zondag 29 juni 2014

Darynda Jones – Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet

The fourth book in the Charley Davidson series, published October 30, 2012.
Genre: urban fantasy
Cover: great color

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Sometimes being the grim reaper really is that. Grim. And since Charley's last case went so awry, she has taken a couple months off to wallow in the wonders of self-pity. But when a woman shows up on her doorstep convinced someone is trying to kill her, Charley has to force herself to rise above. Or at least get dressed. She quickly realizes something is amiss when everyone the woman knows swears she's insane. The more they refute the woman's story, the more Charley believes it.
In the meantime, the sexy, sultry son of Satan, Reyes Farrow, has been cleared of all charges. He is out of prison and out of Charley's life, as per her wishes and several perfectly timed death threats. But his absence has put a serious crimp in her sex life. While there are other things to consider, like the fact that the city of Albuquerque has been taken hostage by an arsonist, Charley is having a difficult time staying away. Especially when it looks like Reyes may be involved. Just when life was returning to normal, Charley is thrust back into the world of crime, punishment, and the devil in blue jeans.


I am sure that I am the last one to read this book, as everyone seems to have read book 6 already.
After her torture in the previous book, Charley has been holed up in her apartment for two months, and her friends and family are worrying over her. Cookie finally intervenes by cancelling Charley’s credit cards, so she can’t buy any more worthless stuff from the shopping networks. Charley’s apartment is already filled with boxes floor to ceiling, as she doesn’t even unpack them.
Her sister wants her to get some therapy, and Charley still refuses to see her father, even when her evil stepmother begs her to. But when Charley sees her old offices above her fathers bar being repainted and a moving van shows up, she is furious. He cannot just rent her office space to someone else! But it was all a ploy to get her to see her father, and he tries to prove his point to her, by trying to shoot her! And so Charley learns about a new power she has.

When a new client needs her help desperately, Charley finally leaves her house again, and starts investigating. To the big relief of Cookie, as she needs her paycheck, and Charley is broke. While investigating, Charley also finds out that Reyes is still around, fighting illegal underground fights, and still keeping her safe from demons, and getting hurt badly while doing that. He is still angry with her from trapping him in his body, but he will always protect her from the other demons that want to use her as a portal to invade earth.

Charley’s favourite biker club is also up to no good, but they have no choice, and are very glad that Charley caught them in the act. Now they will have to leave town, and Charley will surely miss them, and they her. Charley finally gets to meet Rocket’s ghostly sister.

The care Charley is working on is sure more complicated than she could have foreseen, and of course I jumped to the wrong conclusion as well. It does have a lot of similarities to her own personal situation, and that makes her look at her own past a little differently, but she still won’t forgive her father and stepmother for what they have done to her.

And finally, finally, real sex with Reyes instead of only in her dreams. The demon had warned her against that, and I admit it sounded really believable, but did not happen. Finally some happy times for Charley.

The ending was action filled as well, when all the cases came together.


I really enjoyed the story, the sarcasm, the action and the plot. I love Darynda Jones’ sense of humor and her writing style a lot. Yes, it is a bit over the top at times, but why not? I really like Cookie as a secondary character, and she sticks to Charlie’s side, no matter what. I love her research skills, and how she keeps Charley on track.
I do hope the motor club can come back home, as I always enjoy those scenes.

Looking forward to book 5 already.

8 stars.



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© 2014 Reviews by Aurian

donderdag 26 juni 2014

Jenn KcKinlay – Cloche and Dagger

The first book in the Hat Shop Mystery series, published August 6, 2013.
Genre: cozy mystery
Cover: beautiful

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Not only is Scarlett Parker's love life in the loo—as her British cousin Vivian Tremont would say—it's also gone viral with an embarrassing video. So when Viv suggests Scarlett leave Florida to lay low in London, she hops on the next plane across the pond. Viv is the proprietor of Mims's Whims, a ladies' hat shop on Portobello Road bequeathed to both cousins by their beloved grandmother, and she wants Scarlett to finally join her in the millinery business.
But a few surprises await Scarlett in London. First, she is met at the airport not by Viv, but by her handsome business manager, Harrison Wentworth. Second, Viv—who has some whims of her own—seems to be missing. No one is too concerned about the unpredictable Viv until one of her posh clients is found dead wearing the cloche hat Viv made for her—and nothing else. Is Scarlett's cousin in trouble? Or is she in hiding?


When Scarlett’s life is turned upside down, when she discovered that her boyfriend was not seperated from his wife at all, but celebrating their anniversary with a very lavish party. Scarlett became an instead hit on the internet when someone filmed how she attacked the man by throwing the expensive cake at him. Her cousin Vivian demands that Scarlett comes to London, and work with her in the millinery they both inherited from their grandmother, Mim. Viv is a genius when it comes to creating hats, but Scarlett is an absolute disaster when it comes to crafty things. But, she is an amazing sales woman, and that is also needed in the shop.

When Scarlett arrives in London, she is not awaited by her cousin, but by a strange man, who tells her he was asked by Viv to pick her up. Scarlett doesn’t really trust the man, because why wouldn’t her cousin be there? If she has disappeared, how come no one knows where to? And so Scarlett is left on her own to run the shop, and help the customers. Lucky for her, Viv has a gifted apprentice who knows the ropes and together they manage just fine.

Scarlett also makes some new friends when she goes out into the rain one evening to get some dinner. The shop down the street is turned into a photography studio, and she promised an important client to do a photoshoot with her in the new hat she just bought. Nick and Andre are a great couple, and they quickly become good friends.

The man who fetched Scarlett at the airport is not a stranger after all, they knew each other as kids, and Scarlett once broke his heart. He has never quite forgiven her for that. Now he is Viv’s bookkeeper, and he usually knows where she has gone off to, as Viv has a habit of disappearing at the drop of a hat. But this time Harrison is clueless and finally he begins to worry as well when Viv does not contact him. She has only send two emails to her mother, telling that she is fine.

The police can only tell them that she has taken flight to Africa, and nothing else. But then trouble starts, when the important client is found murdered, wearing only her new hat and nothing else. The shop is broken into, Scarlett is almost killed in her bed, and no one can make any sense as to what is happening and why. And so Scarlett is determined to find out who wanted her client dead, and she starts looking at the victim’s closest friends first. But how can she get those important society ladies to talk to her?


I enjoyed this first book by Amanda Cooper, I especially loved the quaint English sayings. I liked all the main characters from the start, and was so curious as what has happened with Viv, where did she go to? And the murder mystery, that was a good one, I did not figure it out in time. There is some romantic tension between Scarlett and Harrison, that was fun to follow. The police inspector on the case was a character as well, with apparently a great singing voice.

This story is entertaining, well written and I will certainly pick up the next book soon. I am almost tempted to buy a hat myself ...

8 stars.



A blogger made me buy it

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© 2014 Reviews by Aurian

woensdag 25 juni 2014

Recommendations from Karin for June 2014.

In order to bring some more variety to my blog, I have asked some of my bookish friends to tell about the books they have in the past month, and to give us a recommendation. Today’s post is made by Karin from Austria.

Karin:

I have read 16 books this month and I wasn’t really that lucky. Most of the books I just skimmed and decided I wouldn’t buy any more books by the same authors. But there were some outstanding books as well.

Nalini Singh: Shield of Winter

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Tonya Burrows: Honor Reclaimed

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Alexandra Ivy: Hunt the Darkness

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Of course my number one book this month was “Shield of Winter”.

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Assassin. Soldier. Arrow. That is who Vasic is, who he will always be. His soul drenched in blood, his conscience heavy with the weight of all he's done, he exists in the shadows, far from the hope his people can almost touch - if only they do not first drown in the murderous insanity of a lethal contagion. To stop the wave of death, Vasic must complete the simplest and most difficult mission of his life.
For if the Psy race is to survive, the empaths must wake...
Having rebuilt her life after medical 'treatment' that violated her mind and sought to stifle her abilities, Ivy should have run from the black-clad Arrow with eyes of winter frost. But Ivy Jane has never done what she should. Now, she'll fight for her people, and for this Arrow who stands as her living shield, yet believes he is beyond redemption.
But as the world turns to screaming crimson, even Ivy's fierce will may not be enough to save Vasic from the cold darkness...


I have a hard time understanding how Nalini Singh does it but even with this 13th installment in her Psy/Changeling series she managed to convince me that the development of our hero Vasic - who had seemed to be heading towards a cold and harsh death – was not only logical but that there could be no other way for the couple to end happily ever after.

I have to admit to a strong weakness for the Arrows ever since I read Judd’s and Brenna’s book “Caressed by Ice” (which remains one of my favourite books in this whole series to this day!).

That being said I don’t want to spoil anything further for you but I want to talk about how fascinated I am by this series. It is not very often that an author catches my attention and keeps it throughout a series that long. I guess I simply like her writing style.

I did not really like all the books in the series – in fact I only “liked” Visions of Heat. That means I read it and thought, “Okay. I read this book. Now I know more. Did I really want to know more? Well, I sort of did. That’s it, then.”

I also did not really like “Blaze of Memory”, I just skimmed through the whole thing; the hero simply had not caught my attention and I was not fond of the heroine.

But as for all the other books I had a hard time waiting for the next installment. Even when Nalini Singh decided to write about a couple who did not have the mating bond that is so essential for the changelings I bought the whole thing hook, line and sinker. Many readers were not so happy about the ending of “Tangle of Need” but I regard it as a hopeful beginning. (By the way: can you imagine a mature adult reading a book of paranormal romance who hopes that the couple will have the mating bond one day – I mean: really? But yes, that would be me then.)

I think it’s a little strange for me to keep on reading a series even when some of the books are not really that captivating. That doesn’t mean I give up easily, I don’t decide to stop reading just because I didn’t like one of the books. But there are some series out there that held me captive until the books deteriorated further to a point where I thought it was no longer worth the money. That happened for example with a writer who insisted on inventing a language, providing readers with chants and songs and even kind of a dictionary that took up a large part of the books. Also this series took turns I was no longer interested in and so I stopped reading.

I really hope that Nalini Singh will keep writing the Psy/Changeling books until she is 95 – as she is fond of saying. I have a feeling that as long as she publishes (also her second series – the “Guild Hunter”) she will have at least one faithful fan – but I have a strong feeling that I’m not alone. There is more out there, don’t you agree?


Aurian: Thanks for the recommendation Karin! I have to admit I haven’t read the book yet, but I sure will read it soon. I love Nalini Singh’s paranormal worlds, and I also don’t think I will ever get enough of them. And I am so curious about her contemporary new project she was hinting at in Berlin.




© 2014 Reviews by Aurian

maandag 23 juni 2014

Jayne Castle – The Desperate Game

The first book in the Guinevere Jones series, published June 1986.
Genre: contemporary romance / romantic suspense
Cover: nice

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It's hard to keep a small business afloat—just ask Guinevere Jones, owner of a struggling temp agency. And security consultant Zac Justis isn't making her life any easier. After he blackmails Gwen into helping him solve a computer crime, she finds herself caught in a web of suspense, danger, and love.


I am very glad that this 4-book series has been re-published recently in two new duologies. I’ve never come across the original books in print, so I bought the new ones for myself as well when I bought them for Maia as a birthday present. We are both die hard fans of everything Jayne Ann Krentz / Jayne Castle / Amanda Quick writes.

This book was written when computers just arrived in the world, so people who knew nothing about them, were more common than now. No internet yet either.

Guinevere Jones owns and runs a temp agency, and she is more than capable of doing every job on the books herself as well, when necessary. While working in a bar one evening, a creepy frog like man in the corner keeps pestering her, and he won’t leave off. He insists on meeting up with her after work hours, and Gwen is not happy with that. But he knows more about her than she likes, and when he knows she has embezzled some money from a previous employer, she has no choice but to hear him out.
Zac is a private investigator, and he has been hired by an old friend to find out some shady dealings at his friend’s firm. The same firm Gwen embezzled from. And now he is blackmailing her to help him figure out the bigger thief at the company, in exchange of not turning her in to the police. It has to be one of the people in the programming department, and Gwen knows then and knows her way around computers. Gwen had her own reasons to steal 10.000 dollars and does not want to explain herself to him. She also has no choice, so she agrees to go back to work at StarrTech, and try to find out who is behind this big theft scheme.

Other than one of the programmers missing, she can’t seem to find out anything, and she really needs to go back to work on her own firm. Luckily her sister is willing and able to help her out, manning the phone and doing the necessary paperwork, something Gwen did not really expect. Zac is also a bit frustrated with the lack of progress on the case, especially as Gwen keeps insisting on getting high class meals out of this deal. His firm is only just starting, so there is not much money for the expense account yet.

When Gwen wants to stop by the house of the missing programmer, the first clues are found that something is not right here, and perhaps it is all tied in to their investigation. The missing man and his friend/collegue were working on a major computer game, and they did not intend to share it with StarrTech, they were planning to quit their jobs, launch the game and get rich. And now the game has been altered ...


I really enjoyed this. I loved Gwen, she is sassy and capable, and is not really an embezzler, she felt titled to this money because of what happened to her sister. She is a strong woman, with her own business and she is doing well. She has no time for a relationship, nor is she looking for one.
I was also happy that the hero is not a dashing handsome man, but an ordinary looking one, Gwen keeps comparing him to a frog due to their first encounter. And kissing this frog, well, he did not turn into a prince. Zac is falling for Gwen, but he is not a people person, he is gruff and tactless. Gwen on the other hand is a real people person, she gets along with everyone, so he really needs her help for that part of the investigation as well.

I liked how Gwen is getting more and more fun in the investigation, sneaking around with or without Zac, and finding clues.


It is important to me that a book grabs my attention on the first page, preferably the first sentence, and this one sure does. “He was the ugliest man in the bar, and he had his eye on her”. Of course you want to know more.

I liked the characters, the plot that the clues to solving the crime are hidden in a computer game, and the story around it all. I did figure out the culprit early though, but it is still a good book, even though it is this old. I can recommend it.

8 stars.



Autobuy author

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© 2014 Reviews by Aurian

vrijdag 20 juni 2014

New additions to my addiction

Stapel boeken

My 10th new additions post for 2014. Some books have been read and reviewed already, and others are destined to gather dust for a while.

From Bookdepository:
I totally blame Amberkatze for writing reviews that just made me buy all those books in one go. Of course they had been on my wishlist for years, and with book prices getting cheaper again, I could not resist anymore:
Jenn McKinlay – Buttercream Bump Off
Jenn McKinlay – Book, line and sinker
Jenn McKinlay – Books can be deceiving
Jenn McKinlay – Cloche and Dagger
Jenn McKinlay – Death by the Dozen
Jenn McKinlay – Death of a Mad Hatter
Jenn McKinlay – Due or Die
Jenn McKinlay – Going, going, Ganache.
Jenn McKinlay – Read it and Weep
Jenn McKinlay – Red Velvet Revenge
Jenn McKinlay – Sprinkle with Murder
Jenn McKinlay – Sugar and Iced
Amanda Cooper – Tempest in a Teapot
Anthology – Imaginary Friends. One of Sullivan’s favourite books, and it has an Anne Bishop story, so of course I had to buy it.
Nancy Warren – Game On
Nancy Warren – Final Score
Nancy Warren – Breakaway
Kelly Hunter – What the bride didn’t know
Fiona Harper – The rebound guy
Heather Graham – Night Moves

No secondhand books, or books won this time.



© 2014 Reviews by Aurian

woensdag 18 juni 2014

Jocelynn Drake – Bound to me

The prequel to the Dark Days series, published May 1, 2012.
Genre: urban fantasy
Cover: gothic

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Mira, the heroine of Jocelynn Drake's New York Times bestselling Dark Days series, has been a nightwalker for centuries, travelling the globe as an enforcer for a secretive, powerful organization. In Bound to Me, for the first time, we travel back into Mira's distant past to see the great love affair that shaped her.


This was only a very thin book, a prequel to the series, and I think one of those prequels you should read when you have read one or a few of the full length books and now and like the main characters already. For me to start with this one; was just not good. I had a hard time getting into the story, and understand what was happening. It started out with Mira and her boyfriend Valerio getting some innocent young people into trouble in London. Before they can finish their evening of mischief, they are called back to Venice, where the vampire headquarters are located. Valerio can fly that distance with Mira safely wrapped in his arms. They are then given a very dangerous mission, and apparently, it was devised to find out Mira’s loyalties, with no regards to other vampires lives at all. Or to Mira herself.

So with this booklet, I find myself in no hurry at all to start the series. But I did buy both Jocelynn Drake’s series, so I will just start with the other one, and if I like her writing style well enough, I will read the Dark Days series eventually.

Tell me, have you read this series, and have you read this prequel? Did you read it first, or after a few books? Should I persevere and start this series?

5 stars.



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© 2014 Reviews by Aurian

dinsdag 17 juni 2014

Nancy Warren – Kiss a girl in the rain

The first book in the Take a Chance series, published March 8, 2014.
Genre: contemporary romance
Cover: sweet

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Evan's Amazing Life List:
1.Ride a motorcycle across America
2.Kiss a girl in the rain
3.Swim in every ocean...

When Evan Chance gives up a successful corporate law career to tackle the bucket list he wrote when he was twelve, he has no idea where the road will lead him.
Caitlyn Sorenson is a happily settled small town doctor. When a sexy drifter rolls into town after a motorcycle accident leaves him stranded in Miller's Pond for a few days with the homeliest dog ever, she can smell trouble even as she's drawn to a man who is only passing through town.
But some scorching hot nights and a blooming tenderness mean two people will have to face up to the challenges of love.

From USA Today Bestselling Author Nancy Warren comes the first in an exciting new series of sexy, humorous romances about a family named Chance.


This is one of the books I was gifted by the author in Berlin, and the blurb really captured my attention, so I just had to read it soon. It is a really entertaining story, with very likable characters, and an ugly dog.

Evan Chance is a very successful corporate lawyer, but sometimes he really hates his clients. Still, he gets paid handsomely to use the loopholes in the law. So why does he feel so dissatisfied with his life? He does have a gorgeous fiancĂ©e, who is also a collegue. They have big plans to change the company when they will be able to take it over. But then Evan’s mentor and surrogate father dies unexpectedly, and he really has to decide what he wants out of his life. His mother recently sent him a bucket list he made when he was twelve years young, and he is appalled that he has accomplished so little of the items that were so important to him as a little boy.
When his fiancée does not show any feeling at all at the funeral, and is ready to take over the office that same day, Evan has had enough. He is not willing to sacrifice everything and especially himself to his career, and he realizes he never really did love Tessa. She was just convenient, and she seemed to share his dreams. But now his dreams have changed, and Tessa has dumped him like a hot potato.

And so Evan sets out on a road trip across America on his old motor cycle. To see the Grand Canyon; to swim with dolphins in the ocean. But he is just a few days on the road when he accidentally hits a dog with his motorcycle, and the motorcycle needs to be repaired. The vet he takes the dog to is actually a people doctor, but she does treat the dog and Evan is stuck with him. He has to stay in the little town for a few days until his motor cycle has been repaired, and he will use that time to find the dog’s owner, and to get to know the lovely doctor better...

Caitlyn Sorenson is drawn to the handsome drifter and when he asks her out to dinner, to her own surprise, she agrees. Evan is too well dressed to be a real bum, and like her, he has been living in New York. Still, she enjoys her new life in the small town where her grandfather had his practice. Especially now she does not try to live up to her mother’s impossible expectations anymore. But a harmless fling with a man who will be gone forever in a few days, why not?

And so Caitlyn and Evan and the dog spend some time together, and they do become closer than they wanted to. The local chief of police sure regrets his joke of sending Evan with the wounded dog to Caitlyn’s door now, and all the other local’s try their best to get Evan to stay in town, offering him housing and jobs and whatever else he can possibly want. But Evan is determined to fulfill his childhood dreams now that he has come so far. Will Caitlyn just wait for him?


I really enjoyed this book from the start, with Evan’s quirky hippie family and his many siblings. The choice he made was the right one in my opinion, he was no longer happy in his job and high life in New York. It was fun to discover how it is to take it one day at a time, not to plan anything and just see where you end up. Of course, having lots of money and a loving family to fall back on makes it very easy to just pack up what you need and take off.
I also liked Caitlyn a lot, she has tried so long to satisfy her parents, who just never were satisfied with their children. She finally had enough, she burned out as a surgeon, and now lives a quieter life as a village doctor. The local head of police is very interested in her, but she is not interested in him. The handsome stranger at her door rouses her interest though.

I really liked how they both went into this little affair with their eyes wide open, and how they fell in love when neither of them is ready for it. The dog sure adds a nice accent to the story as well and I felt really sorry for him when Evan took off again, and he was left behind.

All in all, a very nice contemporary romance, without misunderstandings or scenes, that just made me smile. I will certainly read more books by Nancy Warren.

8 stars.



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© 2014 Reviews by Aurian

maandag 16 juni 2014

Christine Feehan – Air Bound

The third book in the Sea Haven / Sisters Of The Heart series, published May 27, 2014.
Genre: paranormal romance
Cover: nice, but the stepcover is hot!

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The sisters of Sea Haven, bound by the heart and the magical power of the elements, return in this soul-stirring new novel from Christine Feehan, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Spirit Bound...

For as far back as she can remember, Airiana Ridell has always been aware of her extraordinary gift. She can intuit revealing and illuminating “patterns" in the air around her—whether in a spray of mist, in billowing clouds, or in the dense swirls of an impenetrable fog. Her abilities led to her placement in a secret government training facility when she was a child, but everything changed after her mother was murdered.
Airiana fled the program, but she couldn't outrun the desperate members of a shadowy cabal who want her, who need her, who will kill to get her. Kidnapped and held aboard a ship bound for dangerous seas, her only chance for rescue is Maxim Prakenskii. He has his reasons for helping her, but he isn't about to reveal them to Airiana. Not yet. Not as the two are drawn together as moth to flame. Not when there are so many secrets yet untold that could shatter the quaint community of Sea Haven and all who reside there…


One morning when Airiana wakes up because of her own nightmares, she just knows that danger is coming to Sea Haven. Soon. Her friends and Sisters of the Heart living on the farm with her, want to protect her and be there for her, especially as someone from her past suddenly contacts her again. As a child she did some ultra secret work for the government, but when her mother was murdered, she stopped. She just could not do it anymore. How could they believe her mother was selling secrets abroad?

But now evil has come to Sea Haven to find her, to kidnap her. But one of her kidnappers insists he is not working for them, but for her father. Airiana doesn’t even know who her father is, so why should she believe him? But he has the same powers she has, only he knows how to use them for battle better than she imagined possible. She has no chance against him. Or against the desire growing between them.
Is Maxim really her only chance at safety, at ever seeing Sea Haven again? Or will she just bring the danger back to her sisters?

Maxim is a Prakenskii, and like his brothers, he was raised by the Russian Government as a spy, an assassin, a weapon. Maxim thinks he has done too much evil to deserve a life of his own. To keep his brothers safe, he is willing to be killed himself. But now he has met Airiana, will he take a chance at life after all?

Together they saved some Italian children from powerful predators, and those children deserve a new home as well. Both Maxim and Airiana feel protective of them, and Airiana is willing to open her house and her heart for them. But can Maxim do the same? If he wants to keep them safe, he will have to join them, as the evil ones will not let go of Airiana easily. Three of his brothers are in Safe Heaven already, can he risk exposing them to their mutual enemies? They have found a new life for themselves, dare he hope for the same?


An action packed and emotion filled book. I do love this series, but Christine Feehan’s heroes certainly are very overbearing and take charge kind of guys. If the heroine will give him a finger, he will take over her life completely. Luckily, Airiana is not so easily intimidated, and she will tell Maxim her thoughts and feelings.

If you can’t deal with child abuse and female slavery, you really should not read this book, even if it is off page. But this is used to have the main couple act as heroes, and saving others. One of the bad guys is popping up throughout the series, and the Prakenskii guys really have to take him down, sooner rather than later.

I liked Airiana a lot, she does not give up, she keeps fighting, and she keeps fighting along Maxim when possible. He does not like it, and he is very hard for her, like making her swim when she can’t swim and is terrified of water, but it is necessary to survive. Maxim is a hard man, he does not give in easily, but he has never met a woman like Airiana, a woman who makes him actually feel things, and who distracts him so easily. A danger he cannot have in his line of work.

It is fast paced, with hardly any time for the main characters to catch their breath. In the end, the whole family fights together, and I did love that very much. I look forward to the next book already.

9 stars.



Autobuy author

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© 2014 Reviews by Aurian

zondag 15 juni 2014

Recommendations from Peggy for June 2014.

In order to bring some more variety to my blog, I have asked some of my bookish friends to tell about the books they have in the past month, and to give us a recommendation. Today’s post is made by Peggy from Belgium.

Peggy:

I have read 2 books in the past month, and those 2 books are:

1. Fifth grave past the light – Darynda Jones

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2. One summer – Karen Robards

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First, I would like to thank Aurian for the lovely bag (with little presents in) that I got from her in Berlin. A ‘thank you’ for writing these reviews for her blog. I found it really sweet of her and I loved it very much. It’s the first time that I write reviews (so I’m still a newbie of writing them) and I was very touched by her sweet ‘thank you’.

As you can see, I have only read 2 books this month. I have done a lot of travelling this past month and if there is one situation where I don’t read much, it’s when I travel. Strange but true. Sometimes, I don’t read one book! So as you can imagine I’m really happy I’m back home, so I can read again.

I have decided to do no book review this month. I really love the two books that I read but I want to talk about something else … I want to talk about anthologies.
I know that some people don’t like to read them (because they’re too short or something like that) but I love to read them from time to time. They’re a good way to get to know a new writer, I think. And I especially like it that even when you don’t have much time to read, you still can read a ‘full’ story (although a short one).

Sometimes I just want to read a story that I can finish in one day and an anthology story is perfect for that.

Most anthologies have a theme. And there are times that I want to read about a special theme, like with Valentine or Christmas or Summer stories. Sometimes I want to read about bad boys (one of my favorites!) or about vampires, alpha’s, Scottish highlanders or I just want to read some historical stories.

After talking with a few writers at the Love Letter Convention I know that some of them find it very difficult to write a ‘short’ story and some writers love to write them. And that’s also my experience when I read anthologies. Some stories in anthologies are very good and some are very bad. Because although the story is short, you still want a story where they meet, they fall in love, then ‘something’ happens and at the end they live happily together. With other words, we want a good story but in a ‘light’ version.

Some of my favorite writers of anthology stories are Julia Quinn, Lori Forster, Nalini Singh, Shannon McKenna, Lora Leigh, Mary Balogh, Jo Beverley, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Erin McCarthy, Stephanie Laurens and Lisa Kleypas.

So I wonder, do you love reading anthologies and who are your favorite writers or which anthology is your favorite? Please let me know, I’m always looking for ‘new’ anthologies to discover and read.

Aurian: Thanks for this post Peggy! I absolutely agree on some of your favorite authors, and I do love to read anthologies on occasion, but writing a review of one is not so easy. I do like anthologies that contain stories in series I love, and that really add a little gem of knowledge to the characters I care for. I am going to read Kicking It soon.



© 2014 Reviews by Aurian

zaterdag 14 juni 2014

Rachel Caine – Kiss of Death

The eighth book in the Morganville Vampires series, published April 27, 2010.
Genre: YA urban fantasy
Cover: nice, my book has the small cover, I prefer that one.

Kiss of Death photo n339393_zps14d3e194.jpgKiss of Death small photo 0451229738_zpsbfa467a2.jpg

Leaving Morganville, Texas, has never been easy. Living outside of it may be impossible.
Vampire Michael Glass just received the call he’s been waiting for all his life. His music has attracted the attention of a heavily connected music producer who wants him to cut a demo and play some dates – which means Michael will have to enter the human world.
But he won’t be alone. He’s been assigned an undead escort, which includes immortal enforcer Oliver, as well as Michael’s human friends: rebellious Eve, oft-misunderstood Claire, and courageous Shane. And with that mix of personalities, this is going to be a road trip from hell.
But what waits for them proves more perilous than they thought. Caught between humans who hate them and a savage party of travelling vampires out to create a blood-soaked feast for themselves, Michael and his friends may not make it to the show on time ... or ever.


Things are settling down in Morganville after the battle against Bishop. Claire is going to university, visiting her parents, and working with Myrnin on making a computer program do what Ada did before. But it is just not possible, concerning the safety of the town, and preventing people and vampires from leaving.
Because yes, there are vampires who want to leave Morganville desperately. Like Morley and his crew, who are threatening Claire and her friends if she does not get them permission to leave town soon. They will become their food.

Eve wants to have a relationship with her brother Jason, and has invited him over to the house for dinner. Something none of her roommates are happy about. Jason is a psycho, he almost killed Shane, left Claire mortally wounded behind, and has betrayed them all to Bishop. He wants nothing more than to become a vampire himself. And not a good one like Michael is. But well, he is her brother and her last living relative, so perhaps it is understandable, but can he really change for the better?

And then Michael gets invited for a recording session in Dallas. Of course Amelie will never allow him to leave Morganville to do that, will she? To their astonishment, they are all allowed to leave Morganville for a while, but with an escort. Oliver. Oliver is not happy with the assignment either, but he will have to put up with them and their antics, as Eve is driving her beloved car, which has enough room in the trunk for all their stuff and to hide a vampire from the sun if necessary.

But the road trip is not going according to plan, when they run into some bullies in a small town, who get them into trouble with the local police, and later trash the car. Eve is devastated, but when the lady who owns their little motel introduces them to her family member who runs the local garage and second hand car shop, she is over the moon when she can buy a real hearse.

Still, trouble is not over yet. They are not the only ones who have escaped Morganville, Morley and his vampires have arrived by bus, and are taking the girls and Shane hostage. And their is nothing that Olivier and Michael can do about that, just yet. But when the next village is seemingly deserted, trouble becomes horror. There are vampires already in that village, a legacy of dear old Bishop, and they will have to fight alongside the few remaining civilians, and kill them all, or cure them from the disease ... Enemies to friends, and friends to enemies? Especially as Jason also turns up again.


Surprise after surprise in this 8th book in the series. It just keeps getting better. I really enjoy how mature Claire is getting, and how her relationship with Shane evolves and grows. Eve and Michael are running into more and more problems, but I think that is mostly Eve’s own fault, being insecure about Michael’s feelings and him being a vampire.

I enjoyed this book very much, there is lots of danger and suspense about what would happen next, and Claire is quite a sharpshooter with a crossbow! I liked that! And the local fortress of defense against the vampire is the library! With the elderly female librarian as acting mayor, how cool is that! When the pressure is there, and there is danger to her friends, Clare really steps up to the plate and handles it. I like that.

I look forward to reading the next book soon.

8 stars.



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© 2014 Reviews by Aurian

vrijdag 13 juni 2014

Carolyn Brown – The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off

The second book in the Blue Ribbon Jalapeno Society series, published April 1, 2014.
Genre: contemporary romance / chicklit / women’s fiction
Cover: fun

The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off photo w347012_zps6e6d914a.jpg

Carlene Lovelle, co-owner of Bless my Bloomers lingerie shop, found a pair of fancy red-silk panties in her husband’s briefcase, and all hell is breaking loose. She custom-made those fancy bloomers herself – and she remembers the bimbo who bought them. If her husband had a lick of sense, he’d know there are no secrets in a town like Cadillac.
Carlene’s cohorts – and their mamas – plan to exact revenge on Lenny Joe where it’ll hurt the most: break his ten-year winning streak at the prestigious Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off. Never before has a woman dared to compete. But the ladies of Bless my Bloomers are cooking up a storm ... and it seems the whole town is taking sides in the showdown.
Welcome to Cadillac, Texas, where the chili is hot, the gossip is hotter, and friends stick by each other, no matter what the challenge.


If this book had a murder mystery thrown in, it would be the perfect cozy mystery. I loved the characters, the southern setting, the humor and the story so much. So now I can only describe this as a fun chicklit book. Of course it is not fun to find out your husband is cheating on you, but everything that happened next was fun to read about.
Carlene immediately confronts her husband, who is a new car salesman, and makes a huge scene there, when she finds out that the woman who bought those red silk panties, works there, and they were having an affair for 5 months now. Of course her sleaze ball of a husband denies everything, but Bridget has already spilled the beans to Carlene.
When he keeps trying to placate her, and stop her from making a scene in front of his customers and his girlfriend, she hits him but good, and then marches on the hood of a pretty red Corvette, making nice little dents with her stiletto heels.

Carlene owns a fancy lingery shop with her two cousins, Alma Grace (who is very religious and prays about everything) and Patrice (who is a free spirit). They employ 78 year old Josie Vargas as a seamstress. Carlene is the designer, Alma Grace is excellent at selling things, and Patrice is the bookkeeper.

Their mothers are sisters and best of friends as well, and when they all find out through the gossip vines what has happened, they stand behind Carlene 100%. They want to hurt Lenny badly for hurting their girl so much. Only Alma Grace and her mother Sugar really want Carlene to forgive Lenny and go into counselling if necessary. Because a divorce is just not done! But Carlene is still furious at Lenny and has no intention at all at going back to him; she will live in the apartment above the shop for now.

And when they decide to hurt Lenny where it hurts the most, his pride, they decide to join in the Chili cook-off and dethrone him with their grandfather’s famous but lost recipe. While the girls run their shop (which has never been busier as everyone wants to know the truth and be the first one to know what happens next), the mothers start cooking the chili. And as none of them has ever cooked before (they are all rich enough to have cooks or housekeepers), this sure is not easy on them.

Lenny’s mother doesn’t want to believe anything bad about her precious boy, and even moves in with him to take care of him now his wife has left him. There sure is no love lost between Carlene and Kitty, that is for sure. And when Lenny realizes that without a wife, he is free to sleep around as much as he likes, he certainly has prospects enough. Because he is good in bed, and the female population knows it.

Then half the town gets ill with a very nasty flu, or is it chili-food poisoning?


I really enjoyed reading this book. I have a weakness for all things southern, the language, the feeling of family. There is plenty of romance in the book as well, another man has been hiding a crush on Carlene for a long time, Patrice is finally sure that she has found “the one” and even Alma Grace starts dating and moves out of her parents’ home.
I loved all the characters, the secondary characters, and the support the first ladies team got from all the other wives and mothers of the men competing year after year. That was so much fun!

Even though it is the second book in the series, you can read this perfectly as a stand alone. There are some characters feuding in this book, and perhaps that was explained in the first one, and I am sure most characters appear in both books, but I did not miss anything.
I really enjoyed this book and again I stayed up way too late to finish it.

I am glad that Carlene does not rush into another relationship, she takes her time to grieve over her lost marriage, and to get back on her feet. Perhaps that is why this is labelled women’s fiction and not romance.

9 stars.



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© 2014 Reviews by Aurian

donderdag 12 juni 2014

Laurell K. Hamilton – A shiver of light

The ninth book in the Merry Gentry series, published June 3, 2014.
Genre: urban fantasy
Cover: meh

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I am Princess Meredith NicEssus. Legal name Meredith Gentry, because “Princess” looks so pretentious on a driver’s license. I was the first faerie princess born on American soil, but I wouldn’t be the only one for much longer...

Merry Gentry, ex–private detective, now full-time princess, knew she was descended from fertility goddesses, but when she learned she was about to have triplets, she began to understand what that might mean. Infertility has plagued the high ranks of faerie for centuries. Now nobles of both courts of faerie are coming to court Merry and her men, at their home in exile in the Western Lands of Los Angeles, because they will do anything to have babies of their own.
Taranis, King of Light and Illusion, is a more dangerous problem. He tried to seduce Merry and, failing that, raped her. He’s using the human courts to sue for visitation rights, claiming that one of the babies is his. And though Merry knows she was already pregnant when he took her, she can’t prove it.
To save herself and her babies from Taranis she will use the most dangerous powers in all of faerie: a god of death, a warrior known as the Darkness, the Killing Frost, and a king of nightmares. They are her lovers, and her dearest loves, and they will face down the might of the high courts of faerie—while trying to keep the war from spreading to innocent humans in Los Angeles, who are in danger of becoming collateral damage.


I have been waiting almost 5 years for this book, but in those years, I have re-read the other books in the series many times, without ever getting bored by them, or skipping parts. And this book was certainly worth the wait.

The first pages sure confused me a lot; suddenly Merry was going to have triplets instead of twins? I thought the Goddess told her through Doyle about her children and who the fathers are. (Yes, multiple fathers per child, Merry has a lot of fertility deities in her family tree).
But the babies are born quickly, and they have to find out which child belongs to which father. I loved how they all took to the babies.
Merry’s crazy uncle Taranis, the King of the Seelie Court, does not want to give up on his delusion that he is the father though, and that Merry is held captive by her men. He keeps coming after Merry in her dreams now, as his powers are returning as well. They also have to be careful of aunt Andais, the Queen of the Unseelie Court, who seems to be over the worst of her grief for losing her son Cel. She seems saner, but she cannot be trusted around the children just yet. She just doesn’t understand that Merry doesn’t need to rule out of fear, that she rules out of love and freedom, but that she can also be ruthless when necessary.

Everything is going well for Merry for the most part, more couples are forming between the Fae who have abandoned the courts and have come to Los Angeles and Merry’s new piece of faery. Still, not everyone is to be trusted to guard Merry and contribute to their community.


A big part of the book is about feelings I am sad to tell you. Feelings from Merry and her men for the babies, and for each other, and how to deal with it all, and with the powers the babies are already displaying. I would have liked some more action, a solution to the Taranis problem. Especially when one of my favourite characters is killed.
I did like the book a lot, and I read it way past my bedtime, as I had to know what would happen next, but I just wanted more. More action, less talk. Even the sex-scenes weren’t as good as before, when the magic would happen. And of course, with so many characters in a series, there are some books where those characters have no page time, or only a tiny little bit. I miss the goblins, Kurag and the twins Holly and Ash, and I would have liked their reaction to the new babies and what this means for the treaty.

Rhys has been to his new sithen (an apartment building that just magically appeared) but we only read about that after the fact, and that he has been fighting some gangs. I would have loved to see that on the page. And what happened when Aisling entered the Seelie court sithen.

I love this series, but I know it is not for everyone, but I will eagerly wait another 5 years for the next book, but I sure hope it will be sooner than that.

9 stars.



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© 2014 Reviews by Aurian