romance series

What I've Been Reading: Azagoth by Larissa Ione

1001DarkNightsAzagoth_200For those of you who don't know, paranormal is my first love. And also for those of you who don't know, I run terribly behind in reading! I buy books when they come out, but getting a chance to actually read them? Well, sometimes it takes me a while. So over Christmas, though I haven't read the later books in the series, I was jonesin' for some paranormal and opened Azagoth by Larissa Ione. Now, this is how far behind I am: I read the first of the four horsemen books. (Don't ask me how long ago that was! :) ) I actually own all the books in this series, but that's as far as I've read. I really want to read more, but see last week's post as to why I haven't yet. Anywho...



Why did this book totally do it for me? I'll tell you: Even though it's a novella that relies somewhat on the history of the series (totally readable even if you haven't read the others, though), I LOVED the hero. Why? Because I'm a sucker for a bad boy who seems bad without remorse, but whom we discover, in the course of the story, is in fact the way he is for very good reason. When a hero seems unlovable but we get to go on the journey with the heroine to find out exactly why he is, that's my favorite kind of story! It's the kind of story I try to create in my paranormals, and Larissa does it magnificently here.

Want to read more? Here is the blurb from Larissa's website:

Even in the fathomless depths of the underworld and the bleak chambers of a damaged heart, the bonds of love can heal…or destroy.

He holds the ability to annihilate souls in the palm of his hand. He commands the respect of the most dangerous of demons and the most powerful of angels. He can seduce and dominate any female he wants with a mere look. But for all Azagoth’s power, he’s bound by shackles of his own making, and only an angel with a secret holds the key to his release.

She’s an angel with the extraordinary ability to travel through time and space. An angel with a tormented past she can’t escape. And when Lilliana is sent to Azagoth’s underworld realm, she finds that her past isn’t all she can’t escape. For the irresistibly sexy fallen angel known as Azagoth is also known as the Grim Reaper, and when he claims a soul, it’s forever…

Now, this story is a novella (part of the reason I picked it, so I could finish it in one or two sittings). As I said above, you don't have to read the previous books to understand this story; Larissa adds just enough detail that you can figure out what happened in the past and the various connections, the relevant ones. And Lilliana, the heroine, isn't a pansy -- I like that about her too. Strong men need strong women to stand up to -- and with -- them. The scene where she stands up to her ex was enjoyable too! :)

Azagoth is a must-read and will definitely stay on my Kindle! You can pick up your copy here:

Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, All Romance Ebooks

~ Ella

Cliffhangers Are the Pits

5777600529_381883fd69_zWhen I think of cliffhangers, I think of long-ago Friday and Saturday nights when the family all sat around watching TV. It would be the end of a season, and whatever show we were watching was sure to end on a cliffhanger. Who shot JR? Was Buffy really dead? Was Jack Bauer ever gonna have a good day? (No!) What I don't think about when I hear the word cliffhanger is a romance novel. The romance genre, by definition, contains books that end in one of two ways: Happily Ever After or at least a Happy For Now. I don't even really like HFNs, actually. I want a resolution to a relationship. That relationship might continue beyond the book, as with Christine Feehan's Dark series, Cherise Sinclair's Master of the Shadowlands series, and JR Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series. There might even be new books or novellas about the couple, but in their book, I want an HEA. It's what my heart longs for. I can't help it -- I NEED an HEA.

kingSo, cliffhangers in romance? Not so much. My first encounter with such an animal was a very popular book that shall remain nameless. I literally got to the end, read the last paragraph, and turned the page expecting more. When it wasn't there, I turned the book over, looked at the cover, scratched my head... It took me a while to figure out that really was all there was to the story. If there had been some indication of a hook, a resolution to the original story arc, I wouldn't have been confused. But instead it felt as if the author had written one book, taken a cleaver, and literally chopped the story into thirds.

I hated it.

Now granted, there are series that take three (or more) books to resolve a relationship. But there's usually some indication that this will happen. There's usually a sense of "finishing," of resolution to the end of each book. There might still be questions, but the arc of the story, both within itself and within the overarching trilogy (or however many books), is evident. There's closure of some kind, even if the reader knows it is temporary.

This isn't even like those long-ago TV cliffhangers. There wasn't a buildup to a climactic event that we knew would get resolved in the beginning of the next book. No, there wasn't even that promise. The character's walked out on the street to go somewhere, stood for a minute talking (about nothing important), and that was the end. Done.

Uh-uh. No. If at all possible, I won't read a book like this. It drives me nuts -- and makes me never want to read anything by that author again. Period.

Can you tell I don't like this new romance version of cliffhangers?

So what about you? Do you like cliffhangers? The old TV kind or this new kind found in romances? Do you like romances that end, if not in an HEA, then in an HFN? Or are you a die-hard HEA junkie like me? Inquiring minds want to know! :)

~ Ella

*Photo courtesy of Duncan Hull.