woensdag 30 april 2014

Sherrilyn Kenyon – Born of Silence

The fifth book in the League series, published May 1, 2012.
Genre: light sci-fi romance
Cover: Cool

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In a universe where corruption and deception rule the day, sparks of rebellion ignite.

Who to trust…
For one man’s greed, Zarya’s entire family was murdered. As a Resistance leader, she must topple the government that forced her to grow up alone on the back streets of hell. Zarya’s right hand is a mysterious man with a dark secret. His name is Darling Cruel, and he is heir to the government Zarya wants to overthrow. Like Zarya, he wants his uncle – who murdered his father and stole his crown – to pay for his crimes.

When the hero becomes the monster?
Zarya is the only person Darling has ever trusted. Yet when she allows a weapon he designed for her to be used against his beloved sister, all bets are off. Now Darling wants not only to reign, but to kill every Resistance member. Zarya is the only one capable of stopping him. But can she reach past his insanity to restore the hero who once fought by her side?

There is no one who can write tortured heroes like Sherrilyn Kenyon and what she did to Darling really made me sick. It stopped reading for over a week at a certain moment. In comparison Zarya looked like a spoiled brat complaining about imagined slights and threatening Darling with some things, knowing full well what has happened to him. I really, really disliked her at those moments.
Darling has suffered at the hands of his uncle for decades, especially after he saved his mother’s life by claiming her lover was his own. Being gay is not something tolerated in this world, and that is the second thing that really kept throwing me. How could a whole civilization condemn Darling for that, make cruel jokes and hate him blindly.
Lucky for Darling, he has one very close friend who is really gay, who stands by him. As do his friends at the Sentella, who come to his rescue when the Resistance has kidnapped him, and have been torturing him for months. Months Zarya has been searching for her lost lover, not once guessing he is her own prisoner.

After so many years of brutal torment, being betrayed by Zarya was the last straw for Darling. Something broke inside him. He has killed his uncle with his bare hands, killed all the guards who have abused and tortured him since he was a child at his uncles command, and gone after the doctors and nurses in the mental institutions his uncle put him in to be abused some more. He has hot wired himself, his palace and his city with bombs, so no one will dare to kill him for fear those bombs will go off. And Darling, or his alter ego Kere of the Sentella, is brilliant when it comes to weapons and explosives.
His friend Maris is despairing, and finally sets out to find Zarya, as she will be the only one who can bring back Darling’s sanity…

I really felt for Darling, I have never read anything worse than what has happened to him. I really had trouble continuing this book, but Sherrilyn Kenyon is a really compelling story teller. In the end I had to know what would happen next.
Darling is a very honorable character, always protecting his family even though they despise him, and wanting the best for his people, who also hate him. His uncle sure did a great job blackening his name. But he was still a child! So how could they all believe that about him?

I did enjoy meeting all the previous main characters in this series, when they came to Darling’s aid a few times. Zarya did really love Darling, and when she finally realized Darling and Kere are the same person, she was horrified by her own actions and of those under her command. I liked the parts where Darling took charge of his empire and really ruled, outwitting his enemies.

I really am not sure if I will read more books by Sherrilyn Kenyon though. She goes too far with the torture and abuse, while her heroines remain unscathed for the most part. The worldbuilding is also kind of simple and with unexplained technology, travelling from planet to station to planet in a matter of hours or less. The only part that is sci-fi is mentioning the different races, planets and interstellar politics, but nothing is really elaborated on. Yes I am a bit disappointed.

7 stars.

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© 2014 Reviews by Aurian

dinsdag 29 april 2014

Laurell K. Hamilton – Kiss the Dead

Book 21 in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series, published June 5, 2012.
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Cover: strange, but better than my book
Re-read for the second time, because I still needed a comfort read.

Kiss the Dead

When a fifteen-year-old girl is abducted by vampires, it's up to U.S. Marshal Anita Blake to find her. And when she does, she's faced with something she's never seen before: a terrifyingly ordinary group of people--kids, grandparents, soccer moms--all recently turned and willing to die to avoid serving a master. And where there's one martyr, there will be more. But even vampires have monsters that they're afraid of. And Anita is one of them...

Anita Blake has been asked by the St. Louis police to help interrogate a vampire. A kiss of vampires has abducted a 15 year old girl, and they need to find her in time to be still alive, and not turned. 15 is illegal to become a vampire, even if the girl wants to become one. So this young vampire will have to break, and fast, so they can rescue her.
The vampire does give up the place where they have taken the young girl, but when it appears as some other officers are going in to rescue the girl, he mutters that it is supposed to be her! It is a trap for Anita, and when she tells him she won’t go, he attacks her. Breaking his shackles without effort. Anita barely manages to keep him from ripping her throat out.
It takes Dolph and some other cops to rescue her, as she just is not strong enough to fight free herself. At the end, it is Zerbrowski with a fiercely glowing cross who saves the day. Anita is furious with herself for underestimating the vampire, and putting other people in danger. She might be hard to kill herself, but the cops are purely human.

When the officers send to the scene don’t respond to their calls anymore, Anita knows it will be bad. The house is filled with vampires, very young ones. And they just look so normal! Teens, grandparents, soccer moms, middle aged guys. And they all are afraid for her. The two officers on scene are death, both with lots of bitewounds on them. Which means an automatic death sentence for all of the vamps present. And as soon as they found out, and that they have nothing to loose anymore, all hell will break loose. When Anita finds out, neither of the vampires present have been fed lately, she knows the real murderers are gone. And those are left to be scapegoats, martyrs. But what is it they want? They have saved the girl, and only the new Marshal is hurt so far. The hunt is not over yet, and they will have to get the information on the other vampires fast, before they kill again. They are all terrified of Anita, and she use that fear to extract the information she needs. No matter if that makes her feel like a monster, no matter that her former friend Larry Kirkland doesn’t want anything to do with it. Lifes are at stake here, and what are a few nightmares more?
A deceptively young looking frail girl is singled out as the weak link, and she almost manages to get a police officer on her side. She looks just like his granddaughter. But that is just a ruse, the vampire is a few decades old, and to be able to survive while looking like a victim, she must have killed countless times. She tries to bespell the officer, but in the end, her fear of Anita makes her tell them everything. The safe houses, how many vampires there are and their names.
There are really strange vampires, they would rather die, than life and be blood oathed to Jean Claude and Anita, and loose all their free will. Their freedom is important. But vampires are not capable of handling freedom like that, they need someone to hold their leashes. After all, they are super strong with lots of other superpowers. And it would take a truly good person not to abuse those powers to do whatever they want. Most people are not that good, and temptation to just take what they want is too big. With a master vampire controlling them, they will have to obey the law.
They decide to go out when it is dawn, when all the vampires should be asleep. Anita will have some private time with her guys, to relax and especially to talk to Sin. She is still uncomfortable with him being so young, even though they have been lovers for a year, and he is her blue tiger to call. This is the first time he has seen the images of her work, and he is afraid. But working with the police, hunting the bad guys, it is what she does, and Sin has no right to ask her to stop doing that. The only man in her life who had a problem with that, was Richard, and he is only on the fringes now. It is not easy for Anita to juggle so many men. It is not the sex that is difficult, it is the emotional upkeep. She just cannot love them all equally, and date them all, and take care of them the way they deserve. But her live works now, and she has never been more happy.

As always, I was eagerly awaiting the next book by Laurell K. Hamilton. After all, she is one of my favourite authors. And she is certainly in the top 5 of my favourite urban fantasy authors. You all know I really don’t like erotica, and Laurell’s books sure are not without lots of hot lovescenes. Anita has gone from an almost virgin who did not want to have sex before marriage ever again, to having multiple lovers, and now she is even in a bi-sexual relationship. Modern term: polyamorous. She really does love most of the men in her life, and she needs sex to survive. Somehow, Laurell K. Hamilton has a writing style that makes me able to enjoy the sex scenes, even if they go way over my usual boundaries. This book does not have as many love scenes as most, and it has some interesting developments on the Asher front.

I really liked the book, the plot was nice, and the concept of vampires and freedom worth thinking about. But of course, you cannot turn all those vampires loose on society, citizenship rights or not, in a few years there would be no human left, and they would all die out themselves as well.

The new Marshal promises to be a good and interesting secondary character, I am curious about learning more about him, and what choices he will make in life. As I really dislike Richard, I was glad he does not have a role in this story. He is still teaching biology at the local university (instead of highschool), he is still in the closet about being a shapeshifter, the Ulfric of the local wolfpack, and he is still looking for that white picket fence.
Nicky, Anita’s Bride and the local lion’s Rex, is happy with his place in her life, but of course he has no other choice. He literally lives to make Anita happy. And Anita has come to terms with it; it was the only other choice besides killing him, as he was a true psychopath. Anita has become his conscience, and he really likes living with other shapeshifters, sharing her house and her love.
And what is with Detective Arnett? She really loathes Anita and threatens her.

I am sorry though that there is no news on the Edward front, and especially about Olaf! After all, he still wants Anita, and now he is a Lion shifter as well! But the book was not that big, and I’ll just keep my hope up for the next book.

9 stars

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© 2012 Reviews by Aurian

maandag 28 april 2014

Laurell K. Hamilton – Divine Misdemeanors

The eighth book in the Merry Gentry series, published December 8, 2009.
Genre: urban fantasy
Cover: nothing to do with the story/series at all
Re-read for the second time, but first time I write a review about it

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You may know me best as Meredith Nic Essus, princess of faerie. Or perhaps as Merry Gentry, Los Angeles private eye. To protect my unborn children, I have turned my back on the crown, choosing exile in the human world with my beloved Frost and Darkness.
Yet I cannot abandon my people. Someone is killing the fey, which has left the LAPD baffled and my guardsmen and me deeply disturbed. I thought I’d left the blood and politics behind in my own turbulent realm. But now I realize that evil knows no borders, and that nobody lives forever - even if they're magical.

One of my favourite authors and series, and I am very happy that after a break of a few years, in June the tenth book will be released. So that is partly the reason I decided to re-read this one. If you are not familiar with this series, it really does have to be read in order, so you can understand what has happened and is happening, and why.
In the previous book, Merry and Doyle (the Darkness) were offered the crown of the Unseelie Court after a bloody battle, but to safe Frost, they refused it and went into exile in the human world. With all her lovers, the six fathers of her two babies (it’s a Fae thing) and all the guards and other Fae who wanted to join her. But still most of the nobility stay with their insane Queen Andais in the Unseelie Court, or the mad King Taranis in the Seelie Court. Even if they are tortured and abused, they won’t follow Mercy as she is only part Seelie and part Unseelie, and no-one is sure is she is mortal or immortal anymore. A lot of the demi-fae and the Red Caps have followed Merry, and although they are still living in the mansion of Maeve, a female Fae who was exciled by King Taranis to prevent her from telling his court that he is infertile, which is a dead sentence for the ruler, but who became one of Hollywood’s goddesses. They have a court, but no court treasury, so they have to work for a living to support them all. And so Merry and her guards are working for the Grey Detective Agency. Mostly hired by rich people and famous people to be shown off, but sometimes they are called in on police investigations. Like this one. And it is nasty.

Someone has killed some of the smallest demi-fae, and laid them out like a picture in a story book. Who was powerful enough to kill them? Even though they are the smallest, they are in no way defenceless or powerless, they have very strong magic in order to survive in the human world. Merry has no idea who could do such a thing, but she will warn the Fae in Los Angeles to be careful, after all, they are her people even if she is not officially a Queen.
Hiding from the press is impossible, they are literally hounded by them, and every time Merry is seen in public, it gets worse.

I really enjoyed re-reading this book, I had forgotten quite a few things about it and it was good to re-discover details and good moments.
The Goddess is still guiding Merry, in her dream the Black Coach in the guise of a Hummer takes Merry to the desert, to save one of the soldiers she healed. He was praying to the Goddess, and she sent Merry to him. But when Merry wakes up, she has blood and sand on her face, and from all the guards, only Rhys is awake. Goddess is not done with them yet.

There is a lot of sex in this book, and you all know I don’t really like erotica, but when Laurell K. Hamilton writes it, I don’t mind at all. Merry had a choice, a few books back, to gain power through blood and death, or through love and sex. And as a distant relation to a few fertility deities, she chose sex. So a lot of magic happens when she has sex, the men she sleeps with gain back some of their lost power; or something else happens.

I liked meeting some new Fae, like the Fear Dearg, who is begging Merry for his name back, and Doyle has promised to tell Merry his story, but so far he has not, and I really want to know what happened back then.

The female guards Merry took back with her, have been abused by Prince Cel for decades, and they have some serious issues to get over, and to heal. I like how they are slowly starting to trust and believe in Merry, and I really feel sorry for them. But the men have been abused and tortured as well by Queen Andais, who is a sexual sadist, and Merry can’t deal with all of them. She has the men she really loves, and the fathers of her babies to think of first.

Baranis is making trouble though, trying to get Merry to take the Crown after all, and rule through fear like the Courts are ruled now. But he has to accept Merry as she is and wants to rule, or go back to Queen Andais. She cannot have her people divided. When she finds out that he and her father were closer than she thought, that changes things perhaps a bit, but not enough for her to relent. She will kill him if necessary.

I really want to read the next book as soon as possible, and find out what happens next. A series I recommend to all lovers of Urban Fantasy who don’t mind a lot of romance and sex but love a good world building and a strong heroine who is not insecure about her self. Unlike the Anita Blake series, this one has a lot of sex scenes from the first book because Merry had to get pregnant in order to survive.

10 stars.

Autobuy authorLove this book

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© 2014 Reviews by Aurian

zondag 27 april 2014

Laurell K. Hamilton - Affliction

Book 22 in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series, published July 2, 2013.
Genre: urban fantasy
Cover: bleh. I prefer the UK-cover.
Re-read for the second time, as I am too restless to focus on something new, even my awesome ARC’s.

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Some zombies are raised. Others must be put down. Just ask Anita Blake.
Before now, she would have considered them merely off-putting, never dangerous. Before now, she had never heard of any of them causing human beings to perish in agony. But that's all changed.

Micah's estranged father lies dying, rotting away inside from some strange ailment that has his doctors whispering about “zombie disease.”
Anita makes her living off of zombies but these aren't the kind she knows so well. These creatures hunt in daylight, and are as fast and strong as vampires. If they bite you, you become just like them. And round and round it goes.

Where will it stop?
Even Anita Blake doesn't know.

Anita is busy with her job at the animators firm, when she gets a phone call from a very distressed woman, who claims to be her lovers’ mother. Micah’s father is deadly wounded by a zombie, and is in the hospital. Rush wants to say goodbye to his son, as he knows he is dying. When Micah was changed into a wereleopard he had to keep his family safe from Chimera by pretending that he did not love them at all, and he had to say some horrible things to them to break up with them. But somehow Rush has found it that it was for their own protection, and now he wants to make up.
Of course Micah wants to see his dad, and his family one last time, and Anita and Nathaniel make the arrangements to leave. But as Jean-Claude just became the head of the new American Vampire Council, she will have to take in account vampire and shape shifter politics, and they will have to bring enough bodyguards with them as well. It is not easy, incorporating the leftover Harlequin into their bodyguards, but Anita will have to be able to trust them to guard her, and her lovers.

First, they meet one of Micah’s cousins, who waits for them at the airport, to bring them to the hospital, as is one of the Denver’s Master of the City vampires. So divided over two vehicles they drive to the hospital, where Micah is met by his aunt and uncle, who are religious zealots and despise him. They even try to have the police kill him, when his aunt yells that he is changing because of his eyes. Lucky for Micah, the police was already notified that his eyes can’t change back to human. His dad has been the local sheriff for many years, and the police of all flavors are holding a vigil at the hospital. This is customary when one of their own is hurt on the job. Some of them remember Micah, and are nice, but some have heard all the gossip about Anita and already hate her for being whom she is.
Luckily, the other family members are a lot nicer, and his closest family is very happy to see Micah again. Only his brother needs some persuading first, but the love between them is still there.

Anita just needs to know what has happened to Rush. A flesh eating zombie is very rare, and she has never come across one that infects his victims. She just has to know everything that happens. The doctor and some of the policemen really want her input, but some other policemen do not want to give the case away to the feds. Still, they are outvoted and Anita is welcome to see the other bodies, and read the reports. As a preternatural marshal, she can step in where she wants, but that will only make the locals un-cooperative.

While Micah stays in the hospital with his family, Anita goes out with some of their bodyguards to find some missing persons. The search dogs just kind of lost the trail, but Nathaniel in leopard form will be able to find them. The first victim is found dead, partly eaten by zombies, which is also not usual for a zombie attack. But if they hurry, they should be able to find the second victim in time. And they do, but they sure have to fight hard for him. Ares, one of the bodyguards is bitten badly, and Anita wants him on the first copter back to the hospital. The medic refuses at first, thinking that as a shape shifter, Ares will heal fast enough, but Ares is not healing. Wounds inflicted by another preternatural heal humanly slow, if at all. But when they are finally allowed in the tiny helicopter, something goes wrong. The vampire Anita sensed earlier, is trying to make Ares shift and attack them all. There is no way for the helicopter to land safely right now, Anita will have to kill him if he shifts on board. But on the ground, Ares escapes and runs to attack a women, while her children are watching, and Anita has no other choice but to kill him, while she herself is badly hurt as well. And to make things worse, a tv station helicopter has seen and taped it all, and she ends up on national television.

This is not altogether a bad thing, because when she wakes up in the hospital, Edward is there. Chiding her for not inviting him to this zombie apocalypse. And Jean-Claude has also come to Denver to be with her.
The bad news is, another marshal has been put in charge of the case, and she has not the experience of Anita or Edward/Ted, and she thought the zombies and vampires dead. So they were shipped to the morgue, in the hospital …
When the morgue staff does not answer their phone, they know it is bad news, and hurry back to the hospital to evacuate it all. But they are too late, there are already zombie attacks reported on different floors. They will have to do their best to contain them in the basement and kill them on the spot. Finally Edward can use his European grenades, those are highly illegal in the US but very effective.

Anita will have to find this master vampire and kill him, before he creates more killer zombies and new vampires for his undead army and kills everyone in town.

I absolutely loved this book; I started reading it on Sunday afternoon, and did not stop before it was finished, in the middle of the night. Laurell K. Hamilton has created an amazing story again, it was good. The fight against these zombies and vampires, which was quite scary at times as I hate zombies, was so very well written. As always I love the parts with Edward, and his interaction with Anita and Nicky.
Anita’s harem of men seems to be complete, there are no new lovers introduced. She is even getting engaged for real this time! I so loved that scene, and I am curious to find out how they are going to fix it all.
Nicky, Anita’s lion-Bride, plays a big part in this book, and I really like him. Sure, he is a psychopath and admits it, but Anita is his conscience. And in turn, he tells Anita the truth about what she needs to know, things she has been ignoring. I also loved how Micah presents both Anita and Nathaniel as his lovers, they have been living together for three years now, and they work like that.

The private pieces of Anita’s life were good to read about, I enjoy that a lot, but the plot, the story, the action, that was amazing. Even with this, the 22nd book in the series, it is still fresh and evolving and I can’t wait for the next book.
And for you who want to know, sure there are some hot love scenes in this book, one with Nicky and Nathaniel that went too far for my tastes (don’t try it at home folks!), but a lot less than I am used to in the previous books.

10 stars.

Autobuy authorLove this book

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© 2013 Reviews by Aurian

zaterdag 26 april 2014

Carolyn Crane – Double Cross

The second book in the Disillusionists series, published September 28, 2010.
Genre: urban fantasy
Cover: nice

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Justine Jones lived her life as a fearful hypochondriac until she was lured into the web of a mysterious mastermind named Packard, who gifts her with extraordinary mental powers - dooming her to fight Midcity's shadowy war on paranormal crime in order to find the peace she so desperately craves.
But now serial killers with unheard-of skills are terrorizing the most powerful beings in Midcity, including mastermind Packard and his oldest friend and worst enemy, Midcity's new mayor, who has the ability to bend matter itself to his will.
As the body count grows, Justine faces a crisis of conscience as she tests the limits of her new powers and faces an impossible choice between two flawed but brilliant men - one on a journey of redemption, the other descending into a pit of moral depravity.

The second book in the story, and Justine is torn between two men. Mayor Otto Sanchez, the man she has always dreamed of, who shares her hypochondriac tendencies and fear of vein star syndrome. The man who is fighting crime and wants justice. And Packard, who trapped her into her new life, and betrayed her. Who admits he is a criminal and only out for himself, who will do anything to stay free. I have to admit, I am not sure who she should choose. At first, I really was on Team Otto, but after what happens in this book? Does Packard really love her after all, are her feelings true? Is Otto the criminal, the stone cold killer after all?

Otto gets so mad when she questions if Es really is guilty of the crime he locked her up for, or if there is someone else, someone worse? And when she looks into their pasts because of Es’ dreamwalking, Justine sees some of their worst memories. But was Packard wrong back then? They were all just children.

So the plot thickens, and I have to read the next book to find out what has happened, and what will happen. This high cap world Carolyn Crane has created is frightening at times. But very well written and intriguing and original.

8 stars.

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© 2014 Reviews by Aurian

vrijdag 25 april 2014

Recommendations from Karin for April 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.


I have read 14 books this month and I definitely found some that are worth recommending. The three books I liked best are:

Kristan Higgins: All I ever wanted

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Kristan Higgins: Somebody to love

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Julia Quinn: The Sum of all Kisses

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I know I have recommended Kristan Higgins before but I want to do it yet again.

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One Happily-Ever-After Rocking Chair.
and no sign of any forthcoming babies to rock in ol' Georgebury, Vermont. For Callie Grey, turning thirty means coming to grips with the fact that her boss (and five-week fling) is way overdue in his marriage proposal. And way off track because Mark has suddenly announced his engagement to the company's new Miss Perfect. If that isn't bad enough, her mom decides to throw her a three-oh birthday bash in the family funeral home.
Bad goes to worse when she stirs up a crazy relationship with the town's not so warm and fuzzy veterinarian, Ian McFarland, in order to flag Mark's attention. So Ian is more comfortable with animals.. So he's formal, orderly and just a bit tense. The ever-friendly, fun-loving and spontaneous Callie decides it's time for Ian to get a personality makeover. But dang, if he doesn't shock the heck out of her, she might actually fall for Vermont's unlikeliest eligible bachelor..

The story of “All I ever wanted” is pretty much the story of all her books. Young woman has a crush on the wrong man, gets rejected repeatedly, doesn’t give up hope, finds a “substitute” and winds up loving the substitute.
Now in this case I must say the story had me in stitches from laughing out loud (thankfully I read this book at home, it would have been embarrassing in a public place), but I also cried because there are two particular scenes that were heartbreaking and had me reaching for tissues.
Callie’s family with all the odd personalities offer plenty of situations to be mortified at. They do own a funeral home after all which is used to celebrate Callie’s birthday of all things. And at the end of the book there is another celebration because they have the sound system and the flowers that are required for having a decent party.
Callie is once again one the heroines of Higgins’ that make me want to hug her on the one side and on the other side I would really like to kick her somewhere a lady doesn’t mention because she’s so stuck up on her crush. She is such a warm-hearted person – doing yoga and dance classes with senior citizens, chaperoning Brownies (who I gathered have to be tiny girl guides), living with her handicapped grandfather. Now don’t get me wrong, she isn’t sugar sweet, she has great humour, loves her family and of course her cute dog, a mutt.
Ian, the vet, is a little bit very stand – offish, although given his experiences one can understand why. He is very reliable and responsible but he also has sort of a dry humour. He just doesn’t allow himself to let loose too often.

So to sum it up – I read the book twice in a row. The first time I enjoyed it but the second time I found little gemstones which made me decide to recommend it to all of you.

I have also started reading “Dark and Deadly: Eight Bad Boys of Paranormal Romance” and so far I liked two out of three books. Jennifer Ashleys “Bodyguard” was a solid read and Alyssa Day’s “Alejandro’s Sorceress” was simply delightful. I could not recommend this book as the best as I didn’t care for “Bewitch” at all. But it came as e-book for a steal and so far it was well worth the price.

So have a good month reading many more good books!

Aurian: Thanks for the recommendation Karin! You sure recommended three books I have not read, nor have they been on my radar. I will have to make some time to check these authors out soon. How about you readers, have you read these books? What did you think?

© 2014 Reviews by Aurian

donderdag 24 april 2014

Erin McCarthy – You don’t know Jack

The second book in the New York Girlfriends series, published October 1, 2006
Genre: contemporary romance
Cover: cute

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Love, sex, destiny, and a six-foot-four psychic in a bridesmaid’s dress? Honey, you don’t know Jack …

Jamie Peters no longer believes in true love. True idiots, true scumbags, true moochers - these she believes in wholeheartedly, and she's got the checkered dating history to prove it. So, she's more than a little skeptical when her cross-dressing psychic tells her she's about to meet her soul mate - during an accident. Yeah, sounds about right. And then it happens. A knight in shining armour steps between her and a mugger on a subway platform. Just a regular, honest, upright Jack. The kind they don't make anymore...
Jonathon Davidson doesn't believe in destiny - or lying to beautiful women as a rule. But now that Jamie thinks he's just an ordinary guy, how can he possibly tell her that he's really her roommate's brother, a millionaire to boot, and the jerk who's investigating her application to his grandfather's charitable trust because she may be involved in something illegal? Yeah, rhetorical question. He can't. Not until he knows what's going on. Besides, it would require being able to resist Jamie's luscious curves long enough to say, "Hi, my name is Big Liar. Let's get naked." Sometimes, destiny sucks...
Somewhere between truth and flat-out-let's-talk-about-this-waaay-later fiction, between fate and delicious accidental insanity, lies a whole lot of mind-blowing sex, delirious passion, unfortunate sundresses, fighting, deception, big mistakes and small hopes, and two people are about to discover that everything happens for a reason.

Well, the blurb pretty much tells it all. Contemporary romance is not my favourite genre, but Erin McCarthy writes my kind of it. Filled with humor and fun characters, not too much angst and misunderstandings, just a good story and characters you fall for at once. I liked them both so much, and could understand both of them as well, so I was just waiting what would happen next.
Jamie is a social worker, she loves her job and helping people, and she is not looking for the love of her life at all. But when her psychic friend tells her she will meet him soon, she totally believes him and goes for it. Even though she is warned he comes with a big lie, and she hates liars.
Jonathon/Jack made his fortune working the stock market, and now he has quit that insane life. His family is very unhappy about it, especially as they keep expecting hand outs. With his grandfather recovering from something, Jack has taken over running his charity organisation, and he likes the work. It is only part time, and he is trying to discover what he wants to do with the rest of his life. He is only 30-ish after all. And then he sees Jamie, and is completely flabbergasted and in lust, big time.

I loved witnessing this courtship and all the fun things in it. I really recommend Erin McCarthy’s books if you are in the mood for something fun and light, that will make you close the book with a smile.

9 stars.

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© 2014 Reviews by Aurian

woensdag 23 april 2014

Heather Graham – Deadly Night

The first book in the Flynn Brothers Trilogy series, published September 23, 2008
Genre: paranormal romantic suspense
Cover: creepy

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The Flynn brothers have inherited more than a New Orleans plantation. They've inherited a ghostly presence… and a long-kept secret.
Aidan Flynn, a private investigator and eldest of the Flynn brothers, scoffs at the haunted-house rumors - especially since Kendall Montgomery, a tarot card reader who has been living in the mansion, is the one to tell him the tale of a woman in white. But when he finds a human bone on the grounds and another by the river, Aidan delves into the dark history of the Flynn plantation.
Forced together to uncover the truth, Aidan and Kendall realize that a serial killer whose victims seem to vanish into thin air has long been at work... and that their own fates are about to be sealed forever unless they believe in the unbelievable.

It is back to New Orleans in this first book in a new series by Heather Graham. A setting I really love. But again it has a heroine pretending to be a psychic, but who just might be the real thing when she does start seeing ghosts and seeing Tarot Cards move. And a man who distrusts all things psychic, but still wants her in his bed and needs to protect her. So yes, time to stop reading Heather Graham books for a while.

Three brothers Flynn have inherited an old southern plantation near New Orleans with a lot of history from a great aunt they did not know existed. They decide to renovate it all, and use it for public functions, especially to raise money for one of the brother’s Childrens Charity.

Really creepy and evil things are happening in this book, but this time I guessed the killer from the start, and I guessed it right. Still, he is totally scary and evil, believing his own genius permits him whatever he wants to do.

I liked Kendall, she gave up her dream of a career in music for the reality of making a living, and she owns a gift shop in New Orleans, focusing a bit on the occult and doing readings. Tarot, tea leaves, the works. With her background in theater and psychology, she is good at it too. But lately, a bit too good as she sees things she should not know at all, ever since her good friend Amelia Flynn died …

I still loved the book, it was a great story, the main characters are people I want to meet, just like the places they go to in New Orleans. But some of the ingredients in the story are feeling more and more cookie cutter to me, so time for me to take a break and discover another author whose books are hidden on my shelves.

8 stars.

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© 2014 Reviews by Aurian

dinsdag 22 april 2014

Laurell K. Hamilton – Strange Candy

A collection of stories by Laurell K. Hamilton, published October 3, 2006.
Genre: urban fantasy, sci fi, romance, a nice mixture
Cover: sexy, but not a scene in the book.

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#1 New York Times bestselling author's Laurell K. Hamilton's first short story collection-including an all new Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter story.

Known for her darkly violent, stunningly erotic Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter novels, New York Times bestselling author Laurell K. Hamilton reveals new dimensions of her talent in these fantastical fairy tales and lush parables as she welcomes readers to the far corners of her fertile imagination.
From a woman who marries into a family of volatile wizards to a couple fleeing a gang of love-hungry cupids, from a girl who seeks sanctuary in the form of a graceful goose to the disgruntled superhero Captain Housework, readers will revel in the many twists and turns of fortune in these unique, sometimes surreal visions. Hardened vampire hunter and zombie animator Anita Blake gets blindsided by the disturbing motives of her clients in the never-before-published "Those Who Seek Forgiveness" and in "The Girl Who Was Infatuated with Death."

I think this book is only fun for the real fans of Laurell K. Hamilton. It contains a lot of short stories written by her, especially in the start of her career, when she was rejected a lot for being an unknown author, and short stories were published in magazines. I liked the introduction to all the stories, how they came to be. There are two short Anita Blake stories in her, and I liked those especially. Some of the stories are a bit disturbing though, but she has also included some straight fantasy stories that really make me want to read a full length book in this world.

The cover really put me of for a long time, but it has nothing to do with one of the stories whatsoever. There are not really sex scenes in this book, or anything extreme. So I am glad I finally read it and I can put it with the rest of her books on my LKH shelf.

7 stars.

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© 2014 Reviews by Aurian

maandag 21 april 2014

Shelly Laurenston – Bite Me

The ninth book in the Pride series, published April 7, 2014.
Genre: paranormal romance
Cover: nice

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Livy Kowalski has no time for idiots. When you shapeshift into a honey badger, getting through life’s irritants is a finely honed skill. Until she gets stuck housing her nutso cousin and dealing with her dad’s untimely and unexplained demise.
That’s where Vic Barinov comes in—or his house does. Vic can’t step outside without coming back to find Livy devouring his honey stash and getting the TV remote sticky. It gets his animal instincts all riled up. But he’ll have to woo her at high speed: all hell is breaking loose, and Livy is leading the charge…

I was interested in Livy (Olivia) Kowalski from the first moment I met her in one of the previous books. So when I discovered this was her story, I was anticipating it with glee! Livy sure is a character like none other. She is a honey badger, really violent and honest, she does not play games and goes after what she wants. Unlike her criminal family, she is not a thief or con artist, although she loves sneaking into people’s houses when they are away and make herself at home. She is also a great artist in photography, but she is afraid she has lost her drive. So when Blaine asks her to be her wedding photographer, she thinks she cannot have sunk lower.

I love this series, and I am kind of sad that Shelly Laurenston is going to focus on new things for a while, but she sure ended with a good book. The main story arc is solved, the bad guys are caught and punished and there are still plenty of characters who could use their own story in the future.

I loved Livy and of course bear-tiger Vic Barinov. They are so great together, especially as they both have no clue they are really much more than friends. Vic stands up for her, and when she is helping him with his investigation into the whereabouts of the man who is organizing hunts on shifters, she finds the stuffed body of her father.

Why did her mother lie to her, and who is in his coffin for real? Livy is determined to get to the truth and find the man who killed her father. She might not have liked him, but he was still her father, and honey badgers are all about revenge. She takes charge of her large family, and they all work together to help them. Who ever is protecting this man, and influencing the big agencies in quitting the case, has no chance against them.
I really disliked Livy’s mother and her female relatives, but I really liked her father’s male family. They are all thieves and con artists, and they don’t understand Livy and her dislike of that life at all, but at least they respect her choices as she is still their niece.

I had so much fun reading this story, some of the Jackal prodigies play a part in this book as well, like the creepy Kyle, as Livy and his big sister are best of friends. Of course many of the secondary characters in this book have featured in the previous books, and as always I love seeing them again.

Livy is especially vicious playing the roller derby, and I totally understand why she only gets to play the major games and not all of them. And it was refreshing that Vic had no interest in sports at all, compared to all the other male heroes so far.

Great series, highly recommend it. It is fun, is fast paced, lots of humor, violence and some hot love scenes and many types of shifters, and as far as I remember, the only one with hybrids. I have read other books where the cubs/pups will be one of the species their parents are, but these are mixed.

9 stars.

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© 2014 Reviews by Aurian