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Currently Browsing: Rating B
Aug
12

Review: Retribution

Review: Retribution Retribution Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon  Release Date: August 2, 2011 Publisher: St. Martin’s Press Dark/Dream Hunters #20 ISBN: #978-0312546595 Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s): Hardcover (432 pgs), e-book Book Source: Library About the book: Harm no human… A hired gunslinger, William Jessup Brady lived his life with one foot in the grave. He believed that every life had a price. Until the day when he finally found a reason to live. In one single act of brutal betrayal, he lost everything, including his life. Brought back by a Greek goddess to be one of her Dark-Hunters, he gave his immortal soul for vengeance and swore he’d spend eternity protecting the humans he’d once considered prey. Orphaned as a toddler, Abigail Yager was taken in by a family of vampires and raised on one belief- Dark-Hunters are the evil who prey on both their people and mankind, and they must all be destroyed. While protecting her adoptive race, she has spent her life eliminating the Dark-Hunters… What I’m talking about: This is going to be a hard review to write. I’ve put it off as long as possible, so here I go… According to Goodreads, this is the 20th Dark Hunter book, and if you include the novellas, it’s even higher than that.  I’ve read them all.  The Dark Hunters Series has been one of my favorites over the past several years.  But…  I have to say that I feel the series is losing steam and heading downhill.  What started as an amazing series mythology and intricately spun world, has turned into a confusing stream of words and names. I was a bit mortified that Ms. Kenyon added yet ANOTHER pantheon and set of rules into her series. This series already has the single most complex set of rules of any I read, WHY add more to it?! And it seems that she has dropped several key characters and open-ended subplots for a couple books now.  As a long-time series reader, I was very frustrated with these points. However, if you take this book completely out of the series and look at Retribution on its own, the book is an enjoyable read.  The Native American mythology was very interesting.  I was a bit overwhelmed trying to understand how all the players fit in, but in the end, it didn’t deter me from enjoying the story. Jess was a wonderful character. I enjoyed his dark side and strength.  He was a complete cowboy...
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Aug
10

Review: Bloodlands

Review: Bloodlands Bloodlands Author: Christine Cody  Release Date: July 26, 2011 Publisher: Ace Fantasy Bloodlands Book 1 ISBN: #978-0441020621 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): paperback (336 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: The New Badlands—a desolate area in the West forged by the terrible events that altered the entire country, where a few frightened citizens retreated underground to shelter from the brutal weather . . . and from a society gone deadly dangerous. Then the vampire arrived—and they started calling it the Bloodlands. Not because Gabriel, the so-called monster running from his true self, was searching for his lover’s murderer. Nor because Mariah, the woman who reluctantly took him in, was willing to do anything to survive in the changed world. No, the Badlands officially became the Bloodlands the moment a gun-for-hire who’d decided to slay every monster left in the country came after Gabriel . . . What B is talking about: Living in the New Badlands isn’t for the weak. It’s the only place left in what was the United States that isn’t under the control of a thoroughly corrupt government. It is the last place to go where there is still a chance at freedom away from dishonest men. For Mariah Lyander, it is her home and sanctuary. Having recently lost her father, she is quietly surviving among a small group of outcasts. But, when a stranger shows up begging for a place to rest while his injuries heal, Mariah takes him in. And her world crashes down around her as she never expected it to again.  Gabriel is a vampire in need of a safe haven. Following the trail of his lost love from the Southeastern part of the country to the New Badlands, he runs into some trouble of his own before trying to make a home for himself among the strangers who have taken him in. When a powerful enemy threatens his new neighbors, he must choose between running and fighting, and realizes he has more to lose than he bargained for.  I’m always excited when I get to read the first story in a new series, and this one didn’t disappoint. Like most novels in this genre, the focus is on the conflict within the plot, rather than the main characters’ chances of a happily ever after. Instead of detracting from the narrative, however, Cody’s restraint as a storyteller makes Bloodlands a compelling mystery as well. There are, however, many fictionalized warnings about where our society could be headed that...
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Aug
9

Review and Giveaway: Primal Law

Review and Giveaway: Primal Law Primal Law Author: J. D. Tyler   Release Date: August 2, 2011 Publisher: Signet Alpha Pack series #1 ISBN: #978-0451234346 Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance Format(s): Paperback (352 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:       Founded by a group of former Navy SEALS, the Alpha Pack is a top-secret team of wolf shifters with Psy powers tasked with eliminating the most dangerous predators in the world. But the gift of their abilities comes at a price…       After a massacre decimates half his team and leaves him crippled, Jaxon Law must relearn how to fight—and battle the anger and guilt threatening to overwhelm him. But when he rescues a beautiful woman who reawakens his primal instincts, Jax is unprepared for the dangers that lie ahead.       On the run from her employer, brilliant lab assistant Kira Locke has evidence that leads the Alpha Pack on a hunt for someone targeting human civilians with Psy abilities. And as Jax and Kira circle both the killer and each other, Jax will have to decide if the deep connection he feels with Kira is worth breaking the ultimate shifter rule—because bonding with Kira means putting his abilities at risk, and they might be the only tools he has to keep his mate alive…  What G & U are talking about:       Primal Law is the debut novel in the Alpha Pack series by J.D. Tyler.  Gikany and Una had much discussion over this book and hope you enjoy our following review.       Una enjoyed Primal Law.  She considers it up there with her other guilty pleasures (Lora Leigh’s Breeds series and J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood).  For her, this is what she considers romantic-fluff fun.  It’s urban fantasy with a ribbon of romance running through it.  Oh, and don’t forget… lots of smexy moments, hot smexy moments are not missing in this story.  However, Gikany is right…there are a few issues…but for Una, they didn’t detract from her overall enjoyment of the novel (in fact, it was difficult for her to put down).       This is the first book in a series and like most, due to world-building and introducing all the main players, the overall story arc suffers.  Gikany wishes the author started the story with the team being changed in Afghanistan versus starting with the team’s betrayal which occurs years later (six months prior to where the main...
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Aug
4

Review: The Vampire Next Door

Review: The Vampire Next Door The Vampire Next Door Author: Ashlyn Chase  Release Date: August 1, 2011 Publisher: Sourcebooks Strange Neighbors #3 ISBN: #978-1402236631 Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s): Paperback (384 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: In this third installment of Chase’s lively, sexy, paranormal trilogy, we meet witch Morgaine, who is deathly afraid of the dark, and her vigilante vampire neighbor Sly, who has his reasons for hating sunlight. Sly needs Morgaine’s magic to help heal a broken fang, but with further help, and sometimes hindrance, from the wacky apartment dwellers around them, they may become each other’s last hope for a normal life… What I’m talking about: As mentioned above, this is the third installment of Ms. Chase’s Paranormal Chick-Lit Strange Neighbors series. (I reviewed the second book, The Werewolf Upstairs, HERE.) Although you probably don’t need to read the earlier books to enjoy this story, it would give you a bit more background on and history of this little apartment building full of paranormal activity. The primary focus of this book is on witch, Morgaine, and the building owner’s father-in-law, vampire Sly.  After Morgaine has a makeover from Goth to pretty blonde, Sly realizes he is attracted to his long-time friend.  The two are a little shy and reluctant to share their feelings (especially at first because of Morgaine’s cousin, Gwyneth, who has shown a little interest in Sly as well). I have to say that once again, a story doesn’t have to “mean something” to be enjoyable. This is one of those stories.  The character development wasn’t all that great, but I enjoyed Morgaine and Sly.  Their “courtship” and mutual attraction didn’t really strike me as overly passionate (they did a lot of talking), so when they finally got it on, it seemed a bit over the top to be going at each other like animals. However, after their initial encounter, I enjoyed the relaxed and sweet development of their love for one another. The side plot lines in this book were a bit much this go around. First, Sly’s vampire maker is stalking him – this vampire is “evil” according to our resident witches, and yes, he did kill Sly’s wife some 20+ years ago because HE HAD A CRUSH on Sly.  *shakes head* I wish there had been a bit more development of Malvant’s character and involvement in the overall storyline. Second, Sly needs to earn cash, but due to his “condition” (vampire) he is limited for...
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Aug
2

Review: The Lady of the Storm

Review: The Lady of the Storm The Lady of the Storm Author: Kathryne Kennedy  Release Date: August 1, 2011 Publisher: Sourcebooks The Elven Lords #2 ISBN: #978-1402236532 Genre: Paranormal Romance/ Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (416 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Giles is bound to protect her… In a kingdom viciously ruled by warlike elven lords, village blacksmith Giles Beaumont reluctantly swears to protect the half-elf, half-human Cecily Sutton, never dreaming that he will fall under her enchanting spell. But duty soon turns to desire… When Cecily’s father disappears, Cecily and Giles set out to find him. But, as their journey unfolds, duty is quickly replaced by desire–and the search for Cecily’s father leads to a magical destiny that could end the rule of the elven lords forever … What I’m talking about: I picked up this book because I absolutely enjoyed Ms. Kennedy’s  Beneath the Thirteen Moons (review HERE), and I thought this was a follow up to that book. Well, my mistake, it’s the second book in a different series – The Elven Lords – but I still enjoyed reading it! And I’ll tell you right up front, you do NOT need to read the first book, The Fire Lord’s Lover, to enjoy The Lady of the Storm. In the prologue, we learn that long ago seven elves opened the gate between Elfhame and the human world, divided England into seven sovereign territories, and treated the humans as their personal slaves. They mated with humans, creating hybrid humans with magical powers; however if a child showed any potential magic that could be used to defeat one of the elven lords, the child was destroyed. This brings us to our heroine, Cecily. Cecily is the half-human daughter of Lord Breden of Dewhame, one of the elven lords, but she has been hidden from her father and protected by the Rebellion for her entire life.  When Lord Breden’s armies attack Cecily’s village, she is forced to use her powerful water magic to defeat the soldiers.  Giles Beaumont has a bit of elven in him as well. He is a loyal member of the Rebellion who as played the village blacksmith for 9 years while secretly protecting Cecily.  When she uses her powers, Giles reveals his true identity to Cecily, and they leave at once to find out what happened to Cecily’s adoptive father (and fellow Rebellion member). Ms. Kennedy does a marvelous job generating a fanciful rewrite of Georgian England, integrating her own creations into...
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Jul
30

Review: Vision Impossible

Review: Vision Impossible Vision Impossible Author: Victoria Laurie  Release Date: July 5, 2011 Publisher: NAL Psychic Eye Mystery #9 ISBN: #978-0451234063 Genre: Paranormal Suspense Format(s): Hardcover (358 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher  About the book: Abby Cooper’s next mission may truly be impossible…  Abby Cooper, the FBI’s newest Civilian Profiler, is adding Spy to her resume. The military’s digital photography software that captures one’s aura- just like Abby can-sits in a drone aircraft that’s been stolen. It’s a major breach in security as every country’s leader can be identified by their aura…  Abby springs into action to stop the criminals before they set their diabolical plan into motion, while making herself a prime target.  What G & U are talking about: Vision Impossible is the ninth book in the Psychic Eye Mysteries.  Gikany and Una did not read the previous books (nor do we anticipate picking them up) so we have jumped into this one blind.  However, that being said as we did our research for this book to put together our review, we noticed that (besides fans either loving or hating this novel) this book was a departure from the previous books in the series.  Abby’s usual friends and crew were not featured, except for her fiancé Dutch.  Therefore if you want to pick up this series with this book, it might be a good starting point.  We do not feel we had missed out on anything by starting here (unless you want to know how Abby and Dutch got together). We had a very difficult time thinking of how to review and rate this book.  Gikany has come up with a great illustration.  This book is like being on a rollercoaster…the first part is torturously slow, the middle is interesting and the last part is a thrill.  That being said, we must admit to skimming parts of the first third of Vision Impossible (okay, Una skimmed, Gikany was good and didn’t… gold star for her) where the “spy training” occurs.  The plot picks up once they are put in the field, doing the spy work and the drama begins to unfold.  Then at the end where the action explodes, it is fantastic… the end could be taken from a James Bond movie.   One overwhelmingly difficult element that Una faced is her dislike of our main character, Abby the psychic.  We must note: Gikany didn’t find her as annoying as Una did.  Maybe it was reading this book so soon...
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Jul
18

Review: Skin Dive

Review: Skin Dive Dear Readers: Please help me welcome my friend Vampbard, who brings you today’s review of… Skin Dive Author: Ava Gray  Release Date: July 5, 2011 Publisher: Berkley Sensation The Skin Novels #4 ISBN: #978-0425242148 Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s): Paperback (304 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher  About the book: She can’t remember what home is like…Gillie is a fugitive. She has the scars to prove her long-term incarceration, but the story would land her in a padded cell if she presented it to the authorities. Now that she’ s free, she’ s determined never to be bound again. But her extraordinary healing is too valuable to let go, and her former captors intend to retrieve her—by any means necessary. Which doesn’t bode well for her dream of a normal life. He can’t remember wanting anything more.Taye can’t remember much about his past, but he knows he’s not worthy to give Gillie her happily-ever-after, so he’s determined to preserve her innocence, though she tempts him more than any woman he’s ever known. With the clock ticking and a bounty hunter hounding them, he faces the most important task of his life—assuring her safety from the Foundation. No matter the pain of his own deferred desires. Gillie doesn’t understand how he can resist the charge between them. And if Taye has his way, she’ll never know the sacrifice he’s making to keep her alive… What Vampbard is talking about: Let me preclude my review by stating that I haven’t read the first three books in this series by Ava Gray, and I feel that some of my hesitation to rate the book higher stemmed from feeling a bit ‘left out of the loop’ for the first third of the book.  I’m guessing that if I’d read the first three, Skin Dive would have received a 4 or 4.5.  On with the review… 🙂 I really ended up enjoying SKIN DIVE! For the first book I’ve read by Gray, I can honestly say that I think I’ll go look up the first two books in the series and figure out what I missed. The book was (over-all) well-written, and didn’t send up the ‘get thyself to a competent editor’ flags. Because I felt as though I ‘missed out’ on some stuff, I’d suggest that if you’re interested in reading Gray, start with the first book of the series, Skin Game, and then read second and third books before Skin Dive… I’m guessing that...
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Jul
13

Review: Heartbreak Creek

Review: Heartbreak Creek Heartbreak Creek Author: Kaki Warner  Release Date: July 5, 2011 Publisher: Berkley Trade Runaway Brides trilogy #1 ISBN: #978-0425241226 Genre: Historical Romance Format(s): Paperback (384 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:      Honest, hard-working widower, age thirty-three, seeks sturdy English-speaking woman to help with mountain ranch and four children. Drinkers, whores, and gamblers need not apply.       Not very romantic, but after one disastrous marriage, widowed Edwina Ladoux isn’t looking for romance.  What she wants is safety for herself and her half-sister, and a way out of the war-torn South, even if she has to offer herself up as a mail order bride to a stranger a thousand miles away in the Colorado Rockies.  But she hadn’t reckoned on Declan Brodie.      Declan’s first wife ran off with a gambler and was later killed by Indians.  He has no desire to saddle himself with another—and her mulatto “traveling companion”.  But his children need a mother, and he needs help to keep his mountain ranch running, and the proxy papers are already signed.  But there’s something odd about those two. A connection he doesn’t quite understand.  But at least the companion can cook. What Angela is talking about:      Heartbreak Creek by Kaki Warner is the story of a young woman who leaves her home in the war-torn south to become a mail order bride in the wild frontier of Colorado to a widow with four children.      I this book to be a great beach bag read and a fun escape for an afternoon. It was a light easy read with fairly interesting characters and beautiful scenery that was so well described that I could picture everything from the overgrown gardens in war-torn Louisiana to the rugged beauty of the unsettle Colorado territory. It made me laugh out loud in a few places and had me holding my breath in others.      That being said I felt like parts of the book were lacking. The relationship between Edwina and Pru is something I expected to be more fully developed and instead I felt got shelved for other characters like Thomas and Sally. This might have worked had the author not also been trying to explore several other characters at the same time. Leaving a variety of unanswered questions which made it hard for me to continue moving forward, for example Lucinda’s past is touched on but we never really get the back story...
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Jul
6

Review: What A Goddess Wants

Review: What A Goddess Wants What A Goddess Wants Author: Stephanie Julian  Release Date: July 1, 2011 Publisher: Sourcebooks Forgotten Goddesses #1 ISBN: #978-1402251474 Genre: Paranormal Romance, Erotic Format(s): Paperback, e-book I received a copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review. From the author’s website:      IN HIS ARMS, HER MAGIC POWERS ARE ON THE RISE…      Tessa, Etruscan Goddess of the Dawn, is losing her powers and now there’s an Underworld god determined to run her down. She needs a hero and fast, because only sexual energy can give her power. So she seeks out Caligo, whose sexual prowess is legendary…      AND SHE’S THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN BRING HIM INTO THE LIGHT…      Caligo is a fabled Cimmerian warrior determined to stay away from spoiled goddesses who trample hearts after they’ve had their fun. But there’s something irresistibly hot and inviting about Tessa and he knows he’s her only change to escape the encroaching darkness… What I’m talking about:      What a Goddess Wants opens with minor goddess, Tessa, in a dream state, running from her life from a powerful god, Charun, who is trapped in the underworld and wants to consume Tessa for her powers. Tessa cannot get help from the parent gods because they have closed themselves off in their own “home plane” of existence and have been unreachable for centuries. This leaves Tessa to seek out her own protector.  When a trusted friend suggests Cal (Caligo), Tessa finds herself at his doorstep, exhausted and close to being captured.      The chemistry between Cal and Tessa heats up the pages of this book to the point I thought the pages would burn up in my hands! Their attraction is immediate, each finding something in the other that has been lacking in their lives. Cal, like all Cimmerian warriors cannot feel any pain and is impervious to heat and cold. When he touches Tessa, her body heat seeps into Cal’s body and soul, leaving him craving for more. Tessa on the other hand has spent several lifetimes playing and having fun with many beautiful men. With Cal, she not only finds pleasure, but a man who genuinely cares for her well-being. And, as the two grow closer, they discover that their mutual desire is regenerating Tessa’s once-faded powers.      What a Goddess Wants kicks off a new series about Forgotten Goddesses. I enjoyed the new (to...
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Jun
29

Review: Cover Me

Review: Cover Me Cover Me Author: Catherine Mann  Release Date: July 5, 2011 Publisher: Sourcebooks Elite Forces Book #1 ISBN: #978-1402244957 Genre: Military/Suspense Romance Format(s): Paperback (344 pgs), e-book We received a copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review. From the author’s website: It should have been a simple mission… Pararescueman Wade Rocha parachutes from the back of a helicopter into a blizzard to save a climber stranded on an Aleutian Island, but Sunny Foster insists she can take care of herself just fine… But when it comes to passion, nothing is ever simple… With the snowstorm kicking into overdrive, Sunny and Wade hunker down in a cave and barely resist the urge to keep each other warm… until they discover the frozen remains of a horrific crime… Unable to trust the shady local police, Sunny and Wade investigate, while their irresistible passion for each other gets them more and more dangerously entangled… What Gikany & Una are talking about: Cover Me is the debut novel in the new Elite Forces series.  For a first novel in a series, it was pretty good.  The world-building, what little there is in a military/suspense romance, was easily crafted into the story.  The novel begins with our hero, Wade, who is a somewhat stereotypical military persona; dedicated to saving others, tough, stubborn, independent….you get the picture.  Even though he does have a soft heart, it is what drives his need to save others, even against their will.  Enter our heroine, the fiercely private and independent (did I mention stubborn) Sunny.  Now, Gikany and Una both thought, how on earth would the author have these two come together without sacrificing the initial characterization.  She didn’t.  That is what makes Cover Me a fun and adventurous read. First, Una must state, that this may have been her first military/suspense romance novel.  As we have said before, Gikany and Una do not tend to read much contemporary romance (which we consider military/suspense to be a part of).  Most of the military/suspense we read have a paranormal or fantasy twist to them.  So, at least Una was surprised at how much she enjoyed this novel, more so than she expected.  We really enjoyed the fact that Sunny is a capable and independent female who doesn’t need her military man to constantly save her.  She does just fine on her own, thank you.   Gikany and I feel that Sunny was a wonderful...
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