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If I had any thought that my five star rating of Storm in a Teacup was just a fluke, the second book put that theory to rest really quickly. Sometimes a follow up book disappoints, but this one didn’t for one second-with one minor exception. More about that later. Just a heads up, there will be spoilers from the first book in this review.
Ayala Storme is a mediator in a world where demons have overrun whole parts of the world-literally. In this world, Alabama and Mississippi are just cesspools of demons and unfit for humans to live there. Ayala lives in Nashville, and works for the Summit, an agency that is tasked with ridding the world of demons. The Opry has already fallen victim to the demons, and it’s up to Ayala and others like her to make sure nothing else does. There’s a new sort of demon in the world now, and they are known as Shades. Shades are born of demons and human hosts-and born fully grown- so you know what happens to the hosts, and it’s not pretty. Ayala is part of a project to integrate the Shades into human life-not an easy feat since they are born ready to kill anything in their path. Gregor-her mentor- has signed off on the project and has helped implement it. To make things more interesting, Gregor has made her let one of them, Carrick, live in her home. Life gets even more complicated when a group of mediators decide they want the Shades to all die, and also want Alamea, the director of the Summit, to be assassinated.
If you love strong, kick ass heroines, Ayala is your girl. She is determined, smart, fit, and lives to kill demons. As in literally lives-people like her have been taken at birth and trained for the job. Mediators are born with violet eyes so they can never be anything else, nor can they leave a specific area surrounding where they are born. It’s all part of the fascinating world building of this series. Alamea (the director of the Summit), has a much bigger part this time around. She is supposed to be the strongest of all the mediators, but as in any large organization, there is always people wanting to usurp her power. She’s pretty unflappable, intelligent and can kick butt with four inch heels on-and never break a sweat. Ayala’s friend and fellow mediator, Mira is smack in the middle of everything with Ayala this time as well. Lots of strong women are featured, always a good thing. Of course there is still the enigmatic Gregor, and also Carrick who is a mystery to Ayala even though they live together. Lots more side characters only add more to this story-some good, some bad.
Describe this book in one word? ACTION. And plenty of it. This is definitely an urban fantasy and this time around romance takes a big leap to the back burner and pretty much stays there. And that’s the one exception that disappointed. A certain love interest was such a big part of the first book that I really missed him in this book. Hopefully he will be back in the next installment.
I think this is my favorite new series, and that’s taking nothing away from my old favorites. It was less than a day’s read for me because I pretty much read non-stop. Great main character, fascinating world building, action, thriller aspects, and a mystery, just added up to a five star read for me. Top that off with great secondary characters, snark and wonderful writing, and if I could give it more stars I would. Highly recommended to all adult urban fantasy readers!
And one more thing, if you don’t come away wanting to adopt a bunny, I would be very surprised!(RabidReads.com)
Ayala Storme is one of the most fun protagonists I've yet to read. She's a kickass demon slayer, strongly pragmatic, pessimistic, dry humored, and usually a loner but she has a strong moral compass and is exceedingly easy to like. Plus, her snarks are out matched.
This is the second book in the series. I wouldn't exactly call this a standalone but one could probably get by without reading the first book. Who'd want to, though? The first book gives us an introduction to the demon world and mediators who keep them at bay. The good vs evil line is blurred when a new type of demon enters the world that, like humans, has free will and can go either way of doing good vs bad.
In this second book, those demons are still a controversy but Ayala still has their back and brought other mediators over to her way of thinking. A large set of those demons are, uh, human like things Ayala now considers friends. The trouble is, a rogue set of these demons is going around killing innocents and that isn't helping their image one bit. It also doesn't help that the mediator leadership is coming apart at the seams over them, either. It's a mess. And how.
The author does a great job of writing action and intrigue in addition to humor. We also get a lot more characters to root for or openly hate. The plot line is strong and the story definitely ends with a hook for the third book but also wraps itself up in a satisfying way.
In terms of romance or love interests well, this book doesn't have it. In the first book there's a non-explicit m/f thing for Ayala but I'm hoping she ends up falling for my other favorite female character in the series but we're not there yet.
I also really dug the heartfelt message the author gave her readers after the books' end.
I think I actually liked "Any Port in a Storm" even more than the first book and am excited to continue the series. If you want a strong female lead smack dab in the middle of an interesting plot, a ton of action, and dry humor pick this up.
This is the sequel to Storm in a Teacup, one of my new favourite urban fantasy series. It’s fun, past-paced and clever, and Emmie Mears’s voice again doesn’t disappoint. The main character, Ayala, could sass for her country!
Sadly for her, she’s instead stuck killing demons, and trying to avoid getting sucked into the sort of intrigue that inevitably pops up when you have a large group of people working together — even if those people are Mediators, people destined from birth to be unpaid monster-hunters. And political intrigue isn’t the only thing she could be sucked into: the demon-infested swamp that is encroaching on Nashville (where the books are set) and the maws of the demons themselves are also ongoing concerns.
Any Port in a Storm doesn’t stand alone, so if you haven’t read the first book, you’ll be very lost with this one. (Go read the first book. We’ll wait.) It continues some of the plot threads from the first book, introduces some new ones, and continues the meta-plot that is the looming threat of the demons’ overall plan – whatever that turns out to be. There is a conclusion of a sort, but as with the first book some threads are left untied to continue in the next one. (Think of it like a season of Buffy: the monster of the week is more or less dealt with, but the season’s Big Bad soldiers on.)
Any Port in a Storm contains some swearing, but there’s no sex or even kissing. The relationships revolve around friendships and family, which I found a refreshing change; urban fantasy, unlike paranormal romance, isn’t all about the love interest. And although I didn’t mind Mason in the first book, I didn’t ship him and Ayala, so him being gone didn’t bother me so much.
I enjoyed this book enough that I one-clicked the third book in the series, and can’t wait to get my teeth stuck into it.
When you read anything by Emmie Mears, it’s a given that you’ll get a fun, exciting story with a tightly knit plot and action scenes that make you grip your e-reader so hard the screen threatens to crack (the midpoint in APIAS is just, wow--one of the best ass-kicking action scenes I’ve ever read). APIAS delivers on all those counts, and then some.
One of the other wonderful thing about Mears is that no matter what I think I’ve got pegged in the story (“mwahaha I’m so smart,” I always think) she always surprises me in the end--and usually more than once. APIAS is no different, with twists and surprises that make complete sense once they’re revealed, and yet I never saw them coming.
APIAS also has an impressively large cast, and I found the variety of female relationships in the book to be incredibly refreshing. From friends and family to coworkers and bosses, APIAS really highlights how infrequently we get to see these relationships play out in novels and on screen. It shouldn’t be revolutionary, but it is, and it adds so much depth to the story.
And of course, Ayala is a wonderful character. She might be crushing demons around every corner, but at the heart of it she’s someone I can relate to, who deals with loneliness and isolation, wonders who to trust, and feels vulnerable a lot more than she’d like to admit.
I find it difficult to review books I love this much, but this series is an absolute favorite.
Ms. Mears can write well. The Ayala Storme series is a creative concept with a tough as nails heroine that also shows vulnerability and depth. The world building in these stories is well done. The story arc moves along at a fast pace and there is never an easy chapter to stop reading on. Mears gives you a good tease or event at the end of every chapter that makes me want to keep going. The only criticism I have of the series is the explanation of how this parallel world exists. If an urban fantasy author is going to set their story in the United States, yet it's an alternate world where demons and other supernaturals roam, known about by the general public, how did the U.S. get to this point? I need to know. During the first book I assumed this was set in the future, that something had occurred to shift the lines between the supernatural and mortal world but at some point in this second installment, a reference is made to demon forces, witches, etc. working in the old west as well. It bothers me that I can't place how everything got to this point in time. I wish the author would elaborate just a bit on sexual situations not just reference over them, but overall, I really enjoy these books.
Ayala Storme is just a regular, working girl, trying to juggle her PR job with a busy social life of keeping the world safe from demonic hordes. While many sequels devolve into non-stop action, Mears does a great job of adding even more depth to Ayala and the people around her - in both of her lives. I especially love the undercurrent of a world where people don't want to know what's going on and shun the Mediators because they can't (or don't want to) openly accept that reality. That denial felt very real to me, and as the horror of what happened in other parts of the country is revealed in book 2 (I'll try to keep it spolier-free), I felt myself becoming a part of that denial.
While The Ayala Storme series is full of action and would appeal to the causal fantasy-action fan, it's the depth of the world-building that really drew me into both books. Mears strikes a great balance between a fast-paced story and developed characters that continue to evolve.
I am so glad that I stumbled upon this series and gave it a try. This book was just as great as the first but you definitely need to read "Storm in a Teacup" first. The Summit (and Nashville) is in a state of pending upheaval and Ayala is caught in the middle trying to save both. As with the first book, this one is more gruesome than I think is necessary (though probably a touch less than before), but don't let that stop you from reading this series. This world and the characters are very engrossing and there is a sociological, psychological and moral depth you don't see in many books of this type. I look forward to the next one in the series.
This was rather original in the Demon/Hunter genre and while it got a bit plot tangled in places was a good read. The whole series moved along, presented good dynamics for the storyline and you found you were worried how it would all work out. I felt some of the development between the characters was less than satisfying though perhaps more realistic, overall it kept me wanting to see what happens as they say.
Another great read by author Emmie Mears, this book kept me on the edge of my seat with its non-stop action and compelling characters and plot. The second book in this excellent urban fantasy series follows demon-slayer Ayala Storme and her complicated relationship with the shades. Loyalties are questioned and dramatic revelations ensue. Highly recommended for anyone who loves an action-packed adventure and urban fantasy. Looking forward to reading the next book in the series!
I picked up this book because I needed something to read and purchased the first one. I had to refresh myself with book 1 before I could start this one. What I enjoyed was the books blend of action and story. The hardship of a mediators life and the sacrifices they make the story that much better. The ending was satisfying and left me wanting more.