Isis Erb

Where to find Isis Erb online

Twitter: isisunit

Books

This member has not published any books.

Smashwords book reviews by Isis Erb

  • Dead Radiance on Sep. 13, 2012

    What a great ride! This has the makings of a wonderful series. Well written, a sympathetic lead character that is a young woman thrust into a world she only ever read about, and even then it was a world of fantasy. But apparently it isn't fantasy, it is real - too real at times as she tries to keep pace with the barrage of changes she must successfully navigate to stay alive. Bryn is something of a loner and a wallflower, or so she thinks. But circumstances beyond her control teach her that she's a whole lot stronger than she ever imagined. And her strength isn't solely physical, which is a darned good thing, as she will have to use her other powers to ensure her survival as well as the survival of her family - past and present. The characters here still need more fleshing out, but that seems to be progressing with the story. And this story is a wonderful mix of fact and fiction unlike any other I've yet to come across (and my list of books on Goodreads represents probably one-thirtieth or less of all the books I've been lucky enough to read). So it is with great enjoyment that I read this fantastical creation of Ms. Ayer's. I'm grateful to have the next book in the series next up in my que, and sad to know that i'll have to wait until sometime near March of 2013 for the next, and quite possibly final, installment. This book is full of fun, fear, adventure, the whole emotional gamut - and next to impossible to put down!
  • Dead Embers on Sep. 13, 2012

    Wow! What a sequel - and the cliffhanger ending kinda makes me want to scream be ause I know I'll have to wait half a year or longer to find out how the story resolves itself. The first book in this series is good, but it is crystal clear that Ms. Ayer's skill has increased with the publication of this second book in the series. The writing is better, the characters have more depth, and the plot twists and turns at unexpected times, taking the reader along for a great ride. The main character in this story, Bryn, is so likable that it is almost impossible to imagine anyone not sympathizing with, and rooting for, her to succeed. She has a little of everything - innocence, humility, arrogance, passion, desire, boldness, apathy, willpower, and above all, heart. This second installment was I possible to put down, and good enough that I made it through the book in a little under an hour. Which is disappointing only because I wanted it to last longer - but couldn't refrain from going from cover to cover in a single sitting. Stronger than the first installment, this book makes one wonder what joys & agonies are in store for us with book three? And wonder how to hold out for the next book to be released? Ahhh, the blissful agony of suspense. . .
  • Mermaid in Vegas on Oct. 19, 2012

    Interesting short work. The premise is explained by the title, literally - there is a mermaid in Las Vegas. What it doesn't tell you is that this mermaid is real, or that she has a different "name" for what she is. That comes out later on. This is part gum-shoe detective mystery and part fantastical journey to the world of circus freaks. Oh wait, the world of circus freaks is just your typical day/night in Vegas. Or is it? The story is narrated by Tommy, who happens to be a casino 'dick' - a guy who is so average looking you could have a long conversation with him one night and walk right past him an hour later and not even see him, let alone recognize him. Tommy works for the Mob, since they own Vegas, or did during the hey-day of the Rat Pack. He is low level, just catching those who try to cheat the casinos out of money, but he has a pretty good read on his boss. Tommy is almost too savvy about women to sound like a real man from that era of Vegas. Which is one of a few notes that feel just a bit off in this story for me. All of the women in this story are out of tune with the times. While they read well now, they throw a wrench into the realism the author is trying to build. But then again, more often than not, the "dames" in your dime store detective pieces are a whole lot tougher than they look. The dialogue could use a bit of work, feeling rather stilted in spots. The story begins in fits and starts - to get to the meat of the story the narrator zigs and zags a few times, so that the reader doesn't really know where they are heading. But once the story reaches a certain point it really starts moving and continues at a nice solid pace. If the book had been longer I think it would have been a trial, but as it reads now the length is about just right. Once you get past the jittery beginning the story becomes pretty entertaining.
  • Daimones on Feb. 19, 2013

    I was lucky enough to receive this as an ARC, and found it to be an enjoyable read. The story begins with absolutely zero indication of what is to come. And what is to come is a story of vast dimensions. This book is challenging to review without including spoilers, which I try to avoid whenever possible. Interestingly, the longer I think about the story the more details I discover to have been hidden in plain sight. I was so focused on the 'here and now' of the story that I did not initially 'see' the not so hidden overarching parallels, even when directly mentioned. For a large portion of the story things are mostly believable - yet there are parts that seem to progress much faster than one would expect in real life. Things like that threw the balance off a bit for me, though some do get explained later in the story. Characters are well written, and it reads like a pretty fair representation of our world anytime from the mid-nineties on. There is some interesting 'recycling' of history as we currently understand it to be (until the next big discovery blows all prior theories out if the water that is). Personally I am happy that this is the first in a series. Marino has done a nice job with telling this tale, but I feel that had it ended with this book it would have cut out right before the truly challenging part of the tale.
  • Daimones on Feb. 19, 2013

    I was lucky enough to receive this free in exchange for an honest review, and found it to be an enjoyable read. The story begins with absolutely zero indication of what is to come. And what is to come is a story of vast dimensions. This book is challenging to review without including spoilers, which I try to avoid whenever possible. Interestingly, the longer I think about the story the more details I discover to have been hidden in plain sight. I was so focused on the 'here and now' of the story that I did not initially 'see' the not so hidden overarching parallels, even when directly mentioned. For a large portion of the story things are mostly believable - yet there are parts that seem to progress much faster than one would expect in real life. Things like that threw the balance off a bit for me, though some do get explained later in the story. Characters are well written, and it reads like a pretty fair representation of our world anytime from the mid-nineties on. There is some interesting 'recycling' of history as we currently understand it to be (until the next big discovery blows all prior theories out if the water that is). Personally I am happy that this is the first in a series. Marino has done a nice job with telling this tale, but I feel that had it ended with this book it would have cut out right before the truly challenging part of the tale.
  • The Soul's Mark: HUNTED (The Soul's Mark, #2) on April 15, 2013

    This book continues pretty much where the first one left off, and the series is designed in such a way that you really do need to read the books in order if you want to understand and fully enjoy them. Amelia and Mitchell reach a place of tentative accord, thinking that with time they will manage to work things out more fully. However time is not a luxury they have, for a group of vampire hunters have come to Willowberg. The very fact that there are vampire hunters in town shocks everyone to their core, vampire and human alike. They had all felt so safe and certain that Mitchell could, and would, protect them. Not only are the hunters targeting vampires, but they are also focusing on Amelia and her cousin Megan with startling intensity. In addition to all the increased action in this book Amelia is being given hints as to who she was, and is told that all of this is basically her fault. Not just all of the vamps in Willowberg being hunted, but the very existence of Hunters. Plus, the existence of two more 'beings' are laid at Amelia's feet. This book has more action than the first, and we get to learn more about some of the other key players. We also learn why Eric feels so attracted to Amelia, a fact that has been causing some serious rifts within both the family and larger community. With increased action and more fully developed characters this book seems to be a faster read than the first since the focus is no longer on the constant spats between Amelia and Mitchell. It helps that Amelia begins to grow up a little and starts to take the feelings of others into consideration, rather than remain the temperamental, whiny, self-centered brat she'd been for the bulk of the first book. Though she still loses her temper, she at least learns to control it a bit more. With the way this book ends, please make sure you have "Broken" at hand and ready to read the moment you finish with "Hunted."
  • The Soul's Mark: HUNTED (The Soul's Mark, #2) on April 15, 2013

    This book continues pretty much where the first one left off, and the series is designed in such a way that you really do need to read the books in order if you want to understand and fully enjoy them. Amelia and Mitchell reach a place of tentative accord, thinking that with time they will manage to work things out more fully. However time is not a luxury they have, for a group of vampire hunters have come to Willowberg. The very fact that there are vampire hunters in town shocks everyone to their core, vampire and human alike. They had all felt so safe and certain that Mitchell could, and would, protect them. Not only are the hunters targeting vampires, but they are also focusing on Amelia and her cousin Megan with startling intensity. In addition to all the increased action in this book Amelia is being given hints as to who she was, and is told that all of this is basically her fault. Not just all of the vamps in Willowberg being hunted, but the very existence of Hunters. Plus, the existence of two more 'beings' are laid at Amelia's feet. This book has more action than the first, and we get to learn more about some of the other key players. We also learn why Eric feels so attracted to Amelia, a fact that has been causing some serious rifts within both the family and larger community. With increased action and more fully developed characters this book seems to be a faster read than the first since the focus is no longer on the constant spats between Amelia and Mitchell. It helps that Amelia begins to grow up a little and starts to take the feelings of others into consideration, rather than remain the temperamental, whiny, self-centered brat she'd been for the bulk of the first book. Though she still loses her temper, she at least learns to control it a bit more. With the way this book ends, please make sure you have "Broken" at hand and ready to read the moment you finish with "Hunted."
  • The Soul's Mark: BROKEN (The Soul's Mark, #3) on April 15, 2013

    Thankfully we pick up literally right where the events in "Hunted" left off. There isn't much that I can say about the story that wouldn't be a serious spoiler, so I will stick with my thoughts on the final book in this trilogy. All of the mysteries surrounding Megan's allegiance are resolved, and finally we all learn about the entirety of Amelia's past and the role that she, and Mitchell, play in present day events. The resolution is a relief after being kept in the dark through the other two books, and certain suspicions I had developed were confirmed. Thankfully that is not to say the ending is spelled out in advance. And days later I am still trying to decide how I feel about the final twist at the end, though I will admit that in many ways it fits the involved characters to a T. I just wish that a particular character would have grown more than they did, yet I can see the author choosing the route she did, as it leaves a foot in the door should she want to come back and tell more of the story of the residents of Willowberg.
  • Dreams of the Queen (The Brajj 1) on Aug. 07, 2013

    Though I was lucky enough to receive a copy of this book, my review is in no way influenced by the free receipt of this book. An interesting book, we open to Dr. Cassiopeia Baros (Cass), her fiancée Dr. Julian Saunders (Julian), and several of their staff about to generate a Casimir Effect to create the only traversable wormhole known to mankind. Unfortunately for some reason things don't work, causing not only severe disappointment but also nerves, as everyone knows their funding will disappear in the blink of an eye. They have less than a week to fix things, all of the pressure resting on Cass. After the stunning failure Cass takes off, eventually heading to see her therapist Louise to talk not only about the failure of her project but also to talk about her ever-present dreams. Dreams that happened so often they no longer even woke Julian when she had them. The dreams are always the same, a cavern which Cass recognizes though she's never been there, with chanting in the background, in a language that Cass doesn't recognize. But this past dream the night before had changed. In it she'd been in the cavern when someone spoke to her, calling her their queen. And she had looked into the face of the most beautiful man she had ever seen, except that he wasn't human. He had cat-like eyes and beautiful, long white hair. Cass has Louise put her under, to see if they can make sense of the change in the dream. While under Cass comes to understand why generating a Casimir Effect had failed before. Julian finds her in the middle of the lab with parts scattered around her and grease on her hands, face, and lab coat. Though he is angry at her for disappearing since the failure the day before, he can't ignore her brilliance. He knows that though the project is "theirs" it is actually only Cass' in the design department, but Cass has no idea what Julian has done for her to secure their grant. And he wants to keep it that way for as long as he can. After almost a full 24 hours of reworking the schematics, Cass is ready to run it again, this time knowing it will work. It works, all test coming back positive. The robot comes back showing that the atmosphere is almost the same as Earth's. It is time for the human team to go through, which is when the military team arrives & Cass finds out that all her funding was run from the military through MIT to her lab. She is shocked and feels betrayed by Julian who clearly knew about this long ago, but she buries her anger in the anticipation of finding out what her dreams have been trying to tell her all these years. The party of twelve goes into the chamber in two groups of six, three scientists with three grunts. They arrive in a strange round rock chamber with no exits, but there is writing of some sort on the walls. One of the scientists begins work on deciphering it and when he touches one a door opens in the wall. They slowly move out to begin exploring, some worried, while others like Cass are thrilled. Cass was so excited everything worked that she didn't even notice the lack of pull from the wormhole on this end, something that flies in the face of basic and advanced physics. While doing some basic exploring they come upon a room that holds a carving with a pool of crystal clear water at the base. The water is in constant motion gently spiking and eddying, catching the attention of the scientist in Cass. She is drawn to the water and feels compelled to take a sip. It is every bit as cool and refreshing as she expected it to be, with no immediate side effects. However she will collapse in a faint a short time later. During all this Jeamon and his brajj team have been traveling from the city to the Sacred Chambers to meet the arriving queen. Unfortunately another group gets there first, and they arrive to find the queen and her party locked in battle with creatures known as the "inferiors." Luckily, the brajj arrive in time to assist the military with killing off the remaining inferiors. It is around this point that Cass faints. Jeamon is utterly devoted to Cass, their queen. He'd had a vision of her before setting off on his journey to get her for Master. Master ruled the brajj and was thought to be the wisest, having lived hundreds of years;1 long before Jeamon was ever born. Subsequently it never even occurred to a brajj to question Master. As Master's right-hand man Jeamon had been honored above all others to be chosen to lead the party to bring back the queen. Which is why Jeamon is so conflicted when the queen awakes from her faint, only to see him and say "it's you" as if she too recognized him. Jeamon fights his growing feeling for Cass as he knows she is meant for Master and the revitalization ceremony of Ta'mat, for Ta'mat is the source of all being for the brajj. Yet between Cass' behavior and his developing feelings Jeamon can't help but fall in love with their queen. Aside from the main storyline of the attraction between Cass and Jeamon there are several other dynamics within the group. The question of how Cass can understand and speak brajj is a mystery to be solved. Julian's anger over Cass tossing him aside for Jeamon causes other problems, though Cass had already seen some of Julian's controlling side and wanted nothing to do with it long before Jeamon entered the picture. Not that Julian is willing to accept that. And the military team is suspicious of everything and everyone. This story is fascinating. It begins a bit slowly, possibly because of the mundane location, but as the team arrives at the other end of the wormhole things pick up. The backstory has been built and the action begins. Very little is as it seems, and as answers are discovered you begin to see the true creativity that Ms. Patrick has infused this story with. The ending is nothing I'd envisioned or imagined, but it leaves plenty of room for the sequel, "Nightmares of the Queen." I wasn't particularly drawn to the story as described in the teaser, so I was very pleasantly surprised to find that I was drawn into the story to the exclusion of all around me, reading it cover to cover in one sitting.
  • Temperature: Dead and Rising on Aug. 13, 2013

    I was honored to receive a copy of the ebook for free, in exchange for an unbiased, honest review. Fasten your seatbelt and get ready to meet zombies like you've never met before. Mr. Santo has a whole new vision for the genre, and it is as unusual as the story is entertaining. Full of fascinating characters that follow a well developed story arc, you can't really go wrong with this book. Just get comfortable before you crack the spine, because you won't be going anywhere until you've finished this from cover to cover. Sally Mertill wakes to find herself in a morgue of all places, only to find herself looking up into the face of a total stranger. Completely confused, Sally asks what is going on and who he is. Explaining that his name is Bocnic, but everyone just calls him Bo, he tells her he is there to help her & will explain everything, but first they must leave before anyone sees them. In a state of semi-shock, Sally goes with him, making it to a car he had parked just outside the side door to the basement of the hospital. As they are driving away from the morgue Bo tries to explain to Sally that she is now one of the undead. Not like comics or horror movies, but undead nonetheless. He asks her the last thing she can remember, which was friends visiting her in Denver. She took them on a tour of the area including hiking, then everything goes all foggy and she can't recall a thing. She panics and begins to think this guy is a whack job, and she was nuts for trusting him, so she does the only thing she can think of and jumps out of the moving car. It was moving fast enough that her tuck and roll didn't work too well, as she bounced upon impact, causing her to untuck. By the time she stopped moving she was wrapped around a street-post, and only able to move her head. Bo immediately backs up to hide her from oncoming traffic while he goes over to her and explains that be all rights she should be dead. In fact, had she been living she would be dead now. But now that she's undead essentially nothing can kill her. The whole time Bo is putting her back together, breaking and resetting bones, popping joints back together and finally fixing her spine he tells her more about her 'new' life. How it will take her body a while to fully die before the magic that sustains her truly settles in, which means she will still need to eat, use the restroom, and will still feel pain. Once finished it takes Sally about 30 minutes before she manages to get up again & stagger to the car, surprising Bo by just how fast she recovers. They hole up in a hotel room for a day so Bo can explain the undead 'life' to Sally. He ends up staying longer than planned as he discovers that she is one of the undead effected by the sunset, what the undead call the "sun-downing crazies" - and in Sally's case lust is her "crazy." Eventually Bo leaves her, giving her a pile of cash to get herself started again. Before heading out to buy necessities Sally turns on the TV to find her picture is plastered everywhere. There is a story of her accident and how she just walked out of the morgue, that clearly a mistake had been made and she must have wandered away in confusion. Everyone was looking for her. Sally hacks off her hair with the blades from her razor and to help change her appearance, then ventures out for supplies, including hair dye. Meanwhile Bo sees the story and rushes back to the hotel room. He plans to take Sally to an undead camp outside of Aspen, when members of The Church try to catch them. The Church is an evil organization that has been around for ages, dedicating themselves to ridding the world of the undead. For some reason they have a really intense desire for Sally. They manage to elude The Church agents, and Sally goes to the camp to begin her training with the shaman, Larry. It is at that point that things go from wild to crazy, as the threats to Sally, and by extension Bo, multiply drastically. What has happened to brings all of this down on Sally? Will they both survive? A serious cliffhanger ending, but since I'm lucky enough to have the second book in the series I'm not too upset about it.
  • Temperature: Bitter Cold on Aug. 13, 2013

    I was lucky enough to be gifted a free copy of this in exchange for an honest review. ***If you have not yet read the first book in the series, "Temperature: Dead & Rising" do not continue reading this review, as it contains spoilers inherent to book one.*** Sally has just been kidnapped by The Church's goons right before Bo's eyes. She hadn't been swatting at mosquitoes, she'd been swatting at tranquilizer darts! She wakes to find herself tied up, wearing yet more damned gold handcuffs, and in a moving vehicle. Her plans to pretend she is still knocked out are spoiled when the vehicle hits a bump and causes her to make a small exclamation of sound. This promptly brings one of the goons back with a syringe, which he stabs into her shoulder, presses the plunger & under she goes again. When next she wakes Sally is on a plane, still tied up and wearing the gold handcuffs. Demric, The Church's equivalent of middle management, had Sally brought to to an old church in the middle of nowhere, Scotland. Next to the church is a cemetery, and below are catacombs dating back hundreds of years. Derrick and his henchman Von plan to torture Sally to death repeatedly, as they are well aware there is only one way to really stop any of the undead. But they know that Sally is special, and therefore they plan to take her apart piece by piece to find out just what it is that makes her so powerful. Meanwhile Bo had run back to the southern camp in the hopes of catching Adelwin before he departed for home. One his way he runs into the witch Zemra, who convinces Bo that she knows the best route to catch Adelwin . Though Bo hates witches with a burning passion he is more afraid for Sally, and so he agrees to travel with her. He can't really figure her out, her stories have her swinging from being ruthless and only concerned with herself to sounding as if she actually has a heart and is capable of compassion for others. After numerous trials they connect with Adelwin, who somehow knows where Sally is being kept and gives Bo the means to get there, hopefully in time to help save her. During all of this, Sally is being sadistically tortured, being asked for answers she doesn't have. Demric refuses to listen her repeated pleas for mercy. Being an accomplished liar, Demric assumes everyone else is as well, which is why he is so sure Sally is lying to him. Plus he believes dishonesty to be the true nature of the undead, and since Sally is one of them she must be lying to him. He is not worried though, for he believes he has plenty of time to experiment upon her, and is sure she will talk eventually. Sally manages to escape & meets Bo on the road leading from the church. He was stuck waiting outside as he can't enter a church so close to a cemetery, not too mention above catacombs, since cemeteries put all undead into 'perma-sleep' until someone removes them from the cemetery. Sally appears to be the only undead exception to that rule. The two begin a wild ride in an attempt to return to Colorado's northern camp. Being waylaid by werewolves, Reapers, and a demigod are just a few of the challenges they must overcome if they are to make it back home. Will they survive all of these different challenges? Can they manage to keep from being separated along the way? Once again Mr. Santo has created an ingeniously wild ride for the readers, crafting a story that will keep you in its grip to the last word, leaving you disheveled and maybe a tad disoriented, but crystal clear about one thing. . . You, eagerly awaiting the release of the next book.
  • The Talented Saga (Books 1-4) on Feb. 18, 2014

    I would like to thank NetGalley and Indie Inked for granting me the chance to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Though I received the e-book for free that in no way influenced this review. When Talia Lyons was just a child, her parents were murdered before her eyes. Offered a choice between accepting their fate and exacting revenge, Talia trains to become one of the country’s deadliest assassins in order to kill the man responsible for their deaths: Ian Crane. Luckily, Talia was born with a gift- the ability to read and influence the minds of others. At sixteen, Talia is poised to graduate from the McDonough School for the Talented, where she learned to control her abilities. Now there is only one obstacle standing between her and the retribution she craves... Talia herself. Her greatest asset may also be her undoing; while a formidable weapon in the field, Talia’s talents prevent her from both shutting off the mental connection she shares with her questionable boyfriend and blocking out the thoughts of a beguiling fellow recruit. But Talia can’t afford to have the feelings and distractions of a normal teenage girl, when her life is far from normal. She must regain the single-minded determination that has brought her this far, or it may cost Talia her life when she finally faces Crane. And even after being molded in to a weapon of war, she’ll still have to find the strength it takes to pull the trigger. If James Bond and Sookie Stackhouse had a love child with a yearning for vengeance, her story would be TALENTED: an adventure about powerful teenagers who aren’t afraid to embrace their fears and fight for what they believe in. Talia is a captivating character, that superhero with the fatal flaw. Although in Talia's case she certainly doesn't see herself as anything resembling a superhero - but she sure sees the flaws. Having been molded by the top dog in the Agency since she was discovered to be the only survivor of her murdered family, Talia filled the gaping hole caused by losing her loving parents with the friendship of her rescuer's son. Donovan became Talia's world, filling the role of family, friend, and eventually boyfriend. Donovan is also Talented, which means he has a special skill set that the average populace does not. Just as Talia does. There are all different types and strengths - people who can morph into an animal, or many, (some can even morph into other people), and the Brains - those who calculate raw data faster than a computer, or the Techs, who have a distinct affinity for technology. And of course there are those with powers like telekinesis, mind-reading, and even compulsion. There used to be more variety and greater strengths, but as time passed since the events that so altered the world, some of the more rare powers just disappeared from the gene pool. Talia has spent her life training to become a Hunter, part of an elite squad that goes out to do recon and collect data, even going so far as to kill those on the other side. Hypothetically she knew she would be sent on Kill Missions, but reality is something else altogether. For graduation Talia, like all Pledges, must complete a solo Mission. In her case they are sending her up against the head of the opposition to do some recon to try to identify some of their other top agents. She must get into Ian Crane's residence in Las Vegas. The reclusive leader of the Coalition never leaves his fortified compounds, just like Mac, and when either man travels they do so under heavy guard. Things fall apart in the end of the Mission, and Crane surprises Talia, telling her things that simply can't be true. He is evil, of course he would tell her lies about her own parents. But there has always been a tiny seed of doubt buried in Talia's mind - will Crane's comments wake the slumbering doubts? All this on the poor girl's plate, and that is without even getting into the boy problems she is having! CAGED by Sophie Davis If you've not yet read Talented, stop here or risk spoilers for the first book in the series. *** As of 5/26/2013, Caged has been re-edited and proofread *** After her brush with death at Ian Crane’s compound, Talia Lyons feels like a prisoner, confined in her childhood home. Plagued with seizures- the result of an unidentified drug injected in her neck by Crane’s men- Talia must put her dream of becoming a Hunter on hold. So when Agency Director McDonough asks Talia to go undercover at the School for the Talented, to find the spy who set the trap for her in Nevada, Talia jumps at the opportunity. Soon she learns that her new-found freedom comes with a price- working with Donavon on a daily basis. As if that isn’t awkward enough, her former teammate, Erik, also shows up at the School. But at least Talia has the unexpected company of her best friend Penny; to not only assist her in uncovering the spy, but also to deal with the complications that the guys create. As Talia becomes more entrenched in her assignment, she quickly learns the lengths that the Agency and Mac will go in the name of war. With Crane’s influence spreading, Talia learns that there are few Operatives without ties to the Coalition. Forced to face hard truths and dangerous conclusions, Talia realizes that it is those closest to her who are hiding the biggest secrets. As the task of finding the traitor becomes more problematic, desperation and frustration rule Talia’s world. It becomes clear that Talia can’t do this alone. But who can she trust, when everyone around her is lying? Talia's solo mission ends in disaster. Talia begins suffering seizures after her failed solo mission, courtesy of the injection she was given when she met with Ian Crane. Before her departure and upon her return the lies are flying fast and furious, leaving Talia less and less certain who she can trust outside of Erik and Penny. Mac pulls her back to the McDonough School after a fair amount of time in a medically induced coma to allow her body and psyche to heal. He makes her pose as an Assistant Instructor to try and ferret out a spy, as he is sure that is how Talia was almost caught and killed, given that Crane called her by name. Donovan and Penny are both there as well, and eventually Erik ends up there also. Talia wavers between Donovan and Erik before finally choosing Erik. A large part of her problem with Donovan are all the lies he has told her. While looking for salt in Donovan's bedside drawer she finds a photo of a small blond boy wearing glasses. When she tells him how cute he was as a kid he blanches and says thanks, but clearly there is something else going on that Talia missed. Does Donovan have a son? After much hard, frustrating work Talia makes a breakthrough and discovers the spy, much to her horror. For the spy is one of the only people she never would have suspected in a million years. . . After the revelation of who the spy is comes out Toxic keeps Talia medicated to suppress her memories, particularly those she got from the traitor. Even with the meds deep down Talia wonders if those memories are real, and that maybe TOXIC is exactly what its acronym spells. Excellent story arc and character development again, which was very nice to see in the second book. Maybe not as much physical action, but certainly more than enough espionage and mental thrills to keep the reader engaged from cover to cover. The questions over what was done to Talia medically loom in the forefront of everything - both because she is always at risk of another seizure, and because she seems to be developing more talents (though she doesn't see it that way, nor is it mentioned), and is emotionally far less stable than she should be. HUNTED In need of a distraction from her best friend's betrayal, Talia jumps at the chance to pack up and head to Washington, D.C., to have a purpose once again. She is tasked with administering the annual Talent Aptitude Tests, analyzing the children of the nation’s capital to identify those with powers. She knows that the Mandatory testing laws are controversial, but is still shocked by the protesters lining the streets of the city, and the curfew imposed upon its residents. These add fuel to her own misgivings about the Agency and its Director, the man who raised her. As if Talia doesn’t have enough on her plate with that, the Director assigns her a task that will expose his dirtiest secrets. She soon learns that it isn't the children who are tested she needs to be concerned about; it's the ones who aren't. And when she encounters a face from her past, Talia must confront her toughest decision yet. Following her heart will put Talia and those closest to her in mortal danger. But the consequences of doing nothing are inconceivable. The one bright spot in Talia’s new assignment is having her boyfriend, Erik, by her side. Because not only is Erik a source of comfort, but he is also as determined as she is to uncover the secrets behind the mysterious illness still plaguing her. Day after day, Talia never knows when she might be overcome by one of her unexplained seizures; she must pierce the veils of secrecy covering their origin, before someone decides she knows too much. Life altering choices will be made. Loyalties will be tested. When the war begins, which side will Talia choose? Along with Erik and Candace, Talia heads in to DC for three weeks to help manage the mandatory annual testing for Talent. During this time they learn several disturbing things about Toxic, and about Mac. Things go haywire when there is an attack on an area prison facility, led by none other than Ian Crane's Coalition. This causes Mac to change what Talia, Erik, and Candace do, as testing has been suspended. Instead he sends them out on Retrieval missions - to collect Talents that had missed the mandatory evals, or came into their powers after being cleared as normal at previous evaluations. It is the 2nd of their retrievals where everything falls apart. None of them can stomach what they've learned about Toxic, nor what took place at that retrieval. They go on the run, but end up separated. Talia knows what she must do if she is to get the help she needs to save the man she loves. The question is, can she do it, and will her gamble pay off? CAPTIVATED (Talented #3.5 - Novella) Can't get enough of Talia and Erik? Want to know about their first meeting? Interested in what happens between the books? Dying for a peek at what's coming in Created? Captivated is a Talented Novella that includes four short stories, two from Talia's point of view, and two from Erik's point of view. The first is a detailed account of what happened the first time Talia and Erik met. The second is all about Erik's trip to visit Talia after she was injured in Talented. The third takes place between Caged & Hunted, and gives you a glimpse at Erik's romantic side. And last, but certainly not least, the fourth story starts off right where Hunted ends. Not recommended for anyone who has not read the first three books, unless you don't mind a lot of spoilers! Correctly stated above, this is not a book you want to read out if order, as each scene links to a scene in one of the three prior books. All the scenes relate to the relationship between Talia and Erik, watching it unfold over time from each person's point of view depending upon the scene being recalled. CREATED When Talia runs away from the only life she’s ever known, she could have never fathomed the lengths to which the Agency will go to get her back. But if the Agency Director- the man who raised her, trained her, and made Talia who she is- can’t have her, he wants her eliminated. Now those she once considered friends are bona fide enemies, ruthless in their pursuit of her. Talia aligns herself with Ian Crane, the man she’d always believed was responsible for her parents’ murders. With Crane’s forces at her disposal, Talia sets off on her most personal mission yet: rescuing the love of her life from the Agency. But she never imagines that going after him will plunge the nation into chaos. Retribution for the lives of her parents is no longer enough for Talia. She wants justice for every innocent affected by the Agency’s greed. But she soon realizes she is actually at the center of two wars- one with them and one with herself. Talia can no longer trust the one thing that has never failed her. Her Talents are growing stronger by the day and she’s already losing control. Defeating the Agency will save countless lives, but triumph over the manufactured power within her will preserve her sanity. The Agency will stop at nothing to perpetuate their propaganda- that the Coalition is the enemy. Crane will do anything to expose the truth- that the Agency has been creating Talents for decades. Her world, her life, her future with the only person who remains true… the Agency stole everything. Now, Talia will sacrifice the little she has left to reclaim what’s hers. Talia and Erik go on the run with Alex after collecting him and realizing that he is Donovan's son. Donovan, Talia's ex and her first ever boyfriend, hid his own son as best he could to ensure that Mac never got his hands on the boy. As part of the escape they also need to get Erik's family out of the DC Underground. All goes well until Erik is captured by Toxic and tortured. Mac does this both as punishment, to extend his testing on Created Talents, and as a lure to get Talia back. But he never counted on Talia going to her sworn enemy, Ian Crane, for help in rescuing Erik. The rescue soon devolves into an all out war as the truth is discovered and proven - Toxic has been illegally used a banned Creation drug to make Talents out of normal people. This brings in UNITED, a global organization, as there is no way the Coalition can take on all the newly Created that Mac made. Throughout all the action things are said to Talia that help her to finally wake up and realize just how willfully ignorant she kept herself, and how selfish she's been. Basically how immature she has been from the get go. And it was nice to see that she finally began to get a grasp on who she is, and what she is, and is not, willing to do. She finally grows up emotionally in this book. Not to say that she doesn't have a long way to go yet, but at the same time she is finally making forward motion. She and Erik plan to eventually move somewhere very remote and quiet, bringing Alex with them. Not because she is ready to be a mother yet, but because she made a promise to his mother Kandice, as well as Donovan. Also because neither she nor Erik want to see anyone else take advantage of the little boy. However things aren't over yet with Toxic and the Created that are loose in the world. Someone is going to have to step up, and there are only a few capable & powerful enough to do so, and both Talia and Erik are part of that select group with the abilities to override the Created. Will they survive this last hurdle while still struggling with their own health issues?