Archive | March, 2009

Second Skin by Caitlin Kittredge

30 Mar

secondskinFavorite lines: “His teeth struck at my neck, close to the spot where my scars rode, and I screamed, showing him in earnest.” (p. 268)

Werewolves from different packs in Nocturne City have been found murdered and an unexpected source asks former Detective Luna Wilder for help solving the paranormal cases. Things heat up when the victims are discovered to be pack leaders, and when Luna is targeted by the same killers, she knows it’s time to get serious is she wants to survive the smoke and shadows surrounding the investigation.

Luna’s hunt takes her into Lucas Kennuika’s territory, and he is a kind of shifter that she’s never met or heard of before. While she is attracted to him, she’s determined to make things work with her demon infected lover, Dmitri, a man who gave up his pack for her.

Everyday brings Luna a little closer to the dark, as she relies on her wildcard, Lucas, to help her defeat the serial killer before she becomes another victim.

Book three in Caitlin Kittredge‘s Nocturne City series, Second Skin, picks up shortly after Night Life ends. Luna has gotten used to her new role as a SWAT member of Nocturne City’s TAC 3 after transferring out of homicide. She is on site when a man commits suicide, but before he jumps off a building he looks her straight in the eyes and smiles, leaving Luna uneasy.

This is the beginning of plot that runs from the beginning of the book until the end. There are small clues here and there for the reader to put together like a puzzle (or homicide detective), everythng is connected. And then there’s the personal issues going on between Dmitri and Luna. I’ve never liked Dmitri because he had been an pimp and drug dealer, but Luna was sucked into a “stand by your man” mode making him a big part of the series.

This book proves to be a turning point of some kind. Good or bad, it marks a change in Dmitri and Luna’s relationship. I had a hard time with Luna’s decision towards Dmitri, because it seemed out of character. She acted one way throughout the story, but then at the end flipped. I agree it was the right thing to do, but it still came as a shock.

The new paranormal creatures introduced were awesome. Deadly, but awesome. The description of them, their habits and their inability to truly be (or want to be) human was great.

What I’m trying to say: Ms. Kittredge has kept Luna selfish and off-balanced just as she is in the previous books, but she’s also growing as a character with each book. She isn’t always a bitch. She isn’t always a detective. She isn’t always self-assured. She is just Luna. A werewolf trying to survived the jacked up life she was given.

Looking for other people’s opinions on Second Skin? Visit Darque Reviews, Romantic Times, or A Romance Review.

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The Hourglass Door by Lisa Mangum

29 Mar

thehourgassdoormangumFavorite lines: “I do love you Abigail Beatrice Edmunds. I love you through all the twists and turns of the river. I love you beyond the borders of the bank and back.” (ARC p. 394)

Senior year of high school is usually a time of endings and beginnings, the best time of a teenager’s life. And so it is for Abby. She’s the assistant director of her school’s play, got the perfect boyfriend, two best friends, and a perfect family. While her life is very boring controlled, she is preparing herself for college and shrugging off all feelings of anxiety.

One day an exchange student from Italy, Dante Alexander, starts taking classes at her school and becomes an extra in the school’s play. It’s up to Abby to bring him up to snuff for his role, but Abby can’t help feeling something more when she’s around him. He’s adventurous, fun, and hiding secrets that threaten to pull Abby into a secret straight out of the sixteenth century.

Mrs. Mangum bursts onto the scene with The Hourglass Door, an exciting, wonder filled ride about a teenager growing into herself and finding love.

Abby is the perfect child. She does what is expected of her and never rocks the boat. That is  until she sends a college application to Emmery College and decides to live up to the school’s motto, “Live without Limits.” Suddenly she’s spending time with the new student, Dante, and learning that somethings in life worth having require effort.

When I started I was a little disappointed because the prologue is vague and doesn’t seem to match the summary on the back of the book. Then I became intrigued. As I continued reading and meeting characters I began to understand the purpose. It ties everything together and hints at what’s to come. In other words, it does its job.

The story is a directed at young adults, so there’s a lot of kissing, hugging and hand holding, but no actual sex.

The Hourglass Door is book one in a new series (of I don’t know how many books), and revolves around an ancient invention. The lead characters were engaging and interesting, but most of the secondary characters fell flat for me. They lacked depth.

While I read the book I kept thinking that The Hourglass Door would make an excellent movie. When all is said and done, Mrs. Mangum proved to me (again) that young adult books are not just for teens. They can be fun, have a great plot and characters that I want to succeed, and be well written.

The Hourglass Door will be released May 13. Visit the author’s blog.

Kiss of a Demon King by Kresley Cole

26 Mar

kissofademonkingcoleFavorite lines: “We could see your most secret desires, could watch them together. You know I can make all your wildest dreams come true if you let me into your mind.” (p. 106)

Rydstrom Woede: A dethroned king searching for a weapon to kill a usurper incapable of death, is taken hostage by the usurper’s sister and chained to a bed.

Sabine: The sorceress of Illusions is capable of evil after multiple deaths and resurrections leave her with intimate knowledge of the dark. She needs a piece of the former king to make a safe home for herself and her sister.

The two will lie and bring both pleasure and pain to one another, before they discover that embracing their differences may be the only way to bring about the downfall of their common enemy.

Kresley Cole has been writing the Immortals After Dark series since 2006 when she first introduced them in A Hunger Like No Other. Usually we get a kick ass heroine that is basically good. Kiss of a Demon King is a little different. It gives us an evil heroine, Sabine.

She needs help, after being taught that bad is good. (She is a demon.) Sabine is someone that I didn’t really like, but she was interesting. As the story progressed I began to see that her ability to weave illusions included her ability to hide her emotions from me. She wove an illusion that made me believe she was a cold and evil women, cause who else will make people believe their worst fears are taking place?

That’s where Rydstrom comes in. He has learned to deny his personal needs over the years, especially because of his need to overthrow the demon who stole his thrown. He is savage when he has to be, but he’s a courtly demon. He cares. He is suppressed. But when Sabine shows up and provokes his inner monster, Rydstrom learns that he wants a little bit of darkness in his life.

This darkness is played with throughout the story because the book is full of sexual tension. It takes up a huge part of the book as the main characters’ major battle is held sexually against one another. They torment and tease each other throughout the first half of the book. And while it worked to build tension, it made me uncomfortable. Two people learning about each others’ sexuality when they really don’t know each other(or want to know each other) bothered me.

In the end, I enjoyed this tale of two gray characters walking a gray line. Sabine and Rydstrom pick up something from the other. They grow as characters, prove that opposites attract, and learn that life is definitely interesting with the other present.

Rant against Verizon

25 Mar

This is unusual for me, but I’m pissed and plan to share. If you don’t want to hear, go away!

I’ve got four people on my Verizon Wireless account. After two years (and some change) of the basic phone for two of the lines, we upgraded. No prob. right? Well, Verizon forgot to inform us that by upgrading our phones all of the plans change. So instead of paying $5 a month for internet. (I check my email a lot.) I’ll be paying $1.99 per MG. Browsing Verizon downloads and trying music before I buy is no longer free.

Not a big deal if I knew. I’ve always got the laptop, but by not telling me I’m out of over $40. I’m pissed. I’m furious. I’ve been fleeced and want to tell Verizon thank you for taking money out of my refrigerator.

Thank you Verizon for not telling me that upgrading was going to cost me a shit load of money. ($40 may not be a lot to some people, but for me it’s a week and a half worth of gas.)

Angels’ Blood by Nalini Singh

21 Mar

angelsbloodsinghFavorite Line: “She wanted to peel off his clothing and find out if an archangel really was built like a man, to lick his skin, mark him with her nails, ride him, possess him. . . be possessed by him.” (p. 86)

Being the best isn’t always a good thing and Elena Deveraux is about to find that out. When she is called in front of  an archangel in Manhattan, she assumes it’s to hunt a wayward vampire. She receives a major shock when Raphael, the archangel, tells her the job is to hunt another archangel, Uram, the Marquis de Sade’s teacher. An angel on the verge of darkness.

Raphael is a dangerous creature and to capture his attention is not a good thing. He is brutal and spends little time on human matters. . .  until he meets Elena. Soon he is contemplating her as a new toy. He is immortal, but the mortal Elena is mystifying and beautiful. Electricity pops when they are together, and the magnetism is wild.

A killing spree is taking place in Manhattan, dangerous vampires and archangels are all around, and an archangel is on the brink of evolution putting Elena’s chances for survival at slim. But she is the best.

Nalini Singh, bestselling author of the Psy-Changling series, has a winner with her newest series the Guild Hunters. Angels’ Blood, book one, is an urban fantasy romance. The world building is awesome and complete. There are humans, vampires, and angels. They all co-exist, but the angels live above and people live in awe of them. There are human governments, but everyone knows that the archangels have the final say in everything.

Vampires work for the archangels, but when they try to run away Guild Hunters are called in. The hunters track, capture, and return the vampires to the angels. Singh’s vampires have abilities that come as they age and  hopefully will be explored more as the series progresses, because almost all of the vampires introduced in Angels’ Blood are intriguing.

I loved the romance aspect of this story. It isn’t instantaneous. It builds up over time, unlike the instant lust. It is the hottest part of Angels’ Blood. The foreplay is ongoing, starts in chapter two, and burns through the story. It’s a passion that lingers and creates the slow burn of lust.

It is also how Raphael showed his lack of humanity. Singh makes sure that we (the reader) never forget Raphael is an archangel. He is physically compatible with a human, but is an immortal. She builds upon that major difference, and uses the heat between Raphael and Elena to burn away some of his inhumanity.

I can’t wait for the next installment of Singh’s Guild Hunters series! Other people have reviewed Angels’ Blood, too. Go check them out. Angieville. . . Reading, Wriging & Ranting. . . Leslie’s Psyche. . . Good Books, Bad Books, & Everything in Between

Romance, fingers, nail polish remover

18 Mar

hand-dispenser

darkdemonfeehan2 nailpolishremover

So what do they all have to do with each other? Well each one leads to the next. Take romance. We all know that romance alone is fine, but with sex it just gets better. A physical “pick me up” to go with the emotional high.

That takes me to fingers. Man hand fingers. You know the big, beautiful, clean manly fingers that usually show up in every good romance novel. “His finger slid through her heat, pressed deeper into her. That easy she came, shattering into fragments her body so responsive she couldn’t hide her reaction if she wanted to.” (Christine Feehan’s Dark Demon, p. 342)

So, we got the pleasure that goes with man hands and that makes me think about girl hands. You know, you paint your nails and then it starts to come off, but you’re always too lazy to actually clean them off with nail polish?

I’m at WalMart buying nail polish remover, cause face it, after awhile it’s just pathetic to have a few chips of paint that won’t come off staring at you everyday. At WalMart you get the jar of polish remover that you can stick your fingers into and soon your pumpin’ fingers with a jar. After awhile the cold feeling goes away and it warms up, which takes me back to Christine Feehan’s book, and well…pap smears. Eww!!

So I want to thank my co-worker for telling me why she doesn’t use the jar of nail polish remover. I never connected it to finger sex before today because I twist my fingers in the jar.  Her reply?  “That’s a good technique.” What do you think?

Kitty and the Dead Man’s Hand by Carrie Vaughn

16 Mar

kittydeadmanshandvaughnFavorite lines: “They perked up, straightening, peeling themselves off their perches. They moved like water, graceful, without a sound. They wore jeans and pants, riding low on their hips. No shirts. Their chests were long expanses of enticing skin. They stalked forward on bare feet, never taking their gazes from me, like I was some interesting new toy they had to examine–a mouse stuffed with catnip, maybe. I should have run from there.” (p. 208)

Kitty and her mate Ben, alphas of Denver’s pack of werewolves, have finally picked a date for their wedding. The place? Well…they’re just going to elope in Las Vegas with Kitty’s parents as witnesses. Their hotel is the location for a business venture, and oh yeah, there’s a gun show taking place there as well. Gun show, aka collecting point for werewolf bounty hunters. But back to business.

Kitty is combining a little business with pleasure. She plans to put on a live production of her Midnight Hour radio show in Vegas. But to make her live show great, she needs to get the scoop on the supernatural Vegas style. The stuff that only Vegas people know.

While Kitty is learning about a secret the Vampire community is keeping, a magician that just might be the real deal, and a seductive animal show, something happens that could make it impossible for the couple to say, “I do.”

The dark really comes out after the Midnight Hour and this installment of Kitty showcases just that. When Kitty begins investigating the fascinating world of Sin City, she stumbles across intriguing people. Mostly men, but there is one woman that I think will pay a surprise visit in the next book, Kitty Raises Hell.

The first person narration worked to wrap me up in Kitty’s world, but I felt that the Ben plot was totally neglected. It’s the flaw with the story being in first person. We can’t follow Ben. We have to wait with Kitty for him to make an appearance and tell us what happened.

Added to the moments when I wanted to smack Kitty for being stupid. Kitty deserved to get the crap beaten out of her and seriously maimed for being a dumb ass. But she’s a werewolf and prone to the occasional animalistic action. She reacts instead of thinking, but she never gives up or stops caring.

Unlike past Carrie Vaughn books, Kitty and the Dead Man’s Hand lacked emotional strings. It used action and mystery to entice the reader. The pacing was a little slow; it was kind of like the models they show you in school of a hill. It worked up to the climax then took off at a sprint. Making the beginning dull, and the end better.

I don’t think that Kitty and the Dead Man’s Hand is the best book in the series. It was okay.

Visit Blood of the Muse, Speed-Reading Book Nerd Review and BookLoons for other opinions of book 5 in the Kitty series.