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Nov
2

Review: The Storm That is Sterling

Review: The Storm That is Sterling The Storm that is Sterling Author: Lisa Renee Jones  Release Date: Nov. 1, 2011 Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca Zodius Series # 2 ISBN: #978-1402251597 Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s): Paperback (339 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Sterling Jeter, Renegade Super Soldier, is fearless, powerful, and wildly unpredictable. His life-threatening mission is to save the beautiful, brilliant astrobiologist Rebecca Burns from ruthless villain Adam Rain. But their immutable mutual attraction threatens to put them in the path of death… or worse… What Gikany is talking about: The Storm that is Sterling is the second book in the Zodius Series.  It picks up shortly after the end of The Legend of Michael, and focuses on a secondary character from that novel, Sterling Jeter.  Sterling, like Michael, is a GTECH soldier and has allied himself with the Renegades.  His primary role in the Renegades is as an information officer stationed in Las Vegas.  Sterling becomes aware of a dangerous new street drug emerging in Las Vegas called “ICE” that is killing its addicts.  In his quest to determine the origin of ICE and how to combat it, Sterling seeks out Dr. Rebecca “Becca” Burns.   This novel focuses less on the divisions between the Renegade GTECH soldiers and the Zodius.  Because of this, the world building that should be continuing to take place as the Zodius Series progresses is somewhat flat.  There was no new information presented about the origins of the GTECH program and, primarily due to the peripheral role of Sterling to the Renegades, nothing was shared about the main ongoing battle between the two factions.   The romance part of The Storm that is Sterling was much better than that of The Legend of Michael.  Becca and Sterling’s developing relationship is one of the main plot lines of this novel and was well done.  As a Science Fiction fan, I would have liked to see more development of that aspect of this series.  On the whole, this was an enjoyable novel and hard to put down.  I look forward to reading the next book in the series. Gikany’s Rating: Liked it a lot – recommend (B+) Books in the Series: The Storm That Is SterlingThe Legend of...
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Oct
25

Review: Chosen By Fate

Review: Chosen By Fate Chosen By Fate Author: Virna DePaul  Release Date: October 4, 2011 Publisher: Berkley Sensation Para-Ops Series #2 ISBN: #978-0425243992 Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s): Paperback (320 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Although he keeps company with a vampire and a were, human Shaman Caleb O’Flare can definitely hold his own. But neither his psychic ability nor his healing powers can help his sexy-as-hell teammate, Wraith—a ghost with no memory of her human existence, who cannot experience touch without pain. No wraith has managed to exist past its tenth year, so her time is about to run out. She wants only two things before accepting her fate: to learn her human identity, and experience one night with Caleb. Willing to risk any amount of pain, Wraith propositions him. But when a sign of impending death appears on his chest, Wraith sacrifices her own needs on the chance that sex with her could kill him. Caleb doesn’t understand Wraith’s change of heart but refuses to let her push him away. As the team travels to Los Angeles to investigate a series of crimes in the feline community, Caleb sets out to prove to Wraith that pleasure and love are worth any risk—including death. What B is talking about: Ten years ago, Wraith awoke with no memory, no identity, and no family. Reborn as a wraith, she’s spent that time trying to build a new life, only discovering one she thinks is worth living recently, when she joined the Para-Ops team assembled by the FBI. Carrying a secret that prevents her from getting too close to anyone else, she’s facing her greatest battle yet trying to stay away from her team’s healer, Caleb O’Flare. As a Shaman, Caleb has devoted his life to helping and healing others whenever he can. Used to talking to his ancestors, the spirit guides of his people, nothing should rattle him about working with his Para-Ops team; comprised of a dharmire, a were, a mage, and one very sexy wraith. Too bad his body and his heart have other ideas when it comes to the independent, immortal Wraith: he’s never wanted anyone more.  I wasn’t sure what to expect from Chosen By Fate, but was pleasantly intrigued right from the prologue. I do feel that I missed quite a lot by beginning the series with the second book, rather than the first, Chosen By Blood. DePaul has created some wonderful creatures, called Otherborn, but a...
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Oct
25

Review: Drink Deep

Review: Drink Deep Dear Readers: Please help me welcome my friend Wendy, a big fan of the Chicagoland Vampire series. She brings you today’s review of… Drink Deep Author: Chloe Neill  Release Date: Nov 1, 2011 Publisher: NAL Chicagoland Vampires #5 ISBN: #978-0451234865 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (352 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Clouds are brewing over Cadogan House, and recently turned vampire Merit can’t tell if this is the darkness before the dawn or the calm before the storm. With the city iself in turmoil over paranormals and the state threatening to pass a paranormal registration act, times haven’t been this precarious for vampires since they came out of the closet. If only they could lay low for a bit, and let the mortals calm down. That’s when the waters of Lake Michigan suddenly turn pitch black-and things really start getting ugly. Chicago’s mayor insists it’s nothing to worry about, but Merit knows only the darkest magic could have woven a spell powerful enough to change the very fabric of nature. She’ll have to turn to friends old and new to find out who’s behind this, and stop them before it’s too late for vampires and humans alike. What Wendy is talking about: Warning: If you haven’t read Book 4, Hard Bitten, then this review contains a MAJOR spoiler.  This installment of the Chicagoland Vampires series starts off in a really dark place: Ethan’s dead and Cadogan House is in receivership with the Greenwich Presidium (the “GP”), blood is being rationed and junk food is off of the House menu! Everyone is grieving for Ethan, especially Merit, which is realistic but kind of gloomy. I missed Mallory and Catcher in this book. Although a lot of the story revolves around them, Merit doesn’t directly interact with them very much. All of Merit’s primary partners are off of the table for most of the book and it causes the story to drag a little bit. Although there was an embedded mystery for Merit to solve (what’s wrong with Lake Michigan?!) there wasn’t a lot of character development until the last 50 or so pages. Then… boom! With a major twist the whole series went sky-high and all of the major characters underwent huge life changes. I really wish the rest of the book had been as exciting as the end. Honestly, this story felt a little bit like filler. It was like a moderately cute “transition boyfriend” that...
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Oct
13

Review: Sage Creek

Review: Sage Creek Sage Creek Author: Jill Gregory  Release Date: October 4, 2011 Publisher: Berkley Sensation ISBN: #978-0425244470 Genre: Contemporary Romance Format(s): Paperback (304 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher  About the book: After her marriage falls apart, catering whiz Sophie McPhee returns to the Good Luck ranch in her hometown of Lonesome Way, planning to steer clear of men and focus on her new bakery, A Bun in the Oven. But she doesn’t expect to see bad-boy Rafe Tanner — her first crush (and her best friend’s brother), now a single father running his family’s ranch. But is Rafe a changed man? Rafe hasn’t seen Sophie since she was his little sister’s pesky best friend, and he’s stunned to discover she’s grown into an irresistibly beautiful woman. But Rafe has been hurt too. Though they both have their guards up, Rafe and Sophie seem to melt in each other’s company. Can they finally admit that home is truly where the heart is? What Ang is talking about: I read this book not knowing it was a part of a series and must admit that I was disappointed to learn there was more to come from Montana, not because the story or characters were bad but because I felt like it took away from the story of Sophie and Rafe.  I felt like the author was taking a wonderful stand alone novel and tacking a few extra paragraphs on the end of it to turn it into a series and continue selling books and that disappointed me given the strength of Sage Creek. This book was fun filled with rich descriptions right from the get go. The Montana back drop was a stunning and perfect back drop for this story of loss, love and learning to let go in order to find love again.  As a woman who has lived through divorce and betrayal I felt like Gregory captured the heartbreak, confusion, self discovery, rebuilding and healing of loss, divorce and relationships as a whole beautifully in the characters of Sophie and Rafe. The other characters, with the exception of Crenshaw, added lovely layers to the story. I found the themes of forgiveness, learning to trust one’s self and learning when to follow one’s heart and when to follow ones head to be consistent throughout the book and the various characters from Sophie and Rafe to Ivy and Diana all of which wove a beautiful tapestry of home and heart. My complaints are...
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Oct
11

Review: Utterly Charming

Review: Utterly Charming Utterly Charming Author: Kristine Grayson  Release Date: October 1, 2011 Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca Charming Series Book 2 ISBN: #978-1402248511 Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s): Paperback (320 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Mysterious, handsome wizard Aethelstan Blackstone hires beautiful, hardworking attorney Nora Barr to get a restraining order to protect Sleeping Beauty from her evil stepmother. But if Sleeping Beauty is supposed to be his soul mate, then how come he’s becoming bewitched by Nora? And when Nora finds herself baby-sitting a clueless maiden from the middle ages, avoiding a very wicked witch, and falling hard for a man whose magic she doesn’t believe in, she begins to think that love itself is only a fairy tale… Welcome to the fractious fairy tale world of Kristine Grayson, where the bumpy road to happily ever after is paved with surprises… What B is talking about: Ten years ago Nora Barr was a twenty-five year old attorney with dreams of making her one-woman practice in Portland, Oregon a success. Well…she’d dreamed of keeping her doors open and being able to pay her bills regularly, at least. But, all that changed the day she met Aethelstan Blackstone and his friend, Sancho Panza. Now, she is the head of an extremely successful law firm, is in the middle of a nasty divorce, and is the unlikely guardian of a fairly princess—who’s been trapped in a glass coffin for 1,000 years. Alex Blackstone has learned a lot since he first came into his wizard powers many centuries ago, and he’s finally discovered a way to beat the evil witch Ealhswith at the tug-of-war they’ve been engaged in all that time. The prize is the woman he’s always believed to be his true love and his destiny. Of course, now that he’s nearly gotten what he thought he’s always wanted, he can’t stop thinking about the pretty, blonde lawyer he’s enlisted to help him. Can The Fates be wrong? One of my favorite things about Utterly Charming is Grayson’s apparent delight in skewering literary cornerstones, as well as inflicting some serious damage to the image of the perfect fairy princess. In this second in the Charming Series, she targets Shakespeare, Chaucer, Cervantes, and more. Even Norse and Greek mythology are on the list of references, although neither is particularly safe in Grayson’s capable hands. Nora and Alex aren’t your typical romantic couple, and their stops and starts can be a little exhausting every now...
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Oct
6

Review: Unleashed

Review: Unleashed Unleashed Author: Sara Humphreys   Release Date: October 1, 2011 Publisher: Sourcebooks Amoveo Legend #1 ISBN: #978-1402258435 Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s): Paperback (320 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:       What if you suddenly discovered your own powers were beyond anything you’d ever imagined… Samantha Logan’s childhood home had always been a haven, but everything changed while she was away. She has a gorgeous new neighbor, Malcolm, who introduces her to the amazing world of the dream-walking, shapeshifting Amoveo clans…but what leaves her reeling with disbelief is when he tells her she’s one of them…       And shock turns to terror as Samantha falls prey to the deadly enemy determined to destroy the Amoveo, and the only chance she has to come into her true powers is to trust in Malcolm to show her the way… What G & U are talking about:       Unleashed is the debut novel of Sara Humphreys and the first in the new Amoveo Legacy series.  This is a new take on shapeshifters and a blend of intriguing urban fantasy with rich romantic overtures.       In general, we enjoyed the novel.  The balance of the novel is more weighted towards romance and less urban fantasy/paranormal, but it was still quite an enjoyable read.  The world that Ms. Humphreys has built is unique and fascinating and we look forward to finding out more about this ancient race of shapeshifters.  It is difficult to discuss too much of the novel without giving portions away, so we apologize if this review is a tad brief.       As with many newly published artists, it does have the feel of a “first” book but it does not detract from the overall enjoyment of the story.  Samantha and Malcolm’s story was enthralling.  The mystery was not entirely surprising, but it did have some interesting twists and neatly set up the next book without sacrificing the happily ever after.  We found Unleashed to be a quick read.  The writing flowed, albeit a little overly romanticized at times, but with vivid imagery.  We were easily able to immerse ourselves into this world.  The character development was a little rough, but not a distraction or detriment to overall enjoyment of the storyline.       We look forward to reading the next book in this new and fresh series, Untouched due out in April of 2012.  If you are looking for a...
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Oct
4

Review: In Blood We Trust

Review: In Blood We Trust In Blood We Trust Author: Christine Cody  Release Date: September 27, 2011 Publisher: Ace Fantasy Bloodlands Book 3 ISBN:#978-0441020874 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): paperback (304 pp), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Only monsters–and lovers–call the Bloodlands home… They are monsters: Mariah–the reluctant rebel who has become a god to others of her kind.  And Gabriel, the vampire, who loves her at his own peril. Together, they freed the unhuman and inhuman from captivity, to lead them in reclaiming the land.  But even Mariah can’t keep the newly liberated monsters from quarreling among themselves.  And then a murder occurs and Gabriel is suspect. Facing a death sentence, the two flee— Back to the Bloodlands, where their story began. To face the horrors of Mariah’s past and the uncertainties of Gabriel’s future. To make a final stand, for their lives—and their love. What B is talking about: After helping to free the “monsters” being held prisoner in the asylum in GBVille, and entering a blood exchange with the maker of all the “Reds” (blood drinkers of all forms), Mariah finds the first real acceptance she’s ever known among her kind. The exchange has made her into something of a “chosen one” among the monsters, turning her into a creature unlike any other in existence in the process. Even with the successful rise of the monsters hanging in the balance, and the Shredder, Johnson Stamp still on their trail, All Mariah wants is the vampire Gabriel. Gabriel is a young vampire in comparison to many who are helping ensure the monsters’ continued freedom, but his love for Mariah eclipses everything else in their new life, as well as his old one. Unfortunately, his love exists on borrowed time, for the remnants of their human emotions fade all too soon as vampires age, leaving only cool logic behind instead. Can the link Gabriel and Mariah share be enough to defy their natures and save them both? The Bloodlands series has been a challenge from the beginning for me; my paranormal romance leanings making the stark urban fantasy landscape of Cody’s novels an adjustment. Once in the proper frame of mind, however, the books definitely come alive, just in a different way than I’m used to. In Blood We Trust is a blood-coated novel, as were the first two in the series, Bloodlands and Blood Rules. This time, though, it was easier for me to see it as simply another part of...
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Sep
30

Review: The Goblin King

Review: The Goblin King The Goblin King Author: Shona Husk Release Date: October 1, 2011 Publisher: Sourcebooks Shadowlands Trilogy #1 ISBN: #978-1402259852 Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s): Paperback (319 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:       Cursed by a Druid a millennia ago, Roan lives a bleak existence in the Shadowlands, desperately trying to retain his soul and not succumb to the goblin horde.When a beautiful human summons him to grant a wish, he sees a glimmer of hope. But will she ever agree to be his queen? What G & U are talking about:       The Goblin King is the first full-length novel in a new paranormal trilogy by Shona Husk.  There seems to be a free ebook prequel entitled, The Summons, which is the backstory to when Eliza first called the Goblin King, Roan.  The story is referenced and summarized in this novel.  Gikany and Una did not read it (we discovered it when putting together this review), and we did not feel as if we missed anything.  However, it might be fun to read as an extended teaser if you are interested in trying the series on before purchasing this book.       Gikany and Una specifically requested this book from Twimom.  We were intrigued by the synopsis and thought it might be a new and fascinating world.  Long story short, we felt a little let down by the novel.  The Goblin King did not live up to our expectations, however we did enjoy it.  Overall, we think the author could have done more with the characters and the world, but didn’t.  What follows are the few issues we found with the novel.       The main bad guy, the Druid, had no back-story or character development.  Simply put, the Druid is evil, he is the reason Roan and his men were cursed and that’s that.  You cannot reason with him, he hates Roan, and waits to be able to destroy him for being a King who would turn his back on his people and sell them out to the Romans.  We feel that there could have been more to the Druid and this plot point.  It adds to a story if a main character was evil and was guilty and redeems himself (one of Una’s favorite plot devices is the element of redemption) or if the main character is innocent all along (see…we will NOT spoil you!) and can plead his case...
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Sep
16

Review: Never Been Bit

Review: Never Been Bit Never Been Bit Author: Lydia Dare  Release Date: September 1, 2011 Publisher: Sourcebooks Regency Vampyre #3 ISBN: #978-1402245138 Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s): Paperback (384 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: The glittering world of high society is the playground for the rich, titled, and reluctantly undead… Alec MacQuarrie’s after-life has become an endless search for pleasure in an effort to overcome his heartbreak and despair. Wandering through the seedy world of London’s demimonde, he’s changed into a dark and fearsome creature even he doesn’t recognize until he stumbles into a magical lass he knew once upon a time and sees a glimpse of the life he could have had. But the ton is no match for one incorrigible young lady… After watching each of her coven sisters happily marry, Sorcha Ferguson is determined to capture a Lycan husband of her very own. When she encounters Alec, she decides to save her old friend from what he’s become, all while searching for her own happily-ever-after. Over his dead body is Alec going to allow this enchanting innocent to throw herself away on an unworthy werewolf, but that leaves him responsible for her, and he’s the worst monster of them all… What I’m talking about: Never Been Bit is the third installment of the Regency Vampyre Series, and the 7th book in Ms. Dare’s paranormal/historical adventures, which started with the Westfield Brother’s series.  For those that have followed the series (or my reviews), Never Been Bit is the conclusion of the stories about the sisterhood of Scottish witches, collectively known as the Coig. Youngest witch, Sorcha, finally finds her HEA (happily ever after) with long-time friend, Alec MacQuarrie.  If you are new to the series, you certainly can read this one as a stand alone, but like with most series, you appreciate the characters more if you’ve read their history. And Alec MacQuarrie is one of those characters that has changed and developed over the course of several books. I have been looking forward to reading Never Been Bit ever since the dramatic conclusion of It Happened One Bite (review HERE) when Alec was transformed into a vampyre. It was done to save his life; however Alec found little happiness in continuing forward without hope and love in his life. Alec spent years pining for Cait, only to have her marry another (The Taming of the Wolf, HERE), so now he feels he has no chance of ever becoming human again...
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Sep
12

Review: Blood Rules

Review: Blood Rules Blood Rules Author: Christine Cody  Release Date: August 30, 2011 Publisher: Ace Fantasy Bloodlands Series Book 2 ISBN: 978-0441020768 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): paperback (320 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: In the Bloodlands, Sometimes the Monsters Don’t Even Know Themselves…. After the vampire named Gabriel came into her world, Mariah Lyander was forced to face her own true nature and admit to the terrible things she had done–things he could not forgive.  To redeem herself, to recover her own humanity—and Gabriel’s love—she sets out on a perilous journey across the haunted land, in search of a rumored cure. And Gabriel, blood-bonded to her, is compelled to follow.  Together—yet not together—they will face danger and death. And what they find is not a place where monsters can be cured—but one where they are born… What B is talking about: When her inability to control the beast within herself threatens the safety of her adopted Were-family, Mariah Lyander decides the best thing she can do for them, and herself, is to leave in search of a rumored cure. Her reluctant blood-mate, the vampire Gabriel, is compelled to come along, and what they discover will plant the seeds for an uprising for all their kind. This is the second book in the Bloodlands series, and it’s more intense, gory, and outright disturbing at times, than the first. What has happened to society in Cody’s book is truly unnerving. The “hubs” (settlements) are overrun with paranoid shut-ins, “distractoids,” and groups of “runners,” all mindless puppets of the government. In this version of the future, water is the only form of currency, and for some, selling themselves into slavery is the only way to get it.  In addition to the chaos of the hubs, the Shredder, Johnson Stamp, is still after Mariah and her “family,” and, though injured for much of the novel, he manages to stay alive to continue his pursuit. His survival, nevertheless, can be at least partially attributed to the conflicts between Mariah and Gabriel, as they battle their own natures and each other.  Once again highlighting the fact that Blood Rules is certainly not a romance is the ongoing relationship struggles of the two main characters. While Mariah and Gabriel can’t stay away from each other, they can also barely tolerate one another. The latter is truer of Gabriel than Mariah, but the distance between them is significant. By the end of the novel, though, they seem to...
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