Stray Magic (Stray’s #1) By Kelly Meding

Stray Magic (Stray’s #1) By Kelly Meding

 

Stray Magic

Edelweiss Plus Review

TITLE: Stray Magic (Stray’s #1)
AUTHOR: Kelly Meding
GENRE: Historical Fiction, Fantasy
PUBLISHED: June 19th 2018 by Harper Voyager
RATING: ★★

This is one of my most dreaded types of reviews. A critical one. I hate doing critical reviews. But as reviewer honesty is one of your most essential attributes this type of  review tends to make me feel as if I’m tearing the author apart. I hate it. Loving reading means you love authors. You don’t want to bring hurt to your loved ones. If I feel this terrible writing it I can only Imagine how the author will feel reading it. I procrastinated HARD on this review. As my subscribers you guys have to comment below let me know if I’m crossing the line from critical to asshole…… anyway here’s my latest review.

Stray Magic is an urban fantasy novel the first in the new Strays series by Author Kelly Meding. Kelly Meding has been on my TBR list for a very long time so now that I’m reviewing I jumped at the opportunity to get an ARC from Edelweiss.

The Novel is written in the first person POV of the protagonist Shiloh Harrison. Shiloh is the second in command in the Federal Para – Marshal Unit based in Hebron, Maryland the story opens with our protagonist trying to blow off some steam with her lover after wrapping up a lengthy case. They were supposed to have three uninterrupted days of carnal bliss, but crime doesn’t pause for your love life.  Shiloh is called back out on another case shortly after arriving home.

Shiloh’s team is called out to a case where vampires have invaded and are holding a trailer park full of people hostage. The Master Vampire Woodrow Tennyson has concocted this plan to keep the members of his line safe. Vampires and werewolves are being abducted and never heard from again, to protect his people he’s placed them in a high visibility situation where they are under surveillance and safe from being abducted. I thought that was a very original plot twist.

Tennyson is holding the trailer park hostage until he receives assistance locating his missing people. And Somehow after threatening to harm Shiloh’s mom Tennyson becomes a defacto member of the team throughout the investigation.

The title of this book is telling. Stray means precisely that. Shiloh’s team is a mish-mash of supernatural rejects from different species. You would expect the characters to pull through circumstances in exceptional ways as the underdogs of the supernatural world that they are. But that isn’t the case. The team is made up of Shiloh our main character she’s a half Djinn half human which seemed interesting at first, but Meding’s take on it gets old fast. We then have Novak the devils reject an incubus who has been kicked out of hell, stripped of most of his powers, and is in hiding. Jaxon Shiloh’s Ex a Skin Walker who turns into a Seven Point Stag, Kathleen the Dhamphir (half human half vampire), and Their Leader Julius, a human.

The author intends to write Shiloh’s character as a hardcore rough around the edges Female badass, and while Shiloh makes an attempt depth, her character is equipped with the personality of a petulant teenager and therefore misses the mark. Several of the character interactions and relationships lack chemistry; most seem forced or weird.

As a reader you can when something doesn’t mesh with the natural progression of the story or the character relationships.  In a few of the scenes, it appears as if the author wrote herself into a corner.  Meding gets tripped up when she doesn’t follow her own rules of magic.  A few times Meding comes up with unreasonable loopholes to get the characters either out of a jam or to create conflict; as a result, some aspects of the story seem unrealistic, as ironic as that may sound. Now I understand this is all made up but the thing about fiction especially urban fantasy is the author has to write eloquently enough to make you believe it could happen. The writing has to in-effect paint all over the walls of your subconscious. It’s not something I can explain, but all true bibliophiles understand what I mean.

There are also several instances where something is over, or unnecessarily explained something; it occurs often enough to be annoying. Sometimes with information that isn’t imperatively relative to the characters or storyline and wouldn’t be relevant to the reader. The book does have some redeeming qualities though. The Plot and action are instant and continuous. Meding doesn’t leave you in suspense long, and there are no boring parts. (just frustrating ones). The events move along quickly. The premise was interesting, but it was all a bit rushed.  The way the book is written doesn’t give the reader the opportunity to bond with the characters this is the first book in a series, but it reads like a fourth or fifth. Frankly, the author missed the mark on this one. However, my copy was an unedited proof, many of the issues I found with the book may be corrected in the final print. So I say give it a chance, and if you’ve read the book leave a comment, I’d love to know what you think.

Kill the Farm Boy (Tales of Pell #1) by Delilah S. Dawson & Kevin Hearne

Kill the Farm Boy (Tales of Pell #1) by Delilah S. Dawson & Kevin Hearne

Title: Kill the Farm Boy (Tales of Pell #1)

AUTHOR: Delilah S. Dawson & Kevin Hearne

GENRE: Fiction / Fantasy / Action & Adventure

PUBLISHED: On Sale Date: July 17, 2018

    Pell is a land far, far away; where a chosen one will rise and save the day. But who is the chosen one? What are they chosen to do? I received an advanced reader copy of Kill the Farm Boy at The Book Con 2018. The book is first in a new series called The Tales of Pell by veteran writers Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne.

    Kill the Farm Boy is a Parody of classic fairytales and today’s popular fantasy, striving to achieve the highest level of ridiculousness possible. It pokes fun at current topics going on in the world today, such as our current leadership, and the postal service. Kill the Farm Boy will twist your expectations into pretzels. You’ll meet many characters you recognize, but the book achieves originality by taking these characters and situations that are well known and twisting them until you say… huh. The authors have changed well-known characters to completely different ones. Mashing these tales together into something which makes sense and is amusing could only have been achieved by a diabolical genius or two.

    Kill the Farm Boy is not your average book. It refuses to follow the normal rules of fiction. There is no characterization the characters are who they are in all their superficial glory. They lack the depth of normal fiction characters, but that’s the point.

              The first character we meet is the book’s namesake, Worstley; the farm boy himself as opposed to his deceased brother Bestley. Worstley is a character whose entire existence is defined by shoveling the poo of farm animals and having a breakfast consisting of grey pancakes. Next, we have Staph the pixie, and if the name doesn’t tip you off Staph is the most disgusting pixie you ever could meet. She’s as likely to infect you with a disease as she is to anoint you a chosen one. We meet Gustave the talking Goat, Fia the bloodthirsty warrior who just wants to leave in peace. Agrabella the Beast in the tower, Poltro the Huntsman. The Dark Lord Toby, Grinda the Sand Witch. And a mish-mash of other characters, Trolls, Goblins, and Necromancers-oh my! Gandalf and Merlin even make cameos.

              This isn’t a serious tale; in fact, I challenge you to attempt such a task. The tale is meant to be ridiculous, and thus the characters are meant to just be…. To truly appreciate the humor in the tale, you need to be familiar with a few of the fairytale classics, adventure stories, and fantasies, such as The Wizard of Oz; Snow White; Peter Pan; Sleeping Beauty; Rapunzel; Beauty and the Beast; The Hobbit; and The Lord of The Rings Trilogy to name a few.

    The tale begins with Staph informing Worstley that he is Chosen. She then anoints a Chosen one and sends Worstley off on a quest. The trick here is the Chosen one isn’t who you think. And the quest doesn’t turn out at all how you’d expect. Every time you think you have a grip on, what’s going on in the story takes a ridiculous and unpredictable twist.

              The language is at times, clever, witty, haughty, and often theatrical. But it is also at times obtuse. There are words in this book that you may need to be a spelling bee champion to understand. At times, I had to reach for the dictionary, and although it didn’t really diminish the humorous tone of the book, it led to confusion in some cases and things that probably went over my head. Words like hirsute, portent, surfeit, ungulate, dyspeptic, Perambulating…. and many more which I was unable to infer the meaning simply based on the context of the sentence. I mean, truthfully, it takes a little gas out of the joke if you need to look it up.

    Kill the Farm Boy isn’t for everybody. The story was enjoyable. I smiled while reading, it and I did have at least one full-blown laugh-out-loud moment, however, it took a while before I was able to really appreciate the humor. This book is for a certain crowd. I don’t necessarily recommend it for adventure lovers, or lovers of Urban Fantasy, YA, and similar genres. This book is not the type of book you get engrossed in. The ridiculous nature of the tale makes it practically impossible. Everything about the book hovers just below the surface. Not every reader will get it. Not every reader will enjoy it but if you like parodies, this is for you.

Review Edited by L. Mauricio

His Majesty’s Dragon (Temeraire #1)  By Naomi Novik

His Majesty’s Dragon (Temeraire #1) By Naomi Novik

TITLE: His Majesty’s Dragon HMDAUTHOR: Naomi Novik
GENRE: Historical Fiction, Fantasy
PUBLISHED: March 28th, 2006
RATING: ★★★★☆

Discovering His Majesty’s Dragon was something of a happy accident for me. Having come across Throne of Jade (Temeraire #2) in a desk drawer at work I was immediately interested in the book because of the Dragon on the cover. It was obviously a fantasy novel about dragons. After reading the blurb I knew I wanted to check the series out, but I didn’t read the book right then. There was a listing of books in the series on the first page and I was easily able to determine there was a book preceding this one that I would need to read first.

I have been intrigued by books about dragons and riders ever since I read the first book of the Inheritance Cycle, Eragon by Christopher Paolini back in August of 2008. The closest I ever came to finding a novel similar to the Inheritance Cycle series was in 2013 when I came across the Eon series by Alison Goodman, but Goodman’s series is only two books; although I really enjoyed those books the series ended way too soon for me.

His Majesty’s Dragon is a historical fiction novel based on the Napoleonic war, with a slight emphasis on the escapades of Villeneuve. The premise of the novel is an alternate reality where Dragons are real and are used as an important battle tool during the war.

There are two main characters, Captain Will Laurence and his Dragon Temeraire. Captain Laurence is a Naval Captain who takes pride in his duty to his country as an Officer in the King’s Navy. Captain Laurence has a strong sense of honor that seems to be fueled by his dysfunctional relationship with his Father Lord Allendale.
Quote:
“Lord Allendale looked at Laurence’s coat with heavy disapproval and said nothing to his son at all. “

“It is an old quarrel at heart,” he said. “He would have had me go into the Church, like my brother; he has never counted the Navy an honorable occupation.”

“But truly, he has never approved my choice of career; I had to run away from home as a boy for him to let me go to sea. I cannot allow his will to govern me, for I see my duty differently than he does.”

Then Temeraire is hatched, and although Captain Laurence was not the one who had drawn the short straw, the Dragon chose him and a strong of honor and duty led to a set of circumstances that tore Captain Laurence away from his beloved job as a Naval Captain and thrust him into His majesty’s Aviator Corps.
Quote:
“So if a hatchling let you put it into harness, duty forever after tied you to the beast. An aviator could not easily manage any sort of estate, nor raise a family, nor go into society to any real extent. They lived as men apart, and largely outside the law, for you could not punish an aviator without losing the use of his dragon.”

Temeraire is a character you’ll love instantly from his first words to Captain Laurence after his hatching ( I mean who doesn’t love talking Dragon’s). Novik’s use of anthropomorphism brings Temeraire to life, aside from the human characteristic of speaking and an uncanny intelligence Temeraire experiences a wide range of human emotion, sadness, happiness even jealously. At heart Temeraire is a sweet, Logical, inquisitive being ready to take on the world with an intense hunger for knowledge and a strong sense of independence.
Quote:
“Temeraire’s quick perception and the concern in his voice were like a tonic for his weary unhappiness, and it made Laurence speak more freely than he meant to.”

“I have never met the King; I am not his property, like a sheep,” Temeraire said. “If I belong to anyone, it is you, and you to me. I am not going to stay in Scotland if you are unhappy there.”

“No, Laurence, I cannot promise such a thing,” he said. “I am sorry, but I will not lie to you: I could not have let you fall. You may value their lives above your own; I cannot do so, for to me you are worth far more than all of them. I will not obey you in such a case, and as for duty, I do not care for the notion a great deal, the more I see of it.”

“Laurence is my captain,” Temeraire said, the smallest hint of belligerence in his tone, and an emphasis on the possessive”

“Come now, what is this jealousy?” he said softly.”

Laurence and Temeraire don’t exactly take the aviator corps by storm, however Laurence’s unorthodox ways definitely set some of the ingrained practices in regards to Dragons on a tale spin. Laurence regards Temeraire the respect due to any intelligent being, and doesn’t see him as an animal or tool but a creature with feelings and intelligence.
Quote:
“Laurence finished swallowing and said, “Yes, sir; you have the advantage of me.” “Berkley,” the man said. “Look here, what sort of nonsense have you been filling your dragon’s head with? My Maximus has been muttering all morning about wanting a bath, and his harness removed; absurd stuff.”

“Damned foolish idea if you ask me, dragons swimming; great nonsense.”

I am no history major, so I used Google to do a bit of research into the authenticity of the historical references. Accuracy of historical events, such as Villeneuve at Toulon and proper usage of what I will refer to as “terms” or “phrases” of the time such as Clodpole a noun referring to a stupid or foolish person, or Scrub a noun referring to a contemptible person (Not the 90s slang term made famous by the singing group TLC) and Bluestocking which refers to an intellectual or learn individual, a term derived from Elizabeth Montagu’s Bluestocking society. There’s even an appearance or two by Miss Montagu herself. These things all lend authenticity to Novik’s tale as a fantastic work of historical fiction.
Quote:
“Villeneuve and his fleet have slipped out of Toulon under cover of an aerial raid against Nelson’s fleet; we have lost track of them.”

“Austria is mobilizing; she is coming into the war with Bonaparte again, and I dare say he will have to turn his attention to the Rhine instead of the Channel, soon enough.”

“It is not to be borne! An Imperial in the hands of some untrained Navy clodpole—”

“I have to tell you how very sorry I am. I know I have been playing the scrub.”

“You would be quite astonished at how much of a bluestocking I am become, Mother; he is quite insatiable.”

“Oh, I am sorry to hear it, my dear, but we are very happy to have you even briefly,” she said. “Have you met Miss Montague?”

Novik’s writing is direct and purposeful, yet warm and inviting. Though I am far from an expert in literary devices I find His Majesty’s Dragon to be an excellent example of fictional prose. Novik writes in such a way that the meaning of words is made clear by the context in which they are used while managing to use words such as auspicious, congenial, and henceforth without the tale becoming boring and monotonous making the reader feel relaxed and at home in the world she has created.

Novik’s imagination gives us an original take on dragon riding; her take on dragons in general is refreshing for me because it was unexpected. And her talent for writing grants the tale an air of reality.

Hush Hush (Hush Hush #1) By Becca Fitzpatrick

Hush Hush (Hush Hush #1) By Becca Fitzpatrick

Hush HushThis review includes spoilers

 

I’ve been having a hard time finding books that allow me a wondrous vacation from reality. In my quest to find an enrapturing novel I headed to the Goodreads site and sorted my to-read shelf by the number of ratings after that I just picked for the most interesting cover and synopsis. Hush, Hush has been on my to-read shelf since mid-June 2012. It looked like a good bet.

 

Hush, Hush starts off extremely slow, like a snail’s pace slow, and you can tell it’s aimed at the YA crowd because its writing style is Basic English, its language is simple to simplistic. I estimate the reading to be at about 9th-grade reading level. Overall I liked the book, but it was drawn out. I understand that the layout was the prelude to the story’s inevitable climax, but it just took too many unnecessary words to get there. The book finally begins to pick up close to a 3rd of the way through, but up until then I would have had no idea what the book was about if I hadn’t read the synopsis.

 

Right away we meet the main character Nora Grey the protagonist and her Partner in crime Vee Sky. Nora and Vee are your average high school aged teenage girls.

 

Next, we meet Patch Cipriano, his role from Villain to Anti-Hero, and love interest Patch who is your average bad boy; the real deal he’s a fallen angel who wants to become human at any cost.

 

Elliot Saunders (the side-kick) and Jules A.K.A Chauncey Langeais their roles, the main Antagonist although in all fairness Chauncey became what he was because of Patch. Chauncey is just an average high school student led astray by Chauncey a Nephilim, who has been enslaved to Patch for centuries, and he wants payback.

 

Last But not Least Miss Greene A.K.A Dabria her role a minor Antagonist Dabria is an Angel and Patch’s ex-lover, and she can’t get over the fact that he lost his wings over a human. When the Powers that be find out Patch’s plan to become human, they send Dabria to talk to him and try and convince him to save a life and become a guardian angel getting his wings back instead. In the end Dabria’s jealousy is her undoing, she tries to kill Nora and loses her own wings.

 

The Plot:

Patch wants to be human more than anything his lust for a human girl caused him to fall and lose his wings. There’s a sacred book The book of Enoch which tells how a fallen angel can become human, it requires Patch to use the female descendant of his Nephilim vassal as a willing sacrifice to become human and he intends to seduce Nora into doing just that but sometimes things don’t go as planned.

Quote:

“I can’t feel you. I experience everything through a sheet of glass, and the only way I can cut through that sheet is by possessing a human body”

 

Quote:

“I want to be human. I want it than I’ve ever wanted anything

 

Nora’s life was pretty simple before she met Patch, it was normal, now suddenly Nora’s is seeing things and being stalked. Nora’s sixth sense is telling her Patch is trouble, and she knows there’s something not quite right about him, but no matter how she rationalizes she too drawn to him and can’t stay away. Ever since Patch became Nora’s biology partner, Nora’s been paranoid and suspicious.

Quote:

“After the library” I whispered “Where did you go”

“Why”

“Did you follow me” I demanded in an undertone.

“You look a Little on edge Nora.” “What Happened?”

 

Chauncey is Patch’s vassal force to swear an oath of fealty centuries ago allowing patch to take over his body two weeks every year, he’s been looking for a way to hurt Patch get back at him, but Patch is a fallen Angel his body isn’t, real torture won’t work, he can’t feel pain. When Chauncey notices Patch’s interest in Nora, he decides that killing Nora will be perfect revenge.

Quote:

“I’ve been toying with you. Dangling you by a string. Using you as a proxy, because the person I really want to harm can’t be harmed. Do you know who that person is?”

 

Quote:

“I’ve been keeping a close eye on Patch for centuries. Last summer he made his first trip to your house, though you didn’t notice. He followed you shopping a few times. Every now and then he made a special trip out of his way to find you.”

 

In the end, the book is good — once you get to the good part. It was like watching a 2 ½ hr movie, which could’ve had the same impact if the movie were only one hour. But the ending left nothing to be desired, and the climax was as it should be, satisfying.

I look forward to reading the sequel.

 

Now that the action has started, I’m giving the author the benefit of the doubt; it wouldn’t be the first time I read book 1 of a series and felt kind of meh about it. When I read A Court of Thorns and Roses (by Sarah J. Maas, whose writing I love), I was disappointed, the book was good, but I found it lacking something vital. I just couldn’t put my finger on it when book two came out I added it to my To-Read shelf but on the back burner, and by some divine intervention A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) made its way to the top of my list, and I was completely enraptured and blown away. One of my favorite series of all time is Anita Blake Vampire Hunter. While I did like Guilty Pleasures (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #1) I felt it lacked something. I almost didn’t read book two, but hey book two was the series salvation, and I’ve been a fan ever since.

 

So I read Hush, Hush, and then stay tuned. I plan to read the sequel, Crescendo at some point, and see whether it lives up to my “second book rule.”

Crescendo (Hush, Hush #2) By Becca Fitzpatrick

Crescendo (Hush, Hush #2) By Becca Fitzpatrick

Crescendo

TITLE: Crescendo (Hush, Hush #2)

AUTHOR: Becca Fitzpatrick

GENRE: Fiction, YA, Fantasy, Paranormal Romance

PUBLISHED: October 19th 2010

RATING: ★★★☆☆

Warning This Review Contains Spoilers

After I finished Hush, Hush (Book one), I admit I was curious as to where else the story could go, as it seemed pretty finished to me. However, in Crescendo Fitzpatrick manages to come through with an original and interesting plot with a twist I never would have imagined. Unlike Hush, Hush, Crescendo keeps an even pace of events throughout leaving no spaces for the reader to get bored.

The Plot: Now that Patch has his wings back, every fallen angel knows the rumors are true. There’s a way for them to become human. Someone wants to pick up where Patch left off. Rixon is Patch’s best friend, he was Patch’s co-conspirator, until he decided to give everything up for Nora and ended up getting his wings back. Now Rixon is on a lonely road trip on the highway to Hell. But Rixon has his own plans and Nora is still not safe. Nora is descended from two Nephilim lines and even though Chauncey is dead it’s not over, she still has one Nephilim ancestor left her real Father, Hank Miller Marcie’s dad.

Crescendo picks up where Hush, Hush left off with Nora and Patch in relationship bliss, but that won’t last long. Nora loves Patch, but she begins to hold his flaws against him resenting the fact that he’s not able to feel for her what she does for him. Every kiss, every caress she knows Patch doesn’t feel it, is he faking his feelings for her?

Quote:

“Just tell me what you’re thinking!” I blurted. “Spit it out! It’s bad enough that I have no idea what you’re feeling, let alone what you’re thinking!”

“When we kiss, are you faking it?” He stopped short. Another disbelieving shake of his head. “Faking it?” “When I touch you, do you feel anything? How far does your desire go? Do you feel anything close to what I feel for you?” 

“I needed him to feel the thrilling and undeniable magnetic field pulling every molecule in his body toward mine. Just like I did.”

Patch doesn’t really understand Nora, because he doesn’t understand human emotion – although he thinks he does. All he knows is he wants her, feels strongly for her. His inability to connect with Nora emotionally causes problems in their relationship.

Quote:

“I’m not telling you, because what I was doing at Marcie’s has nothing to do with us.” How could he think this didn’t have anything to do with us? Marcie was the one person who took every opportunity to attack and belittle me. Over the past eleven years, she’d teased me, spread horrible rumors about me, and humiliated me publicly. How could he think this wasn’t personal? How could he think I’d just accept this, no questions asked? Above all, couldn’t he see I was terrified that Marcie would use him to hurt me? If she suspected he was even remotely interested, she’d do everything in her power to steal him for herself. I couldn’t stand the thought of losing Patch, but it would kill me if I lost him to her.”

“Call me when you’re ready to talk rationally.” “What’s that supposed to mean?” “It means you’re crazy. You’re impossible.”

Patch & Nora’s problems are compounded when Patch finds out the Archangels have it out for him. One wrong move and they’ll have Patch on the Hell Train Express. When Nora finds out she feels guilty; she loves Patch and doesn’t want to be the reason he’s sent to eternal torment in Hell. So she breaks it off.

Quote:

“This is about how I feel about you. I have to hold back. I’m walking a dangerous line. Falling in love is what got me in trouble in the first place. I can’t be with you the way I want. “

“If I give the archangels cause to think I’m even remotely in love with you, they’ll send me to hell. Forever. The news hit me like a blow to the stomach.”

“I want out,” I said quietly. I knew I wasn’t being fair—I was protecting myself. What other option did I have? I couldn’t give Patch a chance to talk me out of it. I had to do what was best for both of us.

Patch, ever the Anti-Hero you know…..the character we hate to love, hooks up with Marcie Miller, Nora’s arch-nemesis. Marcie is the character you love to hate. She’s rude, obnoxious, mean, self-centered you know a real *****. She’s had a serious grudge against Nora for years, torments Nora every chance she gets. Nora has no idea why.

Quote:

“Marcie’s expression cooled. “I’m surprised your dad doesn’t mind you’re here. Oh, wait. That’s right. He’s dead.” My initial reaction was shock. My second was indignation at her cruelty. A knot of anger swelled in my throat. “What?” she argued with a one-shoulder shrug. “He’s dead. It’s a fact. Do you want me to lie about the facts?” “What did I ever do to you?” “You were born.”

Even under the low-watt bulb, I could tell my eyes were red and glassy. I wet a paper towel and pressed it to my eyes. What was Marcie’s problem? What had I ever done to her that was cruel enough to deserve this?”

“What started the war between the two of you?” “That’s the thing. I don’t even know. It used to be over who got the last chocolate milk in the lunch crate. Then one day in junior high, Marcie marched into school and spray-painted ‘whore’ on my locker. She didn’t even try to be sneaky about it. The whole school was looking on.” “She went postal just like that? No reason?” “Yup.” No reason I was aware of, anyway. He tucked one of my curls behind my ear. “Who’s winning the war?” “Marcie, but not by much.”

But there more to Marcie than Nora knows. Marcie’s been holding on to a secret for a very long time bearing the burden all alone. And the startling revelation will cut Nora to the bone, and she will question all she’s ever known.

Quote:

“They were sleeping together. All these years they’ve been doing it. Which means my dad could be your dad. And you could be my— sister.” Marcie’s words dropped like a blade between us.”

Nora tries to get back at Patch, and make him jealous. Make him feel the way she feels when she sees him with Marcie; she starts hanging out with Scott Parnell an old childhood friend who has recently moved back to town. Scott is a troubled kid and, unknown to Nora is a First Generation Nephilim – and he’s running from something. Hanging with Scott puts Nora in Danger several times but she refuses to heed Patch’s warnings.

Quote:

“Patch dropped his gaze to the ground and pinched the bridge of his nose. I could tell he was summoning patience from deep within. “Scott’s Nephilim. A first-generation purebred. Just like Chauncey was.” I blinked. It was true, then. “Thanks for the info, but I already suspected.” He made a disgusted gesture. “Quit with the bravery act. He’s Nephilim.” “Every Nephil isn’t Chauncey Langeais,” I said testily. “Every Nephil isn’t evil.”

“I slid my hands up Scott’s chest and laced them behind his neck. He took the cue and pulled me in tighter, tracing his hands down the contour of my spine. So this was what it felt like to kiss someone else. While Patch was slow and practiced and took his time, Scott was playfully eager and a little sloppy. It was completely different and new … and not altogether bad. “My room,” Scott whispered in my ear, lacing his fingers between mine and pulling me toward the hall. I flicked my gaze to where I’d last seen Patch. Our eyes met. His hand was stiff, cupped at the back of his neck, as if he’d been lost in deep thought and had frozen at the sight of me kissing Scott. This is what it feels like, I thought at him.”

In the end Scott isn’t the real threat, he’s a scared kid in way over his head.

Quote:

“One night on my way home from work, I was jumped from behind, dragged into a warehouse, and tied to a folding table. It was too dark to see the guy, but I figured the manager had sent him. I told him I’d pay him whatever he wanted if he’d let me go, but he laughed and said he wasn’t after my money—in fact, he’d already settled my debts. Before I could figure out if it was his idea of a joke, he said he was the Black Hand, and the last thing he needed was more money. “He had a Zippo, and he held the flame against the ring on his left hand, heating it. I was sweating bullets. I told him I’d do whatever he wanted—just get me off the table. He ripped open my shirt and ground the ring into my chest. My skin was on fire, and I was yelling at the top of my lungs. He snapped my finger, broke the bone, and told me if I didn’t shut up, he’d move down the line until he broke all ten. He told me he’d given me his mark.” Scott’s voice had dropped to a rasp. “I wet my pants. Right there on the table. He scared the hell out of me. I’ll do whatever it takes to never see him again. That’s why we moved back to Coldwater. I’d stopped going to school and was hiding out at the gym all day, bulking up in case he came looking for me. If he found me, this time I was going to be ready.” Cutting off there, he wiped his nose with the back of his hand.”

Acting the innocent, dutiful best friend to Patch and boyfriend to Nora’s best friend Vie, Rixon is the real threat; he has been patiently biding his time. He’s got almost everyone fooled. He’s been leaving Nora clues about her father’s murder. Pointing all the evidence toward Patch driving them further apart.

Quote:

“I resent that look,” Vee said. “Rixon happens to be a really decent guy.”

She stopped when I pulled out the paper. Scrawled in black Sharpie was a note: THIS RING BELONGS TO THE BLACK HAND. HE KILLED YOUR DAD.”

“Patch told you he won the Jeep. Rixon has a different story”

“Have you ever heard of the Black Hand?” Rixon flinched. He studied me in silence a moment before his face blazed with amusement. “Is this a joke? I haven’t heard that name in a long time. I thought Patch didn’t like to be called it. Did he tell you about it, then?”

“I know you’re the Black Hand.” I shut my eyes briefly, feeling my whole body sway under a wave of nausea. He looked over his shoulder. “Who told you that?” “Then it’s true?” I realized my hands were balled into fists at my sides, shaking violently. “You’re the Black Hand.” I watched his face, praying he’d somehow refute it.”

When Nora finally realizes what’s going on with a little help from the Angel’s and her father. It’s nearly too late. Rixon plans to pick up where Patch left off he’ll sacrifice her and become human. Rixon had been looking for Nora along time it seems just Nora’s bad luck to be the female descendant of two Nephilim Vassals.

Quote:

“An angel of death helped me come here to see you. She’s holding time still for us, Nora. She’s helping me speak to your mind. There’s something important I need to tell you, but I don’t have much time”

“Touch Rixon’s scars. The truth is there.”

“You killed him,” I whispered. “It was you. You were wearing Patch’s hat.” The shock of the moment was quickly being eaten up by abhorrence and ice-cold fear. “You killed my dad.” Any trace of kindness or sympathy vanished from Rixon’s eyes. “Well, this is awkward.”

“He isn’t the one on the fast track to hell. We were in this together, and now he’s gone and gotten himself his wings back.” His eyes raked over me in disgust. “Because of you.” I shook my head, not buying it. “You killed my dad before you even knew who I was.” He laughed, but it lacked humor. “I knew you were out there somewhere, and I was looking for you.” “Why?”

“Your dad is a Nephil named Barnabas,” Rixon said. “More recently, he goes by Hank Millar.”

“Hank Millar—was Nephilim. And he was my father.”

Patch manages to figure out Rixon’s plan in the nick of time, and once again saves Nora’s life. He also comes to terms with his feelings for Nora and decides being with her is what’s most important to him. But a war is brewing between Fallen Angels and the Nephilim and Nora will be caught in the middle. After secrets are revealed and revelations made its clear, Nora’s not out the woods yet.

Quote:

“The Nephilim race is already seeking revenge on angels. Maybe this is only the beginning.”

“Mr. Millar,” I whispered. I couldn’t think of anything else to call him. Hank seemed too informal; Dad seemed revoltingly intimate. “Let me introduce myself properly,” he said. “I’m the Black Hand. I knew your father Harrison well. I’m glad he’s not here now to see you debasing yourself with one of the devil’s brood.” He wagged his head. “You’re not the girl I thought you’d grow up to be, Nora. Fraternizing with the enemy, making a mockery of your heritage. I believe you even blew up one of my Nephilim safe houses last night. But no matter. I can forgive that.” He paused with significance. “Tell me, Nora. Was it you who killed my dear friend Chauncey Langeais?”

When I reviewed book one here, I promised to let you know if the series would hold up to my “second book rule” and I say 50/50. Crescendo’s story is a significant improvement from Hush, Hush with an evenly paced well-developed storyline, plot and conclusion, and it’s an excellent book for its target audience, YA readers. I would not recommend this book for adult readers.