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Review: A Touch of Crimson by Sylvia Day

27 Sep

A Touch of Crimson by Sylvia Day
Penguin (September 2011)
Mass market: $7.99; ebook: $7.99
ISBN: 9780451234995
Read an excerpt

Favorite Lines: “Lindsay stirred from her dreams before she was ready. Part of her mind still clung to sleep, longing for another touch of wickedly knowledgeable hands, another whisper of firm lips across her throat, another brush of silky white and crimson wings…Her eyes opened on a soundless gasp, her heart racing and her skin hot. She was painfully aroused, her thoughts filled with flame blue eyes and raw, sexual words spoken in a purring voice of sin.” (p. 86, egalley)

Adrian Mitchell is an angel of immense power and insatiable desire. Leading an elite Special Ops unit of the Seraphim, his task is to punish the Fallen–angels who have become vampires–and command a restless pack of indentured lycans.

But Adrian has suffered his own punishment for becoming involved with mortals–losing the woman he loves again and again. Now, after nearly two hundred years, he has found her–Shadoe, her soul once more inhabiting a new body with no memory of him. Only this time he won’t let her go.

With no memory of her past as Shadoe, Lindsay Gibson only knows she can’t help being fiercely attracted to the smoldering, seductive male who crosses her path. Swept into a dangerous world of tumultuous passion and preternatural conflict, Lindsay is soon caught in the middle between her angel lover, her vampire father, and a full-blown lycan revolt. There’s more at stake than her love and her life–this time she could lose her very soul…

A Touch of Crimson is book one in Sylvia Day‘s Renegade Angels trilogy which focuses on a war between angels and vampires. It is based on the religious belief that angels fell from heaven, were stripped of their souls and wings and transformed into vampires. There are also angels called sentinels who enforce the heavenly punishment given to the vampires. Oh yeah, there are also werewolves who are slaves to the sentinels. The werewolves hunt vampires.

The story is a paranormal romance which pairs Adrian, the leader of the sentinels, with a woman whose body contains the soul of the woman he has loved for thousands of years. Adrian is rich, an alpha angel and extremely sexual. He is a man who loves deeply, but that love is something I questioned. While I read the book I was happy. (Well, until the end.) Later when I thought about it, I wondered about the viability of Adrian and Lindsay. I don’t believe the two can live happily ever after. How can a man who loved one particular woman’s soul for so long fall in love with another woman? His love for his new woman was enough to overcome a lifetimes of hatred and doctrines, and I had a hard time with that. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed the story, but I didn’t fully buy it. I’m still waiting for a bolt of lightening to strike Adrian and that affects my enjoyment of the book as a romance. Adrian eats the proverbial forbidden fruit without suffering any consequences.

I liked learning about the “good” guys and the “bad” guys. I think they are far more similar than either would admit. I felt drawn to the plight of the werewolves. They work so hard and are given so little in return. They are looked at as scum and it really bothered me to see angelic beings treat others so badly. I guess it shows how alien the sentinels are when compared to human morality. I want them to revolt so badly, but most importantly I want to know more about their alpha. I want to know more about a particular vampire, too. You’ll know who when you read the book.

With the way the Day’s world is set up, I don’t feel anyone can have a happy ending. It is a harsh world. Speaking of which, the world building was slightly confusing. I’ve always had issues with books that have glossaries because I find them disruptive. If I have to flip to the glossary to find out what a word means or who it refers to I’m taking time away from the story. II should be able to infer meanings based on the information given in the paragraph.

In the end, A Touch of Crimson didn’t quite work as a romance. However, when the romance was paired with the paranormal plot it created a story that I enjoyed more than the average book. I want to know more about the secondary characters. I want to watch the world and characters evolve. I also think, now that I know the terminology I’ll be able to read the next two books without continually stopping to research words. Book two will be about Elijah and according to GoodReads it’s scheduled to be released in the summer of 2012.

Review: Rebirth by Sophie Littlefield

24 Jul

Rebirth by Sophie Littlefield
Harlequin (July 2011)
Mass Market: $14.95; ebook: $10.99
ISBN: 9780373803392
Favorite Lines: “I don’t need you. and I won’t thank you. And I won’t care about you. I mean it, Cass–I’ll never care about you.” (p. 65, egalley)

THE END OF THE WORLD

was just the beginning

Civilization has fallen, leaving California an unforgiving, decimated place. But Cass Dollar beat terrible odds to get her missing daughter back—she and Ruthie will be happy.

Yet with the first winter, Cass is reminded that happiness is fleeting in Aftertime. Ruthie retreats into silence.
Flesh-eating Beaters still dominate the landscape. And Smoke, Cass’s lover and strength, departs on a quest
for vengeance, one that may end him even if he returns.

The survivalist community Cass has planted roots in is breaking apart, too. Its leader, Dor, implores Cass to help him recover his own lost daughter, taken by the totalitarian Rebuilders. And soon Cass finds herself thrust into the dark heart of an organization promising humanity’s rebirth—at all costs.

Bound to two men blazing divergent paths across a savage land, Cass must overcome the darkness in her  wounded heart, or lose those she loves forever.

Rebirth is book two in Sophie Littlefield’s dystopian Aftertime series. The first book is Aftertime and the short novella is Survivors (free download). Don’t start the series with this book. You will not understand the world or events that set up the story.

Rebirth picks up shortly after the events of Aftertime. Obviously it’s been a few months because while narrating Cass thinks about her daughter’s hair that was as “short as a boy’s” and remembers while Ruthie was in the convent Ruthie was shorn bald.

Don’t expect to see much of Smoke in this installment. For the most part you get Ruthie, Cass and Dor, and a changing setting. I had wondered at the end of Aftertime how Littlefield was going to move the plot forward. How was she going to get them out of the secure box where they lived? Well, she managed to do so spectacularly.

I love Littlefield’s storytelling. It pulls few punches and tackles the hardness of life. The characters remain true to form. Cassie is a recovering druggie and the underlining issues which pushed her to drugs still exist. Sometimes she wins and other times she loses. She doesn’t turn to drugs though. She has older vices which make her disgusted with herself. How can you not like this damaged heroine who is trying so hard to learn right from wrong while surviving hell on earth?

There are shocking moments filled with violence and self-loathing. Moments which in a  pre-Beater world which would have instantly destroyed hope of a happy family. You’ve got to keep  firm hold of who Cass is and how she became the character you know. Remember her being molested as a child, her using sex as a tool and later as a drug addict. That mentality doesn’t change just because the world has come to an end.

 

Rebirth is an emotional, gritty, down and out filthy look at humanity. The dregs of society seem to survive because they’ve misplaced or ditched their morals in favor of life. It’s not always a good thing though. Hope, dreams and love have no place in this dark world. It’s a barren place filled with danger. Unless you dare to grab hold of a better life. At the end of the book I was exhausted. Through the bad decisions, life threatening situations and the courageous choices, I learned about Cass. Watching her missteps were painful, but by the end of the book I knew those mistakes were necessary for any type of future to occur.

Side note: Those who hate cliffhangers may not be thrilled with Rebirth. Know that the biggest plot line is wrapped up and a new plot twist occurs at the very end. We’ll have to wait months before learning how it turns out, but I’m good with that.

Review: Eat Slay Love by Jesse Petersen

14 Jul

Eat Slay Love by Jesse Petersen
Hachette Books/ORBIT (July 2011)
Mass Market: $7.99; ebook: $7.99
ISBN: 9780316102926
Favorite Lines: “You know, normally I’d feel badly about killing a kid, even though we had to do it from time to time and it wasn’t anything personal. But this kid had a Justin Bieber haircut, so I actually smiled as Dave thunked his shovel into the boy’s neck.” (p. 108, egalley)

Sarah and David might have solved their marriage problem – but that pesky zombie apocalypse just won’t go away.

They have survived the zombie apocalypse.  They stood side by side and fought the undead, mad scientists, and even bionic monsters until the unthinkable happened. A zombie bite.  But not even that could stop them. Now, with a possible cure in hand, they’re headed east, looking for a safe zone behind the rumored “Wall.”  They’re feeling pretty optimistic.

That is until Dave stops sleeping and starts lifting huge objects.

Eat Slay Love is book three in the Living with the Dead series written by Jesse Petersen. In Petersen’s series each book picks up where the previous ended. I read book one and skipped book two, yet was able to read Eat Slay Love without a problem. The book explains the events of book two.

The couple introduced in book one, Married with Zombies, is no longer on the verge of divorce; they are in love. The events which led them to book three are directing them toward the Midwest Wall. The wall is said to divide the zombie plagued parts of the United States from the uninfected. They don’t know if it’s myth or fact, but are determined to reach it.

The story is fun, light-hearted and gory. It isn’t afraid to take on all forms of zombies, discuss the lengths people will go in order to survive and show the love which exists between a married couple. The people Sarah and David meet on their journey play an integral role in the story. And the decisions made will either save or destroy them.

Purchase or Ignore: Buy it. It’s a fast paced urban fantasy with a romantic and comedic tone. It’s gross and enticing at the same time. Petersen has managed to put decomposing zombies and love together without throwing in gratuitous sex. She mentions sex, but doesn’t do the in-depth 10 page sex scenes.

In other news, Eat Slay Love is the last book which will be published by Orbit. Petersen announced on her blog that she will be indie publishing “a collection of short stories in the Living with the Dead series in August.”

Review: Nightfall by Ellen Connor

7 Jun

Nightfall by Ellen Connor (I adore the cover art!)
Penguin Group (June 7, 2011)
ebook: $9.99; Trade: $15.00
ISBN: 9780425241691

Favorite Lines: “He rolled onto her and tore down her panties in one motion. His hands were clumsy, shaking with desire…No foreplay. Just do it.” (p. 196) Continue reading

Interview with Ellen Connor! Why you Should Buy Nightfall & a Giveaway

6 Jun

Ellen Connor is the collaborative writing team of Ann Aguirre and Carrie Lofty. According to their website, the pen name comes from putting together the names of two “bad-ass female SF characters: Ellen Ripley (from Alien) and Sarah Connor (from The Terminator).” Tomorrow their first book in the Dark Age Dawning series, Nightfall will be released. Continue reading

Review: Enclave by Ann Aguirre

11 May

Enclave by Ann Aguirre
Macmillan/Feiwel and Friends (April 12, 2011)
Hardback: $16.99; ebook: $9.99
ISBN: 978-0-312-65008-7

Favorite Lines: “Every so often, they picked a citizen at random. They put artifacts in his private space and then they accused him of hoarding. They needed the consequences to be fresh in everyone else’s mind. This was how they kept us from questioning their decisions I’d once believed the elders to be benevolent and wise.” (p. 113) Continue reading