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Books I Want: December 2012

1 Dec

The Cat’s Meow by Stacey Kennedy (TBA December)

thecatsmeowkennedyIn Charleston, Libby is an Enchantress—a witch gifted by the Goddess to conjure spells. When a magical presence is detected around a recent string of feline slayings, Libby must take the case to discover the reasons behind the odd deaths. Much to her displeasure, the coven has also sent the sexy warlock, Kale, to assist her.

While having the muscle around proves to be useful, fighting the
attraction between them is worse than a hex, especially considering Kale is keeping secrets. Libby has good reason to believe that Kale is there to evaluate her performance as a witch, and fears her job is on the line. But soon, Libby has bigger problems than the elusive warlock and career stability. Her spells are turning up clues that point to something far more sinister than slaughtered cats, leading her to a threat that could shake the very foundation of her world.

Now Libby lands herself in the midst of an uprising. She trusts no one and isn’t safe. Not from the warlocks stirring up trouble. Not from the worrisome rebellion she can’t escape. And certainly not from Kale who is weaving a very dangerous spell over her. Continue reading

Review: Deliver Me From Temptation by Tes Hilaire

29 Nov


2.5out of 5 scoopers

Deliver Me From Temptation by Tes Hilaire
Sourcebooks (Dec. 4, 2012)
Mass Market: $6.99; ebook: $6.99
ISBN: 9781402264375

Favorite Lines: “No person, no matter what sort of freaky shit he was into, would lie there and willingly let someone gnaw on his neck–and come back for more. Obviously their ME had been watching way too much True Blood recently.” (p. 131, e-galley)

Logan Calhoun is the last full-blooded Paladin, the future leader of a race of immortal warrior angels. The heavy responsibility of continuing the Paladin line falls to him, and the last thing he should do is get involved with a human. Then fate throws Jessica Waters, a homicide detective who doesn’t believe in fate or divine intervention, into his path. Her devotion lies in her Glock and a good set of handcuffs. Like Logan, she’s a warrior for her people, and she awakens within him something he’d never thought he’d feel. But she’s also as human as they come…

I got to tell you that Deliver Me From Temptation, book two in Tes Hilaire’s Paladin Warriors series, is not what I was expecting. I started it excitedly hoping for a quick fix on two secondary characters that I became obsessed with in Deliver Me From Darkness. Unfortunately hope dwindled to sadness by mid-book and I set the story aside for a while. Once I started reading it again with thoughts focused on Logan, who I really didn’t care for from the first book, and Jessica, a detective that I didn’t like, I was able to complete the story…barely.

Deliver Me From Temptation can be read as a stand alone, but different aspects of Deliver Me From Darkness (book one) are brought up to tie the two books together, along with the back story of the Paladins who have an angelic ancestry. Expect to see demons and vampires, as well as the paladins in this good vs. evil love story.

I wanted to like Deliver Me From Temptation, but I was bored. I disliked the heroine from start to finish. I didn’t really care about Logan and since Deliver Me From Temptation is a paranormal romance all about Logan and Jessica’s relationship, it doesn’t bode well for my feelings about the book. The story wasn’t bad, it just didn’t do it for me. In book one I got to see a world that straddled the paranormal romance-urban fantasy fence. That fence doesn’t exist in Deliver Me From Temptation. Every time I thought things were going to get dark it would leach into a gray that just didn’t deliver.

I was hoping to get more about Gabby who was introduced as a teen vampire prostitute in Deliver Me from Darkness, but that look was so quick that it didn’t even whet my palate. I’m pretty much to the point where I don’t see myself reading more of the Paladin Warrior series unless it’s Gabby’s story.

What others think:

Review: Angel in Chains by Cynthia Eden

20 Nov


4 of 5 scoopers

Angel in Chains by Cynthia Eden
Kensington (Nov. 27, 2012)
Trade: $14; ebook: $11.99
ISBN: 9780758267634

Favorite Lines: “You loved me once.”
This was it. The moment that she’d known would come. Jade stared him in the eyes, refused to let the fear take her, and said the words she knew would break him. “And now I love him.” (p. 290, ARC)

As a fallen Angel of Death, Azrael is cursed to walk the earth alone in search of redemption. One night, as he wanders the streets of New Orleans, he discovers a woman surrounded by panther shifters. No longer able to contain the anger simmering within, Az summons his dark powers and attacks, determined to protect this innocent human from certain death.

Only Jade Pierce is no delicate flower. She’s spent years learning to survive and fight the evil forces sent by her ex-lover who refuses to let her go. But after seeing Az in action, she figures she could use a little supernatural help. And so she plans a course of seduction guaranteed to arouse his interest and his angelic passions. . .

I’m not a huge fan of angel romance books, but Cynthia Eden‘s Fallen series is an exception. I started the series with book two, Angel Betrayed, and knew that I had to read Angel in Chains when it came out. Let me tell ya, I’m very glad that I did.

Az was a stickler for the rules every time he was shown in Angel Betrayed. He’s a cold and detached guy whose actions cross over into villainous. In Angel in Chains he’s a new fallen angel who has yet to come to terms with losing his wings and flat out refuses to believe he’ll never have them again. When he sees Jade, he is attracted to her, but sees her as his way back to heaven.

Jade’s been running from her ex-boyfriend for quite a while. The psycho killed her family and will kill anyone who gets close to her. He is the leader of the panther shifter clan with a whole lineup of shifters to send after Jade, but she keeps managing to slip away. When Az steps in to help her out, Jade tries to create some distance between them, but he refuses to let her handle the situation alone.

Jade is damaged and Az is damaged but together they have the power to heal. Watching Az and Jade fall in love and sacrifice what they valued most during the process made me want more. I wanted them to be happy and the fight and flight scenes kept me moving through the story. Angel in Chains was hard to put down.

If you’re looking for an action packed romance with an alpha hero who protects the woman he loves regardless of what it could cost him you’ve got to pick up Angel in Chains. It’s filled with sexy scenes, drama and great secondary characters. If there’s a book four, I’ll be reading it.

Review: Enslaved by Elisabeth Naughton

23 Oct


4 out of 5 scoopers

Enslaved by Elisabeth Naughton
Sourcebooks (Nov. 6, 2012)
Mass market: $7.99; ebook: $7.99
ISBN: 9781402262159
Excerpt

Favorite Lines: “All her life she’d been alone. Even the few times she’d been in love, she’d still been alone, because she’d never opened herself all the way. She’d never admitted who she really was, never confessed her hopes and dreams, never shared her soul. This time, she would. This time, everything was different.” (p. 296, e-galley)

After being rescued from the Underworld, Gryphon is plauged by strange voices and an evil foreboding. He believes that his only hope for salvation is to track down the goddess who cursed him…until he meets Maelea.

A prisoner with no bars, Maelea encounters Gryphon on her quest to find Olympus. He’s about to test her loyalty to the gods, and she’s ready to find out if he still has a heart worth saving…

It’s hard to believe that Enslaved is book five in Elisabeth Naughton‘s Eternal Guardians series. I’m not a fan of Greek mythology, but I’ve really become addicted to this series which incorporates bits and pieces of the past with its modern word. I highly recommend starting this series with book one instead of jumping in with Enslaved. Every book is about a different couple, but we’re given information and introduced to a variety of characters prior to starting their story. For example, we read about Gryphon’s experience in Hades and learn all about Maelea’s existence in book four, Enraptured.

After reading all the damage done to Gryphon in Enraptured and learning of Maelea’s predicament I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Enslaved. I knew a story about two horrendously damaged people would be good reading and I was right. The emotional trauma paired with the feelings of loneliness made them a perfect match once they realized the attraction between them. Maelea has always been alone not out of a desire but because she was cursed by the gods. Her father, Zeus, didn’t acknowledge her and her mother, Persephone, didn’t have much to do with her either.

Her constant migration and inability to let others get close to her made me want more for her. Just imagine how she felt living forever with no family and no constant partner or friends. Then BAM! there’s Gryphon who was tortured and is now infected with the voice of a villainess. He is purposely separating himself from his friends and family. Sure it’s out of a need to protect them from him, but he feels dirty and dangerous. He used to be completely different. His transformation from light to dark is affecting everyone–but Maelea.

As the two find peace in the world and within themselves there are so many other things taking place. The villainess from book one is still around. Atalanta still wants the Orb of Kronos and is using Gryphon to get it. The gods are making a play for the Orb, as well. They are trying to get it through Maelea. One of the story lines that began in book one will finally be concluded in this book.

Enslaved is equal parts romance/relationship and action moving the book/series forward. It’s also a nice change from the average vampire or shifter paranormal romance. It’s a decent addition to a comfortable series that is on my auto buy list.

Review: The Daemon Whisperer by Candice Bundy

25 Sep

3.5 out of 5 scoopers

The Daemon Whisperer by Candice Bundy
Lusios Publishing (Oct. 1, 2012; Available on Amazon)
ebook: $4.99
ISBN: 9780985418502
Excerpt

Favorite Lines: “I am very attracted to you, Meri, despite all the times you’ve lied to me and called me a bastard. I see someone with tremendous potential and a tenacity to match my own. I won’t take advantage of your binding. If you want things to continue as before, it’s up to you. I’ll follow your lead.” (p. 138)

Meriwether Storm discovered the grisly remains of her parents on their living room floor when she was only fourteen, the result of a failed daemon summoning. Meri immediately swore vengeance on the daemon who’d killed her parents, but there was only one problem–she had no idea which one had committed the atrocity.

Before their untimely deaths her parents had trained her intensively in the arts, and Meri used her skills to follow in their footsteps, ever seeking the daemon’s name. Now, despite her years of searching, she’s no closer to the truth and her time is running out. Will she accept a deal from a daemon if it means finally learning the truth? When retribution is the only thing that drives you, how much are you willing to sacrifice before you lose yourself to the cause?

My thanks to the author, Candice Bundy, for sending me a copy of The Daemon Whisperer to review.

The idea behind The Daemon Whisperer is a good one. In the future society is controlled by different corporations instead of governments. In this world live people who can summon daemons from Sheol (their world). Usually daemon summoners are short lived. Daemons are violent, demanding and tricky. Summoners must be careful with the wording they use and always be a step ahead or they will die in a painful manner. After every summoning the summoner is left with a new tattoo from the daemon dealt with. No one know what will happen if the summoner runs out of bare skin to be tattooed.

Meriwether has been summoning daemons for years. She is careful, but doesn’t expect to live out the year as she’s running out of bare skin. Early on in the book she is contacted by a handsome daemon who looks nothing like those she has dealt with in the past. He offers her an opportunity she can’t resist, assassinate an arch daemon and in return he will give her the name of the daemon wo murdered her parents. This prospect pulls her from all she’s ever known and introduces her to a world she never dreamed she’d be part of.

For the most part I enjoyed reading The Daemon Whisperer. Meriwether was straightforward. She knew what she wanted and went after it. She had realistic thoughts about the world and didn’t allow moral issues to prevent her from moving forward. She was ruled by a need to get revenge on the daemon who destroyed her family. As the book progressed she transformed from being a person who only relied on herself to trusting others to assist her. It was nice to see her grow.

The Daemon Whisperer is an urban fantasy novel with a strong romance storyline. The heroine finds love and companionship, as well as a completely new life and outlook on life. I only have a few criticisms to voice. One, toward the end of the book the editing is off. Extra words are used erroneously. For example, “Once of the other daemon hunters were incapacitated…”. That happens a few times.

I also felt like the story went on a few chapters too long. Instead of wrapping up the story it was like reading the first few chapters of a new book. We’re given a possibly life altering dilemma and a new violent situation, but not time to follow up. Had the story ended before those new things were introduced I would have been satisfied. Instead I felt like I missed something. The originality of The Daemon Whisperer kept me flipping pages and interested enough to pick up book two, The Madness Path, when it’s released. I’m hoping it will expand on some parts of the world building which are mentioned, but not explored.

Review: Shadow Rising by Cassi Carver

19 Sep

4 out of 5 scoopers

Shadow Rising by Cassi Carver
Samhain (Sept. 25, 2012)
ebook: $5.50
ISBN: 9781619211056
Excerpt

Favorite Lines: “No, she wouldn’t be pathetic and call Alden just because she was lonely and scared. She had her pride–and a hell of a right hook. As long as she had those, she could handle whatever came her way.” (p. 31)

When Kara Reed learns her bondmate, Julian, is truly dead, and that Gavin has seemingly skipped town, she figures things have hit rock bottom. But soon, a string of bizarre accidents has her doubting those closest to her. And to make matters worse, the demon-king’s brand carved into her best friend Abbey’s stomach is deteriorating by the day.

Then a powerful coven of witches issues Kara an ultimatum. Bring them the blood of a true fallen angel—the only thing that will heal Abbey—or die. Kara would do anything to help her friend. Problem is, the only fallen angel she’s seen lately is the disoriented black-wing who attacked her scouts. One who looks suspiciously like Julian. Getting his blood might be easier if he was more interested in kissing her than killing her.

Caught between a coven of vengeful witches and a murderous dead lover, Kara must deliver the blood, heal the slow poison of Abbey’s brand, and save Julian from being consumed by the Abyss. But to do this, she may need the help of the one man she swore never to trust again…Gavin.

Readers who loved Slayer’s Kiss are going to have a great time with Shadow Rising.

Book two in Cassi Carver’s Shadow Slayer series picks up after the events of book one, Slayer’s Kiss. If you haven’t read it, don’t start the series with Shadow Rising.

At the end of Slayer’s Kiss the reader is left reeling from devastating blows which stripped apart Kara and Julian. We also have a type of hope that Kara will find comfort in the arms of their friend Gavin. Unfortunately what we get in Shadow Rising is Cassi on her own with no Julian or Gavin. For a while.

I had such hope for Gavin. I thought he’d bond with Kara and together they’d work on saving Julian. I had no idea I’d end up despising Gavin. Yes. Others may see him as sacrificing himself for Kara, but I see him as someone who will have to work his ass off to get any “Yay, Gavins” from me. Honestly I don’t know how Carver will redeem Gavin. I’m hoping there will be another heroine for Gavin, because I’m not really feeling more than a friendship between Gavin and Kara.

Those who felt like there was too much smexiness in book one will be pleased to hear there is much less in Shadow Rising. The passion is still there, it just is spaced farther apart and centers around Kara and Julian. Yes, there are other sex scenes, but the drawn out love fests surround Kara and Julian. Those scenes are as fiery as those in Slayer’s Kiss.

So much takes place over the 218 pages which make up the story that I’m only going to highlight a few reasons why you should read Shadow Rising.

5.     Shadow lands. We get a closer look at the way the shadow lands work. You know like who’s in charge and what it means to be beneath those in charge.

4.     Tray. You will never believe how far this secondary has come from his small role in book one to the end of book two. I knew something was up with him, but WOW. You won’t see this coming.

3.     Witches. Those witches are all over the place. Are they good? Are they bad? Whose side are they on? Who do they want to help?

2.     Betrayals. They come in many forms, from many places and not all of them are aimed at the heroine.

1.     Dark Julian. Oh my God! HOT. HOT. HOT.

Review: Vengeance Born by Kylie Griffin

25 Aug

Vengeance Born by Kylie Griffin
Penguin (February 2012)
Trade: $15.00; ebook: $9.99
ISBN: 9780425245361

Favorite Lines: “Yes, I gave you the perfect weapon for retribution against me. I’m frightened my actions have hurt you too much to forgive me, but I’m more afraid of denying myself the chance of knowing what might happen between us.” (p. 214)

There is no mercy in the demon realm. No escape. In this place of desperation and conflict, anyone who is not pure bred is virtually powerless. Until an unlikely champion is born…

Annika, half-blood daughter of the Na’Reish King, longs for more than her tormented life among her father’s people. Conceived in hatred and bred as a tool of retribution, she’s gifted with a special talent that can heal as well as destroy…

With the Na’Reish vastly outnumbering them, Kalan, a Light Blade warrior, knows the future of humankind depends on him alone. Incursions into human territory and raids for blood-slaves by the Na’Reish Horde have increased. As Chosen-leader, he faces the task of stopping the demons-and convincing the Council of aging Light Blade warriors that change is necessary for survival.

When Annika learns Kalan is a prisoner in her father’s dungeon, her dream of escape seems within reach. She agrees to free him in exchange for his protection once they reach human territory. Now, marked for death for helping him, Annika must learn to trust Kalan as they face not only the perilous journey to the border but enemies within the Council-and discover a shocking truth that could throw the human race into civil war…

Vengeance Born is book one in Kylie Griffin’s Light Blade series which pits humans against demons. The reader is introduced to a world in which demons are violent and malicious predators who hunt humans. Once captured humans are tortured and often enslaved. Humans are their food source. But humanity has a protectors known as the Light Blade Warriors. The warriors are stronger than the average human and are excellent fighters.

The heroine of the book, Annika, is a myth. Both humans and demons are proud of their lineage which is called being blood proud. The idea of human-demon children is an unproven myth to humans until Annika saves the Light Blade Kalan. She’s faced nothing but adversity her entire life, but she takes a chance that her life may be different if she lives with humans. She also hopes to learn about her human mother.

I liked Annika from the moment she was introduced. She is a peaceful woman who could have let despair lead her to become a cruel person. Instead she chose religion. She put her faith in the Lady and cultivated her ability to heal those in need. Despite her gentle nature she is able to kill when needed. She is tough and fair-minded. She never thinks she is entitled to anything. I was drawn to her and wanted her to become the big dog on top instead of the under dog she was presented as.

Her hero Kalan was another thing. I flip-flopped with him. One moment I thought okay, he’s reacting the way any soldier would. The next minute I wanted to smack him for hurting the heroine’s feelings. He was suspicious but honorable. I never truly loved him, however, I did come to like him.

The danger comes from all sides in Vengeance Born. As a mixed blood, Annika is set up to fail from birth. She is seen as a disgrace as is shown from the women who give birth and “overcome with the shame of delivering crossbreed children, would plead with her (Hessia, an enslaved healer) to kill the child.” (p. 261)  Demons view the mixed bloods as being outranked by even the lowest caste of Na’Reish (demons). On her merits and with the help of a good human man, Annika has a chance at living a decent life.

One of the things I liked about the book was its honesty. Not all prejudices can be overcome and the book doesn’t gloss over that fact. Individuals can choose a new path or stick to a known path. In Vengeance Born the challenge comes from a semi-unexpected place. It was violent and I loved it. However, I kept waiting for Annika’s bad ass father to come and decimate all in his path or to lead some attacks on the humans. The depth his evilness were visited time and time again, but the reader never gets to see Annika’s father. That was disappointing.

I read Vengeance Born quickly and liked the new world Griffin introduced me to. Blindly we are placed in the middle of a war at the beginning of the story. It isn’t until nearly the end of the book that we are given historical evidence which explains the war between humans and demons. It worked to upset life as all the characters knew it to be in the Light Blade world and open doors to Kalan and Annika, as well as the future heroes and heroines in the Light Blade world.

I jumped into the Light Blade world and had a good time with most of it. The violent, depressing world was intriguing, but I never felt the draw between the characters. I was shown the sexual attraction, but didn’t really feel it or its transformation to love. It was slow in building, but for me never passed a friendship level on a love basis.

Vengeance Born had a steady pace until the end. I think it wrapped up a little too quickly. One minute we’re at a crisis level, the next everything is settled and book one is over. I’m thankful, though, that the book ended with the couple together, but not riding off into the sunset. The Light Blade world isn’t ready for that yet. I was left wondering how the hero and heroine would do as a couple faced with discrimination and hope book two, Alliance Forged, will show Kalan and Annnika overcoming many hurdles.

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