Tag Archives: Witches

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: 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: Impulse by Moira Rogers

28 Aug

Impulse by Moira Rogers
Samhain (Sept. 4, 2012)
ebook: $5.50
ISBN: 9781609287672
Excerpt

Favorite Lines: “One more thing, I don’t break, okay? I bend. The rest of you stand strong until you shatter, but I ride the rough spots so I can get back up when they’re over. But sometimes that means I don’t learn, because I never get hurt badly enough to teach me a lesson.” (p. 94)

Sera Sinclaire is a New Orleans rarity: a submissive coyote trapped in a town overrun by dominant shapeshifters. Worse, she lacks the willpower to deny the alphas-in-shining-armor who need her soothing presence, even when their protectiveness threatens to crush her hard-won self-reliance.

The only shifter she doesn’t want to push away is Julio Mendoza, a wolf so dominant he’s earned a place on the Southeast council.

Julio doesn’t have the luxury of indulging in the vacation his psychic shrink insists he needs. He can’t turn his back on responsibilities he’s beginning to wish he’d never shouldered. When an obsessive ex endangers Sera, though, instinct drives him to get her out of town. Watching her come to life outside the city makes him feel like he’s finally done something right, and her touch ignites desire he doesn’t want to ignore.

But soon, lighthearted flirting becomes a dangerous game of seduction, where every day spent falling into each other is another day avoiding the truth. Sera’s ex isn’t the only one who’d disapprove of their relationship. There are wolves who would kill to get Sera out of Julio’s life—starting with his own blood kin.

Book five (Impulse) in the writing duo Moira Rogers’ Southern Arcana series can be read as a stand alone, but you may want to read the previous books to get a feel for the world and its secondary characters. I read book five, then went back and read book one, Crux. I don’t think that was a good idea because they have too many similarities and while I liked Impulse, I didn’t like Crux because of those similarities. (Both have a thread about a male shifter chasing a female shifter to breed.)

But let’s talk about Impulse. It features a submissive fox shifter named Sera who is attracted to a dominate wolf shifter named Julio. Both are traumatized from past events. I think I’d have a clearer understanding of those things had I read book four. Rogers gives enough information that I was able to understand the damage done to both Sera and Julio without reading those events as they occurred. Those events are important because they set up the situation which leads to Sera and Julio to need a vacation.

Impulse is a character driven romance. Both Julio and Sera have emotional issues that they need to work out and a lazy vacation is their route to happiness.  Of course along the way there are speed bumps, but what kept bringing me back were the dynamics between Julio and Sera. Sera was more than a woman who liked to be dominated. She wanted to be seen as an asset who could fight when she needed too, but liked to offer comfort. She is capable of bending which is something an alpha can’t do. She’s a survivor who eventually learns to be confident in herself while living in a world in which many paranormal shifters consider her to be scum.

Julio is hard on himself. He feels guilty about not stepping up in the supernatural world while his father and uncle bullied and ran shifters into the ground. We meet him as he deals with his guilty conscience which forces him to accept all forms of responsibility. Sera doesn’t want to be his responsibility. She wants to be his lover and later–his partner. Once she gets through to him, the possibilities seem endless. It’s the paranormal world’s prejudice that affects them.

Julio is a good guy and I love it when the good guy wins. That’s especially true when he’s paired with a woman who fits him the way Sera fits Julio. She’s the grass to his wind. He blows hard and she bends to fit him no matter where he needs to go.

The plot lines were less interesting to me. There was a fear of Sera’s ex-husband showing up and worry that Julio’s family would make a violent move that never really reached the level I expected. I like my bad guys really bad, but the bad guys in Rogers’ world didn’t feel evil. I actually felt kind of bad for one of them.

The joy to be found in Impulse came from the interactions between Sera and Julio. Their sex scenes were hot, but their ability to just “be” while together were even better. I felt their attraction turn from lust to love and that made me happy with the romance.

Review: The Guardian of Bastet by Jacqueline M. Battisti

22 Aug

The Guardian of Bastet by Jacqueline M. Battisti
Carina Press (August 20, 2012)
ebook: $5.99
ISBN: 9781426894244
Excerpt

Favorite Lines: “Once again pondering the quirks of fate, I began thinking about not just being a witch, but being a shifter. I realized although it sometimes bothered me I didn’t turn into a full puma like my dad, I had to admit being a housecat didn’t totally suck and I should probably find some kind of appreciation for it. It was a mandatory transformation on a full moon, but I could also change at will.

Other than the whole litter box thing, it could actually be kind of cool at times. I could run around like crazy–doing mad dashes around the house, and then when I got tired, I could just find a nice warm sunny spot and curl up to sleep. There were plenty of toys to play with around my house and Bronwyn was a pretty cool companion. We played chase, we wrestled and bitch-slapped each other, we knocked mice around and did I mention the catnip? It was legal too! Damn that was good stuff.” (p. 37, e-galley)

Cat-shifter Trinity Morrigan-Caine has discovered a demon is killing supernaturals. Magically challenged, she has every intention of letting handsome Alpha werewolf Gordon Barnes handle it. But after a dying vampire gifts Trinity a mystical amulet, she is drawn into the fray as the legendary Guardian of Bastet, a warrior born when the need arises.

Though Trinity initially rejects the role, she warms to the idea when Gordon agrees to train her—and their passion for each other grows as he teaches her to embrace her animal instincts.

As she begins to accept her destiny and believe in her growing powers, Trinity realizes the danger is even closer to home than she ever imagined—and she and Gordon are going to have to face the demon in a fight to the death…

The Guardian of Bastetfollows a woman as she grows in power, faces unexpected betrayal and learns how much she can trust all who surround her. Trinity, the heroine, also matures over the course of the story. She is introduced as a flaky young veterinarian who possesses a hippie like “love and live” attitude. By the final page turn Trinity is a woman who has seen enough to know evil exists and that she must protect those around her from that darkness. The diverse paranormal world began to darken as events unfolded and that sucked me in like a black hole.

I’ll be honest. The first quarter of The Guardian of Bastet irritated the crap out of me. I didn’t like Trinity and thought the tone of the story was silly. It was also predictable. Then things started getting murky and different characteristics of the people in Jacqueline M. Battisti‘s world began showing. Trinity’s mother isn’t so motherly. Her father is more nurturing than the average literary father especially when you consider the fact that he is an alpha shifter. The characters didn’t react in expected ways either. What I mean is that when I thought characters would fight–they accepted. When I thought they would be helpful, well they’d end up doing something which showed they couldn’t be trusted. I’m not saying the story was staggering in its newness. I’m saying I had a good time reading it.

While The Guardian of Bastet has a clear romance thread, it feels more like an urban fantasy than a paranormal romance. I say this because in urban fantasies it isn’t unusual to have heroines who have sex with more than the hero unlike romance novels. I know I’m not the only reader who dislikes heroes (or heroines) who sleep around in my romance books. For some reason I’m willing to give urban fantasy characters a little slack when it comes to their sexual desires. In Battisti’s book, the heroine has a sexual encounter with someone who is clearly never going to be more than a one night stand. For me that kicked The Guardian of Bastet into urban fantasy territory.

I enjoyed the plot and chase of The Guardian of Bastet far more than I liked Trinity. I thought she was stupid. Maybe it’s because she never had true responsibility when she is introduced that she makes immature decisions.  She ignores so many obvious things that she deserves to die. She ignores information given to her by an obviously trust worthy source and puts herself into dangerous situations by being oblivious to reality. Despite all of Trinity’s character flaws, if another book in the series is released I’ll read it. Why? The Trinity who exists at the end of the story isn’t stupid. She accepts responsibility and owns up to some hard to say out loud facts. This Trinity, when paired with another interesting plot, will be a book I look forward to reading.

Review: The Darkest Day by Britt Bury

28 Jun

The Darkest Day by Britt Bury
Grand Central Publishing/Forever Yours(June 28, 2012)
ebook: $4.99
ISBN: 9781455523290

Favorite Lines: “I love you, Izel. You are the most precious thing ta me. Above all else, it’s you.” (p. 218, e-galley)

ALL-CONSUMING DESIRE . . .

Izel Campbell was raised to believe she is an immortal Fionn with the magical skills of persuasion. But when she travels to Scotland to visit her ancestral home, Izel discovers that she is actually the world’s last living human. Forced to run for her life, Izel crosses paths with Kelvin Kerr, the Campbells’ greatest foe-and the most magnificent warrior she has ever seen.

BURNS BRIGHTEST . . .

A thousand-year-old battle chief of the Kerr clan, Kelvin lives only to avenge his father, who died at the hands of the bloody Campbells. Honor demands he kill the Campbell heir, but when he learns that the lovely Izel is both Campbell and human, Kelvin is torn between duty and desire . . .

Debut author Britt Bury has created a new world in which no pure humans exist in her soon-to-be released paranormal romance story The Darkest Day. It has all the amenities of modern society, ie. cell phones and cars, but is manned by vampires, witches and shapeshifters to name only a few of the supernatural creatures. What sucked me into the world though was the Scottish pookah who spoke with a burr. That burr made me so happy. But it didn’t make me happy enough to ignore the dumb ass heroine.

Izel, the heroine, is not new to the supernatural world. She is new to the idea of being one of the extinct humans. This irritated me because she acted like she was ignorant of the supernatural. She kept putting herself in dangerous situations and acting out like a child. I’m understanding of some of it, hell, she felt no emotion for 25 years, but I’m not willing to overlook Izel’s reactions to her emotions. I wish I could give you examples, but I don’t want to give away anything and will let you find (or not find) those scenes.

What I liked:

  1. I liked the idea of pure humans not existing. A place where humans are the minority was exciting because so often I read about paranormals hiding or living in human society where humans are the majority.
  2. Getting a hero who was a pookah was a nice change from vampires (Don’t worry, I still love my vampire heroes).  The hero also knew how to apologize and admit wrongdoing.
  3. The sexual tension was great. It was instant, but slow burning. When Kelvin turned alpha on the prowl for sex, whew! Good stuff. He was about pleasuring her and not acting on his animal urges…for a while. :)
  4. The Scottish burr…

What I didn’t like:

  1. The TSTL heroine.
  2. The predictability of the story.

Overall opinion: I liked The Darkest Day. No, it’s not perfect but I had to have it after reading the blurb. It’s reasonably priced and book one in The Immortal Heat series. It’s a sensuous book that hints at the events to come in future books. I think the series will stay focused on romance while getting more violent. I’ll be reading the next book in the series.

Coming Soon: Blood Winter by Diana Pharaoh Francis

12 Jun

Review: Coveted by Shawntelle Madison

24 May

Coveted by Shawntelle Madison
Random House/Ballantine Books (April 2012)
Mass Market: $7.99; ebook: $7.99
ISBN: 9780345529183
Excerpt

Favorite Lines: “I had come to terms with the fact that hoarding had negative side effects. Buying ornament after ornament wasn’t normal behavior, but somehow part of me felt that it was right. As I gave the Home Shopping Network my credit Card number, I reveled in the delicious shiver within my belly when I knew my holiday cheer was on its way.” (p. 65, e-galley)

For werewolf Natalya Stravinsky, the supernatural is nothing extraordinary. What does seem strange is that she’s stuck in her hometown of South Toms River, New Jersey, the outcast of her pack, selling antiques to finicky magical creatures. Restless and recovering from her split with gorgeous ex-boyfriend, Thorn, Nat finds comfort in an unusual place: her obsessively collected stash of holiday trinkets. But complications pile up faster than her ornaments when Thorn returns home—and the two discover that the spark between them remains intense.
 
Before Nat can sort out their relationship, she must face a more immediate and dangerous problem. Her pack is under attack from the savage Long Island werewolves—and Nat is their first target in a turf war. Toss in a handsome wizard vying for her affection, a therapy group for the anxious and enchanted, and the South Toms River pack leader ready to throw her to the wolves, and it’s enough to give anybody a panic attack. With the stakes as high as the full moon, Nat must summon all of her strength to save her pack and, ultimately, herself.

I’m not sure how I feel about Coveted, book one, which is also the title of Shawntelle Madison’s new urban fantasy series. In some ways it is much different from other series on the market. It features a heroine with a diagnosed mental illness who yearns for the soon-to-be new alpha of her local werewolf pack. That man has some pull, but he is not in charge and thus can’t do all that I would like for a love interest to do.

Despite the large focus on the heroine’s love life, the series is not a romance. It is an urban fantasy. Do not expect a happily ever after. (Do expect the makings of a possible love triangle.) I think that’s part of the problem for me. I don’t see how this heroine could ever be happy. Mental illness does not just go away and its presence makes me question her acceptance by all who surround her. Madison attacks attitudes like mine in the book, but I’m imagining long-term effects and am not sure I want to stick around for the journey.

That said, I enjoyed many of the characters I met just as much as I hated a few. I wanted Nat to succeed. I wanted to kick ass for her. I wanted others to see the good in her and step up. I wanted her to find her backbone and stand proud. A reasonable amount of my wishes were granted by the time I turned the last page of the book, but I never felt good reading Coveted. I never felt an adrenaline rush or connection to anything or anyone.

I rated the book a three on GoodReads because it is so different from what I normally read and that I finished it. I never considered stopping even though I didn’t love the story. I liked little about the first half of the book, but the second half  picked up speed nicely. There was more action, but not enough to hook me.

Ending Thoughts: If I was out of books to read, and could borrow book two, Kept, from the library, I’d read it. Otherwise my journey into Nat’s world will be at an end.

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