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Jan
25

Review: The Departed

Review: The Departed The Departed Author: Shiloh Walker  Release Date: Jan. 3, 2012 Publisher: Berkley Trade FBI Psychics Book 2 ISBN: #978-0425245217 Genre: Suspense Romance Format(s): Paperback (336 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: A LIFELONG OBSESSION FBI Special Agent Taylor Jones has made it his mission to save those in harm’s way by any means necessary—including employing psychic agents like Desiree “Dez” Lincoln, who can communicate with the disembodied spirits of the dead. Taylor is haunted by his own ghost, his kid sister, gone missing at age six. For a quarter of a century he has been tortured by her loss and the mystery of her disappearance. A NIGHT’S INDISCRETION When Dez is seriously wounded, Taylor can no longer hide his feelings for her. Getting involved could spell disaster for both of them—not to mention those who rely on them for help—but once Dez lays her hands on him, he can’t resist the fierce attraction. But after giving in to his desires, Taylor pulls back, and Dez strikes out on her own. AN INESCAPABLE PASSION Responding to the call of another anguished spirit, Dez is led to Taylor’s old hometown. As the two are forced to come together to save a girl in peril, Dez may be able to help Taylor finally find the answers he’s been looking for… What I’m talking about: When Dez Lincoln is seriously injured while saving a child from a horrible predator, her boss, Taylor Jones cannot get the gruesome images out of his mind. Although he is as cold as they come, inside Taylor is a wreck – trying to control a situation that is beyond his reach. The fear of losing Dez pushes Taylor to act out his inner-most desires and makes Dez’s fantasies come true. Until the next day… When Taylor does the unthinkable and orders Dez on a mandatory leave of absence. Dez knows that he’s doing it to put distance between the two so Taylor can rebuild his walls. But Dez isn’t going to take it and walks. Fast forward fourteen months. Dez is working free-lance and overwhelmed with the spirits of those that have passed. Taylor is making his annual visit home to pay tribute to his baby sister, who was abducted when she was six.  Both individuals are near their breaking points when they find each other again. Now they have to work together to unscramble cryptic clues left by the ghosts of French Lick, Indiana before...
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Jan
24

Review: Onyx Moon

Review: Onyx Moon Onyx Moon Author: Ann Mayburn  Release Date: Nov. 21, 2011 Publisher: Decadent Prides of the Moon #4 ISBN: #978-1613331644 Genre: Paranormal Romance, Erotica, Novella, GLBT Format(s): e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:      Marcus Galin has searched the world for a very special kind of werepuma, a Beta who has also been blessed by the Goddess as a shaman. His prayers are finally answered when Madame Eve of the 1 Night Stand matchmaking service arranges for him to meet a man in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica that fits his requirements. Only problem is that Marcus is terrified of magic and doesn’t know if he can overcome his fear enough to open his heart to a stranger that his pride and his heart desperately need.      Vashan Dulphin has spent all of his life as an outcast among his people. By a twist of fate and gentics at puberty he became a werejaguar much to his family and pride’s disgust. Since then he has lived in solitude among his people, barely tolerated only because of his power as both a Beta and a shaman. Desperate for a chance to find a home where he will be loved, he calls on the aid of Madame Eve who sends him Marcus.      Together the men will have to overcome their fear and self-doubt for a one in a million chance at love. What B is talking about:      As the alpha werepuma destined to take over his pack, Onyx Moon, Marcus is already shouldering much of the responsibility he owes his people. We first met Marcus at the end of Turquoise Moon, the third story in the series, while he was under the spell of the magically-aided, but crazed, Stephen, who was pursuing Kara as she tried to bond with her true mates. Marcus’ own pack has been without a shaman for too long, and it’s his duty to find one young and strong enough to protect the pride. The new shaman must also be a beta who will bond with Marcus, so that there can be no doubt as to the spiritual guide’s motives and loyalty. That alone is no small task, but combine it with Marcus’ fear of magic, and it seems impossible.      Vashan has his share of problems, too. Being the only werejaguar in his insular pack has been a burden; one that’s nearly become too much to carry. If it...
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Jan
24

Review: The Fallen Queen

Review: The Fallen Queen The Fallen Queen Author: Jane Kindred  Release Date: Dec. 6, 2011 Publisher: Entangled Publishing The House of Arkhangel’sk, #1 ISBN: 978-1937044534 Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s):  e-book, paperback. Book Source: NetGalley About the book: Heaven can go to hell. Until her cousin slaughtered the supernal family, Anazakia’s father ruled the Heavens, governing noble Host and Fallen peasants alike. Now Anazakia is the last grand duchess of the House of Arkhangel’sk, and all she wants is to stay alive. Hunted by Seraph assassins, Anazakia flees Heaven with two Fallen thieves—fire demon Vasily and air demon Belphagor, each with their own nefarious agenda—who hide her in the world of Man. The line between vice and virtue soon blurs, and when Belphagor is imprisoned, the unexpected passion of Vasily warms her through the Russian winter. Heaven seems a distant dream, but when Anazakia learns the truth behind the celestial coup, she will have to return to fight for the throne—even if it means saving the man who murdered everyone she loved. What VampBard’s talking about: The Fallen Queen is the first book in Ms. Kindred’s series, of which I can already tell that I’m going to be a HUGE fan.  My initial reaction, at 20% of the book read, was:  This is like Dune (Herbert) meets Singh’s Guild Hunters!  What a win-win for me! The beginning of The Fallen Queen  revealed a bit of history, as well as Anazakia doing her best to ‘test the limits’ regarding the rules of her station, as an heir to the throne of Arkhangel’sk. Kindred did a phenomenal job of setting-up her world. What can only be described as a coup, masterminded by the Evil Queen, as I came to call her, left Anazakia the only surviving heir…and only because she was acting ‘slightly’ outside the expected societal norm.  Luckily, Anazakia’s Nurse/confidante/governess (whatever you want to call her…) knew about Anazakia’s penchant for livin’ on the edge, found her with a necessary item, and paid a demon to keep her hidden.  Really enjoyed the Russian language, as well.   As we get further into the story, it becomes painfully obvious that Anazakia is someone important, and there are those that are willing to ‘obtain’ her.  It seems that it’s not simply her station that creates her importance.  Unfortunately, one of her ‘captors’ was injured, although she was able to assist with his rapid healing…to a certain point, and concurrently learned about her own powers in the world...
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Jan
23

Review: Heart’s Sentinel

Review: Heart’s Sentinel Heart’s Sentinel Author: PJ Schnyder  Release Date: Jan 5, 2011 Publisher: Decadent Publishing Terra’s Guardians #1 ISBN: #978-1936394425 Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s): Paperback (200 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:       Born human, Mackenzie never wanted to be a shapeshifter. After a shifter stalks and brutally Changes her, she runs to the jaguars of River Gap pride for protection from the stalker still searching for her, to come to terms with the attack and learn to control her new, powerful cougar body. Adam, a River Gap Sentinel, is assigned as her guard and mentor. Well aware of his strength and how new she is the shapeshifter world, he holds himself back from the flames of primal desire she ignites. But, to survive the stalker, they both need to first battle their pasts and learn what it truly means to be the sentinels of each other’s hearts. What G & U are talking about:      Heart’s Sentinel is the first book in the Terra’s Guardians series and was a great read.  Gikany and Una can see some similarities to a couple other series they enjoy, but there are enough differences to make this world of shifters and alien hunters intriguing and fascinating.      We felt there was a small homage to Lora Leigh’s Breeds and Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changling, but when it comes down to it; Heart’s Sentinel is its own world and incredibly tempting.  These shifters are a bit more akin to the wild nature of animals and yet they are balanced by their human half.  The dance between Adam and his mate Mac, was rich, tantalizing and when they finally came together, sizzling hot!  We enjoyed the dance that progressed between them.  The pacing and momentum were well done.      The mystery and hunting of Mac’s shapeshifter-stalker was also quite gripping.  It was incredibly difficult to put down; thankfully we had the ebook version.  Una found herself trying to catch red lights and long lines so she could keep reading.  The world-building that takes place (as usual in a first book of a series) was woven well into the storyline.  The way the pack acts and works was really heart-warming as they come together to protect a woman, changed against her will, trying to learn to live in this new, strange and difficult chapter of her life.  However, considering she gets Adam….well, there should be SOME benefit!      As we did...
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Jan
18

Review: Bride By Mistake

Review: Bride By Mistake Bride By Mistake Author: Anne Gracie  Release Date: Jan. 3, 2012 Publisher: Berkley Sensation The Devil Riders #5 ISBN: #978-0425245798  Genre: Regency, Historical Romance Format(s): Paperback (320 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Eight years ago, Lieutenant Luke Ripton made a hasty wartime marriage-in-name-only to protect a young girl from a forced union and left her protected in a remote mountain convent.  Now, Luke is Lord Ripton, but he has been unable to obtain an annulment.  Which leaves him no choice but to collect a wife he doesn’t want. For nearly a decade, Isabella has waited like a princess locked in a tower, dreaming of her handsome, dark-eyed prince.  Her dreams are shattered when Luke reveals himself not as a prince, but an autocratic soldier, expecting her unquestioning obedience, which is something Isabella’s fiercely independent nature will not tolerate. And while Luke and Isabella’s fiery personalities clash at every turn, they remain bound to their vows, ever expecting that the passionate fury they share could become passion of a different kind… What Nima’s talking about: When I saw the title of Anne Gracie’s Bride By Mistake, I have to admit that my first thought was of Deeanne Gist’s 2005 novel, A Bride Most Begrudging.  Gist’s book is very loosely based on Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew.”  Bride By Mistake does deal with issues of respect, obedience, and submissiveness, but bears no other resemblance to the earlier novel.   The Devil Riders series follows four of five best friends, Gabe, Harry, Rafe, Michael, and Luke, labeled in school as, “Wellington’s Angels or his Devil Riders, depending on who you talk to.”  Bride by Mistake is the fifth installment and follows the last hold-out, the most haunted by his experience during England’s war with France.  This is Luke’s story of recovery, redemption, and true love.  The action in Luke’s story takes place almost exclusively in Spain with virtually no interaction between him and his friends back in England so it stands alone very nicely if you haven’t read the previous books.   Gracie’s novel splits the narration, vocal and internal, between Lieutenant, newly titled Lord, Luke Ripton and Spanish heiress Isabella Mercedes Sanchez y Vaillant Ripton.  Luke begins the book as a haunted bad boy, suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, with the secret heart of a gentleman–always duty-bound to do the right thing and protect the innocent.  You just want to spank him, send him to bed…and then...
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Jan
17

Review: Darker After Midnight

Review: Darker After Midnight Darker After Midnight Author: Lara Adrian  Release Date: Jan. 24, 2012 Publisher: Delacorte Press Midnight Breed #10 ISBN: #978-0345530875 Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s): Hardcover (384 pgs), e-book, audio Book Source: Author About the book:      In the dark of night, a blood war escalates within the hidden world of the Breed. After existing in secret for many long centuries, maintaining a fragile peace with the humans who walk beside them unaware, a single act of retaliation has put the entire vampire nation at risk of discovery. It falls to the Order–a cadre of Breed warriors pledged to protect their own and humankind alike–to stop Dragos, the power-mad vampire at the center of the conflict, before his push for domination can explode into catastrophe.      At the center of the Order’s quest is Sterling Chase, once a morally rigid enforcer of Breed law, now a warrior fallen from grace, whose biggest battle is the one he wages against his own savage nature. With addiction beckoning him toward eternal darkness, Chase’s path to redemption has never seemed more out of reach–until he finds himself drawn to a beautiful young woman who may be something much more than she seems . . . What I’m talking about:      Okay, so I’m just going to come out and say it: I LOVED THIS BOOK! I am in awe of the mastery Ms. Adrian has put onto the pages. If you have not read the Midnight Breeds series, go pick up book 1, Kiss of Midnight, NOW and do NOT start here if you want to enjoy the full potential of this book.      Last we saw outcast Breed warrior, Chase Sterling, he was sacrificing himself to save his former friends and comrades. Darker After Midnight picks up immediate after the conclusion of Deeper Than Midnight. Chase has been incarcerated by the human police force, the Order has gone into hiding and Dragos is taking over Boston. It’s a scary time for law-abiding Breeds. Chase is hell-bent on bring Dragos down, which includes killing off some very high-profile human Minions (mind-slaves to Dragos).      Right in the center of Chase’s path of vengeance is the exotic Tavia Fairchild, and soon they both discover she is so much more than anyone understands.  Tavia has been lied to her entire life and is inexplicable drawn to Chase. Although she fears him, she stays with Chase because he tells her the truth....
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Jan
13

Review: Raven Cursed

Review: Raven Cursed Raven Cursed Author: Faith Hunter  Release Date: Jan. 3, 2012 Publisher: ROC Jane Yellowrock Series #4 ISBN: #978-0451464330 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (384 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Jane Yellowrock is a shape-shifting skinwalker and vampire hunter for hire. But lately instead of just slaying vampires, she’s been working for them. The vampires of Asheville, North Carolina, want to establish their own clan, but since they owe loyalty to the Master Vampire of New Orleans they must work out the terms with him. To come up with an equitable solution, he sends an envoy with the best bodyguard blood money can buy: skinwalker Jane Yellowrock. But when a group of local campers are attacked by something fanged, Jane goes from escort to investigator. Is it a rogue-vampire, shapechanger, or witch? Or something else magical? Unless she wants to face a very angry master vampire, she will have to work overtime to find the killer. It’s a good thing she’s worth every penny. What B is talking about: Against her better judgment, Jane Yellowrock has once again signed on to work for the Blood Master of the City of New Orleans, Leo Pellissier. This time, she’s in charge of security for talks between Leo’s representative and another master vamp who’s ready for territory of his own. With her crew of hired guns, and her inner Beast helping her along the way, the job should be fairly simple. But, as Jane’s learned time and again, with the vamps, nothing ever is. Hunter doesn’t shy away from complex storytelling, leading both her heroine and her readers through a maze of subplots and conflicts. Raven Cursed and its predecessor, Mercy Blade (review HERE), are two of the busiest stories I’ve read to date. The cast of species/creatures alone is a lot to take in: witches of all sorts, a sorcerer, weres, Mithrans (vampires), blood-servants (and slaves), a grindylow, angels, demons, and humans. There is so much going on, it almost makes me dizzy to think how Jane manages it all. But, that’s part of what makes Jane such a relatable heroine to me: she doesn’t handle it all. Not always well, anyway. She makes mistakes, and in her line of work, those mistakes are often irreversible and deadly. Sometimes, through a certain amount of vanity over her abilities, or a dogged focus on the bigger picture facing her, Jane misses things. But in Hunter’s writing, the inconsequential doesn’t really...
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Jan
6

Review: Lure of Song and Magic

Review: Lure of Song and Magic Lure of Song and Magic Author: Patricia Rice  Release Date: Jan. 1, 2012 Publisher: Sourcebooks Magic Series spinoff ISBN: #978-1402255748 Genre: Contemporary Romance/Paranormal Format(s): Paperback (352 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Workaholic TV producer Dylan Ives believes former singing sensation Syrene Malcolm holds the clue to finding his kidnapped son. A lost child herself, Syrene cares about the missing boy even though Dylan’s personality is nothing short of rude. But Syrene refuses to unleash her dangerous siren’s voice, even for a man who is impossible to deny… What I’m talking about: Dylan Ives is a highly successful LA producer with a heavy heart. His 4-year-old son was kidnapped a year ago, a year after his wife ran away (and subsequently died) with the boy, fearful the boy was in danger. Dylan refused to believe his son was dead, so when a he receives a mysterious text from a person called “the Librarian” that a former child star can help find his missing son, Dylan tracks her down. Pippa James is a secluded children’s author, hiding from her destructive past. At the age of twelve, she was Syrene, a singing sensation, and by age 18 she was an emotional wreck, widow, and has-been child star. She believes her Voice is evil and will cause utter despair. She thinks her Voice turned her teenage husband to drugs and his early demise. She hides in the mountains, keeping her singing and Voice safe from the outside world. Lure of Song and Magic is a spin-off of sorts of Ms. Rice’s Magic series, a historically-set romance series with a hint of magic. Lure focuses on the descendants of the original characters (for a look at the first book in the series, Merely Magic, click HERE). Lure is a stand alone story and does not require any knowledge of the original series. I thoroughly enjoyed this book! Right from the start, I was under Pippa’s spell; she captured me as she does the hearts and minds of friends and strangers alike. Pippa does have a gift, and with the help of years of isolation and Dylan’s persistence, she learns that her Voice can be a joyful, beautiful thing. Pippa and Dylan’s love grew from an honest place. It wasn’t love at first site, nor was it an “I hate you, therefore I love you” cliche. The characters are written with their hearts on their sleeves. Each alone, but not overly lonely, they...
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Jan
5

Review: Haunted Warrior

Review: Haunted Warrior Haunted Warrior Author: Allie Mackay  Release Date: Jan. 3, 2012 Publisher: Signet ISBN: #978-0451235480 Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s): Paperback (352 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Kendra Chase is exhausted from her work as a ghost whisperer, so she’s been looking forward to her vacation in Edinburgh. But work awaits her as the tiny fishing village is being excavated, and supernatural uprisings have been reported.  Graeme MacGrath knows the source of the psychic trouble. The excavation is disrupting the protective veil between this world and darker, more ancient ones. He hates to admit it but he will need the fetching Kendra and her paranormal abilities to save the town he loves from unspeakable evil. What VampBard’s talking about: Initial reaction: um. Wow. The heat with this one starts right away **fans self**. The tension in this title builds from page 1. The inner conflict for both the hero and heroine are tremendous, especially since they’re both keeping secrets from one another – secrets they believe will push the other away. Ha. As. If. Kendra, our heroine, finds herself in the Scottish Highlands, walking. She senses something powerful – electric even – on the Highlands with her, and notices Mr. Hottie, clad in a kilt and cape. Wowza. She’s totally worried that she looks like scum – Ladies, don’t we always worry about this when we see the Man of Our Dreams!?!?! Kendra and Graeme are tossed together until Graeme makes it his mission in life to ‘protect’ her from the bad guy. Kendra, on assignment for Ghosthunters International, fears she is breaking one of her cardinal rules: never fall in love while on assignment. Meh. Can’t help when love finds us, right? Animal lovers: this one is for you! Kendra is an animal lover, too! What I really enjoyed about Kendra was her drive to be independent, but she wasn’t stupid about it. You know, the kind of heroine that does really stupid stuff just to prove she can do it, or to make a point? You won’t find Kendra pulling that stuff. Gotta say, I loved the epilogue… don’t ditch it 😉 Mr. Mystery Man, making his premier in the first several pages of the book, has looks and magnetism to spare. Think: Ronn Moss (from the soap The Bold and the Beautiful) in his younger days. After wiping up the puddle of drool and getting ice for my beverage, I continued to read. Graeme is...
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Jan
4

Review: Clockwork Prince

Review: Clockwork Prince Clockwork Prince Author: Cassandra Clare Release Date: Dec. 6, 2011 Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books Infernal Devices #2 ISBN: #978-1416975885 Genre: Young Adult (Historical Urban Fantasy) Format(s): Hardcover (528 pgs), e-book, audio Book Source: Purchased with my own funds About the book:      In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street—and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends.       With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister’s war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move—and that one of their own has betrayed them.       Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, though her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will—the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?       As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart. What Una is talking about:      It may be solely because of the nostalgia that I feel from reading them, but I do love young adult novels.  I will, however, preface this by saying I have learned that whiny, impulsive, immature heroines/heroes do not appeal to me (this assumes that they do not learn from their mistakes).  However, Cassandra Clare has created a rich world of characters that becomes a part of you through her Mortal Instruments and her Infernal Devices series.      The...
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