vrijdag 31 december 2010

Looking back at 2010.

Looking back, I am happy with my blog. I have read some great books, and lots of good ones. I have enjoyed writing my reviews, and getting the occasional comment and follower. It is so exciting that other people want to read what I think about a book. For the coming year, I am hoping for some more comments, and some nice discussions perhaps.

A few of the books, authors and series I loved most the last year:
Jayne Castle and the books about Harmony
Anne McCaffrey and the books about Petaybee and the ones that followed that
C.L. Wilson – Crown of Crystal Flame

There are not many new authors I have discovered for myself this year. Jenna MacLaine is one of them, Joanne Fluke another. Most of the time I am busy keeping up with the authors I am already loving.

Of course there are the authors I have been reading for years now, and will always love to read. They have become autobuy, and their books are on my calendar:
- Christine Feehan
- Suzanne Enoch
- Sabrina Jeffries
- Laurell K. Hamilton
- Stephanie Laurens
- Jude Deveraux
- Bertrice Small
- Susan Sizemore
- Lisa Kleypas
- Lynn Viehl
- Alexis Morgan
- Yasmine Galenorn
- Elizabeth Lowell
- Catherine Coulter
- Nalini Singh
- Melissa Mayhue
- Annette Blair
- Karen Hawkins
- Laura Childs

Of course there are many more. For a full list, just scroll back in my blog to find out.

Karen Hawkins – One night in Scotland

The first book in the Hurst Amulet series, published in 2010.

One night in Scotland

New York Times bestselling author Karen Hawkins begins a sparkling new series with this thrilling tale of a desperate beauty on an urgent quest, a dark earl scarred by his beastly past - and the ancient treasure that binds their fates.

A mysterious abductor . . . Someone is holding her brother prisoner in exchange for a gold-and-onyx box covered in mysterious runes, so Mary Hurst boldly sets out from the family vicarage to find the priceless artifact. But the man who possesses it, Angus Hay, the Earl of Erroll, is less than sympathetic to her plight.

A forbidding stranger . . . Himself a prisoner of his dark past, Angus refuses to yield the box - or allow Mary to leave! Suspicious of the alluring lass's mission, he vows to wrest a confession from her, but unearths a fiery temper and a will as strong as his own.

An unbreakable curse . . . Passion flares between them, but now there is more at stake: an unknown enemy is hunting down the precious box, and will stop at nothing. Risking all for love, Angus must solve the mystery behind the runes . . . and trust the only woman who can awaken his forgotten heart.

I totally loved this story! Karen Hawkins again entertained me for hours!

Mary’s brother Michael Hurst is a well-known adventurer, who brings lots of treasures home from his travels. The historical society thinks very highly of him, partly due because Mary writes his articles for him and makes the illustrations too. She envies Michael his travelling, as she is stuck back home at the vicarage, taking care of their parents. Her sisters are already married well (MacLean Curse series), her second brother is a ship captain, and her third brother is working for the government, but she thinks as a spy and not as the clerk he pretends to be, which is way too tame for him.
But now Michael is taken prisoner in Egypt, and his ransom is a certain gold and onyx box he bought on his previous trip, and is now in the possession of the Earl of Erroll for study. Mary will have to fetch the box and bring it to a certain sea town, where her brother William will wait with his ship to transport it back to Egypt. But the fetching is not so easily done.
After a horrid journey, Mary and her new maid Abigail arrive in Scotland, at the Castle of the Earl of Erroll, to ask for the box. But Angus Hay just doesn’t believe her. He is supposed to be a friend of her brother, but Michael has never spoken of her, or of their other siblings! And he has warned Angus that someone might come to steal the box. Since she has no way of proving who she really is, Mary is locked in the turret bedroom until another discoverer can visit who can identify her.
But Mary is not a witless young miss, who will sit quietly in her bedroom. She just won’t stop making a racket until she is freed, even if it is for just a few hours. She is not used to sitting idly around. So the Earl of Error has met his match. He lost his wife a few years ago, and is still afraid of fire in his house. And the fact that Mary might be the spitting image of his wife, and the attraction between them is huge, doesn’t help her fate much. Mary is determined to use her charms to get the most out of her adventure, before she has to go back home, and Angus is as determined to keep her at arms length. Because, what if she is telling the truth after all? Michael won’t like having his sister ravaged. And he is not the husband Mary deserves to have.
But the days become weeks, and Mary and Angus are growing closer together. Their discussions are heated, and so are their kisses.

A really great book. Even though the story takes place entirely during her captivity, the story is entertaining and I just had to know what Mary would think of next to thwart the Earl, and get her freedom. I would have loved a much longer book, about how in the end they do travel to her brother with the box in question, but thanks to the preview, I am already eagerly awaiting the next book in this series. And thanks to the letters from Michael to his sister, I am also very curious about his story!
I just loved Mary and her way of loving life, how she gets Angus to take a good look at his life and find it lacking. How he realises he has to move on. I am just a little bit disappointed about the storyline with the cousin. If Angus knew it already, why not put a stop to it?

An excellent last book for 2010!

9 stars.

Happy New Year everyone!

I wish all my readers a very happy new year, and all the best for 2011. With lots of great books and talking about books.

Happy New Year

donderdag 30 december 2010

Jenna McKnight – Love in the fast lane

A stand alone novel, published in 2007.

Love in the fast lane

Scott Templeton lives for the adrenaline rush, but when the ghost of a legendary race car driver suddenly appears in the passenger seat next to him, it sends Scott literally into a tailspin. Now he can't convince the guy to head toward the light and stop haunting him, not until Scott promises to make a special delivery.

Maggie Cooper has a five-year plan that involves making executive VP with a corner office and a salary that will cause a grown man to weep. What it doesn't involve is a high-speed hotshot who claims her dead father sent him. She doesn't care how charming Scott is, or how he seems to devour her with his eyes, or even how her shotgun-toting grandmother is playing matchmaker. Maggie is determined to resist, but Scott is just as determined to convince her that loving him is worth the risk.

I was in the mood for a fun book, and this one was great to lift my spirits. I was so upset with the previous one, and the one I tried after that one (and will probably never finish).

Scott Templeton is a race car driver, dreaming of winning his next Rolex. Then suddenly someone appears in the seat next to his, making him crash into the wall. He has just bought a classic race car engine, and the ghost claims it is his, and he wants Scott to deliver it at his mother’s house. Stuck with a broken leg and a broken wrist, Scott has no way to get rid of this irritating ghost, till he agrees. His boss, his colleagues and friends, even his brother, drop him as a stone when he keeps talking about being haunted by a ghost none of them can see. So after six weeks of torture, he drives all the way to St. Louis to deliver the engine, with pain in his heart. He had plans with this engine. But al last he will be rid of the ghost of Larry Cooper.
Larry’s mother is not so surprised to see Scotty, Larry seems to have a habit of haunting people to bring his mother stuff. Collectibles he calls it. Two enormous barns full of junk, for the most of it. Then Cooper gets it in his head to have Scotty stay and find his old ‘Cuda, and put the engine back in it. That will raise enough money to send his youngest daughter into college, his oldest daughter her own firm, and his mother in a nice retirement apartment. Not that his mother wants that, or his daughters. But when Cooper gets something in his head, it stays there, no arguing about it.
Maggie, his oldest daughter, doesn’t trust Scotty. Of course she knows he is a pretty famous race car driver, but her grandmother has no business inviting him in, and even less in inviting him to stay over. He can sleep in his truck for all she cares! Now she is going to miss her important job interview in Chicago, where her boyfriend is waiting for her. No way is she leaving her grandmother alone with this handsome man, even though he is wearing a cast on his leg.

Scotty is like putty in the hands of this granny, who reminds him so much of his own, who raised him. Grammy wants Scotty to ask Cooper some questions, as she feels guilty of his death, twenty years ago. But Cooper doesn’t want to answer them, he is afraid when he does, he will finally go on, and he wants to see his car restored first. Cooper also wants Scotty away from Maggie, but as it irritates Cooper, he seeks her out as much as he can. Which is not a hardship as he is attracted to her at first sight. And when her boyfriend turns out to be a controlling jerk, he will do anything to get her for himself. Yes, for the first time Scotty is thinking about settling down.

I really liked this book, both Scotty and Maggie are great characters who really come to life. Maggie is not easily swayed, but Scotty is persistent, and in the end she does fall for him. And when she finally figures out what Kevin has been doing to her the last years, she certainly puts him in his place.
Of course a lot of fun stuff happens in this book, which I am not going to tell. Just read it for yourself and enjoy the ride.

8,5 stars

woensdag 29 december 2010

New additions to my addiction

I have received some more of my Ebay weakness:

Annette Blair - Thee, I Love
Annette Blair - A Christmas Baby
Mary Jo Putney - Never less than a lady
Mary Jo Putney - The bartered bride
Mary Jo Putney - The marriage spell.

zaterdag 25 december 2010

Merry Christmas!

I wish all my readers a very merry Christmas, with lots of family and/or friends, and good food and drinks. Enjoy yourselves!

vrijdag 24 december 2010

Kathryne Kennedy – Beneath the thirteen moons

A stand alone novel, published in 2003, re-issued in 2010.

Beneath the thirteen moons

He’s a ruler in a divided world …
In the magical, watery world of the Sea Forest, the divide between the rulers and the people is an uncrossable chasm. Handsome, arrogant Prince Korl Com’nder has live a life of luxury that is nothing more than a fantasy to the people he rules. Until the day he is accidentally kidnapped by a beautiful outlaw smuggler and is forced to open his eyes to the world outside his palace walls.

She’s an outcast, but at least she has her independence …
Mahri Zin would stop at nothing to save her village, and when they needed a healer she didn’t think twice about kidnapping one. But when she realizes that the healer she so impulsively stole is none other than the crown prince of the Sea Forest, Mahri knows that this is her only chance to change the fate of her people …

Imagine a world where the people live in trees, rising out of the water of the world. Where the Royals live in the city, and the peasants in the swamps. To control their surroundings, they eat something called Zabba root, which gives them power over everything, and the most powerful person rules. The Royal family has outlawed the use of Zabba for everyone else, and is keeping al the knowledge to themselves and a few chosen people.
But in the swamps, there are people who also have a high tolerance for the Zabba root, even though it is illegal. They are called Wildlings, and are hunted down when discovered. When a fever threatens to destroy her village, again, Mahri sets out to kidnap a healer. Last time when she asked politely, she was turned down flat. No healer wants to go out in the swamp to heal a bunch of swamprats. So Mahri lost her husband and little son. This time, she will not loose her sister and the rest of her village. So she kidnaps a healer, never thinking she could kidnap her Prince!
The arrogant man gives her lot of trouble on the way home, and she despairs of getting there in time. They are attracted to each other, but Royals don’t sully themselves with water rats! To keep them save, Mahri overdoses on the Zabba root, and Korl heals her, but something has happened to her when in coma. She dreams of the natives of the world, and they want her to Bond with the prince of changes, as they call him. He will need her to change their world. But Mahri doesn’t want to, she cannot go through that kind of loss ever again.
But to safe her family, Mahri will have to Bond with Korl after all. She has the Power, but not the knowledge to heal, and Korl knows how, but he cannot hold enough Power to do it. So together they can.
For a few weeks, they stay together in the swamps. If Korl gets back to the Palace, he will tell the guard about her, and she will be hunted down to be killed. But he did safe her life, and he wants to go back. Ultimately, she gives in, and shows him many of the wonders of the swamp on the way. Back in the city, Korl has her imprisoned, and married to him, where he keeps her captive in the palace. His half sister and her lover try to kill him, and Mahri saves his life, overdosing on the root again.
Finally he sees reason, and accepts she will never willingly give him her heart and her mind, as he demands of her.
So she is free to go back to the swamp, and she sets out exploring, but she cannot get Korl out of her mind, no matter how far she goes. Farther than anyone thought the world could go. When she almost dies in a storm, her soul reaches for Korl, and he saves her life. When she returns, many moons later, Korl has become King, and he has changed their world, for her. For her love.

I am sooooo disappointed in this book. It is such a great world Kathryne Kennedy has created, such an original fantasy world. With very intriguing creatures and plants and everything. It could have been so great with a strong heroine, and a strong hero, working together. But in stead, you have a strong heroine, who has knows loss already. But still, she is drawn to the outer beauty of the hero, totally mindless when he touches her, kisses her. Capable to nothing anymore. And Korl never got real to me. His motto: I take what I want, includes imprisoning her in his palace, till he sees reason and sets her free at long last.

If you like lots and lots of love scenes, or near love scenes, of sighing over the toss of his hair, his beautiful sculpted body etcetera etcetera, you will love this book. I you are looking for more of a story, strong characters, don’t bother, no matter how great this world building is.

5 stars.

New additions to my addiction

Yes, I confess, I have been busy on e-bay again. Today I received my first package of goodies for my backlist:

Sherrilyn Kenyon - Dream Warrior
Jayne Ann Krentz - Sizzle and Burn
Stephanie Laurens - A season for marriage

woensdag 22 december 2010

Dara Joy - Ritual of proof

A stand alone novel, published in 2001. I keep hoping she will write more books in this world.

Ritual of Proof

In a world in which women are all-powerful, the influential Marquelle Green Tamryn selects Jorlan Raynard, the heir to a vast fortune, as her husband, but when her life is threatened by an unknown enemy, she discovers the true power of love.

I totally enjoyed this book. Dara Joy creates a world where women rule, and the men are kept protected, and cuddled and spoiled. They are only good as name-bearers and the creators of heirs to the woman, or as pleasurers. They have to stay pure till the wedding, and it is the man who feels the pain of the first time, the man who has "the veil" to proof he is still pure.
But one male does not like those rules, he wants freedom for himself, to choose as he wants, to live as he wants.
And the spirited Marquelle Green Tamryn wants Jorlan Reynard as her name-bearer, the father of her heirs. But she wants him to come to her of his own free will, so she sets out to seduce him. Only she doesn't have much time before she will have to act against Jorlan's wishes, because the evil She-Count Claudine d'Anberre also wants Jorlan for his beauty and the pleasure to tame him. She has already had three name-bearers, who died suspiciously, and Green wants to save Jorlan from that fate.

I loved this book. As soon as I read the backcover, I wanted to read it. First for the humor of the opposite world, where women rule, and men are nothing, just like the 1800's we love to read about. This time it is a man who rebels, and wants to be equal to females. But she creates a lovely world, with strange animals and plants, and a strange language, full of wordjokes. And a woman is only pregnant for three months, wouldn't you like that girls?
I really like Green for allowing Jorlan to be himself, to explore his strange nature for he is a rare sensitive, to give him the freedom he so much craves, and not to force him to obey society's rules. And in the end, you discover she knew more then she let you believe, and Jorlan learns her how he sees the world. There are lovely erotic scenes, how she introduces him to bedsport, and how fast he learns and takes over control, which is very unheard of in their society. I also liked the interaction with the servants, and the animals.

Even reading it for the second time was fun. 7 stars.

dinsdag 21 december 2010

New additions to my addiction

Lately I have received a few books:

Laura Childs - Bedeviled Eggs
Tamar Myers - Butter Safe than Sorry
Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough - Catalyst
and I won an arc on another blog: Ava Gray - Skin Heat

maandag 20 december 2010

Joanne Pence – If cooks could kill

The tenth book in the Angie Amalfi series, published in 2003.

If cooks could kill

After a series of failed culinary adventures, employment-challenged Angie Amalfi has decided to cook up something different: love! But Angie’s attempt at matchmaking fall flat as a failed soufflé, leaving best friend Connie Rogers stood up by a no-show jock. When Connie decides she’s more interested in a tarnished loner, things really start to boil over. Soon the police come looking for her in connection with a brutal robbery-homicide. And after her would-be boyfriend becomes a disappearing act, Connie and Angie set out to find him and the real killer. But when the trail leads Angie into the kitchen of her favourite Italian restaurant, she fears she’s about to discover an old family recipe that dishes out disaster … and murder!

Angie has only one thing on her mind: her engagement to Paavo! She loves the ring he gave her, showing it off at every opportunity. She is no longer interested in finding a career, she is studying marriage. Subscribing to the top bridal magazines, watching it on the shopping channel, and worse of all: matchmaking others!
And of course, sending Paavo presents. Which should not be such a problem, if she didn’t send them to his work place. The other officers enjoy themselves a lot, teasing Paavo and eating all the goodies Angie sends over. But enough is enough for Paavo, and he will have to find a way to get her to stop.

But in the meanwhile, Connie is lonely, and she wants to find a love for herself. So one night, complaining to the trio at Wings of an Angel, their favourite restaurant, Butch offers to set her up with his cousin Dennis, who plays for the Forty-Niners. Connie is really excited about that, a hot shot football player! He certainly will be able to take her places! But when he stands her up, she gets stuck with another man, also looking for Dennis. This Max is hurt, and down on his luck, looking very shabby. But still Connie feels a connection with him, and feeds him. Later on, she takes him home with her, only to have him rob her. She is furious! How could she fall for such a guy again! Didn’t she learn her lesson with her no-good ex-husband? Then she learns from Angie Dennis is sorry, and still wants to meet her. But she is weary now of men, and doesn’t fall for his smooth talking. Especially when he wants to talk about Max.

A very convoluted story unfolds: three years ago, a conwoman named Veronica stole 8 million dollars from Max’ clients, of whom Dennis was one. She ruined him, and got off with the money. But Max made sure she got for jail for it. And now she is free, and determined to take revenge for that. So when she sees Max and Conny together, and how much she resembles Conny, she thinks out a very diabolical plan. She has a diamond heist set up with some former friends, kind of mobsters, and she changes herself into a spitting image of Conny. And sets the cops after her. Paavo knows Conny, and cannot believe she murdered a courier, robbed a jeweler’s store and wounded the owner in the process. But how to prove her innocence when she is recognized in a line-up?
But Angie wouldn’t be Angie when she goes to the bottom of things and sorts it all out. And in the end, it is of course Paavo who saves them all from the real killer.

A nice story, different from the rest, but I liked it after a while.

7 stars.

zaterdag 18 december 2010

J.D. Robb – Loyalty in Death

The tenth book in the In Death series, published in 1999.

Loyalty in Death

New York Times bestselling author J.D. Robb’s phenomenal series has captivated readers nationwide with its tantalizing bend of romance, suspense and near-future police procedural. New York cop Eve Dallas returns to face her most ingenious foe – a ‘secret admirer’ who taunts her with letters … and kills without mercy.
An unknown bomber is stalking New York City. He is sending Eve Dallas taunting letters promising to wreak mass terror and destruction among the “corrupt masses”/ And when his cruel web of deceit and destruction threatens those she cares for mist, Eve fights back. It’s her city … it’s her job … and it’s hitting too close to home. Now, in a race against a ticking clock, Eve must make the pieces fit – before the city falls.

30 years ago, a terrorist group called Apollo wanted to take over the government. With inside help, they took out the Pentagon, thousands of people were killed. Military staff, but also office workers, their families and children. And now history is repeating itself. A new group calling itself Cassandra is hitting New York. Making demands of the city, the freeing of prisoners, ransom money. Or they will destroy New York landmarks, the heart of capitalism. Is it a coincidence they choose buildings Roarke owns? They target Lieutenant Eve Dallas to receive their communications, and just as she got a high profile murder on her hands. The PA deals for a manslaughter two, which is a laugh of course. She just knows it was premeditated, and now the murderer will inherit millions. But with those new threats, she has not much time to dig in the case, the background.
They manage to safe Radio City, but barely, and the terrorists take out a popular hotel restaurant, loaded with people. They are totally without a conscience, hundreds of people were murdered, employees and visitors.

In the meanwhile, Peabody’s little brother Zeke is visiting town. He is a great carpenter and has accepted a job for the Branson’s. He met Mrs. Branson last summer, and fell in love with her. But she is married, even though he knows she is unhappy in her marriage. Is it a coincidence, it was the Branson’s brother who was murdered last night?

Eve is running into dead ends with her investigation, the people she suspects are getting murdered. Finally she decides to turn to hard copy, not trusting the computers at Cop Central anymore. And Roarke and his unregistered are really coming in handy.
Then Zeke kills the other Branson brother, to protect Clarissa Branson. Her husband supposedly beats and rapes her, and that has been going on for years. But things just don’t klick for Eve. How come a woman so much in shock gets rid of the body of her husband in just a few minutes, and why does she disappear out of the hospital? Zeke is tormented, as a Free Ager, he is unaccustomed to violence. But he also cannot accept the truth, that he is been used, that he “murdered” a droid.
And in the end, everything comes neatly together, the loyalty to a dead father and his dead ideals, and to money.

Another great book, and in this one, finally Peabody and McNab find each other. The start of a bumpy relationship. Mavis has made it as a star, and Summerset is still a pain in Eve’s ass. Eve and Roarke almost die in the Statue of Liberty, but they make it, and they triumph. A great story, filled with suspense, even the second reading.

8 stars.

vrijdag 17 december 2010

Lynn Kurland – Dreams of Stardust

The third book in the De Piaget series, published in 2005.

Dreams of Stardust

Jake Kilchurn travels the world to unearth exquisite stones for this one-of-a-kind creations, but it is during an unexpected side trip to Seakirk castle that he meets a cadre of ghosts discussing a timeless beauty who lived centuries ago.
Amanda de Piaget is busy doing what she does best – fending off suitors – when she stumbles on a different kind of man. He is unconscious, dirty, and oddly clad. But unlike the other men who find themselves at Artane, Jake knows nothing about her – and Amanda finds herself strangely drawn to him.
Time has brought them together to the safety of its walls, but only time will tell if they’ll escape those who would try to tear them apart…

Jake Kilchurn is on the road for some business for his father, when his oldtimer Jaguar can’t take the bad weather anymore. He gets shelter in Seakirk Castle, where he is entertained by the butler, and a bunch of ghosts. He hears about the legend of Artane, the castle he is going to visit, and the beautiful women who once lived there.
The next day, he is off on his business, still not quite believing what happened at Seakirk, when his car gets in a spin, and a blinding light flings him out of his car .. and back in time. 800 years back in time, where he gets to meet the most beautiful woman ever, and her little brothers. He falls in love with Amanda instantly, but as a merchant, there is no way he will be allowed to wed her. So her brothers, who like him, start training him in the knightly skills. And so Jake spends his days in the lists, training with a sword, and horseback riding and such, and in the evenings among the few members of the family left behind, mostly playing chess.
The only one who can beat him is Amanda. First there are only the youngest two brothers, John and Montgomery, but soon Miles arrives, just in time to send of one of Amanda’s more persistent suitors. He too takes a liking to Jake. But then Nicholas comes home, and he hates his guts on sight. So Jake has a difficult hurdle to overcome. But he is determined to succeed, to go back to the future to sell his company, and come back bearing enough gold and the jewels he designed, to buy a title and a castle, so he can be an accepted suitor.
Even Amanda’s oldest brother, Robin, takes a liking to Jake, and helps him with his training.

But when Jake gets back home, he runs into a lot of trouble. His father (who dislikes him very much) has already declared him dead and taken over his possessions, his trust fund and his bank accounts. He even has him committed to a lunatic hospital and kept sedated. It takes Jake a month before he can escape, and find out who he can still trust.

The Lord of Seakirk and his bunch of ghosts are very helpful, and he has his own very intriguing story. Now Jake has to take his gold, and find his way back to the past, to Amanda. But is she still waiting for him? No telling how much time has passed since he left/came back.

I really loved this story. I believe it is the first book I have read in which the hero travels back in time, and decides to stay. Usually a knight comes forward, or a woman travels back to find her highlander. It was good the meet the whole Artane family again, get an update on Anne and Robin. But I did get to know Amanda a little better, she is not easy on herself, and Jake’s accomplishments makes her doubt her own self. Jake is a great hero. He cannot fight with a sword, but he does know martial arts, which come in very handy too. Together they are just great. A fine love story, no love scenes however.

8 stars.

dinsdag 14 december 2010

J.D. Robb – Conspiracy in Death

The ninth book in the In Death series, published in 1999.

Conspiracy in Death

At a time when human nature remains as predictable as death, a killer plays God – and puts innocent lives in the palm of his hand ….
With the precision of a surgeon, a serial killer preys on the most vulnerable souls of the world’s city streets. The first victim: a sidewalk sleeper, found dead in New York city. No bruises, no signs of struggle. Just a laser-perfect, fist-sized hole where his heart had once been. Lieutenant Eve Dallas is assigned to investigate. But in the heat of a cat-and-mouse game with the killer, Dallas’s job is suddenly on the line. Now her hands are tied … between a struggle for justice – and a fight for her career ….

Lieutenant Eve Dallas gets called to a homicide, discovered by a scooper team. They check on the homeless to see if they are still alive, which is not easy in this harsh New York winter. On scene, Eve finds very sloppy work by Detective Bowers, and reads her the riot act. Bowers resents that, and files a complaint against Eve, which is her particular hobby. Eve is furious by this smear on her record!
The homeless man is indeed murdered, and his heart is stolen. It is taken with surgical precision and in very difficult circumstances. Why would anyone steal the heart of a terminally ill person? It is not worth anything on the black organ market, and there are no known cults who do stuff like that. Everything points to a high class surgeon. The victim was anesthetized too. So Eve is poking her nose in the top ranking surgeons of the city, the Drake clinic. And they really don’t like that! They close ranks on her, but luckily Roarke is on the board, and they will have to cooperate with her. But threats follow soon after: a self-destruct droid tries to warn her off with a severe beating, but he doesn’t know Eve very well, and Eve beats him. A notorious senator is putting the pressure on the department to close the case, after all, it is only a sidewalk sleeper, and the medical profession doesn’t need the fall out of this. But it only makes Eve more determined to solve the case. Especially when she discovers like crimes in other cities, and a new one on her own path.
But the difficulties with Officer Bowers are not over either. The woman files an other complaint against Eve, and harasses her on scene. Luckily Peabody has recorded it all. But when Bowers gets herself killed, Eve is a suspect, and they demand her badge and weapon. This devastates her. After all, she has build herself up again by becoming a cop. What is she, when she is no longer a cop?
The team goes on without her, but not for long. Roarke and Eve dive into the case, the medical world of organ transplants and research. A doctor from the Canal Street clinic where a lot of poor people are treated helps out by translating all the medical mumbo jumbo for Eve, and gets almost killed in the process.

A really good story again. The suspense is intense, and the emotions run high. It really had me crying for Eve a few times. Dr. Mira and Roarke are there for her, but in the end, she will have to do it herself.
Peabody and McNab are still on odds with each other, but in this book we meet Dr. Louise and Truehart, who will have a larger part in the rest of the series. Also Baxter and Webster, two other cops are playing their part.

8 stars.

vrijdag 10 december 2010

J.D. Robb – Midnight in Death

The eighth book in the In Death series, published in 1998 in the anthology Silent Night, but also published as a novella (which I have).

Midnight in Death

Eve’s name has made a Christmas list, but it’s not for being naughty or nice. It’s for putting a serial killer behind bars. Now the escaped madman has her in his sights. With her husband, Roarke, at her side, Eve must stop the man from exacting his bloody vengeance – or die trying…

This is only a thin novella, but a very suspenseful story. An evicted murderer Eve has put away three years ago, is on the loose again. And he is going after all the people who put him in a cage. The judge is his first victim, tortured and strangulated to death, then left naked in a public spot in New York. Arrogant as he is, he leaves a list with his next victims on it. An Eve’s name is last on that list. As he dumped his first, he already is working on his second victim. And the guards Eve puts on the next ones, are no good at all. This murderer may be mad and evil, but he is no fool. And his good looks will get him cooperation anywhere.
Eve knows who the killer is, how he works, who his victims are, but she still cannot stop him as she cannot find him. Even with the help of Roarke, Peabody, Feeney and McNab, she still cannot prevent the killer for going after someone dear to her.
But in the end, she figures him out again, and then the battle will be between the two of them, as they both knew was the killer’s goal all along.

A good story, told just after the horrible last case. Eve hasn’t had time to recover from it, neither has Peabody. But they will do their job, just because that is who they are.

7 stars.

donderdag 9 december 2010

Jayne Ann Krentz – Shield’s Lady

This book was published in 1989, under the name Amanda Glass. As I didn’t have it, I am very pleased it is been re-issued recently.


Sariana is a cool, confident business woman, an outcast from the East, determined to regain her rightful status. Gryph is an intense mercenary respected and feared throughout the opulent cities and savage frontiers of the West. Brought together by fate and bound by a powerful force that both captivates and frightens them, Sariana and Gryph must join forces on a deadly journey that will test their love to its limits – and could save their world from a danger only they can stop.

It took me a while to get into this story, but later on I got captivated by the world Jayne Ann Krentz made. Two spaceships full of colonist leave Earth, but get separated on their planet of destiny. One full of artists and such, the other full of higher management kind of people. So instead of one society with all kinds of people, they evolve very differently from each other. But still very much divided in Clans and Classes. The East is about practicality, success in business, finance, where money is power. The West is much looser, with more inventions and art, where everything has to look good, with elaborate mansions and dress and such.
Then there is the Shield class, something different altogether. They were not among the colonists, but appeared out of space to safe them. They were made a long time before, on a previous colonisation project from old Earth. So they are human, and somehow more. They have their own laws and customs, but they are a dying race. They can mate with only a few woman and have sons, never daughters, they live on the frontiers, fighting bandits and such. Which will bred woman wants her daughter to leave society for a live like that?

The West knows nothing about those Shields. They believe it is only one of the many legends the easterners have invented, and not much truth to it. Sariana was not businesslike enough for the Academy in her home town, and was denied entry. Which cancelled her wedding plans and her status in her family and clan. So she escaped to the East to make a name for herself there, and convince her family that she was a good business woman after all.
She gets hired as the business manager of the Avylyn Clan, a clan of jewellers. There are on the brink of ruin, and Sariana has to get them solvent again, without the rest of society learning of it. Then a certain prisma cutter is stolen, and they suspect a rivalling jeweller clan. The only course of action open is to hire a Shield to find the cutter and bring it back.
Sariana is attracted to the Shield, and thinks she will have a short affair with Gryph, but she is tricked into marriage. Something she just cannot and will not believe or accept without a fight. But then some people are after Sariana and Gryph takes her with him on his quest to keep her safe.

Yes, I liked the story. I loved Sariana, but I though Gryph too high handed in the beginning. It did not matter what Sariana thought or wanted, he had found his Shield Mate, and she had to obey him. Luckily, in the end, he came to his senses.
Of course, there is a lot more to this book than I have written here, but I don’t want to spoil the whole story. I wouldn’t mind reading more about this world and the people and creatures that live there.

7 stars.

dinsdag 7 december 2010

J.D. Robb – Holiday in Death

Wow, my 200th post already!
The seventh book in the In Death series, published in 1998.

holiday in death

When computer technology brings lovers together, dating can be a deadly game…
No one likes to be alone during the holidays. And for New York’s most posh dating service, Personally Yours, it is the season to bring lonely hearts together. But Lieutenant Eve Dallas, on the trail of a ritualistic serial killer, has made a disturbing discovery: all of the killer’s victims have been traced to Personally Yours. As the murders continue, Eve enters an elite world of people searching for their one true love – and a killer searching for his next victim. A world where the power of love leads men and women into the ultimate act of betrayal.

After being severely wounded in the previous book, Lieutenant Eve Dallas is eager to get back to work, even though she is not totally healed yet. It is almost Christmas time, and now she has to do some shopping for the friends she has accumulated since meeting Roarke. It used to be only Mavis and her, but now there is Nadine, Peabody, Dr. Mira and of course her husband. But what do you buy for the man who owns half the known galaxy already?
And Roarke is throwing a Christmas party, why does he have to do stuff like that? Decorating Christmas trees is also something Eve hasn’t done before in her life. But Roarke wants to create memories together, do the traditional things.

Christmas is also a time for murder, and Eve has to find a serial killer, who uses the 12 days of Christmas as his theme. What do you do when you see Santa Claus on your doorstep, carrying a lovely present for you? You open the door. Which is a very bad choice in this instance. The killer is cocky, even poses for the security camera’s knowing he can’t be recognized in his Santa disguise. He tranqs, then rapes and strangles his victims, making them more beautiful, leaving a temporary tattoo somewhere on the body, reading: my one true love, and then he leaves a piece of jewelry behind, hinting at the song. A partridge in a pear tree, two turtledoves, etc. So does he want to kill 12 people before Christmas? How is Eve going to find him, when he leaves no trace at all behind?

The only thing the first two victims have in common, is the dating service they used. The make up used on them was very high end, but still too popular to nail it down to a few buyers. Eve doesn’t like the owners/managers of Personally Yours, she is convinced there is something wrong with them. But after trying very hard to find evidence, they are not the murderer. Piper even becomes a victim, rescued only just in time by her brother.
Eve decides to use Peabody and McNab as undercover agents, having them signed on at Personally Yours. Hoping this will flush out the killer. And in the end, it does. But will she be there on time to save Peabody?

A great book. I didn’t remember the details much, but I did remember who the murderer was. Really creepy person, very much disturbed. But you can’t blame the mother for the choices he made. No new characters to the cast yet, though we did meet Charles, the LC again. I like him.

8,5 stars.

zondag 5 december 2010

J.D. Robb – Vengeance in Death

The sixth book in the In Death series, published in 1997.

Vengeance in Death

When technology links the law and the lawless, predators and prey can become one and the same …
He is a techno-savvy madman with the mind of a genius and the heart of a killer. He quietly stalks his prey. Then he haunts the police with cryptic riddles about the crimes he is about to commit – always solved moments too late to save the victims’ lives. Lieutenant Eve Dallas found the first victim butchered in his own home. The second lost his life in a vacant luxury apartment. The two men had little in common. Both suffered unspeakable torture before their deaths. And both had ties to an ugly secret of ten years past – a secret shared by none other than Eve’s husband, Roarke.

Fifteen years ago Summerset’s daughter, age 14, was raped, tortured and murdered. All because Roarke was getting to much of the action of a Dublin gang. But he took his revenge on all six of them. But now his past sins are coming back to haunt him, and Summerset. Summerset and Eve really dislike each other. Summerset thinks Eve is beneath Roarke, he could have had the crème the la crème of society women, glamorous, successful, great hostesses. Instead he chose a cop. And cops don’t get much esteem from Summerset. After all, they did nothing when his little girl was murdered back then.
And now Eve is getting transmissions from a murderer, daring her to find him, and stop him from killing his next victim. He claims to be the hand of God, justice. But his handiwork is ugly, the worst Eve has ever seen. And all the leads point to Summerset as the killer. And arrogant as he is, he doesn’t listen to Eve at all. He has no solid alibi’s for the times of the murder, he refuses to be careful. And now she has to do the best she can to keep both him and her husband Roarke out of the fire.
People are getting murdered, people Roarke new, and even loved back home in Dublin, Ireland. The murderer is very knowledgeable with electronics, dazzling the e-detective McNab. But he is getting closer, and with Captain Feeney on a well deserved vacation, he is the leading man, working together with Roarke and his R & D department to track down the killer. Eve tries to draw out the murderer by getting his attention on herself. All those murders are only a beginning, the real target is Roarke, and she will do everything in her power to prevent that, even offering herself up as bait first.

This was a real suspenseful story, and I loved it. We got to meet McNab, who will play his part in the rest of the series. A very colourfully dressed e-detective, very good at his work, and totally loving all of Roarkes toys (and his food).
This time it is Roarke who faces his past, not Eve, though she still has her nightmares haunting her. And we got to know Summerset a little better, though he still is a tight-ass, and will always be one.

8 stars

zaterdag 4 december 2010

Linda Wisdom – 50 ways to hex your lover

The first book in the Jazz Tremaine series, published in 2008.

50 ways to hex your lover

Jazz can't decide whether to scorch him with a fireball or jump into bed with him.

Jasmine Tremaine, a witch who can't stay out of trouble.

Nikolai Gregorivich, a drop-dead gorgeous vampire cop on the trail of a serial killer.

The sizzling love affair between Jazz and Nick has been off-again, on-again-for about 300 years. Mostly off, lately. But now Nick needs Jazz's help, and while Jazz and Nick try to figure out their own hearts and resist their ever-increasing attraction, they must steer clear of a maniacal killer with super-supernatural powers. They are surrounded by a hilarious cast of oddball paranormal characters, including Irma, the chain-smoking ghost who haunts Jazz's sports car, Dweezil, her ghoul of a boss, and Fluff and Puff, a pair of bunny slippers with sharp teeth and short tempers (watch your ankles)!

Jazz is living as she wants and happy with her life. She has a day job as a limousine driver for paranormal clients, and a part time job as a curse extinguisher, in LA. She loves living near the coast, like she grew up many hundreds of years ago in Ireland, named Griet. Two of her best friends live in a nearby town. And she rents a nice apartment in the house of a (human) computer geek who became a very good friend. She drives a great sportscar she loves, the only downside of that is, she is stuck with the ghost of a woman who died in that car, and refuses to leave.
Then Nick turns up again, needing her help. He has asked that before, and each time she ends up in jail while he leaves in the night. So she is determined to turn him down this time. Until she learns that the man she thought she killed 70 years ago, is still alive and kicking, and murdering vampires to sustain his own existence. It cost her dearly, the killing of a person, no matter how evil he was, and now he isn’t even dead! So why has the witches council punished her so severely, when she was already hurting in her soul for it.
Witches and Vampires have never been friends, with the added benefit that drinking the blood of a witch will make a vampire sick, and perhaps even kill him if he is still young. So the rest of the paranormal community is not overly concerned with the disappearances and murders of so many vampires. But will the murderer stop there, or try some other type of blood soon?
Jazz is still trying to stay out of it. Nick can tell her he quit the Protectorate, but he still wants to ask them for info and stuff. Especially his sire, who has been around since the Roman empire. Then she meets her nemesis eye to eye, kind of, and he terrorizes Irma, her ghost, and smears her car with evil. He will come after her again, if she doesn’t stop him again, and this time for good. The witches council won’t help her, so she decides to go for information at The Library, which is an experience all on its own. The Librarian already doesn’t like her much, so she has to be on her best behaviour.

I liked this first book. It has lots of humor in it, and of course, Jazz is a witch. I love reading about witches, especially the sassy and powerful ones who fight evil. And the attraction between Jazz and Nick is sure sparking from the pages. Then there are of course the secondary characters. I am very curious what will happen next and to learn more about the younger Jazz and what she did to get expelled from witch school and to keep being banished.

7 stars.

vrijdag 3 december 2010

New additions to my addiction

Recently I have received the following great books:

Jayne Ann Krentz - Shield's Lady
Anna Windsor - Captive Spirit
Kathryne Kennedy - Beneath the thirteen moons
Karen Hawkins - One night in Scotland

And right now I should be writing a review, but I am too tired for it. Which is also the reason I am not reading one of those books, but rereading another In Death book.

donderdag 2 december 2010

J.D. Robb – Ceremony in Death

The fifth book in the In Death series, published in 1997.

Ceremony in Death

Conducting a top secret investigation into the death of a fellow police officer has Lieutenant Eve Dallas treading on dangerous ground. She must put professional ethics before personal loyalties. But when a dead body is placed outside of her home, Eve takes the warning personally. With her husband, Roarke, watching her every move, Eve is drawn in the most dangerous case of her career. Every step she takes makes her question her own sense of right and wrong – and brings her closer to a confrontation with humanity’s most seductive form of evil …

With this book Lieutenant Eve Dallas dives into the strange world of Wicca, and its opposite, Satanism. Can the down to earth cop really understand what people motivate to engage in those opposite religions? There are murders enough, but can she prove it are murders? A cop, his granddaughter, a young Satanist, a banker, a lawyer. But who is or are the killer? The Satanists? Or the Wiccan? A difficult case for Eve, one she almost loses her life for.

8 stars.

woensdag 1 december 2010

J.D. Robb – Rapture in death

The fourth book in the In Death series, published in 1996.

Rapture in death

They died with smiles on their faces. Three apparent suicides: a brilliant engineer, an infamous lawyer, and a controversial politician. Three strangers with nothing in common – and no obvious reasons for killing themselves. Police Lieutenant Eve Dallas found the deaths suspicious. And her instincts paid off when autopsies revealed small burns on the brains of the victims. Was it a genetic abnormality or a high-tech method of murder? Eve’s investigation turned to the provocative world of virtual-reality games – where the same techniques used to create joy and desire could also prompt the mind to become the weapon of its own destruction…

While still on their honeymoon on the Olympus Resort, Roarkes greatest but not yet finished project, there is a suspicious death. It appears suicide, and Eve can find no clues to something else. She also has no jurisdiction out of space, so she has to turn the case over to others. But still, it just doesn’t ring true.
Back home in New York, Eve has a lot of court dates to give evidence. The next morning, she is called to the home of the lawyer she butted heads with, and finds him death in his bathtub. Why would he do that? Why would a very vain and arrogant man kill himself in such a manner? And why? He had no troubles at all, was very successful in what he did. Defending the lowlifes and most times, successfully.
Then Eve gets wind of a Washington senator jumping out of his office window. Again, a man with no apparent reason for suicide. And then the medical examiner finds a tiny little burn mark in the brain of the dead lawyer, and Eve starts her investigation.

Also Mavis stars in this book. She has found someone to work with, who polishes up her songs and act. And now they want Roarke and Eve to throw a party to promote Mavis. But something is just not kosher with the music. Is Mavis just being used to get close to Roarke and his very deep pockets of money?

And just when Eve thinks she has found her killer, his profile doesn’t match according to dr. Mira. Will a second opinion by a shrink with a different background, who believes everything is printed upon us by birth, get a different outcome?

Well, the blurb tells most of the story this time. I haven’t much inspiration today to write a good review. Mostly, I hope that what happens in 2058 in this series, will indeed become reality, as most sounds just great. But the clue in this story, I hope that will never become true. A really horrible thing, to be able to control people to do what ever you want them to do. Even suicide. Or rape.
I also don’t care much about the theories off the second shrink. That every thing we do, we were destined to do, to be. That free will and choices are of no influence on our destiny. Everything is in the genetic code of a person and unchangeable. I just can’t believe that. It is just a great excuse for bad behaviour. I couldn’t help myself, it was destiny …

8 stars.

New books to look forward to for december 2010

Here is the list of new books I am eagerly awaiting for december 2010:

Laura Childs – Bedeviled Eggs

Kathryn Kennedy - Beneath the thirteen moons
Kresley Cole – Deep kiss of winter
Jude Deveraux – The Scent of Jasmine
Christine Feehan – Ruthless Game
Marjorie M. Liu - In the dark of dreams – Dirk and Steele 11
Anna Windsor – Captive Soul
Anne McCaffrey – Catacombs – Barque Cats 2
Kinley MacGregor – Darkness within – Lords of Avalon 3
Cherry Adair – Undertow
Jayne Ann Krentz – In too deep – Arcane Society Looking Glass 1

Mmm I have only read 5 of the new books listed for november, though I have read lots and lots more this month. Some have not reached my house yet, and some I have to read the previous books first.

So many books, so little time ...

dinsdag 30 november 2010

Jennifer Estep – Venom

The third book in the Elemental Assassin series, published in 2010.


What kind of assassin works pro bono?

It's hard to be a badass assassin when a giant is beating the crap out of you. Luckily, I never let pride get in the way of my work. My current mission is personal: annihilate Mab Monroe, the Fire elemental who murdered my family. Which means protecting my identity, even if I have to conceal my powerful Stone and Ice magic when I need it most. To the public, I'm Gin Blanco, owner of Ashland's best barbecue joint. To my friends, I'm the Spider, retired assassin. I still do favors on the side. Like ridding a vampire friend of her oversized stalker--Mab's right-hand goon who almost got me dead with his massive fists. At least irresistible Owen Grayson is on my side. The man knows too much about me, but I'll take my chances. Then there's Detective Bria Coolidge, one of Ashland's finest. Until recently, I thought my baby sister was dead. She probably thinks the same about me. Little does she know, I'm a cold-blooded killer . . . who is about to save her life.

One night having a nasty cold, coming back from college, Gin is waited for by Jonah McAlister, who is trying to find out who murdered his son, even though in the papers it is written to be a heart condition that turned fatal. So now he is talking to everyone who had a bone to pick with Jake, and Gin is right on top of that list. When she denies to know anything (of course she won’t confess to that!) he has Elliot Slater, Mab Monroe’s enforcer, to beat her up. To keep her disguise, she can’t use her Stone or Ice magic, which is a good thing, since Mab is waiting in the shadows for just such a thing. But they leave her mostly dead. The rent-a-cop employed by the college really thinks her death, and calls in the police. And so Gin finally lays eyes on her long lost sister: Bria. Of course Bria doesn’t recognize her, but Gin does, and so does Finn when het gets on scene.

When Gin finds out Roslyn is being stalked by Elliot Slater, and it is kind of her fault for getting the giant to meet the vampire, Gin is determined to help her. But every time she tries to kill Elliot, something or someone gets in the way.
Like her sister, who seems determined to get something on Mab Monroe and her cronies, to arrest them for. But of course, with the police and judges being as corrupt as they are, that will never happen or stick. The only way is Gin’s way: to kill them, so they can’t hurt other people anymore, and get their revenge for the murder of their family.
Of course Gin cannot yet reveal her identity to her sister, but she will do what she can to keep Bria safe, even though she seems capable and strong enough to do that herself.

Some one else Gin keeps stumbling over is Owen Grayson. He really is serious about getting to know her better, and even the ugly truth about herself is not enough to chase him off. Can they really have a future together, when Gin is determined to bring down Mab Monroe and everyone of her cronies and goons?

I really liked this book, and am looking forward to the fourth in the series. But I do get tired of all the repeats. You don’t have to read the previous ones to read this one, everything is explained, and again. It does take me away from the storyline, and costs too many pages.

7 stars.

maandag 29 november 2010


Okay, this is totally non-book related, but I just have to blog about it, to remember for myself. I am home from work with a nasty migraine, and it is snowing! The very first snow of the season, and I just love looking at it. I just went outside for a minute, catching some flakes. It was a really gray day, but with the snow on the ground, it is much lighter outside. I love it. And according to the radar, there is a huge amount of snow coming my way!

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Ofcourse, I have been listening to Sky Radio Christmas songs today, so I am even more in the mood for it ;)

Jennifer Estep – Web of Lies

The second book in the Elemental Assassin series, published in 2010.

Web of lies

Curiosity is definitely going to get me dead one of these days. Probably real soon.

I'm Gin Blanco.
You might know me as the Spider, the most feared assassin in the South. I'm retired now, but trouble still has a way of finding me. Like the other day when two punks tried to rob my popular barbecue joint, the Pork Pit. Then there was the barrage of gunfire on the restaurant. Only, for once, those kill shots weren't aimed at me. They were meant for Violet Fox. Ever since I agreed to help Violet and her grandfather protect their property from an evil coalmining tycoon, I'm beginning to wonder if I'm really retired. So is Detective Donovan Caine. The only honest cop in Ashland is having a real hard time reconciling his attraction to me with his Boy Scout mentality. And I can barely keep my hands off his sexy body. What can I say? I'm a Stone elemental with a little Ice magic thrown in, but my heart isn't made of solid rock. Luckily, Gin Blanco always gets her man . . . dead or alive.

Gin is still thinking about the things Fletcher left her after his death. The fact that he has always known who she really is, that her baby sister is still alive while Gin though she was responsible for her death 17 years ago. And why is Mab Monroe’s name in the file? Is she the fire elemental who murdered her family and tortured Gin? What is she to do about Bria, where can she find her? And will she be happy with an older sister who is an assassin?

She also never knew retirement would be so … boring. She still works the dayshift in the Pork Pit, the restaurant Fletcher left her. She still loves to cook, but she is at a loss what to do with her evenings now there are no files to study, people to track down and kill. And that handsome detective Donovan Caine also hasn’t contacted her. Even though there is this huge attraction between them, his morals get in the way. Of all the cops in Ashland, Gin had to fall for the only honest one.

Then two young men try to rob her restaurant, taking one of her customers hostage. Gin and Sophia, her cook and cleanup crew, take quickly care of that. But this little mouse has a very long tale, as one of them is the son of the most important lawyer in Ashland, also close friends with Mab Monroe, the fire elemental who runs the town. And he can make life very difficult for her when she presses charges against his son. But Gin isn’t afraid of him, and she won’t stand back for a bully. If word gets around that she gave in, her place will be robbed all the time, and Jake MacAllister will make it his hobby to harass her. After all, he will never forgive her for defeating him.

Another piece of the tail is, the girl taken hostage is the beloved sister of another very powerful man. Owen Grayson is not a friend of Mab Monroe, and he quickly becomes very interested in Gin, in a personal way. Especially when she doesn’t want his money for saving his sister. Of course, she made millions as an assassin, and doesn’t need the money MacAllister senior is trying to buy her of with, or the money Owen wants to thank her with. But she does take the favor he will own her in future.

The very next day, shots are fired into her restaurant. Luckily the window is bullet proof, so no one gets hurt. But tracking down the shooter is not so easy. And when Gin finds out she was not the target, that Jake MacAllister is not the shooter, but the young girl who just asked about the Tin Man was, her curiosity gets the better part of her. She has Finn find out everything he can about her, and tracks Violet Fox back to the university, where they are just in time to safe her from being raped and murdered by a dwarf.

It turns out her grandfather and Fletcher were old friends, who split up over a woman who made a fool of the both of them. A powerful dwarf miner, Tobias Dawson, another one of Mab Monroe’s friends, is trying to get them to sell the property their family has lived on for over 300 years, so he can mine some more coal. Killing the mountain in the process. Warren T. Fox refuses again and again, and Dawson is increasing the pressure to sell. If not legal, than by illegal means. And killing certainly will get him what he wants.

To Gin’s surprise, Donovan Caine is an old friend of the family, and also there when they all arrive. And of course he cannot accept that Gin will have to kill Dawson to get him of the Foxes’ back. But he will also do nothing to prevent it. And that is killing him.

I really loved this book. Filled with action, and direct decisions. And perhaps Gin will finally get over Caine, he is just not meant for her. Lots of magic, colourful characters. Murder and danger, and I just have to read the next one, Venom. I want to know what will happen in this book too.

I like Gin and her friends, they don’t hesitate to do what is necessary, how cold it sounds. But they also stand for the innocent, and do something pro bono. And that retirement? Perhaps she will continue on that path, or not.

8 stars.

zondag 28 november 2010

Anthology – Burning up

Burning up

Nalini Singh – Whisper of Sin

A woman in lethal danger finds an unlikely protector – and lover – in a volatile member of the DarkRiver pack.

This story is placed at the beginning of the Psy-Changeling books, where DarkRiver and SnowDancer are not yet allies.
The Leopard Changelings have claimed Los Angeles as their territory, when a human mafia family is trying to take over. They start out in China Town, threatening the shop owners into paying protection money. Ria’s mother has refused to pay, and one night, when Ria gets home from night school, she finds herself attacked in a dark alley close to home. She fights back, but is about to be overpowered by the lowlife, when a blond angel saves her. But it is not the blond who holds her so tenderly, it is his dark and rugged companion, Emmett, who cradles her in his arms, and makes her feel so save. Even after the horrible experience, she knows she can trust him, he will not hurt her.

Her family is a mix of Chinese and American humans, and though she looks American, she has the height (or lack of) her grandmother and mother. But she is tougher than she looks. Ria’s family is determined to have her marry the son of their best friends, Tom. But Ria is not interested in Tom, and never has been. Just as little as he is in her. He just wants to make a respectable marriage, and have his real love as his mistress. Her parents don’t believe her, until her wily grandmother shows them the evidence. But that doesn’t mean they are happy with a Leopard in the family.

The gang will stop at nothing now to hurt Ria and her family, so the DarkRiver pack sets up protection for all of them, and Emmett will be Ria’s bodyguard, till they manage to find the mafia boss and make him pay.

I really loved this little story, wish it was a full length one! I admired Ria and how she handles her family and Emmett. And Emmett, when he finally realises his mate is not a pampered female he needs to cuddle, but a warrior in her own right. They were great together, with some really hot love scenes between them.

9 stars

Angela Knight – Blood and Roses

A vampire warrior and his seductive captor join forces to stop a traitor from unleashing an army of demonic predators on their kingdom.

Welcome to a world where human magicians created a race of vampire warriors to keep them save from their reptilian neighbours, who love to slaughter and eat humans. They also created a race of female magicians, called Blood Roses. They can enthral the vampires and keep them in line.

The king suspects one of his knights of treason, and sends his best investigator out to find out the truth. Raniero and his men ride straight in an ambush, and his men are killed instantly by two Varil warriors, and he himself fights another vampire. He is on the brink of winning the battle, when he is distracted by the appearance of a Blood Rose. He tries to save her, which is not necessary and is captured by his enemy.

Amaris doesn’t want to help her father, but the price for rebellion is the death of her little sister. And she cannot risk it. Perhaps she can ask this prisoner for his help later.

I am not familiar with this world created by Angela Knight, but I liked it. There was little time to get to know both Raniero and Amaris, but the little I learned about them, I liked. A totally different kind of vampire story this is. But I love most anything to do with magic. Of course there was passion in this story, but also love and trust. I think I want to read more of her.

8 stars.

Virginia Kantra – Shifting Sea

The story of a wounded soldier rescued by a strange and enigmatic young woman.

Major Jack Harris has just returned from fighting Napoleon. He is scarred, but whole, and the heir to a little estate on the shore. A little fishing village belongs to it. The past few days he has surveyed his new possession. He is eager to do the right thing to his tenants, although he was never brought up to be a farmer, a landowner. He was 16 when his parents died and he joined the army.

Then he hears a woman singing on the beach, a vision, and he just has to go to her. He has not seen her before, and she just asks him to join her in her bed. Is she the village whore then? Is that why she is living alone, away from the village? But no, her dress is of quality. But after their passion is satisfied, she sends him on his way, she is expecting an other man. What is he to think of her.

The very next day, he meets her in the village, trying to buy a pair of shoes with an ancient Spanish dubloon. His steward accuses her of stealing, and wants to take her into custody, but Jack helps her out. His steward has been robbing his villagers for the past six months, and Jack is determined to pay those debts in full. He takes Morwenna to her cottage, and again they have sex. She is not abhorred by his scarred body, and something melts inside of the both of them.

But Morwenna is not human, she is of the finfolk, and they do not know much about love. She doesn’t want anything Jack can offer her, she wants her freedom. But Jack is determined to court her, he wants to marry her. But living like a human, loving like a human, will maker her age and die like a human too. Her brother warns her: humans hate what they do not understand. Can she tell Jack the truth about herself? Or will he reject her when he finds out?

I have read a short story in this world created by Virginia Kantra before, and liked it, but not enough to start reading the whole series. Again I like this short story, but I just miss a bit of humor. It is al written with such a serious tone, no witty bantering, just a lot of love scenes and earnesty. So it is not the world I don’t like, as I do, but I guess just the writing style of this author that does not appeal to me enough.

6,5 stars

Meljean Brook – Here there be monsters

A desperate woman strikes a provocative – and terrifying – bargain to gain overseas passage.

I’ve started this story, but won’t finish it. I’m just not into steampunk.

zaterdag 27 november 2010

Tamar Myers – Just plain pickled to death

The fourth book in the Pennsylvania Dutch Mysteries with Recipes series, published in 1997.

Just plain pickled to death

A well-preserved corpse.

A twenty-year-old barrel of genuine Pennsylvania Dutch sauerkraut isn’t Magdalena Yoder’s idea of a great wedding present from her future father-in-law. Especially when it has a corpse in it. And it sure puts Mennonite-born Magdalena, owner of the picturesque PennDutch Inn, in a pickle. She has just one week before she ties the know with the man of her dreams – and this bride of forty-four will allow nothing to delay her nuptials, even murder.

Of course, Magdalena recognizes the victim, who is as well preserved as a gherkin. It’s her fiancé’s cousin Sarah, who’s been missing for years. Soon Magdalena’s inn is filled with unwanted guests – eccentric aunts and loopy uncles of the deceased. And Magdalena – shrewd as she is peppery – suspects one of them is the killer. Now she is over a barrel, blowing the lid off a mystery two decades old, and digging up a scandal that may shake her Amish hometown to the bedrock and send her to a funeral – her own – instead of her wedding day!

I am a little disappointed in this book, as it couldn’t hold my attention for long stretches. Magdalena is busy with the preparations for her wedding next Saturday, she even closed the Inn for the week! She and her cook Freni are busy planning the wedding dinner, when her future father-in-law brings over an old barrel of sauerkraut. Freni wants to check the contents to see if it is still edible after all those years, and then they find the body. Aaron’s missing cousin has apparently been there for the last twenty years.

Magdalena is determined to find out who killer her, she will not let this spoil her wedding! And she sure can’t count on their stupid chief of police, Melvin Stolzfuss to find the murderer. To her dismay, Aaron’s relatives who want to come for the funeral, have to stay at her Inn, at no cost! And they really are a very strange bunch.

Rumors are, Sarah’s mother eloped a few weeks before Sarah herself disappeared, and Jonas, their husband/father is estranged from the family, no-one knows where he is. But Magdalena manages to find out from rumors where she could find him, and is determined to invite him to the funeral of his own daughter.

But Jonas has secrets of his own, all this time he had in his possession his daughters diary. And he blames one of the aunts of her death. And refuses to allow her access to the funeral. But the diary gets stolen before anyone other than Magdalena can take a look at it. Things detoriate from there quickly, and the family is divided in two camps.

As always, I loved the interaction between Magdalena and Freni. I still think Aaron is a whimp, and Magdalena could find a better man. They will live together in the Inn, and Aaron will help her run it. She even agrees to take in his father, who is a real pack rat. He cannot throw anything away. Hence the 20 year old sauerkraut, and a house full of worthless things.

But she does take little crap from the rest of the family, for which I am glad. The real murderer was a surprise to me as much as to Magdalena, and I don’t think I could have figured it out myself earlier.

6,5 stars.

vrijdag 26 november 2010

J.D. Robb – Immortal in Death

The third book in the In Death series, published in 1996.

Immortal in Death

She was one of the most sought after women in the world. A top model who would stop at nothing to get what she wanted – even another woman’s man. And now she was dead, the victim of a brutal murder. Police Lieutenant Eve Dallas put her life on the line tot take the case when suspicion fell on her best friend, the other woman in the fatal love triangle. Beneath the façade of glamour, eve found that the world of high fashion thrived on an all-consuming obsession for youth and fame. One that led from the runway to the dark underworld of New York City, where drugs could be found to fulfil any desire – for a price …

Lieutenant Eve Dallas is getting married! She still cannot believe herself she said yes to Roarke. But she did, and now she has to face the consequences. She refuses to have Roarke pay for her wedding dress, so she has to go shopping. When Roarke finds out, she is going with her best friend Mavis, he blanches. After all, Mavis has a very flashy style. And Eve has not really what you can call a fashion sense, or much interest in what she is wearing.

Mavis takes Eve to her new boyfriend, Leonardo, an upcoming designer. Eve wants to run away as fast as she can when she sees the displays, but Leonardo surprises her. He is an enormous man, but as gentle as a teddy bear, and obviously very much in love with Mavis. The design Leonardo comes up with, is really great. No white or ivory for Eve, nor much frills and lacey bits. But classic lines and smooth fabric.

Then, in the middle of being measured, a very angry woman enters the room, and she takes a swipe at Eve with her lethal nails, and Eve has no choice but to deck her. It happens to be an ex lover of Leonardo, furious that he has the nerve to discard her. After all, she is Pandora, a super model, and she can make him, or break him! If she wishes too, she can ruin his coming fashion show, and make the money lenders demand their money back. He will give up his relationship with Mavis until she is done with him, or else!

Mavis chooses for Leonardo, as she is in love with him too, and cannot bear to sea him loose his future. They will just postpone their relationship till after the show. When he is a success, there is nothing Pandora can do anymore to hurt them.

Then Eve gets the call that one of her snitches is found floating in the river. Officer Delia Peabody recognized him as one of Eve’s sources, and called it in. Even though she already has a full caseload, Eve asks for this one. He was one of hers. And she asks for Peabody as her aide. She thinks Peabody has a lot of potential, and she wants to be a Detective. Helping Eve will sure teach her a lot of things about being a Detective.

Searching through Boomer’s room is a health hazard. It is really filthy, like he has been holed up for a few weeks there. But in they end, they hit pay-dirt. Under his mattress they find a bag with a blue powder in it, and a disk with a scientific formula. Testing in the lab takes to long, as it is swamped with work this hot summer, so Eve asks Roarke to use his system to find out what they are dealing with. And one of the components is just unknown, not from this planet. But they do know it is a powerful drug, and something of a regeneration formula too. But it is also highly addictive and poisonous. It will kill you after a few years of using this.

Then Pandora is found death in Leonardo’s loft, and Mavis finds her. And is also the main suspect, as her skin is found under Pandora’s finger nails, and her fingerprints are the only ones on the murder weapon. Eve just knows Mavis would not, could not have killed Pandora. But she has to do her duty and arrest her, while using all her skills and time to find the real murder, or murderers.
More people turn up death, but they are not so high profile as Pandora. But her suspects are.

And Eve is thrown in a plot of greed, drugs and high fashion. And still she has to prepare for her wedding, and sort out her own past now her nightmares are getting worse, and she actually starts to remember her childhood. And how horrible it was.

In the end, she finds she has friends in unsuspected places and it is her henparty where she finally finds out the truth, and the murderer.

Another great book, I really loved reading this one. It was great to learn more about Mavis and her Leonardo, who take so much place in the rest of the series, and of course Peabody, who will be a real co-star. She appeared very briefly before, and this is where she really enters the series. Of course there are Nadine and dr. Mira. But there is also the one woman Eve is really afraid of: Trina. And those glimpses in her private life are just precious to me. Of course, the mystery part is great, but it is the personal life and the development of that I really love reading about. And the reason you have to read a series like this one in order to fully enjoy it all.

8 stars.