Friday, June 29, 2007

Chain Reaction by Dee Davis

From the back cover:

Artist Mia Kearney has the perfect life: a successful career, a home she loves, amazing friends…until the hot August morning her world explodes. Lone survivor of a nuclear accident, Mia awakens in a government facility, faced with Homeland Security agent Nicholas Price, a man who wants answers she knows she doesn't have.

When Mia escapes, Nick has a choice to make. The CIA wants him off the case, but instinct tells him not to let Mia out of his sight.

Now the web of deceit that's woven tightly around them is about to unravel, and someone out there won't be satisfied until Cedar Branch's last surviving resident is dead.…

I don't care what certain people say. I did not pick this book up because it takes place in Idaho. I already have to live here, why would I want to read about it, too? I do have to admit that I did google Cedar Branch b/c I had no idea if it actually existed in the state of Idaho. Nerdy, I know.

OMGosh, the first chapter of this book is SAD. Sooooo sad. Cedar Branch is a small town that has a cafe, a gas station, and a small grocery store. The book opens in the cafe where the whole town of, like, 8 people are eating breakfast. Davis does a great job of portraying camaraderie between these people. Which makes it all the more horrific at how the chapter ends. After hearing what sounds like a car backfiring, they look out the window and see what is described as a "haze" or "mist". Soon, they're all gasping for air and collapsing. The last thought that the owner of the cafe has before she dies is that at least she doesn't have to live without her husband (who already seconds before). See what I mean? Sooooo sad.

Mia Kearney wakes up in a hospital-like room and is told that she survived a nuclear accident that happened a few miles outside Cedar Branch. When Homeland Security agent Nick Price comes to question her, he tells her that all the residents of Cedar Branch are dead and she is suspected as the person behind the "accident". See, Mia's mother was a big political activist and one of her passions was stopping nuclear testing on Amercan soil. How this computed to Mia somehow having possession of a nuclear weapon was never made clear. Oh, Mia was also found in a crude, man-made nuclear bomb shelter. That would seem a little suspicious, I suppose. But as in most books, it was explained in a very satisfactory way. Mia's grandfather was in WWII and was a little paranoid when he returned home. So he made his very own bomb shelter in the basement of his house. Lucky for Mia, when the bomb went off, she was down in the basement-turned-art studio.

Anyway, Mia senses something fishy going on. Cuz she's one smart girl. So she escapes. She escapes a government facility that is in the middle of nowhere and gets back to her grandfather's ranch where she lives in a line shack that is on the property. Fortunately for her, she told Nick about the line shack, so he's there when she starts getting shot at. Nick went after her after his boss called him back to Washington after telling him that the CIA was taking over the investigation and Homeland Security was no longer needed. Nick being Nick, was a little suspicious. It didn't help that the man in charge of that branch of the CIA was a longtime nemisis and the man (we find this out later) that was part of the plot that killed his sister. He goes after Mia, determined to get some answers about what really happened in Cedar Branch.

Together, Nick and Mia go on the run. Don't forget, you can't go on the run in a romance suspense novel without there being a tracking device on someone or something. #1 rule of thumb. Check belongings and person for tracking device. They obviously didn't know that rule, so they didn't figure it out until after they were tracked down by the evil CIA guy, Davies. Things got very interesting from then on out.

In between Nick and Mia falling in luuurve and heating up the sheets, they were following leads that would uncover what really happened in Cedar Branch. So far they had an Idaho Senator (damn those Idaho Senators), the evil CIA guy, and another guy Kresky who owned the Environmental study company that was a front for all their evil doings.

Let me just tell you how it ends, m'kay? What killed the whole town was actually a deadly toxin called K-19. It's a mutated version of some toxin that is found in frogs in Colombia. The original toxin can only be deadly if it goes directly into a cut or open wound. The bad guys mutated it so it would be deadly when inhaled or when it goes directly through your skin. So basically if it's released in the air anywhere near you, you're fucked. The nuclear bomb was really to cover up what really happened b/c of course the government had no idea what these psychos were doing.

The reason Mia survived, you ask? A number of reasons that all combined, saved her life. Apart, she would have been dead like the rest of them. #1 - Mia was in a nuclear bomb shelter. #2 - As a sculptor that uses chemical, she wears a mask and protective clothing. #3 - Something in her genes gave her a sort of immunity to the original toxin. Why? Because her father is Colombian of course and she used to play w/ the frogs as a little girl.

Overall, I would recommend trying it. The plot was an interesting one and the character development was good.

4 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Suicide Club by Gayle Wilson

From the back cover:

Lindsey Sloan teaches the best and brightest students at Randolph-Lowen High School—exceptional teens with promising futures far from their small Alabama hometown. So when brash detective Jace Nolan arrives from up north and accuses her kids of setting a series of fires in local black churches, Lindsey is furious.

No matter how Jace tries to convince her, Lindsey can't believe her pupils could do something so horrible, let alone be addicted to the rush of getting away with it. But when her attraction to Jace places her in mortal danger and people begin dying, Lindsey can no longer be sure just what her students are capable of.

If Jace is right, it's up to the two of them to outsmart these criminal minds—before they carry out the ultimate thrill-kill.

Sounds like it would be good, no? Well, it sounds better than it is.

Lindsey Sloan is a goody-goody. She's too idealistic...holier-than-thou, if you will. It got annoying as hell.

When Detective Jace Nolan goes to Randolph-Lowen HS, he is sure that one of Lindsey's gifted students (read: genius) are behind the three church fires in Randolph, Alabama. [Side note: Jace was first introduced by the Principal as Lieutenant Jace Nolan, but somehow it changed to Detective.] Now how Jace is sure, I still haven't figured out. Since there isn't a shred of evidence at any of the scenes, he apparently thinks that only a kid could pull that off. Huh. Needless to say, Saint Lindsey is stunned by Jace's beliefs. I mean come on, Lindsey spends an hour a day with these kids. She knows exactly what they're capable of.

From the beginning we know that it is a student b/c we get little snippets from his/her POV. After Lindsey is seen talking with the Detective, those involved decide to teach the teacher a lesson. How? By sticking a rattlesnake in her clothes hamper. She barely saved herself from being stuck. Again, you ask how? Well, she knows the smell of a rattler contained in a clothes hamper, of course. How else? So she calls the police. Which sounds really pathetic, but I probably would have too. Jace ends up knocking on her door at 3am to see if she's all right. Again, keep in mind, Saint Lindsey took an instant dislike to Jace. It's only been a day since they first met. But, being the strong manly-man that he is, Jace gallantly stands guard outside her house. A few days after that, Jace makes Lindsey spend the night at his place b/c he can see she's not sleeping.

About halfway through the book, students start to committ suicide. Lindsey's students to be exact. Now she realizes that she might not know them as well as she thinks she does. The first student that comitted suicide actually came to talk to Lindsey the day she did it. Lindsey didn't have time for her, though. So now Saint Lindsey will feel guilty for the rest of her days. Maybe I should call her Martyr Lindsey. From reading Wilson's acknowledgement, Lindsey was intended to be portrayed as a devoted teacher who is only trying to protect her students. She fell a little bit short with that.

Any-hoo, together Jace and Lindsey start piecing together the mystery. Lindsey soon realizes that everything revolves around her "special" students. Oh dear. There's another thing she has to add to her list of things to feel guilty about. Obviously she wasn't challenging them enough, or they wouldn't feel the need to burn down churches or drive their fellow classmates to suicide. It was when the Principal seemingly committed suicide, that the author lost me.

The character development was really bad. So was the relationship development between Jace and Lindsey. Lindsey won't help him, but she'll sleep in his bed with and without him. Jace doesn't want a relationship, so he'll sleep (read that as have sex) with her but he won't break it off with her until after the mystery is solved? Why? Because it's his duty to make her feel safe. Yup.

This book really didn't seem that bad as I was reading it. I'm glad I took a couple of days to review it. Wilson's books are really hit and miss for me. The last two she released were really good. This one, not so much. Sorry for the letdown, Rowena. *g*

3 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Summit by Kat Martin

From the back cover:

Autumn Sommers knows the danger of ignoring such powerful omens. Twelve years earlier, she could have prevented a tragic accident if only she had acted on those horrible nightmares. This time, she knows what she has to do.

Her research into local missing persons suggests that the girl in Autumn's dreams could be Molly, the daughter of businessman Ben McKenzie. Still emotionally shattered from his loss and unwilling to trust this stranger, Ben is angered rather than relieved to hear her theory that Molly is still alive. Certain that she may be the girl's only chance, Autumn persists, until Ben grudgingly agrees to explore this tiny, if improbable, shred of hope.

As Autumn's dreams become more and more vivid, she and Ben pursue their leads—leads that point to more murders, and to the only person in control of whether they live—or die.

I love Kat Martin's paranormals. Unlike most paranormals these days, this seems like it could actually happen. Maybe. Or maybe I should say that it's not as far fetched as being a vampire or werewolf.

When Autumn Sommers (I didn't even get *that* until 3/4 of the way through the book) starts having dreams about a little girl who was taken from her front yard, she knows that she has to do something. When she was 15, she had a dream that her two best friends died after the car they were in ran headlong into a tree. She was horrified when they actually died exactly how she dreamed. Because of this, she knows that she has to stop the kidnapping from happening, or help the little girl's parents find her. She just doesn't know how to find out who she is because she doesn't recognize the little girl in her dream nor does she recognize the kidnapper.

After checking school photos (she's an elementary school teacher) and then going to the library, she realizes that the kidnapping she's dreaming about happened six years before. According to the newspapers, Molly McKenzie was taken exactly how Autumn dreamed it. Realizing that seeing Molly's father, Ben McKenzie, at the gym where she teaches rock climbing classes has triggered the dreams, Autumn sets out to convince Ben that she's not crazy. Right. I think that was the hardest part of the book for me. Not that she's psychic, but that she actually convinces Ben she's not crazy. Once I got over that hump, I really enjoyed it.

Even though he isn't totally discounting what Autumn has said, Ben still doesn't trust her or her motives. After going through six years of hell, Ben has no desire to bring the nightmare back to life. For himself or his family. Eventually, he knows that if there is even a chance Molly is out there alive, he can't just ignore it. Poor Ben. I felt so bad for this guy.

Autumn only has dreams after she has been with Ben. His bright idea is to start spending the night at her house so he can be there when she dreams. Actually, so he can be there *after* she wakes up from dreaming. You see, now Autumn is having dreams of Molly in the present day. Or what she thinks is the present day considering that Molly now looks like she's about 12. So each night she dreams the same dream over and over, she sees new things. Like the other women in the house with Molly, the simple clothes they're wearing, the mountains in the distance. Things that aren't really helpful...until Autumn and then Ben's ex-wife remember where they first saw the kidnapper.

Things move really quickly after that. A little too quickly, actually. Of course, in between trying to figure out clues, Autumn and Ben are both falling for the other. Autumn is really insecure though. I mean really insecure. I'm talking about bang your head into the wall insecure. Her dad was never faithful to her mom, so that means all guys are scum. Not that her dad is scum, though. No, he's just a man. And men can never be faithful. Of course Ben is the type of man that only dates supermodel types. Which isn't hard for him since he's stinkin' rich. In Autumn's book, that's a huge mark against him. So even though she's falling in love with him and the sex is so good, she knows that she'll never be able to satisfy him forever. Seriously people. It got old. Yes, I understood she was insecure. That was readily apparent every time you read "she knew that he would get tired of her eventually". Autumn is insecure, check. In the meantime, Ben fully admits to himself that he has to have her. How does he woo her? By having sex with her. Because Autumn lurves sex. No girly feelings for her, just sex.

Other than Autumn's serious self-esteem issues, I really liked this book. A lot.

4 out of 5 stars.

Monday, June 25, 2007

In Darkness Reborn by Alexis Morgan

From the back cover:

Once a warrior for the Others, Barak q'Young is caught between two worlds—exiled from his homeland, and a pariah among his enemies, the Paladins. While hunting a betrayer who's selling the precious blue gems that light the Others' world, Barak must aid geologist Lacey Sebastian in her research for the Paladins. Barak is instantly drawn to the fiery, beautiful woman, but Lacey initially despises the enemy intruder. Soon she sees beyond his violent past, though, finding the dark warrior intriguing—and extremely sexy.

Though neither can resist the passion that blazes between them, Barak is torn between loyalties, hiding a secret gift that could prove useful to Lacey's research, at the sacrifice of his own people. But when Lacey is kidnapped and held hostage, Barak realizes that he will do anything to save her . . . even risk his own life.

This is the 3rd book in the Paladins of Darkness series. Barak q'Young was first introduced in Dark Protector when he saved Laurel Young's life. As an Other, Barak expected to be slain as soon as he crossed the barrier, which is why he crossed over. Instead, Laurel stood between him and his Paladin enemies and Barak found himself living in the very place that his people died trying to reach.

Barak broke my heart in this book. Living among the Paladins, his lifelong sworn enemies, Barak is more than an outcast. He's despised. The only reason that he was allowed to live was because he saved the life of the Paladin leader's mate. Laurel Young was the only thing standing between him and certain death. When he realizes that his presence is hurting Laurel, he goes to Devlin Bane and tells him that he needs to be moved. Little does he know what he's getting into.

Lacey Sebastian has made it her life's work to find out a way to know when the barrier will go down. Though she is at first appalled that she has to work with the enemy, she soon realizes that Barak is as good of a man as her brother is. Unfortunatley for her, her brother is not only a Paladin, but a Paladin that is injured and unable to fight. Since he injured his sword hand, Penn Sebastian has made it his duty to protect Lacey, even more than he usually does. He is more than furious than she has to work with an Other.

Barak wants Lacey, but he refuses to be her dirty little secret. Can you blame the guy? Lacey wants Barak, but she is torn between her desire for Barak and her loyalty to the Paladins. Imagining Penn's reaction to any type of relationship with Barak makes Lacey shudder. The more she gets to know Barak, the more she falls until she realizes that she is in love with someone she has been taught to hate. You really get caught up in the dilemna of these two. Barak wants to take anything Lacey will give, but wants more. Lacey wants Barak, but is scared to reach out and take it.

But Barak has a secret. One that is pretty explosive. See, even though Barak left his people, he still refuses to help the Paladin's kill them. That means that he doesn't tell them that he knows when the barrier will go down. His senses are extremely hightened. He can hear and smell things that an ordinary human and even a Paladin, can't. Though he knows that he can help Lacey achieve her goal, he keeps quiet because he refuses to be a part of the deaths of any more of his people.

One of the best parts of the book was when Devlin and four other Paladin's came over to Barak's house. It was a total "man" get together, compelte with pizza and beer. Barak feelings of friendship with these Paladin's made me want to cry. For months he was barely tolerated by these men and suddenly he finds himself friends with them. Now, when they call him "Other", it's not a derogatory name , it's said with friendly affection. It was also funny to see Devlin Bane becoming friends with Barak when from the time he saved Laurel, he insisted that he only protected Barak out of love for Laurel. Hah.

Alas, there are still people that are trying to find a weakness among the Paladin ranks. When one of these people try to recruit Penn Sebastian, it is with little luck. Though Penn is bitter at his inability to fight, he'll never betray his people. Unfortunately for him, that means that they have to go to further lengths to get his cooperation. Which means that they kidnap Lacey.

When Barak finds out that Lacey was taken, he was just getting ready to cross the barrier back to the other side. That meant certain death, but Barak was determined. Lacey couldn't be with him, he couldn't betray his people, and he couldn't really have a life. It was sad to read. When Penn comes to attack him, accusing him of taking Lacey, Barak has to go after her. Penn and Barak have to work together to find a woman that they both love.

The ending was a good one. I absolutely loved how Barak was accepted within the ranks of the Paladins. I also loved seeing his happiness when he realized that Lacey loved him.

You definitely have to read the first two books before this one.

4 out of 5 stars.

Raintree: Sanctuary by Beverly Barton

From the back cover:

War with their archrival, the evil Ansara clan, is unavoidable. For Mercy Raintree, a war means she must assume her position as guardian of the Sanctuary—the sacred Raintree home place deep in the Smoky Mountains. But doing so threatens to disclose her most prized secret—one Mercy has kept to herself for six years.

As the solstice looms and the battle heats up, Dranir Judah Ansara gathers his forces, intending to wipe every Raintree from the face of the land. Including Mercy, whom he's claimed as his to kill. Then he comes face-to-face with her—and with her daughter, Eve. Will Mercy's closely guarded secret change not only the outcome of the battle…but also Judah's own bitter heart?

This is the last book of the Raintree trilogy (1st - Raintree: Inferno by Linda Howard 2nd - Raintree: Haunted by Linda Winstead Jones). This is my favorite in the trilogy. After a rocky start with Howard's Inferno, the series really picked up with the 2nd book and got even better with this one.

Wow. This book was intense. The two previous books were spent telling the story between the Raintree and Ansara clans. All we know is that the Ansara clan tried to kill both Dante, the Raintree Dranir and Gideon, the Raintree Prince. So they're some evil freaking people, obviously. Needless to say, it makes for darn good reading when the hero of the third book IS an Ansara. And not just any Ansara, but the Ansara Dranir.

The Raintree obviously got cocky in their belief that the Ansara were no longer a threat to them. Hello? Dante seemed like a smart guy. So the fact that after 200 years, the Raintree thought the Ansara were still wiped out was pretty arrogant.

Cael Ansara was first introduced in Raintree: Inferno when he tried to have Dante killed. We follow him through to this book where we learn that he is one crazy S.O.B. He is half brother to Judah Ansara, the Dranir of the Ansara clan. Cael is the older brother, so he thinks that he should be Dranir even though he's a psycho and a bastard. In the 1st chapter of the book, Cael tries to have Judah killed. So it starts out with a bang. Soon after Judah kills his attackers, he finds out that Cael sent an assassin to the Raintree Sanctuary to kill Mercy Raintree. That's when Judah says that as Dranir, he claims Mercy Raintree as his kill.

So what kind of romance can this be when for over half the book, Judah is determined to kill Mercy, while Mercy is determined to kill Judah? A damn good one! See, Mercy has a secret that she has kept for six years. Her daughter, Eve, is half Ansara. Seven years ago, Judah seduced Mercy just because she was the Raintree Princess. Mercy had no idea who Judah was until she realized she was pregnant. Then she ran. Both Mercy and Judah had never forgotten each other or the night they spent together. For Mercy, she has a reminder every day in her daughter. Judah just knows that he'll kill Mercy quickly. It was a little distasteful that Judah acknowledged that he would kill any Raintree children. Other than that, I had no problem with Judah wanting to kill Mercy. It was his inner struggle that made it especially good.

During the course of the book, Mercy knew that she would eventually fight Judah to the death for their daughter. She was still oblivious to the fact that the Ansara were once again a powerful clan and that the Ansara Dranir was the father of her child. Seeing how Judah bonded with his daughter, you knew that he wouldn't kill Mercy. Of course it took him forever to realize that, but then again, he is a man.

Cael Ansara was still determined to take on the Raintree and kill Judah because he wanted to rule the whole Earth. Including all the humans. Oh joy. That is fun to think about. The final battle at Sanctuary is intense. Mercy is the type of heroine I love. Though she is strong, she's still a mother who is trying to save her child. She's still the keeper of Sanctuary, who is trying to save her clan. She's still a healer. By the time the battle begins, she admits to herself that she still loves Judah, but she knows she'll still have to kill them for the sake of her daughter's future. She is a little slow because she didn't realize that Judah came to fight against Cael instead of with him.

One small issue I had. It really is a small one. Eve is six years old. I have a six year old. Six year olds don't talk like she does. Maybe magical ones do, but my six year old doesn't use logic like this one did. She was more like a 10 year old. So that got me hung up in places, but I tried to excuse it b/c she was magical. Or I tried to ignore it.

Overall, this was a fine ending to the series. I definitely recommend all three books in the series.

4.5 out of 5 stars.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Prince of Magic by Linda Winstead Jones

From the back cover:

The firstborn children of the Fyne witches have finally come into their own, each with a special gift...

Independent Ariana Kane Varden, daughter of the Sun Witch, has never let family duty keep her from reaching her dreams. She learned the practice of her gift, the power to heal others, at her mother's knee. And now she is the Palace healer, tending to her emperor...

The last prophecy of magician Sian Chamblyn's late grandfather points to Ariana as the one to save Columbyana from a growing evil. Sian has hightailed it from lands afar to deliver the message. When he must prepare her for the fight of her life, Sian intends to remain undistracted by his sensuously beautiful protege. But in the heat of battle-and passion-diligence might be his downfall...

I am so annoyed. I just realized that this trilogy continues a previous trilogy. *sigh* Now that there was a slight cliffhanger, I'm going to continue on before going back and reading the first trilogy. Maybe. My anal-ness about reading in order might change my mind.

Ariana is a a healer. Her primary role as a healer is for the Emperor himself. Having been sick for many months, Ariana isn't quite sure why she can't heal the Emperor, but she knows she can't let him die. With his son and heir missing, Columbyana can not withstand the unrest that would come with the Emperor's death. So with the Emperor's permission, only a select few know exactly how sick he really is.

When Sian Chamblyn shows up on the scene with dire predictions of death and doom, Ariana isn't sure she believes him. Sian is sure of the prophecy that his grandfather wrote before he died and he is sure that Ariana is the key to saving Columbyana.

This is why I think I need to go back and read the first three books. Is Columbyana a country? A Kingdom? Another word? I wish I could answer that...

So Sian is a powerful wizard and he believes it's his destiny to teach Ariana the magical skills that she will need to fight the upcoming evil. Because of the fact that the prophecy states Ariana will die fighting, Sian is a little chagrined when he realizes he's falling for her. Too bad he didn't tell her that she's going to die. Cuz she is pissed when she finds it, the morning she's supposed to lead her men into battle. She's also pissed because she'd been sleeping with him for weeks and fell in love with him. He couldn't even have the decency to tell her that she's going to die. WTF is up with that?

The evil dude is none other than Prince Ciro, the Emperor's missing son. Back when he lived at the palace he was posessed by the Isen Demon when he was on Level Thirteen. Level Thirteen is another thing that must have been explained in previous books. So he's possessed, he drinks blood and he sucks up souls. He can only take gray and/or black souls without permission from the person he is taking from. He can't take white souls, which is really making him angry. Because the white souls are what he really wants. He also has these creepy people following him called "Ciro's Own". They're like his own souless army and they will make you shudder.

Back to Sian and Ariana. He realizes that he can't leave for home when she goes to battle like he originally intended. Though he doesn't want to care, of course he does. He's majorly tortured. He was married and when his wife was in childbirth, both her and the baby died. Poor guy. No wonder he was afraid of commitment. Eventually Ariana makes him realize it's okay, though I don't know how because the likelyhood of her dying is extremely high.

This book was just okay for me. Nothing spectacular, but not bad either. I like the storyline, but it felt like something was missing. Obviously there was, but I didn't know that at the time. The excerpt for the next book, Prince of Fire, sounds really good though. I guess Sian and Ariana as characters just didn't do it for me.

3 out of 5 stars

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Daring Devotion by Elaine Overton

From the back cover:

Nights of passion

Detroit social worker Andrea Chenault has always believed she can live with the fear that every firefighter's wife knows. But as her long-awaited wedding day approaches, she's tormented by secret doubts. Because it's becoming clear that deadly fires are targeting the man she loves beyond all reason.

Days of fear

Calvin Brown is the bravest, strongest man she's ever known, and he's taken her to heights of passion she never knew existed. But as the circle of flames draws ever closer, Andrea wonders if even her overwhelming love for this man is strong enough to survive the terrible thought of a life without him . . .

I just noticed that the description said that Andrea is a social worker. She's actually a nurse. Of course I had to check the back of my book and yep, it's wrong.

I read the excerpt of this book and it sounded really good. The fact that the characters are committed to each other when the book starts makes for good reading.

The book opens up with Cal getting a promotion within his Firehouse. Andrea is having serious doubts about marrying him because she is already dreading the day that she’ll lose him to the fires he fights. As a nurse, she sees more firefighters die than the average person. Overton did a really good job of writing Andrea’s fears. On one hand she was completely in love with Cal. On the other hand, she didn’t think she was strong enough to be a firefighter’s wife. Gotta give the girl props for not turning a blind-eye to her fears. I could feel her inner struggle coming off the pages.

When Cal is injured in a fire after saving the life of a child, everything changes. Not only does it affect his relationship with Andrea, but it also affects his career. He starts having nightmares that he refuses to share with Andrea. He freezes up during a fire when he relives the fire he almost died in. Eventually he is diagnosed with PTSD, but he refuses to accept it.

So as Cal and Andrea get closer to their wedding day, Cal seems to be obsessed with the recent fires in abandoned warehouses while Andrea becomes more and more sure that she will be making a mistake if she marries him.Meanwhile, Cal is convinced that the man starting the fires is one of the guys in his firehouse. This guy is a weirdo who seems to be skulking around where he shouldn’t be. He also resents Cal for the promotion that he felt should be his. This is where the book started falling apart for me. Jeff was described in the beginning of the book as someone who felt he was passed over for a promotion and wanted to make Cal look bad. But later it came up that he had only been with that Firehouse for a few months. Why would he think he deserved the promotion? The way Overton made it sound was that Jeff and Cal were both serious front runners for the job. Then Cal sees him with accelerant, which obviously leads him to believe that Jeff is responsible for the fires. It’s a logical thought. In actuality, Jeff was trying to mess things up around the firehouse so Cal will look bad. Huh. Jeff eventually gets arrested, yada yada yada. As it turns out, the kid that Cal saved in the beginning of the book is the one that has started all the fires. See, this 8 year old kid is a pyromaniac. The way the kid is described in this book doesn’t fit him being a pyro. Cal knows him. There were no signs whatsoever. It's like on page 258 (or whatever it was) the author just decided, "Hey, Marco is going to be a pyro". Oh and what gets me is that it's Cal that figures it out. Like he hadn't just almost ruined a guy's career (whether the guy is stable remains to be seen). Also, the situation with Jeff was never resolved. We get insight on Jeff by reading from his POV, so the fact that there was so resolution made it seem as though part of the book was unfinished.

I also didn't feel that Andrea really faced her fears where Cal was concerned. She decided to take a leap of faith, but it was so sudden that it seemed like a letdown after all the build up from page 1. She doesn't really tell Cal how she feels about him being a firefighter or how she feels about the thought of being married to him. She's just privately hoping that almost dying in a fire will make him quit. After an intense beginning, the last part of the book just seemed rather shallow. I can't think of a better way to describe it. Andrea and Cal then go on to live happily-ever-after. The end.

2.5 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Soul Song by Marjorie M. Liu

From the back cover:

Against her will, Kitala Bell foresees the future. But only deaths, and only violent.

Kitala's own future is in peril. From the ocean's depths rises an impossible blend of fantasy and danger, a creature whose voice is seduction incarnate, whose song can manipulate lives the way that Kitala herself manipulates the strings of her violin...even to the point of breaking. He is a prince of the sea, an enigma-a captive stretched to the limit of his endurance by a woman intent on using him for the purest evil. And when survival requires he and Kitala form a closer partnership than either has ever known, the price of their bond will threaten not just their lives but the essence of their very souls.

I was a little surprised to find a ARC copy of Soul Song in my mailbox. I had no idea where I had won or how Dorchester got my address. The light bulb soon came on and I realized that in Marjorie’s newsletter subscription, your address is required. Very nice.

This is the 6th book in the Dirk & Steele series. Kitala Bell was first introduced in Tiger’s Eye as Dela’s (Tiger’s Eye: heroine) best friend. Honestly, I barely remembered her from that book.

M’cal is a Merman. I don’t like that word. M’cal doesn’t like that word either. It just seems like a fairytale word. It also doesn’t sound very masculine. Plus whenever M’cal is referred to as a Merman, I would think of The Little Mermaid. Moving on… M’cal fell in love many years before, with someone he now knows is a witch. A bad witch. She enslaved him and he now has to do whatever the witch wants him to do. What she wants him to do is take souls and return them to her. See, M’cal has this nifty little power. He can take souls when he sings. Hence the title, “Soul Song”.

It really was a fine line that Liu walked with M’cal. Even though it was against his will, he killed people. Many people. And not just bad people. The book starts out with him taking the soul (and therefore killing) a lonely woman who was just looking for companionship. Whenever he takes a soul, he basically relives the life of the person whose soul he is taking. So M’cal is not exactly a good guy. But he’s not a bad one either. Like I said, fine line.

The witch orders him to go take Kitala’s soul. Initially M’cal is in control of his body and his actions. When he balks at doing what the witch wants, she takes control and forces him to do something, even if it’s against his will.

Kit is a muscian. She plays the fiddle. I have no idea what the difference is between a fiddle and a violin. I had to go look it up because a fiddle sounds like something that my five year old would play with. Kit is playing in a concert when she first sees the woman in the crowd. She's a beautiful blonde woman, in an amazing white dress. There's only one thing wrong with her. She has a knife sticking out of her eye.

Against her better judgement, she goes to warn the woman and the man she was with. It really hits the fan then.

So after she warns the woman, Alice, Kit finds herself kidnapped by two corrput cops and left to die (or not) at the hands of several thugs. Just when she thinks that it's over, M'cal shows up. M’cal saves Kit’s life, even though he knows he’ll eventually have to kill her. So he does what any good guy would do; he tells her to run. Which she does.

The next day their paths cross yet again and M'cal finds it harder and harder to stay away from her. For some reason, the curse that was placed on him is dulled when he's around Kit. Though he questions it, he doesn't fight it because he senses that Kit may be his salvation. Both M'cal and Kit realize that there is more than one person that wants her. When Kit is kidnapped yet again, M'cal races to save the day only to realize that he fell right into a trap.

I won't go into the ending for two reasons. One is that I don't want to spoil it. Two is that it's just too complex to try to put into words. Then ending is a good one and wraps everything up quite nicely. Alice's part in the story is explained in a believable way. I wouldn't be surprised if Alice got her own book somewhere down the line. It also leaves the series wide open for some more Mer-people.

There are several recurring characters from Dirk & Steele that we know in love. Namely Koni (who is the most prominent), Amiri, and Hari. Something that bothered me was that as bad and evil as the witch was portrayed in the beginning of the book, Liu seemed to try to make the reader feel sorry for her toward the end. That was hard for me because I just wanted her to die. Sounds harsh as I type it.

If you haven't read this series, here are the books in order: Tiger's Eye, Shadow Touch (the best one, imo), The Red Heart of Jade, Dark Dreams (anthology), Eye of Heaven, and Soul Song.

4 out of 5 stars

Coulda Been a Cowboy by Brenda Novak

From the back cover:

Grandpa Garnier used to say: Love is like a bucking bronco. It takes guts and determination to hang on, but it’s worth the ride.

If only Grandpa was around now to help Tyson Garnier out of this mess. The famous pro football player is suddenly saddled with a very public scandal--and an illegitimate child. Tyson needs a good nanny now if he’s going to salvage his career. And plain, no-nonsense Dakota Brown is the ideal candidate.
Dakota doesn’t care for football–or for a man who doesn’t seem to want his own son. But she needs this job and that precious little baby needs her.
Dakota isn’t Tyson’s kind of woman. But the more he sees of her—and the more he sees of his son—the harder he wants to hang on.

One of my guilty pleasures is reading Harlequin's. They're just good. Well, most of them are. When I want to read a love story that is just a love story, I read a Harlequin.

This is the latest installment in Brenda Novak's Dundee, Idaho series. I did not start reading this series because I live in Idaho. No, seriously I didn't. I wouldn't recommend reading this book if you haven't read the preceeding books.

Tyson Garnier is a jerk of a football player. He doesn't pretend to be what he's not. He wants to live his carefree bachelor life and has no qualms about admiting it. So when an old girlfriend turns up and says that he has a nine month old son, Tyson is dismayed. Actually, dismayed is too milded of a word for what Tyson feels. He would have had no problem paying child support and not seeing his son. Ever. I had a hard time with that at first, but then I felt a teeny tiny bit of respect that he could admit that. He hired a private investigator to follow Rachelle (his baby's momma) around and what he learned prompted him to pay her a million dollars for custody of a baby he didn't want.

Enter Dakota. Tyson knows that he will never feel attracted to her. She's frumy and overweight. She also doesn't seem to be impressed with his fame, which is a point in her favor. When he hires Dakota as his son, Braden's nanny, Ty knows he made the best decision for both him and Braden. It's actually pretty funny about how Ty intially feels about Braden. While it's obvious to the reader that Braden just wants his daddy, Ty feels like this nine month old baby is out to get him.

Dakota has her own problems. Almost her whole life, she has had to take care of her father. Dakota knows that it is soley her fault that her dad is as he is. When she was 10 years old, he risked his life to save hers. So she knows she'll never be able to leave him. Unfortunatley he gets increasingly violent and drunk. The Police Chief of Dundee has had it with Dakota's dad. Because her dad only seems to be that violatle when Dakota is around, he tells Dakota that he will not press charges against her father (for various things) if she moves out. As you can imagine, Ty is thrilled to hear this because he just got a live-in caretaker for Braden.

Dakota falls more in love with Braden every day. She soon realizes that she is starting to feel something for Ty, too. She doesn't want him to know it, though. She starts working out and Ty immediately notices. I guess she had to lose weight for him to notice her as a woman. Because Ty knows that he will never settle down and he also knows that Dakota will want to settle down, he starts planning on a way to marry Dakota off. What ensues is actually pretty humorous.

You also have Braden's mom who has realized that the money train has stopped and decides that she wants Braden back. So she starts making all these absurd accusations that don't seem so absurd when they end up on the front page. Ty is soon in jeporady of not only losing his sponsers, but also his whole football career. He also realizes that not only will he fight to keep Braden, but he will fight to keep Dakota, too. Aw.

I love this series. There is just a real small town feel that Novak really gets across well. One thing that bugged me was how Dakota was driving Ty's Ferarri with Braden in the front seat. First, it's just ridiculous to think of a carseat in a Ferarri. Second, carseats don't go in the front seat. Ever. So that's my mom tip of the day. LOL

4 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Forbidden Pleasure by Lora Leigh

From the back cover:

The Club is private, exclusive and only for those men whose fantasies run to the more forbidden side. . . People have heard only fleeting rumors about The Club. Located just outside Washington, D.C., only its members know where men go when they want to indulge the desire to share their women with a carefully selected male partner. Former FBI agent John ‘Mac’ McCoy resigned his membership from The Club when he married Keiley Hardin. Tempting and innocent, sweet and sexy, she would never accept Mac’s desires to share her with another man. However, Keiley’s growing curiosity and Mac’s own fantasies of sharing his wife haunt his dreams. And his passions.

Unable to wait any longer, Mac invites his best friend Jethro Riggs, to their home with the intention of drawing Keiley into the pleasures that can only be achieved when two men love the same woman. But there’s more going on in Mac’s neck of the woods than a little additional pleasure. A past case involving astalker who likes to play games has shown up again, but now Keiley is in the middle of it all. Passion and pleasure, danger and desire combine as the forbidden becomes an addiction none of them can escape.

I've been a Lora Leigh reader for years. I started with Marly's Choice. Since then she was always like a trainwreck for me. Some of the plots were eye rolling material. Literally. But I kept reading her. I'm very glad I did because she has gotten SO much better. I think one of my biggest problems was the plot holes. Like how the characters got from Point A to Point B. Stuff like that.

Before I start the review, I have to admit that I have no idea how to pronounce the name Keiley. For half the book I was pronouncing it as Keeley. The other half I was pronouncing it as Kiley. I still have no idea what her name really is.

This is the 5th or 6th book in Leigh's Bound Hearts series. All the books in the series revolve around the hero's need to share the heroine with another man. Forbidden Pleasure can be read as a stand alone. There is a brief mention of a former character, but that's it.

Mac McCoy gave up his sexual lifestyle when he met and married Keiley Hardin. After having a childhood where sex was forbidden and looked at as a sin, Mac rebelled. Shocking, huh? He realizes that he was lucky to find a mentor (character from a previous book) familiar with the lifestyle or he might have turned into a very sexually depraved man. Huh. I know that I'm totally judging, but wanting to share the woman you're in love with sounds kinda depraved to me. Just sayin'. I read erotica (meaning erotic romance) where there are ménages. I have no problem with them. I mean it is labeled as erotica. What I had a hard time with while I was reading this book was the fact that Mac wanted to share Keiley indefinitely. But I digress...

Mac retired from the FBI when he married Keiley. He moved to his hometown and bought the farm where he grew up. So now he's a bonified farmer. A couple problems with this. First of all, if he had such an awful childhood in this place, why the fuck would he go back? Especially to stay. Doesn't make sense to me. This is the place he despised growing up. But now he's back with his wife. Ooookay, then. Second, he already gave up the sexual lifestyle that he was used to living. Would he give up his career AND move back to his childhood home on top of that?

Jethro Riggs was always Mac's "third". It was up to Mac to find the women. Mac was the "gentler" one that wasn't afraid of showing his "emotions". I kid you not, that's how it was described. Jethro had a hard childhood himself, so he counted on Mac to keep the current woman happy emotionally. Through Mac, Jethro was able to express his emotions without really expressing his emotions. *snort* Just a small note here. Leigh VERY specifically made sure the reader knew that Mac and Jethro had absolutely no homosexual feelings for each other. None. Zip. Nada.

Keiley has always known that there is something that Mac is holding back. She figures it has to do with sex, but she's not sure. Now, three years after their marriage, she's decided that she wants to know what it is. Except she doesn't. Then she does. Girl can't decide what she wants. When she was eighteen, her dad went to prison for embezzling, then her mom died so she was guilty by association. Because of that, she's very aware of gossip about her and she really cares what people think. Not to mention that there is a woman who has never forgiven Mac for never sleeping with her before he left town. Keiley is now on her grudge list.

So you have Mac that has held back sexually from Keiley for three years. You have Keiley who can't decide if she can accept Mac's sexual needs. You have Jethro who has waited three years for the call from Mac that Keiley is ready. You have a a woman who will do anything to destroy Keiley. Oh, and you have a stalker from Mac's old FBI days that has suddenly (after three years) set his sights on Keiley.

Somehow Lora Leigh makes it all work. After doing this review, I have no idea how, but she really does.

3.5 out of 5 stars

Friday, June 15, 2007

Master of Dragons by Angela Knight

From the back cover:

The last time fairy princess Nineva Morrow engaged in magic, evil forces rendered her an orphan—isolated and incapable of trusting in anyone's survival. But after years of hiding on Earth, she'll use her powers once more—and attract more knights than she can handle.

Now at the center of a rebellious Mageverse noble's plot and helplessly dominated by a powerful, body-possessing spirit, Nineva's only hope is the smoldering Dragon knight Kel. This renegade of Arthur's court has enough desire to burn down every door to her heart—if the surrounding forces of King Llyr would subside long enough to let him.

The survival of the Mageverse hangs in a passionate balance of entitlement and pleasure, with destruction threatening to bring an entire magical universe to it's knees...

Okay, then. Here we go. Master of Dragons is the newest installment of Knight's Mageverse series. I continue to be amazed at how Knight manages to spin this series. I mean, how often and in how many ways can Avalon be attacked without becoming repetitive? In Master of Dragons there is yet another evil villain who desires nothing more than to bring Avalon to its' knees. And it works.

Dragon Knight Kel was first introduced in Master of Swords. He met Gawain (hero: Master of Swords) and the two instantly form a friendship. The dragons didn't like that too much cuz they hate humans. To make a long story short, Kel was cursed into a sword (for fifteen hundred years) and the only way to get free was to kill Gawain. Which he didn't do. So at the end of Master of Swords, Kel is finally freed. Then he's knighted by Arthur. So he's one happy dragon.

Nineva Morrow was raised by her Sidhe father to fufill her duty as Avalon to the goddess, Semira. Her duty was to free Semira from the sword she was trapped in. Her family had to hide her on mortal Earth because her cousin King Angsar wanted Nineva dead at any cost. So anytime Nineva used magic, her family had to move. Eventually she learned not to use magic at all. That all changed when she was 17. She was backing out of the driveway and ran over her neighbor's dog. She healed it and shit hit the fan.

So here is my #1 bone to pick with this book. And yes, it's shallow as hell. Kel has cobalt hair. Cobalt. Blue. When the guy is in his human form, his hair is fucking blue. He even has blue hair in his nether regions. Every time (which was only once or twice) that hair was described, I giggled. I'm not a giggler, but I fully admit that I giggled. More than once. Can you imagine blue hair down there? Oh and he had red eyes too. Too bad he didn't have a white beard.

Kel called Nineva a professional martyr. That description was spot on. It got a little old after awhile, but whatever. Anyway, Semira is getting weaker and weaker and there is only one way to give her strength. You guessed it; sex with Kel. That's a bit of a a cliché, but hello, he's a dragon and she's a Sidhe princess. I can buy it. Since the day her parents died, Nineva has been having a dream that is both erotic and terrifying. She dreams of having hot sex with her lover, then a dragon is breathing fire on her. Needless to say, she's a little creeped (and freaked) out when the prophecy starts coming true.

Oh, did I mention that Kel got a visit from Cachamwri, the Dragon God? Seems that Cachamwri had a plan, which is why he let Kel get imprisoned in the sword. See, it's his destiny to protect the Sidhe Princess and prevent the Dark Ones from destroying Avalon, thus destroying mortal Earth.

After reading Demon Moon which was 500 pages, this book seemed really short. It's amazing how much stuff is crammed into this book which is a smidge under 300 pages. And it didn't seem rushed at all. There were vampires, Knights of the Roundtable, Dire Wolves, Sidhe warriors, dragons. It was pretty action packed.

Oh did I mention the villain in this book? He's pretty psycho. He's the product of rape. Angsar (the bad guy in Master of the Moon) raped his mom, who then understandably instilled him with a hatred of his father. She then turned him into a psycho just like his daddy. He then killed his own mother when he decided to go after the Sidhe King. So he's pretty fucked up.

There were some funny parts too, which I love. When Kel and Nineva went back to the Dragon Lands to enlist their help, they were in Soren's cave (a good dragon) when his apprentice came in. She was an 800 year old dragon, but was about 18 years old in human years. So she looks and Nineva and squeals "It's so small!". Yeah, that cracked me up. Because I just kept picturing these three dragons in a cave with a human that was probably smaller than one of their claws.

I'm not sure what's next in the series, but there are several character choices. Personally I would like to see the Court Seducer whose name I can't remember. There's also Soren (my first choice), though I don't think Knight will go for another dragon hero quite yet.

4 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Demon Moon by Meljean Brook

From the back cover:

Return to the sensual netherworld of Demon Angel for a startling romance of eternal love threatened by the consuming darkness of a Demon Moon…

No one would call vampire Colin Ames-Beaumont kind, but they would call him unnaturally beautiful. For two centuries his tainted blood has kept him isolated from other vampires, sustained only by his beauty and vanity—bitter comforts, since a curse has erased his mirror reflection, replacing it with a terrifying glimpse of Chaos.

Savi Murray's insatiable curiosity had gotten her into trouble before, but she'd always escaped unscathed. Then came Colin. In the midst of Heaven, he gave her a taste of ecstasy—and of Chaos. Deadly creatures from that realm herald the return of an imprisoned nosferatu horde, and Colin and Savi’s bond is their only protection—and their only passion…

Well. I have to admit that I'm very pleasantly surprised by Demon Moon. It's really not a secret that I didn't enjoy Demon Angel. While I didn't hate it, I didn't love it. The book was booooring. Not all boring, but too much for me to really get into it.

First let me first say that this book was really fucking long. I mean like almost 500 pages long. There are some authors that I wish would write 500 page books. This author wasn't one of them. I went into it thinking it was going to be a repeat of Demon Angel. I am happy to admit that I was WRONG. See, I barely faltered on typing that.

Colin Ames-Beaumont is a total ass of a character. OMG. He really is. But I loved him. I loved how he had no qualms about his vanity. He knew he was beautiful and he wanted everyone to tell him so. Including Savi. The banter between those two was highly amusing. You could just tell that aside from the physical attraction, they genuinely liked each other. Which is always nice. One of my issues with Demon Angel was that there wasn't enough interaction between Hugh and Lilith. There is plenty of interaction between Colin and Savi.

So the book starts off with a bang (almost literally) when Savi is on a flight home from India. She sees a nosfertu on the plane and starts freaking out (okay, she didn't really freak out but I did). Only a few weeks (or maybe months?) before, there was an unexplained explosion on a passenger plane which killed 400 people. So she IM's Colin to get his help because both Hugh and Lilith were unavailable. (Can you IM on a plane? Did I miss something?) What happens next is that Savi saves the day. Of course all the passengers freak out because this girl is attacking an assuming passenger with a garrote. So Savi locks herself in the lavatory with Nani and wait for the calvary which arrive in the form of Michael and Selah (I really need to pick up Selah's anthology).

Sooooo, ingesting the nosfertu's blood along with the hellhound venom that she injected into him while strangling him changed her a bit. She's stronger, faster, etc. Oh and now all these wyrmwolves are after her. Everyone thinks they're after Colin because they want him to open the portal to Chaos, but they soon realize that Savi being around during all the attacks is not a coincidence.

This book had so much information that I'm still a little confused two days after finishing it. I read verrrrrry slowly as not to miss anything. Yeah, that didn't work out so well. There were times when I was flipping back through the pages to see what the hell I missed.

Colin's blood is cursed. Anyone that drinks his blood dies a horrible miserable death. So he can't turn anyone. The only one he would want to turn is Savi, which he can't do. Actually, he doesn't want her turned at all because he can't feed her and he can't stand the thought of her feeling the Bloodlust while she's feeding from someone else.

There were some good ass scenes in the book between Colin and Savi. Specifically when Savi cut her hand and slapped it over Colin's mouth. *sigh* She knew him well enough to know that he wouldn't risk taking her blood thus triggering Bloodlust and she also knew that it was the only way to get him to listen to her without interrupting. Mission accomplished.

It was an abrupt, yet satisfying ending. Ten pages before the end of the book, I was still wondering how they were going to get their HEA. I could literally feel the pain between these two as they realized what life would be like if they stayed together.

Lilith and Hugh were of course prominent figures in the book. I loved how Lilith didn't change from Demon Angel to Demon Moon. She's still a royal bitch, but Hugh is her one weak spot. I also loved when she said things like "You fucking beautiful ass" to Colin. Heee.

If you haven't picked Demon Moon up because you were unsure about Demon Angel, don't wait. You won't be disappointed.

4.5 out of 5 stars

Edit: I can't believe I forgot to give an honorable mention to Sir Pup. That's one, er, three, fierce animal(s). I want one. He can carry my purse. And my kids, come to think of it. I did have a hard time at first b/c whenever I think of a dog, I think of my dog. Which is a Shih Tzu. So I was imaging my 10lb dog with three heads carrying two vampires.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Author Pimp: Farrah Rochon

No review today. Freakin' A. I'm reading Demon Moon and am almost done. I had to sit at my desk and sneak a few pages in this morning. That's the good thing about coming in at 7. No one else is here.

So since I have no review, I'm going to do an author spotlight. I thought about doing it yesterday, but I'll do them on Tuesdays. I doubt I'll do spotlights on authors like Linda Howard or Susan Elizabeth Phillips. We know and love them. I want to introduce new authors. Or at least new to me authors who I want to pimp. *g*

Farrah Rochon is not only a great author who is well on her way to a successful writing career, she is also a friend of mine. Deliver Me debuted in late February.

From the back cover:


Monica Gardner is starting over. The brokenhearted St. Louis native has nothing left at home any longer: her future is being an ER doctor at a New Orleans hospital. Her first day makes for a bumpy start as she continually runs into handsome but irascible Dr. Elijah Holmes--a man who could make her change her mind about finding true love.


For years, Dr. Eli Holmes has been living up to his own high expectations--and is burning himself out in the process. The only time this "Super Doc" ob-gyn slows down is to notice the beautiful eyes of a newcomer, Dr. Gardner. He's pleased to know that she's more than just a pretty face, she's also an ace physician. When they work together, sparks fly. But with both Monica and Eli trying to hard not to fall in love, they realize they can't resist this affair of the heart.

A small warning: this is not a "dark" book. While the cover certainly implies a certain "darkness", this is actually a light read. There is substantial humor between Eli and Monica, as well as between Eli and his family. Farrah plans on writing the story of Eli's brothers, who were both very intriguing in Deliver Me. The secondary story between a patient of Eli's and her husband is also very good.

You can read an excerpt of Deliver Me here. Visit Farrah's blog here. Oh and she's going to be at RWA in Dallas, too. So visit her if you're going!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Whispering Rock by Robyn Carr

From the back cover:

A decorated U.S. Marine reservist, LAPD officer Mike Valenzuela was badly wounded in the line of duty, but has found hope and healing in Virgin River. When he agrees to become the town’s first cop, he does so knowing it’s time he settled down. Twice divorced and the lover of too many women, he secretly longs for the kind of commitment and happiness his marine buddies have found – a woman who can tie up his heart forever. He finds that woman in Brie Sheridan, a Sacramento prosecutor who understands his drive to protect and serve. Virgin River becomes a safe haven for Brie after nearly losing her life at the hands of a crazed criminal. Though tough and courageous, she’s got some fears she can’t escape – but now she has someone who will shower her just what it means to trust again.

Mike will do anything to help Brie free herself from painful memories. Passionate, strong and gentle, he vows to give back to her what she’s so selflessly given him – her heart, and with it, a new beginning.

So far Robyn Carr is my best new find of this year. I adore her writing. These days, it seems that few authors are writing straight romance. You either have romantic suspense or paranormal romance, fantasy romance, sci-fi romance, etc. Not that it's a bad thing, but it's very nice to find a series that is romance only.

Whispering Rock is the third in the Virgin River series. I think that Carr intended for it to be a triology, but it doesn't seem like that's going to happen. She has introduced so many characters in these three books that she has made it impossible to just stop the series here.

So Mike Valenzuela was introduced in Virgin River (1st book), very vaguely. It wasn't until Shelter Mountain (2nd book) that he became more prevelant. He is portrayed as a Latino Lover that has fallen for his best friend's sister. Brie Sheridan is a hotshot Assistant Prosecuter. After her husband left her, she lost the first case of her career, prosecuting a serial rapist. Instead of fading into the woodwork and realizing that he got off extremely lucky, this brainbox goes to get revenge on Brie by viciously attacking her. Mmm,k. So she is very battered and very changed from the first two books.

What I like about Carr's books is that it's over a period of months. It doesn't take Brie two weeks to get over her rape and fall in love with Mike. It takes months. Months and months. In the meantime, we are re-introduced to all the characters from the previous books. Jack (Brie's brother) is having a harder time recovering from Brie's attack than Brie is. His struggle with that is effecting his marriage with Mel (Jack & Mel's story is told in the 1st book). Mel is still the midwife that we know and love and will not take this hit to her marriage lying down. It is amazing to see how far Mel came from the time she first appeared in Virgin River.

Preacher and Paige (Shelter Mountain) have been trying to have a baby for months. This part of the book is highly entertaining.

Paul (one of Jack's marie buddies) comes to finish Jack's house and finds that his best friend's (who is in Iraq) wife now lives in Virgin River with her father. Not only that, but she is pregnant. It's Paul that I definitely see having his own book in the future.

So I highly recommend Robyn Carr. I wouldn't recommend starting with Whispering Rock because you would be highly lost. The series order is Virgin River, Shelter Mountain, then Whispering Rock. Definitely pick this series up. It is money well spent.

5 out of 5 stars.

Friday, June 8, 2007

The Others: Conception by Sarah McCarty

From the back cover:

An unwilling victim of an experiment gone wrong, mother to a child that shouldn’t exist, Eden Lavery knows only one person strong enough to stand between the Coalition’s fanatical quest for immortality and their threat to her daughter; Dusan Knight. Six foot three of solid muscle, Deuce wears his power with the easy confidence that comes from six centuries of commanding the Chosen, the inspiration for vampire lore. But Deuce isn’t just the source of legend. He’s the man she loves. The man she’d ultimately betrayed.

From the moment Eden reenters his life, holding the miracle of a Chosen child in her arms, Deuce burns with the need to complete their joining. Everything about Eden, from her sassy sense of humor to her delectably stacked body was made for him. But some things are easier decided than done. Amidst a race for survival, against an enemy that cannot be destroyed for fear of extinction, Deuce must fight for the future of his people and to convince Eden the passion between them is more than illusion. She is his Chosen mate, and nothing, not her fears, the Coalition, nor death itself will take her away from him.

Ermmm, what is with EC's covers? I am not ashamed to say that I do tend to judge books by their covers. There have been many new authors found b/c I liked the cover. If I hadn't heard so many good things about Sarah McCarty, I wouldn't have looked twice at this book. It kinda looks like she's trying to ingest his lips.

I loved this book. Sarah McCarty is definitely going places. Of course it wasn't until after I read the book that I found out that this series may not continue. *sigh* It's just my luck.

So Eden Lavery's grandfather is one fucked up old man. He's obsessed with immortality. Dude, he's, like, 89. If you want to be immortal, do you really want to do it in an old man's body? Anyway, the book opens up with a bang. Eden is literally hanging from the ceiling by her bound hands while gramps and her uncle whip her to get the location of Eden's vampire lover, Dusan. Of course gramps doesn't want to hurt her. He just needs to know where Eden stashed the vamp. In bust an army of men to come to Deuce's rescue, who just happened to be in the floorboards right underneath Eden's feet. Unconcious, of course. So while his men are dragging Deuce out, the leader of the pack (he's really the leader of the Pack) tries to get Eden down. Eden convinces him to run after she realizes gramps plans to blow the whole place up. *sigh*

Fast forward a year. Deuce thinks Eden is dead. Which sucks because the Chosen only mate once and it's for life. So when Eden turns up on his mountain with a baby no less, he is elated. Well, almost elated. Obviously Eden was getting it on with some other guy and he didn't know if he could accept that. Well, turns out that Eden was actually inseminated with Deuce's sperm and voila!, Eden's daughter is also Deuce's daughter.

So here's my problem. Eden escaped five minutes after a c-section, baby in tow. Because of a voice whispering in her head to run. I can accept that a mother would do anything for her newborn, including getting up off the table five minutes after a c-section and running. What I, under no circumstances, can accept is the fact that when Eden came face-to-face with Deuce for the first time in a year, she was aroused. Um, dude. You just had a c-section. Your stitches are pulling out. Aroused? Yeah, pull the other one.

So overall, this was a really good book. The Chosen are a very interesting group of people. Eden and Deuce's daughter is the first child born to a Chosen in hundreds of years. So she's something of a miracle. Because they have to find out how she was conceived, Deuce can't allow Eden to kill her grandfather. Obviously Eden doesn't really care what Deuce says and tries to escape to keep Jalina (the daughter), safe.

This was the first (and possibly last) book in the series. I thought that the information about the species in general was a little on the light side. I could definitely have done with more details about how the Chosen and Pack came to be allies. More about the Chosen in general, really.

There was lots of action and blood sucking in this book. Not for the squeamish!

4 out of 5 stars.

Gideon by Jacquelyn Frank

From the back cover:

They’re called the Nightwalkers—proud, ancient beings who live in the shadows, existing just beyond the human world. But there are also dangerous humans who hunt them—necromancers who use the blackest magic to manipulate them. And for a Demon named Gideon, the battle against these evil forces will soon be all too personal… As A Healer, He Knows Her Body.

But It’s Her Heart He Wants.

For a thousand years, Gideon has healed his people. And as the oldest surviving male of his race, his wisdom has always been respected without question. But Gideon knows that even he is vulnerable to the powerful, primitive desires that befall his kind during Hallowed moons—and nine years ago that truth was hammered home when he found himself claiming Magdalegna, the Demon King’s sister, in a wild embrace. Horrified by his lack of control, he left her wanting and furious—and then exiled himself for the better part of a decade. Now, with necromancers threatening his people—and Magdalegna nearly their victim—Gideon must face another truth. He and the beautiful, stubborn Magdalegna are destined to be together, to share a love as deep and old as time itself. But first he needs to regain her trust. Then he’ll have to save her life…

Every night holds secrets.

My thoughts can be summed up in a word: Dull.

While I didn't lurrrveeeee Jacob, I really thought it was a great premise. Frank is the first author (that I've read, anyway) that has written Demons as protaganists. So it was very intriguing to me. When I read Gideon, I went into it with high hopes. My bad. The normal trend is that the series gets better with each book. Not so with the Nightwalkers. While trying to cram Gideon and Legna's story in the pages, Frank also managed to re-tell a mini version of Jacob. I'm sorry, but if a reader decides they're going to skip the first book, that's their bad. Because of the length of time between relases, I understand the need to touch on certain things from previous books that might be pertinent to the current story. What I don't want is to go over the whooolllllleeeee story again. I already know what happened to Bella and Jacob. I know what happened to Corrine and Kane. I want to know more about Gideon, the character that was so intiriguing in Jacob. Too bad we didn't get that.

Basically I skimmed. Gideon and Legna were boring. They were a boring couple. After years of avoiding each other, suddenly they realize that they're mates and all is well. Didn't work for me. I was more interested in Bella and Jacob in this book. At least Frank introduced a few new characters. That should prove to be interesting in the future.

On a sidenote, as soon as I can figure out how to do a cut, I'll include spoilers. But as a spoiler hater, I'll abstain this time.

In keeping to the amazon star system, I give Gideon 2.5 out of 5 stars.

Welcome to blogland

So what makes this reviewer blog different from all the others out there? Nothing. Why did I start it? Well, for several reasons. First reason, I have the most boring job in the history of boring jobs. Working in I/T as a 'Systems Analyst I' supporting accounting software is far from being an exciting job. Needless to say, I have enough time on my hands. Second reason, I'm a follower. Why lead when you can follow? No really, I've been reviewing on amazon for years and just decided that it was time to be a little more creative. After all, I've got the time. Just never really had the desire to do so before now. Third reason, I love reading. I love recommending new authors to my reading friends. There are so many good authors out there that don't get the reader credit they deserve. I'm here to help give it to them. Fourth reason, peer pressure.

So bear with me as I explore blogland and get my blog looking all cool and stuff. *g*

Friday, June 1, 2007