zaterdag 31 december 2011

Lynn Viehl – Nightshine

The fourth book in the Kyndred series, published November 1, 2011.


New York Times bestselling author Lynn Viehl has enthralled readers with her novels of the immortal Darkyn. Now she continues the story of the secret progeny of the Darkyn: the Kyndred, ordinary people unaware they have been altered by vampire DNA but destined to become the next generation of heroes.
When San Francisco paramedic Charlotte “Charlie” Marena stops to help at the scene of an accident, she never imagines she’ll wind up trapped on a Mexican Island, with orders to procreate with powerful Takyn Samuel Taske. In her mind, he’s got two strikes against him: he knows about her secret nighttime telepathic ability and he’s too wealthy to be trusted. Samuel is psychic, but he’s never foreseen that he'd fall for the woman he's been charged with protecting. GenHance-the biotech company willing to do anything to acquire superhuman DNA- is after them. And when Samuel discovers that his Takyn powers have abandoned him, Charlie’s gift is their only hope for survival...

I just finished my last book for this year, the review will be written later, as the rest of tonight will be spend together with my boyfriend, celebrating the change of the year.
I wish you all a great 2012, with lots of good books and laughter with friends.

It’s 2012, time to write the review before I dive in my first book of the year 
Charlie Marena is just about to go home at the end of her shift as a paramedic, when she and her partner are called to an accident on Golden Gate Bridge. Charlie is terrified of bridges, so she is not happy with that assignment. But her job means everything to her, she is very dedicated, and so she summons up to courage to go. There are wounded people there, who need her. Samuel Traske doesn’t know who Charlotte is, all he knows is that he had to be on the bridge at that time to safe her from dying. Her life and future are somehow very important to mankind. His Takyn gifts let him see the future off some people, but not all of it. There is a sniper on the bridge, killing random people. Samuel’s driver is shot, and as he is wounded himself, and having a spinal disease that has crippled him, there is little he can do. Charlie and her partner go to work on the wounded they see at once, calling in what is happing on the bridge, asking for backup. But the police and ambulance services are severely understaffed thanks to Governor Schwarzenegger’s new policy, so it will take some time for backup to arrive. When Samuel sees Charlotte, he has the feeling he knows her. He has never seen her before in his life, but he knows her. And he will not let her leave him. She expertly helps his driver, and wants to go back to the other wounded, when the sniper calls out to them in Spanish. Samuel doesn’t know much Spanish, so it is Charlie who answers him. Tries to reason with him, and when the sniper shoots himself and drops from the bridge, they think all is safe.

It is not, and the sniper abducts both Charlie and Samuel, mumbling something about them being chosen. As Sam is a very high profile millionaire, the news of his abduction soon gets broadcasted, and Andrew gets on the tail at once, bringing him to Mexico. Posing as an FBI agent, he tries to get information from the local police force, trying to find out where Sam could be. And why they were abducted, if not for Sam’s millions. In the process, he barely manages to escape the clutches of his previous boss, GenHance, who wants to capture Takyn to dissect them, find out where there powers come from and duplicate it. Of course they can’t, they need vampire blood, blood from the Kyn, for that. Andrew manages to find a lot of answers, but in the end, both the and Gracie are captured as well.

Charlie wakes up after being drugged a few times, naked in bed with Samuel. In a villa on an empty island somewhere. A very luxurious villa, with enough food to last them a while, but nothing to use as a weapon. There is even a fully stocked operation room for her to use, which comes in handy when she discovers Sam is unconscious due to shock and blood loss. The wound in his side is still bleeding. So she prepares a blood transfusion, using her own blood. Then a recorded voice tells her, they will be living her together for the rest of their lives, safe. They only have to obey two rules: never try to escape, and have intercourse at least once a day. Or they will be punished. Charlie is not planning to have sex with a stranger because some voice tells her to, but first she will have to get Sam well again. There are cameras everywhere, watching them, so they will have to be very careful. But are they really alone on the island?

It took me no time at all to be back in the world of the Kyn and the Takyn. The story is action filled from the first pages of the book, and I loved it. Charlotte is not a petite blond heroine, but a big brunette Amazon. And as Sam is even older than the Vikings, and with the posture to match, he likes that, a lot. Bit by bit they reveal their pasts to each other, and yes, they have met before, as babies. When they were experimented upon. And they know each other in their currant lives through the website for the Takyn, they have been communicating a lot. Charlie has trouble with the fact that Sam has led a charmed life, never wanting for anything, having so much money and servants at his back and call, while she has nothing. The people who adopted her (illegally) for the second time, have died, and she is all alone in the world. She doesn’t believe Sam really loves her, that he needs her as he is just as lonely as she is. It takes a lot of work from Sam to finally convince her.

I liked both Sam and Charlotte. Of course I know Sam through the previous books, but Charlotte sure is a very capable heroine, not afraid of anything, only a bit too insecure concerning herself. The plot was never predictable, it totally kept surprising me. And I did love the end, although I was missing the little peaks in the lives of my favourite Kyn throughout the book.

I do believe the work of Lynn Viehl is underappreciated. I love her world and characters. But I also know, you either love or hate those books. If you have not tried them before, please do. You might have missed out on some really great books.

8 stars

Cherry Adair – Riptide

The second book in the Cutter Cay series, published August 2011.


Cherry Adair plunges into the dangerous world of high-sea treasure hunting, where one man’s greatest passion unlocks one woman’s wildest fantasies … She’s swept into treacherous waters. Princess Bria Visconti has no idea why her brother would lend money to a reckless scavenger like Nick Cutter. He’s simply too arrogant, and too handsome for his own good. But he can’t charm his way out of this one. The money her brother invested in Nick’s latest treasure hunt is the key to her country’s future, and Bria plans to make Nick pay up – even if it means climbing aboard his boat and making his life a living hell. He fights the relentless pull… Nick thinks that Bria must be deluded if she thinks he’s going to put his treasure hunt on hold for her – princess or not. But when a series of attacks puts his entire crew in grave danger, Nick begins to see Bria in a new light. The princess may be out of her element, but her strength and courage run fathoms deep. Even when their darkest secrets rise to the surface – and their deadliest enemies come after them…

Nick Cutter and his crew aboard the Scorpion, his gorgeous and very efficient ship, are busy salvaging the treasure from a Spanish ship, which sunk 400 years ago. Not only gold, silver and jewels are salvaged, also some important historical artefacts. Nick is in Morocco, doing business with some unsavoury men, when he sees a stunning woman walking towards him. He is disguised as a Moroccan himself, there is no way she can know who he is. But still, she is coming straight at him. To his surprise, he knows who she must be, and she is asking for passage to his own ship. Of course he refuses, he cannot jeopardize his disguise, or his mission for T-Flac for this spoiled princess. He has no idea what she wants with him, and is not interested in it either. His mission is helping T-Flac find out who is smuggling blood diamonds out of Africa to America. And so he is stowing them on his own ship, amongst the real treasures, giving Max Aries and his team the chance to find out who the mastermind is.

The next day, he lifts anchor early, or rather, have his captain and best friend Jonah do that, making sure the princess will not be able to reach the Scorpion by boat. But Bria has a purpose, and even though it costs a small fortune, which she doesn’t have, she is determined to talk with him. So she hires a helicopter to drop her of at his ship. Nick sure doesn’t trust her. Someone must have sent her to him, knowing his taste in women too well. To find out the truth, he gets rid of her ride back to shore, leaving her no way to get of his ship. He plans to interrogate her. The story that she wants the money back her brother Draven, the new King of Marrezzo has invested in this salvage, has to be bogus. There is a clear no-return policy to the investments, and if Draven just waits, there will be a 600% interest on his investment of 5 million dollars.

Bria is not lying though. She needs that money to pay off a large bankloan, or Marrezo will revert back to Italy. Their tiny island and all its inhabitants is very dear to her, even though she has made a new life for her self in Sacramento. And this Nick Cutter, with his icy demeanour, is making her temper soar. No man has the right to look that deliciously handsome. He turns her on like no man has ever before. Both her temper and her body! But he seems to be unmoved by her. Nick assigns Bria a small cabin for the time being, but before she can even get there for a much needed shower, she is almost murdered by one of the crewman. Luckily, Nick decided to check up on her, and even though she can defend herself, he is almost too late to safe her. Nick has the crewman locked up, while he takes Bria to his own cabin, to take care of her. But before he and Jonah can interrogate the man, he has disappeared. Much later they find out on the security cameras, which have been tampered with, that he was thrown overboard by two other crewmembers. The footage is too bad to see who they are. And so Nick decides that Bria has to stay locked in his cabin for her own safety, and can only come out when he or Jonah as time to stay with her. Which is ofcourse making Bria furious.

Nick is tormented. He has to keep the fortune in diamonds safe for Aries, until the villains are identified, but he also has this need to keep Bria safe. And when another crewmember turns up dead in the hold near the diamonds, he decides to take her back home to Marrezo, with the money for her brother. But even there they are not safe. Who are they after, Bria, or Nick? And how and where will he keep them safe?

A really action filled book. That part I loved. The lots and lots of love scenes are just too much for my taste. But if you like your love scenes steamy hot, you really should read this book.
There is one scene I really hated in this book. When her bodyguard Marvin rescued her from the coup that killed her parents when she was seven, Marv took Bria with him, staying out of the public eye, moving a lot. He also thought her martial arts and guns and everything he can think of. So, to burn of the sexual frustration, Nick and Bria hit the gym, where they start running. And when Nick makes her stop, she gets so angry, she attacks him. And he restrains her with a hand against her forehead, so she can’t reach him. I mean, come on! She knows martial arts! And that is all it takes to subdue her? And he stays icy calm the entire time? After that, of course, they screw the hell out of each other for hours.

I still don’t know if I like Bria or not. She is gorgeous and she knows it, and uses it. She doesn’t listen to anyone giving her orders, which makes her very stupid sometimes, but when in danger, she is a great companion. She is very smart and knows her things, but the passion she feels for Nick makes her forget everything, and melt instantly. Every time. And then there is Nick. A very hot man, I get that. Due to his father’s faults, he wants to stay a Mr. Spock himself, unemotional, cool. And Bria melts that ice, which is a great thing. But he is distrusting of everyone and everything, perhaps deserved, but he sure does see a lot of evil that isn’t there. And even while he distrusts Bria, he needs to keep her safe. He never is afraid that if she really is send by the enemy, she will attack/kill him.

So, I liked the story, I liked the action, but I am still not so sure about the main characters. I am convinced Jonah will have his own story someday, and I am guessing the Sea Witch captain will be his match.

7,5 stars

vrijdag 30 december 2011

Sierra Dean – Something Secret this way comes

The first book in the Secret McQueen series, published May 10, 2011.

Something Secret this way comes

Some secrets are dangerous. This Secret is deadly. For Secret McQueen, her life feels like the punch line for a terrible joke. Abandoned at birth by her werewolf mother, hired as a teen by the vampire council of New York City to kill rogues, Secret is a part of both worlds, but belongs to neither. At twenty-two, she has carved out as close to a normal life as a bounty hunter can. When an enemy from her past returns with her death on his mind, she is forced to call on every ounce of her mixed heritage to save herself—and everyone else in the city she calls home. As if the fate of the world wasn’t enough to deal with, there’s Lucas Rain, King of the East coast werewolves, who seems to believe he and Secret are fated to be together. Too bad Secret also feels a connection with Desmond, Lucas’s second-in-command…

Warning: This book contains a sarcastic, kick-ass bounty hunter; a metaphysical love triangle with two sexy werewolves; a demanding vampire council; and a spicy seasoning of sex and violence.

Secret McQueen was only 16 when she came to New York to kill vampires, confident that she was unbeatable, being born half vampire and half werewolf, and blessed with the powers of both species, and of course, cursed with their weaknesses. Her mother was a werewolf, but her human father got turned into a vampire when she was 7 months pregnant with Secret, he bit her mother, almost killing her, but saving her with his own blood in the end. Being a werewolf, her mother would not turn into a vampire, but something strange happened to Secret. Her mother abandoned her after birth, and dumped her with her maternal grandmother, a human woman, but also a powerful witch. She knew what had happened to Secret, and she knew how to care for her. Keeping her out of the sun, away from silver, and feeding her with blood. Not any grandmother could have done that. She has not embraced either half of herself. She has suppressed her werewolf side, never having shifted into her wolf in all her 22 years of living. Her cool vampire half sure helps with that. And now she is a bounty hunter, employed by the Vampire Council to hunt and kill rogue vampires. And sometimes other paranormal creatures who have earned their deaths.

And so, Secret was happily slaying young vampires, until an old one hunted her down instead. He almost killed her, if it wasn’t for a human who saved her. Francis Keats, or Keaty, thought her how to fight, to defend herself, and to kill or disarm the monsters most people don’t believe in. Together they own the company: Keats and McQueen – private pest control. He was also the one to introduce her to the Vampire Council, who were happy to employ to hunt her own kind. They appointed warden Holden to be her liaison, meaning, the one who gives her her assignments, and who accompanies her when she is called to appear, usually when having killed someone not sanctioned.

One lovely late night in New York, Secret was just minding her own business, when she spotted a young girl being chased through Central Park by a rogue vampire. As a bounty hunter, and employed by the Vampire Council, she had to safe the girl if possible. To her surprise, the vampire is not scared when he learns her name, he is pleased, telling her his sire will be happy that he has killed her for him. And Secret’s biggest fear comes true when she discovers who his sire is: Peyton, the rogue vampire that almost killed her 6 years ago. She knocked one of his fangs out when they fought, and that is one thing a vampire cannot heal or regrow. And so his bite is pretty remarkable and recognizable to her. She is afraid, he did tell her he would be back for her. But she is no longer that inexperienced 16 year old girl, she will not go down without a fight.

But then her night is not over yet. While enjoying some coffee in her favourite café, she is approached by a werewolf. She knows he is one immediately, but what is new, is the attraction she is feeling! But she will not give in to it, and walks away. To her surprise, she is abducted and disarmed, and thrown into a limousine. Where the wolf in question is waiting for her. And not just a werewolf, but the werewolf King, Lucas. And a really famous billionaire. He has felt the same attraction, and he does want to act on it. Apparently, she is his soulmate. He takes her to the very luxurious hotel he owns, to tell her about her heritage. Being a McQueen means she is werewolf royalty, something she never knew. And the bond between them is destined to be. She cannot fight or deny it, nor the immense attraction between them. Her wolf has never been so alive before. Secret agrees to go out to dinner with Lucas the next night, where he will explain more to her. She is still keeping it a secret that she is more than a werewolf though. There is little love between vampires and werewolves, and Secret is convinced that they will drop her when the truth comes out.

The next evening though, she is summoned to appear before the Vampire Council, where she is interrogated about her unsanctioned kill, and her suspicions Peyton is back in town. To her surprise, she is given the order to bring him in, alive. But first, she will have to find him. Her second date with Lucas is even more confusing, as she can also “taste” his second in command, Desmond, who doesn’t seem to like her at all. If that is one of the tells of being soul bonded, can she really be soul bonded to two total strangers at once?

A great first book in a promising series. Lots of action, and fast paced. I liked Secret a lot, she is not fearless, and not always cautious, just plunging headfirst in action. But she is a real kick ass chick, and she doesn’t deny herself the attraction she is feeling towards Lucas and Desmond. Which makes for some hot love scenes. There are some great secondary characters in here as well, not just Holden and Keaty, but also the Oracle, and her human police friend Mercedes sure has potential. And then the plot, which was great as well. Original, and surprising, and I liked it. A lot.

I am looking forward to reading the next books in this series.

8 stars.

woensdag 28 december 2011

Robin Paige – Death at Dartmoor

The eighth book in the Victorian Mystery series, published February 2002.

Death at Dartmoor

"A sentence to Dartmoor Prison is a sentence to a living hell… “. Lord Charles Sheridan and his American wife Kate have heard some truly awful things about Britain’s most notorious prison. But Dartmoor and its mist-shrouded environs hold special appeal for both Sheridans. Kate hopes to find inspiration for her new gothic novel, while Charles plans to implement a fingerprinting program at the prison – and arrange a meeting with one of its most infamous inmates, Samuel Spencer. He’s convinced that Spencer – a Scotsman who admitted to killing his wife – is, in fact, innocent. What’s more, he believes he has the evidence to prove it. But Spencer continues to maintain his own guilt – and, as if to confirm it, he soon stages a daring prison escape. Lord Charles and his acquaintance Arthur Conan Doyle are most perplexed by this odd turn of events. And when a body turns up on the moor, it’s up to the two men – and the clever Kate – to discover if the missing convict is connected to this murderous new case…

It’s the eight book in this series already, and I have only four books left to read. I have enjoyed every instalment so far. And the fact that there will be no more books when I have finished those, is a bit sad. In this book, Kate and Charles meet some old friends. Patsy Marsden is back in the country, she has become quite the world traveller and photographer, and her first book will be published shortly. Arthur Conan Doyle is another. He is in Dartmoor to write a new Sherlock Holmes book, The Hound of the Baskervilles. And with a new friend he is touring the moors, and soaking up the atmosphere and the legends of the region. Until present day mysteries intrude upon fiction, and he and Charles set out to find a real murderer. Mister Doyle is very tired of being confused with his most famous hero, Sherlock Holmes, but sometimes it comes in handy while investigating. Sir Charles Sheridan has visited Dartmoor Prison, where all the inmates will be fingerprinted for a new dactyloscopic project. If this is successful, all the other prisons in England will follow. There is even a new department at Scotland Yard dedicated to preserving and studying fingerprints. But before this evidence is submitted and used in court, will be a long time.

Sir Charles is convinced that a Scottish doctor is innocent of butchering his wife. The bloody handprint found on the wall next to the victim, is clearly not of the convicted man. So, who is he protecting? To his surprise, Dr. Spencer refuses to cooperate with him, and when he finds out he is to be fingerprinted, he escapes the workgroup when the mist falls upon the moor. But did he manage to escape on his own, or did he have help?

If you like the Sherlock Holmes mysteries, you will enjoy this book even more. There is a lot of background on mister Doyle’s private life at the time, and how this book came to life. As always, I love visiting with Kate and Charles again. Robin Paige sure knows how to write great mysteries, against original historical backgrounds, I really do feel part of their lives and adventures. I am really looking forward to reading the next book. The mystery part was not really that difficult to solve, but there were multiple candidates for the murderer. I liked the intertwining of the two main storylines, did Dr. Spencer kill his wife, and why did he plead guilty if he did not, and did he kill the man on the moors? And if not, who did, and why? Kate and Charles with the help of Patsy and Mr. Doyle are busy following all the leads, until the truth falls into their laps.

9 stars.

donderdag 22 december 2011

Stephanie Laurens – The seduction of Sebastian Trantor

Published in the anthology It happened one season, published March 2011. With the authors Mary Balogh, Jacquie D’Alessandra, Candice Hern. But I am not going to read those stories now, so this is just a review of the Stephanie Laurens story.

It happened one season

We asked our readers what story they would most like to see from four bestselling authors. They responded . . . A handsome hero returns from war, battle-scarred and world-weary. But family duty calls and he must find a bride. A young lady facing yet another season without a suitor never expects to find herself the object of his affections.

Sebastian Montgomery Trantor is a second son, and content with his place in life. During the Napoleon war he was a spy, some one good in breaking codes, and slipping behind enemy lines to decipher their secret messages. And now he is back home in England, busy with his ancient texts, translating old manuscripts. But his life is turned around when his brother visits. As it happens, he just became the father of his 5th daughter. He has given up hope for a son, and Sebastian is still his heir for the title and the estate. So now it is up to Sebastian to marry and beget a son, as they have a duty towards their tenants, and the family members dependent on the income from the estate. If heaven forbids, the estate would be inherited by their cousin, Mad Freddy, it would be a disaster for everyone. And so Sebastian finds himself agreeing. He has independent means, as he is a good investor of money, and has his own estate. He can certainly support a bride. And so, when the London Season starts, he finds himself scouting the ballrooms and gatherings for his bride. But none of those young misses will do, he wants a woman with whom he can converse, whose intellect will match his own. So hiding out in the library, sounds like a good plan. Until his rest is disturbed by a woman, who is riffling to their hosts’ desk, searching for evidence of blackmail! Sebastian decides to give her a hand, he is extremely intrigued by this young lady, who is talking to herself. And with everything he learns about her, in that short time, he is more attracted to her. She is not as young as the girls he has met so far, and that suits him just fine. So when they are found together in the library, he just kisses her and announces their engagement! Miss Tabitha Makepeace is appalled, she doesn’t even know him! And he certainly doesn’t know who she is, or he would never have done that! But he reassures her that they can end the engagement anytime she wants, and this way, he has the opportunity to help her find the black mailer, and the evidence to put a stop to it. And so their courtship begins, which is socially much more demanding than they both could have guessed. Sebastian sure doesn’t wish to end the engagement though, he wants to make it real, and have Tabitha as his bride. He is certain they are well suited together. And Tabitha finds herself relying on Sebastian more and more, she who has always been so independent, is liking that! At age 26, she never thought to experience a suitor like Sebastian.

I absolutely adored this little story. The intrigue of finding the bad guy, the person who is black mailing at least four of her recently engaged girlfriends, adds a nice plot the to story. As usual in Stephanie Laurens books, the hero knows kind of immediately that he has found the woman he wants to marry, and now has to convince her of the fact. I loved that Tabitha (lovely name!) is totally clueless to that. She is really bothered by the fact that they are deceiving his family and the ton (her family he has told the truth, but also that he wants to make it a real engagement). And when they suddenly have to spend the night together, she is to one who seduces him, instead of the hero doing the work. Most of her heroes really don’t want to talk about their feelings, shouldn’t their actions speak louder than words? But Sebastian has no problem with that at all.

So, not a standard Stephanie Laurence recipe book, but a nice story, with two main characters I liked a lot. The plot itself was very well done, and enjoyable. And the ending, very sweet. I do recommend this story.

9 stars.

dinsdag 20 december 2011

New additions to my addiction

Last week I received: Marjorie M. Liu - Within the flames, love that cover!
Today I received a signed book by Carolyn Crane - Mind Games, and a set of trading cards. Love it!

On another topic, I just noticed that my new posts since I updated to the new blogger, are ugly. Unreadable. No more spaces, everything just typed after the next sentence. Any idea how I can remedy that? Cause I type in Word, and then copy it into my blog. And in Word, everything is neatly spaced.

Edit: I found the cure! In options, there was something strange enabled, and I changed that to: Use Enter for end of the line.

maandag 19 december 2011

Jennifer Ashley – Bodyguard

Book 2.5 in the Shifters Unbound series, published November 2011.


Elizabeth Chapman is saved from an armed robber by a giant Kodiak bear who shifts into a large, well-muscled, and fully naked human male. But when it's revealed that the robber is the brother of a dangerous criminal, Elizabeth finds herself the target of a vendetta.
Ronan, the Bear Shifter, takes her to Shiftertown for safety, where Elizabeth learns that the mateless Ronan, alone in the world, takes care of Shifters who have also been left on their own. Having grown up in foster care, Elizabeth can only admire how protective Ronan is.

But Ronan will only let Elizabeth leave the confines of Shiftertown if he becomes her 24/7 bodyguard. Elizabeth chafes at the restriction, but agrees. The trouble is, the sassy human Elizabeth is triggering Ronan's long-buried need to find himself a mate.

Late one evening in her store, Elizabeth Chapman is faced with an armed robber. She sees her own death in his cold and merciless eyes, and the way he doesn’t bother to hide his face from her. And when he forces her into the back to open the safe, she knows she is done for. Who will care for her young sister now? But then she is saved by a huge Kodiak Bear who comes in charging to the rescue. But after he deals with her robber, he turns to her, and she is not really feeling safe! So she uses her pepper spray on him, which really pisses of the large naked man the bear turns into.
When she finally calls the police, they not only take her attacker to the hospital, they arrest Ronan! He attacked a human, and that will be punished. He broke the law, and that he did it to protect Elizabeth doesn’t matter. He does ask Elizabeth to call the Shifter’s lawyer, which she promises to do, but she is also coming with him to testify on his behalf. After all, he did safe her life.
She has to wait for hours, but Shifters are getting processed quickly. Liam Morissey and his wife Kim are already waiting in the shabby courtroom, with Ronan heavily chained up. The judge sure doesn’t like Shifters, or Kim, and she seems to have an eye on the prosecutor. Talk about being biased!
And while Elizabeth is giving testimony, Liam takes care that her younger sister Mabel is protected. After the trial, where Ronan is acquitted finally, they take her with them to Shiftertown, to keep her safe. The young robber is the younger brother of a dangerous criminal, and his thugs have been snooping around her house already.
Elizabeth doesn’t mind spending the night at Ronan’s house with the other Shifter bears, of which there are three children, but she won’t obey his orders. It is her life to run, and she is not a Shifter! So she will go to her store to open up as usual, but she agrees that he comes as her bodyguard.

When her lack of a background is discovered, Liam demands she tells him the truth about herself, something she is not willing to do. To protect her even from other Shifters, Ronan proposes the mating bond to her. But is it a sham to keep her safe, or does he really want to claim a matebond with Elizabeth?

I loved this story, I was instantly thrown back in the Shifter world Jennifer Ashley has created. A really original world I love everything about. I want me a Shifter of my own to cherish and protect me!
I’ve had a soft spot for Ronan in the previous books already, and Bear Shifters are rare in this kind of books. Plenty of wolves and cats, but bears, no so much. So I was curious to read more about one. And Jennifer Ashley sure did not disappoint me. It is not a full length book, but still over 200 pages and I thoroughly enjoyed them. I can’t wait for the next book to come out.

Jennifer Ashley has a great writing style. Fluent, fast paces, never boring, you just get sucked into the story, hoping the book will never end. Her characters are fully dimensional, you have to fall in love with them. I am already counting the days till I can read the next book.

9,5 stars.

zondag 18 december 2011

J.R. Ward – Covet

The first book in the Fallen Angels series, published September 2009.


Redemption isn't a word Jim Heron knows much about-his specialty is revenge, and to him, sin is all relative. But everything changes when he becomes a fallen angel and is charged with saving the souls of seven people from the seven deadly sins. And failure is not an option.
Vin DiPietro has surrendered himself to his business -until fate intervenes in the form of a tough- talking, Harley-riding, self-professed savior, and a woman who makes him question his destiny. With an ancient evil ready to claim him, Vin has to work with a fallen angel not only to win his beloved over … but redeem his very soul.

The first time I picked up this book, I laid it back on the shelf after the first page. So not in the mood for this. But a few weeks ago, I read that this series, and the BDB are going to connect. So to fully understand everything, I had to give this one a second try. And I am really glad I did it.
This story sure is original, and I had some trouble understanding where it would all go.

Jim Heron is a former black ops military man. He dropped out some time ago, and now lives quietly in Caldwell, working in construction. Some rich man, Vin DiPietro, is building a gigantic new house near the river. Jim is an einzelganger, not connecting with his fellow workers, but he is good at what he does. Only two guys on Harley’s are trying to contact him. And so he finds himself in a bar, called the Iron Mask, with the two of them, celebrating his birthday. Which is something they don’t know. When Jim leaves, he is followed by a gorgeous woman in a blue dress, who has been eying him for the past hour. He is not interested, but when she starts talking to him, he cannot help himself. And so they have sex in his car, even though he knows she is involved with someone else.
The next day, he finds out with whom. His boss. And then Jim has an accident, and dies. And wakes up in Heaven with four very strange guys who tell him they are Angels. Apparently, the powers that be have grown bored with the ancient battles between good and evil for the souls of humanity, and they have decided on one last battle. 7 souls, and who ever wins, will win everything. And both parties have chosen Jim Heron as the one to sway things for their side. 7 souls to win or lose. And Jim will have the power to influence those 7 people in giving up their sinning, or indulging in it even more.
Jim is so no interested in that job, but he cannot refuse. And when confronted with his mother’s memory, he is determined to do a good job of it. And with some unlikely help, he is send back to earth, to start his new job as an angel. Without of course the halo and the wings.

At first he thinks it is his job to bring his boss, Vin di Pietro and his girlfriend closer together, but when they meet a woman, a prostitute, in the Iron Mask, and Vin is instantly attracted to her, Jim is getting doubts. They defend Marie Therese from two stoned punks who won’t take no for an answer, and when those two men end up dead later one, things are getting complicated.

I was feeling a lot in the dark with this novel, but kept on reading, as I also was captivated by what was happening. Never knowing what would be next. And well, this is an angel-demon book, but you are not to expect something heavenly, or lots of faith and church and god in this. Of which I am very thankful. Though guys, motorcycles, fast cars, fights, yes, all of that. And little referrals to her other great series, the Black Dagger Brotherhood. I do believe Phury showed up for one second, and Zero Sum is mentioned as Marie Therese’s previous job. I also think the owner of the Iron Mask is not human. They way he manipulates the police is a certain giveaway.

I like this book. None of the characters in it are purely good, or evil, well except the demon of course. But the humans are just, real. They make choices, good and bad, and live with the consequences. They do have the power to change themselves, and they do that. Or not. So I am looking forward to reading the next book, which is already somewhere on my shelves.

It is not an easy and funny book to read. Don’t expect that. Or insta love. I did have some trouble with believing in the sex scenes, and yes, I did skip them. I wanted to know where the story was going. Also, if you cannot handle this: there is no HEA, but a HFN for the characters meant to change. An for the real hero in the story, which should be Jim, no romantic interest whatsoever. But I did like his Dog. And how he got him.

8 stars.

donderdag 15 december 2011

Thea Harrison – True Colors

An Elder Races novella, book 3.5, published December 2011.

True Colors

Meeting your soulmate? Great. Preventing your possible murder? Even better.
Alice Clark, a Wyr and schoolteacher, has had two friends murdered in as many days, and she's just found the body of a third. She arrives at the scene only minutes before Gideon Riehl, a wolf Wyr and current detective in the Wyr Division of Violent Crime—and, as Alice oh-so-inconveniently recognizes at first sight, her mate.
But the sudden connection Riehl and Alice feel is complicated when the murders are linked to a serial killer who last struck seven years ago, killing seven people in seven days. They have just one night before the killer strikes again. And every sign points to Alice as the next victim.

Product Warnings
This book contains a hot police detective, a violent murderer on the hunt, and a heroine that can blend in anywhere.

I have one big complaint about this story: it is WAY TOO SHORT! I enjoyed it so much, it was over before I knew it.

Alice Clark has an appointment with her best friend Haley for that evening. One of their friends has been found murdered, and another friend is missing. They are so afraid that the dreadful murders that happened seven years ago are repeating themselves. So Alice is determined to convince Haley to stay at her place for a while. But she is too late. To her horror, her friend is murdered, mutilated on her own bed.
And to make matters worse, someone is entering the apartment, and Alice has to hide, fast! Is it the murderer who has come back? What is she to do?

Gideon Riehl, a Wolf Wyr, is investigation the recent murders. Yes, murders, as the second body has been found. 7 years ago, the murders were committed alphabetically among a small group of very rare full color chameleon Wyr. Haley’s name on the list is next. So Gideon has come over to make sure she is safe. But he is too late, the body is still warm. There is no trace of the murderer whatsoever, not even his wolf can scent him. So the murderer must have masked his scent, like hunters do, and criminals, and he has been wearing gloves. Still, Gideon has the strange feeling there is someone else in the tiny apartment, and he can’t find that person. So he decides to hide out front across the street, and watch who will leave the apartment building next. He is sure that he will recognize that person by his/her scent.

And his patience is rewarded when Alice leaves the building. Their eyes meet, and the earth tilts on its axis. They are mates. Alice is horrified, how can a brutal murderer be her mate? Gideon doesn’t yet know what hit him, but he is determined to catch her. Which is much more difficult than he would have believed. At the last minute, he convinces her he is a police officer, and she needs to come to the nearest police station. Not being stupid, Alice takes precautions. But when they meet, everything falls in place. They fit.

And now it is up to Gideon to keep Alice safe. No matter what his boss, Wyr Sentinel and Gryphon Bayne will order him to do, he will keep her safe.

The two of them together is so very sweet. Gideon, a hard ex-military man of many years, and now a cop. Alice, a school teacher of only 35 years. A large Wyr Wolf and a tiny Wyr Chameleon. It sounds incompatible, but it just works out. I love how they are together, how Gideon reacts to her house and person. And how Alice seeks refuge near the wolf after a nightmare. And of course, the sex scene was really nice and still hot as well. They mystery and suspense part was very well done, although I did guess who it was early on.

All in all, a very good short story, which I enjoyed very much.

Hero: hot, large, protective, I love him
Heroine: sweet, nice, but not a doormat
Secondary characters: not really
Romance: great
Plot: great
Heat-level: hot enough
Writingstyle: very good
Summary: excellent short story, I heartily recommend it

9,5 stars

woensdag 14 december 2011

Leslie Kelly – It happened one Christmas

A stand alone novel, published November 2011.

It happened one Christmas

Six years ago, Ross Mitchell and Lucy Fleming shared a hot holiday weekend in Manhattan, back when he was just a hard-bodied guy in a tool belt and she was an impulsive photography student.
Fast-forward a few Decembers: Ross and Lucy meet again, by chance, at his office Christmas party. And when they find themselves alone and snowed in after hours, it's not long before they're making their own body heat - again. Only this time, the sex is better than ever!
But is it just another holiday romp between the sheets? Or will Lucy and Ross finally get to keep what they really want this year - each other!

Lucy just dumped her cheating boyfriend, and is having the girlfriend talk with her best friend and roommate over coffee. At the same time, some gorgeous young carpenter is making some new bookshelves in the coffeeshop annex bookstore they frequent. And talk about eye-candy! Kate tricks the two of them into meeting, and Ross is taken with Lucy at once. And Lucy just realized she is not really heartbroken about losing a Jude the cheat, just about losing a boyfriend. After all, it is December 23, and she already hates Christmas. She lost her parents just after the holidays thanks to a drunk driver, and since then, she only has her big brother left.

Lucy and Ross hit it off at once, talking for a while, and then Ross insists on coming with her back to Jude’s apartment to get the gift her brother send her there back. She just hopes Jude hasn’t disposed of it already. Jude is acting like a real slimeball, talking about taking her back, when he is the cheater she caught in the act with a neighbour.
After some Christmas shopping for Ross, for presents for his family, he takes her home. And safes her. They end up at his house, having a fabulous evening, and night. Lucy was a virgin, she never wanted to make love with Jude, even after three months of dating, but Ross is different. She is attracted to him, loves everything about him. On Christmas day however, Ross is called home to Chicago, because his dad just had a heart attack. And so they part ways, and Lucy sets of on her bright plans for the future.

Now six years later, Lucy is also back in Chicago, wanting to be near her brother who just got through a nasty divorce. She did not really realize all her bright plans, but she likes where she is, and she is good at her job. And while doing her job, she meets Ross again. Both are astonished, both never forgot the other, never managed to hold on to a relationship with somebody else. Will they grab their chance and hold on this time? When fate gives them a second chance?

This sweet novella is divided in two parts, first a chapter in the now in Chicago, and then a chapter six years ago in New York. And I liked both stories. I was kind of grumpy with my boyfriend when I started this novel, but halfway through I was immersed in it, wanted to know what happened to the great way they started out, and how they would get back together in time. A Harlequin Blaze is a really thick book after all.

I just have to say: it liked this book, a lot. Lucy is funny, and spiritful. She dislikes Christmas, due to the painful memories it brings, but also doesn’t want to spoil things for Ross. She was young, just 22, and still optimistic, and a virgin. At 28, she is mature, she knows what she wants, she likes her life. And Ross, he was her knight in shining armor that night, or rather her carpenter in sturdy leather. They connected, and I believed in it. Ross, very handsome as a young penniless carpenter, and even more handsome as a 30 year old CEO of the large company he inherited from his father.

There are not really any secondary characters in this book, mostly just in mention, a very short role for Ross’ secretary and his youngest sister, but that is it. I did love the Christmas presents Lucy and her brother give each other every year. Really funny.
The plot how they ended up together was nice, I really did wonder how Lucy could forget about her camera en equipment, when it was described how she stepped out of the elevator that afternoon…

So, if you are in the mood for a nice Christmas story, a story of a second chance at love, and with some very hot but sweet love scenes, you should read this one. I did not expect to like it as much as I did.

Leslie Kelly is also known as Leslie Parrish, who writes suspense.

8 stars

dinsdag 13 december 2011

Jayne Ann Krentz – The Scargill Cove Case Files – An Arcane Society Story

This is a free e-novella, published November 2011.

The Scargill Cove Case Files

I have read this one before, as Jayne Ann Krentz had tweeted the story. A sentence each day on Twitter. So, took a long time to finish reading ;) and now it was extremely quick, but still fun. Still, it is a mystery, with even a little suspense in it. No, not telling you, that would be telling the whole story. But it involves a bookstore, a psychic weapon, and a bad guy. Or more.

Hero: Fallon Jones, psychic detective, chaos talent, really yummie as well
Heroine: not yet
Secondary characters: the bad guy, and a need for coffee
Romance: none
Plot: good mystery
Heat-level: none
Writingstyle: great as always
Summary: an extremely short story, but as a big JAK fan, I like it.

7 stars, because, well, it's a JAK story!

maandag 12 december 2011

Donna Grant – Shadow Magic

The first book in the Sisters of Magic series, published 2008.

Shadow Magic

With a past soaked in sin and darkness slowly closing in around him to claim his soul, Drogan only wants to live his life in solitude. Years in the king’s service and his numerous deeds directed by the crown have left Drogan with horrendous nightmares and immeasurable guilt…
Serena is a witch, cursed and forever alone. She accepts her future. Until she meets Drogan. With Drogan a passion deep and unyielding awakens inside her. She is willing to sacrifice herself for his love, but can he put his past to rest and embrace the future?

Lord Drogan of Wolfglynn has come to Hawthorne Castle to visit with his friends Lord Gerard and his wife Maris, and their new babydaughter Jocelyn. Then, among the throng of people, he sees a beautiful woman at the other end of the room, watching him. And he is intrigued, something that hasn’t happened in a long time. But even though he is looking, it takes a while to spot her again.
To his surprise, the Lady Serena is asked by Gerard to bless his daughter. Why is that? Gerard is a faithful man, and now he believes in a witch? But he can’t help to observe there is something more to Serena.

When Serena sees Drogan, she is attracted to him, something that has not happened before. She has been careful in guarding her heart, as her mother told her. She does not want to fall victim to the curse on her people, after seeing her mother suffer for years.

Drogan is finally convinced by Gerard that witchcraft does excist, as he sees how Serena suffers from it. He wants to protect her, even from his own friend. But what she has seen in the future of the child, is not good.
There is a great evil coming to Hawthorne, intent on killing Gerard, his wife and his child. And if they don’t feel to safety, Drogan will also die. This she sees, and this she believes. They cannot flee by horse, they will have to sneak out of their own castle, as commoners. Serena prefers they run that same night, but that is not possible, as they do have some organizing to do first. No one can know that their lord and lady are gone. And so they leave, humble in a cart. But evil finds them faster than they hoped for, and they will have to split up. Gerard and his family will travel along with some gypsies, and Drogan and Serena will commence on foot, of the roads, to his Castle at the sea, Wolfglynn. Serena has never seen the ocean, and is looking forward to it. But can she keep her attraction to Drogan hidden from him? Drogan is warned away from Serena, but he would not handle upon his attraction, he is too filled with the darkness due to the many sins he has committed over the years. He is not worthy of Serena.

I’ve been doing my best to like this book, but I just could not get a feeling for the hero nor the heroine. The story stayed flat and slow. I was expecting magic, as the heroine, Serena, is a witch. She could see the past and the future, she was extremely sensitive to cold and heat and is wounded very easily, large bruises if she only get touched. But that is it. No witch craft at all. So I’d rather call her a psychic then a witch. She knows things.
We get little to know personal back ground on both Drogan and Serena, so no chance to get to like them or dislike them. Serena is extremely loyal, and instantly willing to sacrifice herself to her friends because what she has seen. And that is it, kind of.

Serena is constantly thinking about the curse upon her people, and it takes a long time for her to tell Drogan, who does not believe in it. He will not leave her!
And Drogan is totally absorbed by his past sins, and his darkness. Really tiresome after a while. And when finally told, well, not that big a thing in my opinion. He could not prevent it from happening, and he was not the man who made it happen, or do the deed.

The evil is strange though, supposedly the man has sold his soul to the devil, and cannot be killed.

This story is supposed to take place in 1127, so when the hero is thinking: Irony is a bitch, well that really hits me wrong. I am not really a stickler for historical accuracy in a historical romance novel, as I am not a scholar myself, but this really doesn’t fit.

Also I found myself skipping the lovescenes. The constant use of the word “rod” was just not to my liking.

I am a little bit intrigued to find out more about the evil, but not enough to read more of this series. To me, a very disappointing series, but I kept reading on, hoping it would get better. Still, the writing style is nice, fluent, and perhaps it is just my mood that I do not like the book. Also, this is the first issue, the book has been re-issued two months ago. Perhaps it has been edited, improved.

4 stars.

zondag 11 december 2011

Gail Carriger – Heartless

The fourth book in the Alexia Tarabotti series, published July 2011.


Lady Alexia Maccon, soulless, is at it again, only this time the trouble is not her fault. When a mad ghost threatens the queen, Alexia is on the case, following a trail that leads her deep into her husband's past. Top that off with a sister who has joined the suffragette movement (shocking!), Madame Lefoux's latest mechanical invention, and a plague of zombie porcupines and Alexia barely has time to remember she happens to be eight months pregnant.
Will Alexia manage to determine who is trying to kill Queen Victoria before it is too late? Is it the vampires again or is there a traitor lurking about in wolf's clothing? And what, exactly, has taken up residence in Lord Akeldama's second best closet?

After months of assassination attempts on Lady Alexia Maccon’s life, she is astonished at the solution to the problem presented her by her husband, Professor Lyall and Lord Akeldama. She has to give up her baby for adoption to Lord Akeldama, which will stop the vampire attacks on her? Her husband explains that both BUR and the pack of which he is Alpha, are stretched thin, keeping her protected. And by giving her child in the care of Lord Akeldama, the vampires will cease. Alexia is stunned. She may be soulless, but she is certainly not heartless! But pragmatic as she is, she sees the merit of the idea. So she agrees, on a few conditions. They are to move next door of Lord Akeldama, but Lord and Lady Maccon will secretly reside with Lord Akeldama as well. Alexia will not be separated from her child if she can help it!
And so it starts. Lord Akeldama does not only have to convert one of his wardrobe closets into a nursery, he will have to give another up as a bedroom for Alexia and Conall. Everything is settled, when miss Felicia Loontwhill, Alexia’s half-sister appears. She wants to come live with Alexia again, as she has joined a suffragette organisation, and her mother is not pleased with that. Very reluctantly, Alexia agrees. She has not yet forgiven her sister for telling her personal secrets to the tabloids in the third book. Her sister is always complaining, and downtalking to Alexia, and now she wants to live with a werewolf pack?

And then a ghost, with little sanity left, is warning Alexia of a murder plot against the Queen! All the investigations BUR is doing, lead to nothing, so it is up to Alexia herself to find out the truth. Even if she is 8 months pregnant and Conall wants to keep her locked up in their room. Soon Alexia finds clues to the past, when Conall’s previous pack tried to poison the Queen, and Conall left them to come to London. Conall doesn’t want her to investigate, the past is best left behind and forgotten. But Alexia is determined. It is her job as the muhjah to find out the truth and to protect the Queen. Everyone is busy, and there is no option left but the send her best friend Ivy back to Scotland for more information from Lady Kildair.

In the meanwhile, Genevieve Lefoux is acting strange, and appears to be exhausted. Her aunt is very close to dying for the second time, and it is heartbreaking to witness that. But what is she working on?

And Biffy, the latest werewolf, is not doing well. He cannot get used to being a werewolf, he is still in love with Lord Akeldama. He is fighting the change, which makes it worse for him, and more susceptible to the moon. Nothing Conall is doing seems to help much.

This fourth book in the series is very fast paced, a lot happens. Alexia never seems to have a moment of rest in it. But I loved it. Could not stop reading, I just had to know what happened on the next page, and the next. And the ending, brilliant. I can’t wait till the next book comes out in March 2012.
Alexia is a really formidable character. Inseparable from her trusty parasol and its many options. She also takes her job as muhjah very seriously, taking care of the supernaturals in England in her own manner. Even though it is difficult to go about, and she is constant hungry and tired, she doesn’t give in. Matters have to be solved, and today.
There was not so much Ivy in this book, which is a shame. She is such a surprising character. At first I thought her a typical ignorant miss, but there is a lot more to her than meets they eye, something Alexia is finding out as well.
After the previous book, I was hoping for more information on Floote, the butler/secretary, and Alexia’s late father’s valet. Instead, we got some info about Professor Lyall, that really surprised me.

Again, there was not a predictable moment in the book. I love Gail Carriger’s writing style, her vibrant descriptions of all the steampunk gadgets and machinery, and her very original take on vampires and werewolves.

Is there an: “I hate Felicity” club? I want to join it. Such a vicious, opportunistic young lady. But at least, she gets locked up in the cellar in the end. I kind of hope she will be forgotten for a while …

9,5 stars

zaterdag 10 december 2011

Gail Carriger – Blameless

The third book in the Alexia Tarabotti series, published September 2010.


Quitting her husband's house and moving back in with her horrible family, Lady Maccon becomes the scandal of the London season.
Queen Victoria dismisses her from the Shadow Council, and the only person who can explain anything, Lord Akeldama, unexpectedly leaves town. To top it all off, Alexia is attacked by homicidal mechanical ladybugs, indicating, as only ladybugs can, the fact that all of London's vampires are now very much interested in seeing Alexia quite thoroughly dead.
While Lord Maccon elects to get progressively more inebriated and Professor Lyall desperately tries to hold the Woolsey werewolf pack together, Alexia flees England for Italy in search of the mysterious Templars. Only they know enough about the preternatural to explain her increasingly inconvenient condition, but they may be worse than the vampires -- and they're armed with pesto.

I stayed up way to late last night to finish the book. But I just had to know how it would end. And I am happy that I have the fourth book in the series lying on my shelf, but I am in dubio: read on, or wait until the next book is almost here?

After the way her husband treated her in Scotland, Alexia has cleared out of Woolsey Castle, and moved back in with her “loving” family. Her family is not happy to have her living with them again. Her stepfather is ignoring her, as usual. Her mother is glad she is not eating that much anymore, but her stepsisters want her out of the house, as she is ruining their chances at marriage by being such a scandal. Her sister Felicity has finally let the cat out of the bag, it is all over the London papers that Alexia is pregnant, and that it cannot possibly be her husbands child, as he is a werewolf, and partly dead, or undead. Alexia decides to move out, and go to Lord Akeldama, who has invited her. But she finds the house empty, apparently they moved out in a big hurry? What has happened?
Losing the protection of the pack could not have been worse, as the vampires are determined to kill her. For being pregnant? Why? What will the nature of her Infant Inconvenience be? Will he be a preternatural like Alexia herself, or a werewolf like its father, or something else? Something bad?
Of course Alexia is used to being the target of a murder attempt, but this is getting ridiculous! Luckily she has her trusty parasol with her. Perhaps it would be better though, if she went to the continent to escape all the gossip and find out more about her own nature and that of her child. Madame Lefoux and Floote will accompany her, and Ivy, the new Mrs Tunstell, will take over the hatshop for Madame Lefoux while they are away, something Genevieve is dreading.

And so, through Paris and Nice they arrive in Italy, barely escaping some drones chasing and attacking them, to end up in the tender care of the Templars! From the frying pan into the fire, or not?
And all that time, Alexia is mad at Conall and almost crying about what happened. How can he believe those horrible things he has said to her? Doesn’t he know her character by now? Doesn’t he love her after all? She will find evidence though, and rub his nose in it, and make him grovel!

And back in England, Professor Lyall is left behind to hold the fort. His Alpha is useless, as he is doing his best to stay drunk. As a werewolf cannot get drunk on alcohol, he is using formaldehyde… So it is up to Professor Lyall to defend the pack against challengers, to look after BUR, and everything else. Where did Lord Akeldama go? What happened? What is the potentate up to?

A book I read in one evening (okay and part of the night) and I highly enjoyed it. The fantastic inventions used in this book are marvellous, I really am in awe of Gail Carriger’s imagination. She has a very fluent writing style, characters you just have to love (or hate) and such an engaging storyline, I just have to keep reading. Never, ever could I predict what would happen next. The scientific explanations and theories are total gibberish to me, but do not detract from the story at all.
A book filled with werewolves and vampires and steampunk devices, and just a lot of fun and action. I love it, and recommend it if you have not yet read the series.

9 stars

vrijdag 9 december 2011

New additions to my addiction

Today I received Kim Harrison - Pale Demon. Really great UF series.

And earlier this week, to my surprise, I received a book by Leslie Kelly -It happened one Christmas. Not sure when and where I won that book, and a bit disappointed it is not signed, as the author send it herself.

But more books will arriving shortly I hope :)

donderdag 8 december 2011

Gail Carriger – Changeless

The second book in the Alexia Tarabotti series, published April 2010.


Alexia Tarabotti, the Lady Woolsey, awakens in the wee hours of the mid-afternoon to find her husband, who should be decently asleep like any normal werewolf, yelling at the top of his lungs. Then he disappears - leaving her to deal with a regiment of supernatural soldiers encamped on her doorstep, a plethora of exorcised ghosts, and an angry Queen Victoria.
But Alexia is armed with her trusty parasol, the latest fashions, and an arsenal of biting civility. Even when her investigations take her to Scotland, the backwater of ugly waistcoats, she is prepared: upending werewolf pack dynamics as only the soulless can.
She might even find time to track down her wayward husband, if she feels like it.

Another great book by Gail Carriger. Alexia and Lord Maccon, werewolf alpha of Londen, and head of BUR, an agency that keeps track of the supernatural population in England, are married. And Alexia has discovered she likes being married, and is even getting accustomed to seeing naked werewolves around, in wolf form and in human form. She also likes being the Mujah, one of the Queen’s supernatural advisors, and the voice of reason against the werewolf and vampire counsellors.

Just when Alexia wants to leave for her next meeting, there is a lot of commotion outside the castle. It appears as though a whole regiment is setting up its tents, and Alexia is informed that is customary, to welcome the soldiers and the werewolf soldiers back into the pack. Of course Alexia knew they were being deployed from India, but why do they have to squat on her front lawn? Also, she really dislikes their commanding officer, who mistakes her for a house keeper he can discipline. He is the back Gamma.

And something is not right in London. Her husband takes of without noticing her, only cryptically telling her, she will find out at the meeting. At which she is even later, as her good friend Ivy appears, telling her she has just gotten engaged to a Captain.
Alexia is appalled at what she finds out eventually. Something is causing all supernatural beings in a specific area in London to become human again and mortal! Something only she can do, and only if she touches that person. And now something is affecting a large area. Is it a disease? Some kind of new weapon invented by the scientists? The dewan and the potentate are not so easily convinced she herself has nothing to do with it. Queen Victoria asks her to investigate, she knows too well her realm needs the power of her werewolf soldiers and the cunning of her vampires to survive. Unfortunately, there is nothing to be done about the ghosts in the area, they have really gone on.

Surprise after surprise for Alexia, as she learns her husband has taken of for Scotland, where he apparently has another werewolf pack, which is not without its Alpha. He never did tell her much about his past. But as the curse seems to be travelling to Scotland as well, Alexia is determined to follow him. He will be mortal there, so she has to keep him safe and find out what is happening. She has always wanted to travel by dirigible, and this is her chance now the trains are out. Unfortunately, she gets some unwelcome company, in the form of her younger half sister, her friend Ivy, and the hatmaker/inventor she met the other night. Also her maid Angelique and her husbands valet are with her. And of course her new parasol with all its nifty gadgets. The journey is not without danger, as someone tries to poison Alexia, and even throw her out of the dirigible (some kind of zeppelin/airship).

Having finally arrived at Castle Kingair, they are not exactly welcome there. It happens to be Conall’s great great great granddaughter who is mistress there now, and she resents him for having left the pack without an alpha, and refusing to turn her into a werewolf. There is also no love lost between Conall and the pack’s beta. Still, they will have to find a resolution for the pack, and find out what is causing them all to be human. And of course, who is trying to kill Alexia, or is someone else the target all along?

A very action filled novel, which kept me reading and reading. The end is very disturbing, and I am so glad the next book in on my shelf. I will dive right into it. No, not going to spoil it for someone who has not read the books yet (or am I the last one to do that?).
I really like Gail Carriger’s writing style and the unique characters she has created. Both the main and secondary ones. And then the interaction between Tunstall and Ivy, well that was melodramatic, but not unsuspected. And that sister of hers, I wish she would have fallen out of the dirigible. What a mean character. How Alexia can tolerate her, I have no idea.

A great second book in a unique series. I even have the illusion that I know how all the gadgets work in the steampunk scenes. A lovely mix of historical, mystery, paranormal and steampunk, I do recommend the series to anyone. Steampunk is not really my thing, I don’t like the Iron Duke for instance, which is highly loved by most everyone else. But this series, I do like. A lot.

9 stars.

woensdag 7 december 2011

Robin Paige – Death at Epsom Downs

The seventh book in the Victorian Mystery series, published March 2001.

Death at Epsom Downs

It’s Derby day at Epsom Downs, and Lord Charles Sheridan is on hand to photograph the race with his new camera – while his wife Kate watches from the stands. It’s a thrilling day for both Sheridans – until the race ends with a jockey’s death. With her husband busy investigating, Kate retreats to the countryside to interview world renowned actress Lillie Langtry for a magazine article. Plunging into her subject’s less-than-illustrious past, Kate puzzles over the long ago theft of the actress’s jewels – and is not surprised when Charles’s investigation heads in Langtry’s direction. Now. Sorting through rumors of bitter rivalries and torrid love affairs, the lord and his lady embark on a race for justice that stands to be a photo finish…

As Charles has been asked by the Jockey Club to make a photograph of the finish of the Derby, both Charles and Kate, and their personal servants are at the Epsom Downs race track. Kate is not really interested in horse racing, and neither is Charles, though both his father and his older brother were keeping/training race horses.
It’s been two years since the previous book, and Lawrence and Amelia are the proud parents of a little girl, whom is staying with Amelia’s mother. She is not at all happy that Lawrence insists on gambling on the horses while they are there, the money could be better used to buy new shoes for Baby.
Kate gets introduced to the famous actress Lillie Langtry, who is most enthusiastic about one of her books, and wants it adapted for a play, with herself in the lead of course. Kate is not so sure about that, but does not get the chance to decline. Instead, she is invited to come and visit Lillie at her “little cottage” near Newmarket.
Both Kate and Charles are very concerned about young Patrick, who has run away from school a few months ago, and they have not heard from him since.
When the race ends in a disaster, with one jockey death, and a horse needing to be put down due to his injuries, Charles is asked to investigate. As horse racing is not his venue, he asks his good friend Lord Brandon Marsden to help him.
Brandon is engaged to a lovely young woman, who actually is working for a living. Of course, his mother hates that, as she wants him married to a rich heiress to fill up the family coffers.

There is a suspicion that the horse that caused the accident, was drugged. A new thing, brought over from America by two American horse trainers. They use drugs to make a horse win, or lose, a race, and make lots of money out of the gambling. The “honest” race horse owners, trainers and bookies are not happy with those practices, and want the Jockey Club to put an end to it by proclaiming it illegal. But the Jockey Club is terrified of bad publicity, so they don’t do anything, only ask Lord Charles to investigate.
And then, one of the most well known bookies is murdered. He was the one who was against drugging the most, threatening to rally the other bookies into refusing bids on horses suspected of being drugged / horses from stables using drugs. So, he had enemies enough, or was it more personal after all?
Charles is not happy with this new addition to his investigation. He is sure the Jockey Club will find some way to wipe it all under the carpet, and not punish the real murderer when he should find him. Charles is also assisted by a former policeman, who is very good at his job, but won’t have any access to the race horse owners.

And of course, there is Kate, finding clues where Charles would never have thought to look. And little Patrick, who is working as a jockey in training with the horse that caused the accident. He has evidence of the drugging, and is only too happy to turn it over to Charles, it is bad for his beloved horse. He wants an end to the drugging! His friend lost his life because of it.

Another great mystery by Robin Paige. And I had the feeling I knew all of the participants in this mystery, as I have seen the biography of Lillie Langtry on BBC and DVD. On there, she is a bit better portrayed than in this book, but the discoveries in here, were known by me already. But that did not make it any less interesting, or easier to figure out the whole truth.

As always, I love both Kate and Charles, they are so great together, and apart. And young Patrick is a nice addition to the series. I wonder what will happen with him in the next book.

9 stars.

dinsdag 6 december 2011

American help wanted!

Hello my readers in America,

One of my favourite authors, Jayne Anne Krentz, has a free ebook available on Amazon. Living in Holland, Amazon won't allow me to download it. Could someone please "gift" it to me? Is that possible?

Here is the link for the book:

Please leave a comment if you want to help out, I only need one copy :)
Thanks in advance.

My email: auriansbooks at gmail dot com

Keri Ford – In the Hay

Book 3 in the Uninhibited in Apple Trail, Arkansas, series.

In the Hay

Two strangers visiting Apple Trail. When they get together will they put in roots in this small town or go back to their lives?
It’s been a White Picket Fence life for Nicolette. Charming, but tedious. She graduated high school, raring to go. Nothing is ever as easy as it seems though. The fear of being stuck in a rut, living a dull day-to-day life keeps Nicolette from settling on a career, despite her six years of college. When the chance arrives for her to housesit, she takes opportunity by the horns for a little playtime. She would experience life and find something that would make her happy.
Drew knows exactly what he wants. To run the family construction business. Too bad his dad doesn’t think he’s ready. They make a deal. Drew will help his cousin put up a new fence and after he’s learned hard work, the construction business is his. Drew’s not sure learning how to string fence line together will see him suitable for a career of paper pushing, but he’ll do it.
When Drew meets the wanna-be-free-spirited Nicolette, his determined thoughts of what he’s always worked for begins to sway. Nicolette’s finding the fun in life. But their relationship is temporary. A week tops.

Well, the blurb tells it all, kind of. It is the longest novella I have read by Keri Ford so far, almost 160 pages in .lit. I very much liked it.
Nicolette has been a good girl all her life, doing what her mothers wants her to do. And now she is free for a while in Apple Trail, housesitting and dogsitting. She is determind to do all those things she never did as a kid and have fun. Climb up a watertower, make a mudslide, skinny dipping, and even having an affair. And for that last one, she connects with Drew. He isn’t into relationships, as he is focused on his future, which will be way too busy for a commitment. If only he can please his father enough. So a weeklong fling while he is in Apple Trail, is just the thing. Even though the work he is doing for his cousin is physically heavy and exhausting, he will be sure to have enough energy left to have a good time with Lette.
Just a week. But they both start feeling more for each other pretty soon, and Drew is spooked by that. Lette is not, she wants to go for it, see where it leads. But when the job is finished, Drew goes home.

I really liked this book a lot. Nicolette is just so true a character, someone you can relate too. She is an innocent but willing to have fun. I loved that she read up on the internet on sex, and romance. She is not afraid to be silly, she goes for it.

Keri Ford has a very distinct writing style I have come to love. She uses plain language, open and honest, and just so very real. You could meet those people she writes about. Yes, there is a fair amount of sex in her books, but not too explicit or excessive for my tastes. Drew is a talker, but it never becomes sordid. I liked the two of them together.

I am looking forward to reading the next one. So far, the books are getting better and better.

9 stars.

maandag 5 december 2011

Jacqueline Frank - Damien

The fourth book in the Nightwalkers series, published June 2008.


They are the Nightwalkers, mysterious beings who dwell in the shadows of our world, and Damien, the Vampire Prince, is among the most powerful of them all. But one woman wil tempt him with a desire unlike anything he has known, and together they will face a terrifying and relentless foe…

He’d never loved. But she was irresistible.
As reigning Vampire Prince, Damien has tasted every pleasure the world has to offer – consorting with kings and queens and delighting in sensual adventure. Now, tired of such pursuits, he devotes his energies to protecting his people. The war between human necromancers and Nightwalkers has escalated, and when the enemy makes a daring move, kidnapping Syreena, a Lycanthrope Princess, Damien boldly follows. He succeeds in rescuing her, but is unprepared for the erotic longing her lush sensuality awakens in him.
Gifted with rare abilities, Syreena grew up in a cloistered setting and was forbidden to form attachments to others, yet the connection Damien feels with her is immediate, intoxicating, and impossible for either to resist. But claiming Syreena as his mate could have shattering repercussions for every Nightwalker – and leave their enemies more dangerous than ever before …

It’s been a few years since I read the first three books in the series, but I had no trouble at all picking the main storyline up again.

The different Nightwalkers, demons, lycanthropes, vampires and even a few mistrals, are still fighting their common enemy, Ruth, a Mind Demon who has discovered and is using, black magic. In the last book, they discovered a hidden library, containing long forgotten books from all their races. So they have not always been at war with each other. Just like they are coming slowly to peace now themselves.
When vampire Prince Damien, and his long time friend Jasmine enter the library, they meet the lycanthrope Princess Syreena, and Damien is attracted to her. Syreena is acting uncommonly hostile to him, and she has no idea why. So she exits the library, to seek some solitude, even though her sister, Queen Sienna, has asked her to supervise the goings on at the library. Soon after, she discovers why she was feeling so strange, as Ruth appears, capturing her by surprise. She blames Elijah for the death of her only daughter, and by taking Syreena, she will be taking revenge on him. As this will hurt Sienna, his mate, it will hurt him.
But Damien soon happens upon the spot of the violence, and when he finally sees through the illusions and discover the amount of blood in the snow, and worse, the strands of Syreena’s hair, het sets out in pursuit. Hours later, he finds Syreena, tortured and cowering in a corner of the room she is being held prisoner. There is no time to go in search of help, as she is dying. He will have to safe her now. With blunt force, because of all the wards on the house, and the human guards Ruth has downstairs.

And so Damien sets out with a dying Syreena in his arms, he knows he cannot go too far before Ruth catches up with them. And blasting through those wards have wounded him and sapped his powers as well. So he touches down on Mistral land. But first, he has to close Syreena’s wounds, before she bleeds to death. Her cut hair is still bleeding. The only way he knows how, is to drink from her, so the agents in his saliva can begin closing her wounds. Even though it is forbidden to drink from other Nightwalkers, as this is like poison to a vampire. He is willing to take that risk. But as soon as he takes the bite, and drinks from Syreena, he cannot stop drinking, even though he knows she has lost too much blood already. And then the agony attacks him, twisting his body.
And so the mistrals find them, both in pain and dying. Luckily, their race is one of healers, and they nurse both the vampire and the lycanthrope back to health. There is a new bond between Damien and Syreena, and Damien knows she is to be his mate. But he is more than a thousand years old, and Syreena only a hundred, and has lived most of her life in seclusion in a monastery. Only in the past 15 years has she been free, a valuable advisor to her sister, and heir to the throne.

Can there really be a relationship between a vampire and a lycanthrope? Will their people allow it? Especially the lycanthropes, as their Queen is already mated to a demon? Damien is convinced the answers to that question are hidden in the newly discovered library, and asks Jasmine to look into it, even though she loathes Syreena for taking him from her.

But their enemies won’t stay hidden for long, and they will attack again.

A difficult book to review. I liked it, and I did not like it. The overall story is intriguing, the beginning of the book was fast paced and filled with action, and I was quickly grabbed by the story, but after that, I felt it dragging along for a while, wanting for more action, more revelations. The ending did make up for that again. I will be reading the next books in the series, as I want to know how it will all come together.

I did like Syreena, she did not have an easy life. And she also does not take the easy way out, by saying yes to Damien when he asks her to. She considers every possible difficulty, not only to her own people, but to his as well. It is Damien who is so old and still feels immature to me, by not understanding that. He gives her time, but he resents that she takes it. And later on, he breaks a promise to her, and doesn’t want to understand how that hurts her. How can she trust them, how can they be equals when he does not treat her like that. Jasmine also plays a big part in this book, and I am curious to learn more about her. Especially after that prophecy in the end. But I do wonder, is she still loyal or did she listen to Ruth?

Also, there are a lot of lovescenes in this book, I could have done with a little less and some more action. Some more exploration of the new powers they got. So if you like a romance focused series, this is definitely for you. But if, like me, you prefer a story driven book, with the romance important but not the most, you could be a little impatient with it as well. Still, the book is very well written, Jacqueline Frank has an easy way with words and descriptions. I would not mind being part of it.

7 stars.

And this book also qualifies for my personal reading challenge, of reading one book a month that has been on my shelves for over a year.

zondag 4 december 2011

Moira Rogers - Demon Bait

The first novella in the Children of the Undying series.

Demon Bait

Fifty years after a demon apocalypse devastated the world, summoners still bear the bulk of the blame. Marci lives in secret, hiding the gifts that could cost her a secure spot in one of humanity's underground cities, and access to their virtual world. After all, her chances of avoiding the genetic-testing lotto are better than her chances of surviving topside.
The bastard son of a terrifying incubus, lust heats Gabe's blood and sex fuels his magic. Innate charm and charisma help him navigate the cultural gap between the outcast town he calls home and the human settlements he infiltrates for trade. His latest mission nets him an unexpected asset--a summoner strong enough to soothe his darkest needs.
Trust a half demon, especially one who uses a lockdown to trap them together? Not in this lifetime. Yet Marci can't resist Gabe's offer to see her safely to a selective outcast settlement where she can live without fear. The journey alone is as dangerous as the way Gabe makes her heart race, but it could be her one hope of a real life.

If only she could be sure Gabe's telling her the whole truth...

I’ve won this book on Twitter recently, and have been looking forward to reading it. Not sure if a post apocalyptic world is my thing, but I do like Moira Rogers’s writing (and the fun they are on Twitter). Every review I have read about this book so far, has made me more wanting to read it.

Moira Rogers has created a wonderful world, taking place after a demon apocalypse has destroyed what we know of society today. Humans have fled underground, surviving thanks to their technology. Marci is a summoner, a person whom the demons are drawn too. And if it ever would become known, she would be killed, or worse, thrown outside into the open. As a summoner, she can make a demon do whatever she wants it too. And so Marci has to stay hidden, hide her true self from her friends and coworkers, always ready to run to the next city, never really safe.
And now a stranger has come to her little place in the world. She is mesmerized by his blue eyes, and drawn to him. Almost before she can process this feeling, the alarms are sounding, and the place will go into lockdown. Gabe can manipulate her enough so that they are locked in somewhere together. Here he will have to convince her to come with him to his city, and to be his. To let him mark her as his own. Gabe is a half demon, and he needs Marci to feel complete. And so, he seduces her. With words, and not with his body as he so desperately wants. Together they manage to escape from the lockdown, into the dangerous world above ground. They survive being attacked by a demon, and his minions, to Gabe’s hide out. Where they stay for a few days to get to know each other better, and have sex. Lots of sex. Thanks to their bonding, it is incredible. Their magic coursing through them. Or would it be just as good without the magic, just because ?

When Marci finds out he has not been honest with her after all, she wants him to withdraw his mark. Which he does, making both of them miserable. But Marci is safe in his city, learning the ropes, getting to know his friends.

I liked the story. I still don’t understand much of what happened, or how this world is working. Part perhaps because I have no knowledge whatsoever about virtual reality, which plays a really big part in this story and this world.
I liked Marci, when she knows what she wants, she goes after it. And being in a fight and surviving, makes her finally feel alive. As it is only a short story, 120 pages or so in .lit format, there is not much background info on her, or on Gabe. They fall for each other rather quickly, but they do spend a lot of time together talking, of which we are not a witness.
Also, Gabe being son of a succubus, could make for lots of hot lovescenes, but as this is a book by Moira Rogers, there are just enough to fit the story. Nor are they very explicit, and I like that. Moira Rogers has a nice writing style, very fluent, and never boring. Her characters are lively, and often surprising. Just like this story, I never knew what would happen next. Or how the main characters would react.

I hope to learn more about this world and what happened, in the next book.

7 stars.

zaterdag 3 december 2011

Sabrina Jeffries – To Wed a Wild Lord

The fourth book in the Hellions of Halstead Hall series, published November 2011.

To wed a Wild Lord

To fulfil his grandmother’s ultimatum, Lord Gabriel Sharpe pursues a spitfire he believes desperately needs him. Then the tables are turned …

Like everything daredevil Gabe Sharpe does, wooing Virginia Waverly is a high-stakes game. Ever since her brother, Roger, died racing Lord Gabriel, Virginia has yearned to take her revenge on the reckless lord by beating him at his own sport. But when she challenges Lord Gabriel to a race, the hellion called the “Angel of Death” counters with a marriage proposal! Gabe knows Virginia is in dire financial straits – so why not marry her and solve both of their problems? She claims to be appalled by his proposal, but her response to his kisses says otherwise. And when the two of them begin to unravel the truth behind Roger’s death, Gabe takes the greatest gamble of all, offering the courageous beauty something more precious than any inheritance: true love.

All 5 Sharpe siblings have gotten an ultimatum from their grandmother, Hetty Plumtree. They will all have to married within the year, or she will disinherit them all. The oldest three have found their match, and are happily married, and now it is Gabriels turn. He is trying to convince his grandmother to lift that rule for his youngest sister, Celia, as she is only 24, and he does not want to see her unhappy. He promises to stop racing his curricle, if only she agrees. After all, his grandmother doesn’t want to see him risking his life every time he accepts a challenge. Especially for the track that killed his best friend seven years ago.
And after being challenged by Roger’s sister, he knows he has found the woman he wants to marry. After all, why would she refuse him? He is wealthy (at least, if he inherits!), and the son of a Marquess. She says she hates him for killing her brother, but it was an accident, and he is sure he can convince her of that.
Like Gabriel lost his parents at a young age, so has Virginia Waverly. She is living with her grandfather, and her cousin Pierce is a constant visitor. She is still grieving for loosing her only brother, Roger. When her grandfather dies, Pierce will inherit, and she will have nothing if she doesn’t marry. But marry Lord Gabriel, who murdered her brother? Virginia is sure he took advantage of Roger when he was drunk, to challenge him to the race. And she will have her revenge of him! This so called Angel of Death, always dressed completely in black, with his black curricle and black horses, never losing. But he will lose to her, and she will make a fool of him in front of all of his friends!

But Gabriel doesn’t want to race her, he wants to court her! So he makes an additional challenge: not on the track that killed her brother, but on another track, of her choosing, and if he wins, he gets the right to court Virginia. She is so certain she will win, so she accepts. But of course, something goes wrong during the race as a man falls out of the crowd into her path, and she has to avoid him. And Gabriel wins. She resents that, but she will abide by her word, even if her grandfather is dead set against it. She will never marry him, ofcourse, even though he is so very handsome, and he kisses so well…
Virginia is taking care of her grandfather, who owns a stud farm, running his household and his servants. Her grandfather sure has a knack for horses, he is good at what he does, but they are just not good enough to make a decent income out of it.
Gabriel wants to keep racing and winning wagers as the Angel of Death, to earn enough money to start raising race horses himself. He knows his grandmothers loathes that idea, as his grandfather was so very bad at it and lost many thousands of pounds. But Gabriel has a feeling for horses his grandfather lacked, and he is sure he can make a success of it. And support himself if his grandmother cuts them all of if Celia doesn’t marry as well.

I’ve been looking forward to reading this book, from the moment I closed the third one. And I have to admit, I am sorely disappointed by this one. I could get no feelings for the hero or the heroine, only lots of disbelief.
There was no spunk at all to Virginia. As she really hates Gabriel for killing her brother, which she has believed for seven long years, why does she never stand up against Gabriel when he kisses her, slaps him, kicks him, whatever, she allows him to do with her as he pleases. Okay, so she was not the responsible girl her grandfather sees in her, she wants more, more excitement, etcetera. And Gabriel supposedly sees that in her. But still, I would have liked some more fighting, and not just: you want to marry me to get your inheritance.

Also, the overall story arc of finding out what happened that fateful night when their parents died 19 years ago, did not have much news to add. I was hoping for some more developments.

I am still looking forward to Celia’s book, which will be released in January though. And I guess each series has a book you like least. And this is the one for me.

Of course, Sabrina Jeffries still has a great writing style. Fluent and never boring. It is just the characters I can’t get into this time.

7 stars.