Title: The Stubborn Dead
Author: Natasha Hoar
Pub Date: January 23, 2012
Publisher: Carnia Press
Series: Lost Souls #1
Rachel Miller thought her next job was a run-of-the-mill haunting. As a member of the Order of Rescue Mediums it’s her duty to release trapped spirits from the earthly realm. But when called to client Sylvia Elkeles’s house, she finds a wraith who doesn’t act like he should.
The Order considers the wraith an extreme threat and Rachel may be forced to use a barbaric ritual to free him—a ritual that comes with a heavy personal price. If she fails to humanely release the wraith, she’ll have her supernatural abilities bound.
When Janus Ostara—local supernatural mob boss—shows up demanding her attention, and Sylvia keeps secrets that may place Rachel in mortal danger, she doesn’t need her abilities to know something darkly sinister is at play.
Between uncovering Sylvia’s disturbing motives, and avoiding Janus, Rachel has enough on her hands without dealing with a wraith who may not realize he’s supposed to be dead… [Goodreads]
I found out about The Stubborn Dead when Kimba sent it as a recommendation on Goodreads. It’s a novella, roughly 70 pages long, so it’s a very quick read. You know that saying “good things come in small packages.” Yeah, that definitely applies to this book.
Rachel is a rescue medium for The Order, which means she helps ghosts and such move on whether they want to or not. Believe me, they aren’t always willing. Rachel is a tough cookie, though, so she can take a little roughing up by a spirit. However, she meets her match in The Stubborn Dead when a supernatural being that is supposed to be extinct is thrust into her life. Things are much bigger than Rachel realizes, because it’s not just the dead she needs worry about.
I think the introductions to the other characters that are obviously going to play a big part in future books was done very well. Janus, the fae mafia boss caught my attention. He’s going to be a fun one, and I already like the chemistry he has with Rachel. I’m also looking forward to more of Jo, a human with a lot of connections and a lot of weapons. And then there is the mysterious Mr. Grey and Luke; I’m dying to find out more about them.
The Stubborn Dead really was a great little read, but there is one thing that sort of bothers me: I so badly wish Rachel had a different name. I keep thinking of Rachel Morgan, from Kim Harrison’s series, especially since it seems to be somewhat similar in the world building. I guess I’ll just have to make room for two Rachel’s, because I love them both.
Overall, this is a must read for anyone who likes urban fantasy. I mean, really, what do you have to lose? It’s a novella, so it won’t take long to read. Just do it!
Title: The Ravenous Dead
Author: Natasha Hoar
Pub Date: July 16, 2012
Publisher: Carnia Press
Series: Lost Souls #2
Source: Publisher for review
This time the dead are hungry…
Rachel Miller doesn’t just see dead people, she rescues them. As a member of The Order of Rescue Mediums, she spends most of her time helping stubborn spirits move on from the world. But after she learns the details of three brutal murders, she knows the culprit can only be a reaper, an undead monster that relentlessly stalks its victims to feed on their souls.
A reaper once consumed the soul of Rachel’s mentor as she watched frozen in fear. Now, Rachel is in the role of teacher to Kit Elkeles, a rodach just learning to control his wraithlike powers. After Kit and Rachel rescue a half-vampire, they work to protect him while searching for a way to stop the reaper. But when Rachel realizes who the monster is really after—and just what kind of dark magic she’ll need to stop it—will she be able to do what is necessary before it devours one of her friends…or even herself? [Goodreads]
This book picks up a few weeks after The Stubborn Dead ended. Rachel has taken on a roommate, Kit, who needs help adjusting to his new found supernatural powers. I really like the dynamic between these two, especially because it’s not romantic. They are protective of each other, and Rachel feels a need to mentor him because of her past, which we learn more of.
In The Ravenous Dead, Rachel has to deal with a reaper who is leaving bodies around town. I thought this take on reapers was interesting and different than what I’ve ever heard. I also thought it was cool learning what Josh, Rachel’s step-brother is. I’ll just say that his job as a pathologist comes in really handy.
We get a little more of the mysterious Luke is this book, and this definitely won’t be the last time. I love how the author writes these books almost like a television series. There is the story that is the main part of each book, but there is a bigger ongoing storyline too.
Overall, I really liked it! It was a great second book, and I am itching to read the third. I know it won’t be out for awhile, but these novellas are so good and quick that I’ll probably read them all over again before the next one is released. Seriously, you must read these!
FYI - Carnia Press isn’t just romance anymore – they’ve expanded. These two books are Urban Fantasy. There is no sexy time in either one… not even a kiss. There might be in future books in this series, but not in these two.