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Mar
3

Review: Merely Magic

Review: Merely Magic Merely Magic Author: Patricia Rice Release Date: re-release March 1, 2011 Publisher: Sourcebooks/Casablanca Magic Series Book 1 ISBN: #978-1402251931 Genre: Historical Romance Format(s): paperback (352 pgs), e-book  I received a copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review. From the back cover: She has the magic as her birthright… Ninian is a healer, but she’s a Malcolm first and foremost, and Malcolms have always had a bit of magic-unpredictable though it is-to aid them in their pursuits. She knows she must accept what she is or perish, but then Lord Drogo Ives arrives, brining the deepest, most powerful magic she’s ever experienced and turning Ninian’s world upside down… A man of science doesn’t believe in anything he can’t see…. Drogo Ives has no time for foolish musings or legends, even if he can’t seem to resist the local witch. Thrown together by a series of disastrous events, Ninian won’t give herself fully to Drogo until she can make him trust and believe in her, and that’s the last thing he’ll ever do… As the danger and chaos surrounding them escalates, Drogo and Ninian will be forced to decide: their love or their lives… What I’m talking about: Ninian is an outsider in her small village. Although she grew up among the villagers and counts some as friends, the legend of the Malcolm witches keep the superstitious denizens at a cautious distance.  On the night of the Beltane, Ninian watches the villagers from a far before moving on to collect some herbs. On her walk she discovers that Lord Drogo, the Earl of Ives, has moved into the Wystan castle – the first Ives to live there in generations. She is instantly taken with the dark stranger, and he is held captive by Ninian’s charm.  Soon a series of events ties the two together.  Although Ninian and Drogo fight instant attraction, his meddling step-sister brews an aphrodisiac that lands the two in bed early on in the story. Neither is willing to change his/her life nor do either want marriage. Yet when Drogo discovers Ninian is pregnant, a hope for the heir he’s never had emerges and he insists on a wedding.   I throughly enjoyed this love story. Ninian and Drogo are both stubborn yet not so obstinate that they are willing to give their relationship a chance, even with all of their differences. They undergo a “one-step forward, two-steps back” type of...
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Mar
2

Review: Taste Me

Review: Taste Me Taste Me Author: Tamara Hogan Release Date: March 1, 2011 Publisher: Sourcebooks, Inc. Underbelly Chronicles, Book 1 ISBN: #978-1402246012 Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance Format(s): Paperback (384 pgs) I received a copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review. From the author’s website: He wants her so badly he can taste it… Ever since their tempestuous fling years ago, incubus Lukas Sebastiani has known that siren Scarlett Fontaine was meant to be his. But when you’re a sex demon with an insatiable desire, relationships are…complicated. Her siren song brings men to their knees… Rock star Scarlett Fontaine desperately needs a break after a grueling tour. But with murder and mayhem surrounding her band, and Lukas guarding her body, life is going to be anything but peaceful.  Every encounter between them creates more turmoil—and heat—until Scarlett pushes Lukas to the boiling point, and unleashes forces that go way beyond anything she can hope to control…  What B is talking about: Lukas Sebastiani has more to contend with than your average incubus: he’s on the trail of a killer, has a genetic quirk that enhances his incubus abilities far beyond anything “normal,” even for an incubus, and he has just been tasked with guarding the one woman he’s never been able to forget. Too bad he’s convinced she’d be better off without him.  Scarlett Fontaine is a Siren on the run from memories of the man who broke her heart and the lost love she’d given up on over a year ago. But a string of murders brings Lukas is back into her life, and this time she won’t let him go without a fight. I’m very excited to be able to read the first novel in Hogan’s new Underbelly Chronicles series. Hogan has created a wonderful heroine in Scarlett who, even when she’s most uncertain, remains clever and determined. She realizes that, in order to win Lukas’s love, she’ll have to strip away his control, make him meet her passion with his own, and teach him to accept not only the love she’s offering, but the worth of the love he himself has to give.  Lukas carries quite a few alpha male characteristics, such as the need to be in control, a healthy dose of “hapless male syndrome,” and worst of all, the tendency to assume that his point of view is the divine lens of absolute truth. Owing to Hogan’s capable storytelling, however,...
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Mar
1

Review: River Marked

Review: River Marked River Marked Author: Patricia Briggs Release Date: March 1, 2011 Publisher: Ace Books Mercy Thompson Series #6 ISBN: #978-0441019731 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Hardcover (336 pgs), e-book I received a copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review. From the book dust jacket:      Welcome to Patricia Brigg’s world, a place where “witches, vampires, werewolves, and shapeshifters live beside ordinary people” (Booklist).  It takes a very unusual woman to call it home – and there’s no one quite like Mercy.      Coyote Shifter Mercy Thompson knows that life with her mate, the Alpha werewolf Adam, will never be boring, but even their wedding doesn’t go as planned.  Nevertheless, a ten-day honeymoon camping on the banks of the Columbia River, alone, just the two of them, should make up for it.  But the trip – and the pimped-out trailer they’re using – is courtesy of the fae.  And nothing from the fae comes without strings attached….      Being a different breed of shapeshifter – a walker – Mercy can see ghosts, but the spirit of her long-gone father has never visited her.  Until now.  An evil is stirring in the depths of the Columbia River – and innocent people are dying.  As other walkers make their presence known to Mercy, she must reconnect with her heritage to exorcise the world of the legend known as the river devil… What Gikany & Una are talking about:      The wait is over, at least for us, River Marked is here!  Would it be wrong to say that the rest of you poor people had to wait until the March 1?  Oh, wait, today is the first of March…well, what are you waiting for? GO GET IT!  This highly anticipated sixth novel in the Mercy Thompson series was well worth waiting for.      **Please note, if you haven’t read the series, this review will spoil some plot points in the earlier books so please; Go buy and read the first five books (or check them out from your local library) and then come back, read this review and then go get this book.  We are happy to help you out!      The first part of the novel is classic Mercy Thompson.  It has all of the elements of humor and wit that we have come to associate with Patricia Briggs’ writing.  We’ll just come out and say it: Mercy and Adam...
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Feb
28

Review: Moon Called

Review: Moon Called Moon Called Author: Patricia Briggs  Release Date: January 31, 2006 Publisher: Ace Mercy Thompson Series #1 ISBN: #978-0441013814 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): hardcover (reprint 2010), paperback (304 pgs), e-book This book was purchased with their own money. From the Goodreads:      Werewolves can be dangerous if you get in their way, but they’ll leave you alone if you are careful. They are very good at hiding their natures from the human population, but I’m not human. I know them when I meet them, and they know me, too.       Mercy Thompson’s sexy next-door neighbor is a werewolf.       She’s tinkering with a VW bus at her mechanic shop that happens to belong to a vampire.       But then, Mercy Thompson is not exactly normal herself … and her connection to the world of things that go bump in the night is about to get her into a whole lot of trouble. What Gikany & Una are talking about:      In the first book of the series, Moon Called, we are introduced to Mercedes Thompson the Volkswagen mechanic who lives in the Tri-Cities area of Washington.  The irony is not lost on Mercy.  She has an alpha werewolf for a neighbor, a fae for a mentor, and a vampire for a repeat client.  Weird for Mercy is truly relative.  Living close to a werewolf is somewhat comforting but mostly exasperating to Mercy who grew up amongst the pack of the foremost alpha werewolf in North America.  This gives her not only a unique outlook in life, but a piercing insight into pack dynamics and werewolf psychology.  This leaves Mercy well situated to offer assistance to a lone, lost and very recently turned werewolf.      Mercy knows “Mac” could be trouble when he stumbles into her garage looking for work.  But she cannot turn her back on the kid, who obviously needs more than just a job.  By helping “Mac”, Mercy finds herself getting neck deep into paranormal politics and conflicts, which she had avoided (so she thought) since leaving home.  When “Mac’s” troubles spill over to include Mercy and her neighbor’s pack, she finds herself running home to find help.  While there, she discovers answers to questions she didn’t know she had.   After she returns to the Tri-Cities with a healing werewolf and an old-flame, Mercy realizes that “Mac’s” troubles were just the beginning.      Since this is our first book review, we are...
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Feb
23

Review: Play Dead

Review: Play Dead Play Dead Author: John Levitt   Release Date: January 25, 2011 Publisher: Penguin Group Dog Days Series Book 4 ISBN: # 978-0441019649 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): paperback (304 pgs), ebook I received a copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review. From the author’s website: Mason used to be an enforcer, ensuring that those magic practitioners without a moral compass walked the straight and narrow. But now he just wants to keep his head down, play guitar, and maintain a low profile with Lou, his magical canine companion. But Mason is down on his luck, and when a job with a large payout comes along, he finds the offer hard to resist-not knowing it might mean sacrificing what both man and his best friend hold most dear. Jessica Alexander, a practitioner of dark magic, tasks Mason with finding a missing woman and supposed thief. But the case leads to a bigger mystery involving an ancient spell book that can open paths to different worlds—something most practitioners would kill to possess. Mason and Lou are determined to keep the spell book out of the wrong hands, but that could mean sacrificing what both man and his best friend hold most dear… What B is talking about: Mason is sort of an underachiever in the magical practitioner community of San Francisco. He plays Jazz guitar, works as an “enforcer” reigning in rogue black arts practitioners to help pay the rent, and has his best friend Lou (an Ifrit) by his side. Things could be worse. When he’s hired by Jessica Alexander, a black practitioner herself, to track down a young woman who’s stolen something important from her, things get substantially worse, and very quickly. Play Dead is the fourth novel in the Dog Days series, but it was fairly easy to jump into the story. Each novel appears to keep the same cast of characters, for the most part, and follow each particular conflict to its resolution. Levitt does a good job weaving necessary background information in with the action and introductions, making the novel a relatively successful stand-alone.  I really liked Mason. He’s smart, and gifted, but is in no way the golden boy of the novel. He makes a lot of mistakes, ones that cost his fellow practitioners a lot of trouble, and gets in more than a few difficult situations from which he himself requires rescuing on occasion. He faces black magic,...
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Feb
22

Review: A Hunger Like No Other

Review: A Hunger Like No Other A Hunger Like No Other Author: Kresley Cole  Release Date: March 28, 2006 Publisher: Pocket Star Immortal After Dark Series #2 ISBN: #978-1416509875 Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s): paperback (384 pgs), e-book I purchased this book with my own money. From the author’s website: A mythic warrior who’ll stop at nothing to possess her… After enduring years of torture from the vampire Horde, Lachlain MacRieve, leader of the Lykae Clan, is enraged to find the predestined mate he’s waited millennia for is a vampire. Or partly one. This Emmaline is a small, ethereal half Valkyrie/half vampire, who somehow begins to soothe the fury burning within him. A vampire captured by her wildest fantasy… Sheltered Emmaline Troy finally sets out to uncover the truth about her deceased parents–until a powerful Lykae claims her as his mate and forces her back to his ancestral Scottish castle. There, her fear of the Lykae–and their notorious dark desire–ebb as he begins a slow, wicked seduction to sate her own dark cravings. An all consuming desire… Yet when an ancient evil from her past resurfaces, will their desire deepen into a love that can bring a proud warrior to his knees and turn a gentle beauty into the fighter she was born to be…? What I’m talking about: The second story in the IAD Series runs in a concurrent timeframe to the first story, “The Warlord Wants Forever.” It focuses on the youngest Valkyrie: the half vampire, timid Emma.  Emma has lead a sheltered life for 70 years, protected fiercely by her aunts at the Valkyrie manner. When she is alone (for the first time) in Paris, the Lykae King, Lachlain, takes her captive because he knows she is his destined mate.  Their journey to his ancestral home is filled with fear and anger. He hates all vampires for his hellish almost 200 hundred-year captivity/torture. After waiting to find her for over a thousand years, Lachlain cannot believe fate brought him a vampire for a mate. His inner-beast is both mortified and attracted, and he treats Emma with minimal respect. Meanwhile, she is afraid and longs to go home, but she cannot continue to deny her attraction to Lachlain. The first half of the book moved slowly for me. I enjoyed getting to know Emma and Lachlain, but they both were a bit too stubborn. Although the journey was important, I felt it went on a bit too long. Lachlain treated Emma poorly, even taking advantage...
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Feb
10

Review: Unseen

Review: Unseen Unseen Author: Rachel Caine Release Date: February 1, 2011 Publisher: ROC Outcast Season, Book 3 ISBN: #978-0451463838 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (320 pgs), ebook I received a copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review. From the author’s website: Cassiel has survived being thrown out of the supernatural Djinn community and learning how to live as a human … but now, her oldest, fiercest enemy is growing in power, and the end of the human race looms closer each day. Cassiel’s time is running out to stop the mad Djinn Pearl from killing all life on the planet, including the sentient Earth itself. What B is talking about: Cassiel, a former Djinn, and her Earth Warden partner, Luis Rocha, have just saved his niece, Isabel from a power-hungry Djinn named Pearl, who has been using her cult of followers to abduct child Wardens, like “Ibby,” in her bid for absolute power. After taking Ibby to a special “school” for these gifted children, Cassiel and Luis learn that, not only have these children been indoctrinated into Pearl’s blindly devoted faithful, she has triggered the manifestation of their powers long before they are equipped to control them, so that she can seize their vast power for herself. Racing to stop Pearl before she can destroy the entire world, Cassiel must reconcile what remains of her Djinn nature and the inner strength of her very human heart.  Even though this is the third book in the Outcast Season series, Unseen was pleasantly welcoming to me as a new reader. There were certainly details that I would have appreciated earlier in the story, but their absence didn’t detract from my overall enjoyment of the novel. Cassiel is an delightful heroine, in that she’s strong and constantly trying to balance the coolly logical inclinations of her Djinn heritage with the human emotions she once disdained, but now embraces.  The love between Cassiel and Luis only briefly takes center stage, but it still resonates throughout the story, propelling the two characters along the various arcs of the story, and ultimately, back to each other. By turns punishing and sweet, the romance between the two takes a back seat to their destinies and the battles they engage in along the way.  Although I had a difficult time grasping some of the nuances of the world Caine has created at first, Unseen was a satisfying read. Her heroine is complex...
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Feb
4

Review: Eternity Embraced

Review: Eternity Embraced Eternity Embraced Author: Larissa Ione  Release Date: January 2011 Demonica Series Book #3.5 Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s): e-book – novella length NOTE: this book was originally released in the compilation The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance 2, published by Running Press (September 2009). From the author’s website:       Desire…       Demon slayer Andrea Cole has always taken down the demons and vampires she hunts without mercy. But when a fellow slayer is captured and turned into a vampire by a sadistic monster, she must choose between loyalty to her family and the man she loves.       Versus Instinct…       Kaden Quinn has dedicated his life to slaying vampires, so when he is turned into one, his greatest nightmare comes to life. And when the woman he loves is thrown into a dungeon with him — as food — he must battle new instincts and old desires, and choose between his life, and hers. What I’m talking about:       This wonderful short from Larissa Ione’s Demonica Series focuses on two Aegis Guardian agents (demon slayers): Andrea and Kaden. When the story starts, we find out that Kaden has been taken hostage by a cell of ruthless vampires. Although Andrea hopes her partner and lover has not been made into a vampire, she is quickly disappointed when she finds him, complete with fangs, in an underground cell in Oregon.       Andrea and Kaden have been mislead their entires lives – believing that demons, vampires and shifters are all evil and must be destroyed. So when Andrea is confronted with the fact that her true love is now something she abhors, she must battle her own beliefs to determine if Kaden is still the man she loves.  Similarly, Kaden realizes that although he is a vampire, he isn’t a depraved creature-of-the-night. Their physical reactions to one another and the emotional upheaval that ensues after their reunion is fabulous and riveting.  Even though this is a novella-length story, it is rich with detail and full of action. I came to care about Andrea and Kaden quickly and enjoyed following them on their journey.       For those that have not read any of Ms. Ione’s amazing Demonica books, this is a great introduction. Although the story has minimal interaction with the series’ regular cast, it is a wonderful example of Ms. Ione’s amazing talent.  For series regulars, it’s a great...
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Jan
17

Review: Hellforged

Review: Hellforged Hellforged Release Date: December 28, 2010 Author: Nancy Holzner  Publisher: ACE Fantasy Deadtown Series Book #2 ISBN: #978-0441019809 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): paperback (352 pgs), e-book I received a copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review. From the author’s website:       After Vicky banished her demon nemesis to the fiery depths of Hell, she thought life would return to normal. But considering she has a werewolf lawyer boyfriend, a zombie apprentice who’s angling to become a pop star, and an eccentric vampire roommate, what is normal, anyway?       Then the supposedly banished Hellion starts to trespass in Vicky’s dreams—just as several of Deadtown’s zombies are viciously attacked and become really dead. When Vicky realizes she’s the only connection between the victims, she suspects that the demon is somehow working through her dreams to become Deadtown’s living nightmare.       What she doesn’t know is that her old enemy brings with it a force more terrifying—and deadly—than anything she’s battled before. What I’m talking about:       Hellforged opens with demon hunter, Victory Vaughn and her zombie teen apprentice, Tina, attempting to rid MIT computer labs of a nasty Glitch demon. Of course things don’t go smoothly, but Vicki manages to make the best of the situation. And that is how Vicki rolls.       Soon Vicki’s life takes a turn for the dangerous. Her roommate is seen with mysterious creatures (but denies it), a Hellion is using her dreams to kill zombies, and her Aunt Mab summons her to Wales overnight, telling her of an evil prophesy that involves Vicki.  Once in Wales, Vicki meets her “cousin” Pryce who is bent on becoming the king of the demons. With time running out and Pryce freeing evil spirits that kill the zombies, Mab trains Vicki to become a better demon-slayer.       Although I did not read Deadtown, the first book in Ms. Holzner’s series, I did not feel as if I missed a beat (but I hear the book is wonderful). The author does a great job with world-building – making the zombie-infested streets of Boston seem normal.  Hellforged  builds upon the world created in Deadtown, but does not rely on the actions of the first book when telling the tale of the second book.       I really enjoyed reading Hellforged. Vicki is reminiscent of Buffy the Vampire Slayer with the “chosen...
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Jan
14

Review: Hexbound

Review: Hexbound Hexbound Author: Chloe Neill  Release Date: January 4, 2011 Publisher: Signet Dark Elite Series Book #2 ISBN: #978-0451230799 Genre: Young Adult, paranormal Format(s): paperback (256 pgs), e-book I received a copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review. Please welcome Guest Reviewer Stacy of Stacy’s Place on Earth. She graciously agreed to read and review today’s book. Stacy’s Summary: In book 2 of Chloe Neill’s YA Dark Elite series, we once again meet up with our young intrepid heroine, Lily Parker, and find out what she’s been up to.  It’s only been a few weeks since she first arrived at Chicago’s St. Sophia’s school for girls, and in such a short time, she’s become quite acclimated to her new school, her restrictive school schedule, and has even found a best friend in her colorful roommate, Scout Green.  And oh yeah, she’s spending time working on her newly discovered magical powers… Patrolling the underground tunnels at night for signs of the darker forces, Lily spends these occasions with other teens who have similar abilities, like Scout, and some of the boys from the nearby boys’ school, Montclare Academy, such as hottie Jason Shepherd and Jason’s best friend Michael Garcia.  Defending their world from the Reapers is only part of an Adept’s job.  They also have to master unique gifts that have just a limited shelf life in order to protect the innocent.  During one night while patrolling, the gang come across a hideous group of creatures they’ve never seen before, and it forces them to use their powers without much preparation, but fortunately things work out and no one is seriously hurt.  Yet they are now aware of a brand-new danger to the Enclave, and must figure out who and what they are dealing with before they can destroy it. Along the way Lily and her friends encounter warring vampires, budding romance, and an enemy who may not be what he seems…. Stacy’s thoughts: I really enjoyed the first book in the series, Firespell, and was pleasantly surprised to find the young characters sharp, mature, and incredibly likable, so naturally I was pretty excited when Jen asked if I’d like to review Hexbound.  This time around however, I found the tone to be a little too “goody goody” and that was a bit frustrating when you take into consideration the circumstances these teens faced, even in just their ordinary, everyday lives.  Yes there are a lot of good, decent kids out there, but even the best kid can rebel on occasion, and I...
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