Archive | June, 2012

Review: Vacation with a Vampire Anthology

30 Jun

Vacation with a Vampire an Anthology
Harlequin (June 19, 2012)
Mass Market: $5.50; ebook: $4.99
ISBN: 9780373885497

There are three books included in this short anthology of paranormal romance stories.

Stay by Michele Hauf
Favorite Lines: “He had managed to connect with her trusting innocence. Lucian swallowed his aching need.Just a few moments to enjoy her sweetness before you destroy it all.” (p. 15, e-galley)

I read five chapters of Stay before deciding it wasn’t making me happy and DNFing it. The story just feltsilly. I didn’t connect to the hero who is introduced as just having donated blood via “steel pipe shoved between his ribs.” (p. 12) The clueless heroine didn’t appeal either, but I was willing to go with it until a woman who had scorned the hero in the past made an appearance. I could go on, but I don’t want to ruin the story for those who will finish reading it.

Vivi and the Vampire by Kendra Leigh Castle
Favorite Lines: “Anyway, if he had never found a woman who suited him in all these centuries, vampire or otherwise, then it was never going to happen. And certainly not on some silly weeklong vacation to a place he was pretty sure was generally vampire-free. He wasn’t lonely, damn it.” (p. 110, e-galley)

Justin is the vampire king of his area and in need of a vacation. He lets his sister talk him into taking a break on a vampire-free island. He has no idea that vampire hunter Vivi is taking a vacation on the same island. The two weary people meet and begin spending time together before their lives are threatened by danger coming from a couple of directions. It’s a cute, short romance story that would make a nice beach read. Obviously there isn’t much depth, but I enjoyed it.

Island Vacation by Lisa Childs
Favorite Line: “The nightmare had stolen away her bravery, leaving her sleepless and afraid of the dark.” (p. 222, e-galley)

Roarke, the vampire hero, is seeking revenge on the woman who killed his cousin. His cousin loved her and in return she murdered him. Piper is exhausted and not looking forward to taking the vacation she earned at work. It’s a surprise vacation that her boss semi-pressured her into taking and headed for an undisclosed location. She has no idea that her worst nightmares are actually a reality her mind is trying to forget. Island Vacation is a short story with an semi-unexpected ending. Looking back, I see the foreshadowing, but I assumed something else had happened. I didn’t hate the story, but it lacked that light “summer” vibe that I got from the first two stories despite having a beach vacation setting. It wasn’t bad, just had a different vibe.

Review: Stalking the Others by Jess Haines

29 Jun

Stalking the Others by Jess Haines
Kennsington (July 1, 2012)
Mass Market: $7.99; ebook: $6.99
ISBN: 9781420124026

Favorite Lines: “I’d never be able to match the intensity of his lovemaking with another. No one else had ever known me–even bothered to make the effort to know me–as well as he had. Forevermore, I was ruined for anyone else.” (p. 325, ARC)

Vampires, werewolves, mages—the Others are very real, and wreaking havoc in Shiarra Waynest’s life. But now, she’s returning the favor…

Once, she was one of the good guys—or as close as a New York P.I. can get. Then Shiarra Waynest was drawn into the world of the Others. Every faction has its own loyalties and agenda. And Shia’s recent betrayal by her ex-boyfriend means that she may be on the verge of becoming a rogue werewolf at the next full moon…

Of course, with all the threats against her, Shia’s not sure she’ll live long enough to find out. The enigmatic vampire Royce wants her back in his clutches, as do two powerful werewolf packs, along with the police. Instead of going into hiding, Shia is enlisting the aid of her enchanted hunter’s belt and every dirty P.I. trick she knows. If she’s going down, she’ll take out as many of her enemies as she can—and hope that in the process, she keeps whatever humanity she has left…

Yes, I’m a sneaky sucka’. I bet you want to know more about that quote, so go get the book and find out for yourself. In the meanwhile, I got to tell ya I couldn’t put this book down.

Stalking the Others is book four in Jess Haines H&W Investigation novels. I’ve read and enjoyed each book in the series as it followed Shiarra through her various interactions with the others in her world. If you haven’t read the first three books do yourself a favor and pick them up. You’ll need Hunted by the Others, Taken by the Others and Deceived by the Others.

Okay, now that you’re all caught up it’s time to let you know what you’re getting: an angry Shia looking to kick some serious booty before she finds out if she’s going to turn furry. She is a force to reckon with, but will need to swallow her pride and get a little bit of assistance if she wants to settle the score prior to the new moon. You’ll see the White Hats, her former lover Chaz, the vampire Royce and many other secondary characters.

Stalking the Others is a running countdown that takes us from day 24 to and beyond the very moments when Shia’s life alter. I felt myself flicker from a variety of emotions with the heroine as she discovered truths and betrayals. She also picks someone and the path leading up to that selection is intense. Even now, after knowing how the situation ends, I’m feeling greedy for more. I want to know how Shia settles in her new life. I want to see the other characters as they either accept or retreat from her.

If you haven’t read this series, it’s one that gets better with each book. Romance lovers will appreciate the clear choice made in it as well. I will be buying books five and six–both of which are still unnamed according to Haines’ website–when they are released.

Have you been reading H&W Investigations? What do you think about it?

 

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.

Review: Tainted Night, Tainted Blood by E.S. Moore

27 Jun

Tainted Night, Tainted Blood by E.S. Moore
Kennsington (July 1, 2012)
Mass Market: $7.99; ebook: $6.99
ISBN: 9780758268730

Favorite Lines: “The body lay crumpled in the driveway–a heap of cloth that could have been anything if not for the distinctive smell that drifted on the light breeze.” (p. 1, ARC)

In the darkness, it’s easy to lose your way…

Kat Redding is a vampire with a job to do—wiping out the vamps and werewolves who prey on Pureblood humans. Someone has to do it…as long as that someone is her. But suddenly Kat, also known as Lady Death, has competition, and it’s causing problems. Vampire houses and werewolf clans alike are blaming her for a spate of gruesome murders, and Kat needs to figure out who’s really responsible before she becomes the next target…

On the hunt, she forms an uneasy alliance with both the Luna Cult and a powerful rogue werewolf. But the truths Kat’s uncovering—about her enemies and her few remaining confidantes—are far from comforting. And when the chance comes to leave her life of vengeance behind, Kat must decide whether her real motive lies in protecting the innocent, or sating her own fierce hungers…

I didn’t realize Tainted Night, Tainted Blood, was book two in E.S. Moore’s Kat Redding series until I had the ARC in hand. I feel rather silly about it since I bypassed book one, To Walk the Night, based on reader reviews I found posted online. Still, I tried to keep an open mind as I jumped into the world of Kat Redding. I’m glad I did.

Kat is a moody ass vampire. One minute she’s mellow and semi-easy to talk to, the next minute she’s ready to rip out someone’s throat. Some of the emotional manipulation is obviously coming from an outside source, but other times it’s all her. From facing her past to watching her dreams be devastated, Kat visits a long-range of emotions. She seems to make poor choice after poor choice without ever realizing there is more going on than her inner thoughts and feelings.

Had I read the previous book, I’d have understood the relationship between Kat and the other characters: Ethan, Adrian, Nathan and Jonathan. Moore explains the relationships, but I only know what he chose to tell me at the moment, not the very twisted, minute details of past interactions between the characters. I never experienced it for myself, so I really didn’t get the range of emotions past a superficial telling.

That really didn’t bother me though. If I focus solely on the story line I found it appealing. A vampire assassin, who happens to be a vampire, sees something strange. That leads to her confronting different aspects of herself, both present and past. She is driven in numerous directions, all which seem to be leading her to a very dark place all because she isn’t paying enough attention. Don’t get me wrong. One of those poor choices takes her to a new town where she meets new characters. I’m curious to know more, but a major event at the end of the story makes me wonder if I care enough about the heroine to read it.

Kat had my sympathy at times, but when she reacted without thought to that final situation it made me wonder why I care. The heroine doesn’t seem capable of deep feelings. She may care about someone, but I don’t know that it would ever be to the level I expect out of my heroine.

More than likely I’ll read book three, Blessed by a Demon’s Mark. I won’t run to Amazon or B&N when it comes out, but if I find it at the library, I’ll read it. I liked the action and the variety of directions the story could go, but I want more for my heroine than permanent PMS.

Review: Her Cowboy Distraction by Carla Cassidy

24 Jun

Her Cowboy Distraction by Carla Cassidy
Harlequin (June 19, 2012)
Mass Market: $5.25; ebook: $4.99
ISBN: 9780373277810

Favorite Lines: “You’ve made me happy again. You’ve made me think about life’s possibilities.” (p. 164, e-galley)

She’d been watching the handsome rancher for a while, just a lone cowboy eating pie with an empty chair beside him. One night, Lizzie Wiles, Cowboy Cafe’s feisty new waitress, went over and dared to interrupt his tortured solitude. Daniel Jefferson seemed shocked by her boldness as he buried himself in guilt over his wife’s mysterious death.

Lizzie tried to penetrate his gloom, but in the end, found herself falling in love. Having plans to leave town, she didn’t want to think of these consequences. Worse, someone “really” wanted her to disappear–now Attacked and warned to leave, Lizzie had every reason to go…but she had one undeniable reason to stay.

Her Cowboy Distraction is a tale about a man learning to live again after years spend punishing himself for his wife’s death. It’s also a lesson in love for its heroine who is a ray of sunshine in the lives of all she meets. What she discovers about herself by the end of the book has the capacity to alter her life forever.

This book is a classic romance with a nice suspense thread. There’s murder and physical attacks, but most importantly there are two people falling in love. You see the love building with each chapter that passes. I cheered them on and never became bored even as the couple performed mundane chores such as ranch work and waitressing.

Her Cowboy Distraction is a 219 pages on my nook which explains why I read it so quickly. I didn’t want to put the book down because while it had dark moments the book was all about overcoming the past to become better people. I was happy to find myself in shock when the villain was discovered, but it made sense. I’ve got to warn you that the secondary characters piqued my attention and probably will yours as well. I’ll be reading their stories as soon as the books are released and think you might too.

Review: Kade by Delores Fossen

23 Jun

Kade by Delores Fossen
Harlequin (July 1, 2012)
Mass Market: $5.25; ebook: $4.99
ISBN: 9780373696277

Favorite Lines: “But Kade hadn’t thought he was ready to be a father until he had seen Leah’s face. Just the sight of her had caused something to switch in his head, and in that moment Leah became the most important person in his life. He would die to protect his little girl.” (p. 66, e-galley)

One look at the baby girl, and there was no question Kade Ryland was the father. For three months, Kade had posed as Bree Winston’s husband at the Fulbright Fertility Clinic, while the two FBI agents investigated a trail of illegal adoptions and surrogates. Nine months later, a baby was dropped at his feet—and Bree was nowhere to be found. Now Kade had to reopen a case that had gotten way too personal and find Bree—fast. But if the two of them had never been a real couple, were they ready to be parents? Whatever the answer, Kade now had more than one reason to close this case once and for all.

Mini Rant: First of all I’ve got to say that while I like the cover it ruins the story. Reading the e-galley, I didn’t have a cover to look at. That means when certain events took place I was surprised. Now looking at the cover, knowing the story, I can’t help but feel like someone in the marketing department spoiled this book for other would-be readers.

Kade surprised me. I thought I’d like it; duh, why else would I read it? It started off with a bang and just kept moving. The suspense was steady. Every time I thought I knew who the villains were, someone would say or do something to make me change my mind. We’re told up front who the suspects are and Delores Fossen does a good job keeping us bouncing  with suspicion.

The romance was slightly different from what I thought it would be. The Kade and Bree never had sex, but they are the biological parents of the same child. They worked together and were attracted to one another while working undercover. The story starts almost a year later with Kade being told he has a baby and it had been abandoned. The beginning reeled me in and I had to know more.

Kade is a fast paced book that shows us two people investigating Bree’s unexplained disappearance while she adjusts to the news that she is a mother. Bree doesn’t remember her pregnancy or the first moments holding her child. When you put that with her previous determination to never be a mother, you understand how confused and upset she is.

Unfortunately I never really felt her distress at not remembering those memories that many women cherish. I got her shock at being a mother and her quick acceptance and love for her child, but not the emotional loss of those mother/baby only memories. There wasn’t the dissatisfaction with all she missed while pregnant. Maybe she felt like those memories would return gradually as her other memories did.

The book is straight down the line solid. It’s a satisfying read that left me with the happy feeling that I expect to have when finishing a romance. It wasn’t an over the top happy, but a I’m feeling just right type of feeling.

New TV Shows: The Mob Doctor

22 Jun

I’m sitting on the fence about this new one. What do you thing?