is Mark’s homestead on the edge of town, but despite the sounds coming from inside, no-one answers the door. Walking around the back of the house, she sees that someone has broken in and a fire is spreading quickly. Who is trying to keep Mark silent and stop the investigation before it even begins?

Other books by Bronwyn Parry : As Darkness Falls, Dark Country, Dead Heat & Dear Ruth (Short Story first published in Woman’s Day)

website : Bronwyn Parry

Review

Wow!!!! What can I say?  I have been following this author since As Darkness Falls came out and yet again Bronwyn Parry has  delivered a completely enthralling book.  I was so excited when I won a copy of Darkening Skies. I was waiting on tender hooks because this author always delivers a fascinating story and if I hadn’t won there was no way I was going to miss out on this book.

As soon as I started reading this book, it was like I had only finished Dead Heat yesterday.  The characters welcome you back as if you had just stepped out of the room for a minute or two. The town of Dungirri stays with you long after you move on and read other books.  But don’t think you need to read the others before reading this book.  They are all based in the same town and the characters sometimes cameo in another book but each book is stand alone.

From the beginning in As Darkness Falls when we first see Mark, I wanted to know more about him. Perhaps it’s because as I’ve gotten older I’ve come to realise what people let you see of them isn’t necessarily who they really are and Mark came across as a really strong secondary character with hidden depths.

With our Federal election just over and all the shenanigans that were involved, for Ms Parry to portray her political character the way she did with Mark is a breath of fresh air.  Here we have a man with strong beliefs of what is right and wrong and who is prepared to stand by those convictions regardless of the personal cost. That when he discovers a wrong, he has to make sure its put right even if to others “what’s past is past”.

Jenn and Mark share a past that should have driven a wedge so completely between them that there should be no coming back from however the author lets each character grow to their own conclusion.   They are in many ways completely opposite but as the book flows you really see why opposites attract in a good way.  They complement each other and as a couple are so much stronger than each one is alone.

This is probably the most fast paced of all the books so far and there really seems to be so many threads to weave you wonder how it all will come together. Right through out the read I was reassessing who I thought the culprit was.  Just when I thought I had it worked out, I’d read something and then I was right back at square one.

I liked Jenn as a character but this book for me was all about Mark.  His strength of purpose, his understanding of himself and his town in touching.  Here is a man who doesn’t push himself forward. He sees what needs to be done and sets out to do it. Simple actions like putting sugar in the coffee for shock. Or listening to harsh messages on his voice mail so he can reply.  Something most of us would just hit delete and pretend it never happened. I remember thinking that in As Darkness Falls, he came across as brash and a bit full of himself but now all I can do is admire him.

If there is one book you have to read this year, let it be this one. Ms Parry is one of the few authors who to coin a phrase from “The Castle” go straight to the pool room.  Her timing and delivery never goes over the top or falls short.  Just when you think there is too much, the thread start to weave themselves together  and you find yourself slowing down.  Not because of the pace of the book but because you know the end is coming and really, you don’t want to leave just yet.  Hey who am I kidding,  I never want to leave.

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Darkness Unbound – Book 1 Dark Angels by Keri Arthur

Darkness Unbound – Book 1 Dark Angels by Keri Arthur

The fight against darkness rages on for the next generation—in New York Times bestselling author Keri Arthur’s exciting new series set in the world
of the Guardians.

Being half werewolf and half Aedh, Risa Jones can
enter the twilight realms between life and death and see the reapers,
supernatural beings that collect the souls of the dead. But she soon makes a
terrifying discovery: Some sinister force is stealing souls, preventing the dead
from ever knowing the afterlife.

Reapers escort souls—not snatch them—but Risa is still unnerved when a reaper shadows her in search of someone Risa has never met: her own father, an Aedh priest, who is rumored to be tampering with the gates of hell for a dark purpose. With the help of her “aunt”—half-werewolf, half-vampire Riley Jenson—and an Aedh named Lucian who may have lost his wings but none of his sex appeal, Risa must pursue whatever shadowy practitioner of blood magic is seizing souls, and somehow stop her father . . . before all hell breaks loose.

Ok so those of you that know me, know that Keri Arthur is on my all time favorites list. I seem to be one of the few who was happy with the ending of the Riley Jensen series. Was I concerned about the start of a new series? Hell no!!!  No matter which series you read, Keri’s voice comes over loud and strong.  Her world and character building is second to none.  This is an author who knows her craft and knows it well.

Risa is set in the same universe/world as the Riley Jensen series but fast forward 20 odd years. The glimpses of Risa in the Riley books come to life in a grown up feisty young adult.

After leading a somewhat more subdued younger life than Riley, Risa is suddenly the focus of some supernatural groups who are searching for her father and see her as the way to reach him.  Only problem is Risa has never seen her father much let met him.  Some of these groups at the moment are prepared to ask for her help, or at this point in time, hover around in case “dear old dad” turns up while other groups  are trying to be a little bit more proactive by kiddnapping and torturing Risa in the hope that she will reveal what she doesn’t know or that her father will come to her rescue.

I want to know more about Risa’s back story.  There are so many little hints throughout the book that it was tantalizingly frustrating .

All in all its no suprise that I loved this book. Its a world I fell in love with a long time ago and am more than happy to jump back in

 

 

 

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Spiders Revenge – Jennifer Estep Book 5 in the Elemental Assassin Series

Spiders Revenge – Jennifer Estep Book 5 in the Elemental Assassin Series

So I’ve been following this series from the beginning. I have laughed and cried as well as stayed up late on more than one occasion just so I can find out what happens next. It will be hard not to give spoilers away but since the book has been released I’ll put a warning in now. THERE ARE SPOILERS FOLLOWING.

I liked that Gin failed in some of her attempts in this book. It really added a dimension to the character. No more was the hero always getting the villain. There was honesty in this. It built the tension and also made the character vulnerable and able to look outside herself and recognise that she has support that is there not because they want something from her but that they care.

Unlike a lot of other reviewers, I don’t mind the information from previous books scattered throughout. I read so many books that it nice to not spend most of the book trying to remember what happened in the last ones. One of my big bug bears about urban fantasy and why I turn away from so many series it that they no longer are believable.  This book has yet to fail me and I am still well and truly stuck to this series. There is progression and growth in every book.

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How do you sort your books?

I’m not sure of anyone else out there but recently I’ve been thinking about the different categories of books.  I’m not talking genre’s I talking about the “need”factor to read them.  I’ve broken it downinto the following and wonder if anyone else feels the same.

  1. Books You want to read – Now the books that fallinto this category for me are : current book in a series I’m addicted to.  If it the ending of the series, this makes it even more so.
  2.  Books you have to read. -This includes textbooks (blah), recipes books(if you cook) how to books or books you receive to review
  3.  Books that jump out and bite you – The covers suck you in, the blurb makes your heart race, you keep hearing about the book and figure you better read it before you go mad.
  4.  Then there’s the books you didn’t know you had to read until you read them.

 

Now this is just my way of sorting them in my head.  How do you sort your books?

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Feast: Harvest of Dreams – Merrie Destefano

 

Feast By Merrie Destefano

Halloween is a bad time to return to the woods… Madeline MacFadden (“Mad Mac” to fans of her bestselling magical stories) spent blissful childhood summers in Ticonderoga Falls. And this is where she wants to be now that her adult life is falling apart. The dense surrounding forest holds many memories, some joyous, some tantalizingly only half-remembered. And she’s always believed there was something living in these wooded hills. But Maddie doesn’t remember the dark parts—and knows nothing of the mountain legend that holds the area’s terrified residents captive. She has no recollection of Ash, the strange and magnificent creature who once saved her life as a child, even though it is the destiny of his kind to prey upon humanity. And soon it will be the Harvest…the time to feast. Once again Maddie’s dreams—and her soul—are in grave danger. But magic runs deep during Harvest. Even a spinner of enchanted tales has wondrous powers of her own…

The attention to detail that this book starts with draws you in. From the first sentences, you start to try and work out who and what a “Darkwing” is. Just when you think you have them pegged and that you might get more than a glimpse, the chapter ends and the next chapter is from someone else’s view point. In some books that I have read that use this type of storytelling, I have got lost and given up before even halfway through but Ms Destefano manages to balance all her characters out so that there is no jarring effect and that the chapters flow seamlessly. I really liked the way that the bits and pieces of vampiric lore were sprinkled throughout the novel. Some of them as we have always believed i.e. that they need to be invited to be able to cross your threshold while others have been tweaked slightly. They don’t drink blood but they harvest dreams. This book firmly falls slap in the middle of the urban fantasy genre. The elements come together in bit and pieces to reveal the final picture in the last couple of chapters. It is a story of letting go and embracing. A story that reminds you to never stop dreaming A first class read

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Series Spotlight – Vicki Pettersson – Signs of the Zodiac

Sign of the Zodiac series

The Scent of Shadows by Vicki Pettersson 

 

The Scent of Shadows (2007)


When she was sixteen, Joanna Archer was brutally assaulted and left to die in the Nevada desert.

By rights, she should be dead.

Now a photographer by day, she prowls a different Las Vegas after sunset—a grim, secret Sin City where Light battles Shadow—seeking answers to whom or what she really is . . . and revenge for the horrors she was forced to endure.

But the nightmare is just beginning—for the demons are hunting Joanna, and the powerful shadows want her for their own . . .

The Taste of Night by Vicki Pettersson 

The Taste of Night (2007)


Joanna Archer has discovered the truth about her mysterious heritage to become a fully–fledged member of the supernatural Zodiac force, the Archer.

Even as a mortal, Joanna Archer was nobody’s idea of a victim. But now, infused with the power to alter the supernatural battle between Shadow and Light forever, what she’s become is a target. And when a toxic virus invades the valley, so do all of her allies. It’s up to Joanna to find the cure that will save them all, but in order to do so she’ll have to embrace her Shadow side … even if it leaves her with nowhere to hide in an all–out battle with the demons of her past.

The Touch of Twilight by Vicki Pettersson 

The Touch of Twilight (2008)

 

On the surface she’s a sexy, sophisticated socialite, at home among the beautiful people of the Las Vegasupper crust. But Joanna Archer inhabits another world: a place ordinary humans cannot see . . . a dangerous dimension where an eternal battle rages between the agents of Light and Shadow. And Joanna is both.

Stalked by an enigmatic doppelganger from a preternatural realm, Joanna can feel the Light failing – which is propelling her toward a terrifying confrontation with the ultimate master of evil, the dark lord of Shadow: her father.

Vegas is all about winning big . . . or losing everything. To save her friends, her future, her worlds, Joanna Archer must gamble it all by fully embracing the darkness inside her.

City of Souls by Vicki Pettersson 

City of Souls (2009)

 

In SinCity, a little girl suffers from a strange and terrible malady. If she dies, the Light will die along with her.

Warrior, avenger, Joanna Archer has survived countless otherworldly terrors – and has found her rightful place among the agents battling the all-pervasive evil of Shadow . . . even as she struggles against the darkness within herself.

A war is raging forLas Vegas – a city without a heart – one that catapults Joanna into a new world hidden from mortal sight. In this lethally seductive alternate dimension the lines blur between good and evil, love and hate, and here lies the last hope for the Light. But Joanna’s price of admission is a piece of her own soul – and the odds of her escaping are slim . . . to none.

Cheat the Grave by Vicki Pettersson 

Cheat the Grave (2010)

 

Las Vegassocialite and otherwordly avenger Joanna Archer gave up everything when she embraced mortality – abandoning her powers and altering her destiny to save a child . . . and a city. Now her former allies are her enemies – and her enemies have nothing to fear.

Yet still she is bound to a prophecy that condemns her to roam a nightmare landscape that ordinary humans cannot see and dare not enter. And a beast is on her trail – an insane killer blinded by bloodlust, who’s determined to rip much more from Joanna than merely her now-fragile life. Survival is no longer an option in this dark realm where good and evil have blurred into confusing shades of gray – unless she can gather together an army of onetime foes and destroy everything she once believed in.

The Neon Graveyard by Vicki Pettersson

The Neon Graveyard coming June 2011

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Surrender the Dark – LA Banks

Surrender The DarkSurrender the Dark – LA Banks

Celeste Jackson has fought all her life against a fog of hallucination and substance abuse, but it’s not until she meets her protector, Azrael, an angel who has left the safety of the Light, that she learns of the evil forces that have been trying to ruin her, and why. A fierce battle for control of the mortal realm is brewing, and only Celeste—with the help of the Remnant, her half-human, half-angel brethren—can stand in the way. Together, Celeste and Azrael must gather an army of sensitives to defeat the dark powers that have ruled humanity for centuries, but time is running out. If Azrael surrenders to his growing desire for Celeste, he risks being trapped among humanity forever. But the longer he stays, the harder she is to resist. To save the world, Celeste must draw on her own dark experiences with addiction to help Azrael overcome the one temptation that could possibly make him an eternal prisoner—his obsession with her.

There are books you want to read, the latest instalment of a series you are reading, there are books you have to read, Catcher in the Rye anyone?, and then there are books like this one that you don’t realise you need to read until you start.

The jarring reality that MS Banks sets between Heaven and Earth as well as the fight between Angels and demons is compelling.  Ms Banks takes mythology and explains it in ways that make you no longer fear.  I haven’t read many books in the new trend of Angels but I have to say that this book definitely left me wanting more.  There was no clash with the ideals I was brought up on as well as no corruption of these same ideals.

Celeste could be any one of us.  We have all been beaten down at some point in our life and the way that Azrael doesn’t come to save her but to protect her on her journey shows that with support, we can overcome anything.  There is balance between the characters of light and dark with neither side overpowering the other. Both are explained in rich colourful detail.

I know some people will find the level of detail to be too much but you can’t write a book like this and leave it out.  To do so would be leaving the reader confused and just a little bit lost.  I also enjoyed how that Celeste isn’t a blonde Barbie with nothing to offer but her looks.  We need to remember that the African American society is rich in colour and history as well as that the African American women have always been strong.

MS Banks, when is the next book out?

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