Review: The Cursed by Alyssa Day

The Cursed by Alyssa DayFormat read: print book borrowed from the library
Formats available: ebook, mass market paperback, audiobook
Genre: Paranormal romance
Series: League of the Black Swan, #1
Length: 305 pages
Publisher: Berkley
Date Released: May 7, 2013
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Book Depository

Bordertown private investigator Luke Oliver’s beat is the dimensional fold in Manhattan between the human and supernatural realms. But now a secret from his past—the League of the Black Swan—has surfaced. Because Luke isn’t any ordinary P.I. He’s the Dark Wizard of Bordertown, and he never backs down from a fight.

But this time the fight threatens his life and his heart. Rio Jones, the only woman he loved, needs his help against a deadly menace. Luke pushed her away once before, so she’d never fall prey to the curse that threatens to destroy him. He swore he’d never let her go again.

Luke and Rio, with the help of the newly reformed League, must keep evil forces from taking over Bordertown—all the while battling a passion on the razor’s edge between danger and desire. And going to take everything they have just to stay alive.

My Review:

The idea that there is a supernatural fold of the space-time continuum, or whatever you might want to call it, underneath or beside or behind New York City makes a whole lot of weird sense, at least in paranormal terms.

Neverwhere by Neil GaimanIf London can have two versions, Simon R. Green’s Nightside and Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, it seems only fair that New York City has this one. NYC is certainly big and bad enough to support an oblong of goblins or two.

So Bordertown is the supernatural fold of New York City, where the demons and the elves live to look down upon the humans in their midst. Rio Jones believes she’s just one of those humans, even if she does have a little something extra: she’s a telepath. Her ability to tell when someone is too busy to care or if they really want to eat her for dinner has kept her alive as a bike messenger in this town where everyone is bigger and badder than she is.

One man tries to keep what passes for the peace in Bordertown. He goes by the name Luke Oliver, but he hasn’t always. He was born Lucian Olivieri, over 500 years ago, and his long life has been a curse and not a blessing. He’s known as the Dark Wizard of Bordertown, but if he ever really gives in to that dark, he’ll lose his soul.

Rio is the one woman who could tip him over to the dark side. Not because she’s evil, but because his overwhelming desire to protect her has the power to compel him to do seriously bad things. So Luke has kept himself far, far away from her.

Until his former colleagues, the League of the Black Swan, tell him to watch her. And their warning comes just in time. Because out of nowhere, both the Winter Fae and the Demon Rift target one unsuspecting human bike messenger named Rio Jones.

Who has no clue why every badass in Bordertown is out to get her before her 25th birthday. But then, Rio has no clue who she really is. She just needs to find out before that secret gets her killed. Or possessed. Or brings about the end of the world as everyone knows it.

Escape Rating B+: There are two stories in The Cursed; the love story between Luke and Rio, and the story about who Rio is and why is she being targeted.

The love story is a bit rocky. We never do find out why Luke was instantly attracted to Rio a year previously. It’s pretty easy to get what she sees in him, but not the reverse. Insta-love always makes me twitchy, and even though they do build a relationship in the book, it does start from there.

On that other hand, Rio’s origin story, the whole reason why she’s targeted, etc. is very cool and extremely well done. The case that Luke is pursuing at the beginning of the story, every mystery in the book, all the clues, even a couple of quite tasty red herrings, all lead to a fast and furious plot-twist at the end. I guessed some of it but not all of it.

The League of the Black Swan’s motives were very mysterious. They used Rio (and Luke) and Rio used them. I’m terribly curious to see what they do next.

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

For the Love of Mythology Blog Hop

For the Love of Mythology Blog Hop Banner

I’ve loved myth-based stories ever since I started losing myself in the library in elementary school. All those fantastic creatures and heroic deeds swept me away from boring homework. (Of course Zeus’ legendary philandering was toned down quite a bit!)

But if had to pick my favorite myth-based story now, well, it would depend on what was meant by favorite.

Atlantis Rising by Alyssa DayAlyssa Day’s Warriors of Poseidon series contained both the Greek god of the Sea and the legend of Atlantis, along with a whole bunch of nasty (and one nice) vampire and some shapeshifters. Awesome series with action, adventure, hot romance and saving the world. Start with Atlantis Rising if you’ve missed this. Even better, she’s finished so you get to find out how it ends.

American Gods by Neil GaimanOn a completely other track, if you want to learn about every mythology ever, sink your teeth, and a very long weekend, into Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. It felt like he made use of every possible myth and legend, and wove them into a fantastic reinterpretation of the great American road novel. If you’ve never read it, you won’t see the end coming, and then you’ll wonder why you didn’t. But I still laugh at the idea of the Egyptian gods keeping a funeral parlor in Cairo, Illinois with a cat named, of course, Bastet. And yes, it is Her.

To help you read more about your own favorite myths, just fill out the Rafflecopter for a chance at a $10 Amazon giftcard. Then hop on over to the many other participants in this giveaway hop, and see what myths they’d love to share with you!

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To enter the drawing for one of the fabulous grand prizes, including either a $45 Amazon Gift Card or $45 in books from The Book Depository , visit one of the blog hop hosts. To visit other stops on the hop, look below:

Review: Heart of Atlantis by Alyssa Day

Format read: ebook provided by NetGalley
Formats available: Mass Market paperback, ebook, audiobook
Genre: Paranormal romance
Series: Warriors of Poseidon #8
Length: 336 pages
Publisher: Berkley
Date Released: December 4, 2012
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

As a war wages between the immortals of Atlantis and those of the vampire realm, a Poseidon warrior fights to save his world—and the woman he loves. And no risk is too great.

The desires of a high priest.

Alaric, Poseidon’s High Priest, has made a vow to Quinn, the woman he loves and the leader of the Resistance: to save her friend Jack before his last bit of humanity has been drained. Should Alaric succeed, there’s one intimate danger: he may lose Quinn to the love of the man whose life he saved. But damn Atlantis to the nine hells, he’s willing to put Quinn’s wishes first, regardless of the consequences.

The warning of a threat reborn.

The final jewel of Poseidon’s trident has turned up in the hands of mysterious Ptolemy Reborn, who claims to be descended from Atlantean royalty. He’s about to reveal to the world that Atlantis is real, positioning himself as king. But this magical terrorist is bent on chaos. The only warrior who can stop him is following his own path, driven by the even more powerful force of love. Atlantean powers over the sea could prove just as cataclysmic—for Quinn’s love, Alaric might drown the entire world.

My Review:

Alaric has been Poseidon’s High Priest for over 500 years. It’s a very, very powerful job, with one tremendous drawback–the High Priest has to be celibate. As bad as that sounds, he managed to get used to it, well sort of used to it, by walling himself off from his emotions. (It turns out you really can channel all that energy into power, at least if you’re a Warrior of Poseidon!)

Then Prince Conlan brought home his human bride, Riley, and Alaric met Riley’s sister Quinn, the leader of the human resistance against the vampires. Quinn was his soulmate, but as the High Priest, Alaric couldn’t claim her.

Que up 7, count ’em 7 books of angst for Alaric and Quinn, while all the other Warriors found their soulmates. Even the one who was cursed not to feel any emotions at all! Talk about torture…

Heart of Atlantis is Alaric and Quinn’s chance at a happy ever after. But, since there is a very real fear that if Alaric gives in to the temptation that Quinn represents, he’ll lose his power, their HEA is wrapped up in the resolution of the series.

They need to find the final stone for Poseidon’s trident, and Atlantis must rise from the depths of the oceans to take its place among the nations of the world.

Of course, there are obstacles. Not just their old enemy Anubisa, queen of the vampires, but there’s a new guy on the block. He calls himself Ptolemy Reborn, and he outs the Atlanteans before they are ready, and exposes Quinn as the leader of the resistance. But the good guys don’t know who he is or even what he is. He’s not vampire, and he’s not demon. So where did he come from and why does he care about their squabbles and their gods?

Meanwhile, Quinn’s best friend, Jack, has retreated to his tiger form and refuses, or is unable, to turn human again.

Can this universe be saved? Before the dome over Atlantis cracks completely and everyone drowns?

Escape Rating B-: This wasn’t quite as much fun as I hoped it would be when I saw that Day was wrapping up the series. The individual stories have been tons of fun, but there were too many plot threads in the air for this last book, and the story felt scattered.

Ptolemy Reborn’s origins came out of nowhere. His obsession with Quinn, and with this world, was never fully explained. It would have made more sense plot-wise if Anubisa were the driving force again, or at least one of her kind. His cannon was a little too loose, in more ways than one.

Alaric and Quinn spend the whole story running all over the place and debating whether they should or shouldn’t. Then they get interrupted just as they’re about to make love. It’s funny the first time, maybe the second, then it gets annoying. Also, they’re adults and they never seem to have a rational discussion about the elephant (maybe that should be pod of whales) in the room.  And when they finally do manage to consummate their relationship, what should be the epic love scene of all time gets rather short shrift.

It was great to have all the Warriors come back to Atlantis for the final raising of the continent. That was cool. What was not cool was the way that Jack just walked off alone at the end, alone and lonely. I need to know that there’s someone for him in the future.

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.