Saturday, February 4, 2017

The Shadow Sister by Lucinda Riley



Star D’Apli├Ęse is at a crossroads in her life after the sudden death of her beloved father—the elusive billionaire, affectionately called Pa Salt by his six daughters, all adopted from across the four corners of the world. He has left each of them a clue to her true heritage, and Star nervously decides to follow hers, which leads her to an antiquarian bookshop in London, and the start of a whole new world.

A hundred years earlier, headstrong and independent Flora MacNichol vows she will never marry. She is happy and secure in her home in England’s picturesque Lake District—just a stone’s throw away from the residence of her childhood idol, Beatrix Potter—when machinations lead her to London, and the home of one of Edwardian society’s most notorious society hostesses, Alice Keppel. Flora is torn between passionate love and her duty to her family, but finds herself a pawn in a larger game. That is, until a meeting with a mysterious gentleman unveils the answers that Flora has been searching for her whole life...

As Star learns more of Flora’s incredible journey, she too goes on a voyage of discovery, finally stepping out of the shadow of her sister and opening herself up to the possibility of love.

This is the third book in the Seven Sisters series. The story follows Star on her journey to discovering who she is. It is set in the present and also during Edwardian England as the story follows Flora MacNichol. 

I have to say this book was a HUGE disappointment. The premis had such potential, but it did not live up to it. My biggest hurdle in fully enjoying this book was Ms. Riley's style of writing. Throughout the whole book, both Star and Flora were the only characters who didn't seem to know their respective "big secrets" but every other person in the story seemed to. Instead of leaving tiny crumbs for the reader to discover and leading them slowly to the answer, it was a lot of "You mean you really don't know?" and then the subject would immediately be changed. When the big revelation occurred, there was no looking back and thinking, "Oh yeah! That all really makes sense now!" At the very end, we're left feeling cut short because there isn't really a resolution for Star. This may be due to the other 4 forthcoming books. Perhaps they will shed more light on Star's future. I slogged through because I really wanted to know what happened, but if I had been able to read the full synopsis and skip reading the book, I would have. Overall, I would not recommend this book. 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Eleventh Grave in Moonlight by Darynda Jones




My entire life can be summed up in one sentence: 
“Well, that didn’t go as planned.”
—T-Shirt

A typical day in the life of Charley Davidson involves cheating husbands, errant wives, missing people, philandering business owners, and, oh yeah...demons, hell hounds, evil gods, and dead people. Lots and lots of dead people. As a part time Private Investigator and full-time Grim Reaper, Charley has to balance the good, the bad, the undead, and those who want her dead.
Now, Charley is learning to make peace with the fact that she is a goddess with all kinds of power and that her own daughter has been born to save the world from total destruction. But the forces of hell are determined to see Charley banished forever to the darkest corners of another dimension. With the son of Satan himself as her husband and world-rocking lover, will Charley be able to defeat the ultimate evil and find a way to have her happily ever after after all?

***CAUTION*** Spoilers from Tenth Grave ahead. If you aren't caught up, proceed at your own peril!!





This book is what I would consider to be a bridge book. It moves the story along slightly as far as plot line, but fills in a lot of details about past, present and future events. And you're clearly moving towards something epic that requires a lot of ground work to be set. That being said, I THOROUGHLY enjoyed Eleventh Grave in Moonlight. And it is vital to the over-arching plot we've been following.

At the end of Tenth Grave, Charley regained her memory, trapped one of the 3 big bad gods in a god glass and learned her sexy, Son of Satan husband, was actually created from 1 of the other gods. Just another day in the life of Charley Davidson, PI/Grim Reaper/Goddess. Oh, and she also threatened the Almighty Jehovah that she was going to wrest his control of the world and take it over herself. Good one, Charley. Piss off God himself. You clearly didn't think that one through.

At the beginning of Eleventh Grave, Charley has taken on a case that Reyes doesn't approve of. As usual, Charley does what Charley wants, and somehow always manages to squeak by and be right. This case hits close to home and we all know how Reyes hates to drudge up the past. Pair that with a truly horrible situation happening to one of her favorite people, and it is clear that Charley can  never live a normal boring life. And if you think thought that was as bad as it is going to get, hang on until the last line of the book, "And then I realized the truth. I may have just made the biggest mistake of my entire existence. I may have unleashed hell on earth."

Once again, Ms. Jones has made us fall in love with every second of Charley's life. But it can't be understated how essential and wonderful are all of the other characters in her life. Charley wouldn't be half of what she is without her partners in crime. I can't wait to see they help Charley handle this latest kink in her master plan to take over the world.

Love conquers all, sure, but the future is looking pretty bleak for the Reaper, the Son of Satan and the Daughter of Light. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Sixth Grave on the Edge by Darynda Jones





Sometimes I wrestle my demons. Sometimes we just snuggle.
—Bumper Sticker Most girls might think twice before getting engaged to someone like Reyes Farrow—but Charley Davidson is not most girls. She’s a paranormal private eye and grim reaper-in-training who’s known to be a bit of a hell-raiser, especially after a few shots of caffeine. Her beloved Reyes may be the only begotten son of evil, but he’s dark and sultry and deeply sexy and everything Charley could hope for. Really. But when the FBI file on Reyes’ childhood happens to land into her lap, she can’t help herself: She opens it...and then the real fun begins. First, Charley finds a naked corpse riding shotgun in her car. Then, a man loses his soul in a card game. Throw in a Deaf boy who sees dead people, a woman running from mobsters, and a very suspicious Reyes, and things can’t get any worse for Charley. Unless, of course, the Twelve Beasts of Hell are unleashed.

***CAUTION*** Spoilers from Fifth Grave ahead. If you aren't caught up, proceed at your own peril!!

Phew! This book was smokin' from beginning to end. We are anxiously awaiting Charley's answer to the question that any of us would say yes to in a heartbeat. I mean come on! Who wouldn't want to be married to the super sexy son of Satan? Obviously Charley wants to say yes, but something is hanging her up.

Charley has a tough time in this book. She has a naked guy in her front seat with a "prominent package", a huge secret she is keeping from her "almost fiance", and a father who is being oddly suspicious. To top that off, she has to win a soul back from a demon and interpret a prophecy about the Twelve Beasts of Hell. Never fear though, there is plenty of ha ha moments and plenty of swit swoo moments too. And the ending? Oh baby. I cannot wait until October when Seventh Grave comes out.

Most people said they liked 99% of this book, but 1% bugged them. I'm not sure what everyone else's 1% was, but the thing that bugged me, and has been bugging me, is that Reyes never answers her questions. Everyone wants to continue to keep her in the dark about what she is capable of, but it's getting slightly old. But that aside, the book is fabulous enough to not to put much of a damper on the awesomeness of the book.

Sixth Grave on the Edge Blog Tour and Giveaway!


It's finally here! Sixth Grave on the Edge released last Tuesday (the 20th) and if you haven't picked it up yet, you have to rush out to your nearest bookstore and swipe it up!! Check out my review here.


Blurb:
Few things in life can come between a grim reaper and her coffee, but the sexy, sultry son of Satan is one of them. Now that Reyes Farrow has asked for her hand, Charley Davidson feels it's time to learn more about his past, but Reyes is reluctant to open up. When the official FBI file of his childhood abduction lands in her lap, Charley decides to go behind her mysterious beau’s back and conduct her own investigation. Because what could go wrong?

Unfortunately, another case has fallen into her lap—one with dangerous implications. Some very insistent men want Charley to hunt down a witness who is scheduled to testify against their boss, a major player in the local crime syndicate. If Charley doesn't come up with an address in 48 hours, the people closest to her will start to disappear. 

Add to that a desperate man in search of the soul he lost in a card game, a dogged mother determined to find the ghost of her son, and a beautiful, young Deaf boy haunted by his new ability to see the departed as clearly as he sees the living, and Charley has her hands full. The fact that Reyes has caught on to her latest venture only adds fuel to the inferno that he is. Good thing for Charley she's used to multi-tasking and always up for a challenge…especially when that challenge comes in the form of Reyes Farrow.


Excerpt:
SIXTH GRAVE ON THE EDGE-Excerpt

Chapter Three
coffee doesn’t ask silly questions.
coffee understands.
—bumper sticker

We weren’t back in the office ten minutes before the door to the front entrance opened. I’d expected Mr. Joyce, the agitated man with the issues. Instead I got Denise. My evil stepmother. Thankfully, Mr. Joyce was right behind her. He afforded me the perfect excuse not to talk to her.
Her pallor had a grayish tint to it, and her eyes were lined with the bright red only the shedding of tears could evoke. I honestly didn’t know she had the ability to cry.
“Can I talk to you?” she asked.
“I have a client.” I pointed to the man behind her to emphasize my point.
Giving her chin a determined upward thrust, she said, “You’ve had clients for two weeks now. I just need a minute.” When I started to argue again, she pleaded with me. “Please, Charlotte.”
Mr. Joyce was holding a baseball cap, wringing it in his hands. He seemed to be growing more agitated by the second. “I really need to talk to you, Ms. Davidson.”
“See?” I pinned Denise with a chastising scowl. “Client.”
She turned on the man, her face as cold and hard as marble. It was an expression I knew all too well. “We just need a minute,” she said to him, her tone razor sharp. “Then she’s all yours.”
He backed off, raising a hand in surrender as he stepped to a chair and took a seat.
My temper flared to life, and I had to force myself to stay calm. I was twenty-seven. I no longer had to put up with my stepmother’s insults. Her revulsion. Her petty snubs. And I damned sure didn’t have to put up with her invading my business and bullying my clients. “That was not necessary,” I said to her when she turned back to me.
“I apologize,” she said, doing a one-eighty. She turned back to Mr. Joyce. “I’m sorry. I’m in a very desperate situation.”
“Tell me about it,” he said, dismissing her with a wave. He clearly had problems of his own.
With all the enthusiasm of a prisoner walking up to the hangman’s noose, I led Denise into my office and closed the door. My temper flaring must have summoned Reyes. He was in my office, waiting, incorporeally.
Then I remembered. He didn’t like Denise any more than I did. Blamed her for most of my heartache as a child. Of course, she’d caused most of it, but Reyes could be . . . testy when it came to my happiness or lack thereof.
“Want me to sever her spine?” he asked as I sat behind my desk.
“Can I think about it and get back to you?” I asked, teasing. Kind of.
Denise looked toward the wall he was leaning against, the one I was looking at, and naturally saw nothing. But where her usual response would be to purse her lips in disapproval, she wiped at her lapel and sat down instead.
“What do you want?” I asked her, my tone as cold as her heart.
“I’m sure you know that your father has left me.”
“At last.”
She flinched like I’d slapped her. “Why would you say such a thing?”
“Are you really asking me that?”
“I love your father.” She almost came up out of her chair. “I’ve always loved your father.”
She had me there. She’d always been an attentive wife to him. Of course, attentive included her agenda, which was manipulative, conniving, and venomous. I couldn’t believe that I could dislike someone so much, but Denise had always been that splinter in my relationship with my father. She did everything in her power to keep us apart. Her jealousy was bizarre and childish. Who on earth was afraid of a father’s love for his child? It just made no sense to me. It never had.
And yet she was never that way toward my sister, Gemma. In fact, she and Gemma were fairly close. I had a feeling Dad’s leaving Denise affected Gemma much more than she was willing to admit. She knew how I felt about our stepmonster, and the fact that she couldn’t go to me when she needed support made me a very bad sibling. But the truth was, she couldn’t. I had no warm and fuzzies where Denise was concerned. She’d made sure of that from day one.
“I—I need you to talk to him. He’s been sick and, and he’s not thinking straight.”
“And what do you want me to say?”
She leveled an exasperated glare on me. “I want you to convince him to come back home where he belongs. He’s still weak. He still needs medical attention.”
“I’m sorry,” I said with a soft, humorless chuckle, “you want me to convince my father to stay with you? The bane of my existence? The woman who made my childhood a living hell? After everything you’ve put me through, you want my help? Are you insane?”
Too bad Gemma, a licensed psychiatrist, was at a conference in D.C. I’d call her and schedule an appointment for Denise ay-sap.
“What have I ever put you through?”
My temper flared again, and I bit my tongue, literally, to keep my emotions under control. When I lost control, the earth shifted beneath me. An earthquake in the middle of Albuquerque would do no one any good.
Reyes straightened as though worried I’d lose control as well. I closed my eyes and took several gulps of air. This wasn’t me. I didn’t hate people. I didn’t make them pay for their misdeeds. Too many departed had crossed through me. Too many times I’d seen what people went through, what they’d endured that made them become the people they were when they died. Until I’d walked a mile in her shoes, I could not judge Denise so completely. That would make me no better than she was. I opened my eyes to her stone face, the face that brought nothing but hurt feelings and knotted stomachaches. Maybe two miles.
“I just have one question,” I said, trying to hold the resentment from my tone lest I sound like her. “Why?”
“Why?”
“Yes, why? Why did you hate me from day one? Why did you treat me like a thorn in your side? What on God’s green earth did I ever do to you?”
She sighed in frustration and let her true colors show through. Her impatience with me, with anything I had to say. “I did no such thing, Charlotte. I don’t hate you. I never have.”
I leaned forward and gave her my best Sunday smile. “I’ll tell you what. When you can admit that you hate me with every fiber of your being, I’ll help you win back Dad. How does that sound?”
“I will never say such a horrible thing.”
I’d offended her. Sweet. “So you can feel it, you just can’t admit to it?”
She squeezed the pocketbook in her lap, her fingers flexing involuntarily. “Charlotte, can we talk sensibly?”
“Wait a minute,” I said as understanding dawned. “You’re here because Dad is fed up with the way you treat me, and you’re thinking that if we become besties, he’ll come back to you.”
“I’m here because I want us all to get into counseling together. Not just Leland and me, but all four of us, including your sister.” Reyes crossed his arms over his chest and went back to holding the wall up while I stood simmering in my astonishment.
She was a piece of work. “How about you go into counseling for you? Get over yourself. And when that happens, when you can be honest with me, we’ll talk again.” I was being so mean. I wanted to applaud myself. I wasn’t a mean person by nature, so it took a lot of energy to bring out the beast in me and stick with it for more than thirty seconds. Damned ADD. But I was so proud of myself. No more being a carpet for someone else to walk on. I was my own girl, and no one was walking on this carpet but me. 
“Charley,” Cookie said through the intercom.
I poked the button. “Yes, Cookie?”
“Um, are you almost done? I need coffee.”
“Oh, sorry! I’ll get it made and bring you a cup.”
“Thanks. And can you bring me the box of Nilla Wafers while you’re at it?”
“Can do.” I jumped up and headed for the Bunn. “Priorities,” I said to Denise. “That’s what life is all about.”



Author Bio:


NYTimes and USA Today Bestselling Author Darynda Jones has won numerous awards for her work, including a prestigious Golden Heart®, a Rebecca, two Hold Medallions, a RITA ®, and a Daphne du Maurier, and she has received stellar reviews from dozens of publications including starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, and the Library Journal. As a born storyteller, Darynda grew up spinning tales of dashing damsels and heroes in distress for any unfortunate soul who happened by, annoying man and beast alike, and she is ever so grateful for the opportunity to carry on that tradition. She currently has two series with St. Martin’s Press: The Charley Davidson Series and the Darklight Trilogy. She lives in the Land of Enchantment, also known as New Mexico, with her husband of almost 30 years and two beautiful sons, the Mighty, Mighty Jones Boys. She can be found at www.daryndajones.com.

Author Links:
·         Darynda Jones Website 
·         Facebook
·         Twitter
·         Instagram

Purchase Links:
·         Amazon
·         Barnes & Nobles
·          Audiobook CD

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Monday, May 19, 2014

The Collector by Nora Roberts





When professional house-sitter Lila Emerson witnesses a murder/suicide from her current apartment-sitting job, life as she knows it takes a dramatic turn. Suddenly, the woman with no permanent ties finds herself almost wishing for one. . . .


Artist Ashton Archer knows his brother isn't capable of violence—against himself or others. He recruits Lila, the only eyewitness, to help him uncover what happened. Ash longs to paint her as intensely as he hungers to touch her. But their investigation draws them into a rarefied circle where priceless antiques are bought, sold, gambled away, and stolen, where what you possess is who you are, and where what you desire becomes a deadly obsession. . . 




Now, I don't usually do reviews on Nora's books, because let's be honest, they are all fabulous and everyone knows she's fantastic. But, this book was by far one of my favorites in recent years. Lila Emerson is a house-sitter who has no home except wherever she happens to be working at the time. She lives her life out of 2 suitcases and loves it! She has house-sat all over the country and all over the world. If you ask me, that's a pretty glamorous job. What is one of her favorite things about house-sitting you might ask? People watching. Lila is also a young adult novelist and spends her time making up stories about the people she sees out her temporary windows. While on a job in New York, Lila gets to know the people who live in an apartment building across the street from her job. Each delightful neighbor has a story just waiting to be told.

Lila is having a grand time describing the life of a young couple who fight big and love big, when one day the fighting gets a little too big. She witnesses the young man killing the young woman. She calls the police and becomes the number one key witness to a murder suicide. However, the young man's brother, Ashton Archer, doesn't believe his brother could have killed his girlfriend and then committed suicide, but he does believe that his brother was into something dangerous. Ash convinces Lila to help him uncover the story behind his brother's death and they end up embroiled in a centuries long conspiracy involving rare missing artifacts.

We all know that Nora can tell a fantastic story with deep characters and rich world building, but something about the way she does suspense is so gripping. Lila and Ash are fantastic characters and their story is by no means boring, but the real gem is the mystery of the Faberge eggs. I love history, and the historical context of this book makes my heart happy. I listened to this one on tape, so I couldn't rush through if like I can with a paper book, and it made the suspense of the journey so much better.

I highly highly highly recommend this to Nora fans and newbies alike. 5 out of 5 stars. And be on the lookout for the conclusion to Nora's Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy, Blood Magick, which comes out October 28th! You won't want to miss it.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Author Interview with Jessica Khoury

With only 2 more days until the release of Jessica Khoury's new novel, Vitro, I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am to get my hands on a copy. To tide me over until Tuesday, Jessica has graciously agreed to answer some questions to curb our appetites. We also have the unique opportunity to play along in a spectacular contest called #operationvitro over at www.corpusnetwork.com. Jessica is giving away prizes to EVERYONE that participates and you have the opportunity to win some really swank grand prizes.



Jessica Khoury is the author of one of the most original stories I have ever read. Origin, which was released in September of 2012, is the story of a genetically engineered girl who discovers that she's not as perfect as everyone has been telling her her whole life. 

Her new novel, Vitro, is the story of Sophie and Jim. Sophie's mother works on an island, called Skin Island, that nobody knows anything about. All people know is that it is a scientific research facility and it is off limits to outsiders. Sophie's mother sends her an emergency email asking Sophie to come to Skin Island. Sophie travels to Guam and searches in vain for a pilot to fly her out there. Then, she finds Jim. Jim and Sophie were childhood playmates who haven't seen each other in years. Jim is the only one who will agree to fly Sophie out to Skin Island. What they'll find there is anybody's guess.

Welcome Jessica! I am so excited to chat with you about your new novel, Vitro, which is coming out in just 2 short days! First off, tells us a little about Vitro and what we can expect to find in your newest novel. 
Vitro tells the story of Sophie, a girl whose mother left her behind ten years ago in order to pursue her research for Corpus on a remote Pacific island. Now Sophie is on her way to find her mother, and the only person willing to fly her to the island is her old childhood playmate, Jim. Together, they begin discovering what Sophie's mother has been doing--raising test-tube embryos with computer chips integrated into their brains. These Vitros, as they're called, have abilities beyond those of normal humans--but at a terrible cost.

Ooooo. A terrible cost. How intriguing. What draws you to writing medical and scientific stories? 
I've always loved reading these kind of stories, and I think there are some fascinating ethical dilemmas intrinsic to developing technologies that make for great drama. Plus, these questions are very relevant to our current reality, which adds to the stakes.

So, Vitro isn't really a sequel to Origin, but will we see any of the same characters? 
You will meet one familiar face in Vitro, but I won't give away who it is!

Any chance we'll see Pia and Eio in any future novels? 
At this point, I don't have any plans to continue Pia and Eio's story--but you never know what the future will hold.

Right now, both of your novels are stand-alones. Do you have any desire to write a continuous series, or do you enjoy writing single novels?
I think I'd enjoy working on a series at some point; stand-alones have many advantages, but a series allows you to really dig deep into the characters and worldbuilding.

Most YA stories these days, including Origin and Vitro have a female heroine who is paired with a male counterpart, but rarely, if ever, is the main hero a male. Why do you think that is? 
I think this reflects today's teen readership, which is largely female. However, in Vitro, Jim is as much the protagonist as Sophie, and I really enjoyed getting to bring his male perspective into play. I think that most readers enjoy stories told from either gender's viewpoint, so I'd love to see more male protagonists.

When you wrote Origin, you mentioned on your blog that it was originally titled Perfectly Pia. I personally think that Origin was a much more compelling title and really reflected the depth of the story. Were you disappointed to have the title changed, or did you feel a connection between the new title and the story? And did you have a similar experience with Vitro? If you did, what was Vitro's original title? 
With Origin, I knew from the beginning that a title change would likely happen, so I wasn't upset when it did. I loved "Origin" from the moment we chose it, and knew it was a perfect title! Vitro was pretty much Vitro from the beginning; before it was final, I just called it "the island book."

What does your writing space look like? 
I have my desk, where I usually work, as well as a huge, comfy chair flanked by overflowing bookshelves. I like to have a lot of open windows too; natural light is relaxing and healthy! My favorite thing about my writing space is my TARDIS bookshelf, which my husband built for me as a Christmas present. It even lights up!

Last question. The thing I enjoyed most about Origin was the way it left me thinking at the end. Will we get the same treat with Vitro? Are there deep underlying issues that will intrigue our minds? 
I think so, and I hope you will leave with questions hanging in your mind. In Vitro, the ethical dilemmas at the heart of the story (which I can't state here without giving away the twists!) are less black-and-white as they are in Origin. I didn't want the characters to have any easy answers, because that's often how these situations are in real life.

If you're like me, these 2 days are going to take For-ev-er! Don't forget to pick up your copy of Vitro on Tuesday, January 14th! And in the mean time, continue to play #operationvitro for your chance to win some great prizes!


Jessica Khoury is of Syrian and Scottish descent and was born in Toccoa, Georgia. She wrote her first book at age 4, a fan fic sequel to Syd Hoff's Danny and the Dinosaur, which she scribbled on notebook paper, stapled together, and placed on the bookshelf of her preschool classroom. Since that day, she's dreamed of being an author. 

Besides writing, Jess enjoys playing, coaching, and watching soccer and is an avid FC Barcelona fan. She also spends time directing theater for college and student groups and traveling the world in search of inspiration and stories.

Jess currently lives in Columbia, South Carolina, with her husband, two terrible dogs, and an abundance of books, shoes, and sweet tea.

She is the author of Origin and Vitro.

Code by Kathy Reichs and Brendan Reichs




The Virals are put to the ultimate test when they find a geocache containing an ornate puzzle box. Shelton decodes the cipher inside, only to find more tantalizing clues left by "The Gamemaster." A second, greater geocache is within reach—if the Virals are up to the challenge.



But the hunt takes a dark turn when Tory locates the other box—a fake bomb, along with a sinister proposal from The Gamemaster. Now, the real game has begun: another bomb is out there—a real one—and the clock is ticking.

Woo Hoo! Ever since I discovered the Virals series by Kathy Reichs and her son Brendan, I was hooked!! The series revolves around a group of kids who live on an island used for a scientific research facility. The only people that live on the island are employees of the facility and their families, so these kids have a unique lifestyle that unites them. 

Tory, Hi, Shelton and Ben are your typical teenage kids who don't fit in at their local prep school. They get picked on because they are the weird science kids that live on an island. But the best friends have a secret. Their DNA is infused with wolf DNA and they have special abilities. They are viral! I think it would be awesome to have wolf senses and be connected to my friends through crazy pack genetics.

This latest installment finds the Virals searching out a geocache in what they think is a game that Hi has dragged them all into. He is so excited, because it is the first geocache placed on Loggerhead Island. Inside the geocache is a puzzle box. When they finally get the box open, they find another clue, which is against the rules. The hunt spirals out of control as the Virals realize that the "Gamemaster" is really a psycho who is planning on killing lots of people if they don't successfully play his game, on his timeframe, according to his rules. Throw in the fact that Tory's life is being taken over by her dad's overly peppy and pushy girlfriend and it makes for an interesting story.

This third book was even better than the 2 before it. I wondered how Reichs would be able to keep the story going forward and be different, since the first 2 had many similar elements, but this one blew the first 2 away. I tend to not like YA books sometimes, because they can be too safe and "dumbed down", and I think we don't give YA readers enough credit. But, Kathy Reichs doesn't leave the danger or pain out of these books. I'm excited to see where she takes the series next and how the Virals are going to develop individually and as a pack.