The Wenches Review....

...Rusted Veins, Close To You, & "High Stakes"!

by: Zee the Terrible and Barbara Bones

We have been pretty lucky in our reading this year. Not only have we been getting more of (some of) our fave characters, we've even discovered some new ones! And most of our favorite authors have been kind enough to help us pass time between releases with short stories and/or novellas! Or in one case, help ease the ending of a brilliant series! We thoroughly enjoyed these forays into our favorite worlds, and being reminded of why we absolutely adore both the authors and the books. 

We love authors!

So we picked three of the best ones, and reviewed them just for you! Just in case you needed a reason to pick them up! 

Rusted Veins

I preordered Rusted Veins the minute I got done with Blue Blooded Vamp! As much as I enjoyed the series, I did want to see how Sabina would handle life as it got a bit more stable (or as stable as it could get dealing with all the Dark Races!)

Jaye Wells did not disappoint. From the very first paragraph I was immersed into this world of Sabina's I had come to love. You know it's going to be a good story when it starts a few days before Halloween in New Orleans! I want to keep spoilers to a minimum so you can enjoy the story on your own, but I absolutely adored seeing how Sabina has grown into her role. She has blossomed! 

I was so happy to see things between her and Adam were wonderful, and stable, and just perfect. What I have wanted more than anything for Sabina since the beginning is people to call her own, and she has that. Her little family, who love her and respect her. Who says it always has to be lonely on top! Sabina Kane has found her place at the head of all the Dark Races, and it's amazing! 

It was great seeing Giguhl, Brooks, Zen, Erron, and everyone again. I can't say I like ANYTHING to do with Valva, and the whole G story line since the last book has been almost soap opera-ish to me. But as long as Giguhl is happy, I can live with it. 

This is a MUST read for everyone who enjoyed the Sabina Kane books. Who hasn't wondered how Sabina will act around one of Adam's exes! Come on! 

This Wench rates Rusted Veins:

Close to You: A Downside Ghosts Holiday Story

I hadn't read a Downside novel in well over a year, but Stacia Kane managed to immerse me in her world from the very first page. That is an amazing gift she has, building a world in such detail that the reader feels transported to the dark, dirty streets, or in this case the junkyard, of Downside. Even after many months I could immediately feel the despair and bleakness, the hopelessness and fear that comes with this world.

Beyond the amazing world-building, Stacia Kane also developed a complete, satisfying story in just a few short chapters. For me, that is the mark of a great novella--being able to tell a tale that feels whole, including all of the things I love in a novel, just compressed. I have long believed that Jeaniene Frost is a master at writing complete novellas, and I can now add Stacia Kane to that short list. In Close to You the mystery unfolded in an intriguing way, progressed quickly, was riveting and action-packed, and resolved satisfactorily. And while we were caught up in the mystery of the illegal Christmas celebration, we were treated to Chess continuing to bask in her life-altering love for Terrible.

Something else happened while I was reading Close to You that I didn't expect. I laughed. Out loud. At a Downside story! I love these books to pieces, but it is certainly not because of the humor. However, parts of this story were so absurd that I couldn't help but laugh at the ridiculous visual, even though it was a dark laugh. It is Downside, after all.

Between the release of Wrong Ways Down earlier this year, this novella, and the story that Ms. Kane is currently releasing in pieces on her blog, we have plenty of wonderful Downside to keep us satisfied until the next novel is complete. I'm thoroughly enjoying these novellas, but I'm ready to find out what happens next in Chess's saga.

This Wench rates Close to You:


 "High Stakes" in the Kicking It Anthology

The Wenches who are Chicagoland Vampires fans were all excited when it was announced earlier this year that our wait between books would be a little more bearable due to the release of two novellas featuring a few of our favorite side characters. The first one, a story featuring Cadogan House guards Lindsey and Luc, released earlier this month, and I immediately carved time out to venture back to Chicago. 

It was fascinating getting inside Lindsey's head, especially because her thoughts were not how I expected them to be. Lindsey is Merit's snark partner in Cadogan House, with some of the best lines of the series, so I expected her thoughts to be every bit as sarcastic as Merit's. But Lindsey is quite somber and reserved, reminding us that she has lived a long time and that her vampire gift (emotional empathy) is as draining as it is rewarding. I also didn't expect her to hold people at arm's length as she does, since she welcomed Merit into the House from the very beginning, becoming Merit's first and best House friend. 

The mystery involved in the tale had a great twist, but the novella brought up more questions for me than it answered. Merit and Ethan have occupied so much of my CLV focus that I hadn't given Lindsey and Luc too much thought. Clearly that was my bad, because now I need to know ALL about Lindsey, her past, her turning, how she became a Cadogan vamp, how her relationship with Luc will develop... you get the idea. I need to know everything about Lindsey, and I didn't realize that until this novella. Just proving once again, that the possibilities and stories to be told in the CLV world are nearly endless.

This Wench rates "High Stakes":

Did you enjoy these stories, Saucy readers? Any other short story or novella you think we should read (and review?) Let us know in the comments below!


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