The Guardian Series

If you havnt yet caught on to the trend in my reviews, I have been on a paranormal romance kick lately. The best part of the paranormal trend in my opinion is the tendency towards book series. And you all know how I feel about those!

A series that I have been enjoying recently is Meljean Brook's Guardian Series. I'm not reviewing them, just wanted to point out a few fun things for readers.

The mythology of this series as far as I can describe (because it is convoluted) is as follows. After Lucifer raised his rebel angels against Heaven, in punishment all the rebels were converted to demons and forced to inhabit Hell. The angels who were on the fence were not spared either, they were converted to nosferatu, blood-drinking monsters who had to shun daylight.

The angels who tried to protect humans against the demons and nosferatu, only ended up being worshipped because of their divinity. This aroused Lucifer's jealousy and he rose against the angels in another battle, in which a human helped to defeat Lucifer. After this battle, Guardians were formed, with powers to protect humans from demons and nosferatu, and since the Guardians were once human themselves, they were able to assimilate into human society much easier than the angels.

The first book Demon Angel is about a Guardian Hugh Castleford and the demon Lilith. I intended this book to be a beach read on my vacation last year, boy how wrong I was. If you've tried reading on vacation you know that the book should be light-hearted, frothy, fluffy, something which you can put down at a moment's notice and pick up hours later without any problems - everything which this book is NOT.

I enjoyed the story immensely, but I felt I missed out so much due to being unable to give it my undivided attention that I did something I've never done before. As soon as I finished the last page, I started re-reading. And so many things I had missed earlier suddenly became clear(er). Demon Angel has an intricate mythology setup, interesting dialogue and a very intriguing heroine. Hugh and Lilith have a courtship spanning 500+ years and they make a great couple when they finally came together.

The second book in the series Demon Moon is about the vampire Colin Ames-Beaumont and techie geek Savitri Murray. Savitri has an Indian mother and an Irish (?I forget) father, has been brought up by her nani and is Hugh's adopted sister. First of all, I have to give a huge cheer for an ethnic character in a mainstream series. And, then I have to say how wonderfully Savi's character is written. With ethnic characters, it's all too easy to stick to stereotypes, Savi transcends all those to become her own person ... and she's fabulous.

And Ms. Brooks gets so many details right I loved reading this book - right from Savi's nani who keeps feeding everyone in times of stress, her nani's hangup that Savi is a college drop out and her insistence that she marry soon, some hilarious arranged marriage ads Savi peruses, Savi's date/ interview with a 'suitable' boy and so on. At a certain point, Colin even asks Savi, who is a Hindu, if she is still able to believe after being immersed in Christian mythology for so long. Just for the level of attention and detail, this book came out tops for me. However, you do have to concentrate. I found myself re-reading pages and paragraphs because I lost the thread so often.

And we come to the third book, Demon Night, which is the story of Guardian Ethan McCabe and Charlie Newcomb. When Ethan first comes onto the scene, the outfit he's wearing and his Wild West introduction had me flashing immediately to my favorite Browncoat, Mal Reynolds (if you havent seen Firefly, read about it here). A resemblance to Mal is enough to make me predisposed to like anybody. And then, he opened his mouth and all I heard was Sawyer. See, I've been on Lost Season 5 marathon in preparation for the last season premiering next week (yay!! hey, even the White House was not unaffected) and I love Sawyer's lazy drawl. Ethan's huge around 6'4" or so he often puts on big and slow facade to throw people off, which reminded me of Munnabhai. I am not a fan of Sanjay Dutt, but I cannot deny the charm.

Anyway, with such a potent combination, I was smitten, reader, Smitten!! And Demon Night, is the first book in this series which gave me what I enjoy so much in romance, the emotional connection and involvement in the characters and their stories. I loved Angel and liked Moon, but the 2 couples were far too intellectual. As far as I am concerned, Night has perfect pacing, wonderful story-telling (I never experienced the difficulty in comprehension as with the first two books) and a heart-warming romance. And if you thought it's all about the romance, the mythology makes leaps and bounds in this book too.

I think the other reason I enjoy the series so much is that the women are all so different. Lilith, probably the oldest woman on earth, is the quintessential action heroine, strong, smart, sexy, manipulative, able to do anything to protect the ones she loves. Savi is a geek, very smart with a quick sense of humor and an innate curiosity. While Charlie is more vulnerable, flawed and needy, but with a core strength that has contributed to her becoming a survivor. The men are no slouches either. And the story arc is extremely complex, I cant wait to find out what's next.

If you think you might like paranormals, check this series out. The series order is as below. I'm only reading the full length novels (in italics), I dont much like reading short stories.

# Hot Spell (Novella, Prequel)
# Demon Angel (Book 1)
# Wild Thing (Novella, Book 1.5)
# Demon Moon (Book 2)
# Demon Night (Book 3)
# First Blood (Book 3.5)
# Demon Bound (Book 4)
# Demon Forged (Book 5)
# Must Love Hellhounds (Book 5.5)
# Demon Blood (Book 6)

I must end with an observation that amuses (and irritates) me. It seems any paranormal romance series gets stuck with tacky covers for the first 2 books. Well, actually the only other series I noticed it on was Nalini Singh's Psy-Changeling Series (I will review this soon, I promise). But, it makes me wonder what the publishers are thinking? In fact, I'm tempted to classify Angel and Moon as fantasy, Night being the conventional romance out of the three I've read so far. But, for a reader like me, if I had not become interested by reviews or by the first book, these covers would have guaranteed that I never picked the books up. Do other readers feel differently?

100 in the New Year!!

I knew I picked my nick for a reason. In what must be the slowest century in the history of bloglandia, I've hit my hundredth post after 4 years. Not being one for milestones, I didnt think that I would make a separate post out of it. But, sheer lack of inspiration and a compulsion to post something in January has me logged into the dashboard this evening.

Not much has been happening over the past few days. The sheer commercialism of the trailing months of the year always hits me hard and I have to expend enormous amounts of self-control not to give into the retail glut fest occurring all around me. I have slowly been converting myself to online shopping and that hasnt helped at all, since now instead of a single store I have multitudes available literally under my finger tips.

So far, today, I have convinced myself that I did not need a new flat-iron and have to repeat the mantra several times a day that I DO NOT NEED new boots. Every night, I go to bed thrilled with the amount of money I've saved due to sheer impulse control.

I also apply a trick I read on a fashion blog- basically put the item in your cart but sleep on it. If you are still thinking about it a few days later, then buy it since it's obvious that you are going to love the item. I have been religiously following this philosophy, but there's always a spanner in the works somewhere.

I didnt account for high-end items that suddenly become available at prices too good to be true. Of course they sold out in minutes, forget waiting an entire day for them. The ones that got away were the bag and the pair of shoes alongside and I have been scouring ebay hoping they popup sometime. Someone please tell me how ugly they are and how I should not lose sleep over having them in my closet. Please.

Anyway, my experience is that the retail mania slips away over the next few months so I should be more rational and less sale-finger happy in the next post. Which brings me to the question- do you shop online? If so, do you budget your spending or use tricks like the one above? And if items do get away, what do you do- hunt relentlessly for them or count it as money well saved?

Otherwise, we have been having lovely weather for January, this weekend was a warm and toasty 35F. B celebrated by whipping up these delicious, summery (because we love to live in denial) grapefruit juleps from this exhaustive cocktail book.
I thought it was a fitting way to end a post on the new year. And to thank all of you , my readers, for being so encouraging with reading and commenting on this space. I hope to be more regular this year (see how carefully I didnt word it as a resolution). Cheers to you all!

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