Must-read paranormals: ‘A Wicked Thing,’ ‘Dark Debt,’ ‘Dead Heat’

A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas.

A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas.

What it’s about (courtesy of HarperTeen):.

One hundred years after falling asleep, Princess Aurora wakes up to the kiss of a handsome prince and a broken kingdom that has been dreaming of her return. All the books say that she should be living happily ever after. But as Aurora understands all too well, the truth is nothing like the fairy tale.

Her family is long dead. Her “true love” is a kind stranger. And her whole life has been planned out by political foes while she slept.

As Aurora struggles to make sense of her new world, she begins to fear that the curse has left its mark on her, a fiery and dangerous thing that might be as wicked as the witch who once ensnared her. With her wedding day drawing near, Aurora must make the ultimate decision on how to save her kingdom: marry the prince or run.

Why you should read it: This book is fantastic. To keep with the fairy-tale theme I seem to be on lately, A Wicked Thing follows Sleeping Beauty, after Aurora is kissed awake. I love seeing the day after the kiss. I love that Aurora wakes terrified and is thrust into a world of dark politics. And I love that people constantly underestimate her. Readers will cringe when they hear that every year a prince turned 18, they would walk up the tower and kiss her to try to wake her. How many strangers was that? Ew. I did feel Aurora was just on the tip of becoming great. But I wanted her to be more, and I have to agree with the Dragon Prince and the witch: She needed to become strong, she needed to find herself and really show everyone what’s inside. I want to read the next book to find out what’s in store for Aurora and even who her real true love will be. This is perfect for readers who want to know what goes on beyond true love’s kiss.

What Rhiannon Thomas has to say ….

I love the idea behind A Wicked Thing! How did you come up with it?

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Rhiannon: Thank you! I’ve always been intrigued by what might happen after the “happily ever after,” and rather mystified by “fated” love stories where the characters involved don’t seem to get much say in the matter. And Sleeping Beauty is just the perfect setup to explore those things. How would she actually feel about being kissed by a stranger while she slept? Would she just accept that this prince was her true love? What would happen if she wasn’t so sure about him or her place in the world she awoke in? I had to find out what might happen, if the fairy tale tropes were stripped away.

What are you currently working on?

Rhiannon: I just finished working on the sequel to A Wicked Thing. Now I’m starting a new fantasy called Long May She Reign, about a shy scientist girl who’s 23rd in line to the throne but suddenly becomes queen when the whole court is assassinated.

Favorite line/snippet from A Wicked Thing?

Rhiannon: That’s tough! Here’s part of one of my favorite moments, when Aurora is thinking about why she pricked her finger on the spinning wheel:.

I had spent my whole life running from this. And I thought… What would it be like? The wheel spun so smoothly, and the needle glinted, and… I wanted to know. I was tired of being afraid.

Dark Debt by Chloe Neill.

What it’s about (courtesy of NAL):.

A vampire never gets old. But neither do his enemies. When a figure from Ethan’s dark past makes a splashy debut in Chicago, Merit and her Master don’t know whether he’s friend or foe. But they’ll have to figure out soon, because trouble is brewing in the Windy City.

At an exclusive society soiree attended by the upper echelons of the human and supernatural worlds, Merit and Ethan barely stop the assassination of a guest. When the target turns out to be a shady businessman with a criminal edge, Merit suspects a human vendetta. But the assassins have fangs….

The connections to Chicago’s Houses go deeper than Merit knows, and even one wrong move could be her last…

Why you should read it: The Chicagoland Vampires have always had a special place in my heart, and I’ve loved rediscovering them on audio! As with previous books readers are treated to a tight-knit family that always has each other’s backs and hearts. Merit is in the middle of helping Ethan and, helping Mallory and Catcher, as well as trying to fix her relationship with Jonah. I love how much Merit has grown. Seriously, just think about Some Girls Bite and her relationship with Ethan. Both the relationship and Merit have just gotten stronger and more assured. I love the action in this series. I adore all the secondary characters who really add depth to the plot and, more important, I am a major Ethan fan. If you haven’t read this series, start with Some Girls Bite. It has a cookie-cutter cover, but the story is anything but. If you’re in the mood for butt-kicking heroines, swords and a whole lot of steam, discover the Chicagoland Vamps!

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What Chloe Neill has to say ….

How did it feel writing the 11th Chicagoland Vampires book?

Chloe: Really fantastic that folks have allowed me to write so many of these books, but a little sad that we’ve only got two left!

What are you currently working on?

Chloe: I’m currently editing The Veil, the first book in my new Devil’s Isle series, which will be released in August. It’s the story of an alternate New Orleans after a paranormal war has devastated the South, and a very strong heroine named Claire Connolly who’s coming to terms with her magic.

Favorite line/snippet from Dark Debt?

Chloe:.

Ethan pulled a small dagger from his jacket with his free hand, held it in front of Balthasar’s face. “They are my people, every one of them, blood and bone, mind and soul. I will warn you once, and only once, to stay away from them. I am not the child you once knew.”.

Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs.

What it’s about (courtesy of Ace):.

For once, mated werewolves Charles and Anna are not traveling because of Charles’s role as his father’s enforcer. This time, their trip to Arizona is purely personal, as Charles plans to buy Anna a horse for her birthday. Or at least it starts out that way…

Charles and Anna soon discover that a dangerous Fae being is on the loose, replacing human children with simulacrums. The Fae’s cold war with humanity is about to heat up–and Charles and Anna are in the crossfire.

Why you should read it: So I have to admit, as much as I adore Mercy Thompson, Anna and Charles are my favorites. Both characters have evolved so much since we first met them that I often re-read the books just to fall in love with both again. Anna is such a great heroine. She’s strong as an omega and has a humorous dark side that readers will love slowly discovering. She and Charles have this opposite relationship that somehow weaves perfectly together. Of course, there’s enough action to keep me on the edge of my seat and enough humor to give readers a break. I can’t decide which installment is my favorite. All showcase a side of the couple that is new and just reminds me why I love them so much. I just downloaded On the Prowl in audio, and the narrator, Holter Graham, does a great Anna and Charles. I really feel the difference in tone and depth when he switches between the two.

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What Patricia Briggs has to say ….

I love the oppositeness of Anna and Charles. How fun is it writing them?

Patricia: Very fun — and exacting. Anna is so young, and Charles so powerful — that finding a place in the middle for a balance was initially a challenge. But Anna’s experiences have given her a … Centeredness that can stand up to Charles. It is also useful that unlike virtually every other werewolf on the planet, Anna doesn’t have the instinctive directive to obey a more dominant wolf. Most importantly, I think, is that Charles wants a relationship with an equal, and not just a damsel to rescue.

What are you currently working on?

Patricia: I’m working on the next Mercy book, Fire Touched. This book is (mostly) about the next step in the standoff between the fae and the humans. Mercy and Adam acquire something that the fae want very much, the only question is if the fae are willing to declare war on the werewolves to get it.

Favorite line/snippet from Dead Heat?

Patricia: Charles:.

“I don’t say good-bye very easily, Anna. Not gracefully or prettily. Good-bye tears your heart out and leaves it a feast for carrion birds who happen by.”.

Jessie Potts, also known as Book Taster, adores books in all forms. She also does reviews for RT Book Reviews magazine and works in the submissions departments at Dreamspinner Press and Entangled YA. You can follow her on Twitter (@BookTaster).

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