books

Nicole Peeler

Books

Jane True: Tempest Rising (2009), Tracking the Tempest (2010), Tempest’s Legacy (2011), Eye of the Tempest (2011), Tempest’s Fury (2012), Tempest Reborn (2013)

Something Wikkid This Way Comes (2012)

Jinn and Juice (2014)

 

 

Jane True

 

Tempest Rising (2009)

Where to start with this book?

First, the cover, which is what drew my attention. It’s got a manga Halloween feel to it, with snakes and tombstones and seals and a naked girl/woman with giant eyes. That’s not something you see every day. Excellent job there.

Next, the story. Jane True lives in a small New England tourist town. She’s all but a social pariah in town, for an incident that happened years before. An incident for which neither the town nor Jane herself have forgiven her.

Plus: there are supernatural creatures.

Plus: boinking.

The whole thing is absolutely fabulous.

The story is unlike anything I’ve come across recently, and I very much appreciated that. Jane is witty and sassy and very unsure of herself. Of course, the fact that most of the town won’t speak to her gives her reason to feel unsure.

And then the supernatural creatures. Although the cover has a Halloween vibe, the creatures seem to come from folklore rather than Bram Stoker, which I quite enjoyed. There’s such a wealth of folklore out there, it’s nice to see some of it appearing.

And the dialog. The dialog–both internal and external–is snappy and clever. And feels realistic. As do the actions of the characters. Yes, there is boinking, but the boinking is done very differently from any other supernatural fantasy I’ve read. Most unusual thing? Condoms. That’s right. Condoms for supernatural creatures. Go Jane True!

And the writing in general is just fabulous. The characters felt like real people doing real (if stupid) things and making read (if stupid) decisions. Here. Check this out.

…I wiped my nose on his shirt. I was snotty from crying and he was already filthy. It wasn’t idea but he was holding me so tight I couldn’t move my arms.

“Did you just wipe your nose on me?” he asked, finally. His voice was tight with various emotions, but “oh no you didn’t” had clawed it’s way to the top of the list.

“Maybe,” I mumbled, peering up at him.

That is a fabulous passage, and made it feel like I was reading about a real person who did real–if foolish–things.

If you’re looking for something new to read, I can’t recommend Tempest Rising highly enough.
Rating: 9/10

Published by Orbit

Tracking the Tempest (2010)

First off, there is a lot of boinking in this book. I’d forgotten about that in the time that had passed between this book and the first.

Once I remembered that and was able to move myself into that frame of mind, I thoroughly enjoyed Tracking the Tempest.

In the previous book, Jane True discovered her “supernatural” heritage–she’s half selkie, and although she cannot transform into a seal, she does have a strong affinity for water, and draws her power from rivers and oceans. Unfortunately for her, as events in the book progress, she is still very new to her power, and has only been taking her training half-seriously, so when trouble arrives, she is far more dependent upon others than she would like.

That was one of the things I especially liked–Jane is dependent, but she has reason to be (she has only just discovered her powers, and cannot control them well) and she doesn’t particularly like being dependent. This is more clear in her complains about Ryu spending money on her, but it eventually becomes her realizing that she needs to learn to learn how to use and control her powers better.

Jane’s conflicted feeling about Conleth were also, I thought, very well done. She wants to understand why he is the way he is, and she really wants to help him, but he is a mess, and she isn’t sure just what she can do. Of course, in creating such a complex and multi-faceted “bad guy” the other baddies in the story ended up being flatter and less interesting. But you can’t win ‘em all.

The last thing I particularly liked was Jane’s attitude about Ryu, and how it changes and evolves over the course of the story. The fact that Jane and her friends often refer to paranormal romance books at their attitudes and actions did feel a bit meta at times, but it also served to set Jane apart a bit from the heroine in your usual paranormal romance.

If you think this might be up your alley, I’d recommend reading the first book, Tempest Rising first, not because of the story development, but because of the character development.
Rating: 7.5/10 (I quite liked it, but there really was too much boinking.)

Published by Orbit

Tempest’s Legacy (2011)

First and foremost, this is a boinking book. There is less boinking than in the last book, and the boinking actually wasn’t superfluous but was instead important to the course of the story, but still. Boinking. So be aware.

Jane True is back in Rockabill, trying to recover from the events in Boston, as well as the separation from Ryu, her loving but possessive and demanding lover. Unfortunately, events quickly turn ugly, and Jane’s life is once again turned upside down, as they search for evidence to tie Jarl to a series of horrific laboratories where terrible experiments are performed on halfling (and some purebred) women.

I really like Jane True. I like her outlook on life, her honesty with herself, hell, I even like her discussions with her libido. But most of all I like that although she makes mistakes–and stupid ones at that–she is NOT too stupid to live, and sees her job as to extricate herself from problems and to help others rather than seeing herself as needing saved.

I also like the fact that Jane continues to address the events of the previous book, when Bad Things happened. She doesn’t obsess, and she doesn’t feel sorry for herself, but she does recognize that deal with Bad Things is not instantaneous, and requires work on her part. I think that is one of few–if not first–times we see an honest look at the fact that when bad things happen to someone, those events don’t just disappear from the psyche.

Although you could start the story here, I’d recommend beginning at book one and moving forward.

Oh, and I love these covers.
Rating: 8.5/10

Published by Orbit

Eye of the Tempest (2011)

There are so many things about this book I should hate–boinking and cliffhangers being the top two–yet I love Jane True and this series.

The story takes off where the previous book ended. Jane and Anyan are newly returned to Rockbill after the dire events of the previous book. And they are an item, mostly, but there is a whole lot left unsaid and undone.

And then bad things happen.

But meanwhile, even the boinkish bits crack me up.

Like a flash I was out of the bathroom, all traces of sadness eradicated by my excitement. I peered around one last time to make sure I was alone, and then I dated toward what I knew was waiting for me Every time I’d been here, it had taken pretty much every ounce of self-control I had not to go and hump the stove dominating Anyan’s kitchen. I don’t normally hump kitchen appliances, but this was no ordinary mod-con.

That just cracks me up, it is so absolutely silly.

And the silly is what I like so much about this book and series.

Jane is who she is, and has made it quite clear she isn’t going to change herself for anyone. She enjoys being herself, and that is so absolutely refreshing and wonderful, I even enjoy her over-the-top libido bits.

And even the cliff-hangerish ending didn’t bother me, because, well, lets just say it was all but a perfect ending. Plus, no one is in danger, we just know (which we knew already) a big bad is coming.

And then there is Jane’s love of her curves and food:

Just because I wish to ravage, doesn’t mean you get to eat off my plate, I thought, staring down at his shocked expression. Not unless you like me with ribs.

My libido whimpered at that thought, Maybe he does like ribs? it questioned, alarmed.

I looked between my half-eaten burger and the barghest.

Fuck that, I decided, picking up my burger and greedily dipping it in ketchup.

Yeah, I love Jane True.

Oh, and I also LOVE the covers for this series. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! to Orbit for not giving these books the stereotypical paranormal covers. (You know, the ones that you’re embarrassed to be seen reading in public.) These covers are AWESOME and PERFECT for this series!
Rating: 8.5/10

Published by Orbit

Tempest’s Fury (2012)

Fury.

Yes, that’s what I was feeling when I finished the book to a GIANT CLIFFHANGER.

That was NOT cool.

Especially since I’d really been enjoying the book up to that point.

But now?

Fury.

OK, on her website she says this is the penultimate book of the Jane True series. There is only one more book and then she’s done writing about Jane. I think if I’d known that going in, I’d be less pissed off, and I’d probably have held off reading until the last book is published.
Rating: 7/10

Published by Orbit

Tempest Reborn (2013)

Alas, all good things come to an end: this is the final book of the Jane True series.

I’m honestly delighted with the whole thing. I hate series that go on too long, or series where every book is a cliffhanger that is little more than a teaser for the next book.

Yes, the penultimate book did end with a huge cliffhanger–Anyan, Jane’s love, is trapped in the body of the White, and evil dragon, bent on the destruction of, well, everything. But it was also the next to the last book of the series, so I forgave the book for that, because sometimes a story IS big, and has to be broken into several books.

Jane is bound and determined to get Anyan back at all costs, but the price to be paid might be a steep one.

But, despite all that heavy, this is still a Jane True story, so there is plenty to laugh/giggle about.

Sometimes it was good to be traveling with someone who worked for the Man, at least when he or she also had access to the Man’s expense account.

Gus’s rapport with rocks totally skeeved me out. It was liked finding out that all the toys you played with as a child were really alive. And judging.

In case you can’t tell, I love Jane’s voice in this series.

The books is really two parts. The first part is trying to rescue Anyan. The second part is trying to destroy the Red. I really appreciated that, since I was able to put the book down after Anyan’s rescue, and thus wasn’t up half the night trying to finish the book. (Hey, sleep is important when you get older!)

Oh, I forgot my regular disclaimer: this is a boinking book. Chock full of boinking. But chances are you aren’t picking up the book at this point, and are already well aware of all the boinking.

And this is NOT where you want to pick up in the series. This is the last book, and we’ve watched Jane grow from timid (but snarky) into a confident young woman who recognizes her weakness AND strengths.

And keeps her snark.

So I pulled out my Shotgun of Annoyance, firing with both barrels. “I can say his name if I want to, and you can’t stop me,” I chanted. “Jarl Jarl Jarl Jarl…”

One important point. This is a romance, so you know there’s going to be a HEA (Happily Ever After). That does take a bit of the suspense of out if, since, if people are dead or taken over by evil, it’s hard to have a HEA.

That’s not a bad thing, it’s just something to be aware of if, like me, HEAs aren’t your primary thing when searching out a story.

But really, that’s a small thing, and this is a really good series, and I’m sad to see it end, because I have enjoyed my time with Jane.
Rating: 8.5/10

Published by Orbit

Something Wikkid This Way Comes (2012)

This is a novella set in the same world as her Jane True series, but with a different group of characters, and set in Illinois.

Capitola, Moo, and Shar are the halfling detectives. Normally, they only take supernatural cases, but when Capitola’s father shows up at their office with a priest and missing Catholic school girls, they can’t say no, so in shorter order they’re embedded undercover at the school.

One of the things I really really liked was that Cappie and Moo did not go undercover as high school girls. Only Shar, the halfling succubus was pretending to be a teenager, and that’s not an unreasonable stretch (Must be young and desirable to survive. I’d say pretending to be a teenager was par for the course, there.) And the positions that Moo and Cappie took were logical and reasonable and pretty good ideas, actually.

Like the Jane True series, there is boinking and nudity and stuff like that. Which is not my thing, but I do like her world building, and I very much liked the three characters in this story.

The only negatives were that I found some of the parts of the story towards the end a little confusing, specifically the parts relating to world/character building/traits and why certain details were missed earlier.

Not bad for three bucks, and I wouldn’t mind other stories with these characters.
Rating: 7/10

 

 

Jinn and Juice (2014)

Jinn-and-JuiceI absolutely adored the Jane True series, and so I eagerly ordered this book.

Then I got it, started it, and then put it right back down. It just didn’t grab me the way the Jane True series did.

But recently I decided that I was going to give it another try and just finish it–after, it’s set in Pittsburgh, so that’ was fun?

If there weren’t trolls, all of Pennsylvania would probably be drowning in whitetails.

For many, the fountain’s refurbishment symbolized how Pittsburgh itself was rising, Phoenix-like, from its own ashes.

That metaphor would have been avoided, however, if normal humans knew that Phoenixes are complete assholes.

Despite all that, it was terribly disappointing.

I had such high hopes, and I just didn’t care for the story, didn’t like where the plot went, saw where the story was going, and then was irritated when things ended unresolved for an obvious sequel.

A sequel that appears not to have been published even though it’s been more than a year since this came out.

Frustratingly, I liked Lyla and her friends.

I loved that they name-checked Beats Antique.

I loved the dialog.

I just didn’t like the story.
Rating: 5/10

Published by Orbit

 

 

Nicole Peeler's website