Find this & other reviews at The Demon Librarian**A Bangin' Sequel! I became an overnight fan of author JA Huss when I read TRAGIC (book 1 in her Rook & Ronin series). Her crisp, frank writing style completely sucked me into the story, and I fell in love with the cast of characters she created. So needless to say, the sky was the limit as far as my expectations for the sequel went. I didn't just want great things to happen - I wanted to be wowed.JA Huss must have gotten my memo, because she delivered in a big way in MANIC.There's a lot going on in TRAGIC's sequel. Rook and Ronin are still figuring out their new relationship, and unfortunately, they don't have much time to enjoy their well-deserved happy times. Rook is scheduled to start shooting for the Sturgis contract (which she signed in book 1), and Ronin and Elise are forced to leave pretty early in the novel because of problems with Antoine's drug-addicted niece, Clare. So instead of having Ronin by her side to help her with the new shoot, Rook has to handle it on her own. Normally, that wouldn't be a problem - she's one tough cookie, this girl - but unfortunately, Rook didn't read the fine print when she signed the contract. There is a lot more involved in this shoot than she realized. Such as the fact that not only is Spencer of Shrike Bikes going to be using her as his personal canvass, she's also going to lose all her privacy and be followed everywhere by a film crew from the Biker Channel. Oh, and the icing on her craptastic cake? New producer-guy Ford, who seems hell-bent on making Rook's life as difficult as possible.To say that Rook is not a happy camper is an understatement. She misses Ronin, she's kicking herself for making a rookie mistake and not thoroughly reading the Sturgis contract before she committed to it, she's still adjusting to the model's life, AND she continues to be haunted by the ghosts of her troubled past. But in true Rook fashion, she walks right up to the challenges facing her, defiantly lifts her chin, and says, "Bring it on." Is it the best approach to take, in every situation? No, but damn if I don't admire her pluck. There's nothing I love more than a spirited heroine who gets right in there and grabs life by the horns. Even when I don't agree with what Rook is doing or saying (and yes, there were times I didn't), I still cheered for her.Spencer Shrike appeared briefly in TRAGIC, and if you loved him there, then you will be very pleased by the page time he gets in MANIC. He and Rook have a great relationship, and I respect the hell out of him for keeping it professional even when he is painting Rook up. That he happens to be a hot biker dude has absolutely no bearing on my opinion of him. Really! ;) As for Ford....oh wow, what a intriguing character he was! He comes off initially as a controlling prick, and of course, he and Rook butt heads. Constantly. But as with any great character, there is more to Ford than meets the eye, and while it may take Rook a while to see the man behind the asshole, Ford - like Ronin and Spence - brings something to the table that Rook needs. The more she interacts with him, the better she understands him. Yes, he pushes her (relentlessly so) but for the most part, it's in the right direction. I am very curious to see if he plays a role in book 3, and what that role is.And where is Ronin during all this, you ask? Well, he's gone for the first bit. No, he isn't absent the entire book, but he does miss a decent chunk of it and IT'S OKAY. You can put away the pitchforks and torches, and just trust me when I say that Rook needed this time to stand on her own and figure out a few things. When Ronin does return, he returns big - and then he'll spend the rest of the book rocking your freaking socks off.Where MANIC really shines, though, is in the final 1/3 of the book. I can't say anything more because there are too many ways I could spoil it, but this much I can tell you: JA Huss made damn sure that her book ended with a bang. There were a boatload of exciting developments, shocking surprises and heart-poundingly intense moments in the last pages, and I loved it.Book #3, PANIC, releases in October 2013, and I can't wait to read it!4.5 Stars ★★★★ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.