Vampires of Manahttan (The New Blue Bloods Coven #1)

AudiobookReview

Hero of this sexy, paranormal action tale is Oliver Hazard-Perry, former human conduit, and Manhattan’s only human-turned-vampire, now the head of the Blue Bloods Coven. When his all-too-human lover is found murdered on the eve of the coven’s annual Four Hundred Ball–a celebration meant to usher in a new era in vampire society, and to mark the re-unification of the Coven after decades of unrest and decay–Oliver is devastated.

Now, not only is he trying to create a new world order for the immortal elite, he’s the prime suspect and is stalked by the newly installed head of the vampire secret police. Because according to the new rules, vampires who take human life can now be executed. Burned.

How can an immortal sentenced to die fight back? He has to find the killer–and the answers lie deep in vampire lore.

I purchased this before realising it was a follow on from a previous series. The fact I hadn’t read the Blue Blood saga didn’t seem really significant after the first couple of chapters, when I assumed other stories had gone before, but the author added enough background information that I was able to catch up.

It’s ten years since the War ended and Lucifer and his Nephilim army have been eradicated and, apart from the odd renegade popping up now and again and a hive of Nephilim which was destroyed, all seemed quiet. Until, that is, the body of a young girl is found, apparently murdered by a vampire, and pentagrams begin to appear all over the city.

Araminta Scott belongs to an elite squad of the new Coven, named Venators, who have the ability, not only to read minds, but destroy them and manipulate dreams in order to search out unregistered immortals. They are the vampire law enforcers.

The alarm went off like an air-raid siren at midnight, and the hand that shot out of the bed slammed the snooze button so hard the side table shook. Half an hour later, Araminta Scott jumped out from underneath the blankets, kicking off the covers and cursing loudly. She’d dreamed she was late for work again and she was right – that wasn’t the snooze button she’d hit. She scrambled into her clothes, putting on a worn black sweater over her thin black tank top, grabbing a pair of black jeans from the pile on the floor, finger combed her platinum bangs, and smoothed the soft, shorn hair at the back of her neck as she met her dark, baleful eyes in the mirror.

Mimi and Kingsley Martin, who have a very volatile relationship, are back from the Underworld. Oliver Hazard-Perry is the head of the Blue Bloods, the Vampire Coven and about to be made the absolute ruler at the Four Hundred Ball his lover and human familiar, Finn, is organising. As the murders and pentagrams increase the whole community is on high alert.

As it seems someone or something is intent on the worst kind of mischief, Ara is partnered with Edon Marrok, the once legendary golden wolf, who was one of the heroes of the final battle. He has been helping the Venators search out Nephilim activity. It’s time for the two of them to investigate and uncover the killer before the ball. To add to their problems, there’s a new drug out on the streets causing untold damage and it seems the old saying ’the greatest trick the devil pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist’ is truer than anyone believed.

The story is told from multiple points of view in a time when vampires, venators and wolves live alongside humans while keeping their existence secret and protecting the human population from immortals.  I enjoyed the fact the central storyline is an investigation with a mystery/crime aspect and Ara and Edon are the ‘detectives.’  The killer is, or was to me, totally unexpected. The epilogue ending is left open in order to lead on to book #2. 

I own up to the fact the draw for this audiobook was MacLeod Andrews narrating, and I wasn’t disappointed. He brings the characters, male and female, to life convincingly, with great pacing and authenticity. 

One Way Fare (Book 1, Null City)

  • OneWayFareAuthors: Barb Taub/Hannah Taub
  • Published: September 2013 by Taliesin Publishing
  • Category: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal
  • four-stars

Superpowers suck. If you just want to live a normal life, Null City is only a Metro ride away. After one day there, imps become baristas, and hellhounds become poodles. Demons settle down, become parents, join the PTA, and worry about their taxes.

Null City is the only sanctuary for Gaby Parker and Leila Rice, two young women confronting cataclysmic forces waging an unseen war between Heaven and Hell. Gaby and her younger brother and sister are already targets in the war that cost their parents’ lives. Should they forsake the powers that complete their souls and flee to Null City? Meanwhile, Leila has inherited a French Chateau, a mysterious legacy, and a prophecy that she will end the world. Gaby and Leila become catalysts for the founding and survival of Null City.

I received a copy from the authors as part of Rosie Amber’s book review challenge.

This is an amazing story of fantasy, time and dimension travel and strong heroines with superpowers.
Gaby Parker lives with her younger twin brother and sister, who she is looking after and taking care of after the murder of their parents, in 1970’s Seattle. She is a Harmonia, which gives her the ability to see patterns in mostly everything…
Leila Rice, living with her adoptive parents, unaware she is a Nephilim, born of the union between a human and an angel. In 2012 she travels to France to claim the inheritance
left by her birth parents…

A very fast-moving plot told in several timelines with compelling and well-defined characters. Gaby and Leila are strong protagonists, both fun and feisty.

The two girls are unknown to each other initially but they are both caught up, in one way or another, in the war between Heaven and Hell and the story hops between the two of them, each trying to avoid, or deal with, the danger lurking round every corner. Only by visiting the past will they find the answers they need and the only way to get there is by riding the Metro.

“The train is arriving at 1890.” A loudspeaker sounded overhead. “There may be turbulence as we approach the Gap between Null City and the 1890 station, so we ask you to remain seated until the train has come to a full stop. Please make sure you remove all personal possessions. Mind the Gap and thank you for travelling Metro.”

They had barely resumed their seats when the train plunged straight down. Leila’s stomach dropped and she screamed as she looked at Thomas. His pale face had taken on a distinctly greenish tint. So that’s what the Mind the Gap bags were for, she realised, handing him one.

Eventually, via their ability to time travel, they meet and journey to the Court of the Fallen, or Hell as it’s better known, peopled by fallen Angels, imps and demons. Gaby and Leila along with Thomas and Luic join forces in the terrible fight to save Null City, their only sanctuary, humanity and the world as they know it.

The detailed historical and place depictions are vivid and made easily imaginable and I love all the pop culture references and the humour running throughout. A very complex and imaginative story told with plot twists a-plenty. The narrative I thought was very good, if a little complicated at times with family dynamics in the past, present and future.

Definitely worth reading if Urban Fantasy/Paranormal is your thing.

tt10407952flttAmazon US Amazon UK

 

BarbTaubIn a former life before children in need of luxuries like food and college, Barb Taub wrote a humor column for several Midwest newspapers. When Child #4 joined her research staff, she veered toward the dark side and a career in human resources. Now an expat living in one corner of a castle with her prince-of-a-guy and the world’s most spoiled AussieDog, she enjoys travel, translating from British to American, and collaborating with her daughter Hannah on the Null City series.

For more info, see: http://wp.me/p2SHpT-1

Co-author Hannah Taub started writing fantasy in kindergarten and never stopped. Computer science is the other great love of her life, and she writes and runs murder mystery parties in her spare time. She lives, creates, and studies in Scotland.