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review 2016-07-19 22:49
Edged Blade (Colbana Files #4) by J.C. Daniels
Edged Blade (Colbana Files Series) - Luke Daniels,J.C. Daniels

Kit has come a long way since being kidnapped and tortured by Jude. Sure, she's still triggered sometimes but has found a way to barrel through it and has begun to resemble herself somewhat. When her best friend Justin comes to her looking for help because witches have gone missing, Kit is quick to agree to take the case.  What she doesn't realise is that the case is even larger than she ever could have imagined and that to work on it, she's going to have make some very unlikely allies.

I really do think that Edged Blade is the best Colbana Files book to date.  To be clear, the grammar is still a problem and at times, I had difficulty differentiating who was talking, particularly because Daniels seems to like to give her characters the same voice but it was enjoyable nonetheless.  I understand that this is a self pub but line editing would have gone a long way to clean up some of the sloppy mess.

One of the things that I like about this series is that though Kit has obviously been assaulted and tortured, J.C. Daniels didn't try to gloss it over as though it were nothing.  It's been a full on year since her attack and Kit is still trying to deal.  She's modified her body with tattoos to hide scars and she's trained to regain her strength.  I would really have liked to see Kit actually have some counselling considering what she has been through. Kit faces down her fear and even agrees to work with and for the vampires.  This is a huge leap given that in the last book, she could barely stand to be around one for a few short moments.

Much of Edged Blade focuses on the romance between Kit and Damon.  Damon is still in full possession mode and this is hardly a surprise given that he once walked away from her because she wouldn't answer his summons immediately.  I know that Daniels means us to be fired up about the relationship between Damon and Kit but it's far too dysfunctional for that. Damon is jealous of Kit's partner Jason because they used to be lovers.  Kit has to carefully monitor her interactions with Jason, lest she end up smelling like him thus driving Damon into a rage.  This is ridiculously abusive and puerile behaviour. If that were not enough, when Damon's former lover rejoins the pack, Kit becomes jealous and repeatedly taunts the woman. Kit is also insecure about how Damon feels about her even though he has been stalking her.  There's also the issue that Damon treats his former lover like a piece crap every time he sees her to calm Kit's nerves.  I really have begun to believe that these two deserve each other.



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Source: www.fangsforthefantasy.com/2016/06/edged-blade-colbana-files-4-by-jc.html
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review 2016-07-19 22:27
Broken Blade (Colbana Files #3) by J.C. Daniels
Broken Blade - J.C. Daniels

After being tortured, marked and raped by Jude the vampire, Kit is suffering from PTSD and feels that she is broken.  Her connection with her blade no longer works and Kit can barely deal with the loss.  Kit retires to Wolf Haven and starts working at a bar.  All her friends want her to hurry up and rejoin life but Kit isn't ready to face her demons.  T.J. however will not be denied and so arranges a small job for Kit, not realising that it will lead to Kit taking on one of the oldest magical creatures and possibly her death.

In Broken Blade, Daniels widened her world by introducing Pandora/Lilith.  We learned that Pandora/Lillith is responsible for creating shifters, vampires, witches and the warrior race the Aneria. I loved the origin story and it helped explain why witches are pacifists and some of the ongoing antagonism between the various supernatural groups.  With Pandora/Lilith as an antagonist, the story should have been absolutely epic.  I thought that this is where it was going when Pandora/Lillith killed Es, the leader of a coven of witches, only to be sorely disappointed when she was easily defeated by Kit. No way should Pandora/ Lilith have been defeated by a gunshot to the head.  Clearly, Daniels didn't know what to do with this character once she added her to the story.  It made the ending seem so rushed.  It would have been better to draw this out over two books, rather than to have Pandora/Lilith so easily defeated.

Far too often, when traumatic things happen to urban fantasy protagonists, it's brushed off so that the author can tell another story.  Because of the way that Daniels dealt with Kit's traumatic childhood, I believed that this would be different and I was right.  No one just gets over being kidnapped and tortured and that really needed to be dealt with. My biggest issue is that Kit was given just four months before she was forced back out into the world.  How is that enough time to heal?  Her friends claimed to want to help her but to me, it felt very much like Kit and her new quirks were being portrayed as a burden. How is going back to work and burying the trauma the strong thing to do? To me, it just sets up the victim to have yet another massive breakdown because no one is meant to simply power on after something like that.  Since Daniels decided to go there, I couldn't help but wonder why it is that she didn't set Kit up with some counselling?  Yeah, I know that urban fantasy is supposed to be all about defeating the bad guy but if you are going to have a protagonist with serious mental health issues then it must be respected and written about appropriately.

Kit isn't the only survivor who is not fully respected. T.J., the owner of the bar where Kit works is now a wheelchair user after being paralyzed by her former Alpha. She has made a life for herself running Wolf Haven, taking in the lost and the scared.  It is T.J. who ultimately pushes Kit out into the real world, pleading for Kit not to be like her.  T.J.'s way of dealing with being viciously assaulted is painted as weakness and that is a problem. If T.J. wasn't tough, she wouldn't have survived.

"Yeah, sure. I could be like your bitch of a grandmother. I could have been born human and made a leech instead of born a weak werewolf and then tortured by the sadistic wolf who stole my legs. But he’s not the one who stole my life, Kit. I gave it up. I stay in here…and I hide. I let him ruin me. I’m letting him win…and I know it.”
 “TJ, that’s not—”
“Don’t,” she warned, and the thread of steel under her voice was enough to silence me. “I stay in there,” she murmured. “I hide. Even though that son of a bitch would never leave his mountain to find me, I stay here. And I hide. You face down everything that scares you, until now. Don’t let him win, Kitty. You didn’t let anything else take you down. Don’t let this ruin you.” (pg 22)

The idea that there's only one acceptable way to be after surviving a violent assault is harmful and further policies victims.  T.J. it seems is a beta and so Kit simply assumes that she didn't have the ability for vengeance and justice and so decides at the end of the story to go after the twisted Alpha. This was not Kit's decision to make.  What I took away from all of this is that survivors cannot be trusted to run their own lives in the wake of an assault or to heal in a way that best suits them.  This plot line very much makes self care a sign of weakness.

I wasn't really impressed when all of the cats refused to make eye contact with Kit after the attack. They made what happened to her all about them and their failure to protect her.  It did however make me happy when Kit remained consistent in her demand that people make eye contact rather than look at her feet whenever they are in her presence.  Kit however seemed to hold it against Damon for not protecting her which was a problem for me. Yes, Damon did promise that no one would ever hurt her but Kit is an assassin and a warrior and the very idea of needing a man for protection just doesn't make any sense to me.




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review 2016-05-16 01:19
Review: Shadowed Blade (Colbana Files #5) by J.C. Daniels
Shadowed Blade - J.C. Daniels

Review originally posted at RabidReads.com.


eBook WTF? Kick Ass


I’m a huge fan of the Colbana Files. I’ve listed as one of my favorite UF series. I’ve also frequently touted it as one of the most underappreciated series in the UF genre. This book though didn’t live up to those statements. I still enjoyed it, but there are some issues that kept me from enjoying this book as much as previous books in the series.


To start, the beginning of this story was a bit confusing. It kinda read like it might have been flashbacks, but I wasn’t sure. The whole story about the druid and Frankie was confusing to me. As I kept reading, I did eventually figure out what was going on. There are parts that overlap with the novella, Misery’s Way, which is included at the end. I highly recommend you read it first, you can find it in the table of contents.


As per usual in this series, it is full of great characters. I love Kit. She is a wonderful character. She is very strong, no matter how many times she has been broken. She puts herself back together, though that is not an easy process for her. She surrounds herself with great friends who have finally become the family that she’s never had with her actual blood relation. I loved seeing Damon, Chang, Justin, Colleen, Doyle and Nova. There is even a new addition who I expect to have a large part to the story going forward.


I can’t really go into much about this story without giving away series spoilers. I’ll just say that this story follows a lot of Kit and Justin the most as they are working for a very mysterious “client” of Kit’s. You can see throughout the story that there is still some issues between humans and non-humans, also known as NH, though there are people who are willing to serve anyone who is willing to pay. It is also hard to tell who is the good guys and who are the bad guys, but other times, it is very obvious who the bad guys are and they are very bad.


This story did have everything that I love in a great Urban Fantasy. Great characters. An excellent world. A ton of action. Romance. Wonderful characters, yes, I know I said that already, but I love these characters, a lot. Overall, I enjoyed this story, but I have to call out the weak beginning. I also need to call out the lack of editing. Normally, that is not an issue with this series, but there was a lot of editing issues in this one. It would not be fair to future reader to recommend this book without calling that out. I had a purchased copy from Amazon, not an ARC. This is the first book by Ms. Daniels that I’ve had editing issues. I would still recommend this book, but I would recommend that you start with book one, as I would with pretty much all UF series.


The Colbana Files

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My Review

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Melanie Signature

Source: rabidreads.ca/2016/05/review-shadowed-blade-by-j-c-daniels-mlsimmons.html
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review 2016-05-15 23:56
Night Blade (Colbana Files #2) by J.C. Daniels
Night Blade (Colbana Files) - J.C. Daniels

Kit Colbana's past is filled with abuse and violence but this tragic history has made Kit highly skilled at her job.  When she comes to the attention of Banner, the policing organisation for supernaturals, Kit's first instinct is to avoid their attempts to contact her.  She's particularly not interested because the agent in question is her ex boyfriend Justin.  Kit may not want the job but Justin is certain that she is the only one who can solve the case of the murdered council members. When Justin informs her that it's believed that her current boyfriend Damon is suspected of murder and will be sentenced to death, Kit has no choice but to agree to the job, even if this means she has to go it alone.

Kit spends most of the book getting the shit kicked out of her as she investigates the case.  BecauseNight Blade is so circular, it feels as though Kit spends the entire time chasing her tail without getting anywhere.  Because of a binding spell placed on her, Kit actually feels pain anytime she even thinks about telling anyone what she is up to.  Kit's inability to speak angers Damon and so she is forced to remind him repeatedly that she was doing her job long before he entered her life and is therefore capable of taking care of herself.

When we first met Damon in Blade Song, I really wasn't a fan of him at all and this feeling of dislike continues into Night Blade.  Damon is extremely possessive, jealous and controlling.  When Damon learns that Kit is working with her ex, he immediately demands that she quit.  Due to the nature of her investigation, this is something that Kit cannot do and so Damon responds by biting her neck, permanently scaring her so that the world will know that she belongs to him.

I hissed out a breath as he sank his teeth into my neck.  My mind processed what he was doing but before I could decide if I was going to do a damn thing, his hand tangled in y hair, arching my head to the side as he pressed down harder, harder until his teeth broke through the skin.
He growled against me and I groaned.
It hurt-
There isn't anything remotely sexy or romantic about having a six-foot five, two-hundred fifty pound werecat sink a powerful set of teeth into your neck.
But it was over in seconds and I was still in processing mode as he grabbed something from the bed to press against my neck.  "You're asking me to deal with something that I can't change and I hate it," he said, his voice hard and flat.  "That's how I'm dealing.  The next tie anybody looks at you, they're going to see what I wanted everybody to know months ago." (pg 107)

The mark on her wrist was something that Kit could choose to hide but the neck mark gives her absolutely zero options.  If that were not enough, when Damon smells another man on Kit because she had to be close to a witch for the purposes of cloaking her location, he responds by ripping the clothing from her body, demanding that she never wear them again.  For Damon, this is what passes for love but in actuality it amounts to abuse.

Damon is as far from a romantic love interest as possible.  When he isn't busy trying to control Kit, he infantalises her by calling her "baby girl". Why oh why would a grown ass man think it's okay to refer to the woman he is having sex with as "baby girl"? The only reason for that is that as the supposed adult in this relationship, Damon expects obedience.  When Kit finally gets the evidence she needs to stop a kill order on Damon to be acted upon, Damon demands that she leave with him right now because he needs her like he needs air.  When Kit objects because she has one thing left to do, Damon responds by ending the relationship and walking out. Who the hell does that?

It's only when Kit gets kidnapped that Damon actually wants to do something positive which for him involves stalking around, growling and forcing a confrontation with her, though everyone on the rescue crew tells him to back off because Kit is in no shape to deal with him.  This man who wants obedience from Kit, cannot even respect her wishes for a few moments to get herself together, though she has been raped daily for weeks and tortured.

Kit does manage to walk away from Damon and I sincerely hope that he is out of the picture in the next book.  Daniels stops just short of calling Kit sullied because of her rape and says instead that she cannot be with Damon because she was broken by weeks of rape and torture. Really Daniels?  Why couldn't she have gone with the idea that showing up to play knight in shining armor after abandoning her, being physically abusive, and controlling doesn't make him a fit love interest.

Kit wouldn't even have been in this situation had Damon trusted and respected her enough to reveal that he was indeed guilty of murder but only because he wanted to protect her. It seems that Kit's grandmother had actively been trying to hire someone to harm Kit and that Damon killed anyone who was willing to do that job.  Why exactly Kit couldn't be trust to know that her life was in danger is absolutely beyond me. It's ironic that Damon ends the relationship because he feels that he cannot trust Kit.



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Source: www.fangsforthefantasy.com/2016/05/night-blade-colbana-files-2-by-jc.html
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review 2016-04-26 22:14
Review: Shadowed Blade by J.C. Daniels
Shadowed Blade - J.C. Daniels

Note: This review contains spoilers from the previous book. Shadowed Blade continues a couple of story arcs from earlier titles in the series, and therefore should not be read as a standalone.


Opening shortly after the jaw-dropping conclusion of Edged Blade, we find Kit working for President of the United States: a man whom we discovered is a Non-Human (NH). The book moves quickly, as Kit and Justin search for NHs on behalf of President Whitmore and get caught up in some seriously perilous situations. 


Having absolutely loved the first three books in the Colbana Files series, I found myself struggling a bit on the direction of the past two books (Edged Blade and the novella, Misery’s Way). While I’m happy to report that I enjoyed Shadowed Blade much more than these two titles, I still had some issues with confusing, obtuse scenes. The first three chapters were extremely cryptic, and I wasn’t sure if Kit was having flashbacks, or if some of the events were abbreviated references and overlaps with the novella.


However, after these initial problems I had getting into the book, the flow of the story smoothed out and the story was a bit more coherent and definitely more gripping. As Kit pieces together what Whitmore is and is not, she also must dance along a dangerous edge with someone from her past. I liked the introduction of the mysterious stranger who appears to help Kit. Her presence shakes up much of Kit’s world and adds some interesting twists that will need to be addressed in future titles. However, I felt Kit and Damon’s continuing romantic storyline is petering out. They don't communicate and aren't careful with the other. Their relationship is all fire but no substance.


Part of the problem I’ve been having lately with this series is the cryptic nature of scenes. A successful first person story works because the author pulls the reader inside the head of the main character. Readers are privy to thoughts, feelings, and theories that the heroine experiences. But not so with Kit. I feel that I am constantly left in the dark, making for an extremely frustrating and confusing read. While this wasn’t the case as much in Shadowed Blade, there were still too many times that I wanted and needed more from Kit to keep me in the loop and completely engaged.


Additionally, I am struggling with the dark nature of the Colbana Files. While previous titles have taken Kit to very ugly, dark lows, I’ve been able to embrace the scenes because of the nature of the well-written storylines. However, now I feel like too much is happening to Kit and/or those she cares about. Some people love dark, but I find lately, it’s harder for me to enjoy. 


In the end, Shadowed Blade was an entertaining read. Despite my own early confusion with the storyline, overall, the book flowed much more smoothly than the previous title. Both the Whitmore and mysterious stranger storylines were strong and engrossing. However, I felt that Damon and Kit’s journey left much to be desired. Shadowed Blade is an Interesting story with definite ending, yet opens doors to future storylines.  


My Rating:  B- Liked It, but I had a few small issues

Review copy provided by author

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