Tuesday, September 25, 2007
I haven't decided what to do w/ this blog yet. I'm thinking maybe about transitioning to a personal blog, but am still on the fence about that.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Manolito De La Cruz discovers his lifemate only to hear she would never accept a male of the species. MaryAnn Delaney has been around the Carpathians for a little while now, and having met several of the men, she knows she would have a difficult time being a lifemate to any of them. She's a city girl, a counselor for women and she wants to go back to her home turf. Manolito was born and bred in the Carpathian mountains, but has lived in South America with his four brothers on their extensive cattle ranch. They are laws unto themselves, and have long ago taken on possessive, passionate and arrogant ways that only magnify the already dominant traits of their race. MaryAnn, modern city girl, is about to meet a rainforest predator.
I believe this is the 18th (or some such other crazy number) installment of Feehan's Dark series. This series has always been special to me because my first vampire/paranormal book was Dark Prince back in 2000. I remember being home with my son, who was born in September of that year and reading books faster than I could buy them. I was in the used bookstore and looking at this book thinking 'Vampires?'. Then I read the first few pages and thus began my love affair with Mikhail Dubrinsky. Through the years, there have been hits (Dark Prince, Dark Desire) and misses (Dark Symphony) for me. Honestly, how original can an author keep it after this many releases? Though I am a diehard fan, I definitely think that Feehan ought to consider winding the series down. Unless she can come up with some new meat.
Well, she tried (and somewhat succeeded) to do that in Dark Possession.
We first meet MaryAnn Delaney in Dark Destiny. She returns in Dark Celebration where she is unknowingly mated to Manolito De La Cruz. When Manolito dies by saving the life of Shea Dubrinsky (Dark Desire), MaryAnn has no idea the profound effect that it will have on her life. By the end of Dark Celebration, she is still totally clueless to the fact that she was mated to a Carpathian male (who she thinks are overbearing, arrogant, and pompous).
Fast foward to Dark Possession. Somehow Riordan and Juliette (whose book I don't remember) talk MaryAnn into coming to South America to help Juliette's sister, Jasmine (who I vaguely remember), after she was kidnapped and held by the jaguar people. MaryAnn has the unique ability to help people, which is why she's a counselor. Unfortunately MaryAnn finds herself depressed and unable to help for the first time in her life. Looking at the situation as a counselor, MaryAnn knows that she's clinically depressed, but she can't understand why. She refuses to believe she's depressed over the death of a man she only saw from a distance. It doesn't matter that she's cried buckets of tears over the death of Manolito.
When Riordan and Juliette tells MaryAnn that Manolito is still alive, her heart believes it even if her head tells her it can't be true. Apparently Feehan has divised a way to bring people back from the dead. There's a world between alive and dead and that's where Manolito is. He's really effed up because he can't remember anything. All he knows is that MaryAnn is his lifemate and she isn't there. In the soul world, the vampires insidious whispering cause him to doubt himself and MaryAnn. Talking of joining the ranks of the vampire and having endless power, Manolito finds himself weak. Not that he wants to join the vampires of course, just that he doesn't think anything is worth fighting for without his lifemate.
Eventually Manolito and MaryAnn reunite and there is an explosion of chemistry, which is very Feehan-like. Lots of sex, of course. Possessive jealously from Manolito. Confusion from MaryAnn. Exactly what you expect when you read about Carpathians. I did giggle a little bit over Feehan's descriptions of a woman's va-jay-jay. I really hate flowery descriptions (unless it's a historical), especially considering how "earthy" these books are supposed to be. I mean, they're getting down and dirty in the jungle, fcol.
Feehan reintroduced the Jaguar shapeshifters, who have always intrigued me. She hasn't written a Jaguar book since Wild Rain. Personally, I think she's overdue. She also introduced a new species into the series. What you ask? Werewolves. Yes, you read that right. The Werewolves are the only other species that can bring absolute destruction to the Carpathian people. Though they were allies, over time they separated and lived their own lives. Eventually the werewolves disappeared off Carpathian radar.
I'm sure you can already guess why this is important. MaryAnn is a werewolf. Of course she has no idea. I figured it out though. A page before it was revealed. LMAO. When I think back, that fact all but smacks you in the face throughout the book. Since MaryAnn didn't know, Manolito didn't know which meant that she was unknowingly converting Manolito everytime he fed from her. Then the arrogant ass has the gall to blame that on her. *snort*
I think that Dark Possession infused the Dark series with a much needed and long overdue new life. It was seriously lagging. I really thought this was a good addition to the series.
4 out of 5 stars.
Friday, September 14, 2007
So here are the reviews I'm going to be putting up soon:
Dark Possession by Christine Feehan (today)
Wicked Magic by Cheyenne McCray
White Lies by Jayne Ann Krentz
I also really want to do the Joey W. Hill reviews. I never thought I'd enjoy the BDSM storyline, but she is a fantastic author who writes extremely well.
Monday, September 10, 2007
Thursday, September 6, 2007
As an Arrow, an elite soldier in the Psy Council ranks, Judd Lauren was forced to do terrible things in the name of his people. Now a defector, his dark abilities have made him the most deadly of assassins—cold, pitiless, unfeeling. Until he meets Brenna…
Brenna Shane Kincaid was an innocent before she was abducted—and had her mind violated—by a serial killer. Her sense of evil runs so deep, she fears she could become a killer herself. Then the first dead body is found, victim of a familiar madness. Judd is her only hope, yet her sensual changeling side rebels against the inhuman chill of his personality, even as desire explodes between them. Shocking and raw, their passion is a danger that threatens not only their hearts, but their very lives…
First, I have to say that I am SO HAPPY that Nalini stayed true to the person that she created Judd to be. That was my fear with this book, that to make Judd into hero material, she would have to change things about him that shouldn't have been changed. That didn't happen AND he was still a great hero. So much so that I want him for myself. Just like I wanted Lucas. And Vaughn. *sigh*
Obviously we learn a lot more about Judd's life in the PsyNet and his time as an Arrow. His Psy designation is Tk-Cell which is one of the most deadly designations out there. Apparently the Psy Scientists think that for every child that is born of this designation, there was some sort of mutation in utero. So not only can Judd move things with his mind, he can also regenerate cells or stop things from doing what they're supposed to do. Say like the heart. He can stop the heart from beating. With no more than a thought. Judd is one deadly mofo. The good thing about that is that he knows it. So when he starts to actually feel things for Brenna, he pulls waaay back. Too bad she's a wolf who won't take no for an answer.
I really felt oh-so bad for Brenna in StS. I still cry when I re-read it and Sascha is trying to talk her into coming out of unconciousness. So even though I totally felt for her, I had doubts that she would be a strong enough heroine so soon. Why do I even doubt the genius that is Nalini Singh? I mean, really. She portrayed Brenna as the victim who wouldn't give into fear. The fear that Santano Enrique did something so vile to her that she was now like him. After a particularly horrific nightmare, Brenna soon finds out that she witnessed the murder of her own packmate. Not only that, but in her dream, she enjoyed every bloody minute. Needless to say, this freaks Brenna out a bit. The only person she feels she can turn to for the truth is Judd Lauren. After being coddled for months by her brothers and her pack, Judd is the only one that doesn't show her sympathy. Though she is somewhat turned off by his emotionless facade, she is also strengthened by his belief that Enrique didn't turn her into the same monster he was.
I loved the build up of Brenna and Judd's relationship. While Sascha was literally silenced by Silence, it was different for Judd. Silence enables him to keep his emotions completely contained so there are no oopsies. Oopsies like people dying. Stuff like that. So even though Judd wants Brenna, he's not willing to sacrafice her life for his wants. *sigh* Awwwww. Actually imagine a man that wouldn't put himself first. Judd is physically attracted to Brenna, but he literally can't touch her without causing himself pain. That pain is supposed to remind him who he is and what he can do. See, if he has an orgasmic orgasm, he could actually kill Brenna in his excitement. So you see why he would be a little leery of sex. Oh and did I mention he's a virgin? LOL. Even though I technically figured that (yes, I actually figured that out), it still was a surprise because he's soooo alpha. Oh and when they actually do make it to bed, he's like an 11 out of 10.
Of course there was more to the story than the romance between Judd and Brenna. Though Judd and his family defected, Judd is still loyal to the Psy race. He really believes that there is a need for Silence for some Psy, but not for others. When he is contacted by a Psy he only knows as "The Ghost" and told about Protocol I (yes, it's as bad as it sounds), Judd agrees to help TG destroy the lab and research that would take Silence to a whole new level. There's also some insight into the new Councilor, Kaleb K-somethingorother. It seems that he's as evil as they come, but I wouldn't be surprised if he was The Ghost or some other double Psy agent.
Nalini did such a fantastic job with this book. It's days later and I am still thinking about how great it was. Six months really isn't that long, but it can't get here soon enough.
5 out of 5 stars.
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
The first victim is found in a snow-covered Philadelphia field. Detective Vito Ciccotelli enlists the aid of archaeologist Sophie Johannsen to determine exactly what lies beneath the frozen ground. Despite years of unearthing things long buried, nothing can prepare Sophie for the matrix of graves dug with chilling precision. The victims buried there haunt her. But the empty graves terrify her-the killer isn't done yet.
He is cold and calculating, the master of a twisted game. Even with Vito and Sophie hot on his trail, he will not stop. One more empty grave must be filled, and one last scream must be heard-the scream of an archaeologist who is too close for comfort and too near to resist...
I luuuuuurve Karen Rose. I picked up her first book, Don't Tell on a whim. Since then, I've been a RFG of hers.
I met Karen for the second time in Dallas. We chatted about Die For Me and she said that the villain was her evilest one yet. Though I luuuuuurve Karen, I have to respectfully disagree. To this day, I still think her most evil villain is Rob Winters from Don't Tell. There was just something about him that can still make me shudder even when I re-read the book for the 20th time. Not saying that this villain wasn't evil, but he didn't take the cake.
Vito Ciccotelli (from You Can't Hide) thought his day couldn't get any worse. I mean, seriously. All he wanted to do was go visit the grave of the woman he loved and lost. Instead, he finds himself at a mass grave where they have no idea how many victims there are. All he does know is that the likelihood that there is more than one is high. That's when archaeologist Sophie Johannsen is called into the fun. It's actually pretty funny how they first met. Vito thought Sophie was a college student (he picked her up at a local college) and that she was hitting on him. Heee. Of course when he realizes who she is, he's even more attracted to her yet determined to keep his distance.
Sophie finds more than one grave. The scary thing is that there are several empty graves. Though both her and Vito figure that her work with them is done, he has to call on Sophie's knowledge of medeival torture devices. This shit is wack. Creepy. Evil. *shudder* It's been over a week since I've read this book and it still gives me the creeps. A chair of nails. A "stretcher" (exactly what it sounds like).
So while Vito and Sophie are trying to figure out what drives this guy, he's picking out more victims. Picking them out from acting/modeling websites that are looking for work, he pretends to be a documentary filmmaker who needs actors. Then he kidnaps, tortures, and kills them. Why? Well, he's an artist. He captures the moment of death, but has no one to share it with. Poor guy. The only way he can get around this travesty is by getting hired as a graphics designer for a company that designs video games. His graphics have made the game (and company) wildly popular and successful. The owner of the company wants more, more, more. Simon is happy to oblige.
Meanwhile, down in Georgia, an agent named Daniel (totally blanking on the last name) is trying to track his parents down. Though it seems very strange going from Philidelphia to Georgia, Karen ties it together quite nicey. Daniel realizes that no one has seen his parents for months. Though he himself hasn't been in contact with his parents for years, as a Judge, it is very odd for his father to be out of contact for very long. Eventually he follows the trail to Philidelphia where he believes that his mother was being treated for cancer. He didn't expect to find the family skeltons that he thought were long buried.
The relationship between Vito and Sophie was built quite believeably. Sophie is extremely wary of relationships after being burned when she was a grad student. Though 10 years removed from the situation, Sophie still recalls the heartache she felt when she realized that she was used by her own professor. What was somewhat annoying is that though Sophie was a capable, highly intelligent woman, she still believed that Vito would believe the horrible lies that were spread about her. As soon as she had to put Vito in contact with said professor, she was absolutely sure that Vito would judge her like everyone else did. So obviously Sophie has issues which interferes with her ability to have a relationship with Vito. That's okay though, 'cuz Vito has issues of his own. Does he ever.
In between the search for the killer, Karen finds enough time to bring in the Ciccotelli family. Rather than bogging the book down, it lightens it up when it almost gets too morbidly dark to handle. When Vito's sister-in-law has a stroke, Vito finds his house taken over by his four nephews and his sister, Tess. It was nice to revisit Tess and see her interact with her family, especially her father. Oh and Vito's brothers? Dino, Tino, and Gino? She even makes it so it doesn't seem completey ludicrious. LOL.
Even with all that, there was still something that was missing. I can't put my finger on what it was, but it was enough that I can't give this book five stars. Every book prior (except Have You Seen Her?) has been above a 5 star rating. Like nothing can compare.
4.5 out of 5 stars.