zaterdag 31 juli 2010

Christine Feehan - Water Bound

The first book in the Sisters of the Heart series.

Water Bound

The last thing Lev Prakenskii remembered was being lost in the swirling currents of the ocean and getting sucked deeper into the nothingness of a freezing black eddy off the coastal town of Sea Haven. Just as quickly, just a miraculously, he was saved—pulled ashore by a beautiful stranger. But Lev has no memory of who he is—or why he seems to possess the violent instincts of a trained killer. All he knows is that he fears for his life, and for the life of his unexpected savior.Her name is Rikki, a sea~urchin diver in Sea Haven. She has always felt an affinity for the ocean, and for the seductive pull of the tides. And now she feels drawn in the same way to the enigmatic man she rescued. But soon they will be bound by something even stronger, and their tantalizing secrets will engulf them both in a whirlpool of dizzying passion and inescapable danger.

After reading this book, I was in awe. What an amazing book! I enjoyed it thoroughly.

This book continues where Hidden Currents ended, kind of. Rikki is alone at sea, every one else in town is at the weddings of the Drake Sisters. This gives her the perfect opportunity to harvest her secret found of sea-urchins in a dangerous place, near the underseas abyss. The place has always given her the creeps, but the harvest is very good.
She has already filled a few nets and is eating lunch when a huge wave rolls upon her, and throws her overboard again. Luckily, she had just put on her breather again, so she won’t drown. Then she sees someone else being tossed around by the turbulence, and being thrown against the reef. She rescues the man, sharing her oxygen with him, and some how getting the both of them safe on board. She brings him back to life with CPR, and he repays her by putting a knife to her throat! But Rikki is different from other women, other people, she isn’t the least bit afraid. She is furious! She just saved him, she is the captain of this boat, and she is in charge!
Lev doesn’t know what happened to him. Why is that woman not afraid of him? She cannot fight him and win! He has an arsenal strapped to his body. But his concussion has made him lose his memory, he doesn’t know who he is, or what he is. Which of the 10 names he knows is his own? And then he tells her more than he should.
Rikki doesn’t like being touched, but somehow, this stranger doesn’t bother her much. He doesn’t want to go to a hospital, he knows he is in danger but now why of by whom. With some strange logic Rikki takes him home. She, who doesn’t even like having her sisters in her house, brings a stranger home, in her bed! Her sanctuary. She is not the nurturing kind, she is a loner.

She is also a water elemental, she can command water to aid her, the rain to fall, the waves to play with her. She is also autistic, and sensory dysfunctional. She cannot stand fluorescent lights and loud sounds. She has her own routines to do everything, and when they are interrupted, or when she is distracted by a drop of water of a pattern of something, she will sink in her own world. She only eats peanut butter, although her sisters try to make her eat healthier things, like broccoli. She has a lovely dinner service, but never uses it.
And now this man, this stranger, will want to eat normal food, he will use her dishes, her bathroom. He will disrupt her life! But somehow she just cannot throw him out of her house.

Lev turns out to be Ilja’s brother (of course), and he is tired of killing, of being an assassin. He is strangely drawn to Rikki, to her eyes, they kind of ground him. He doesn’t know why. He himself is also highly paranormally gifted. So he wants to start a new life, and for that, he has to make his former bosses and his enemies believe he died in the boating accident.

The strange wave that sank the yacht he was on, attracted a lot of attention. From scientist, but also from the media. And unfortunately, some tv channel caught Rikki on film. Ever since she was 13, and her parents died in a house fire, she has been haunted by fires. Two foster homes burned down, her fiancée died a few years ago. And she is almost sure she some how started those fires. But Lev doesn’t believe it for a second. She is a water elemental, she cannot cope with fire, is afraid of it, doesn’t even use it. It turns out, Rikki has a stalker, a fire elemental, determined to kill her with fire.

And to protect her, Lev agrees to bring in the local sheriff, to help catch this killer. The sheriff who also happens to be a brother in law to his own brother, so they are kind of family. As one of Rikki’s sisters-of-the-heart is an aunt to the Drake Sisters.

I loved this book, and I cannot wait for the other books in this series, as all of Rikki’s adopted sisters-of-the-heart are intriguing. I want to know what happened to all of them, and have them find their own man. Perhaps all brothers to Lev and Ilja?

After reading this book, I was also extremely curious, what is a sea-urchin? So I googled, and found this page with pictures. And found them beautiful and strange.

But I still didn’t know what they are. Plant or animal. So, I googled some more and found out this on the all-knowing Wikipedia:

Sea urchins or urchins are small, spiny, globular animals which, with their close kin, such as sand dollars, constitute the class Echinoidea of the echinoderm phylum. They inhabit all oceans. Their shell, or "test", is round and spiny, typically from 3 to 10 centimetres (1.2 to 3.9 in) across. Common colors include black and dull shades of green, olive, brown, purple, and red. They move slowly, feeding mostly on algae. Sea otters, wolf eels, and other predators feed on them. Humans harvest them and serve their gonads as a delicacy.

Hmm, new question. What are gonads? So I googled again, and found the answer I really didn’t want to know. I don’t think I will try those any day soon, however much I love trying out unknown foods …

A new book for my collection

I got this one as an early birthday present from my friend Freya.
Nalini Singh - Bonds of Justice.

One of the perks of reading ebooks, is that the paperback version remains in pristine condition on my shelves. Yes, I know, I am weird. And addicted to books. So I could also name this post: an addition to my addiction.

donderdag 29 juli 2010

Melissa Mayhue - A highlander's homecoming

The 6th book in the Daughters of the Glen series. A lovely series about Fae, and Scottish Warriors, and Magic, and Timetravelling, and Soulmates finding each other through the boundaries of time.

A highlander's homecoming

Scotland, Present day. When Faerie Magic swept Robert MacQuarrie forward in time, modern medicine saved him from a fatal wound. But he also left behind an unfulfilled vow, to protect his friend’s young daughter, Isabelle. Haunted by guilt for more than a decade, he leaps at the chance to go back and keep that vow. The magic of the Fae works in its own mysterious ways, however. Not only does his homecoming turn out to be twenty years after he left, but there’s also that tricky matter of the fate he escaped before.

Scotland, 1292. Isabella MacGahan has reluctantly chosen a lonely existence, scorned for her Faery blood and uncontrollable power. When she’s caught in a conflict between clans, a pawn in the struggle for power and land, her only option is to trust a handsome stranger. One who swears he was charged with her safety a full twenty years before … although the deluded man seems little older than her.

No one is safe when Mortal schemes and Faerie magic push Robbie and Isabella to confront their worst fears. Will the magic demand the ultimate price from them both – or will they find their true homecoming in each other’s arms?

I do so love those covers! Very romantic, and those glitters make you see the magic happening. But of course, never judge a book by its cover. I have found great books with ugly covers, and vice versa. But in this series, the cover fits the books. I love them.

It has a lot of the things I love in my books: magic, history, romance, a strong hero, but not so macho he has to have his own way all the time, and a strong heroine who knows what she wants and gets it, and does what has to be done.

I am very glad there will be two more books coming out next year, I for one will certainly buy them. I put them on my calendar right away.

In the previous book, the young Leah was abused horridly by the bad Fae. She wants nothing to do with any kind of Fae at all, and Robert agrees to escort her back in time, to his parents Keep. Protecting Leah, and finding Isabella as he promised all those years ago, will mean for him to honor his vow at last.
What he did not expect, was that the Magic delivered them 20 years after he has left. So the little Isabella is a grown woman, and worst of all, a redhead! With the temper to fit. When Isabella refuses to go with him to his parents Keep, he vows to stay with her in her little cottage. But politics in her grandfathers Keep place her in the midst of danger. Her cousin wants her dead, a man who wants to take control of the MacGahan lands wants her for his wife, but Isabella just wants to be left alone. Where she can hurt no one with her uncontrollable powers. So why doesn’t this gorgeous warrior leave her alone as she wishes? Why does he keep tempting her?

Robbie doesn’t know why he is so attracted to Isabella, but finally he recognises her as his Soulmate, and it doesn’t take him long to convince her of this truth. But then danger sneaks up on them, and they are brought back to MacGahan Keep. Where Robert is thrown in the dungeon, and Isabella is forced to wed the MacDowylt to keep him alive.

Coming back in time has not been good to Robbie. The fatal wound he got in the past but survived in the future, is regressing back to its original state, and it will kill him if he doesn’t go back to the future. So when they do escape and make it back home, they have just enough time to do just that.

An important secondary character is the boy Jamie. Who just might be Isabella’s uncle … and heir to her grandfathers clan and property. They save his life as well, and take him with them to the future. I wonder if he will go back one day to take his rightful place …

maandag 26 juli 2010

Joanne Pence - Cook's Night Out

The fifth book in the Angie Amalfi series.

Cook's Night Out

Chef Angie Amalfi’s never-ending quest for culinary fame and fortune has led her to create … angelinas, a perfect chocolate confection that no one will be able to resist! Actually the treat is not quite perfected yet and Angie’s donating her scrumptious rejects to San Francisco’s Random Acts of Kindness Mission – and donating her time as a volunteer as well, despite her police detective beau Paavo Smith’s warnings to stay away from the place. Paavo believes there’s something less than saintly going on at the mission – and when he finds himself facing charges of being on the take and a murderer, it’s up to Angie to unearth the unholy doings at Random Acts from the inside. Because suddenly, not only is her boyfriend’s reputation at stake, but his life is as well.

I enjoyed this story, I am growing to like both Angie and Paavo. Angie is looking for more of a commitment from Paavo, but Paavo is having problems with his job, and is not in the mood for talks about their future. So Angie decides to help him. When Paavo warns her to stay away from the mission, as something is very fishy there, she thinks there is no better way to find things out than from the inside. But then they discover Paavo’s old enemy Axel Claw (the man who murdered his sister 20 years ago) is involved. And the stakes are up.
Is the Reverend, the man who motives so many rich people to donate their goods and their time to the auction the mission is holding for money, a fraud? Why can’t Paavo find him in the system? Did he even exist before coming to Los Angeles?
People are murdered all over the city, all connected to an illegal gambling game called numbers, and Paavo’s name keeps popping up. His collegues and Internal Affairs begin to think he really is dirty, and a murdered too. So how can he prove his innocence?

A good story, with a very fitting end. I am curious about the next book which I will start shortly. But first some more historical romances, I think.

zaterdag 24 juli 2010

Lisa Kleypas - Love in the afternoon

The fifth book in the Hathaway series.

Love in the afternoon

As a lover of animals and nature, Beatrix Hathaway has always been more comfortable outdoors than in the ballroom. Even though she participated in the London season in the past, the classic beauty and free-spirited Beatrix has never been swept away or seriously courted. And she has resigned herself to the fate of never finding love. Has the time come for the most unconventional of the Hathaway sisters to settle for an ordinary man - just to avoid spinsterhood? Captain Christopher Phelan is a handsome, daring soldier who plans to marry Beatrix's friend, the vivacious flirt Prudence Mercer, when he returns from fighting abroad. But, as he explains in his letters to Pru, life on the battlefield has darkened his soul - and it's becoming clear that Christopher won't come back as the same man. When Beatrix learns of Pru's disappointment, she decides to help by concocting Pru's letters to Christopher for her. Soon the correspondence between Beatrix and Christopher develops into something fulfilling and deep, and when Christopher comes home, he's determined to claim the woman he loves. What began as Beatrix's innocent deception has resulted in the agony of unfulfilled love - and a passion that can't be denied.

I have been wondering what kind of man Lisa Kleypas would find for Beatrix. A man who would tame her, put up with all of her animals, and her zest for live. Her need of freedom, and her compassion. Never would I have thought of a soldier. I would have thought of a man loving animals like she did, kind and soft. So that is why I am the reader, and she is the author. The story is much told from the point of view of Christopher. The hardness of life on the battle field, and the effects of on his soul, his life when the war is finally over. How he suffers from nightmares, bouts of anger, how unsuspected sounds make him go for his not-there-anymore-gun.

But Beatrix understands him. She has tamed numerous wild beasts, and she understands Christophers pain, how difficult it is for him to be in polite society once more. He has been trained to react to danger for years, of course it is difficult to become untrained again. To safety. They are good for each other, and the difficulties aren’t just gone like that, because they are in love with each other. It takes time, and patience, and understanding.

A really great story, I loved it very much. It starts out really different than I am used to. The letters they write to each other (without Christopher knowing it is Beatrix), in which he tells the stories of the battlefield, the hard decisions the has to made, the wounds he suffers, and the falling in love they do when they come to know each other through their words, their thoughts. Of course Christopher thinks it is Prudence writing to him, but when he meets her again, he finds nothing in her, of the traits he fell in love with. So he has to find out who wrote those letters! And then he will marry her. At first he is very angry for the betrayal, thinking he has been played with. Played for a fool.

But after rescuing and taming his dog Alfred, who went to war with them, and cannot conform to civil life and behave like a proper dog, Beatrix manages to tame Christopher just as well. Christopher also has to accept he is a war hero, and people want to talk to him about it, when all he wants, is to forget the horrors. His brother died, and how he is the heir to his grandfather’s estates and riches, and he will have to learn estate management, take care of his tenants and all that. But with the help of his (future) brothers in law, he will learn.

I do recommend this book, with all my heart. I just know you will love it. So please let me know.

donderdag 22 juli 2010

Yasmine Galenorn - Night Myst

The first in the Indigo Court series.

Night Myst

Eons ago, vampires tried to turn the Dark Fae in order to harness their magic, only to create a demonic enemy more powerful than they could have imagined. Having quietly amassed their strength for centuries, the Vampiric Fae are determined to enslave the world. Now Myst, the Vampiric Fae Queen of the Indigo Court, is rising again – and a long prophesied war is about to begin.

Cicely Waters, a witch who can control the wind, has returned home to New Forest, Washington, after learning that her family is in danger. The Indigo Court holds the city in fear. People are vanishing, and strange deaths plague the town. And when she is swept into an unexpected and passionate reunion with Grieve, the Fae prince who taught her how to harness the wind, Cicely finds herself with a fierce and territorial lover.

But Grieve has become enslaved by Myst’s court, and now, caught between two evils, the lovers must survive the machinations of the Vampiric Fae queen, even as Cicely untangles the hidden secrets to her own heritage.

It is a compelling story that begins with this first book in a brand new series. Yasmine Galenorn is one of my favourite authors, I totally love her cozy series, and her Otherworld series are good too. Original, sexy and funny.

Yasmine has created a new world in this Urban Fantasy genre. Cicely is a witch, magic-born, with strange tattoo’s and a Wind Elemental helping her to stay alive. Years ago her mother left her heritage of magic behind, and took Cicely with her, living from day to day, till she died, sucked dry by the Vampire who made her his bloodwhore. Cicely vows never to become that. But when, upon returning to New Forest, she finds out her beloved aunt is abducted by the Indigo Court, she has to accept the help from the Crimson Court, the “normal” Vampires in town, and they demand a price …

Her niece, Rhiannon is a fire witch, but due to an accident when she was a teen, her magic is hidden deep within her, and is now threatening to come out, whether she wants it or not. She has to learn to control it.

There are only a few people left to help them. Leo, Rhiannon’s boyfriend, who is working for the Vampires as a day runner, to do their chores for them. And Kaylin, some other kind of supernatural being, a Dream Walker, with a demonic side.

A lot happens in this first story, too much to describe, and it would perhaps spoil your reading fun. There is the attraction between Cicely and her old love, Grieve. But the Vampires also want her for their own goals. And they use attraction and sex too. In kinds I don’t like to read about. It is perhaps a darker story than I am used too, but the overall story line will keep me hooked throughout the series. I just have to know what will happen next.
The things happening to Cicely, the things she finds out about herself, the strange kinds of magic, it is just all very compelling.

If you like to read about all kinds of supernatural beings, and a very good and original story, this is a book for you.

dinsdag 20 juli 2010

Annette Blair - Death by Diamonds

The third book already in the Vintage Magic Mystery series I love so much

Death by Diamonds

Madeira Cutler loves her Vintage Magic boutique, but the 'visions' she gets from the garments can be hard to handle, especially when she knows the owner. At first she's thrilled to receive a package containing the beautifully bejeweled dress she designed for actress and old friend Dominique Delong while in fashion school. But the dress comes with a disturbing message from Dominique, who it seems took her last bow under very mysterious circumstances.

Another great mystery by Annette Blair. I read this book cover to cover while I should have gone to bed on time. Dominique is killed, and she knows this. She has asked Madeira to use her talents, meaning her psychometric powers to find the killer or killers. Dom’s son Kyle is asking her to come to New York to help him. And as Maddie is also made the executor of Dom’s will, and she is to hold a Vintage Fashion Show of Dom’s collection for charity, she has a lot on her plate.
There are a lot of parasites around, hoping to gain from Dominique’s death, so possible murderers galore. And Maddy has to find the right one, with the help of the visions she gets from the clothes worn by Dom before her death, and by the murderers themselves. But ofcourse her visions won’t stick in court, she has to find evidence.
It helpes a lot that her most times boyfriend is a FBI agent, and her hometown Cop is also backing her up. Trying to protect her, has its price though. Werner gets tasered by Maddy this time, and they end up asleep (or unconscious) in the same bed. And Nick is getting jealous. Which is not something Maddy likes. She is not his possession, even if nothing happened but a very hot kiss before Evie woke them.

Surprises are around every corner in this very good and fastpaced mystery. It reads very easily and I love the writing style and the humor. If you like fashion, this really is a series for you. If you just love a good cozy mystery and don’t give a damn about fashion (like myself), this is a series for you. You just have to love the characters and the great plot.

Bring on the next book please!

Anth. Joanne Fluke - Laure Levine - Leslie Meier - Candy Cane Murder

Candy Cane Murder

'Tis the season for trimming the tree, caroling, baking cookies, and curling up by the Yuletide waiting for Santa to drop down the chimney. But in this festive collection of holiday whodunits, murder is also paying a visit... "Candy Cane Murder" by Joanne Fluke Bakery owner Hannah Swensen feels a little stuffed in her elf costume--but it's too late to count calories. Lake Eden's annual Christmas gala is upon her and eager children are waiting. Wayne Bergstrom, owner of Bergstrom's Department Store, happily ho-ho-hos his way through the festivities in his Santa suit. But when a trail of candy canes leads to his corpse in a snow bank, Hannah must find Kris Kringle's killer.

It’s been a few weeks since I read this story, didn’t stuck too much in my memory. But as the whole series, I liked it. I know Hannah and her sister Andrea investigate. And in the end they find out, that a machine which nets Christmas trees, also nets murders…
Wayne Bergstrom is a known cheapskate, so when he gets murdered, all attention is for who benefits. The wife who doesn’t mourn him a bit, her brother who works for him, or his ex-wife who though he was coming back to her.
But Hannah finds out some suspicious things … Wayne and his wife didn’t sleep together, and is her brother really that? And why didn’t Wayne wave to his ex-wife like he always did when passing her window?

Yes, a good story and not really short luckily for me.
"The Dangers of Candy Canes" by Laura Levine When a wealthy suburbanite takes a lethal tumble off his roof while installing a giant candy cane, the roofing contractor being held responsible for murder asks freelance writer Jaine Austen to investigate. But solving this untimely holiday death means delving into the cutthroat Christmas decorating wars among scheming neighbours with dirty secrets in their stocking. It takes a fruitcake hiding a weapon and a stunning confrontation to expose the mastermind of this holiday murder.

Sorry, I just could not get into this story. The writing style, the really stupid Jaine Austen, who keeps eating and drinking and whining about her weight. I did not finish it.
"Candy Canes of Christmas Past" by Leslie Meier Twenty-some years ago, Lucy Stone arrived in Tinker Cove, Maine, and discovered her knack for solving mysteries when she met Miss Tilly, the town librarian, whose mother took a fatal fall down the basement stairs one Christmas Eve. The "accident" left a cloud of suspicion on Miss Tilly's father and a slew of other suspects. The only clue was a glass candy cane found smashed to bits by the victim's body. Now Lucy must learn the mystery of the glass candy cane as she unlocks the doors of Christmas past, exposing secrets, scandal, and a killer who got away with murder. Whether a gift for yourself or that special someone on your list, there's no better way to spend the holidays than with these tantalizing mysteries of murder... Includes over 15 scrumptious holiday recipes!

I liked this story and the writing style of this author. Have to check her out soon. She has already written lots and lots of books, and I think this story may be the prequel.

Lucy and her husband moved to Tinker Cove, Maine, to life a good life away from the hectic life in New York. They bought an old farmhouse, and her husband is determined to renovate the house by himself. Unfortunately, there is more to do than planned, and he is not really good at it, or fast. So the winter is chilly, with little money to spend on food and even less on Christmas present. Taking care of a two year old, and pregnant with the next one, life is not easy for Lucy.
She has no friends there, no one to talk to. The she meets miss Tilly, the librarian, who tells her about her own past when Lucy comes over to bake the cookies she cannot make at home. And Lucy promises to find out what really happened to her mother all those years ago. Of course, it is also a good way to explore the town and its inhabitants and to make new friends and acquintances.

One by one she eliminates the possible suspects, leaving only the unsuspected truth as the last possibility. Only the glass candy cane will remain a mystery,

Stephanie Laurens - The Brazen Bride

This is the third book in the Black Cobra quartet, and I loved it. Although I must admit I grow very weary of all the seductions in her books, so I skipped a lot of lovescenes. Which saved me over an hour or reading time I guess.

The Brazen Bride

Four officers of the Crown, aided by Bastion Club member and Cynster alike, fight to bring down a dangerous enemy – and to win the loves of their lives …

Logan Monteith’s mission got off to a shaky start. Wounded in battle, he jumped from his ship rather than risk losing evidence that would bring down a traitor. But as he recuperates in a tiny village, his luck takes a roundabout turn as his fascination with his rescuer, the beautiful Linnet Trevission, grows.

Linnet’s strength and wisdom have made her a respected leader at home. That’s why she knows she’ll be invaluable to Logan – if only he’ll let her in. Linnet has no doubt that Logan is the man for her. Her only battle now is convincing him that the connection that they feel is real and everlasting and that her offer to help can safe him … before it’s too late.

Okay, whoever wrote this blurb on the back of the book itself, did not read the book! First, Logan didn’t jump overboard, he fell overboard when the storm shipwrecked his ship while he was fighting two assassins. Second, Linnet things the relationship is temporary, when Logan gets his memory back he will go back to his own life. How can two such strong people, both born leaders, live and love together for a prolonged time? She has no thought about marriage at all!

Logan ends up on the island of Guernsey, in the care of Linnet Trevission. She has the habit of taking in strays, orphans, animals and shipwrecked alike. She takes care of the orphans of the men who die at sea, working for her or living on the island. She also has lots of animals to care for, mainly donkeys as they are the most important means of transport on the island.
So when Logan awakes, he finds himself without a memory, other than his name and some random things. His mission, his history, his life for the past 20 years, is completely forgotten. His wounds are being taken care of, but his memory takes longer to heal. Bit by bit though, he finds himself again. In the mean time, he helps Linnet with her chores about the estate. But Linette wants to be repaid for her help by other favours – she wants to learn the passions of the flesh, as no other man has ever roused her desire like Logan does, though she is no demure virgin. She is 26, and the leader of her household, and as Logan learns later, owns a large shipping firm, and is captain of her own ship. She is even the best captain around, and that says a lot. Her crew follows her orders without hesitating, trusting her implicitly to keep them and the ship safe.
She has seen action in the war, knows how to fight with her ship, and with her cutlass, and how to kill if necessary.

But when Logan finally remembers everything he has to get to Plymouth as soon as possible, and then on to the Duke of Wolverton, aka Dalziel the spymaster. So Linnet decides to take him there on her own ship. Logan now has to tell her of the danger she is in, of the hate of the Black Cobra Cult whenever they are thwarted. She fights of three attacking ships without a single wounded men or scratch on her own ship. Logan very arbitrally decides to take her with him to keep her safe. And after some thinking Linnet finally agrees to go with him on his journey, to see his mission through. He needs her at his side to keep him safe, even now he has two friends Dalziel send to guide him.

A long journey through England awaits them, with numerous attacks by the cult, but they all survive and reach their destination, though the scroll holder gets taken by the enemy. A second head of the Cobra is murdered, leaving only one leader alive. But they still don’t know his name or where to find him.

And then the romance part. That is as usual very steamy, lots of love scenes and seductions. Logan decides he wants Linnet for his wife, but he has to convince her first that he will come back to her when his mission is over. After al, he is a gentleman and he would not have bedded her had he anything different in mind than marriage! He understands Linnet is like Queen Elizabeth, the head of her estate and a great captain, and he has no desire to change her into a proper lady. And in the face of danger, Linnet finally recognizes her feelings for Logan, and how important they are. And she longs for children for herself, even though she has her wards to look after, it is not enough.

I am very eagerly awaiting the fourth novel in this great series, as I want to know how this will end.

zaterdag 17 juli 2010

Elizabeth Lowell - Death Echo

The fifth book in the St. Kilda series.

Death Echo

Emma Cross left the CIA because she wanted to lead a "normal" life. A quiet one, investigating things that weren't life or death. St. Kilda Consulting put her to work investigating the theft of a yacht. What could be less urgent than the loss of a rich man's toy?

MacKenzie Durand walked away from a career in the military after bad intel cost the life of everyone on his special ops team except himself. He was tired of life or death situations where death won. Now his biggest worry is taking yachts from Seattle to a boat dealer in Rosario, Washington. Then Emma and Mac find themselves neck deep in mirror-image yachts, international gangsters, and things worse than simple murder. Before they know it, they are back in the world they thought they left behind, fighting for their lives.

I have two sided feelings about this book I have been waiting for for so long. It was good, action filled, but the elaborate plot, I just didn’t get the why of the twin boats. I liked both Emma and Mac a lot, their humor, their actions. And if you like yachting, you will love this book. A lot of time is spent teaching Emma to drive the yacht, and describing the bad weather. A lot of politics, the hate between FBI and CIA, and how that stops them from working together against the foreign enemies like Russia and Georgia in this book. It was really intriguing, and I loved the book, but still.

Nice reading more about Grace and Faroe and their family, but that came a distant third to the plot.

donderdag 15 juli 2010

Catherine Coulter - Whiplash

The fourteenth book in her great FBI thriller series. I have been looking forward to this one for a long time, and I was not disappointed in it.


Yale professor Dr. Edward Kender's father is undergoing chemotherapy when the supply of a critical accompanying drug suddenly runs out. Unwilling to accept the drug company's disingenuous excuse of production line problems, Dr. Kender hires private investigator Erin Pulask to prove there is something more sinister going on at Schiffer Hartwin’s manufacturing facility in Indiana. Pulaski uncovers a bombshell - Schiffer Hartwin’s intentional shortage is bringing in a windfall profit in excess of two billion dollars.
When a top Schiffer Hartwin’s employee shows up viciously murdered behind the U.S. headquarters, Sherlock and Savich are called in to lend a hand. The murder of a foreign national on federal land can only mean the German drug company has a secret of epic proportions.

Whoever wrote this blurb, really didn’t read the book. It appears like Dr. Edward Kender plays a big part in it, which is not the case. Though the plot really is about the greed of pharmaceutical companies. They don’t want to cure people, they want to make money, and more money. And how their lack of ethics is not punishable by law. They perhaps pay a fine, and continue as they wish.

Erin Pulask is a private investigator in the small town of Stone Bridge, Connecticut. When an old friend of her father asks her help in investigating the American branch of a German pharmaceutical plant, she cannot refuse. Her own father died of cancer three years ago, and now his father is dying too. And because the drug he needs so badly is not being made in sufficient quantities anymore, that is a worldwide problem. Patients will be forced to use a much more expensive one, which they won’t be able to afford for long.

Erin finds the plans to shut down the plants and how they will explain everything in the computer of the CEO, mr Caskie Royal. When he arrives unexpectedly with his latest ladyfriend and collegue Erin is almost trapped. But she escapes with the papers through the bathroom window. Now they can go to the press with their evidence. But unfortunately, on the news the next morning is the discovery of the body of a man in the park she escaped through last night, and it is tied to the break in! If she comes forward now, the police will think she killed that man! What is she to do?
And then the same FBI officer she just saw on the news rings her doorbell. How has he found her out that soon? Did someone see her after all? Fortunately, Bowie Richards is only asking her to take care of his little daughter Georgie, who is in her ballet class and really likes her. Her usual nanny is recovering from surgery, and he will be up to his neck in solving this murder case.

Dillon Savich and his wife and fellow FBI agent Lacey Sherlock are investigating the haunting of a senator when they are asked to help with the murdered foreigner on federal land in Connecticut. The local FBI agent in charge is not very experienced, but well acquainted with the people who matter. What is the pharmaceutical company hiding? They are even sending a German secret agent over to “help” with the investigation. The murdered man had a bad reputation as the company’s trouble shooter, and his name was linked to several accidents and disappearances worldwide, but of course without any evidence.

The FBI agents are trying to find out who he met or was planning on meeting, what the trouble was he was supposed to solve. But everyone is just lying through their teeth. The two bigwigs from the company come over from Germany. Their lawyers had a hard time keeping Caskie Royal from spilling the beans, and their hard hands are needed.
And when the CEO gets murdered in his own house, things are getting more and more murky.
Is it the same killer? And why was his wife left alive?

Sherlock figures things out, but to late, and now her life is in danger. But Erin and Bowie find her just in time and save her from the mad man.

The senator who is almost twice the victim of murder, is not so innocent as he appears. His wife is dead, and he is settling old grievances, while appearing the intended victim. Dillon knows this, but cannot prove it, till the last pages of the book.

I loved the story, very believable. It is a great series, with lots of suspense and romance mixed together. Erin and Bowie don’t even kiss in this book, or I read over it, but they are a great couple. And the little girl is adorable, and very precocious, more so then they realize.
The bits about Savich and Sherlock and their son Sean are great too, as always. A great plot, or two actually. Two storylines in one book.
I just hope I won’t have to wait this long for the next one.

woensdag 14 juli 2010

Joanne Pence - Too many cooks

The second book in the Angie Amalfi series.

Too many cooks

Cooking is Angie Amalfi’s life – though she’s still looking for some way to actually make a living at it. Desperate for any sort of culinary career, she fast-talks her way into a radio job, working for a pompous, third-rate chef who has a call-in talk show. It’s a hot new opportunity for Angie, the perfect complement to her red hot romance with handsome San Francisco homicide detective Paavo Smith. But solving the mysterious death of a competing restaurateur suddenly seems a lot more interesting to Angie than trying to make her windbag boss sound good. Now all she has to do is figure out some way to stand the heat and stay in the kitchen – while staying alive in the process!

When surfing radio channels one day, Angie finds a cooking show on KYME radio, and she listens to Chef Henri, appalled. He is so bad at the advice he gives his listeners. He really needs her! So she corners him the next day, and talks her way into her new job. She will screen his calls for him, and then quickly look up the answers to the questions that will be asked. But things don’t really work out as well as Angie imagined.

Then one of the latest hot chefs is found dead up in the mountains, and Angie just cannot believe it was an accident, or suicide as the police thinks. So when she talks to Paavo about it, she rises enough suspicions in him, to check it out. And the man has been poisoned, and then dumped. So now Paavo has to question other restaurateurs, and people working at their restaurants to find a possible motive, other than the fact everyone just hated the guy. But Angie can help him, because now he is in her world. She knows everyone there, and give him back ground information.

Everyone keeps telling Paavo that Angie is bad for him, only playing with him, trying to live dangerously for a while, they just don’t fit, come from different worlds. And Paavo is starting to believe him. How could Angie ever really love him? No one did before … So he is trying to keep Angie at arms length, to stop seeing her. But Angie is stubborn, and won’t give up on him that easily. She keeps popping up in his investigation, and when she is in danger, his eyes really open.
But trying to solve this case, Paavo meets an old acquaintance, the murderer of his big sister, 20 years ago. He couldn’t prove it when he was a little boy, he cannot prove it now either. Nor the murder of another girl more recently. And when he is closing in, the man just ups and leaves town without a trace. But Paavo will never give up now. After all, the man also threatened Angie.

Angie finally gives up on Paavo, she just needs more from him than he is willing to give. She leaves her apartment to go home to her parents luxurious house, trying to get on with her life, to date another guy. And when Paavo sees that, he just can’t let her leave him standing there like that. He finally admits he loves her too, and that was all Angie was waiting for to hear to forgive him.

So in the end, it is Angie who finds the clues, but Paavo keeps saving her.

I still doubt this is a cozy mystery, too big a part is for Paavo and his colleagues. But I liked it nonetheless, and will read more of this series soon.

I am having a couple days of, so that means plenty of time to read. And there are some real jewels waiting for me to pick them up. Just to choose, that is the difficult part. But read my blog, and you will find out.

An addition to my addiction

Stephanie Laurens - The Brazen Bride
Unfortunately, it is a large paperback, so it won't fit in with all her other books.
But I am very much looking forward to reading this story. It is a compelling series.

dinsdag 13 juli 2010

Nalini Singh - Bonds of Justice

The eight book in the Psy-Changelings series. One of the best paranormal series out there. I totally love them, and read them as soon as I get my greedy hands on them.

Bonds of Justice

Return to the powerful, turbulent Psy/Changeling world created by the “amazingly talented”* Nalini Singh, as a human detective finds himself working the most unlikely of cases—in the dark heart of a Councilor’s domain…Max Shannon is a good cop, one of the best in New York Enforcement. Born with a natural shield that protects him against Psy mental invasions, he knows he has little chance of advancement within the Psy-dominated power structure. The last case he expects to be assigned is that of a murderer targeting a Psy Councilor’s closest advisors. And the last woman he expects to compel him in the most sensual of ways is a Psy on the verge of a catastrophic mental fracture…Sophia Russo is a Justice-Psy, cursed with the ability to retrieve memories from men and women so twisted even veteran cops keep their distance. Appointed as Max’s liaison with the Psy, she finds herself fascinated by this human, her frozen heart threatening to thaw with forbidden emotion. But, her mind filled with other people’s nightmares, other people’s evil, she’s standing on the border between sanity and a silken darkness that urges her to take justice into her own hands, to become judge, jury…and executioner…

Max Shannon just arrested one of the most evil serial killers America has ever raised. Bonner is the son of a very rich family, blond blue-eyed, a real poster boy. His family still thinks he is innocent, but he has tortured and murdered lots of woman over the years. While the Psy were still compiling enough data to get a profile, Max found and hunted down the killer. And now they are trying to find out where he has buried his victims. So their families can get some closure. Even though Bonner has only been convicted of one murder, everyone knows he is guilty of so many more. But he just won’t cooperate. And the Justice Psy’s who have tried, cannot get access to his demented mind. But now a woman Psy is trying, a woman with scars, unique. Just the kind who fits his victim profile … so he wants to play games with her.

But Sophia will not help him get his pleasure from her. And Max feels himself very strangely attracted to Sophia. A human cop and a Psy? That is so not done. The Psy don’t feel, they don’t have emotions. But something she says to him, makes him believe she is different. Sophia is attracted to Max as well, and doesn’t know what to do about those feelings. She cannot touch people. One accidental brush will send her over the edge to insanity. Her shields are failing, her mind is full with other peoples memories, and not the good ones. All the criminals she has encountered, their darkest deeds, the memories she extracted, they still spook around in her mind.

And now Councilor Nikita Duncan has asked the both of them to investigate the suspicious deaths of her senior advisors. There has to be a traitor in her team, but she cannot figure out who it is. Some one is after her, and killing every one close to her in the process.

With Bonner safely behind bars, Max and Sophia have the time to investigate. Max has a natural shield, no Psy can break. And Sophia can be near him without suffering from it. He can even touch her, though it hurts at first, this sensation of skin on skin, for some one who hasn’t been touched for years.

They soon come up with some discrepancies in the personnel files, but when Nikita’s daughter Sascha is the next target, the Changelings are thrown into it. Already old friends of Max’ they decide to help them. Dorian is an expert with computers, and he can find everything on the Internet, a medium the Psy don’t use much as they have their own Psy-net.

So when something leads them to Pure-Psy, and Councilor Henry Scott, Nikita knows who is after her. And who will be with her when the Council will have to decide what to do about the failing Silence. Change will have to come, but will there be a war too?

A very good story, again. I really love this series. It is original, the main story line keeps evolving within the books, though every book has its own love story as the main focus. It really is intriguing, and I am very curious about how this all will end. Sascha, Faith and their mates have a nice secondary role in this book. And we get a little peek in the mind of that latest Councilor, Kaleb Krychek. Still a very big mystery.

Melissa Mayhue - A highlander's destiny

The fifth book in the Daughter of the Glen series, a good paranormal series with Faeries and Highlanders, magic and time travelling, and most of all: finding your one true love.

A highlander's destiny

Jesse Coryell, a descendant of the Fae, is a man in search of his destiny. He’s tried to lose himself in his work, taking on the worst mankind has to offer, but what he really needs to find is his true love. When he sets out to help a mysterious woman find her sister, what he gets is much more than he bargained for: battling an undeniable attraction to his sexy new client while fighting an ancient evil to keep her safe.

Destiny Noble, abandoned by everyone she’s ever loved, will stop at nothing in her desperate quest to find her sister. Authorities have declared Leah a runaway, but Destiny knows better. Her dream visions have shown her the frightening truth. They’ve also shown her Jesse. But finding her Soulmate could result in the most painful loss of all, when she’s force to choose between loving Jesse and saving Leah.

Jesse and Destiny race against time to save an innocent girl from a powerful ancient evil. Is true love their best weapon or will they be required to sacrifice their own destiny?

Even his little niece Rose knows it: Uncle Jesse needs to find his destiny, the one woman to love for all time. Her mother and aunt want to use Fae magic to help him, but decide against it. But Rose knows what is to come, and she just tells him: to follow his destiny. Even when he will have to battle true evil, and will have to risk his life. So when Jesse finds out about a woman named Destiny Noble writing the agency he works for, for help, he just cannot ignore her letter and decides to help her in his own time. The agency is highly secret, and they usually only work for the government, or through other people. They never meet the clients.

But upon meeting Destiny, Jesse has to save her from a Nudian Fae, who is trying to abduct her. After capturing her sister, they now want her too, for the powers she has.

All her life, Destiny has been abandoned. First by her father when she was twelve. She never believed the tales her mother told them that he was Fae and had to disappear so his enemies wouldn’t find his family. Then her mother died from an illness after years of being an alcoholic. Her brother ran away at 18, trying to find their father. He did believe his mother’s stories. But now her youngest sister is missing. She did not run away, they were very close. And besides, Destiny’s visions tell her the truth. They also showed her to contact the Coryell Agency for help, as she needed help finding and rescuing her sister.

To her big surprise, Jesse doesn’t question her visions, but just accepts them and more importantly, acts upon them. But when Destiny learns the hard way, that Faeries are real, she has to alter her perceptions of life, of her parents. As soon as she accepts her own heritage, she tries to use the magic in her blood. And when Jesse tries to keep her safe at home, so he won’t have to worry about her, she sets out on herself. Not for one minute thinking of abandoning her little sister. She has to find her for herself, to free her.

With Destiny in danger, Jesse finally realises he has fallen in love with her. But when Destiny finds out he is not just an employee, but a rich man, and the bosses son, she doesn’t want anything to do with him anymore. After all, worse than a handsome man, is a rich and handsome man. Jesse has his work cut out for him, to convince Destiny they do have a future together. And he learns, there really are women not looking for a rich and easy life, and a big bank account. Destiny doesn’t want anything from him. She needs to find her sister. After all, a macho Highlander is only good for a romance novel, not for real life…

I liked this book, fast paced with a feisty heroine and a tough hero. Of course, meeting (however briefly) the previous characters in this series is always a joy. And I have a hunch that the missing brother and the found sister will appear again in the next books in this series.

vrijdag 9 juli 2010

Annette Blair - The Scot, the Witch and the wardrobe

The third book in the Melody Seabright series took me a while to get into, but the next trilogy kept peeking back at this book, and I became curious enough to finally pick it up again, and finish it. And I am glad I did, cause I liked it after all.

The Scot, the Witch and the Wardrobe

He sought his birthright

Long ago, Rory MacKenzie’s Scottish ancestor lost the bewitching woman he loved and regretted it forever. Before he died, he sent her his greatest work of art, a beautifully carved unicorn, as a token of his eternal devotion. Now, Rory is determined to reclaim the unicorn and restore his clan to glory.

She fought her birthright

Like all the women in her family, Victoria Cartwright has inherited the key to the mysterious wardrobe in the family attic. Legend says that only the girl who possesses the magic of her ancestor can reveal the treasure within. But Vicky refuses to believe she is any sort of enchantress.

They both got more than they bargained for …

When Vicky unexpectedly opens the wardrobe, the unicorn makes her dreams come true – until the handsome Rory shows up with his own plans for the unicorn, and for Vicky …

When her grandmother dies after a long sickbed, Vicky is left with the house and the antique shop, and she is struggling to pay all the bills, So when she finds the antique wooden carrousel figure of an unicorn, she decides to get some publicity from it. Never did she think it would be her destiny set in motion. Cause when Rory MacKenzy, all the way in Scotland, saw that antiques show, he knew it was the famous unicorn his great grandfather Drummond carved. And when Drummond gave that unicorn away, he also gave away the luck and prosperity of his village. So now it is up to Rory to get the unicorn back so he and his family will no longer be pariahs.

So when Vicky opens her shop one day, she saw a very handsome man in a kilt, who wanted to rent her room and be her accountant / handyman. After having him checked out by her friends, they became housemates, never mind the sizzling attraction between them. Now Rory wants to find out if the unicorn really is the one he is looking for, and Vicky is trying to accept her heritage of a witch. After all, her rhymes do come true lately!
But just when things are progressing nicely between Vicky and Rory, Vicky founds out she has three half sisters, when they land upon her doorstep, out of home and school. Without a second thought, she takes them in her home and her heart, and puts them to work in the shop. And with the four of them, they manage to finally make a nice profit.

But Rory thinks magic ruined his great grandfather’s life, and that of the men who came next. So has to choose between his love for Vicky, who is a witch, and his obligations to his village. And Vicky, with her low self esteem, has to embrace her heritage to be able to control her magic, and go after the man she loves. You just cannot escape your destiny.

A good story, with lots of humor, witty bantering, a naughty cat, ancient but sexy underwear, and a hot Scot in a kilt … And of course some hot love scenes, in real life and in the dreams they strangely enough have shared for months now.

Looking very much forward to the next Annette Blair, which is already in my greedy hands … But first something else.

woensdag 7 juli 2010

Suzanne Enoch - Stolen Kisses

Behind a hideous cover, is a jewel of a story. And just when I paid way to much money for this out of print book on Ebay, I found out it is being re-issued! So if you see this book for sale, go for it!

Stolen Kisses

A Frosty Maiden

Jack Faraday, the Marquis of Dansbury, is rich, titled, and handsome as sin. A scandalous rake who’s charmed a long string of ladies, he finally meets his match in Miss Lilith Benton. When the emerald-eyed, raven-haired beauty publicly snubs him, and Jack is furious and vows to exact revenge by melting the Ice Queen.

Hot Mischief

Intent on restoring her family’s good name, Lilith wants only to make a respectable marriage. So when the tempting but notorious Jack begins to woo her, she is determined to ignore him. Then their accidental involvement in a duke’s mysterious death forces Jack and Lilith to become conspirators to clear their names – and suddenly cold disdain gives way to hot desire. Now, just as Jack discovers an unexpected urge for respectability, London’s most proper miss is trying to remember just what’s wrong with stolen kisses and midnight escapades.

Six years ago, Lilith’s mother ran off with her lover, heaping scandal on her family. And Lilith’s father and aunt have haunted her every minute of her life to be respectable, not to show her bad blood, and that she has to make a respectable marriage to bring back the honor to her family. And she has tried very hart to please them, but nothing seems to work. She has agreed to let her father choose her husband out of the half dozen dull but respectable suitors she has. But his choice makes her reeling: he can’t be serious to marry her off to the old Duke of Wenford? The man gives her the creeps!

And why can’t the Marquis of Dansbury leave her alone? She doesn’t need a temptation. Her father will be furious with her when he finds out that Jack is pursuing her! And her brother William doesn’t help things when he falls in with Dansbury and his friends, and is taking gaming and drinking every night. He will sure fall into ruin when he keeps doing that. But Jack is determined to get her to acknowledge him, if only to keep her brother safe.

But when one morning he is planning to visit Lilith at home, when her family is of somewhere without her, the Duke of Wenford beats him to it, and tries to rape Lilith. But when she is desperately fighting for her virtue, the Duke falls down, dead as a doornail, on top of her. And at that moment Jack enters the room. After some misunderstandings, he agrees to help her get rid of the body, so she won’t be involved in a scandal. But as they say, no good deed goes unpunished. The new Duke is blaming Jack for murdering his uncle, and as he has a bad reputation already, everyone in the ton is believing that. And Lilith is blackmailed into marrying the new Duke, a man she is very afraid of, who repulses her, and who has the habit of striking his woman servants, and worse.

How can her father want her to marry a man like that? Of course he is a Duke now, and outward respectable, and she promised to obey her father. But she just can’t do it. And she won’t see Jack hanged for a crime he didn’t commit. She has to help him.

In the end, it all falls nicely together. Ofcourse there is a happy ending, but the way to get there is what makes a book a good one or not. And I loved this one. Lilith is a great personality. She tries to please both her father and her aunt after her mother has tarnished the family name, but then she realises, if her mother were happy, she wouldn’t have run of with an other man. And can she please her family while she herself will be miserable the rest of her life? When she no longer has to behave a proper young miss, her vibrant nature shines out of her. And Jack is hiding his true nature behind a wicked façade. Cause when he gets the chance to ruin her, or take advantage, he just can’t do it. The notorious rake just fell in love with the most proper miss in London. And together they are great. I love the witty bantering, and the passion between them.

As a secondary storyline, her brother and her best friend Penelope are very nice characters too. I am curious if I will meet them again in a book someday.

maandag 5 juli 2010

Jennifer Ashley - Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage

The second book in the Highland Pleasures series. It has been a while since I read the first book in this series, but I had no difficulty what so ever to catch up with the MacKenzie family.

Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage

Six years ago, eighteen-year-old Lady Isabella Scranton scandalized London by eloping with the notorious artist Lord Mac MacKenzie on the eve of her debut ball. After three turbulent years of marriage, she scandalized London once again – this time by leaving him.

Now Mac has resurfaced, every bit as charismatic, and with one goal: to seduce Isabella back into his life and his bed, even if it means acting like a real gentleman. But when Isabella rises to the challenge of posing nude for Mac’s erotic paintings, her pent-up hunger for the decadent rake is exposed as well, and she finds herself unable to resist the smooth strokes of an artist at work.

But someone’s been watching them – dangerously close. This ingenious forger with designs on Mac’s paintings also sets his sights on Isabella herself. Deciding to become Isabella’s protector, Mac vows to never leave her side, whether his independent and proud lady likes it or not.

Isabella was raised a proper young lady, but she had no desire to marry one of the men her father had sought out for her. So when the dashing Lord Mac MacKenzie crashed her coming out ball as the result of a wager, swept her of her feet and kissed her, she fell madly in love with him. And the dashing rake fell equally in love with the beautiful Lady Isabella. He wanted her in his bed, and he wanted her now! But he knew he had to marry her for that, as she was a proper lady, so that is exactly what he did.
And so the proper young miss was thrown in a life of debauchery, exposed to Mac’s bawdy friends, though to drink and kiss in public, exposed to his naked models in his studio, and posing for her himself. But Mac was a difficult man to live with. Obsessed with something for weeks, and then suddenly bored, and almost always drunk. She just couldn’t keep up with him. And when the fights between them got bad, Mac just went abroad and left her alone for weeks, when he went of painting in Rome or Venice or Paris. But when he wasn’t there when she miscarried, and he could not console her when his brother Ian finally found him, that was the last straw. She just couldn’t live with him anymore. She still loved him, but he was destroying her, and himself, and that she couldn’t see.

Perhaps that was the shock Mac needed to wake up from his debauchery. After weeks of waiting for her to come to her senses and crawl back to him, Mac decided he needed to change, he wanted her back, he needed her. So the long and difficult process started of stopping with drinking at all. But as a result, he couldn’t paint anymore too. For three years, he follows her where ever she goes, watching from a distance, but always there.

And now, suddenly, Isabella visits him at his townhouse. Someone is forging his paintings, and the man is even a better painter than he himself is. But Mac never cared about his paintings, he painted because he had to, wanted to, not to find out what some one else thinks about it. But Isabella does, and now she has finally come to him, he won’t let her leave his life again. When his house burns down, that is the best excuse to move his household in with Isabella’s. To pretend to keep an eye on her, to keep her safe. But who is this man who looks so much like him, who is trying to steal his life?

Then, when the family is in Scotland, a very ill French woman arrives, with a little baby, claiming it to be Mac’s. He supposedly lived with her in France for three years, and then he abandoned them. But now she is dying and he has to take care of the baby. But Mac has never seen the woman before, surely it is that imposter again! Isabella immediately loves the child, and never for a moment believes it to be Mac’s. They have both been celibate all those years, still in love with each other. And when the mother dies that same night, she is determined to adopt the child.

Mac keeps trying to get Isabella to take him back as her husband, in her life and in her bed. The bed part is working, but she still doesn’t trust him. He has hurt her so much in those early years. But when the imposter tries to abduct Isabella, the stakes are up, and their real feelings have to be declared.

A very good story, original and told beautifully. It does not lack in love scenes, but I also enjoyed the family meetings, to learn more about Ian and Beth from the first book. Jennifer Ashley has a great writing style, full of humour, and very easily to read. The pages just fly through your fingers. I am so looking forward to the books about Cameron and Hart, and perhaps Daniel as well.

zaterdag 3 juli 2010

New book for my addiction

I had already forgotten I bought this book, it has taken several weeks to reach me all the way from Canada. Joanne Pence - Cooks Overboard. A cozy mystery in a series I have started a while ago.

Kathryne Kennedy - The Fire Lord's Lover

This is the first book in the Elven Lord series, and it promises to be a good one.

The Fire Lord's Lover

If his powers are discovered, his father will destroy him…

In a magical land ruled by ruthless Elven Lords, the Fire Lord’s son Dominic Raikes plays a deadly game to conceal his growing might from his malevolent father – until his arranged bride awakens in him passions he thought he had buried forever …

Unless his fiancée kills him first …

Lady Cassandra has been raised in outward purity and innocence, while secretly being trained as an assassin. Her mission is to bring down the Elven Lord and his champion son. But when she gets to court she discovers that nothing is what it seems, least of all the man she married …

But beneath the gilded castle lies an unspeakable evil, greater than either Dominic or Cassandra had ever fathomed, and without each other they may not survive …

England has been conquered by seven Elven Lords and their magic. King George and his court have become a pawn in the deathly games they play. Not deathly for themselves, but for their human soldiers, servants and slaves. Whenever they sire a child, that child is tested for the magic in its blood, and if it shows a certain amount of magic, the child is send to Elphame, the land they came from … or so the people believe. No one has ever returned from there.

Dominic has fought his entire life to hide his human feelings behind his elven blood. His father has used every one or thing he ever loved against him, to punish him, to make him show his hidden magic. But the deadly black fire has never been called forth yet. No matter how much he wants to, he cannot access the magic he feels inside himself.

But the humans don’t all settle in their new lives of drudgery and slavery, there is a Rebellion. And they have recruited the Lady Cassandra. She is to be the bride of the Fire Lord’s son, his champion. She is not only skilled in courtly manners, she has dance magic, and she has learned the dances of death. She is a skilled assassin, and her task is to kill her father in law. Can she surprise him enough to kill him? Or is his magic, aided with the black scepter, to strong for her? She is raised in a convent, and her Faith is strong.

To their own surprise, Cassandra and Dominic fall in love, even though Dominic fights it as hard as he can. How can he ever protect her when his father finds out? Mor’ded will only use her to torment him. But Cassandra won’t give up on him, even when he flaunts his mistress in her face, making the court shun her. She redecorates his barren chambers, she takes two lowly slave girls as her servants, and she defies him whenever she can. But she cannot resist his Elven beauty, and succumbs in his arms.

The Black Dragon Ador tries to aid them, because only together will they be able to defeat the mad Elven Lord. He reveals some of the secrets of the Elven Lords to them, so they know what they are up against. And in the course of the story, the ordinary people of London, and even the courts, come to know and love Dominic and Cassandra. For giving Dominic back his heart and his conscience, they see the real man behind the mask he has been wearing all this years.

I liked the story, but it also lacked something, although I cannot say precisely what. Am looking forward to the next one though.

India Ink - Bath and Body series

India Ink – Scent to her Grave

India Ink is the pen name for Yasmine Galenorn, an other of my favourite authors! And she wrote this wonderful trio of cozy mysteries, with a hint of paranormal in it. I totally loved it!

Scent to her Grave

Luckily for the residents of Gull Harbor, Washington, the local bath and body store – Venus Envy – takes care of all their beauty needs, from custom blended oils to relaxing spa services. Behind the counter is newcomer Persia Vanderbilt, the niece of the proprietor, who has a nose for mixing scents – and a mind for solving murder …

The fairest of them all …

Lydia Wang is the newly crowned winner of a local beauty pageant – and the queen of mean. Used to getting what she wants, she tussles with Persia over the store’s newest acquisition: the Mirror of Aphrodite. Reflecting only the most beautiful aspects of the person looking into it, the mirror is a huge draw and definitely not for sale – no matter how much Lydia is willing to pay. Persia arrives at the shop the next morning to find Lydia dead, the mirror missing, and one of the shop’s treasured employees the prime suspect. Trevor’s arrest is a blemish on the shop, so Persia decides to take matters in hand. To clear his name, she must sniff out the signature scent of a killer …

India Ink – A blush with death

The second book in this lovely trilogy, I enjoyed it thoroughly!

A blush with death

In Gull Harbor, Washington, the local bath and body store – Venus Envy – takes care of all the town’s beauty needs, from custom-blended oils to relaxing spa services. And behind the counter sits Persia Vanderbilt, the niece of the proprietor, who has a nose for mixing scents – and a mind for solving murder …

There’s only one # 1…

There’s a new makeover maven in town, and she spells big trouble for everyone at Venus Envy. Bebe Wilcox has just unveiled her own boutique, and she won’t stop until her shop has put everyone else out of business. Nothing is out of bounds, from stealing fragrance recipes to computer hacking and sabotaging supplies. But when one of Bebe’s pushy saleswomen ends up dead, the stakes become much more dangerous. Staging a public falling out with her Auntie, Persia gets hired at Bebe’s Boutique and begins snooping for evidence of wrongdoing. But can she find the goods before the killer decides to find her?

India Ink – Glossed and Found

The last book in this wonderful trio. I really am sorry there will be no more books in this series.

Glossed and found

In Gull Harbor, Venus Envy is the place for the island’s beauty needs. And employee Persia Vanderbilt is the expert on al things cosmetic, from hiding flaws to highlighting foul play.

Muder is never pretty …

When Venus Envy’s new makeup artist vanishes on the night of the Thanksgiving Gala, Persia knows that something is terribly wrong. Lisa Tremont’s car is soon found near Lookout Pier and the police conclude that she drowned – but Persia refuses to believe it. For one thing, Lisa was terrified of water and would never have gone out on a pier by herself. For another, Lisa had just confided to Persia that she’d found out what happened to some missing inheritance money belonging to her and her sister. Could Lisa have been about to reveal the identity of the thief? Working off the clock to find out what happened, Persia must also fend off escalating threats from her ex, Elliot, as the holidays close in …

I read those three books back to back, and loved every page of them. Persia Vanderbilt and her Aunt Florence are the main characters in this book. When her mother died, her father left Persia (age 4) at the door of her aunt, and never thought about her again. So Florence raised her, travelling the world with her and her nanny, until at age ten, they settled down in Gull Harbor, just across the bay from Seattle.
Florence is an eccentric, living in a house full of kats and dogs and a rooster, she never married, and that was not for lack of prospects, but because she choose not to. She wears mu’u mu’us and a purple hat with a stuffed parakeet on it. But she loves Persia likes her own daughter, and raiser her a strong woman.

Persia is also not your average heroin. She doesn’t lack in self esteem, has a degree in bio chemistry and knows what she doesn’t want in life. She loves working out and out door sports, the more extreme the better. She is strong, tall and pretty, with long hair she keeps in a braid.

If you think there is nothing more in life for a woman to want than a man for her own and marriage, this series really is nothing for you. Persia doesn’t understand the lack of self-esteem in most woman, even her pretty best friend Barbara suffers from it when her husband Dorian doesn’t pay enough attention to her.

When this series begins, Persia has moved back to Gulf Harbor to her aunt, who gives her a job making scents for their customers, when her long time boyfriend Elliot has been arrested for fraud and embezzling money. She wants nothing more to do with that loser, and certainly won’t risking his mafia bosses to come after her for revenge on Elliot!

The local chief of police still has the hots for her, but she is not interested in him. But Bran, a kind of mystique who is also into a lots of sports, he does rock her boat! So they start a casual relationship, both knowing it will never become more than that, but enjoying each other for as long at it last. Friendship with benefits kind of.

I totally love the interaction between Auntie and Persia, the look they have on life, their friends.

In the first book, Lydia Wang is found murdered in their shop, and Trevor, her former boyfriend, is the main suspect. But Lydia was hated all over, so Persia has to find out who really did it. And who stole the mirror? Trevor certainly did it, someone just framed him for convenience. But Kyle has no other option that arrest Trevor, as all the evidence points to him. Bit by bit, Persia unravels Lydia’s history, the fact that she won a large beauty contest leads to other clues, but nothing seems to be conclusive. And how about the secret boyfriend in Seattle, the one who got her bruised up?
And in the end, the real murderer was not some one I would have suspected.

In the second book, Venus Envy is almost destroyed by the actions of a competitor. She uses inferior products but manages to smear Venus Envy’s good reputation with vicious and untrue gossip. Persia’s book with recipes for the scents she creates is stolen, their rosegarden is destroyed by pesticides, their computer is hacked and their files destroyed. And while Persia is manning a booth at a Beauty convention, she meets a man who really makes her feel sparks. But he has troubles of his own, Bebe Wilcox has stolen a formula from his company, setting them years back in research, and just destroying his company. So when the thief is found shot and dies later, both Persia and Killian are prime suspects in the murder case.
Persia and Florence stage a fall out between them and Persia goes to work for Bebe, trying to find evidence for the espionage and sabotage she can take to court. But when she finds more than she thought, her own life is in danger when Bebe finds her in her office.

The third book is not a murder case, but still a mystery. Lisa goes missing after she went to meet the person she thinks stole her fathers money. Her sister Amy is frantic with worry, and Kyle, the chief of police and her new boyfriend, just doesn’t have the manpower to start a thorough search. If it was a missing child, he could, but not for a grown woman who perhaps just went of with a boyfriend for the weekend.
But then Lisa’s car is found near the beach, a place she never would have gone to willingly. Persia doesn’t believe she drowned, and Bran and his sister Daphne also tell her they feel she is still alive, somewhere. And soon the suspicion falls a the woman who nursed the father in his final months, and who is now nursing some one else’s wife … She has a bad history, but again, they cannot prove anything, so Persia goes out to find the evidence.

But her former boyfriend Elliot has gone crazy. He attacks their shop, throwing rocks through the shop window, endangering their clients, and Persia loses it. She attacks him, gives him a bloody nose and a black eye. So she ends up with assault charges, and when Elliot gets out with bail, he comes after her with a gun! She stood have by him, she was his, she never should have left him! But he was a crook, and she was never in love with him, never promised him anything! She is safe, Elliot is arrested at last, but then he escapes with three other prisoners, and now Persia is in danger once again!

Between the stress of her missing friend Lisa, the crazy Elliott, there still is time for thanksgiving, to enjoy her friends.

I really am sorry there will be no more books with those characters in it, just like the Chintz ’n China books I love so much. I think Yasmine Galenorn has a real knack for books like that, though I also love her Sisters of the Moon series, which are totally different.

vrijdag 2 juli 2010

New book for my addiction

Another package was waiting for me when I got home this hot hot hot day. It has been awhile since I read the previous book in this yummie series: Jennifer Ashley - Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage.

I really should blog more, I have two reviews waiting for me, but it is just too hot to spend time behind the computer. I am sitting very quietly on the couch, reading the third book by India Ink, with a cold drink and something to nibble on.

So reviews when it cools of a bit.

donderdag 1 juli 2010

New books for my addiction

And though it is hot, the mailman still finds my home. Yesterday a nice package from America, containing 6 cozy mysteries:
Sarah Graves - Repair to her Grave and The dead cat bounce
Sue Henry - The tooth of time
Robin Paige - Death at gallows Green
Victoria Houston - Dead Creek
Laurien Berenson - A pedigree to die for.

And today from England the sparkling new Kathryne Kennedy - The Fire Lord's Lover.
Looking forward to reading that one!

I also have a review to write, hope to do that later tonight, though the book I am reading at the moment is calling for my attention too .. and yesterday left me with a little bit to little sleep ... so my bed is calling when I get home later tonight too ...

New books for july 2010

I have got another nice list of new books for this month. The weather is hot here in Holland, and the books will make it even hotter!

Let's see how many of those will actually be read this month!
Christine Feehan - Water Bound – Drake sisters 08
Nalini Singh – Bonds of justice
Marjorie M. Liu - A wild light – Hunter Kiss 03
Stephanie Laurens – The brazen bride
Kathryne Kennedy – The fire lord’s lover
Alexis Morgan - Dark Warrior Untamed
Jennifer Ashley – Lady Isabella’s scandalous marriage
Annette Blair – Death by Diamonds

From my lovely June list I have only read 1! I have some serious catchting up to do with my stacks of books! But of course, that will mean staying home more, and that is not something I would rather do. Yesterday, I had a lovely spur of the moment outing with my boyfriend: we went to the Ocean to cool down. Wandering along the beach, hand in hand, and then a nice dinner, it really was a perfect evening. And I wasn't even supposed to meet him yesterday! Those are the good things in life! Thanks my love, for a glorious evening.