Archive | November, 2008

Phenomenal Girl 5 by A.J. Menden

28 Nov

phenomenalfirl5mendon*Spoilers* I find it hard to give an honest review of this book without inserting a few spoilers. If you don’t like spoilers, don’t read this post. You’ve been warned. Scooper

Favorite Line: “He can date whomever he wants, even stick figures with hideous personalities.” (p. 113)

All Lainey Livingston has ever wanted is to become a member of the Elite Hands of Justice, ( EHJ) the highest order of superhero. She is ecstatic when she’s hired by EHJ, even though it is on a probationary basis. During her probation, she will be trained by a founding member of the group. Lainey, aka Phenomenal Girl 5, soon discovers that being strong and flying, mean little to her new teacher, the Reincarnist.

The Reincarnist, Robert Elliot, is a magician who lives out life only to be reborn as a 20-year-old. He is the smartest man and highest level magician in the world, but every time he is reborn he loses a piece of his past. Knowing this, how is it that Lainey is falling in love with him?

A.J. Mendon, the creator of Phenomenal Girl 5, has created an alternative world where superheroes are a part of everyday life. In this world there are normal people and those with varying abilities. It’s a comic book world placed into a romance book.

A cantankerous old man trapped in the body of a 40 something man, Robert doesn’t suffer fools at all. He is a man that has lived for a long time, had families, only to be reborn as a new person in his 20s over and over again. You can imagine the turmoil this raises in his mind and in that of the people who surround him.

It’s an interesting concept that engulfs Phenomenal Girl 5 by making the reader feel Lainey’s emotions as the woman left behind when her lover dies and is reborn into another body with no memory of her. Her emotions while coming to grip with loving two men, who happen to share parts of the same man are understandable, in part because the story is told in first person from Lainey’s POV. Her feelings of being unfaithful, come through loud and clear, as does her attraction to the new Reincarnist.

Phenomenal Girl 5 is a fun story for the reader that loves superheroes, villains, love and treachery. The end of the story wrapped up a little to quickly for me (it was also my favorite part), but as with most shows about heroes, the build up took up 3/4’s of the book, and the final 1/4 was nonstop action.

Read a an excerpt or check out reviews at Darque Reviews, Bitten by Books, Paranormal Romance or Romantic Times.

Blood Bargain by Maria Lima

26 Nov

bloodbargainlimaFavorite Lines: “The taste expanded in my mouth, stronger than a single drop should be, dark red oakironblood flavor exploding, catching me off guard.” (p. 14)

A mixed-blood woman waiting to change into something Other, Keira Kelly’s life was going pretty good. She was snuggling up with the King of the vampires, Adam Walker, and her family was an ocean away. Then Adam began getting weak. He stopped waking up on time and her insecurities returned full force.

Despite the Adam drama, Keira still has commitments to fulfill and that means meeting with a realtor about buying some land that butts up against Wild Moon Ranch (the vampire haven). While there she meets an illegal immigrant, Ignacio, who is searching her his brother, and decides to assist him. After returning to town, Keira finds out that the sheriff can’t help her because four teenagers have gone missing.

Keira’s journey to the truth will lead her to answers about her past and future. She’ll find out what’s happening to Adam, and maybe with his help become the person she was created to be.

Blood Bargain by Maria Lima is the second book in the Blood Lines series. It follows up a few months after Matters of the Blood ends. Keira is concerned at the amount of time it’s taking her to come into her powers and the healer is unavailable. Her worries for herself cease when it becomes obvious that Adam is in serious danger from apparent malnutrition.

I really didn’t feel a romance vibe with the story mainly because there is little interaction between Adam and Keir in the story. Yeah, Keira loves Adam, but most of the book is spent trying to figure out what happened to the missing man and four teens, and why Adam is doing so poorly. Very little time is actually used to inspect the couple’s relationship. I consider this book to be straight urban fantasy.

Blood Bargain is told in first person, so a lot rides on the readers feeling about Keira. If you love Keira, you’ll love the book. The same is true about hate. If you hate Keira, you’ll hate the book. I say this because Keira is a strong person, almost too strong. She has strong opinions and because you’re reading the book in first person, it feels like the reader has strong feelings about issues. This isn’t bad if you agree with the character, but when you find yourself cringing…

So, on to what I liked. I enjoyed the way the end unfolded. I liked the supernatural character I met in gray and the way the pacing picked up towards the end. I thought the tension introduced between two major characters was a great idea.

One of the things I absolutely hated was when Keira is having a vision about an illegal immigrant who happens to be speaking and the reader is allowed to hear his words in English and Spanish words would be thrown in. For example, “thinking with his cojones instead of what was left of his brain… Estupido.”

Form your own opinion by reading Blood Bargain. It is available at Barnes and Noble, Amazon and Juno Books.

Dead Ringer by Mary Burton

23 Nov

deadringerbartonFavorite Lines: “Listen, you bitch,” he’d hissed by her ear. “Open your goddamn eyes.” (ARC p. 46)

Richmond homicide detective Jacob Warwick is lead investigator on a series of murdered women cases with two things in common. One, the strangled women all appear with a charm. And two, they all bear an uncanny resemblance to news anchorwoman Kendall Shaw.

Kendall is having horrific nightmares that keep her up at night. She was victimized by the Guardian serial killer, but the nightmares have nothing to do with her near death experience that introduced her to Jacob. In her dreams she is a small child being stalked by a killer.

It is time for Kendall to look into her own past for answers. Answers that will either save her life or kill her.

If you’re looking for a romantic suspense story that will grab hold of you and drag you to its end, you’ll love Dead Ringer by Mary Burton. The story jump starts with a murder, then idles with information before rushing to the end with a bang. Kendall is a woman who asks questions about everything, but her past. She learned long ago that it hurt her adoptive parents to think about her birth parents, and let any curiosity lay dormant.

Kendall’s curiosity is piqued as her nightmares increase in quantity and intensity. So when her pregnant roommate considers giving her baby up for adoption, Kendall decides to look into her own past.

Jacob is a man chased by demons. After his natural parents proved to be worthless, he was taken in by a kind man who never gave up on him. His guardian ended up being the Guardian killer, and Jacob has yet to come to terms with the person he knew being a murderer. He has a lot to prove to himself and his opportunity to do so will come sooner than he believes.

Dead Ringer is full of suspense and hints of romance. If I didn’t know this was a romance, I might have thought it was straight fiction, because the romance is very light. Ms. Burton has wrote a story that is about a killer that just so happens to have a romantic thread.

The hero and heroine didn’t just focus on one another; they searched for a killer, dealt with the past, carried on their everyday lives before deciding there could be something between them. That’s what  I like. There was no instant “love” that made the killer go into hiding or that uncomplicated their lives. Two traumatized characters found love after facing the devil not once, but twice.

But the lead characters were not my favorites in Dead Ringer. Nicole and Ayden, drew my attention. The story of a woman impregnated by her abusive husband during a rape possibly hooking up with a widower with sons, reeled me in. Add in a couple of psychos and dang that’s a great story. Weave that tale in with the story of a bunch of dead women…well, you get my point.

Dead Ringer is on sale today and you can read an excerpt of it at Ms. Burton’s website. (Nicole’s story is in the anthology Silver Bells which I’ll be reviewing soon.)

Midnight Sins by Cynthia Eden

17 Nov

midnightsinsedenFavorite Lines: “She was an aberration, she knew it. Not a predator like she should be. Too weak. The demon blood in her body should have made her a perfect hunter.” (ARC, p. 7)

While trying to solve a string of killings that has left naked men tied to beds, Detective Todd Brooks, finally has a suspect, the beautiful, Cara Maloan. Despite his sexual attraction for the blonde bombshell, Todd will find out if she has anything to do with the strange deaths taking place in his city and if she’s responsible he’ll see her punished.

Cara Maloan is a succubus who has sworn off sex. Not satisfied with glamouring men, she yearns for a man to love her not one that is drawn because of the pheromones she expels. When Detective Brooks shows up at her door, her inner demon begins to unravel and reach for the hot human.

In a city where the dark side is alive and thriving, a human and demon lean towards each other in an age old dance of love. As passions are reached, deaths occur and point an accusatory finger at the demon, threatening the lovers hope of a life together.

Ms. Eden is one of my favorite erotic writers. When you buy one of her books you get a great story with intense sex scenes and a well thought out book.

I’m not a huge fan of succubi, but I liked Cara. She knew that her life wasn’t going in the right direction and decided to change that by becoming celibate. But because succubi and sex go together, it was imperative that Ms. Eden come up with a plausible substitute. I’m pleased to say that she did.

As usual, the secondary characters are well rounded and I can’t wait to read their stories. The mystery or suspense aspect of the story worked well. I never completely knew who the killer was until the tail end of the book.

One thing that concerned me is that Midnight Sins takes place after Hotter After Midnight, Colin’s story. A lot happened in HAM, and the fall out is in Midnight Sins. Colin was hiding the fact that he was a shifter, Todd’s boss was keeping his animal charming skills secret and the Coroner had been kidnapped and tortured in HAM by a sadistic shifter. Those things are referenced and followed up upon in Midnight Sins. For people that didn’t read HAM, this may be a problem.

As usual you can find other reviews at Bitten by Books and Sensual Romance. Midnight Sins goes on sale Dec. 1.

Scions: Revelation by Patrice Michelle

16 Nov

scionsrevelationmichelleFavorite Lines: “She tried to jerk free, but he deepened his bite, sending pain shooting down her neck. Despite her fear, she hissed and tucked her tail underneath her in an act of rebellion.” (p. 143)

Caine Greennard, lone wolf, left his pack because his shifting control seemed to be slipping. Afraid of possibly causing danger to the pack and refusing to wear a silver chain that would prevent him from shifting, he takes up residence amongst humans.

Emma Gray has a great nose. Her sense of smell has done wonderful things for her, so when it picks up an earthy scent she is unable to anything but follow the smell into a night club. Inside she finds a gorgeous man plastered with two women. Cutting her losses, she bails.

The next day Emma’s aunt is kidnapped and a note is left demanding Emma meet the kidnappers at the night club that night. What ensues is the fulfillment of a prophesy that foretold the big three coming together: panther, wolf and vampire.

Scions: Revelation is the first book written by Patrice Michelle that I’ve ever read. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The story was fast paced, had a touch of darkness and was hot, hot hot. It is a shapeshifter romance that, as a first time reader of the series, went in a direction I didn’t expect. I started reading the book at 7  and finished it at 9:30, because the story and characters were primal, and the bursts of action intense.

I had no problems reading Revelation as a stand alone, but to understand the world building better I’d suggest reading: Scions: Resurrection, Scions: Insurrection and Scions: Perception (a bite).

Emma is a woman coming into her own. She is also drawn to Caine in a soul deep attraction. To protect Emma, Caine would do anything, and with two different factions looking to acquire her, he just may have to pull out all the stops.

Scions:Revelation is a quick, enjoyable read. It is one of those books that gets to the point and tells a good story. After years of readers turning their backs on series romance because of its predictability, Scions: Revelation proves that series books have evolved.

Scions: Revelation will be released Dec. 1, 2008.

13 Historical Romances

13 Nov

that are coming out in December. I know that lately I tend to push paranormal books, but for the next couple of weeks I’m going to find book releases that aren’t paranormal. So here are historical books. My personal favorite are medieval or Scottish. Go figure.

smileycowboy

Mercury’s War by Lora Leigh

12 Nov

mercuryswarleighFavorite lines: “One minute she was searching for the file she remembered seeing the day before, the next minute there was an iron rod pressing against the seam of her ass through her skirt and Mercury’s pants.” (p. 53)

Ria Rodriquez is hiding behind a dowdy wardrobe and Mercury Warrant is the Breed dying to find out all of her secrets. The perfect mix of lion and human, Mercury has suppressed his inner beast, and wants to know what turns Ria on and reasons for being at Sanctuary. He doesn’t believe she is performing an audit for one minute.

Ria is searching for the leak at Sanctuary. Someone is sharing secrets and she plans to seal the leak quickly, not counting on her growing feelings for Mercury. She wants more than he can give. She wants a mate, but because Breeds mate only one time and Mercury lost his mate years ago, she doesn’t stand a chance.

I’m so glad I read Mercury’s War. I thought it was going to be a story all about a love triangle, but boy was I wrong.  Mercury’s War is a love story about Mercury and Ria. During the romance we learn that someone is selling information about the Breeds. This is a secondary plot line, as the main focus is all about Mercury and Ria.

I loved Mercury. He is the dream alpha character. He is strong, sexually aggressive, and determined to make Ria happy. He is protective and demanding, but willing to give his life for Ria. Mercury is sex on feet.

Ria is a strong woman, but it isn’t until the final chapters of the book that the reader is told just how strong she really is. Believe me, it’s worth waiting for.

The suspense storyline about danger to Sanctuary wasn’t strong to me, but I’m okay with that because of how much I enjoyed the characters: main and secondary alike. Remember, Lora Leigh writes erotic stories. If you don’t like explicit sex, you won’t like this book.

Check out The Way I See It, Book Binge, and Errant Dreams, to read what other people thought about Mercury’s War. You can buy it at Penguin Books, Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Borders.