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Sep
13

Review: Basilisk

Review: Basilisk Basilisk Author: Rob Thurman  Release Date: August 2, 2011Publisher: RocChimera Novels #2ISBN: #978-0451464149Genre: Science FictionFormat(s): Paperback (339 pgs), e-bookBook Source: Publisher About the book: See no evil. Seek no evil… Survive no evil. Stefan Korsak and his genetically-altered brother have evaded the Institute for three years. When they learn the new location of the secret lab, they plan to break in and save the remaining children there. But one of the little ones doesn’t want to leave. She wants to kill… What G & U are talking about: Basilisk is the second book in the Chimera Novels.  Gikany and Una went ahead and read the previous book, Chimera.  To understand the depth of this book, we recommend you also read it first.  It is not entirely necessary, but you miss out on the development of Misha and a strong connection to the main characters: Stefan, Misha and Saul if you don’t. The first book was a gripping page-turner, and Ms. Thurman did not let us down in this one.  However, we felt the characters actually had better luck this time around.  The dedication says it all in Basilisk:  “To my characters – I am so damn sorry for the things I do to you. But what the hell?  I do have to pay the bills.” There are moments when we truly thought they have the absolute worst luck – especially in the first book.  (Which we highly recommend you read…it is amazing what those two brothers were able to live through!)  But it added to the richness of the novel and the suspense of the drama.  It is truly a fascinating world that Ms. Thurman has created and yet, is so realistic.  With all the genetic work and advancements that have been made in our currently lifetime…it is all too plausible a scenario.  This grounds the novel and helps to drawn the reader in. The voice of the first book was, appropriately, Stefan’s.  He is the older brother who sought his missing younger brother, found him, and rescued him.  However, this book is from Misha’s point of view and his was the perfect voice.  As Ms. Thurman points out on his website, we were able to see the changes that have occurred in Michael (also referred to as Misha) and his continuing development.  What was most enjoyable was that the ending was not given away…even though we were in Misha’s head the whole time.   This was an incredibly...
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Sep
9

Review: Isle of Night

Review: Isle of Night Isle of Night Author: Veronica Wolff  Release Date: September 6, 2011 Publisher: NAL Trade The Watchers #1 ISBN: #978-0451234629 Genre: Young Adult (Paranormal) Format(s): Paperback (312 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:       IS LIFE OFFERING FEWER AND FEWER OPTIONS? THEN JOIN THE DEAD.        When Annelise left for college, it meant good riddance to her abusive father and stepmother—until a bureaucratic screw-up left her without a diploma, flat broke, and facing a future that seemed more elusive than ever. Then she met Ronan—tall, dark, and way too seductive for her own good. He promised Annelise a new life, if she had the courage to chance the unknown. One look at him and she certainly had the desire. Sure enough, accepting rides from strangers does yield surprises.        Whisked away to a mysterious island in the North Sea, Annelise is pitted against other female recruits in tests of skill, smarts, and strength. To win is to become a member of the Watchers, an elite and unique partnership—with vampires—that dispatches its teams on the most dangerous missions imaginable. It’s not exactly what Annelise had in mind for a new beginning but it’s livelier than the alternative. Because on the Isle of Night, to lose the challenge doesn’t just mean dishonor. It means death. Let the games begin. What G & U are talking about:       Isle of Night is the premier book in the new young adult series The Watchers.  This is a fresh and tantalizing series that anyone from middle school-aged children to adults may enjoy.  Due to some more adult issues (maybe a bit scary), we feel that this would not be an appropriate book for elementary school children.       The premise feels like Twilight, The Hunger Games, and Vampire Academy all rolled into one.  Annelise (usually called Drew) is a teenaged genius who has come from an abusive home and dreams of a better life.  However, the old adage of be careful what you wish for… has never more rang more true than in Drew’s case.  This world she has now found herself in has only two paths: excel or die.       Una and Gikany found Isle of Night to be captivating and enthralling.  The story flows easily and the novel is very difficult to put down.  Drew is a character that is easy to relate to.  She is neither horribly complicated nor...
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Sep
5

Review: Archangel’s Blade

Review: Archangel’s Blade Archangel’s Blade Author: Nalini Singh  Release Date: September 6, 2011 Publisher: Berkley Sensation Guild Hunter #4 ISBN: #978-0425243916 Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s): Paperback (336 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher   About the book:       The severed head marked by a distinctive tattoo on its cheek should have been a Guild case, but dark instincts honed over hundreds of years of life compel the vampire Dmitri to take control. There is something twisted about this death, something that whispers of centuries long past…but Dmitri’s need to discover the truth is nothing to the vicious strength of his response to the hunter assigned to decipher the tattoo.       Savaged in a brutal attack that almost killed her, Honor is nowhere near ready to come face to face with the seductive vampire who is an archangel’s right hand, and who wears his cruelty as boldly as his lethal sensuality…the same vampire who has been her secret obsession since the day she was old enough to understand the inexplicable, violent emotions he aroused in her.       As desire turns into a dangerous compulsion that might destroy them both, it becomes clear the past will not stay buried. Something is hunting…and it will not stop until it brings a blood-soaked nightmare to life once more… What I’m talking about:       For the fourth (and possibly best) Guild Hunter book, Ms. Singh steers away from main characters Archangel Raphael and his Hunter Consort Elena, who were the primary focus of the first three books.  Instead we follow Raphael’s second-in-command, the ancient vampire, Dmitri and recently abducted Hunter, Honor. Chronologically, this story follows the third book, Archangel’s Consort (review HERE, purchase info Archangel’s Consort (Guild Hunter)), and readers of the series will recognize several familiar faces.       With the change in character focus, I feel that readers new to this series *could* start with Archangel’s Blade, however, this is such an amazing series, I recommend starting at the beginning where readers witness how cold and cruel Dmitri is. Dmitri is near immortal and has lived a long life, completely loyal to no one except Raphael.  The development of Dmitri’s character over the course of the first three books washes over and clings to you like I imagine his ability to manipulate scents to lure and trap his prey. She managed to draw me into Dmitri’s web, where I too became one of his “victims.” I love...
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Aug
31

Review: Demon Marked

Review: Demon Marked Demon Marked Author: Meljean Brook  Release Date: September 6, 2011 Publisher: Berkley Sensation The Guardians #7 (does not include novellas) ISBN: #978-0425242698 Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s): Paperback (336 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher   About the book:       Nicholas St. Croix is familiar with the evil of demons. After his father’s death, a demon took over his mother’s body and raised him. Six years ago, his “mother” was responsible for the disappearance of the woman he loved, and Nicholas swore he’d find her—even if he had to go to Hell and back. Except she finds him first—and with one tormented kiss, he knows she too is a demon. Now he is determined to take his revenge…       Ash is a half-demon with no memory of her past or how she got to Hell. All she knows is that Nicholas St. Croix holds the key to her identity. And though he’s clearly drawn to her, Nicholas makes no secret of his distrust of her. Yet one kiss at a time, he breaks down her defenses as they battle an array of demons and Guardians. But is Ash’s greatest enemy the man at her side? What I’m talking about:       For those that don’t already know this… I adore the Guardian Series and Meljean Brook. I have been anxiously awaiting Demon Marked, not because of the primary characters, but rather because I know the series will be ending after the next book and I wanted to see where Meljean went with this one.  Let me tell you, this book was better than I hoped!       Ash isn’t really sure who or what she is – she doesn’t remember Before, only After. Something unknown happened to Ash and now she only recalls that for three years she was locked in the Nightingale House, living each day without experiencing any emotions, never eating nor sleeping. After her escape, she begins to track down clues that might help her learn her history, the biggest clue being Nicholas St. Croix.       Nicholas has his own agenda – finding the demon, Madeline, that impersonated his mother and ruined his life. He lives for the sole purpose of revenge. Thinking he can use Ash as bait to bring in Madeline, Nicholas agrees to help Ash, even though he doesn’t trust her. Together they begin to piece the puzzle together, learning that there are exceptions to every rule....
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Aug
29

Review: Master of Shadows

Review: Master of Shadows Master of Shadows Author: Angela Knight  Release Date: August 2, 2011 Publisher: Berkley Sensation Mageverse #12 ISBN: #978-0425243671 Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s): Paperback (#310 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Court seducer La Belle Coeur has met her match in Tristan, a Knight of the Round Table unafraid of blood-or lust. Joining together to combat a werewolf wizard and sworn enemy of Arthur, they must put their lives on the line-while coming to grips with the rising heat between them.  The situation becomes even more explosive when a young werewolf is murdered – and the Direkind believe Arthur Pendragon is the killer… What Una is talking about: Master of Shadows is the twelfth installment in the Mageverse series by Angela Knight.  This is a series that I started following because I really enjoyed a short story from this world in anthology I picked up on a whim.  For me, this series qualifies as a guilty pleasure.  Due to some personal reasons (I haven’t had a lot of time lately to read), it seems I missed the book prior to this one, Master of Smoke.  However, I will say it didn’t detract from my overall enjoyment of the novel, especially since I’m familiar with the world as it is.   If you wanted to jump into the series, I would recommend, if you do not wish to start from the beginning, start with Master of Wolves (book 5).  It will nicely introduce the Direkind and give enough background to follow the next novels.  However, if you don’t mind having to fill in a few blanks, feel free to start with Master of Smoke since it is the novel where the new “evil” starts.  There are a few major plot points that I believe will be important in the next novel and I could tell I was missing some vital information which I know must be in that novel.   Master of Shadows is an enjoyable read.  If I am honest with you, I will admit that I told myself when I started that I thought I wouldn’t like it.  We are hitting the time when author’s typically in a long series start to repeat plot lines, the plot resolutions become far-fetched or they start to alter the foundations of the mythology in order to keep things fresh and new in the series.  As much as I dreaded starting, once I begun, I was again hooked and I am...
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Aug
25

Review: Darkness Descending

Review: Darkness Descending Darkness Descending Author: Devyn Quinn Release Date: August 2011 Publisher: Signet Eclipse Vampire Armageddon Book 1 ISBN: 978-0451234339 Genre: Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (353 pages) Book Source: Publisher About the book: The first seal has been broken, signaling the end of days. Fallen angels in the form of vampires are infecting humans one by one, creating an army fit for Armageddon. Of the few who survive the infection, one stands alone above all others… For one year, Jesse Burke has been suppressing the beast within, driven by vengeance to destroy the vampiric fallen angels terrorizing New Orleans. But a war of biblical proportions is too much for one girl to handle, and she must turn to slayer Maddox deValois for training, though it threatens her fiercely-guarded independence. At the same time, the sinister demon Queen Amonate is doing everything in her power to lure Jesse into embracing the darkness inside her soul—a power play that will trap her in a deadly web of deception between the forces of good and evil… Before this war is over, everyone will learn that hell hath no fury like a woman possessed… What B is talking about: Jesse Burke has been living on the streets for a year, grieving the murder of her twin and fighting the unwelcome evil within herself. Overwhelmed by her need for vengeance, she vows to destroy the vampires who’ve ruined her life. Unfortunately, all of her knowledge of the undead comes from literature and movies, she’s alone, and even a good meal to keep her strength up is hard to come by in post-Katrina New Orleans. Maddox deValois is a Palindrome: a descendent of the angels themselves. They’ve been sent by the Enlightened One to help mankind survive the first plague of the apocalypse: vampires. Though there are two others like him to fight the demons in New Orleans, Maddox is a loner. Tired and battling his own grief, he harbors a dark secret, one that could get them all killed. There’s so much to like about this story, it’s hard to know where to start. Darkness Descending is very much an urban fantasy novel, the battle to save humanity and the darkness that envelops the characters taking a huge share of the spotlight. Thoroughly a romance novel as well, however, the growing affection between Jesse and Maddox is given its due as well, giving the story a well-balanced feel. Both main characters are flawed, but despite Jesse having been infected...
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Aug
24

Review: Shadowflame

Review: Shadowflame Shadowflame Author: Dianne Sylvan  Release Date: July 26, 2011 Publisher: Ace Novel of the Shadow World #2 ISBN:978-0441020652 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (360 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:      It’s been three months since musician Miranda Grey became a vampire and married David Solomon, Prime of the South. As Queen, Miranda must quickly come to terms with her new role and learn how to negotiate the treacherous waters of Signet politics, inevitably making dangerous enemies along the way.      As if complicated vampire politics and a rising music career weren’t enough, an enigmatic but powerful force from David’s past appears, leaving a wake of chaos and uncertainty for the Pair’s fledgling relationship. Miranda begins to realize how little she really knows about her husband. But when an assassin begins targeting her friends and allies, the Pair must track down the killer, even as their lives hang in the balance… What G & U are talking about:      Shadowflame is the second novel in the exciting new Shadow World series.  It begins three months after the resolution of the first book Queen of the Shadows.  Due to the nature of the story and character development, and since there is only one book prior to this one, we recommend you read this series from the beginning.  Trust us, it is worth it.      The Shadow World is a world that exists within our own.  This is where vampires (and possibly … other things) exist.  Shadowflame is a gripping read as Miranda, the newly turned vampire and new Queen of the Southern Territory, tries to find her place and role within this world while still trying to hold on to some human ties.  There is a strong, grounded feel to this series, which allows the reader to truly lose herself in the storytelling.  The suspense of the action/mystery is expertly woven with the drama of the relationships.  It was very difficult for us to put it down.  The duality of the worlds and the interactions between them are fascinating and add to the richness of the story.      Some of the drama between Miranda and her Prime, David, is surprising.  We found it somewhat interesting, knowing how much “older” David is than Miranda, that they don’t spend more time getting to know each other and asking those “early relationship building” questions.  We understand that there are some secrets that people feel they must...
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Aug
19

Review: Black Night

Review: Black Night Black Night Author: Christina Henry  Release Date: July 26, 2011 Publisher: ACE Madeline Black #2 ISBN: #978-1937007065 Genre: Urban Fantacy Format(s): Paperback (288 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:       Madeline Black is an Agent of death, meaning she escorts the souls of people who have died to the afterlife. Of course, not everyone is happy to see her…        If obstinate dead people were all that Maddy had to worry about, life would be much easier. But the best-laid plans of Agents and fallen angels often go awry. Deaths are occurring contrary to the natural order, Maddy’s being stalked by foes inside and outside of her family, and her two loves-her bodyguard, Gabriel, and her doughnut-loving gargoyle, Beezle-have disappeared. But because Maddy is Lucifer’s granddaughter, things are expected of her, things like delicate diplomatic missions to other realms. What I’m talking about:       After reading Ms. Henry’s debut Black Wings (review HERE, purchase info: Black Wings), I couldn’t wait to find out what was in store for heroine, Maddy. When we last left Maddy, she had found out her “dead-beat dad” is actually Azazel and her grandfather is none other than Lucifer himself. She was in love with her bodyguard, Gabriel, but because of Lucifer’s laws, they are not allowed to be together-ever. Oh, and she’s engaged to some tight-ass fallen angel, Nathaniel, because her father said so.       Black Night picks up shortly after the conclusion of the first book. Once again, Ms. Henry packs in the action right away.  This time around, Maddy, Gabriel and gargoyle Beezle stumble across the gruesome murder of a werewolf and discover that a begrudged demon is out to kill Maddy (for murdering its father). Things progress quickly when Maddy’s mates disappear and she is forced to act as Lucifer’s ambassador to the fae kingdom of Queen Amarantha, who has quite a few nefarious plans of her own.       The book was another quick, enjoyable read. The plot moved swiftly and there was plenty of action and adventure.  The star-crossed romance was toned down quite a bit and new possibilities were brought forth.  I enjoyed the complications Queen Amarantha presented and loved that Maddy really came into her own this time around.  Not only did her powers grow, but she is learning how to maneuver this still-new-to-her world without losing herself or diminishing her priorities.       One thing that...
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Aug
18

Review: Heart Search

Review: Heart Search Please welcome my friend, VampBard who wrote today’s review of… Heart Search Author: Robin D. Owens  Release Date: August 2, 2011 Publisher: Berkley Trade Heart Book Series #10 ISBN: #978-0425241387 Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s): Paperback (368 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher   About the book: Laev T’Hawthorn — one of the highest nobles in the land — must rebuild his life after a devastating mistake.  He married a woman he believed was his HeartMate, only to learn she was a greedy social climber.  She callously used him, stealing his family heirlooms.  He is determined to reclaim all that he has lost — beginning with his self-respect. Abandoned at fifteen, Camellia Darjeeling values her independence above all.  She’s fought to establish her own businesses — elegant tearooms — only to have her father and uncle re-enter her life.  They emotionally scourge her and extort money.  Trusting men, even her HeartMate, is too risky. When Laev and Camellia meet, they refuse to acknowledge that they are true HeartMates.  After her shady relatives are implicated in the theft of Laev’s property, Camellia and Laev’s lives become ever more entangled bringing each to the brink of despair and passion…and a destiny they can no longer avoid. What VampBard talking about:      Heart Search is the tenth book in Owens’ series. This is my first time reading her work. Let me just start by saying I L-O-V-E the world she’s created! This world is the perfect blend of fiction and reality for me. Just enough sci-fi tossed in to make it interesting, too. The mythology behind this novel was well-researched, and the combination of Wiccan and Druidism as well as some of the Celtic myth definitely kept my interest, as I constantly find myself drawn to stories of this type.      The hero, Laev, is an extraordinary hero. At the onset of the story, he’s a ruler that has not stepped up to his role. By the end of the novel, however, Laev is THE man! He rights wrongs, and seeks solutions to problems. Most importantly, he finds the love of his life – his HeartMate – in Camellia.      Camellia, a heroine as strong as they come, provides the story with a strong dose of reality. We all have skeletons in our closet, and poor Camellia has to deal with hers quite often. She loves passionately, works hard, and is self-sufficient. While she doesn’t really have room nor time in...
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Aug
16

Review: Redeeming the Rogue

Review: Redeeming the Rogue Please welcome my friend, Maggi who is writing a guest review of: Redeeming the Rogue Author: Donna MacMeans  Release Date: August 2, 2011 Publisher: Berkley Sensation ISBN: #978-0425242674 Genre: Historical Romance Format(s): Paperback (336 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: As an agent for the Crown, Michael Rafferty is on the trail of a violent Irish separatist in Washington, D.C. But to complete his disguise as a diplomat, he needs Lady Arianne Chambers to portray his wife. As she teaches the rough Rafferty about high society, he teaches her to unleash the passions she has denied for so long… What Mags is talking about: I do not typically read historical romance; I am a paranormal romance girl through and through! That being said, this book took me by surprise!  If you are like me and are unsure of the genre, DO NOT write this book off just because it is a HR.  I would pack this book in my beach bag any day. I liked the way the relationship between Lady Arianne and Rafferty developed slowly. Where slow could have been boring, it wasn’t. Instead it was carefully crafted sexual tension that left me fanning myself quite a few times. I connected well with the characters and enjoyed their witty bantering; I even hit the emotional trifecta: laughing, crying and nail biting. I could easily visualize both London and Washington D.C. in 1881 from the clothes to the cityscape. My favorite part of the writing was how the historically accurate story of President Garfield’s assassination intertwined with the fictional murder of Lord Weston. It gave the story an angle that was unique to other books in this genre. There were a couple of parts during the voyage across the ocean that was dragging a bit.  I will say that I was very happy when our couple made it to the American coastline. In addition, the storyline of Lady Arianne’s escort, Mrs. Summers, was not very interesting, and her character got on my nerves.  Overall, I enjoyed Redeeming the Rogue. I would recommend it to historical romance fans and also to fans of easy Sunday afternoon reads. I most certainly would read this author again. Mags’ Rating: Loved it – enthusiastically...
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