Archive | October, 2010

Review: Unholy Magic by Stacia Kane

29 Oct

Unholy Magic by Stacia Kane
Mass Market: $7.99
Del Rey (June 2010)
ISBN: 978-0-345-51558-2

Favorite Lines: “All she had to do was wait it out, just hang out for a little longer, and she could go home and get her pills. Just a little longer.” (p. 173) Continue reading


Review: Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane

27 Oct

Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane
Mass Market: $7.99
Del Rey (May 2010)
ISBN: 978-0-345-51557-5

Favorite Lines: “Mr. Dunlop’s ghost gave her the finger. Asshole. Why couldn’t he just accept the inevitable? He’d been an ass in life too, according to her records.” (p. 1) Continue reading

Books I Want: November 2010

24 Oct

Inside Out by Lauren Dane: In the wake of an attack that left her nearly dead, Ella Tipton has spent each day putting her life back together. She doesn’t have any room for romance, but that doesn’t mean she has to stop admiring the scenery. Sexy security professional Andrew Copeland is no stranger to women, but he knows Ella is something different. Determined to get her to let him in, Andy does the one thing he can think of to get close: he offers her hands-on training in self-defense-and before long, all that skin on skin contact with have them both turning inside out. (Nov. 2)

The Greyfriar by Clay and Susan Griffith: In 1870 the vampires rose up and conquered the northern lands of Earth. The northern elites fled south to new colonies, leaving their subjects to the mercy of the predators. By 2020, the world is still divided. Princess Adele of the Equatorian Empire becomes the catalyst of the final human–vampire war when she is lost in vampire territory with only a mysterious adventurer known as the Greyfriar to help her. (Nov. 2)

Afterlight: The Dark Ink Chronicles by Elle Jasper: Savannah’s most unconventional tattoo artist, Riley Poe, lives on the edge. Now she’s put over the edge when her younger brother is taken by a sinister cult led by vampires. Her only ally is the hot-tempered vampire Eli Dupre, attracted to Riley’s beauty and rare blood type. To save her brother from certain un-death, Riley faces dangers she’s never dreamed of, ruthless bloodthirsty enemies, and an evil of endless hunger that wants to devour it all… (Nov. 2)

Play of Passion by Nalini Singh: In his position as Tracker for the SnowDancer pack, Drew Kincaid must rein in rogue changelings who’ve lost control of their animal halves- even if it means killing those who’ve gone too far. But nothing in his life has prepared him for the battle he must now wage-to win the heart of a woman who makes his body ignite…and who threatens to enslave his wolf. (Nov. 2)

In the Company of Vampires by Katie MacAlister: When Francesca arrives at GothFaire to save her mother from the trickster god, Loki, things go from bad to worse. Her immortal ex, Benedikt, is there, full of secrets-and with a new girlfriend. Now Fran must battle a power-hungry group who wishes to dominate both the immortal and mortal worlds-and the woman who claimed Ben’s heart. It’s a good thing Fran’s no ordinary mortal… (Nov. 2)

Bitten in Two by Jennifer Rardin: Jaz Parks here. I. Am. Pissed. Just as Vayl and I arrive in Morocco to secure an ancient artifact, he wakes up calling me by another woman’s name. And it’s not even a good one. But since any form of argument transforms him into an unholy terror, I’m forced to play along until the gang and I can figure out what kind of power has so vastly altered his perceptions.  (Nov. 8 )

Promises in the Dark by Stephanie Tyler: A rugged Navy SEAL, Zane Scott was part of a failed mission to rescue Dr. Olivia Strohm from abduction by the terrorist group Dead Man’s Hand—and her anguished screams have haunted him ever since. So when he gets word that the beautiful physician has escaped from her captors in Africa, he’s got personal reasons to storm the continent and save her. Like her would-be liberator, Olivia carries the burden of a dark secret from her past. Ruthless and relentless, the DMH has threatened to hunt her down—and to systematically hurt anyone she’s close to. The last thing she wants is to be rescued—even by someone as shockingly handsome as Zane. Yet the hotheaded special ops hero has come for her, and together she and Zane just might have a shot at not only stopping DMH’s reign of terror, but also saving what’s left of their souls. (Nov. 23)

Black Wings by Christina Henry: As an Agent of Death, Madeline Black is responsible for escorting the souls of the dearly departed to the afterlife. It’s a 24/7 job with a lousy benefits package. Maddy’s position may come with magical powers and an impressive wingspan, but it doesn’t pay the bills. And then there are her infuriating boss, tenant woes, and a cranky, popcorn-loving gargoyle to contend with. Things start looking up, though, when tall, dark, and handsome Gabriel Angeloscuro agrees to rent the empty apartment in Maddy’s building. It’s probably just a coincidence that as soon as he moves in demons appear on the front lawn. But when an unholy monster is unleashed upon the streets of Chicago, Maddy discovers powers she never knew she possessed. Powers linked to a family legacy of tarnished halos. Powers that place her directly between the light of Heaven and the fires of Hell… (Nov. 30)

Devoured by Darkness by Alexandra Ivy: Tane is a Charon, sworn to hunt and kill rogue vampires. His new assignment seems like a waste of his talents – until he catches up with the jinn he’s been sent to capture. Half human, half demon, Laylah has a vulnerable streak that strikes right through to Tane’s cold heart. He should be furious when she uses her powers to bind them together, preventing him from dragging her before the Commission. Instead he welcomes any reason to stay close enough to touch, to taste, to seduce…Laylah doesn’t know why she was chosen to protect a child who may be the catalyst in a war between good and evil. But the mysteries of her past pale compared to the dangers approaching. Tane is devastatingly strong, breathtakingly sensual. And Laylah will have to trust in every ounce of that strength, because her enemies are drawing near, eager to destroy them both… (Nov. 30)

Silver Zombie: Delilah Street: Paranormal Investigator by Carole Nelson Douglas: Zombies and Witches and Vamps . . . Oh, My! What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas—at least that’s Delilah Street’s hope. With Sin City’s vampire and werewolf mobs wanting to cash in her chips once and for all, she’s retreating with her partner Ric Montoya and half-wolfhound Quicksilver to her Kansas birthplace. Unfortunately, when it comes to finding trouble, there’s no place like home. . . . It doesn’t take long before Delilah realizes she’s not in Vegas anymore. Zombie cowboys and spectral cattle drives are kicking up dust, the local weather girls are total witches who forecast perfect storms, and some Hollywood fanatic is recasting zombies as the greatest stars of the silver screen. And speaking of silver, Delilah’s special affinity for the all-purpose monster-repellent leads her posse straight down a silver brick road—and into a notso- fun house of mirrors—putting her face-to-face with her dicey past and a mystery woman named Lilith, who’s a real dead ringer for Delilah. The key word being dead. (Nov. 30)

Coming Soon: Shady Lady by Ann Aguirre

23 Oct

I’d spent my whole life settling, trying not to attract attention, and generally doing whatever it took to keep other people happy. I didn’t want to do that again. Not when I was finally comfortable in my own skin. Sure, there were certain challenges, like a drug lord who wanted me dead, and the fact that I owed a demon a debt that he could call due at any moment. But everybody’s got problems, right?

Whenever Corine Solomon touches an object, she immediately knows its history. But her own future concerns her more and more. Now back in Mexico, she’s running her pawnshop and trying to get a handle on her strange new powers, for she might need them. And soon.

Then former ally Kel Ferguson walks through her door. Heavily muscled and tattooed, Kel looks like a convict but calls himself a holy warrior. This time, he carries a warning for Corine: the Montoya cartel is coming for her—but they don’t just pack automatic weapons. The Montoyas use warlocks, shamans, voodoo priests—anything to terminate trouble. And Corine has become enemy number one…  Ann Aguirre’s website

Review: Demon’s Fall by Karalynn Lee

22 Oct

Demon’s Fall by Karalynn Lee
Ebook: $2.99
Carina Press (October 25, 2010)
ISBN: 9781426890680

Favorite Lines: “The merchant had trapped the angel in a cage so small she was forced to wrap her wings around herself. She had drawn up her knees and buried her face in her arms so that only her hair could be seen. It held the sheen of pearl, and promised silken softness.” (p. 6)

Jahel is an angel on a dangerous mission. A young girl she was guarding lost her soul to a hellhound and Jahel is determined to get it back. What she didn’t count on was being captured, placed in a small cage and sold to an incubus.

Kenan is a collector as well as an incubus. The novelty of earning an angel’s soul is too much for him to pass up and he finds himself purchasing Jahel. He immediately begins conniving ways to seduce the angel and part of his plan means helping her complete her mission.

Demon’s Fall by Karalynn Lee is a short novella which touches upon the battle between heaven and hell by making it part of a fairy tale. It’s a love story that promises devilry, but pushes the redeeming qualities of love. In true romance style, both the hero and heroine will be drastically changed by their love for one another.

Expect to see souls used for currency, a traditional fairy tale retold from another point of view and constant reminders of the hellish setting.

If you only have a short time, but want to read a Good vs. Evil novella, check out Karalynn Lee’s Demon’s Fall.

Long and Short Reviews
Book of Secrets
Culinary Carnivale

Holiday Shopping: Ready Set Go!

21 Oct

Sure it’s not really time to buy Christmas gifts. But if you can purchase a few good book sets now, why not do it? Here’s what I found.

Lakeside Collection: J.R. Ward 6 Book Set for $18.95.

Lakeside Collection: Your choice of three books from Christine Feehan or Barbara Delinsky for $9.99.

Lakeside Collection: Dead in the Family hardback for $8.95.

Lakeside Collection: Judy Blume book set $9.99.

Lakeside Collection: Set of the Vampire Academy books for $9.99.

Review: Midnight Kiss Anthology

20 Oct

Midnight Kiss by Robyn Carr, Jean Brashear and Victoria Dahl
Mass market: $7.99
Harlequin (October 2010)
ISBN: 9780373837434

The Midnight Kiss anthology was created by combining three stories written by contemporary romance writers. It goes on sale Oct. 26, 2010. The three stories introduce the possibility of love as three couples attempt relationships. I’ll break my review of the book into three mini-reviews, complete with favorite lines from each.

Midnight Confessions by Robyn Carr

Favorite Lines: “I could be paralyzed, you know. I hope I was hallucinating, but were you actually taking my picture as I fell?” (p. 33)

It’s been a year, but the humiliation of being stood up at the alter surrounds Sunny Alter like a worn bathrobe. She has no intention of getting involved in a serious relationship again and is licking her wounds in the small town of Virgin River. Drew Foley learned to make the best out of life even after he was dumped by his fiancée. After visiting family he decides to stop at Virgin River’s only bar, Jack’s Bar, for a little company on New Year’s Eve. As he walks inside he sees a beautiful blonde sitting alone and makes a snap decision to get to know her better.

It’s been quite awhile since I visited Virgin River. I loved the town then and this installment reminded me why. Virgin River is an ideal town where everyone knows everybody, but it’s so filled with love that you can’t help but wish you lived there too.

In Midnight Confessions, her addition to the Midnight Kiss anthology, Robyn Carr gives readers enough background to satisfy series readers, but not overwhelm one time visitors. Jack from Virgin River is there, as well as Nathaniel and Annie from Carr’s contribution to That Holiday Feeling anthology. “The price of admission” to the first annual New Year Eve Celebration Party is a resolution. The resolutions are combined in a pot and before each guest leaves they grab one which gives them a new goal to work toward. This is important because Drew’s resolution is one everybody should live by.

Midnight Surrender by Jean Brashear

Favorite Lines: “If only real men were like the ones you write about in your romance novels, Fee.”
“You’d never let them be alpha male, shark girl.” (p. 110)

Jordan Parrish is a man eating shark stuffed inside a woman’s body. She doesn’t believe in marriage or that love is forever despite watching one of her best friends thrive as wife and mother of five. When her friend Marly attempts to play matchmaker, she bucks and does her best to run Irishman Will Masterson off. Ian has other ideas. He sees the loneliness in her eyes and can’t resist trying to make it go away.

Jean Brashear has written a few romance novels for Harlequin, unfortunately I haven’t read any of them. After reading the wood working scene (like Ghost only with wood instead of clay), I think I might read something else she wrote.

Reading Midnight Surrender reminded me of the movie P.S. I Love You. It could just be the biting bantering which takes place between an Irishman and American woman. But it’s more of a feeling I got as I watched two people have foreplay with words. If Brashear wanted to write a story that reminds people that childhood events can have unknown effects on adults, she succeeded. Midnight Surrender shows the healing ability of love, but has a heavy chick lit feel.

Midnight Assignment by Victoria Dahl

Favorite Lines: “She had to slide past his back to fit into the crowded room, and her arm tingled where it rubbed him. The tingle spread through her whole body, like fingers dragging down her skin, but Elise ignored it. The chemistry was…a phantom.” (p. 229)

Elise Watson works for the FDIC. She is a hard woman who needs to be in control and that control has helped her climb the ladder to her position as team leader. But she’s not in control of her feelings toward her second in command Noah James. When the two are forced to work together in Omaha, Nebraska, they will be given a chance to revisit the past and the possibility of making a future together.

Victoria Dahl is the author of several historical and contemporary romance novels. She is not new to novella writing either as is shown in her story Midnight Assignment. In the short story, Dahl maneuvers two would-be lovers into an intimate situation and lets the characters discover if they are compatible or not.

I really didn’t care for this story. It was well written, but I jut couldn’t relate to the characters at all. I felt like smacking Elise as I watched her make mistake after mistake with her budding relationship. I didn’t connect with her at all. However, at the end of the story I was surprised by the way Elise seemed to turn into another person with one single life altering decision.

Review: Blood Heat by Maria Lima

19 Oct

Blood Heat by Maria Lima
Mass market: $7.99
Pocket (October 2010)
ISBN: 978-1-4391-6777-9

Favorite Line: “For the next couple of hours, the only nonhuman on my mind was my vampire.” (p. 181)

Texas is heating up. . . .The summer heat wave that’s hit Rio Seco, Texas, has even the vampires complaining, but now that Keira—the Kelly Heir—is home from Vancouver, the weather isn’t the only thing too hot to handle. Keira should be setting up her court and planning the big reception at which she and her consort, vampire ruler Adam Walker, will receive the magical leaders from the local area, but pomp and circumstance just aren’t Keira’s thing, especially not with trouble smoldering in her domain.

A werewolf couple has mysteriously gone missing from a local pack, and when Keira is asked by their leader to investigate, she finds that some dissatisfied neighbors may have been taking, well, strong action against the wer community—action that could be repeated and could involve Keira and those she loves. With the reception looming and danger fast blazing out of control, the pressure is on Keira to keep Texas safe for supernaturals. Sometimes, it’s just not that great to be Heir. . . .–Amazon

Blood Heat is book four in Maria Lima’s Blood Lines series and will be released Oct. 26, 2010. Do not attempt to read it until you have read Matters of the Blood, Blood Bargain and Blood Kin.

The story picks up 3 months after the events in Blood Kin. Keira has been training to be the Kelly heir and has returned to Rio Seco to greet the area’s magical leaders, officially name her protectors and unite her brothers and cousin together in a blood bond (similar to marriage). The only thing missing from her life is her best friend, Beatriz Ruiz. That will be rectified in this installment of Blood Lines.

At first I felt a little “ho-hum” about the story. It took me a few chapters to get sucked in, but she caught me at with Friday night lights. Let me first say I’m not a fan of football. However, Lima has done an excellent job reminding me of all the fun I had in high school at football games by setting up a meeting between Keira and a local pack’s fenrir (leader) at a football game. It brought back ghosts of the past and was slightly embarrassing to me, but not to Keira. As I giggled, I wondered where the story would go. I wasn’t disappointed.

Things only got better. The various settings were vividly described. And the wonderful plot lines, well they gave me enough string to hang myself over and over again as I incorrectly guessed who would be attacked and how the attack will occur. Just when I thought “ah ha” I had to backtrack because I was way off base.

But the best part of the story (as always) was the final chapter. Lima has a way of ending stories that makes you salivate for the next installment. She is the queen of “Oh no she didn’t” and I can’t get enough of her stories.

Around the blogosphere:

Amberkatze’s Book Blog

Review: Highborn by Yvonne Navarro

18 Oct

Highborn by Yvonne Navarro
Mass: $7.99
Pocket (October 2010)
ISBN: 978-1439191736

Favorite Lines: “I’ve been looking for you all my life. Let me buy you something beautiful.”

Redmond frowned, but before he could open his mouth, Brynna’s stinging gaze pinned her admirer and her irritation found voice. “You have no idea what I am. Leave me be or I’ll rip your head off and throw it into Lake Michigan.” (p. 65)

She fell from heaven to the lowest pits of hell. A demoness, she loved listening to the souls in hell scream as they were tormented. For hundreds of years she participated in every kind of depravity known and unknown until a single feather filled her with hope. Hope for redemption. The day came when her patience was rewarded. She escaped hell, took on a human disguise and renamed herself Brynna.

As a highborn turned demon, Brynna has her work cut out for her. But she has faith in a forgiving God, and the longer she remains in her human disguise the more human emotions feed her yearning to help those around her regardless of her actions impact on re-entrance to Heaven.

On October 26, 2010, Yvonne Navarro’s Highborn, book one in the Dark Redemption series will be released. It’s an urban fantasy novel which takes readers along a possibly never-ending road to redemption with the anti-heroine.

First of all, I was slightly confused as I began to read the story. The prologue introduces a demoness named Astarte then the first chapter begins with an unknown woman being chased by a hell hunter. Logically I thought it was Astarte, but the character is named Brynna. It took a little bit, but I eventually understood the two were the same creature and I hadn’t missed anything. But other than that small issue, I was delighted with the story I found in Highborn.

I loved Brynna’s character. She was ignorant about technology and human interaction which gave me a sense of vulnerability. However, she kicked ass, understood the way the world worked and in reality was a foreigner wearing the veil of humanity. It was like reading a book about an alien trying to integrate human society. Without trying, she was able to make friends out of good, hardworking people quickly becoming a protector to them.

There are other people in the book, but they are strictly secondary. As far as I’m concerned none of them matter the way Brynna does. Sure there’s a possible romantic vibe coming off of Detective Eran Redmond and Brynna, but Brynna is focused on regaining her heavenly wings while protecting her detective friend’s life.

If you are looking for an urban fantasy book which is light on the romance and heavy on the action pick up Highborn. Warning: You have no idea how this story is going to end. Sure you might get a little a piece of the ending right, but I bet you don’t see where Navarro takes the plot.

(On a side note directed at Navarro. I hate your website. It is easy to navigate, but as a blogger it is hard to share any information I find at your site because every page’s address is hidden.)

Review: Frost Moon by Anthony Francis

15 Oct

Frost Moon by Anthony Francis
Trade: $14.95
Bell Bridge Books (March 2010)
ISBN: 978-0984325689

Favorite Line: ” ‘It’ was a ripped piece of human skin pinned to a stained wood board.” (p. 7)

Magical tattoo artist Dakota Frost is the daughter of a cop and a skin dancer capable of making her tattoos come alive. An imposing character, the Amazonian like woman wears a black, purple and white deathhawk (teased out Mohawk) and clothes which best display her magical tattoos in an attempt to keep people at bay.

But her look won’t be enough to protect her if a serial killer decides he wants it; the serial killer who is peeling magical tattoos off people. But that’s not enough…a werewolf wants her to tattoo a Nazi design on him which will help him control his beast forcing her to come into close contact with the vampire and were communities.

I seem to be on a roll reading books written by men. Frost Moon is Anthony Francis’ debut urban fantasy novel.

At first I thought I wasn’t going to be able to finish the story because I couldn’t find anything to relatable. Dakota is a bisexual, super tall, tattoo artist with a smart ass mouth and a punk look. The story is written in first person which means every setting was seen through the eyes of the cocky heroine and had an air of intolerance. Intolerance on her part directed toward the “normal” people.

But as the story progressed Francis got downright grimy; violence and uncomfortable scenes abounded. Instead of leaving Dakota as a hardcore and unlikable character, he showed that she was not invincible and delved into her psyche. She wasn’t above sharing information and she really had a heart. (However, I was a little creeped out when Cinnamon was introduced. By the end of the book I loved her.)

The mystery portion of the story involved several squirming plot lines as they followed a few different people. While I knew who the killer was early in the story, I didn’t know why until Francis chose to tell me.

In the end, Frost Moon was an enjoyable read and I’m looking forward to reading the next installment in the Skinwalker series: Blood Rock.

What’s being said around the blogosphere:

Darkly Reading
Fiction Vixen
Vixen’s Daily Reads