maandag 28 februari 2011

New addition to my addiction

A new book in a series I love to read landed on my doormat today:
Melissa Mayhue - Healing the Highlander.

It is a great mix of a lot of good things in a book: jummy highlanders, timetravel, the fae, love and magic.

zaterdag 26 februari 2011

J.D. Robb - Treachery in Death

Book 40 in the In Death series, published Febrary 2011.

Treachery in Death

In the latest from the #1 New York Times bestselling phenomenon, Eve Dallas tracks down those who break the law-including the ones sworn to uphold it.

Detective Eve Dallas and her partner, Peabody, are following up on a senseless crime-an elderly grocery owner killed by three stoned punks for nothing more than kicks and snacks. This is Peabody's first case as primary detective-good thing she learned from the master.

But Peabody soon stumbles upon a trickier situation. After a hard workout, she's all alone in the locker room when the gym door clatters open; and-while hiding inside a shower stall trying not to make a sound-she overhears two fellow officers, Garnet and Oberman, arguing. It doesn't take long to realize they're both crooked-guilty not just of corruption but of murder. Now Peabody, Eve, and Eve's husband, Roarke, are trying to get the hard evidence they need to bring the dirty cops down-knowing all the while that the two are willing to kill to keep their secret.

There is nothing Lieutenant Eve Dallas detests more than a dirty cop, and when a shaken Peabody and McNab arrive on her doorstep, she wants to kick but. Lieutenant Renee Obermann is Illegals, and it appears, she has been skimming for years, along with most members in her squad. But there is a catch: her father has been the Commander before Whitney, and is highly respected for everything he has done in his years of service. So this will be very high profile. The media fallout will be huge, and cages will be opened when cases are being reviewed. But still, Eve wants to take her down, badly.
And so with the help of EDD and Lieutenant Webster of IAD, and of course her husband Roarke, the investigation starts. Not only on the theft of the impounded chemicals and money, but also the murder of two straight cops in her division. They will bury her and her team. Detective Garnet is a hot-head, with no respect for authority, and he crosses over the line with Eve, and she slaps him down hard for it. And when he comes at her again, she knows she has her way into Renee’s squad. But Renee acts before she thinks, and has him killed by her personal soldier.
But it will all heap evidence against her, and she will not be able to wiggle out of it. Renee has her people everywhere, in accounting, maintenance, EDD, and even one of the shrinks in Mira’s division. And Eve wants them all, no deals are to be made.

Amongst all the investigating, there is also some personal time. Mavis and Bella drop by, and Chief Darcia, from the Olympus resort, is on holiday in New York, and visits Eve. And when she meets Don Webster of IAD, a spark jumps over, and they start dating. Which baffles Eve, how can a relationship work when you are literally living on different worlds?
There are some nice love scenes with Roarke as usual, the love just jumps of the pages. No nightmares this time, no memories. But Eve really is mad with Renee, she had a normal childhood, and a father who gave a good example, and she smears it. She choose to be a dirty cop. She was not raised one. So Eve enjoys baiting her, and caging her in.

Yes, I liked this brand new story a lot. It has everything I love in this series. A very good detective story, and the personal tidbits I like to read about. The usual main characters of course. And perhaps some new ones who will come back. Of course, not really suspense, as the killer is known and it is all about gathering evidence.

8 stars

vrijdag 25 februari 2011

Sherrilyn Kenyon – Born of Ice

The third book in the League series, originally published in 1999, rewritten and re-issued in December 2009. Which is the book I have, and have read.

Born of Ice

Born of Ice

In the Ichidian Universe, the League and its ruthless assassins continue to keep rule. But at what cost? Welcome back to the future … and a whole new world.

He is an outlaw, who offers no quarter.
Devyn Kell spent his life in service to the League until he learned of the double dealing and backstabbing that was costing innocent people their lives. Refusing to play those politics, he became a Runner – someone who makes sure planets get the weapons, medicine and supplies they need to survive. May the gods have mercy on any who get in his way, because he definitely won’t.
She is on the run from her past that could end her life.
Alix Garran is a woman from a past she can’t escape. Singing on to work for Devyn as a Systems Engineer, she finds a cause she can fight for – and a man she can respect. But as Alix’s past catches up to her, and Devyn’s old enemies turn lethal, they have to fight together … or fall alone.

Alix, her mother and her sister are slaves, owned by her father. When he is caught smuggling by the League, he is tried and executed. His ship and other possessions, including the three of them, are taken to pay for the cost of it all. But just before they are sold on the block, Alix is given a choice. She will have to get the evidence that Devyn Kell is smuggling, so he can be arrested and tried. It is the only way to keep her mother and sister from getting raped and sold to a brothel, so she agrees. Alix was her father’s mechanic, his gunner, and his crew whore. The only ones she has ever loved are her mother and her sister, and she would do anything to save them.
She manages to get hired as the new ship’s mechanic, and is prepared to get the evidence needed. Only everything is locked against her, and the ship’s tech-bot is keeping a very sharp eye on her. So is the captain, Devyn Kell, himself. She is the spitting image of his former fiancée, whom he had to kill to safe himself. Just a few days before their marriage, she accepted a contract on him. The betrayal broke his heart, and her knife damaged it severely. So why is he attracted to Alix?
For the first time in her life, Alix is treated as a human being, as an equal. She doesn’t really know how to react to that, as she is used to being nothing more than a possession to her father, and even less to his crew. Another first is that she desires Devyn, who is one gorgeous male. But when she learns who his parents and friends and their parents are, she is very afraid for her life. How can she betray him and live? His father is C.I. Syn, and his mother is Shaharah Dangan.

When Devyn learns of her betrayal, he is furious, but he can also understand why she agreed to it. Family is everything. So he decides to help her, and free her family. He will use the trap himself to finally put an end to the feud with the Merjack family. What he doesn’t know, is that his half brother is also part of the plot against him …

A fast reading book, this third in the series. I liked it. This time not a tormented hero, though he does still feel guilty about having to kill his assassin-fiancée. Devyn grew up in a rich and loving home, with great friends and their parents. The bantering and interaction with his friends is great and of course extremely sarcastic. But loving all the same.
Alyx has nothing, her father has treated her like dirt all her life. She taught herself what she needed to know for the job, reading and writing and even languages. And now caught between two fires, she doesn’t know what to do anymore. She has to safe her family, but how can she betray the man she has come to love, and his friends?
This book has more and more elaborate love scenes than the previous ones. But there is still a lot of action, and great secondary characters. Old friends and new ones.

8 stars.

Sherrilyn Kenyon – Born of Fire

The second book in the League series, published originally as ebook in the 1990’s, re-issued on paper November 2009, which is the copy I have and have read.

Born of Fire

In a universe where assassins make the law, everyone lives in fear, except for Syn. Born of an illicit scandal that once rocked a dynasty, he always knew how to survive on the bloodthirsty streets. But that was then, and the future is now…

He takes no prisoners.
Syn was raised as a tech-thief until his livelihood uncovered a truth that could end his life. He tried to destroy the evidence and has been on the run ever since. Now trained as an assassin, he allows no one to threaten him. Ever. He is the darkness that swallows his enemies whole.
She offers no escape.
Shahara Dagan is the best bounty hunter in the universe. When Syn comes back on the radar, she’s the only one who can bring him to justice. There’s only one problem: Syn is a close family friend who/’s helped out the Dagans countless times. But if she saves him, both of their lives will be on the line. Is Syn’s protection worth the risk? The only hope Shahara has is to find the evidence he buried long ago. Now it’s kill or be killed – and they, the predators, have just become the hunted.

All his life, Syn has been punished for being the son of a psychopathic criminal. Raised with hatred and violence, he learned to live on the streets. But when his beloved older sister killed herself when he was 10 years of age, he turned his father in to the authorities. As a reward, he gets thrown in prison himself, and not one for children, but in a maximum security facility. He escaped a year later, but the damage was done. All he wanted was to grow up in a normal family, to be able to go to school.
As a street rat, he survived. A filch, a thief, a hacker. Until one night he met Nykyrian, and his life changed. He changed his name, went to school, became a surgeon, even married and became a father. Until a nosy reporter exposed him, and his wife threw him out and set the enforcers on him. Just for being the son of.
Now Syn has build another life for himself, he is an extremely wealthy businessman, and member of the Sentinels. And again a bounty is placed on his head, for something he didn’t do.
Shahara is desperately in need of money to help her sister Tessa out of trouble again. As an excellent bounty hunter, she decides to go after Syn, as he will bring her the greatest reward. What she doesn’t know is that he is a good friend of her brother, and has helped her family countless times. She sees the world in black and white, Syn is a criminal, the government says so, so he belongs in prison. And it is her job to see to that.
Not being able this time to capture him herself, and not willing to kill him as he dares her, she betrays his location to the government. Her conscience is heavy, but her family comes first. Not knowing that Syn has already taken care of all her problems… Then she is given another contract, to betray him even more. First she gets him out of prison, then she has to find the chip he stole 20 years ago, which landed him in prison and torture for the second time in his young life.

What follows is an exciting adventure, where Shahara finds out more about Syn than he has ever told another being. Not even Nykyrian. And she starts to understand him, know him, and fall in love with him, knowing that in the end she will have to betray him.
And Syn starts to feel hope again, is it possible that a decent woman can care for him after all?

Another great story by Sherrilyn Kenyon. I love the world(s) she created, the different races, the super fast space travel.
Syn is another extremely tormented hero, and no matter what happened to him, a very decent man. He still hurts from the betrayal of his wife and son, whom he never stopped loving, even though he is not his biological father. And the only thing the son wants from him, is his money.
Shahara is a strong kick ass female, she even outfights and outshoots Syn. She has been responsible for her younger brother and two younger sisters a long time, getting them out of trouble time and again, with the consequence, she is still piss-poor, with nothing to call her own. Especially her sisters are irresponsible, Tessa is a gambler and a dream chaser, not noticing what it costs Shahara to bail her out time after time.
The riches Syn introduces her to, are quite overwhelming. Especially when she believes he wants a sophisticated wife, who knows all about etiquette. And she is nothing like that. All she knows is how to be a tracker, and how to fight. She cannot even cook!
A really nice surprise was the tech-bot Syn build as a boy, a great secondary character.

The attraction between Syn and Shahara is a surprise to both, but very nicely done. There are some love scenes, but not too much. I liked both of them, and really felt for Syn. But I do believe Shahara could have come to her senses sooner.

8 stars.

donderdag 24 februari 2011

Sherrilyn Kenyon – Born of Night

The first book in the League series, published in 1996. Rewritten and re-issued in September 2009. Which is the book I have read.

Born of the Night

Born of Night

In the Ichidian Universe, the League rules all. Expertly trained and highly valued, the League Assassins are the backbone of the government. But not even the League is immune to corruption.

He was born and trained to kill.
Command Assasin Nykyrian Quiakides once turned his back on the League – and has been hunted by them ever since. Though many have tried, none can kill him or stop him from completing his current mission: to protect Kiara Zamir, a woman whose father’s political alliance has made her a target.
She must accept his protection – or die.
As her world becomes even deadlier, Kiara must entrust her life to the same kind of beast who once killed her mother and left her for dead. Old enemies and new endanger them both and the only way they can survive is to overcome their suspicions and learn to trust in the very ones who threaten them the most: each other.

Even though this book is a science fiction romance novel, it still is a typical Sherrilyn Kenyon story. A very tormented hero, who despite all the torture he has endured, is still a good person. Yes, he kills, but only for a reason, and he cherishes and protects the few friends he has. Never thinking himself worthy of love, he still falls for the heroine in a big way. And she, incredibly naïve, no matter what has happened to herself, still has a very hard time to come to terms to what life has made of him.
Their journey together is dangerous, but the more she learns about his past, the more she understands him and cares for him. But he tries to save her, even from himself, and gives her everything he thinks she needs. No matter the cost to himself.
Nykyrian could have been a bit tougher to my taste, not so much lamenting his past, and more building his future and take charge. Kiara is a princess, and a famous dancer, protected as much as possible, which is not enough so Nykyrian and his friends steps in. So not only are they after Kiara’s life and the bounty on her head to have her father submit, but also Nykyrians enemies come out of the woodwork to hunt them down.

I liked the story, the world Sherrilyn Kenyon has build, and have gone straight ahead with the next book in this series.

7 stars.

New addition to my addiction

Yesterday another book reached me by a very wet mailman:

Kresley Cole - Dreams of a Dark Warrior.

I really want to read this one fast, but for the moment, not much reading time in sight unfortunately.

woensdag 23 februari 2011

Jayne Ann Krentz – Soft Focus

A stand alone novel, published in 1999.


Executive Elizabeth Cabot knows when to cut her losses – and she runs her pesonal life the same way. So when she learns that Jack Fairfax has deceived her, she’s determined to end their romantic relationship. But breaking up their business is trickier – after all, they have a signed contract. And while she’s still trying to disentangle herself from Jack’s client company, Excalibur, hey discover a lethal act of sabotage that could put both of them out of business – for good.
If she can help Jack save Excalibur, she’ll save her own company from losing a fortune. Putting her emotions aside, she joins him in a search for the scientist who’s disappeared with a valuable new crystal that could revolutionize the high-tech industry. She’ll go in, solve the problem – and get out.
But working so closely with Jack, she’s finding it harder and harder to deny the passion she fels inside. And now, with millions of dollars at stake, Elizabeth Cabot begins to worry about an entirely different sort of risk …

Jack Fairfax is working as consultant/CEO of Excalibur, a small family business in trouble. His job is to get it back on his feet, and for that, he needs funding. The usual banks turn him down, so he seeks out the Aurora Fund, as they have invested in Excalibur before. After meeting with Elizabeth Cabot, he not only wants to money to save Excalibur and the important project called Soft Focus they are working on, he wants the woman herself too. And things seem to go smoothly for him, they sign a contract and he manages to get her in bed. Only the next morning she finds out, he was the man responsible for the extremely hostile take-over of another firm six months ago, which hurt a lot of people, including her brother-in-law, and friends of her family, and perhaps herself. So she blames him for not telling her before things got so far, and breaks off with him, very publicly.
Jack is really sorry for that, as he really wanted a long term relationship with Elizabeth, and now she won’t give him a second chance in her bed. He cannot control himself, and calls her an Ice-Pincess in bed, and half the Seatlle business people overhear them. So now he really has thrown in his own windows.
But Elizabeth is not capable of getting out of their contract, and as she has a seat on the board of Excalibur they have to keep seeing each other. To his big surprise, she keeps backing him up for the family membes who want to sell the company and take what little profit there still is. Elizabeth may not like him personally, but she does know he is a good business man.

Then disaster strikes. Soft Focus is stolen, and the lab at Excalibur is destroyed by a radical group against technology. If Jack doesn’t get Soft Focus back in time for a presentation with a potential client, Excalibur is done for. The man who stole Soft Focus is also he one who designed it, and is a rather strange man, who has a love for film noir. And as he has just produced a film himself, Jack is certain he will show up at a little film festival where it will be premiered. Elizabeth soon learns about this all, and is determined to go with Jack, to salvage her investment. They will have better chance to find Dr. Page together. Elizabeth is convinced there is a femme fatale somewhere, but Jack laughs about her idea.

Trying to find out where Dr. Page is hiding, they have to watch a lot of film noir, and talk to the people involved with “Fast Company”. The lead actress really did a good job of playing the femme fatale, and Elizabeth thinks she might be the one in real life too. Especially when Vicky tries to warn her off. Then Jack’s half-brother, who hates him, shows up in town as well. He tries to warn Elizabeth away from Jack time and again, and is determined to buy Soft Focus when it goes up in an illegal auction. He will do anything to thwart Jack.

But still, I was really surprised by the end, did not see it coming.

I was in the mood for some comfort reading, so I chose a Jayne Ann Krentz novel, hoping it would not be one of those overbearing men like the last one I tried. And I got a really good book as a surprise.
Elizabeth is really careful in her dealings with Jack, but in the past six months, she did not really forget him. She does allow him back in her bed, thinking it will be a short term affair this time, nothing more. But Jack has other ideas, he wants more. He is after marriage. He also did not forget her in the last six months, and has been celibate all that time. Vowing if he would ever get his second chance with her, he would please her in bed this time. The attraction between them has never died, and he could work from that.

Neither Elizabeth nor Jack is overbearing, they both know what they want and are great in business. But Elizabeth has been burned before, and now with Jack again, so she is just being carefull, driving Jack crazy as she won’t admit to anything, or commit to a longer relationship between them. She just want to see how it goes.
They both take risks during the investigation, not liking the other to be in danger.
There is some action in this book and a few brief lovescenes, nothing elaborate. But as usual, I love the witty bantering between them, they don’t give each other the upper hand.

So, a nice contemporary romance novel with some suspense, and a lot of film noir thrown in the mix. I could certainly recommend to you.

7,5 stars.

zondag 20 februari 2011

J.D. Robb – Survivor in Death

Book 23 in the In Death series, published February 2005.

Survivor in Death

In her newest novel in the number-one New York Times-bestselling series Nora Roberts writing as J. D. Robb. returns to the New York City of 2059 – where Lieutenant Eve Dallas struggles to solve the murder of a seemingly ordinary family, and protect one small, terrified survivor.

No affairs. No criminal connections. No DNA. No clues. Eve Dallas may be the best cop in the city – not to mention having the lavish resources of her husband, Roarke, at her disposal – but the Swisher case has her baffled. The family members were murdered in their beds with brutal, military precision. The state-of-the-art security was breached, and the killers used night-vision equipment to find their way through the upper middle-class house. Clearly, Dallas is dealing with pros. The only mistake they made was to overlook the nine-year-old girl cowering in the dark kitchen.

Now Nixie Swisher is an orphan and the sole eyewitness to the seemingly inexplicable crime. Kids are not Dallas's strong suit. But Nixie needs a safe place to stay, and Dallas needs to solve this case. Not only because the promise she made to Nixie, not only for the cause of justice but also to put to rest some of her own darkest memories and deepest fears. With her partner, Peabody, on the job and watching her back -and with Roarke providing the kind of help that only he can give-Lieutenant Eve Dallas is running after shadows, and dead-set on finding out who's behind them.

A very normal American family is murdered in their beds. Only the little girl survives, as her sleep over friend is killed instead of she. Nixie went to the kitchen in the middle of the night, to get something to drink, and that saved her life. She saw their maid being killed, and crawled through her parent’s blood. But she survived. Hidden away in the bathtub, until Eve arrives on scene, and deduces there has to be another child, and sets out to find her. Nixie is in shock, and traumatized, but she believes Eve will keep her safe, and find the people who did this. She refuses to go with the woman from Child Services, and urged on by Peabody, Eve decides to take her home. This way she will have full access to the only witness she has. Roarke’s fortress will keep the child save, and Summerset knows how to care for children.

Eve digs deep in the history of both parents and the children. The boy was old enough to be in trouble at school, or with drugs, but she finds nothing at all. She knows when the press finds out Nixie is still alive, she will be in danger. This brutal, military style killing, they will have to kill the child or the mission is not complete. The father was a family lawyer, the mother a nutrionist. Of course there are dissatisfied people with both of them, and she will have to follow all those leads, even though she knows in her guts that it will lead to nothing. It will just have to be done. The woman from Social Child Services is abducted from the street in broad daylight, seen by several witnesses, but it all happened so fast, no valid clue comes out. The murderers are after Nixie’s location, and Meredith would know many safe house addresses. So Eve has them evacuated fast, and guarded by policeman. But it is not enough. Two of her men are killed, guarding an empty house, and Eve feels guilty about that. They didn’t stand a chance. But she got the whole police force behind her now, because nobody takes out one of their own!

And Eve and Roarke dig deeper and deeper. Into Swisher’s case files, and they discover more murders. The judge he shared cases with was killed with his young son in a car bomb. An expert witness was stabbed in the hospital parking lot. Some cases are open without any lead, some are closed but Eve is not satisfied with the solution. So she narrows it down to one suspect, ex military, and with a “wet” history. Now the hunt begins, where to find him and his associates? And another problem to solve: what to do with Nixie? The parents of her best friend were named as her guardians, but they just cannot take her. Their own girl would still be alive instead of Nixie if she wasn’t in the wrong place at the wrong time. They would never be able to look at Nixie and not blame her. The other distant family she has, is not capable or willing to take her in.

It was another great book in the series. I really felt for little Nixie, having lost her parents, her brother and her best friend all in one. But she deals with it. Summerset, Roarke, Eve, dr Mira, they all help her deal with her grief and her survivor’s guilt. But only when Eve closes the case, will she be able to start healing. So every time Eve sees Nixie, she feels another urge to go back to work. And Nixie reminds her too much of herself, even though their situations were not even close.
The ending was full of action, as were some other parts.
Mavis is getting more and more pregnant, and to their mutual horror, she has asked Eve and Roarke to be with her at delivery time, and go to birthing classes with her. They cannot refuse Mavis, but the horror is there all the same.

9 stars.

woensdag 16 februari 2011

Maria V. Snyder – Poison Study

The first book in the Study series, published October 2005.

Poison Study

Choose: A quick death . . . Or slow poison . . .
About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She'll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace -- and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.
And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly's Dust -- and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.
As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can't control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren't so clear . . .

Yelena gets a second chance at life just when she is about to be hanged for murder. A year ago, she killed the son of her benefactor, if you can call him that. General Brazell “rescued” some orphans, only to treat them as his lab rats. On the surface he took care of them, educating them, but secretly testing them, looking for magical powers. Magic was outlawed since the monarchy was thrown down, and Ixia was a military society. Every person got a duty, a rank and a uniform. Generals ruled the provinces, and the Commander ruled the Generals.
Yelena was punished brutally for not obeing orders, for performing her acrobatics on the Fire Festival when told to stay in her room, and finally she snapped. She thought she would die when she attacked Reyad, the General’s son, but to her surprise, she managed to kill him. Glad about that, now he would not be torturing her best friend, who was like a little sister to her. That she would die herself, she had already accepted. There was nothing to live for anyway.
Valek was bound by the Code of Behaviour to offer the job of food taster to the next person scheduled to die, and that would be Yelena. She is to get lessons in recognizing food, will get a room and clean uniforms for her own. She is surprised to hear herself accept the offer, so perhaps she does want to live. She is 19 years of age, and spend the last year in the dungeons, awaiting her execution.
General Brazell is not happy with this. He wants to see her hang for murdering is only son. So he keeps sending men after her, trying to kill her. And when in danger, like a rat in a trap, strange things happen to Yelena. Could it be magic? But possessing magic is also a sure way to get killed, so she denies it all. Even when a southern magician is trying to kill her, Yelena has no clue whatsoever. She is making friends among the other servants, and she starts to like Valek, which is a dangerous thing, as he is the only one who knows the antidote to the poison he feeds her every day. He is a trained assassin, and he was the one to kill the King and his magicians, as he himself is immune to magic.

General Brazell has other plans for the country, and it appears up to Yelena and Valek to stop him, when the Commander seems to have fallen under a spell.

I have been meaning to read this author for years now, as I have read some good reviews about her books. However, I am a bit disappointed. It just didn’t grab me. It is a good original story, but it is written in first person, which doesn’t always appeal to me. I could totally not relate to Yelena. I kept reading mainly out of curiosity, I did want to know how it all would end. The story was also to slow to my tastes, a bit more action, more intrigue would have been nice. At this moment, I have no idea if I will read the rest of the series, or perhaps try the next one. It was her first book after all.

6 stars.

Joanne Pence – Two cooks a-killing

Book 11 in the Angie Amalfi series, published November 2003.

Two cooks a killing

Nothing could drag chef Angie Amalfi away from San Francisco and her beloved policeman fiancé Paavo Smith -- except for a job preparing the banquet her all-time favorite soap opera characters will consume during an upcoming Christmas Reunion Special. So Angie eagerly takes off for the estate where the now-defunct "Eagle Crest" was originally filmed. Not thrilled to be staying in the very room from which the young actress Brittany Keegan took a real-life fatal tumble years earlier, Angie is equally disturbed -- and intrigued -- when another corpse turns up in the cellar. Both deaths have been ruled accidental, but the bitter accusations flying back and forth among the reunited cast suggest otherwise. And now that Angie's a guest star in this deadly serial drama, she's suddenly in serious danger of being written out of it permanently.

Busy with the arrangements for her own engagement party, Angie jumps at the chance to create a Christmas dinner for the actors of the once very popular soap opera Eagle Crest. She loved that soap and the actors in it, can recite whole scenes from memory. So the chance to actually stay in the house where it all took place, and meet the idols from her youth is accepted with both hands!
The owner is an old friend of her parents, and he rented out his house for the series. Giving up his privacy as well. The house has its own vineyard, which is part of the plot. Unfortunately, the wine it produces is very bad, and now Angie will have to drink it as it is mandatory on the show.
Arriving at the mansion, it is all decked out in Christmas decorations, and fake snow is covering the grounds. A Christmas show in April sure makes her loose her sense of time. The house is practically deserted, and a surly woman shows Angie the way to her room, on the third floor. Her luggage hardly fits in there! The room is freezing too, and when she finds out that the room belonged to the actress who died by falling out of the window, Angie is not pleased at all with it, but there are no other rooms available.
And what is with the other cook in her kitchen? All meals except breakfast are catered, and she needs to speak with the director to discuss her Christmas dinner. Emerson doesn’t seem inclined to talk about that, always disappearing, the actors are sniping at each other, and the continues Christmas music is driving Angie nuts. And then all the people who come to visit her, only hoping to catch a glimp of the stars. And when told they are not here yet, only the people needed to set everything up, they disappear as soon as possible, while leaving something personal in view of the camera’s. Even Rebecca shows up, and she really dislikes Angie. It seems the soap was more popular, and still holds dear memories for a lot of people her age. Only her mother comes to stay, and why is she so cozy with Sterling? Letting him take her out, so she hardly sees her mother?
In the meanwhile, Paavo gets a case of a missing little person, referred to him by Angies best friend Conny. He really doesn’t have time for this, as Los Angeles is in the midst of a drug war. A lot of casualties, and the police will have to intervene to put a stop to that, as more innocent bystanders get killed in the process. But he misses Angie more than he thought possible, and wished she would come back home to him.
A reporter is dogging Angie’s steps. He wants to find out what happened in truth to the death actress. Her death was ruled an accident, but he doesn’t believe it, and neither does Angie. And when she finds the other cook death in the wine cellar, she really starts snooping around. She is not the only one who wants to find out what really happened, this whole reunion thing is a plot to bring the main characters back together, and spook some one in finally confessing the truth. Is it the person trying to sabotage the show?

It was a bit difficult to get into this story, though I did like the concept. There were just so many weird characters in the book. Everyone could be the killer, everyone seemed to have a motive. Jealousy most often, but who can tell with actors.
A nice conversation between Angie and Serafina (her mother), and why her father put her up for this. He still doesn’t approve of Paavo, and Angie just wants them to like each other. Serafina explains how it works for Sal, seeing his youngest daughter, his special child, getting married. No one would have been good enough in his eyes. Not much progress on the personal timeline yet. Paavo just wants to elope with her, but Angelina wants as big a party as possible.

7 stars.

dinsdag 15 februari 2011

J.D. Robb - Visions in Death

Book 22 in the In Death series, published August 2004.

Visions in Death

The summer of 2059 has been long, hot – and bloody. On one of the city’s warmest nights, a call from dispatch sends Lieutenant Eve Dallas in Central Park – and into a hellish new investigation. The victim was found on the rocks, just above the still, dark water of Central Park Lake. She wore nothing but a red ribbon tied around her neck. Her hands were posed as if in prayer. But it is her eyes – removed with such precision, as if by the careful hand of a surgeon – that have Dallas most alarmed.
As more bodies turn up, each with the same defining scars, Eve is frantic for answers. Against her instincts, she accepts help from a psychic, who offers one vision after another – each with shockingly accurate details of the murders. And when Eve’s partner and friend Peabody is badly injured after escaping an attack, the stakes are raised. Are the eyes a symbol? A twisted religious ritual? A souvenir? With the help of her husband Roarke, Dallas must uncover the killer’s motivation before another victim becomes another nightmare.

The first murder is vicious, and while Eve still is pursuing angles, the next one is laid at her feet. The body count raises quickly, and Eve believes there have to be more bodies, he had to practice first to make it so fast en perfect. She knows she is looking for a really big and strong guy, and hits the gyms and speciality clothes shops. But the real clue is crafts. All the victims visited craft shops. That is where the murder weapon is from. Only it is a really big clue, and will take lots of man hours to make the connections. And why can’t the psychic see his face? Everything else she tells them, they also find out through old-fashioned police work. So what good is she to the investigation after all?

I kept reading well into the night to finish this book, which says enough about it I guess. It was really good, the mystery part, but also the private parts. The fun things, like the dinner at Louise and Charles’ with Peabody and McNab (she finally told McNab she never had sex with Charles) and Eve and Roarke. Eve finally visited Dochas (the shelter Roarke had build), which was extremely difficult for her, and she told Peabody about her youth. Another bonding moment. Dr. Mira plays an important part in this book as well.

9 stars.

zondag 13 februari 2011

J.D. Robb – Divided in Death

Book 21 in the In Death series, published January 2004.

Divided in Death

Reva Ewing was a former member of the Secret Service, and then a security specialist for Roarke Enterprises – until she was found standing over the dead bodies of her husband, renowned artist Blair Bissel, and her best friend. But Lieutenant Eve Dallas believes there was more to the killings than jealous rage – all of Bissel’s computer files were deliberately corrupted. To Roarke, it’s the computer attack that poses the real threat. He and Reva have been under a Code Red government contract to develop a program that would shield against techno-terrorists. But this deadly new breed of hackers isn’t afraid to kill to protect their secret – and it’s up to Lieutenant Eve Dallas to shut them down before the nightmare can spread to the whole country.

This story totally rocked! It has a lot of action, and even more emotion. Especially between Eve and Roarke. But I am not going to spoil this story if you haven’t read it yet. Suffice to say, it has spies and conspiracies and corruption. A secret government agency trying to sweep Eve and her investigation beneath the table. Of course they do not succeed in that.
With the help of her faithful team, and Roarke and his unregistered, Eve gets to the bottom of it al, and even to her own personal history.

9,5 stars.

zaterdag 12 februari 2011

J.D. Robb – Remember When

Book 20 in the In Death series, published September 2003. I’ve got the original paperback, with the first cover.

Remember When

Remember When

Laine Tavish is an ordinary woman living an ordinary life in the small town of Angel's Gap, Maryland, as the proprietor of Remember When, an antique treasures and gift shop. At least, that's what everyone in Angel's Gap thinks. They have no idea that she used to be Elaine O'Hara, daughter of the notorious con man Big Jack O'Hara. Or that she grew up moving from place to place, one step ahead of the law... Laine's past has just caught up with her, though - in a very dramatic way. Her long-lost uncle suddenly turned up in her shop, leaving only a cryptic warning before dying in the street, run down by a car. Soon afterward, her home is ransacked. Now it's up to Laine, and a sexy stranger named Max Gannon, to find out who's chasing her, and why. The answer lies in a hidden fortune - a fortune that will change not only Laine's life but also the lives of future generations. And danger and death will surround that fortune for years to come. Until New York City Detective Lieutenant Eve Dallas gets on the case... A thrill-ride of a novel that blends present-day romance and futuristic suspense, Remember When is a tale of deceit and secrets, of strong women and fascinating men- a brilliant combination of the incomparable talents of the two sides of Nora Roberts.

I have to confess, I only read the J.D. Robb half of the book. But if you haven’t read it before, you should perhaps read the Nora Roberts part first, to understand the story better. Even if you don’t like contemporary romance, the mystery part is good.

Peabody is searching for her Detective look, and is driving Eve crazy with the way she dresses. After all, as a Detective, she doesn’t have to wear her uniform anymore.
Samantha Gannon just gets home from an exhausting book promotion tour, to find her house is shatters, and her house sitter and best friend murdered. There is no evidence that someone specifically targeted Andrea, no sexual abuse, just cold-blooded murder. She probably surprised him in his search of the house. Samantha just wrote a best-seller about her family history, involving the infamous diamond heist which took place 50 years ago. And someone obviously thinks she knows more than she put in her book, she has to know where the diamonds are hidden.
So Eve is directing her investigation to associates of the original 4 thieves. The stakes are getting higher when Samantha’s cleaning girl is found murdered in an abandoned lot. This was not as clean as Andrea, this young girl was beaten to death, and suffered greatly. But it does give Eve more clues, and a witness. The net closes around the murderer. A totally self centered and egoistic young man, who had every chance, and a decent upbringing, but choose to kill, just because he could. Because he feels entitled to everything he wants.

It is a good story, and in the end a race with the killer to find the diamonds and to stop him from killing again.

The whole team is working together again, Feeney and McNab, Baxter and Truehart, and of course Roarke is helping as much as Eve lets him. Summerset is on vacation, and Eve sure knows how to celebrate the fact that he is gone.

8,5 stars

vrijdag 11 februari 2011

Yasmine Galenorn – Blood Wyne

The ninth book in the Otherworld / Sisters of the Moon series, published February 2011.

Blood Wyne

Three sisters ridding the Otherworld of evil – one monster at a time.

We’re the D’Artigo sisters, half-human, half-Fae. We’re sexy, we’re savvy, and we just turned in our badges to the Otherworld Intelligence Agency. My sister Camille is a wicked good witch, Delilah’s a werecat and blossoming Death Maiden. And as for me? I’m Menolly, acrobat extraordinaire turned vampire. But being a vamp isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, especially when the godfather of all vampires decides to play Prince Charming.
It’s the holiday season and a vampire serial killer is on the loose. Hungry ghosts are tearing up the town and people are running scared. I strike a deal with Ivana Krask, one of he Elder Fae – and, too late, discover strings are attached. But when I turn to Roman, one of the oldest, most powerful vampires around, for help, he offers me more than I ever bargained for.

If you are thinking to start reading this series, my review can hold spoilers. And if you really are going to read the series, this one you really have to read in order for the most enjoyment. The story just continues on and on in the next book, the characters and their relationships evolve with it. And if you start, I hope you will enjoy those books just as much as I do. For the great heroines, the action, the variety of beings, its originality, and the constant not knowing where the story will lead to.

In this ninth book in the series, Menolly is the leading lady again. She is still running the Wayfarer, her pub, and is planning to start renting rooms. Her daughter Erin asks for her help, she really doesn’t want to get back to Sassy, her foster-mother, as Sassy has gone over the edge. Her lifelong help Janet is deadly ill, and Sassy can no longer repress her inner monster. She has started hunting again, and killing, and wants to turn Janet, something she promised never to do. Erin does love Sassy, but not in a romantic sort of way as Sassy has told Menolly before. Of course Menolly helps Erin out, and she honors her pledge to Sassy to take her out when she became a monster. Which is not easy for her.
Her relationship with Nerissa is still going strong, but there is also a man in sight: Roman, eldest son of the very first vampire ever: Blood Wyne. He has taken a fancy to Menolly and wants her for his consort. He doesn’t care about her relationship with Nerissa, and even if she has other lovers, but she will also be his. And that will make her extremely powerful in the vampire world. His mother is going to take an active interest in the world again, and Roman will reign over America. But first, Menolly will have to persuade her old friend Wade to step down from running for Regent. If he doesn’t, he will die. His opponent Terrance will be taken down though. Reluctantly, Wade agrees. Turns out, he has missed their friendship, and wants a second chance at that. Menolly doesn’t do second chances, but she missed him and Vampires Anonymous too. And with Sassy out of the picture, she needs his help with Erin.

And there is a vampire serial killer on the loose. He is killing whores, and mutilating them. And when the news breaks, all the hate groups start revving again, killing vampires where they can. Even Menolly gets threatened in her own bar by a patron! Hunting for the murderer, the group gets in big trouble in a part of the city strife with evil and extremely powerful ghosts. Morio gets seriously injured, and Menolly has to safe his life by giving him some of her own blood. Only no one knows what that will do to a foxdemon.

Again, this is a very fast paced book. I loved it. All three sisters are really feisty, and kick-ass. They fight whatever comes in their path, be they afraid or not, they don’t have a choice. But they also love fiercely, and are loyal to themselves and each other and their loves. There was no mention about a spirit seal in this book, nor a new demon general to fight.
Delilah is still recovering from the fight with Stacia in the previous book, so no fighting for her. But she is spending lots of time with Shade, the new man in her life. And this could be her real love. They are good together, and Shade is a real asset to the fighting group.

The next book will again be with Camille as the leading lady, and a lot will happen in that one, that is hinted about at the end of Blood Wyne:
Smokey’s father has tried to kill his mother, and now he has threatened to come after Camille. So we will learn about that in the next book. Iris has gone of to the Northlands, to find the spirit of her ex-lover and finally discover what happened all those years ago. And I am so very curious about what will happen to her, can’t wait for Hexed to come out.
I love this new story line with Roman, and how he falls for Menolly. This will sure turn her life around. And he very casually tells her, he has been married 35! times already. Well, that is to be suspected when you are as old as the dawn or something like that.
There are some hot love scenes in this book, as is usual in this series. I confess I do skip the lesbian scenes, as that is not to my taste, but it does not diminish my reading pleasure in the least. It fits the story, and Menolly. I like the interaction between all the players, although Menolly did a lot on her own this time. Chase is coming into his powers, and no one knows what those will be. But it looks very promising.

Looking forward to the next story, Yasmine Galenorn will continue to be an autobuy author for me.

9 stars.

donderdag 10 februari 2011

J.D. Robb – Imitation in Death

Book 19 in the In Death series, published August 2003.


Summer 2059. A man wearing a cape and a top hat approaches a prostitute on a dark New York City street. Minutes later, the woman is dead. Left at the scene is a letter addressed to Lieutenant Eve Dallas, inviting her to play his game and unveil his identity. He signs it “Jack”.
Now Eve is in pursuit of a murderer who knows as much about the history of serial killers as she does. He has studied the most notorious and the most vicious slayings in modern time. But he also wants to make his own mark. He has chosen his victim: Eve Dallas. And all Eve knows is that he plans to mimic the most infamous murderers of all – starting with Jack the Ripper …

Some one is imitating famous murderers, and dares Eve to find him. She has had two big cases in the previous month, with lots of media attention, and he wants to for himself. But Eve doesn’t want to play, so she tells the media, and Nadine, nothing. She doesn’t want a panic in her city. And as the murders she has to investigate are not the same, no one is making the connection yet.
She has a few high profile suspects, because of the paper the notes to her are written on. And that means that she has to tread carefully, and be very sure of her case before she can act. But still, it is raining complaints on her commander’s desk. Luckily, he is standing right behind her, and agrees with her investigation.
The first one murdered was a Licensed Companion, the second one a very beloved elder single woman with grown children. And the third, she got away! And if she survives, she just might give Eve the proof she needs. She already knows who the killer is, knows it in her gut, now she just has to find the proof to get a search warrant.

In the mean while, Peabody is busy studying for the upcoming Detective exam, and McNab is helping her. Eve gets a dream, a flashback, of her mother. Secretly and very deep down she has always held the little hope that her mother did love her, and her father just took her away. But now she knows the truth: her mother was a whore and a junkie, and really hated her. She doesn’t know how to cope with that and doesn’t want to bother Roarke, as he is still grieving for his own mother.

Eve uses her best friend Mavis to get an interview with the wife of one of her suspects, as she wouldn’t get through otherwise. And that was a fun piece as usual.

It was a really great story. I know I have read this book before, but I couldn’t remember who the killer was. So I was a little surprised at the end, as I thought it was one of the other suspects. Well, at least Peabody picked a wrong one too.
I just love the humor in those books, or rather the sarcasm. Eve is getting better at interaction on a friends level, though she is still baffled by “normal” things. I loved the part where Roarke thought he could handle a barbeque … a hypermodern and advanced and thinking for itself barbeque … they ate pizza after all.
Summerset is back from his vacation, and all is well in the end.

9 stars.

dinsdag 8 februari 2011

Lori Handeland – Marked by the moon

The ninth book in the Night Creature series, published in october 2010.

Marked by the Moon

Tough as nails Alexandra Trevalyn does what most people can’t: she kills werewolves. Once part of an elite group of hunters, she’s going rogue these days, though no less determined to rid the world of bloodthirsty beasts … once and for all. That’s why Alex had no choice but to kill Julian Barlow’s wife – and will have to pay the price. Julian’s brand of vengeance is downright devious, and now he’s turned Alex into a member of his pack. It’s only a matter of time before she falls under his spell. With the wild freedom of the wolf in her veins, Alex can’t deny that Julian wakes her most primal passions … and draws her that much closer to the moon’s call, where evil lies in wait.

Alex has been a Jäger-Sucher almost her whole life. Her father used to be one before he got married, killing werewolves and other monsters who prey on humans. Then some werewolf took revenge by killing his wife, Alex’ mother. So since her 8th year, they dropped of the radar of normal human society. Charlie went back to working for Edward, and he took Alex with him. A new town every week, lessons in killing and hunting daily. No friends, no schools, just the killing. When she was fifteen, her father was killed, and she became the youngest Jäger-Sucher. Then Elise invented the serum whitch cured werewolves, and Alex became a rogue. Werewolves were monsters, and they need to be killed.
But now Alex is captured by a werewolf who is faster than she has ever encountered, and she just ran out of silver bullets. She knows she is going to be killed now herself, and is ready for that. But the werewolf has other ideas with her. She believes werewolves are evil, killers, animals. She killed his wife, whom he dearly loved, so now she will suffer herself: he will make her one of them. One of the same things she hates.
So he bites her, and leaves her in a room with a captured human. When she changes, she will need the kill. It doesn’t matter it is an evil human, a known child molester, the kill will always be a pressure on her conscience.

Lucky for Alex, Edward shows up just in time, to prevent her from killing. He shoots her with a dart, and the New Orleans voodoo priestess he brings with him, cures her from the demon within. So she doesn’t need to kill. But Edward does want her to spy for him. The werewolf who turned her, is very old and powerful, and Edward has never been able to find or kill him. He needs to know its lair. And the army he is creating … Edward also believes the werewolf who killed her father is part of Julian’s pack. And when she has found them, Edward will cure her of the disease. Make her human again. So Alex agrees. She wants to kill Julian Barlow for what he has done to her, and especially find her fathers killer.

While Julian is running from the city, he gets ill. He finds out he cannot just leave Alex to her faith, so he comes back to fetch her. He will bring her home with him and teach her that werewolves from his line are still human too. Alex wakes again human, to find herself covered in blood and the man dead beside her. Police sirens are closing in, and then Julian is back. He rescues her just in time, and they run for her car. Then his private plane takes them to Alaska, where his village is. He is alpha, he was the first werewolf, a Viking who went beyond Berserker, who turned into a werewolf when he saw his brother slayed on the battlefield. He is magic. And when he gets angry enough, anything he wants becomes reality. Over the ages, he has travelled the world, and saved those who wanted too from dying by turning them into a werewolf. But they can control their demon, except for that first change. They will live forever if they don’t run into a silver bullet.

There is a strange bond between Julian and Alex, and neither can deny it. They are extremely attracted to each other, even though they loathe each other. She killed his wife! He is a monster! But their bodies know better, and need to be together. Also, she can defy his commands, which should not be possible as he is her maker, and her alpha. He can’t run away from her without getting sick, something werewolves don’t become anymore. So what is happening to them?

But some rogue werewolf is killing the villagers in the nearby Inuit town, those Julian has sworn to protect in exchange for their blood once a month. And though Julian doesn’t want to believe one of his wolves can do that, Alex knows better. She is willing to believe that a good person will be a good werewolf, but that also means that a killer will still be a killer, and how well did he know all the people he has turned? So they go hunting for the rogue together … or are they the hunted?

I loved the book, was very happy with a new episode. So I saved it instead of pouncing on it the moment it fell on my doormat. Now it won’t be so long for the next book to arrive.
Alex is one really tough chick. She knows nothing of life but to fight and to kill, only has baseball as a way to relax. Learning to live in a village, making friends, and falling in love are totally new to her.
Julian is also in for a big surprise, he is used to people obeying him, listening to him, and Alex defies him in every way. He feels guilty that he is attracted to Alex, as she is to one who murdered his beloved wife (who ran away from him, and who hated being a werewolf).

Two strong characters, the resurfacing of Edward, some great secondary characters. Two werewolves happily married for 180 years! And still loving each other. Some hot love scenes that could melt the snow for real and enough action otherwise too.

The ending of the book is a big surprise, and I hope to learn more about that. So, Lori, please keep writing those books as I love them.

9 stars.

maandag 7 februari 2011

J.D. Robb – Portrait in Death

Book 18 in the In Death series, published in February 2003.

Portrait in Death

From Nora Roberts, writing as J.D. Robb, comes a thrilling new novel in the #1 New York Times bestselling series...Lieutenant Eve Dallas faces a serial killer who offers his victims eternal youth by taking their life...

Portrait in Death

After a tip from a reporter, Eve Dallas finds the body of a young woman in a Delancey street dumpster. Just hours before, the news station had mysteriously received a portfolio of professional portraits of the woman. The photos seemed to be nothing out of the ordinary for any pretty young woman starting a modelling career. Except that she wasn't a model. And that these photos were taken after she had been murdered.

Now Dallas is on the trail of a killer who's a perfectionist and an artist. He carefully observes and records his victim's every move. And he has a mission: to own every beautiful young woman's innocence, to capture her youth and vitality-in one fateful shot...

zondag 6 februari 2011

Sabrina Jeffries – How to woo a reluctant lady

The third book in the Hellions of Halstead Hall series, published January 2011.

How to woo a reluctant lady


When a charming rogue proposes she marry him to meet her grandmother's ultimatum, the Sharpe clan's strong-willed sister makes a tempting counter-offer that preserves her inheritance and ignites his imagination.

Lady Minerva Sharpe has the perfect plan to thwart her grandmother's demands: become engaged to a rogue! Surely Gran would rather release her inheritance than see her wed a scoundrel. And who better to play the part of Minerva's would-be husband than wild barrister Giles Masters, the very inspiration for the handsome spy in the popular Gothic novels she writes? The memory of his passionate kiss on her nineteenth birthday has lingered in Minerva's imagination, though she has no intention of really falling for such a rakehell, much less marrying him. Little does she know, he really is a covert government operative. When they team up to investigate the mystery behind her parents' deaths, their fake betrothal leads to red-hot desire. Then Minerva discovers Giles's secret double life, and he must use all the cunning tricks of his trade to find his way back into her heart.

Mrs. Hetty Plumtree is not relenting in her demand that all her grandchildren get married this year. Lady Minerva Sharpe is not willing to do that. She wants to keep on writing her very popular gothic novels, and a husband will forbid her that. She makes enough money to be able to afford a nice little cottage in the country, and write. But the deal is: if she doesn’t marry, her siblings will also be disinherited. And she won’t do that to them. So she comes up with a plan to make her grandmother relent: she puts an ad in the Ladies Magazine asking for a husband. Hundred of men show up, and her family is horrified. But the ad is also seen by Giles Masters, who has had a soft spot for Minerva for years now. And he decides to take the plunge and ask her to marry him. As he will soon be asked for Kings Counsel (he is a very successful barrister) he will need a wife. But first he will have to stop his activities as a spy for the Crown.
Giles broke her heart when she was 19, so Minerva does not intend to marry him for real. But she will use his bad reputation as a rogue and a gambler to take him as her pretend fiancée to make her grandmother see reason. Hetty has said once that she would never want him in the family. But Giles explains to her grandmother that he really wants to marry Minerva, and even allows for Pinter to investigate his financials and stuff, so Hetty will know he can afford a wife, that he is not a fortune hunter like so many other man after Minerva. He is certain Pinter will not discover his other secrets.
And so his courting of Minerva begins. For their first outing, she wants him to take her to a race ridden by her brother Gabe. The same race where he broke his arm last time. Unfortunately, they arrive too late to stop him from this foolishness, but they do see her cousin Desmond and his son Ned there. As there are still suspicions about her parents deaths 20 years ago, and Desmond was seen in the neighbourhood, they investigate what he is doing there. They follow him to the inn he is staying, and to her surprise, Giles makes up a very believable story to the innkeeper, and they get access to Desmonds room. While searching for a clue, they find a roughly drawn map, which Minerva thinks is from their estate! What is Desmond looking for? Unfortunately, Desmond and Ned return for that very same map, and they are forced to hide. When they finally emerge from the inn, her brothers have found Giles’s equipage, and are waiting for them. Although Giles is a friend of her brothers, they really do not want him to marry their sister! Not wanting to tell them what really happened between them in the empty room, and get Giles trashed for that, they do tell what they discovered about Desmond. Which is not really much. Oliver goes back home with them, but Giles invites Minerva to Court the next day, where he will be defending a man who supposedly murdered his wife. She is thrilled, that will be such a good opportunity to learn more for her books! And she will take Maria with her, who loves everything bloody. Of course Oliver opposes at first, but Maria wraps him around her little finger, so the next day, they are off, with Freddy as a chaperone. Giles makes quick work of the coroner and the witness, and his client is acquitted. Minerva is thrilled with it all, but then she learns Giles is to be made Kings Counsel soon, and she is not happy anymore. A Kings Counsel needs a wife who is above reproach, and her keeping on writing will cause too much of a scandal. She knows she is still in love with him, and now she also desires him, but she can’t be the wife he will need in his new position.
Minerva asks Giles to take a look at the hunting lodge where her parents were found, to see if he can find some clues as to what really happened. He agrees, as the place has been untouched for twenty years, except of course, for the necessary cleaning back then. They will be together, and he plans to take Minerva on a picnic near the pond. A very secluded space, where they will not be disturbed. Unfortunately, they are found in a very compromising position, and have no other choice but to marry. Minerva has some demands on her own first, before she agrees. Giles has to be faithful with her, no other woman! And he has to be honest. He still doesn’t want to tell her what he did 9 years ago, when she caught him stealing papers at the masqued ball. He won’t tell her about his past, but he promises to tell her the truth in the future.
Unfortunately, he gets bad news from Lord Ravenswood on his wedding day. The past is coming back to haunt him after all. So he is not taking Minerva to Bath as was the plan, he has to go to Calais to meet someone in secret. Unlucky for him, Minerva finds out and when he won’t tell her the truth, she withdraws herself from him. O she doesn’t deny him her body, and is pleasant enough, but the vibrancy, her trust in him, is gone. And he wants it back. What he doesn’t know is, that she set Pinter after him, to uncover his secrets, and when she confronts him, he will have to tell her the truth after all. She has already portrayed him in her books as a villain, a spy for the French, and she was not that wrong after all. Only he spied for his own country, and numerous Lords will be very furious with him when that comes out! He cannot risk her writing more details about him in her books. But Minerva is not stupid, she will never risk her own husbands career!
And just when they are reconciling, more news about cousin Desmond reaches them, and they will have to act quickly.

I loved the story, didn’t want it to end. Now I have to wait much too long to read Gabe’s book. At least now I got a clue who his bride will be! And I am very curious how Sabrina Jeffries will pull that off!

Minerva is determined not to marry, to keep writing her books. She can’t just stop that if her husband demands it of her, it would destroy her, like it destroyed something in her mother when her father forbade her to write her children’s tales. So she wants to remain alone and independent. She won’t marry Giles if he cannot love her in return, and he is of the opinion that love is for fools. He will never give in to it, he will remain aloof and strongwilled. But of course Minerva tempts him beyond even his iron will, and when he falls, he falls hard. He cannot demand her heart and soul without giving his own back into her keeping.

Unfortunately, no more threads are unveiled in the murder mystery, only that Desmond didn’t do it. So I am completely back with my very first suspects. I have to know if I am right, and how and more important, why, that happened.

9 stars.

zaterdag 5 februari 2011

Joanne Fluke – Apple turnover murder

Book 14 in the Hannah Swensen series, published February 2010 in hardcover, the paperback just came out this month.

Apple turnover murder

Early summer brings plenty of work for baker Hannah Swensen, even before Mayor Bascombe’s wife drops by The Cookie Jar to place an order for her charity event … for eleven hundred cookies! And Hannah almost flips when her business partner Lisa suggest setting up an apple turnover stand. But she places her faith in Lisa and agrees to be a magician’s assistant in the fundraiser’s talent show …
The only snag is the show’s host, college professor Bradford Ramsey. Hannah and her sister, Michelle, each had unfortunate romances with Ramsey, and when the cad comes sniffling around between acts, Hannah tells him off. But when the curtain doesn’t go up, she discovers Ramsey backstage, dead, with a turnover in has hand. Now Hannah must find a killer who’s flakier than puff pastry – and far more dangerous …

Norman leaves his cat Cuddles with Hannah for a few days, while he is off to visit some friends in the city. They just opened a brand new dental clinic, and he wants to celebrate with them. In the meanwhile back at Lake Eden, there is a big charity event scheduled, a lot of good causes in Lake Eden need money, and the yearly charity event is meant to raise the needed amount. But this time the Mayor’s wife is in charge, and she really pulls everything out. Getting donations of time and goods for the cause, she now hunts down Hannah to provide the cookies she needs. But Hannah and Lisa are extremely busy already, and Hannah really doesn’t want to take the time needed to bake and handdecorate so many cookies. But Lisa comes up with an acceptable alternative, and even a brilliant marketing idea for apple turnovers.
She also enrols her husband Herb in the talent competition, with his magic show. Hannah still has horrified memories of the dress she wore the previous time, but luckily Herb has a new assistant nowadays.
With Norman out of town, Mike is extra courteous to Hannah, taking her home, making sure there are no intrudes hiding inside. And when he kisses her, o boy, her knees are melting. But then he tells her she deserves a better husband than he is, she really ought to marry Norman. He, Mike, loves her, but he is not good enough. He doesn’t know if he could really take the risk to just love one woman and not stray on her like he has done before. She would never know if he was faithful, while Norman would be. But Hannah still doesn’t know if she is ready to get married, and she doesn’t want to choose between her two, sometimes three, boyfriends. She loves them all for different reasons.
Then Herb’s assistant turns out to be ill with the flu, and Hannah agrees to help out again. At least she won’t have to wear that hideous dress again, as she gave it away last time. But low and behold, it turns up again and she has no other option than to wear it. And this time there will be no Norman to photoshop the picture and change the color of the dress.
All the contestants are required for a pre-meeting to discuss protocol and the rules, and Hannah is dreading to meet professor Bradford Ramsey again. He didn’t recognize her last time, but perhaps his memory has cleared. And it has, he threatens her and her baby sister Michelle, and Hannah gets so angry, she threatens him right back. And Herb is witnessing it all, something he rather would not have known.

Then during the pause between the acts, Ramsey is murdered, and Hannah is the one to find him. She knows she will have to tell Mike everything now, and there will be suspects galore. Ramsey has always been a ladykiller, and he won’t have changed his behaviour since coming to Lake Eden.
Norman leaves Hannah stranded at the Casino Evening, he has been acting distant ever since he came back from town, and she and Andrea decide to scope out Ramsey’s apartment for clues. And they sure find something: the mayor’s wife, looking for her lost earring in the bedchamber! But her alibi holds, and Hannah crosses her of the list again. Then there is assistant he promised a job to, but changed his mind about, and the girl he got pregnant, both his ex-wives, and numerous others.

Of course Hannah is stupid enough to go away with the murderer when she wants to ask him some questions, and only a little dog can save her now.

But the ending of the book sure had me flabbergasted. I want to know what will happen next!

7 stars.

vrijdag 4 februari 2011

J.D. Robb – Purity in Death

Book 17 in the In Death series, published in August 2002.

Purity in Death

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts, writing as J.D. Robb, comes a shocking new novel in the futuristic series... A frightening new computer virus is spreading and it knows no boundaries...

Louie Cogburn had spent three days holed up in his apartment, staring at his computer screen. His pounding headache was unbearable-like spikes drilling into his brain. And it was getting worse. Finally, when someone knocked at his door, Louie picked up a baseball bat, opened the door, and started swinging...

The first cop on the scene fired his stunner twice and Louie died instantly. Detective Eve Dallas has taken over the investigation, but there's nothing to explain the man's sudden rage or death. The only clue is a bizarre message left on his computer screen: Absolute Purity Achieved.

And when a second man dies under nearly identical circumstances, Dallas starts racking her brain for answers and for courage to face the impossible...that this might be a computer virus able to spread from machine to man...

New York in summer 2059 is hot and sweltering, violence is abundant. Lieutenant Eve Dallas is dragging her feet at Cop Central, as she should be going home to dress up and join Roarke in an important, and very boring, business meeting. Then she is saved by the bell. Officer Truehart calls her, upset and claiming he has killed a man. She calms him down a bit to get his report, orders him to call it in through Dispatch, and secure the scene, she is on her way.
What she finds is a small time illegals dealer, normally a quiet man and orderly man, who was bashing away on his neighbours with a baseball bat. Blood streaming out of his nose and ears. The man attacked Truehart, who had no choice but to stun him. And apparently this killed him.
But the autopsy reveals some strange things in the man’s brain. Then a young EDD cop, tasked with the job of taking Cogburn’s computer apart, gets ill. Irritated, angry, a major headache, nose bleeds, and he starts attacking his fellow officers. He shoots McNab, and takes Captain Feeney hostage. Eve and Peabody, who just arrived at EDD to get some answers, step in at once. Peabody ofcourse takes care of McNab, but Eve has to defuse the hostage situation. She knows he is not responsible for his actions, that he is sick like Cogburn was, and he is still a cop. She doesn’t want to kill him, but she might not have a choice. Roarke is witnessing when she steps inside the room with Feeney and the crazy cop, offering herself as a second hostage, while the sharpshooters are getting into place, and his heart almost stops beating. He knows she puts herself on the line every day, but to actually witness the danger, is killing him. But it is who she is, and he can’t and won’t change that.
A cop dies, from a computer virus. Is that even possible? Feeney and Roarke think not, but the evidence says otherwise. So they assemble a team to find out. Young Jamie is pulled in, he is young but quite brilliant. Roarke still thinks it a shame the boy is determined to become a cop, he could make millions of that mind of his. The difficulty is getting the answers, and not getting infected themselves.
The next victim is found, again someone who prayed on children, and never got convicted. Eve senses a common ground, and pounces on it. Who are behind this group called Purity, self proclaimed guardians of the innocent? They have to have superior e-skills, but also medical knowledge, and lots of money to back them up. The link is hidden behind sealed records, but Eve keeps digging anyway. She soon suspects a Child Services worker, a cop, and the family of some of the victims. But she is blocked in every way, and the body count is rising.

So, racing against the clock, she has to find the evidence to cut the red tape, and she will find it goes into the highest echelons. To her disgruntlement, the battle is also fought in the media. With the terrorist group, as she calls those vigilantes, proclaiming their good will, and Nadine gets tagged as media liaison. Eve hates it, hates being taken away from the job to talk to the press, to defend herself and her investigation, and to be forced to use only the statements approved by the mayor and his staff. She butts head with the deputy mayor, the media liaison, and her own commander. But when necessary, her commander and the chief are square behind her and the investigation. Politics be damned.

In the end, the breaks come, and they can wrap up the group. But have they really caught them all?

What a great book! It has to be the second time I have read this one, but I guess it was one of the first, as I didn’t really remember it. A great plot, a surprising and very satisfying ending.

In this book, McNab and Peabody get injured on the job, but Eve manages to get only a minor scrape. Of course she feels guilty for having her people get injured. Baxter takes Truehart under his wing, and he gets to be in on the bust and the planning. And Mavis is pregnant! And totally floating on love and happiness about it. Of course Eve is terrified, what does she know about pregnant woman and what they do? There are ofcourse some hot love scenes between Roarke and Eve, but they are also on opposite ends about important issues: is it really so bad when scum gets killed? Roarke just cannot be sorry about that, but Eve sees it different. Where is this vigilante stuff going to end? It will escalate, it always does, how good the intentions may be. People get used to the power, to killing from a save distance. Who are they to judge others? And where will they draw the line?

9,5 stars

donderdag 3 februari 2011

New additions to my addiction

Today three more new books found their way to my house:

Joanne Fluke - Apple turnover murder
Anna Windsor - Captive Heart
Yasmine Galenorn - Blood Wyne.

As if I haven't got enough great books calling for my attention! Luckily, there is a week free of the office coming ...

dinsdag 1 februari 2011

Anna Windsor - Captive Spirit

The fourth book in the Dark Crescent Sisterhood series, published in November 2010.

Captive Spirit

Trapped by temptation, bound by desire

Saving humanity from the supernatural has been challenging lately - even for a well-trained earth Sybil like Bela Argos, who must harness the magic of a fractious group of warrior sisters and battle a new wave of paranormal attacks. Another challenge is Duncan Sharp, the hunky NYPD detective who might turn into a demon overnight and devour Bela in her sleep. Still, the darkness taking over Duncan's body can't stop the molten heat unleashed by the intense attraction between them.

Duncan has two major problems: First, he has the soul of a suspected serial killer hitching a ride on his vibe. Worse (yes, worse) he's got a demonic fever raging inside that promises a world of hurt for everybody, especially Bela. Now he's all about getting even with the demons that put this freak curse in his blood - satanic forces that dare to unleash their savage lust on Duncan's soul, his city, and the woman he loves.

After the war two years ago, that left her sister Sybils dead, Bela has been grieving hard. Why did she live? She has lost everyone she once loved, her parents, and now her follow triad sisters. But now she is ready to leave Russia again, and form herself a new fighting squad. And she knows exactly who she wants. Camille for her Fire Sybil, Dio for her Wind Sybil and Andy for her Water Sybil, she herself is Earth. They might not like her for getting their sisters killed, but she knows she can turn them into a fighting unit. And with the only fighting Water Sybil, they will be the first real quad again.
They will life together in New York, in the townhouse left to Bela by Riana. She doesn’t need it anymore as she and her fighting sisters have moved into the enormous house owned by their husbands. Three half-demons and brothers.
All the Mothers declare Bela insane, but she insists on the woman she has chosen as her team. They are all flawed, just like she is. And Camille, Dio and Andy agree to her request.

One night, while on patrol, they stumble upon a fight between a cop, and a cat-demon, called a Rakshasa. Another cop is already dead, and this one is severely wounded. Still, they take him home and try to heal him, but it takes every Mother available to do that. And it can only be temporary. The infection is too severe, and eventually, Duncan will turn into one of the demons himself. Bela cannot bear to think about that, because from the first time she laid eyes on him, she is attracted to Duncan. And then there is the ghost of the dead policeman, residing within Duncan. His only protection against the infection is an ancient coin on a chain, which used to be John’s. Duncan and John used to serve together in Afghanistan and other, even worse, places. And now Duncan was chasing the murderer of a rich society woman, which he suspected was John. But nothing was farther from the truth: John was tracking the killer himself, as he belonged to a paranormal military unit, much like the OCU. Duncan never wanted to believe in that kind of shit, but now he is living it. He has no choice but to learn as fast as he can. And then there is this gorgeous warrior woman he has fallen in love with. How can he ask her to be his, for the few weeks he has left?

They will have to find the Rakshasa demons and kill them, which is not an easy task. They are adept at hiding, and have a lot of human servants and even a coven of dark male witches to help fight the Sybils with elemental energy. They are also still trying to find out who hired the Rakshasa to kill the woman John was protecting.

I have been looking forward to this new trio of books for a long time, as I was so very much impressed with the first three books in this series. At first I was a bit disappointed, as it took so long for the story to grab me. The grief and doubt of Bela took a lot of pages, but she finally found herself and took hold of her team. When she really needed them, they were there for her. I did like Bela, she never shied away from her responsibilities, and it was difficult to accept what happened with Duncan, to know he would die on her within a few weeks, and still take a chance on love. The way she stood up against all those Mothers for what she believed was right.
And as for Duncan, he is a true hero. Strong and determined to protect his love, even though she is a fierce warrior like himself. Standing behind her, beside her when needed, accepting her for who and what she is.

The ending of the book was a bit of a surprise, though I did sneak a look on the backcover of the next book, Captive Soul … I will continue reading this series soon.

8 stars.

New books to look forward to in February 2011

Here is the list of the new books which will be published this month, and which I really want to read:

Yasmine Galenorn – Blood Wyne – Sisters of the Moon 9
Patricia Briggs – River Marked – Mercy 6
Kresley Cole - Dreams of a dark warrior
Eloisa James – When beauty tamed the beast
Melissa Mayhue - Healing the highlander
Sherilyn Kenyon – Invincible – Chronicles of Nick 2
JD Robb – Treachery in Death - In Death 39
Joanne Fluke – Apple turn over murder

I have only read two of the books for January 2011, but some of those I haven't received yet. I did read 22 books, which is a terrific score! I have read almost all the books of December now.