book review

TABT…The Outlaw Demon Wails by Kim Harrison

To save the lives of her friends, Rachel did the unthinkable: she willingly trafficked in forbidden demon magic. And now her sins are coming home to haunt her. As Rachel searches for the truth behind a terrifying murder, an even greater menace threatens, for the demon Algaliarept will stop at nothing to claim her, and the discovery of a shocking family secret throws Rachel’s entire life into question. If she is ever to live free, Rachel must first walk willingly into the demonic ever-after in search of long-lost ancient knowledge. But when you dance with demons, you lay your soul on the line … and there are some lines that should never be crossed.

 

What a fabulous addition to the Rachel Morgan world.  Not as wrenching as the last book, For a Few Demons More, this is more of a transition from Rachel’s old life to her new one, but damned if it wasn’t fabulous anyway.  Rachel has to deal with her grief (which I thought was done exceedingly well), as well as the host of problems she’s accumulated over the last year, to include her uber-complicated relationship with Ivy.  I have to say, Rachel is definitely one of my favorite recurring character in any series (she ties with Joanna Baldwin from Rachel Caine’s Weather Warden series)…so much so that any of Harrison’s book are auto-buys for me.  I think her books are what I needed after ditching Laurell K. Hamilton’s books, and thank goodness for that!

TABT…Overexposed by Leslie Kelly

Isabella Natale is living a double life.  By day she turns out desserts in the family bakery.  But at night she transforms into The Crimson Rose, Chicago’s hottest exotic dancer, an enigmatic siren whose velvet mask and G-string drive men wild.  Nobody knows about her secret—not even Nick Santori, the strip club’s hot new bodyguard…and her first crush.  He’d always treated little “Izzy” as just another sweet kid.  But there’s nothing sweet about his sizzling reaction to Rose… So what’s a girl to do but show the man of her dreams that while it’s okay to look it’s much better to touch?

 

This is definitely one of the best Blaze’s I’ve read in a long damned time.  The relationship between Izzy and Nick is hot as hell from their first meeting and gets more combustible with each encounter.  Both had issues to overcome I could totally identify with, and they acted like adults around each other.  The author could easily have slid into the tried and true “misunderstanding/miscommunication” plot line, but she didn’t…she made them face their mistakes and deal with them as grown-ups who are totally hot for each other.  Pick this one up, I can promise you won’t be disappointed!

Coming out of lurk for your book review! Thrill Me To Death by Roxanne St. Claire

So I’ve obviously been hiding under a rock lately.  Not sure what is up, I’m just in one of those funks where putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) isn’t working.  I’m sure I’ll get over it soon…I always do.  It’s not so much writer’s block (because I’ve already come up with a great idea for another erotic romantic suspense) but rather the whole malaise thing.  It may be the whole post-inspection, post-work trip thing (and I sure hope it is), so I guess we’ll see what the next few weeks have to offer. 

 

Now, having said allllll that, I HAVE been a reading fool, so it’s my total pleasure to give you a book review today!!

 

Thrill Me to Death, Roxanne St. Claire

 

Max Roper never lets emotion get in the way of his job—not since the tragic shooting that killed his fiancée’s father.  Now the former DEA agent is a Bullet Catcher, and he’s managed to block out Cori’s bitter goodbye—and their sizzling passion.  Those dangerous desires come back with a vengeance when Max is assigned to protect a recently widowed heiress who turns out to be Cori.  But Max must also discover his ex’s dark secret…and they both know she can’t hide anything from him.  Her luxury lifestyle suggests that Cori has gone from being trophy wife to a merry widow, but  nothing could be further from the truth. Suspicious of her billionaire husband’s sudden death, she hires a bodyguard.  But her protector is the one man who can melt her every defense—the one man she blames for her deepest sorrow, the one man whose six-feet four inches of solid muscle ignites a reckless passion in her.  And as they close in on a killer who hides in plain view their high-stakes affair could cost her everything…including her life.

 

What a fabulous book!  The storyline is complex and fluid and while I figured out who the baddie was about midway through, that didn’t detract from my enjoyment one little bit.  The heat between Max and Cori is combustible from the first moment they reconnect and made me fan myself more than once.  This was my first Bullet Catcher book, but it certainly won’t be my last…in fact, I picked up the first book in the series about five minutes after finishing this one!

TABT…Die for Me by Karen Rose

 The first victim is found in a snow-covered Philadelphia field.  Detective Vito Ciccotelli enlists the aid of archaeologist Sophie Johansen 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’s 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 love Karen Rose’s work, and she’s on my auto-buy list whenever she has something new come out.  This book is no exception.  If anything, Rose’s style is growing stronger with each successive book.  When it comes to the characters, we’ve met Vito before in Rose’s previous works, but you don’t need to read them to totally immerse yourself into this story (but I’d recommend it, because they’re all awesome).  Sophie is smart and sexy…I absolutely adored her.  The villain was fabulously evil, someone you’re more than happy to see get it in the end.  The plot was intricate and tightly crafted.  Go out and grab this one now…you won’t regret it!

Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night by Kresley Cole

 Bowen MacRieve of the Lykae clan was nearly destroyed when he lost the one woman meant for him.  The ruthless warrior grew even colder, never taking another to his bed-until a smoldering encounter with his enemy, Mariketa the Awaited, reawakens his darkest desires.  When sinister forces unite against her, the Highlander finds himself using all his strengths and skill to keep her alive.  Temporarily stripped of her powers, Mari is forced to take refuge with her sworn adversary.  It’s rumored that no one can tempt Bowen’s hardened heart, but soon passion burns between them.  Though a future together is impossible, she fears he has no intention of letting her go.  If they defeat the evil that surrounds them, can Mari deny Bowen when he demands her body and soul-or will she risk everything for her fierce protector?

A great addition to the Immortals After Dark series, Wicked Deeds takes place almost simultaneously with No Rest for the Wicked.  As a writer, I found it interesting that Cole chose to have Bowen and Mari separated for almost the first quarter of the book.  It totally worked and furthered the storyline, but I suspect that’s not something a newbie author could get away with *g*.  While the plot is relatively simple and straightforward, Bowen and Mari’s relationship is anything but.  Both have obstacles from their past (and future) to overcome, and they can only do that by trusting in each other…something neither is willing to do, even if they want the other to distraction.  This is a hot, lush book.  While I recommend you read the first two books in the series to totally immerse yourself in the worldbuilding, you could certainly read this as a stand alone and be perfectly happy.

TABT…Savor Me Slowly, by Gena Showalter

 Mishka Le’Ace was created to be an undercover operative…literally.  Her beautiful body has been mechanically augmented to give her superhuman strength-strength she’s going to need.  Her latest mission sends to rescue Alien Investigation and Removal agent Jaxon Tremain from torture and death.  With him, she discovers a passion unlike any other.  A passion she was forbidden to know…  From the moment they meet in a darkened cell, Jaxon craves her touch.  But the machine half of Le’Ace forces her to do things she doesn’t always want to do.  Even betray him…and ultimately destroy him.  Now Jaxon must battle the man controlling Le’Ace, and even Le’Ace herself, to at last claim the woman he’s come to love.

I have to say, I totally prefer Showalter’s darker books to her HQN fare.  While the others are fun, her Berkeley books go much deeper, and because of that, resonate much more fully with me, as a reader.  Both Mishka and Jaxon are placed in an untenable position…they want each other, and realize that they may be the perfect complement to the other, but forces outside their control hold all the cards, and there doesn’t seem to be a damned thing they can do about it.  The aliens in this book made for a great additional layer to the plot, and the romance between Mishka and Jaxon is hot, and hauntingly realistic. I can’t wait to read Showalter’s next Berkeley offering!

TABT, Games of Command, by Linnea Sinclair

 The universe isn’t what it used to be. With the new Alliance between the Triad and the United Coalition, Captain Tasha “Sass” Sebastian finds herself serving under her former nemesis, biocybe Admiral Branden Kel-Paten-and doing her best to hide a deadly past. But when an injured mercenary winds up in their ship’s sick bay-and in the hands of her best friend, Dr. Eden Fynn-Sass’s efforts may be wasted.

Wanted rebel Jace Serafino has information that could expose all of Sass’s secrets, tear the fragile Alliance apart-and end Sass’s career if Kel-Paten discovers them. But the biocybe has something to hide as well, something once thought impossible for his kind to possess: feelings . . . for Sass. Soon it’s clear that their prisoner could bring down everything they once believed was worth dying for-and everything they now have to live for.

What a fabulous book!  I love well-done sci-fi/futuristic romances, and Sinclair has delivered yet again.  Branden is one of the best heroes I’ve run across in a long, long time, and Sass is just fabulous.  Jace and Eden are a great secondary couple, but this is definitely Branden and Sass’ story.  The plot is intricate and seamless, the romance so well crafted that I swear, the last chapter made me cry my eyes out every time I read it.  Seriously…I went back and reread the last few chapters at least four times so I could figure out exactly what Sinclair had done, because it was so damned RIGHT.  This is one of those rare books that’ll make you hunker down and devour it, and any distractions be damned.   Pick this one up while it’s still available!!

Feeling better, Release Day & good reviews

 Sorry for the lapse Monday and Tuesday…I caught a nasty flu/headcold/chestcold…if you can call it any of that.  All I know is that I slept about 40 hours over 2 days and finally feel human again.

Unfortunately, I slept through my own release day!  Sea of Dreams was released on Monday, and I already got my first review…and it’s a doozie!  Check it out here.

Right now I’m still kinda toying with what I want to do next, but since I set my new “start” date on 1 Feb, that’s cool.  Over the weekend I worked on Duck and Run…this is a story I really adore that just…died…because the heroine wasn’t talking to me (that’s a whole ‘nother blog post, and a subject my hubby rides me on).  I jammed on this baby on Saturday, logging 2,200 words.  Friday I worked on something new, a possible idea for Nocture, and today, since I was almost feeling human, I started playing with a shifter story.  We’ll see which one jells first.

Okay, off to bed now, since I have to go to work tomorrow.  Sigh.

TABT, Caressed in Ice by Nalini Singh

 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 he is a defector, and 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 himself.  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…

Yet another freakin’ GREAT book by Singh.  Judd is perhaps my favorite hero yet, because he’s so understandably tortured.  Seriously, this is not a guy who’s manufacturing angst, but has to live through a very real torment.  Brenna is his equal match, living through something that would shut down 99.9% of the population.  The fact they find redemption, healing and a measure of comfort in each other’s company makes this a stunning book indeed.  Run, don’t walk, to grab this one while it’s still on the shelves.

TABT…Lord of the Fading Lands and Lady of Light and Shadow, by CL Wilson

 Once he had scorched the world… Once he had loved with such passion, his name was legend.  Now, a thousand years later, a new threat calls him from the Fading Lands, back into the world that had cost him so dearly.  Now an ancient, familiar evil is regaining its strength, and a new voice beckons him-more compelling, more seductive, more maddening than any before.  As the power of his most bitter enemy grows and ancient alliances crumble, the wildness in his blood will not be denied.  The tairen must claim his truemate and embrace the destiny woven for him in the mists of time.Wow…I really mean it.  Wow!  What a fantastic set of books! 

Think Kushiel’s Dart, but not as tiring on the intrigue and politics end.  Oh and there’s a real romance here *g*.

Rain (the hero) and Emmie (the heroine) are just delish.  The characterizations, worldbuilding and court politics are vividly drawn and lush.  I’m addressing both books here because, to be brutally honest, the first book ends leaving you hanging a bit.  That was perfectly okay with me, as a reader, but it did make me want to dive right into the second.  Lady of Light and Shadow picks up right where Lord of the Fading Lands leaves off, and even though it’s the second book, it manages to retain the joy and wonder of the first, while walking you along a fine edge of tension as your journey with Rain and Ellie through the magical and mystical worlds of the Fey and humans.  I cannot recommend this series enough.  But fair warning…if you pick it up, you won’t be putting it down any time soon, so clear your calendar for a good long bit.  Now, as a personal plea…Ms. Wilson…write faster!!