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Currently Browsing: reviews
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
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
3

Review: Grace in Moonlight

Review: Grace in Moonlight Grace in Moonlight Author: Stephanie Julian  Release Date: July 20, 2011 Publisher: Ellora’s Cave Lucani Lovers # 5 ISBN: 978-1419935718 Genre: Paranormal Romance, Erotic Format(s): e-book Book Source: Author/Publisher About the book:      Kaisie Giliati is the lucani king’s best tracker. He’s used to hunting and capturing his prey with little resistance. He’s also old enough to know exactly what he wants, and the feisty redhead who stirs him like no other is at the top of his list. Too bad she’s the enemy and seemingly impervious to his charms.      Grace Bellasario has a target on her back, two children to protect from their evil father and she’s in love for the first time in her life. With a man who should hate her—a man she has no business craving. But does she ever. Grace doesn’t have a chance in hell of shaking Kaisie off her tail. Now he just needs to keep her alive to live happily ever after… What B is talking about:      Trapped between two worlds, Grace Bellasario has done everything she can, including some truly horrible things, to find a cure to help her ailing son. Born a normal child into the world of the evil Malandante, she’s been shunned by her family as a disgrace, yet she’s still hunted by the Mal who will always consider her to be his.      Kaisie Giliati has plenty to deal with without the redheaded, fiery scientist his pack has taken in. At the age of forty-four, he’s got a grown daughter of his own, is the best tracker the pack has, and has a group of well-meaning friends who think they know what’s best for him. It doesn’t help that they’re probably right.      This is, perhaps, the most mature of the Lucani Lovers novels so far. Kaisie and Grace are both adults with children of their own, and while Grace may question her own self-worth as Kaisie’s mate, she never wavers in her devotion to her children, and later, the pack. Kaisie, likewise, takes his duty to defend his pack, and his loyalty to the Lucani king, seriously. But between Grace’s determination and Kaisie’s increasing restlessness, an explosive collision is bound to happen. Good thing it’s a lot of fun when it does.      Grace in Moonlight may be the sexiest of the series yet. Having experienced considerable hurt and regret throughout their lives, Grace and Kaisie reach...
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Aug
1

ARC Review & Giveaway: Downpour

ARC Review & Giveaway: Downpour Downpour Author: Kat Richardson  Release Date: August 2, 2011 Publisher: Roc The Greywalker Novels #6 ISBN: #978-0451463982 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Hardcover (368 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:      After being shot in the back and dying—again—Harper’s recovery has been hard. She’s lost a great many of the powers she’d acquired since first becoming a Greywalker, and Harper knows that if she dies again, she won’t be coming back.      Her only respite from the chaos is her work. But while conducting a pre-trial investigation in the Olympic Peninsula, she witnesses the ghostly echo of a fatal car accident for which there are no records. Worse still, the victim of the wreck insists he was actually murdered, and that the nearby mountain resort—called “Blood Lake” by locals—is to blame.      The picturesque area is as unlikely a haven for conspiracy and malignant magic as Harper’s ever seen. But she soon learns that the icy waters of the lake hide a terrible power, and a host of hellish beings. And both are held under the thrall of sinister mages who will use the darkest of arts to achieve their fiendish ends… What G & U are talking about:      Downpour is the sixth book in the Greywalker Novels.  Let us first say that Una has not read any of the previous books, however, Gikany was able to read the first book in the series.  Even though there are references to previous experiences and moments, we feel it isn’t necessary to read the first five books to enjoy this one.  However, to get the full impact of the series, we would recommend starting from the beginning.      Downpour starts off with our heroine, Harper Blaine, doing some less than fabulous legwork for a pretrial hearing.  During the course of this, she runs across some strange creatures and power lines in the Grey. The Grey is an alternate, paranormal dimension that Harper can experience and witness ever since she died (in a previous novel). These events cause her to take a deeper look into her surroundings, which leads her to a ghost and a murder mystery.  What could be classified as a straight-laced detective drama/mystery is made more suspenseful and engaging with the element of the paranormal.  It creates a thoroughly grounded but surreal urban fantasy.      Gikany and Una enjoyed Downpour.  The mythology is very interesting and the way the paranormal is...
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Jul
26

Review: Grave Dance by Kalayna Price

Review: Grave Dance by Kalayna Price Grave Dance Author: Kalayna Price Release Date: July 5, 2011 Publisher: ROC Alex Craft Novels #2 ISBN: #978-0451464095 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (371 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Whoever said dead men tell no tales obviously never met Alex Craft. After a month spent recovering from a vicious fight with a sorcerer, grave witch Alex Craft is ready to get back to solving murders by raising the dead. With her love life in turmoil thanks to the disappearance of Fae Investigation Bureau agent Falin Andrews and a shocking “L” word confession from Death himself, Alex is eager for the distractions of work. But her new case turns out to be a deadly challenge. The police hire Alex to consult on a particularly strange investigation in the nature preserve south of Nekros City. The strange part: There are no corpses, only fragments of them. A serial killer is potentially on the loose, and Alex has no way to raise a shade without a body, so she’ll have to rely on the magic of others to find leads. But as she begins investigating, a creature born of the darkest magic comes after her. Someone very powerful wants to make sure the only thing she finds is a dead end—her own. What G & U are talking about: Grave Dance is the second novel in the Alex Craft Novels. Una was not able to read the first book however Gikany (to the rescue) was able to. After conferring, Gikany and Una agree, it is best to read the first book, Grave Witch. There are quite a few plot points that are referred to in this book that occurred in the first book, along with relationships that have bearing in the second book. It isn’t necessary, but we feel that to fully enjoy Grave Dance you need to have invested the time in understanding some of the characters and you will get that if you read the first book. For a small non-spoiler example, it took Una a bit of time to realize that one of Alex’s roommates is a fae, something that was established in the previous book and is important to the storytelling. Not to mention a good bit of Alex’s background is revealed. Grave Dance begins a month after Grave Witch ends. From the moment the story begins, Una was hooked. The story was paced well and the balance of the detective/mystery unfolds nicely with the...
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Jul
21

ARC Review: In The Air Tonight

ARC Review: In The Air Tonight In The Air Tonight Author: Stephanie Tyler  Release Date: August 2, 2011 Publisher: Dell Books Shadow Force #3 ISBN: #978-0440423034 Genre: Military/Suspense Romance Format(s): Paperback (400 pgs), e-book Book Source: Author (eARC) About the book:       With danger closing in, all they have is each other.       Haunted by a mission he barely survived, Delta Force operative Mace Stevens still carries a soldier’s burden. Running a small bar in upstate New York, he remains a stone cold warrior who guards dangerous secrets and stays ready for anything. Anything except beautiful, vulnerable Paige Grayson, who shows up at his door, demanding answers about her heroic stepbrother’s death under his command.       Paige bears burdens, too. She’s plagued by demons unleashed by an older brother who committed mass murder before her eyes. But here in this snowy haven with Mace, she almost feels safe from the menacing promises of her insane sibling. As a nurse whose hands can read the deepest thoughts of anyone she touches, Paige knows Mace needs her as desperately as she needs him. And when a faceless killer begins unleashing fresh terror, Mace proves just how far he will go to save the woman who means everything to him. What I’m talking about:       In the Air Tonight is the third installment of Ms. Tyler’s Shadow Force series, and it picks up a few months after the conclusion of Promises in the Dark (review HERE). There is enough break between this and the last book that it could certainly be read as a stand alone. The main hero, Mace, and most of his military brothers were minor characters in the last book.  With that said, this book does pick up on the Cael-Vivi romance which began in Promises.       The story opens with a bang as ER nurse Paige is taken hostage. We quickly find out that she’s had a tough life (I was almost in tears by page 13) — her older brother was the perpetrator of a Columbine-type school shooting.  To compound problems, her best friend, stepbrother Gray, was recently killed in the line of duty, and to top it off, Paige is has pschometric hands, able to read thoughts and histories from a touch.       Paige managed to keep her true identity a secret for years, but when news of her capture and release hits the TV, soon everyone discovers her secrets. She...
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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
11

Review: Spectyr

Review: Spectyr Spectyr Author: Philippa Ballantine  Release Date: June 28, 2011 Publisher: ACE Fantasy Book of the Order #2 ISBN: #978-0441020515 Genre: Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (320 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:      Though one of the most powerful Deacons, Sorcha Faris has a tarnished reputation to overcome. She and her partner, Deacon Merrick Chambers, find themselves chasing down rumors of geists, but long for a return to real action. So they jump at the chance to escort a delegation sent to negotiate the terms of the Emperor’s engagement. Their destination: the exotic city of Orinthal.      But a string of murders has Orinthal on edge, and Sorcha and Merrick are asked to investigate. Meanwhile the Emperor’s sister has unwittingly released a cruel and vengeful goddess, one who it bent on destroying her enemies, including the geistlord who resides inside the shapeshifting rival to the throne—Sorcha’s lover…. What I’m talking about:      Wow – another great story in Ms. Ballantine’s richly-detailed, exotic world of Arkaym! Spectyr picks up shortly after the explosive conclusion of the first Book of the Order, Geist (my review HERE), with the return of key characters and the addition of a few new players. Deacons Sorcha Faris and Merrick Chambers are dealing with the blows of betrayal from within the Order, meanwhile, geist (paranormal) activity has been slow, leaving the pair with little to do. (In Ms. Ballantine’s world, intrusions by creatures from the “otherside” are commonplace and the Order’s Deacons are the “ghostbusters” of society.) Suddenly, strange events begin to occur, leading the Deacons, and a slew of other important players to the desert city of Orinthal.      Just like its predecessor, Spectyr, is full of amazing details, distinctive locals and unique lexicon. It is a beautifully crafted and involving story that requires a reader’s full attention.  The action is intense, and the plotlines are elaborately crafted. I will admit that I had forgotten several details from Geist, but Ms. Ballantine did a marvelous job “reminding me” of key events.      Once again, the three-way bond of Sorcha, Merrick and Raed, the ousted heir to the Empire and Sorcha’s lover, was a focal part of the story.  The bond penetrated the threesome’s actions and grew in sometimes unexpected ways. The emotional impact of their deep connection reverberated throughout the story, leaving me wanting more.      Ms. Ballantine used their bond as a starting point for this story and then...
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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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