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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on January 2, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
my top reasons to read this book:
1. strong female protagonist in an contemporary urban fantasy series.
2. lots of action- rollercoasta' ... something was always going down.
3. tight writing/no obvious typos or illogical sequences with just enough of an early review to refresh your memory from the last book.
4. protagonist is a dynamic character who has to rethink her morals and opinions.
5. the love interests were interesting and believable. glad about how this one ended concerning the "boyfriend". thank goodness that everything does not have to happen in 1 book mentality.
6. vampire bites should be taken seriously/scary in books and not taken lightly. period. thanks for putting the fear back into that.
7. overall this became a quick read not because it was short but because i had such a fun time reading this one. definately will get the next in series.

my top criticisms for this book:
1. while i feel this book doesnt add a whole lot to the genre it was well written enough to make me excited for the next one.
2. once or twice i felt like i needed to remind the main character of something she should already have known... like the stake return to the magical belt that was mentioned in the last book.
3. o.k. ... talking/sentient magical belts may seem dorky but i am actually warming up to their conversations. i think if i were her that i would want to learn more about it and wear it even when i didnt need it.
4. if you dont like kidnapping themes in your lit then you may want to read this one with caution because there are multiple forms of it in this one. one book was fine for me, it was an instrument in her growing as a character. i hope this doesnt become a theme, though. i dont think it will though judging by the ending.
5. you should definately read book 1 before reading this one.

i would definately recommend this book to the fans of the urban fantasy genre if you like the female first point of view type. good work!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 24, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
TAKEN BY THE OTHERS is jam packed full of action. Shia seriously just rocks, I love her character. The tension between Royce and Shia is killing me (in a good way), I just cant wait to see what comes of these two. Will they become friends? More than friends? I'm seriously dying to find out what comes next with them. I have to say I'm kind of disappointed in Chaz at the end, you think even though he was hurting he might be a tad bit more supportive, its not like Shia has asked to be in any of the situations she was put in. I enjoyed the white hats in book 2, It was neat to get to know them more and I'm sure we will get more in the future. The dialogue is always fantastic coming from Jess Haines she knows how to keep you entertained and wanting more. You will not be disappointing in picking up any of Jess's books, start with HUNTED BY THE OTHERS, Follow with TAKEN BY THE OTHERS and make sure to pre-order the next book in the series DECEIVED BY THE OTHERS you wont want to miss it
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: Kindle Edition
TAKEN BY THE OTHERS proves that even ancient vampires aren’t above acting stupid over a woman. And, not only that, but these two elders are too self-involved to realize that the heroine doesn’t actually want either of them, because she’s already dating a hunky werewolf named Chaz. MEN! Granted, their motivations are slightly different, however at the end of the day it all comes down to jealousy. Six months have gone by since the previous installment, and Waynest was still under the misguided impression that she could walk away from the Others’ universe, well this book certainly cleared that up, and then some! I love me a good super villain, and we get that in spades with Max Carlyle—epic battles, betrayals, and sacrifices ensued as a result. That first kill is always the toughest, but consider Shiarra officially initiated into the elite club of vampire hunters. BOOYAH!

Becoming a kickass protagonist is never easy, and Waynest was most certainly put through her paces in this latest novel. She gets kidnapped on several occasions, experiences her first (and second) fanged kisses, and beats one of her assailants to a pulp. She also gets bound to not one, but two vamps, and overcomes the symptoms of blood withdrawal in all of their glory. However, when the dust finally settled, she was still standing, and in Urban Fantasy that’s the only thing that counts. I have enjoyed following Shia’s journey from human P.I. to don’t-mess-with-me slayer; I liked how Haines explained her insta-skills in HUNTED BY THE OTHERS, and then made her hit rock bottom in book 2. So many authors brush over the harsh learning curve that comes with their lead character’s heroine status, but not Jess, she let readers witness Waynest’s transformation in all of its gruesome magnificence.

The plot’s rather self-explanatory, just read the blurb and you’ll pretty much get the gist of it. I thought that the story tied in well with the previous novel while also adding to the H&W INVESTIGATIONS world nicely, and ensuring that this series will continue to gain speed in future installments. Another supe gets added to Haines’ already teeming paranormal cocktail in the form of Dawn, the elf supermodel, and the White Hats show their true colours. I can’t say that I was overly shocked by the latter, but at least Devon and Tiny demonstrated that not all members of their order are bigots. I also enjoyed learning more about this universe’s vampires including more details about the Others’ contracts, blood bonds, and their internal politics. The final powwow was an action lover’s wet dream, and meeting Mouse was a real delight—I hope that this won’t be the last we see of her.

I’m not completely sold on the direction of this series’ romance; I like Chaz, but I just don’t know. He gets mad props for sticking with Shia throughout her recent ordeals, and bonus points for staying the course without a contract, because no paperwork = no sex. They’ve officially been on-again for six+ months now, and surviving that long without knocking boots is a huge challenge for your average Joe, but for a werewolf it’s nigh impossible IMO. It’s either true love, or the man is a complete sucker. I personally like Royce as a match even though his true motivations remain unclear. I know, I know—me choosing fangs over fur that has to be a first! It’s just that Chaz hasn’t really shown any alpha tendencies, and I didn’t particularly care for his reaction to Waynest’s blood bond woes, although I did sympathize with his reasons.

I broke-up with the vampire hunter story line long ago, but TAKEN BY THE OTHERS is proof that Jess Haines is doing great things for this genre, and as a result, it might soon be making a comeback on this reader’s shelves.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 26, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Review Courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: A human PI drawn into a struggle of "vampiric" proportions. Tensions within the story revolve around the fear of being too enamored into another's life, at the loss of one's own personality.

Opening Sentence: I don't usually have people pointing guns in my face.

The Review:

The second installment of H & W Investigations series, Taken by the Others, sheds light on Shiarra Waynest's thoughts and fears relating to the Others, or supernaturals like Vampires, Weres, and Magi. Her world has accepted the Others and incorporated them into their society, but can Shiarra? Though she is far more enlightened than she was in the last book, circumstances arise that test her new, more relaxed and understanding, self. There is a new player in town, and whether she wants to or not, she is about to be involved in a struggle for dominance between two very powerful vampires, Max Carlyle and Alec Royce.

Shiarra has accepted the idea that the Others she has viewed as monsters for so long, may not all be that bad. After all, her boyfriend, Chaz, is a werewolf and she loves him. There are also magi, or magic users, that she considers as friends. So, why does she still avoid vampires like the plague? Mostly because Alec Royce, one of the nation's oldest and most publicly known vampires, confuses her. She has feared him since their contract was signed, but he has never given her real reason to. When she is kidnapped for the sole purpose to cause Royce pain and anguish, all of Shiarra's worst fears are realized. Her fear even leads her to accept the help of the White Hats: a group of anti-Other militants that have declared war against anything, or anyone, relating to those that are non-human.

Shiarra does a few new things in this book. She finds a way to include all the factions and besieges them to work together toward a common enemy. This is a much more mature character than we read about in the first book. She exhibits the ability to see past the prejudice, and judge a "person" as an individual instead of grouped into a stereo-type. It's unfortunate that her fears of the monsters, both human and Other, turns out to be well founded. When she is shown the worse that the vampires can do, she can no longer stay rational about them as a whole. Even though Royce's actions reflect his best intentions for keeping her safe, Shiarra cannot bring herself to acknowledge his efforts. All she is able to see when looking at him is her own trauma staring back at her. Can she ever find it in her heart to give Royce the opportunity she has allotted for everyone else in her life?

Even though her relationship with Chaz seems to be getting better, they still have their own problems to deal with. For instance, Chaz seems to have a hard time balancing his time and attention between his pack and Shiarra. No woman wants to think that her man is more involved with anything other than herself, pack alpha or not. They also must still deal with Royce and his romantic overtures toward Shiarra. Will Chaz's insecurities with the vampire be the cause of pushing his girlfriend away? Will Shiarra decide that she would be better off with someone else, Royce or not? Can they work through both of their insecurities before it's too late?

Shiarra's involvement in the White Hats organization is brief. Though they continually look to recruit her to their ranks, they also refuse to let her join the "other" side. Though they helped her get away from Max's clutches the first time, she doesn't support their cause. When the time comes and she asks for their help in banding with weres and vampires to take down a larger foe, they refuse on the grounds that they will never work alongside the "monsters," only kill them. But as long as Shiarra continues to be involved with Others, she will have to deal with the White Hats and their prejudices.

There is nothing too special about the bad guy in this book. Max Carlyle is an elder vampire that has been holding a grudge against Royce for centuries. Angry over the loss of the woman they both loved, Max has found the perfect revenge in Shiarra. His plans to "take" her away from Royce drive his every move. Even though he is a little clichéd, Max is an honest and consistent villain. There is never a moment when you believe that he will turn over a new leaf and join the good guys. There is no doubt that Shiarra is not his focus in this game. He uses her for his own ends and discards her when he no longer needs her.

I get the hint that Shiarra is done with the vampires for a while. I hope that, in some future book, she and Royce either battle it out or get together. Either way, I think that Chaz is dumb and I hope something happens that breaks them up. Between the two, I much prefer Royce because he has never denied his nature for the sake of Shiarra's "delicate sensibilities". Shiarra is a strong character, with or without the talking belt, and I hope to see more of that in the future.

FTC Advisory: Kensington provided me with a copy of Taken by the Others. No goody bags, sponsorships, "material connections," or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 14, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Genre: Urban Fantasy

Thoughts:

After reading Hunted by the Others, the first book in the H&W investigations series, I had lumped it as stereotypical comfort food for UF fans. Sure Haines had a very unique world where the Others are governed by law and can't just change people willy nilly. There was still something missing for me and with book number two I figured I'd get another 3/5 book. Haines definitely blew me out of the water.

The plot picks up and swings nicely into the world of the Others, taking on a much more satisfying turn. The last book our leading lady is basically pulled up into the events by mere petty chance. This time Shiarra needs to except that she's in this for the long haul, because once you've opened your door to the monsters there's no shutting them out. Especially when one of New York's most revered vampires has taken an interested in you.

My favorite part about this second installment is that events allow the reader to enter the realm of the White Hats. Considering they're Other haters and have taken some pretty nasty actions against others and humans a like, I still found myself time and again cheering for our pin toting bigots. Not everyone wearing the pin of the White Hats want to eradicate the filth at all costs. By the end of the book it brings into light that the White Hats and Others may have some of the same goals.

With this vast improvement of plot and pacing this book moves along beautifully. The reader can truly sink in. While I feel that the side characters from before (mainly the Hunters Belt *ahem*) where forgotten, you don't miss them long. New White Hat characters come up and they are a hoot! Shiarra is faced with her biggest fears, being held against her will and her blood drained. Then her biggest nightmare happens, becoming a mindless slave to her "master." My grip on the book was so intense that I actually left indents because I was so absorbed by the nightmare Shiarra was living.

The love interests did not get enough page time in all the action to develop. Chaz is basically a pouting wolf at the end, being irrationally upset that Shiarra was throwing herself at Royce even though she could not control it. If I was Chaz I would be upset too, but not to a point that there couldn't be some healing. At the end of the book it felt like Haines thought she had given the reader enough development between Royce and Shairra to make the reader switch teams. Personally, at the end of this book, Shiarra needs to run, run away from him. I just can not buy Royce being in love with her, it's too unrealistic for what we are given.

In the end the only thing that truly stopped this from being a 5/5 book was Shiarra's stupidity. I'm not going to tiptoe around it. Shiarra's lack of smarts in the first book was a sore point for me, but I figured that it was the first time she was running for her life so she could make stupid decisions. Shiarra forgot key points about the Hunters Belt, and still didn't know when to hide or take the evil villains threat seriously. It was like flashbacks to the first book. Shiarra's struggle with the dark side of the belt was definitely a saving point for her character development. Still I can't believe a vampire like Royce would want Shiarra. She's not naive, she's stupid.

Bottom Line: Haines has proven with this latest installment that she is an up and coming contender in the sea of books populating the UF genre. Be prepared to find a living nightmare, explore the White Hats, and see the true evil of the the Others. This book is an Adrenalin rush and you'll want to have all day and night to read this one!!

Sexual Content:

Nothing overly graphic. Some kissing, sex talk, and Shiarra has to deal with the sexual desire that a vampires bite can create.

4/5- Great! Really enjoyed it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: Mass Market PaperbackVerified Purchase
4.5 Stars

Two master vamps and only one city make for a very nasty battleground and a hell of a headache for Shiarra Waynest. In Jess Haine's sequel to her new debut Others series, Taken by the Others, Shiarra finds herself kidnapped by Max Carlyle, a rival master vamp hellbent on revenge. And that is only part of his agenda. He plans to wrest control of Alec Royce's territory, his coterie and his holdings. All will come at a bloody cost thrusting Shiarra in the middle.

Haines has dialed it up big time with her thrilling sequel. In Taken, Shiarra ends up blood bound to both Max and Alec...and there is one scene where we come very close to losing our heroine. The kidnapping, the brutality of the vampires, and the sheer body count remind one of the early days of Anita Blake tempered with some Armintrout. Max Carlyle seriously channels some traits of Cyrus's (from the Blood Ties series)-which means he is pretty despicable and dangerous. We still don't have a lot of clues as to why Shiarra is always at the centre of the tempest. What is her history, her background? Is she an Other? Haines might be leaning in that direction. There is a possible clue that Shiarra might be of fae ancestry.

The relationship conflicts also take precedence in Taken by the Others. Chaz and Shiarra have still not consummated their relationship due to the contractual binding that is required in advance, and because of her blood bond to Max and Alec, Chaz is put through the wringer as he watches his potential love interest irrevocably drawn closer to Alec. He must stand by and suffer through the connection. Haines hints that their relationship could be permanently damaged by the blood bond. Shiarra's fight to dissolve both bonds at great emotional cost forces her to face some feelings about Alec, and herself even though they are steeped in ambivalence. I expect more will be revealed in book #3 Deceived by the Others out in July.

I was thrilled, excited by the action, the schism between the White Hats and Shiarra, and the interesting backstory of Alec and Max. I especially want to see Athena unveiled in Deceived by the Others. The conflicts, the relationship triumvirate, and the introduction of a few new characters (Mouse, Tiny and Dawn) really proves that Haines pulled a fantastic smash and grab for this installment, particularly the Other fracas which was teeming with all the subtlety of a mob war. Highly recommended, this series just keeps getting better and better.

A Fiendishly Bookish Review (and one grumpy cat)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
THe female lead is so caught up in herself at times she misses opportunities to defuse a situation or do something constructive but I guess without he blundering around and self flagellation she might get her act together and there would be less of afore splattered storyline .

I only rated this as a 3 star because the book contains some good ideas.

For example she is told not to look into a vamps eyes at it increases his hold on her but what does she do but do it anyway even watching said vamp kill a woman by drinking her dry because she may have been in another vamp bed. . . And our heroine is supposed to be one of the good guys.

Sorry I can take a bit of soul searching but this one wallows in an almost permanent self pity party.

How she survives whilst others around die like flys is beyond the realm of even fantasy. . .

One can only hope that she manages to pull on her big girl panties in the next book
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After Shia's adventures in Hunted by the Others, she has no trouble paying the bills. She's got cases coming out of her ears and she's able to now pick and choose her clients with a little more care than before. She's now received messages from two different people, both of whom say trouble is coming. However, Shia has no idea what they're talking about until a vampire tries to kidnap her from her own apartment. Thankfully, Alec arrived just in time to take care of the situation. Even with police protection and Alec watching over her, Shia is taken by Alec's mortal enemy who wishes her to suffer for something that happened generations before her birth...

In this second book of the series, Ms. Haines builds nicely upon the events of the first book, taking Shia to new and even more dangerous places than before. Shia's definitely becoming more complex, as are the other characters, and she's learning who deserves her loyalty and those who are just using her for their own ends. Just when she's ready to take the next step with her boyfriend, he flakes on their date night and she overreacts by calling Alec over to discuss the situation with Max Carlyle - to figure out what he really wants with her and find out who he is. Even though Shia can make bad decisions, as can any of us, she proves she's willing to do what it takes to make it right. Even with the heavy-duty weapons and trusted friends, can she make it through this alive and sane?? Can she resist the allure and draw of two very powerful vampires? Pick up this book and find out!

I am eagerly awaiting the next book!!

H&W Investigations Series: Hunted by the Others (1), Taken by the Others (2), Deceived by the Others (3), Stalking the Others (4)
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I bought the first three books in this series so I plan to read the first three books in this series. However so far I have been quite underwhelmed although I know several people who really love this series. The series is about a world where Others have come out of hiding following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Shiarra Waynest (my first pet peeve is I hate her name, sorry!) owns and operates her own PI company H&W Investigations. She made some very poor choices in the previous book which resulted in Shiarra becoming involved with vampires and magi. She already had a boyfriend, Chaz, that she dumped when she learned he was a werewolf. This time around Shiarra learns that there is a new violent vampire in town named Max. Max apparently has an ages old grudge against Shiarra's vampire associate Alec Royce. Along her journey in this book, Shiarra makes some new friends, including several human members of the White Hats, a group who hates and seeks to exterminate the Others.

The good: I liked the plot a little better this time around. Max really is quite terrifying and he doesn't care who he kills. He is motivated by his hatred of Royce and seeks revenge against something Royce did a long time ago. Also while I didn't like the idea of another potential romantic interest for Shiarra, I did like the character of Devon. I also liked the new mute vampire named Mouse. Although Mouse and Devon didn't do anything amazing in this particular book, I think they make great side characters and could potentially lead to a lot of neat ideas for future installments. The ending was exciting enough that I really found myself getting into the book. There were no really big surprises but the conclusion was put together very well and the very end shows a side of Alec Royce that may clear up where his is on the friend or foe scale.

The bad: Shiarra is so darn prejudiced! She says she has come to see a different side of the Others now that she knows them but her thoughts just don't always show that. Then in addition to her prejudice thoughts on the Others, at one time she shows actual homophobia when she sees two male Others turn to each other in grief. Of course she says "I'm not homophobic but...". Well Shiarra, the 'but' just proves you are homophobic. It is really hard to like Shiarra. She also still makes some pretty dumb decisions in "Taken by the Others". I want to like the series but its so hard when the main character is not someone I root for in real life. My only other complaint is that the first half of the book dragged, not much of importance happened. It was the group rehashing their plans over and over again until the last third of the book when things really started to happen.

Overall? I liked it better than the first book. I have seen characters grow and mature over the course of a series and I can only hope that this happens with Shiarra. I am going to read the next book since I already have it. That will be the deciding factor on whether I keep reading. There are just too many really good books to keep reading ones that aren't as good.
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on January 26, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the second book in a series. The first book is titled Hunted By The Others.

***

Shiarra says that in the last book Royce blackmailed her into signing a contract, the legally bonds her to him. So issues leftover from that boil over into TAKEN BY THE OTHERS; to the point that she happily blames him for the death of the previous books villain, even though she knows that he didn't do it Did he blackmail her? I'm honestly not sure, even after going back to reread it. He does briefly ask her about her family, so she immediately deduces that he's threatening to hurt/kill them if she doesn't sign on the dotted line - but there are several other instances in the books where she is overly dramatic and immediately jumps to the worst possible conclusion about whatever Royce does/says, so I'm not convinced that he was threatening her.

Even if he was threatening her, it's hard to sympathize with her; he had just found out that she was spying on him, is now in possession of a vampire-hunter-spirit-possessed stake [don't ask], and that she was involved with two groups of people who wanted to kill him.

-

In TAKEN BY THE OTHERS Shiarra spends a lot of time with Royce, so her bigotry, already impossible for me to ignore last time, is now magnified. Yes, this is fiction so it shouldn't annoy me, but I see it as discriminating against someone because of their race, sexuality, disability etc. What makes her attitude worse for me is that she [and therefore the author] cannot see what she's like; at one point she gets on her high horse and labels a White Hat member as a bigot towards the Others, when she is just as guilty - so long as the Others doesn't include her werewolf boyfriend and mage friend. But the scene that sticks is how she bitches that someone complains about the vampires, yet happily takes advantage of their hospitality. Pot meet kettle.

In this book Shiarra mainly complains that Royce is manipulative and a user, but all I can see are numerous examples of her playing him along. At one point Royce calls her out on her behaviour towards him, so she plays nice, but her thoughts remain pretty much the same toward him and vampires in general. To me this shows how she in manipulative and is a user, plus it also shows how she has failed to progress and learn from the events of the previous book.

Shiarra is the one who phones Royce up to ask for his help - several times, so why must she whine about getting involved in his business [and she in his] again? Then she has to wait as he is in a meeting, and she whines because he doesn't drop what he was doing and come running to her aid immediately. All of the above are some samples littered throughout TAKEN BY THE OTHERS that makes it so that I just don't understand why Royce is said to be in love with Shiarra. He must really hate himself.

-

Even if I managed to overlook Shiarra's faults, there is the issue with Chaz: I just don't like the macho Alpha male stereotype, and for a pack Alpha he is way too impulsive. The author tells us though Shiarra that his possessiveness is cute and romantic, but I practically will suffocated by a character in a book. He knows full well that he can't provide sufficient protection for Shiarra, but is so "grr, MY woman" that he seems willing to endanger her, rather then let Royce offer her assistance - allow me to repeat that it was Shiarra who invites Royce to be around her and her problems , not the other way around.

***

TAKEN BY THE OTHERS should be a fast read, but it took me a week to finish as I could only force myself to read two or three chapters at a time. The basic plot is a simple revenge driven storyline, that the author tries to pad out by tossing ANOTHER love interest into the mix; at first I thought that he was a better fit for Shiarra over Chaz and Royce as he is a White Hat member. But when I think about it he knows that she has Other friends and is dating an Other, so he should be mildly disgusted by her and unable to trust her.

To sum up; the plot threads and characters just don't gel for me, mainly because we're meant to see vampires as being evil but we don't see anything to back these views up. And, to top it all off, we're meant to believe that Royce has fallen hard for Shiarra. I just can't see what the author thinks I should be seeing here, but I'm clearly not seeing it. It's actually a shame, as the author has a few good ideas and solid secondary characters, so I have no idea how she has managed to come up with such a unlikeable heroine, who I want to see fail; e.g. during a scene where Shiarra's running from some bad guys, I was hoping that they'd catch her. And hurt her. A lot.
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