Archive | March, 2011

Review: The Touch of Twilight by Vicki Pettersson

31 Mar

The Touch of Twilight by Vicki Pettersson
HarperCollins (May 2008)
Mass Market: $6.99
ISBN: 978-0-06-089893-9

Favorite Lines: “The need to amputate her smile welled, and I took a step forward before I could stop it.” (p. 7)

On the surface she’s a sexy, sophisticated socialite, at home among the beautiful people of the Las Vegas upper crust. But Joanna Archer inhabits another world: a place ordinary humans cannot see . . . a dangerous dimension where an eternal battle rages between the agents of Light and Shadow. And Joanna is both.

Stalked by an enigmatic doppelganger from a preternatural realm, Joanna can feel the Light failing—which is propelling her toward a terrifying confrontation with the ultimate master of evil, the dark lord of Shadow: her father.

Vegas is all about winning big . . . or losing everything. To save her friends, her future, her worlds, Joanna Archer must gamble it all by fully embracing the darkness inside her.

Book three in Vicki Pettersson’s Sign of the Zodiac series, The Touch of Twilight, picks up where book two The Taste of Night ends, with Joanna/Oliva Archer’s arch-enemy dating the love of Jo’s life. Determined not to lose Ben, Joanna is willing to risk everything for him.

This book takes a look into the loss and loneliness involved in being a superhero. Joanna was damaged long before gaining her abilities, but she is determined to find a happy ending with Ben. A happy ending which isn’t going to be simple to achieve with all the drama surrounding her troop. With pissed off teammates who are constantly questioning her loyalty to the light over the dark, it’s a wonder she hasn’t gone postal on their collected asses. There were a few that I wanted to punch several times.

In addition to the long distance “I love you Ben” thread, there is movement between Hunter and Joanna that, while not unexpected, really bothered me. I think the Hunter/Joanna thread kind of stole the story even though the  third sign of the zodiac was fulfilled. Expect to find closure, new possibilities and regrets throughout the story.

The Touch of Twilight is a book which marks a turning point in the series. There are six books in the series and it’s book three. A major storyline carried over from books one and two ends and new characters who are extremely important in the final books are introduced. The sixth and final book, Neon Graveyard, will be released in a few months.

Review: Wicked Lies by Lisa Jackson and Nancy Bush

30 Mar

Wicked Lies by Lisa Jackson and Nancy Bush
Kensington Books (February 2011)
Hardback: $27.95
ISBN: 978-0-7582-5220-3

Favorite Lines: “Even in my cell, I can smell her sickness. Her filth. Her lust.” (p. 1)

If At First You Don’t Succeed

For two years, Justice Turnbull has paced his room at Halo Valley Security Hospital, planning to escape. Justice has a mission—one that began with a vicious murder two decades ago. And there are so many others who must be sent back to the hell that spawned them. . .

Kill. . .

Laura Adderley didn’t plan to get pregnant by her soon-to-be ex-husband, though she’ll do anything to protect her baby. But now reporter Harrison Frost is asking questions about the mysterious group of women who live at Siren Song lodge. Harrison hasn’t figured out Laura’s connection to the story yet. But Justice knows. And he is coming. . .

Then Kill Again. . .

All her life, Laura has been able to sense approaching evil. But that won’t stop a psychopath bent on destroying her. Justice has been unleashed, and this time, there will be no place safe to hide. . .

Wicked Lies is the result of the collaboration between Lisa Jackson and Nancy Bush and is book two in a series about the women of the Colony. The colony is a haven for a group of gifted sisters led by their aunt. The outside community thinks it is a cult, but it’s a safe place for the psychic women to retreat from society.

Wicked Lies is a romantic suspense with a slight paranormal tone, that stands alone despite the many references to book one, Wicked Game. While I’m not a huge fan of the romantic thread, the actual story was excellent and kept me turning the pages. The book has a fast pace, unexpected resolutions and crazy people all over.

I kept wondering how a reporter was going to protect a woman from a murderous stalker. (Yep, I’m totally biassed.) The more the heroine was threatened, the more I thought “should have fallen for a soldier, cop, PI or bodyguard.” However it did force the story to avoid obvious routes and stick firmly in the suspense category as I worried about the hero and heroine’s capacity to stay alive long enough to reach the end of the story.

Would I recommend this book to a friend?: Yep. Nothing is as it seems in this twisted “I’m gonna get you” book. It’s not my top book of the year, but it’s entertaining and well written. I like that I can read Wicked Lies as a stand alone and am not required to read book one in order to enjoy (or understand) the story. If you are looking for crazy stalker/romance story you should check it out.

Giveaway: Trades of the Flesh by Faye L. Booth

26 Mar

Up for grabs today is Faye L. Booth’s Trades of the Flesh. To enter the giveaway just friend me on Facebook, come back and leave me a message that you friended me. Don’t forget to leave your email address so I can contact you if you win. Good luck! (Open to residents of the U.S. and Canada 18+ till March 31; 1 entry per person)

Trades of the Flesh by Faye L. Booth
Forge (March 2011)
Trade: $14.99
ISBN: 978-0-7653-2784-0

Some would call Lydia Ketch’s life immoral and shameful.  After her mother’s  death and with the obscene conditions of the workhouse looming before her, Lydia chooses to enter into “the trade” in a brother to shield herself and her sweet young sister from life’s ravages. Her education at the hands of the men who use her gives Lydia some very unusual skills and an income an ordinary woman could never match.

When Lydia meets Henry Shadwell, a young surgeon with a passionate interest in biology—and the shadowy world Lydia lives in—the chemistry between the two is instant.  Henry desires Lydia’s body, but their relationship deepens when he discovers that Lydia possesses a nimble intellect. He soon enlists Lydia’s help in his underground sidelines; first as a model for pornographic photography, then as an assistant in procuring corpses for medical experimentation.

With the dangers of her own line of work becoming clearer by the day, and with her newfound delight in her own sexuality burgeoning, Lydia becomes disillusioned with her life as a prostitute.

It soon become evident that her trade—and Henry’s—are even more dangerous than either had imagined.

Review: Dragon Warrior by Janet Chapman

25 Mar

Dragon Warrior by Janet Chapman
Pocket (February 2011)
Mass Market: $7.99
ISBN: 978-1-4391-5989-7

Favorite Lines: ““Omigod, my underwire worked free and poked you in the eye!” she cried in dismay. Utterly humiliated now, she tried to get up so she could go jump in the ocean and drown herself.” (p. 102)

Maddy Kimble has no time for a suitor—not with caring for her spunky nursing home patients, her shy nine-year-old daughter, her widowed mother, and her rebellious teenage brother. William Kilkenny’s stunning lack of modern dating protocol doesn’t help. The man is uncouth and outrageous—a towering, drop-dead, breathtakingly hot warrior. Who refuses to give up.

William is secretly a ninth-century Irish nobleman formerly trapped in a dragon’s body. All Maddy knows is that lately, she can hardly resist the urge to lose herself in his powerful arms. But as their uncontrollable passion grows, eerie occurrences in her small coastal Maine town begin to rouse Maddy’s suspicions about her lover. He begs her to trust him, but how can she surrender—body and soul—when she fears the danger he poses to her yearning heart?

Dragon Warrior is book two in Janet Chapman’s Midnight Bay series. It’s a satisfying story about an independent single mother and a man who considers himself incapable of love finding their happily ever after. It’s possible to read the story as a stand alone, but the first book, Moonlight Warrior, introduced both characters. It also showed William longing for Maddy at a distance. There are several tongue-in-cheek comments referencing events from book one. Chapman does an excellent job of recapping the high points of the first book, but I think Dragon Warrior funnier having read the first book.

I read the book last night and am still crackin’ up laughing at the clumsy and craziness that seemed to attack Maddy when things were heating up.

Jumping back into the dating scene isn’t easy and Maddy has the broken Wonder bra to prove it. Maddy’s fear of committing to the wrong man keeps her running from William for most of the book. Thankfully William enjoys the chase and does his best to wear Maddy down through the use of her patients at the local nursing home. Those secondary characters are awesome!

They make the story work. Without them I never would have believed William wanted forever with Maddy. A long tumble with her, sure. But it’s his interactions with her elderly friends that showed he was capable of giving and receiving love. He showed an inner beauty that matched his sexy exterior.

Less to my liking were the storylines about Maddy’s brother and that of the harbor seal. I won’t go into details, but neither felt fully fleshed out. I felt like an easy way out was taken, but that could very well be because they will be followed up in the next book, Mystical Warrior.

Overall: I’m glad I read Dragon Warrior and I look forward to reading Mystic Warrior. Would I recommend it to a friend? Yep.

Need a few book ideas?

21 Mar

John at Inside the Blogosphere has posed the question:

“If you had to leave your house in a hurry, and you could only grab five volumes off your shelf, which five would they be and why?”

Find out what books matter to others in the blogosphere by checking out his post.

Books I Want: April 2011

21 Mar

Vampire Dragon (A Works Like Magick Novel) by Annette Blair (April 5)

One the run from the mob, Bronte McBride needs the kind of protection that only the mysterious and handsome bodyguard Darkwyn-a former Roman warrior turned dragon-can give her. But Bronte’s secrets could endanger both of them.

Shady Lady: A Corine Solomon Novel by Ann Aguirre (April 5)

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…

Navarro’s Promise (Breeds) by Lora Leigh (April 5)

In the wolf breed novel, NAVARRO’S PROMISE, Mica Toler’s best friend is the wolf/coyote hybrid breed, Cassie Sinclair. And now Mica is being drawn into her world in ways she had prayed she never would be when the charming wolf breed Navarro makes good on the promise he made her on a dark, explosive night.

The Breeds guaranteed that no harm would come to Micah Toler but they never allowed for her sensual fascination with Navarro Blaine. Aloof, cool, and mysterious, he draws her in as no man ever has. But Micah never wanted this. She had her own dreams, her own desires, and being stalked and seduced by a wolf breed wasn’t part of that plan.

Now she knows her life is in danger. What Navarro knows is that she’s his mate and that the breeding and training that created him is being peeled away in his desperation to claim a woman that refuses to be claimed.

He has her body. She craves his touch. And as the breeds converge the past will rise up to haunt Navarro in ways he never expected.

Hidden Embers: A Dragon’s Heat Novel by Tessa Adams (April 5)

Deep in the New Mexico desert there is a secret race on the brink of extinction—the pure-blood shapeshifters of the Dragonstar clan. And they have one last, desperate hope for survival…

Quinn Maguire is a powerful Dragonstar healer at a tragic loss, unable to cure the insidious disease killing off his people. Yet even in such dire circumstances the conservative Quinn is secretly disapproving of the alternative: Dr. Jasmine Kane, enlisted by the head of the Dragonstar clan to help abort the virus. She is a wild card. She is an outsider. She is human.

Decked out in black leather and a tough attitude, Jasmine clashes with Quinn in more ways than one. And when destiny chooses her for his Mate, he doesn’t know whether to rejoice or rebel. Because while Jasmine makes him burn hotter than any woman—dragon or human—ever has, their differences make a relationship impossible.

But when a rival infiltrates the clan and attacks Jasmine, Quinn becomes desperate. Jasmine is now the first human to be infected with the disease—and Quinn must do everything he can to find a cure, and save the woman he has grown to love.

Savage Nature (Leopard) by Christine Feehan (April 26)

Danger lurks in the shadows and desire shimmers in the sultry heat in an all-new novel of the leopard people from #1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan…

When Saria Boudreaux finds a dead body in the Louisiana bayou near her home, her first instinct is to go to the police.  But there’s a problem–it looks like the victim may have been killed by a big cat, and her brothers are all shape-shifting leopards.

Sent to investigate by the land’s owner, leopard shifter Drake Donovan is ready for anything—except the insatiable hunger that rocks him when he meets Saria.  Deep in his soul he knows that she is destined to be his mate.  Torn between protecting her brothers and finding the truth, Saria treads warily around the powerful shifter.  Yet as they venture deep into the mysterious bayou on a hunt for the killer, Saria finds herself longing for Drake’s touch and the sweet release of surrender…

Big Bad Beast by Shelly Laurenston (April 26)

When it comes to following her instincts, former Marine Dee-Ann Smith never holds back. And this deadly member of a shifter protection group will do anything to prove one of her own kind is having hybrids captured for dogfights. Trouble is, her too-cute rich-boy boss Ric Van Holtz insists on helping out. And his crazy-like-a-fox smarts and charming persistence are making it real hard for Dee to keep her heart safe…

Ric can’t believe his luck. He’s wanted this fiercely-independent she-wolf from day one, but he never expected teamwork as explosive as this. And now is his last chance to show Dee what she needs isn’t some in-your-face Alpha male-but a wily, resourceful wolf who’ll always have her back in a fight…and between the sheets.

Ascension: A Dark Breed Novel by Sable Grace (April 26) (Was provided a galley through Netgalley.)

The gates of hell have opened, and one woman will stand in the crossfire as the Dark Breed — vampyre, demons, shape shifters — and mankind fight their last battle for survival.

Kyana is half Vampyre, half Lychen… And the last of her kind. Determined, dangerous, and damned, she has no love for the mortals who have imprisoned and misused her. But when the Order of Ancients entrusts her with a mission — to find the key that will send the Dark Breed back into Hell for eternity — Kyana has no choice but to accept.

She is furious to learn her assignment comes with an escort… Ryker, a demigod and fierce warrior who long ago found a way under her skin and stayed there. In a shaky alliance, they discover an ancient cult with dangerous motive and a god who seeks to destroy all others. And as Kyana begins to feel the heat that threatens to bind her to Ryker, she knows she has to resist. For it could only mean the undoing of them both…

Tangled Threads (Elemental Assassin, Book 4) by Jennifer Estep (April 26)

I’d rather face a dozen lethal assassins any night than deal with something as tricky, convoluted, and fragile as my feelings.

But here I am. Gin Blanco, the semi-retired assassin known as the Spider. Hovering outside sexy businessman Owen Grayson’s front door like a nervous teenage girl. One thing I like about Owen: he doesn’t shy away from my past—or my present. And right now I have a bull’s-eye on my forehead. Cold-blooded Fire elemental Mab Monroe has hired one of the smartest assassins in the business to trap me. Elektra LaFleur is skilled and efficient, with deadly electrical elemental magic as potent as my own Ice and Stone powers. Which means there’s a fifty-fifty chance one of us won’t survive this battle. I intend to kill LaFleur—or die trying—because Mab wants the assassin to take out my baby sister, Detective Bria Coolidge, too. The only problem is, Bria has no idea I’m her long-lost sibling . . . or that I’m the murderer she’s been chasing through Ashland for weeks. And what Bria doesn’t know just might get us both dead. . . .

Gods & Monsters by Lyn Benedict (April 26)

Sylvie Lightner is no ordinary P.I. She specializes in cases involving the unusual and unbelievable. When she finds the bodies of five women in the Florida Everglades, Sylvie believes them to be the work of a serial killer and passes the buck. But when the bodies wake and shift shape, killing the police, Sylvie finDark Descendantds herself at the head of a potentially lethal investigation.

Dark Descendant by Jenna Black (April 26)

The old gods have a new weapon. Don’t mess with her.

Nikki Glass can track down any man. But when her latest client turns out to be a true descendant of Hades, Nikki now discovers she can’t die. . . . Crazy as it sounds, Nikki’s manhunting skills are literally god-given. She’s a living, breathing descendant of Artemis who has stepped right into a trap set by the children of the gods. Nikki’s new “friends” include a descendant of Eros, who uses sex as a weapon; a descendant of Loki, whose tricks are no laughing matter; and a half-mad descendant of Kali, who thinks she’s a spy. But most powerful of all are the Olympians, a rival clan of immortals seeking to destroy all Descendants who refuse to bow down to them. In the eternal battle of good god/bad god, Nikki would make a divine weapon. But if they think she’ll surrender without a fight, the gods must be crazy. . . .

Black Magic Woman (The Others) by Christine Warren (April 26)

Daphanie Carter is thrilled that her sister Danice finally found her Prince Charming—even though he’s not quite, well, human. Daphanie is trying to keep an open mind. Which is why she jumps at the chance to enter the hidden world of The Others when a friendly imp invites her to a non-human nightclub. Daphanie’s curious to see how the Other half lives—and parties—but soon, one handsome stranger has her bewitched, bothered, and beside herself…

Enter Asher Grayson. As a Guardian, it’s his job to protect humans who get mixed up in the affairs of Others. When he spots Daphanie in a club, going head to head with a notorious witch doctor, he steps in to cool things off. Now the heat is on. Daphanie becomes the target of strange magical attacks, and Asher’s got to undo the voodoo before it’s too, too late. But soon he starts to wonder if this beautiful, beguiling mortal has put a spell on him—because every little thing she does is magic…

Review: Halfway Hexed by Kimberly Frost

18 Mar

Halfway Hexed by Kimberly Frost
Penguin (February 2011)
Trade: $14.00 (You know there is something wrong when you can buy the trade sized book for $9.27 and the e-book is $9.99.)
ISBN: 978-0-425-23876-9

Favorite Lines: “In this life, Craig, we’ve all got our choices to make. If you act like a man. I’ll treat you like one. If you act like a bad man, I’ll treat you like one. You get me?” (p.95)

Pastry-chef-turned-unexpected-witch Tammy Jo Trask is finally ready to embrace her mixed-up and often malfunctioning magic. Too bad not everyone wants her to become all the witch she can be.

First, there are the local residents who form a scripture-spouting posse and kidnap Tammy to defend Duvall, Texas, against witchcraft. Next, someone saddles her with a secret package chock-full of dangerous visions, just as the president of WAM–the World Association of Magic–arrives with his entourage to investigate her. And who worse to examine Tammy’s entanglement with off-limits and drop-dead gorgeous wizard Bryn Lyons than his ex-girlfriend? Not to mention that the clash between the locals and the magical visitors leads to a series of unnatural disasters that may doom them all.

Will Tammy Jo’s magical synergy with Bryn be enough to help her save the town or will her enemies succeed in putting Tammy out of commission for good? One thing’s certain: this would-be witch is ready to rumble, Texas style…

Kimberly Frost does not disappoint in her third installment of the Southern Witch series, Halfway Hexed. Well, unless you were expecting wanting to see Tammy Jo’s ex-husband return home filled with knowledge of the occult. If you are wanting to read about the craziness following pastry chef Tammy Jo and the sparks that fly when she is around Bryn Lyons, this is the book for you.

Want to know why Tammy is not supposed to date Bryn? Curious about Tammy’s heritage? Expecting Tammy to make a major, life altering decision? Find out by reading Halfway Hexed.

The town of Duvall is filled with whack jobs and they seem to all make an appearance. They do the silliest things, are full of Bible Belt logic even though they are in Texas and just cracked me up. Poor Tammy Jo! There polar opposite were the WAM personnel. Those people were jacked up in a special kind of way. I didn’t expect it all to blow up the way it did and when the storm settled the people left standing…(You didn’t really think I’d tell you did you? lol)

The only thing that bothered me with this book is SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER: (Highlight to display text)

Zach (Tammy’s ex) is not in this book. I want Tammy with Bryn, but at the end of the last book she promised Zach she’d wait for him to return home before choosing between him and Bryn. Tammy makes a decision in Halfway Hexed without comparing the two men side by side like she promised. Not that I disagree with her selection, but she broke a promise to a major person in her life and it felt surprisingly like a betrayal.

END SPOILER END SPOILER END SPOILER

That in and of itself wouldn’t be a major deal as I’d expect it to be dealt with soon. However in the FAQ section of Frost’s blog we are told “only three books are scheduled…for the moment I’m working on books in my new series.” So when, if ever, will the loose story lines be wrapped up? No one knows.

Don’t get me wrong. The ending is satisfying, but there are several would-be complications that are mentioned as possibilities. The cogs in the way of Tammy’s happiness are put into play by Tammy’s choice of spouse and her heritage. To have such major plot lines dangling is a little annoying.

Overall I’m pleased with Halfway Hexed. It will join the previous two books (Would-Be Witch and Barely Bewitched) in the series on my keeper shelf. I still would recommend the partial series to people looking for a light-hearted, paranormal romance series. However if you hate it when there is no end of a series in sight and the author doesn’t plan to write more books in the foreseeable future, bypass this one.